Project 1 – Naveedul Haq
This was exactly the response of a 10-year-old boy after he touched the 1100volts electrical wire passing just above the roof of his house in Gujranwala, Pakistan.
At that time, he thought the whole world has heard his scream but it was a scream without a voice. During this event, the boy and his cousin were flying kites on roof and this boy wanted to prove a theory, which was proposed by one of his relatives who was working as an electrician. The theory was that the electrical wires did not cause any harm from 6 feet distance. Unfortunately, when he tried to prove this he touched the electrical wire.
That was the first and severest electrical shock he got, followed by many other similar events. Yes, this boy’s name is Naveed ul Haq Hashmi; yes I am Naveed ul Haq Hashmi, now working as a Librarian in Sharjah College.
I did my schooling and initial part of college in Gujranwala, a city 55 km away from Lahore. I did my masters in Library & Information Science from University of the Punjab in Lahore. Throughout this period, I had to face many questions and suggestions. Can you guess what those questions or suggestions were? Well those questions were; why are you so weak? Are you not getting enough food from your house even though my father runs a Restaurant for more than 20 years? And, the suggestions were: I think you should drink milk daily. You should eat bananas to increase your weight and so on and so forth.
People always laugh when I tell them the name of my hometown, which is known as “City of Wrestlers”. Mostly People from this city are supposed to have physique like Sumo wrestlers. My mother is housewife, my father a businessperson. My two elder brothers are practicing at Gujranwala district court as lawyers (remember this is not word lair though, I personally believe there is no difference) and my elder sister is married, while younger one is running a private school at Gujranwala. All the members of my family are quite healthy except me.
I contemplated on the many of these questions and suggestion that people offered me. One of my friends asked me to consult an herbalist. So, I went to herbalist for consultation. The herbalist was a very busy person, and I got my turn after 2 hours. He was sitting on a chair surrounded by more than 20 patients around his desk. Women sat on his left while men on his right side. When my turn came, he put his fingers on my pulse and made a diagnosis at that moment saying, “your liver is not working”. Hearing this I was terribly shocked. But I did not lose my composure and politely asked him “is it possible for a person to live without his liver working?” In reply, he shot back, “Are you doctor or me”? I do not know why he suddenly got angry and got up from his chair and with great frustration and anger, he almost shouted and said “If you want me to treat your disease you should believe in my capabilities as a doctor: otherwise you can go”. In the next visit, he diagnosed tuberculosis. Oh my Lord if this person kept on making such diagnoses and if it was true, I would have been dead years ago. After this incident, I consulted many other doctors and they all came up with different diagnoses sometime contradicting each other.
For the intermediate, I decided to study Pre-Medical to become a doctor but sometimes I think I have ended as patient but not as a Doctor.
What title would you suggest for a person like me? I consider myself as a ‘Victim of Electricity’. One day I sat alone in my room and tried to sort out whether I had some serious diseases as the doctors suggested. Then I concluded, “I am a healthy person who just had a severe electric shock and many minor ones”. However, I had a feeling that whenever I started to have some flesh on my body I get electrical shocks. I started to think whether these electric shocks have anything to do with my body weight. Even though I could not come with some concrete explanation for this feeling. I took no chances and started to pray to my God, “God save me from electric shocks” and now at present I am feeling that I am gaining weight so I pray to my God in a little different way that is “Oh my God now I am again gaining weight so please protect me from electrical shocks”. TO be frank my prayers are really working.
(Bent down on my knees;
Finally, I would like to share a quotation, which inspired me all through my life.
It is from my teacher who told me “whatever you do, do it in the best way, my child”
There is very similar quotation by Martin Luther King Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well”