Just Noor Fatima
Daily Times, Pakistan
20 July, 2003
just value the Indian throb in Noor Fatimas heart, I love it.
I also pray for Indias people, its children and the joy of their
Noor Fatima is the
30-month-old who travelled to India by Dosti Bus for a heart surgery.
Her tiny heart had two leaks and two of its arteries were choked. The
successful surgery in a Bangalore, Karnatika, hospital involved three
doctors working for six hours. Throughout the day, Noor Fatimas
parents received phone calls from India, Pakistan and all over the world.
Callers of all nationalities and religions told them they were praying
for the health of the child.
Dr Devi Sethi, the
surgeon at the private hospital in Bangalore, said Noor Fatima was well
and improving after the surgery. She said surgery on children was never
easy. It was particularly difficult on children with a congenital defect.
Noors father, Nadeem Sajjad, 35, and mother, Tayyeba Sajjad, 28,
said the duration of the surgery was agonising. It was only after
the surgeons stepped out smiling that we relaxed, they said.
They said they were
found a lot of encouragement in India for Noor Fatimas treatment.
For that we are grateful to Indians. We did not need the funds
we were offered for the operation. We propose that the funds be used
to set up a trust for the treatment of poor children in the two countries.
Nadeem Sajjad said the love he had found in India could only bode well
for the relations between the two countries.
mother said she thanked God and was grateful to the doctors in the Bangalore
hospital for the successful operation. She hoped that the child would
lead a normal life. She said they would take the child to see Taj Mahal
once she was discharged from the hospital.
carrying placards wishing Noor Fatima well lined up the Bangalore streets
during the surgery and total strangers visited the hospital to present
bouquets to her parents. Nadeem Sajjad said he was impressed by the
love and felt at home four thousands kilometres away from home. All
day he had been getting calls from people who said they were praying
for the childs health. He did not know whether those praying for
her were Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or Christians and whether the prayers
were being held at mosques, temples or churches but realised that these
were human prayers for the cause of humanity.
The two days, Noor
Fatimas parents said, had left them great piles of best-wishes
cards and flowers. They will carry home to Pakistan the message of love
and friendship. We need love for each other, justice and friendship.
Both the neighbouring countries need to share the joys and sorrows.
The government of
Indian state of Karnataka, which has its capital at Bangalore, had offered
Rs 10,000 assistance towards Noor Fatimas treatment. The hospital,
however, decided to forgo the fee. Her parents announced that they were
setting up a joint Pakistan-India trust with the Rs 140,000 to help
poor child patients in the two countries.
It is not just Noor
Fatima. The two great Asian neighbours are also suffering from leaks
in the heart caused by their ruling classes. Or else the ruling classes
have the leaks as congenital defect and the arteries supplying blood
to each other are choked. It is difficult, but not impossible, to treat
the congenital defects provided the working poor in the two countries
are allowed to perform the operation. Besides being Muslims, Hindus,
Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and Buddhists, they are human. As humans,
they can share one anothers joys and sorrows. They can include
and participate. For this they need no third party, arbiter or mediator.
Try if you will, like Nadeem Sajjad and Tayyeba Sajjad, the working
people who operate on the heart will emerge smiling from the theatre.
Munnoo Bhai is a
writer and columnist