KARACHI, March 18: A book titled ‘Vision — not just a dream’ was launched at the PMA House on Sunday evening.

Penned by Dr Shershah Syed with Humair Ishtiaq, the book traces the journey of Dr Syed’s parents — Syed Zafar Azad and Syeda Atia Khatoon. ‘Vision’ is not just a book that pays homage to a doctor’s parents, rather it promises to be more than that.

The story begins at Desna, a small village some 10 miles from Bihar Sharif. For the descendents of Syed Mohammad Ismail (Mir Bhoja), a man who was a part of the resistance movement against the British in 1857, times were no less testing. The book shares stories of the rise from humble beginnings, personal failures and other details that give insight into a family struggle, with education providing them a way out.

On the occasion, speakers shared their experiences and anecdotes about the life and times of Abba and Amma. From a grandson sharing his feelings about how he looked up to his nana to a daughter-in-law briefly talking about her in-laws, the talks highlighted how the couple played a pivotal role in changing the lives of those around them and leaving a lasting legacy, with some 40 doctors in the immediate family being an ample proof.

Recalling the husband-wife duo, Sabih Mohsin, a family friend said: “What they did for the family and the country is in front of everyone. However, what they have left is something that will be cherished forever.

“For instance, Shershah never wanted to be a doctor and thought of pursuing journalism. But he never went against his parents’ words and went into medicine. And today we can see the result. It is a big thing that your child listens to you and honours your word, and this family is an example.”

Talking about his book, Dr Syed said it was his way of telling the world about the ‘fairytale’ that shaped their lives.

“While researching for my books, I came across piles and piles of letters, filed meticulously by my late father. They gave me an insight into things that may seem outdated but are still relevant. From health issues to political upheavals, the letters proved to be resourceful.”

However, one of the most poignant speeches came from Dr Idrees Adhi, who was taken into the fold of the family. “I always felt welcomed by the family and have the utmost respect for Amma and Abba.”

He then went to share an anecdote about how his osteomyelitis went away due to the alternative treatments suggested by Abba.

“My respect for Abba was so much that I never dared to negate anything he said. While I was going through the worst times due to my health, he believed that someone had cast a spell on the ‘handsome’ Memon boy. He took me to a baba to ward off the spell. The way he spoke about me to that elderly fellow made my heart fill with gratitude. Later, he took me to the sea to ward off the evil spell. There he told me to sip the foam from a rising wave and I did that. I must say that my pains went away.”

Staying true to his words in the book, ‘’Dedicated to all those who have ever dreamed of a better and more productive world for their children,” Dr Syed will be donating all the proceeds from the book to the Koohi Goth Hospital, a place where thousands of poor women have been treated for fistula and are now living normal lives.


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