My endeavor of expressing words of gratitude for the Late Dr. P. J. Shah who was born in 1936 may perhaps look like to be deficient while piecing this eulogy. I am afraid of failing to justify properly the medical services as a competent Physician rendered by Dr. Shah for the last 45 years to this village of Kanodar and surrounding villages as well as far wide distant areas. He offered his services of initial 15 years to the local Trust Hospital known as Shermohmadkhan Dispensary and the rest as a Private Practitioner.
On January 12, 2009, Dr. Shah died at Mohankheda, near Ujjain (M.P.) when he was on a pilgrimage tour to various Jain temples of India. During his life time, he had never been out of his dispensary for more than a week as he was devoted to his duty and ‘work is worship’ was his motto. Here, we can see the miracle of God in Dr. Shah’s last day of his life that a man who had no time of performing any religious services had died in his worshiping garments in the innermost part of the temple of Adishwarnath while worshiping. He was attacked by misfortunate fatal heart stroke and was no more.
The news of the demise of Dr. Shah spread like lightning throughout the area and within no time thousands of his patients and admirers gathered at his residence-cum-dispensary here at Kanodar. Patan (N.G.) was his land of birth, but Kanodar was the land of his actions. In brief to say, he was a surpassing native of Kanodar and was proud of identifying himself as Kanodari (Resident of Kanodar). His funeral service was held on the next day at Patan and a large number of people from his field of actions here had rushed forward there to attend the service to bid him last farewell with tears in eyes, sobbing and heart-burst crying. The people mourned his death as deeply as though they would have lost a family member or a close friend.
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I was one of the founder trustees, the framer of Constitution and Chairman of the first Board of the local NGO – “The Guardian Trust, Kanodar”. I worked for first seven years in team spirit with my fellow trustees to achieve the goals of the Trust and now I am retired. Here, I am pleased to disclose one of the objects of the Trust which will be self explanatory to my Readers and particularly those NRIs and PRs of Kanodar residing elsewhere representing young generation to know about this village, its community, its culture and many other aspects of its heritage descending from the ancestors for the last half millennium since the foundation of this village by Kaano (Kanji) Patel whose name reflects in the word ‘KANODAR’.
The text of the above referred object of the Trust is as follows:
”The Mo’mineen (Muslims) of Kanodar have spread all over the world with their own identity that they live with love with others, accept others with their differences and make their contributions in their social lives wherever they live. This Trust will encourage the individuals and various organizations of this peculiar community to continue to set an example to other communities to respect everybody’s dignity and rights and to carry out social responsibilities for the common good of people.”
To build up integrity and reputation of the village, many honorable personalities have contributed in past; and present leadership also is on the same track walking on the footprints of the former devoted Chiefs. This Article is aimed to remind the new generation the culture and traditions of the community, inspire them to preserve the image of this village intact with good behavior and pass on the same heritage to the next generation by providing the live examples to them. During my life span of almost seven decades, I have been the witness of the hundreds of those local heroes who have devoted their most of time to uplift the village to higher summits of its fame. Due to my limitation to the size of the Article, I am unable to highlight the services of all those ever shining stars in detail.
But, I would like to bring out in knowledge some opinions of other people about this village of Kanodar in order to mention in general its integrity, peace and prosperity. Most of the people may be familiar with the name of Swami Sachchidanand. He is a Karmyogi Saint of Gujarat engaged in social, literary and spiritual activities. Some years past, he was invited to the opening ceremony of the local High School for its starting of Science stream. Swamiji had never visited this village but while on his way from Petlad to Kanodar, he was given some briefs and feedbacks about the village. Endowed with sharp intellect, spirituality and own intuition, he knew everything about the village and its people as if he had visited the village previously and lived here. While delivering his speech he said, “If the Lahore Conference for the discussion of partition of India would have been organized at Kanodar, India would have remained united.” These words are the best compliments to the village and at the same time making conscious to the natives of Kanodar to remain firm and deserving for the preservation of conception of integrity of not only our village, bur wherever we live. Generally, Swamiji was being honored with donation to his Ashram wherever he was invited, but here he donated Rs.25,000/- to the High School from the funds of his own Trust.
If we go to some past, the memories of Dr. H. L.Purohit, a Maharashtriyan Brahmin and Dwarkagiri Maharaj, a gymnastic practicing Saint (અખાડા સાધુ) from U.P. (India) will surely revive into our minds. Dr. Purohit as a Physician rendered his services to the local Hospital for about 33 years and Dwatkagiri Maharaj as a worshipper of the local Temple of Shiva; but mainly with his social services, had devoted his whole life for the welfare of the village. Both these personalities had so high opinions as well as feelings for this village that they wished to have their last breaths here and get their funeral services in the earth of this village. Dr. Purohit was not fortunate in this regard as his offspring called him at his native place Baroda after retirement, but Bapji breathed his last here and was buried in the position of Samadhi in the premises of the temple. They both, having their Hindu creed, told emotionally in public that if the God gave them rebirth in any form, they would prefer to be here not only once but again and again. These words are the great rewards to the local Muslim community and also strong enough to bring tears of gratitude into our eyes.
There is no room for remembering the specific contributions of numerous Muslims (both male and female) here in this precise Article; but in general, I may say that they people remained rays of hope in ways of humanity. They people laid a firm foundation of Secularism and Unity in the village. It is a fitting time to recall all these memories in the prevailing situation everywhere in world when violence in various forms has risen high and universal peace is thrown in danger.
As mentioned in my earlier Article “A full circle swallowed 22 years”, the new generation of the village has spread over all continents of the world to meet with their financial needs. We should thank God that He has been kind and merciful to lead the world think broadly for globalization and liberalization and thus windows of settling abroad have opened. As a result, hundreds of youths with their spouse and offspring have migrated elsewhere in the world. This old man (me) thinks by heart that all these youngsters are the representatives of our secular village of Kanodar, Gandhiji’s Gujarat and our great country, India to spread the mission of Universal brotherhood and peace.
I would just remind, to all NRIs and PRs residing elsewhere in world who are natives of Kanodar and in wider sense to say any human wherever it lives, the story of migration of Zoroastrians (Parsis) during 18th century from Iran to harbor of Sanjaanaa in Gujarat (India). They had assured the ruler of Gujarat then that they will mix up with local people as sugar mixes in milk. My brothers and sisters, we know the exemplary role played by these Parsis such as Jamshedji Tata, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, and Homi Jehangir Bhabha in the progress of India. You have to awaken and mobilize the people with whom you happen to come in contact as a neighbor, a co-worker, a businessman or in any other status with mission of secular ideology, feelings of mutual co-operation and motto of ‘Live and Let Live” of ‘Sarvoadaya-ism’ founded by Vinoba Bhave and Jay Prakash Narayana.
While nearing to sum up my Article, I’ll quote somebody’s experience from unknown source in the words as “When I was running in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, wearing a spiffy suit, on my way to a meeting, a kind lady (a stranger) offered me her umbrella, gave me her address, and trusted I would return it when the rain died down.” This is a very little weighing episode, but a heavy and hidden sense lies therein. Here is the importance of mutual trust, not the cost of umbrella. One should take such affordable risks to be helpful to others to make the foundation of trust with human to human strong and I am sure it will not go in vain.
Summing up, we should remember that hate can never be ceased by hate. Let us renew and spread our hope in humanity. If we are going to err, let us err on the positive side of compassion, generosity and tolerance.
While playing tennis on Thursday evening on 7th July, 1994; Dr. Musa was stricken and on the spot, he breathed his last. It was the shocking news to all his own and numerous own like. His passing away was like the Sunset at Noon as he was to complete his 41 years on 25th Instant.
The Times News of July 11, 1994 offered tributes to the Late Dr. Musa with coverage of the above titled Report as follows:
“The news of the death of Dr. Alimohmad Musa, a staff physician of Palmerton Hospital, spread rapidly through the area on Friday. Dr. Musa, only 41, died from a heart attack while playing tennis on Thursday.
To many people, Dr. Musa was more than merely a physician. Patients attest that when they went to see him, he treated them special. No matter how busy he got, he never rushed patients out of his office. He answered questions in simple language that his patients understood, he explained all procedures, and he was always sympathetic to the patients’ fears and concerns. When a patient died, Dr. Musa was one of the first people to personally phone and offer sympathy to the family. He displayed characteristics we so often associate with the old-time doctors; good traits which appear to be rapidly disappearing.
He joined the staff of Palmerton Hospital in 1985. Peter Kern, hospital administrator, stated Dr. Musa will be mourned by fellow doctors, hospital staff, and friends. Kern added, “The loss will be felt most by many patients who have come to know him as a kind, caring, and compassionate physician.”
Dr. Musa’s practice wasn’t confined to Palmerton Hospital. He had his own office along Delaware Avenue in Palmerton. He regularly visited the Mahoning Valley Nursing and Convalescent Center and cared for patients there. His mild-mannered disposition as well as his ability to show compassion and understanding to his patients was one of his most glaring mannerisms. In a society where people are always in rush, this wasn’t so with Dr. Musa. He was a family man. He loved his family and never hesitated to talk about his wife and children when patients asked about them.
Not only did Dr. Musa take good care of his patients, he took good care of himself. He was tall, slim, and seemingly the picture of health. But tragedy did strike. While Dr. Musa was engaging in physical activity, a heart attack stole his life and robbed his family and his patients of one of the most decent, caring individuals you would ever want to meet. It will be hard for Dr. Musa’s shoes to be filled.
The patients who were treated by Dr. Musa are fortunate that they at least got to know him for a while; that they were able to enjoy the positive qualities he always emitted. Indeed, Dr. Musa was a very special person; one who will be remembered for the kindness and care he showed to his patients, his friends, his family, and his co-workers.
He will be missed. “
Edward J. Miller, M.D., President of Palmerton Hospital, expressed his feelings towards the Late’s family in these words:
“While vacationing in Virginia on Thursday, July 7, as my family and I were drifting near sleep at 11:00, the phone in our hotel room rang and as I got up to answer the phone I knew that something was wrong and that no one would have called us if there hadn’t been a problem. The last thing I was expected to hear was the tragic news about our colleague, Dr. Musa. After, Joy and I shed many tears in disbelief, a sleepless night followed. For the eight years that I had known Dr. Musa I did respect him as a colleague and most certainly remember him as gentle giant.
Gentle in the sense that he was truly a gentleman and giant in that he embodied and encompassed an intelligent, caring, and giving physician. I reflected that night of the many long hours on call, the endless nights in the hospital with little thanks, thanks only known to that of a physician. Ali had the presence of mind in the time of crisis and compassion in the time of defeat. Tragically, when he was enjoying his new home, and when he talked constantly of his children; a strange and cruel fate, death came to him.”
Further, by quoting a verse, he added, “However, we must remember that our lives were touched by a sensitive man who by his memories leaves us with a bit of light of help lift the darkness that we all feel. Here among us he had flourished and among us as a beautiful, strong young man died. If in the comfort of years to go by we look back and remember the tragic death of a young physician we knew then we will diminish Dr. Musa’s brief existence to just that. Rather, we must keep Ali alive in our memories in the things that we do and remember his laughter, his smile, his favorite things, and who he was and by doing so Ali will stay young and alive for many years to come.”
Afterwards, on behalf of the Medical staff, Dr. Miller announced to raise Dr. Ali Musa Memorial Fund at the Hospital and to place a plaque (tablet of metal) in an appropriate location in his memories.
Lastly, with a heavy heart, I shall quote few words of the Late’s patients – Richard Seidof and Bob (his wife) – “I thought some day, he would be by my bed; but, unexpectantly, he had gone first. Taking my aspirin a day, it reminds me of Dr. Musa – a fine and wonderful gentleman that came from India to be a doctor, and that he was in his prime; but suddenly was taken from his beloved family, friends and patients.”
Summing up, Sympathy is greater than gold. Gold comes from the earth, but sympathy comes from heaven. Heaven is above the earth and that is why sympathy is greater than gold. ( From an English Poem).
Here, I put an end of the story of the Late Dr. Alimohmad Musa spread over three continuous blogs, with assurance of many more William’s Tales to share with in future on various subjects.