By Khwaja Sayeed Shahabuddin
We were deeply grieved to learn about the passing away of our cousin, Effat Kadri. The Dawn Metropolitan of Friday 28th September 2012 carried the following announcement by her daughters Wasima Sultan, Qudsia Kadri, son Rauf Baksh Kadri, members of their respective families and grandchildren, under the heading: DUA-E-MAGHFERAT for Begum Effat Kadri:
“We inform with deep grief and profound sorrow the sad demise of our beloved Mother Begum Effat Kadri (wife of late Wahid Baksh Kadri) in Calgary Canada on Thursday 27th September 2012. May Allah rest her soul in eternal peace (Ameen).
“Please recite Surah-e-Fatiha and pray for her Maghfirat.”
May Allah, subhanahu wa Ta’ala, grant her soul eternal heavenly peace in the company of those He loves most. And, may the Lord Almighty bless all members of her family with patience and courage to bear this irreparable loss and accept His will with faith and fortitude. Aameen!
According to Qudsia, her eldest brother, the late Javed Kadri, had started making a graveyard for the Muslims living in Calgary about 29 years ago. He did not live to see it completed and that those concerned named the graveyard “Javed Kadri Cemetry”. The late Effat Kadri was buried in this graveyard.
My mind goes back to the early thirties when uncle Nasar (Nawabzada Khwaja Nasaullah) and his family lived in Farhat Manzil which was next door to our home Bait-ul-Amn, which meant we spent a lot of time with our cousins. If I remember correctly, at that time there were Shafique, Effat, Reshad, Nur Jehan and Zakia, all of whom have passed away. The first was Shafique who died after an attack of typhoid, while uncle Nasarullah and Effat, both of whom were victims of typhoid, survived, by the grace of God. In those days we did not have a radio in our home. The only item of luxury was a refrigerator. During the Football season in Calcutta, we used to go over to Farhat Manzil to listen to the radio commentary on Uncle Nasar’s radio, specially when Calcutta Mohammedan Sporting were playing. Shafique used to join us sometime to play Football on the spacious lawn in Bait-ul-Amn Others in our group, playing Football, Hockey and Cricket, included Tahera Baji, Najma, Shahenshah,. Bilquiss, Anwar, Hamid, Shahed and me, with Mashooqullah joining us once in a while. In the summer months almost every Sunday we used to swim in the pond next to Farhat Manzil. Occasionally, uncles and aunts and cousins living in Dilkusha (Paltan) and Ahsan Manzil used to join us. It so happens that, Najma Quader in Irvine, California, Mashooqullah and I in Karachi are still around, by Allah’s grace and mercy, and can claim to have known Effat the longest. Later, Mohiuddin, who lived in Calcutta got to know Effat as he kindly writes: “Effat was in Shahed and my age group, possibly a year older. We were good friends when they were staying in Calcutta. She not only did social work during the time of the riots in Calcutta, she was a wonderful caring person with a lovely sense of humour. She was a good Table Tennis player and was always very prominent in wedding ‘Baithaks’ (Dholki) as she had a lovely voice. I used to visit her on my trips to Karachi and noted in the later years her failing health. She went through hard times but bore her set backs bravely. She has now found peace. May Allah place her in His Heavenly Home and grant her eternal peace.”
In those days, remembering Birthdays, wishing and having a Birthday party were generally unknown in the family. There were, however, four exceptions – two among elders and two among children. On 1st July birthday of Peri Bano Dadi (Nawabzadi Peri Bano Begum) used to be celebrated by family members living in Calcutta, by spending the whole day at her home on 36. Theatre Road. In the same month, on 26th July, the Birthday of Atiqullah Nana (Nawabzada Khwaja Atiqullah) was celebrated in Dhaka when a large number of family members gathered at his home – first in Dilkusha later in Daffodil-and spent the whole day celebrating the occasion. The children, both in Calcutta as well as Dhaka, sang songs and presented plays. The rule in both places for elders was that presents had to be made by hand and not purchased from a shop. Elder children wrote essays or poetry while the young ones were required to write “A. B C” on a sheet of paper.
The two exceptions among the children were Effat’s birthday on 3rd June and Zeenat on 18th June. The children used to have great fun and enjoyed themselves at these two Birthday parties. If I remember correctly, Effat was the first lady in the Nawab Family to obtain a Master’s Degree, and she learnt the Pali language.
In August 1946 the All India Muslim League had organized a Direct Action Day in Calcutta which, unfortunately, turned into widespread rioting all over the city. The newspapers termed it the “Great Calcutta Killings”. I do not remember who was responsible for organizing a “Relief Centre” in Brabourne College for Girls, with Effat Kadri in charge. Several young men and women from the Nawab family, including Shahed and myself, served as volunteers under the direction of Effat Kadri. Among many others, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, then a student leader, also worked with us. One day Lord Wavell the Viceroy of India at the time, visited the Relief Centre. While escorting him to different sections Effat very kindly introduced some of us to the Viceroy and gave us the opportunity to shake hands with him.
Effat became a widow at a very young age and single-handedly brought up her children – two boys and three girls – and gave them the best education and training. All of them grew up to be fine human beings and did well in whatever each one did. Two children, Javed and Anjum passed away during her life time. Presently, Wasima Sultan and Rauf Baksh Kadri live in Calgary while Qudsia is in Karachi. There are eight loving grandchildren – Amina Sultan, Adnan Sarfaraz, Dr. Omar Sultan, Usman Sarfaraz, Ayesha Khamisani, Raiyan Khan, Anam Khan and Mashal Kadri. All of them are busy with their respective work and studies. Her only surviving sister, Atiya, lives in Madinah.
With her family
May the grace and mercy of Allah subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and His blessings be upon Wasima, Qudsia, Rauf and the eight loving grandchildren, with health, every happiness, success and all that is best for them in this world and in the hereafter. Aameen