The one who loved his fellows | Political economics


Parween Rahman was a friendly person. Slender, resolute and hard-working, she reminded one of Florence Nightingale. She was a Lady of Sanitation bringing good health, housing and citizenship to the people. An architect by training, she was a passionate student of Kausar Bashir Ahmad, Arif Hasan and Dr Akhter Hameed Khan. She was frugal, democratic and creative. She has always known how to find an alternative solution to people’s problems. No barrier was the end of the game. She always said “aisa bhi in hosakta haiAnd the conversation would continue. Maybe it’s because we couldn’t stop her that she had to be killed.

Parween was a leader. She led by example. She organized and coordinated the work and activities. She was reliable. She showed up on time, stuck to what had been arranged and played her role well. Civil servants, community members and professionals respected her. She represented and defended people, but never took responsibility for others. This quality of leadership has allowed the development of self-help. She has been firm in dividing up responsibilities and helping each stakeholder monitor progress. It has put in place systems that are beneficial to all. Parween once said that getting the job done is never a win-win situation; everyone had to sacrifice something.

She was the epitome of empathy. In official meetings, in conferences and seminars, in classrooms and in community meetings; she listened attentively. Her eyes shining, a smile on her lips, she never humiliated or neglected anyone. She didn’t sympathize either. Parween personified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When the SDGs were discussed, each of the seventeen seemed like something she stood for. The formation of a partnership was a transversal strategy. She implemented the external-internal partnership model, where the government was responsible for the main infrastructure and the people for the community infrastructure. It favored technology that was less expensive, easy to manage and maintain, and allowed for equal participation.

Parween was an activist and a quiet feminist. She avoided the average role of women and displayed a vision and ability equal to any man or woman.

As a teacher, she rarely taught. It facilitated the learning of the pupils. Parween was friendly with the students. When we called her Madame, she would say: “yaar, call me Perween ”. This created an eternal flow of communication between the students and her. She did not give lectures; she gave missions. Perween’s missions were to go out into the world and experience “real” life. She encouraged the students to observe and explore. With it, the students learned to seek and to seek. She would say that identifying the problem is the result of research and that research leads to finding a solution. Parween was diligent in separating fact from perspective. She brought together culture, environment and people and called it architecture. She said that people and nature cannot be numbered. They must be respected and understood. In one of her interviews, commenting on Mai Kolachi’s bypass, she said “if there are overflights for people, why can’t there be overflights for fish? It has recognized and upheld the rights of species other than human beings. She respected biodiversity and always emphasized the importance of ecosystems – the dependence of various species on each other and the environment for survival. It was, she said, what determined culture.

Perween was an activist, a quiet feminist. She avoided the average role of women and demonstrated vision and ability equal to any man or woman. She did not participate in demonstrations and protest marches. She sang songs, listened to poetry and worked behind the scenes. She researched and developed a strategy. His research was participatory. Her students, workers, and colleagues all worked with her. She motivated them to participate and contribute. Anyone not found participating was encouraged and helped to participate and contribute. She motivated people with her ideas, ethics and friendliness. She had the most enchanting smile, and it played magic on everyone who worked with her.

Parween was always well dressed, well behaved, and maintained a social distance. When she was angry, she was silent. In meetings with officials, it would be formal and yet collegial. With members of the community, it was informal. She made a point of always meeting women and discussing issues that community leaders saw as the sole domain of men. It was his strategy to meet with the weaker members of the community and discuss the problem with them. She felt that if the problem was solved for the weaker member, then everyone would benefit.

As an individual, Parween loved to have fun. She would say: “yaar, we should do something ”. And then an event would be organized. A dinner, a poetry recital, a conference where we would go watch a play or go out for a picnic. In the company of the elders, she was silent, nodded, and added a question or an example. His elders loved and admired him. Despite her busy routine, she always had time for her students and colleagues. If there was a good job, she would volunteer. She attended weddings and parties and was always there to share the grief and happiness. Parween has stayed away from politics. She believed that the power should be with the people. She worked and lived for the people. She reminded me of Abu Ben Adhem. She didn’t create parties but institutions – an accepted way of doing things. Those who have worked with her have found a new way to live, develop and share. Parween is institutionalized in society not by her work but by her life. His life was bigger than his job.

“Kis ko shikwa hai gar shauq kay silsilay; hijr ki qatl gahoN said sab ja milay ”

The writer is an architect, urban planner and entrepreneur

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