My name is Sadia and I am Ghulam Sabir’s oldest granddaughter. I flew here from London today especially for this ceremony. I had the privilege of writing the introduction to his book ‘Iqbal, Religion and the Physics of a New Age’ and I would like to take a few minutes today to tell you a few things about my grandfather.
Most people, when they get to the golden years of their life, will look back to their youth as the time that they made their greatest achievements. They believe that their youth was their time for learning and achieving exciting new things. Most people, after they have raised 7 successful children and also seen their 20 grandchildren brought into the world, after all that and after they have retired they will say “now is my time to rest, after working hard all my life, now is my time to sit back and put my feet up and let someone else strive and achieve”.
But my grandfather is not most people! After everything he accomplished in his long and fruitful life, including 34 years of service to Pakistani International Airlines, he decided that his retirement would be the dawning of a new era of his life with a whole new set of challenges. He decided to continue his education, and not just satisfied with that, to further the education of others. And so in his late sixties he started writing articles about the great poet, Iqbal. He wrote his first book ‘Iqbal Shayari Farda’ in the early 1990s which was published in Urdu. He then went on to write his second book ‘Kierkegaard and Iqbal’ in English, this book was so successful it was translated into Danish in 2007 and can now be found in any library in Denmark. Alongside his literary achievements my grandfather also set up the Iqbal Academy Scandinavia, which goes from strength to strength and has fostered such wonderful community and kinship between Danish and Pakistani intellectuals and academics. In fact the twice yearly events run by the Academy attract academics from all over the world to participate.
But, of all of his great achievements, the thing that impresses me the most is that, at such an advanced age my grandfather (a man who is not by trade a physicist) started teaching himself about space, time, quantum theory, the theory of relativity and the cosmos. These subjects formed the basis of his third book, for which he took such a unique perspective by intertwining poetry, philosophy and the arts with science to create ‘Iqbal, Religion and Phyiscs of a New Age’. When he asked me to help him by writing the introduction to his book, I was so very honoured. Thank you Abajan for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful creation!
This year marked my grandfather’s 90th birthday, but he has not seen this as any reason to stop or slow down and I know his contribution to the world of poetry, philosophy, religion and science will continue.
My reason for speaking today, is that I wanted to say a few words on behalf of the whole family, to express how proud we are that we can call Ghulam Sabir our father, and our grandfather and (even in some cases) our great grandfather!
Abajan, your achievements, not just your books, but the way you have lived your whole life are an example to us all. I speak about you to all of my friends and colleagues with such pride. I do not believe any of them can boast to have such a great man as their grandfather and their role model. Thank you Abajan, we are all so proud of you and we love you very much.
22nd May 2015