By Sarvat Hossein
It all happened in the year 2017! I moved to Lahore from London and started to write as a freelance Journalist for DAWN. It is right to say that I was very much an alien here in Pakistan at the time, with a different mindset, expectations, working in a new environment and I had many challenges to face, along with absorbing the culture shock. On my new journey, I confess to making many mistakes along the way.
Despite all those difficulties, I look back fondly on this period because it was an absolute honour to meet Prof Dr Malik Hussain Mubbashar.
I was carrying out investigations for my article on the mental assessment of terrorists, and I was seeking professional opinions, and undoubtedly I was blessed to be put in touch with one of the outstanding psychiatrists in the country, Dr Mubbashar to take me through the issue. Courtesy to Mr Zulqernain Tahir, a Political Correspondent at the Dawn newspaper (as I was freelancing with Dawn that time) who kindly introduced me to Prof Dr Mubbashar.
Dr Mubbashar seemed to have endless amounts of time on the topic, he spoke to me with a great patience as I asked him many questions. I must confess that he left me with an urge to also meet him in person.
I had to leave Lahore on a foreign trip for a while but, by this time, we had had many conversations on different topics over the telephone. He left me with an image of a gentleman who was very respectful and indeed, careful with his words. He was extremely helpful during my short period of interaction with him.
During my trip, I had a call from him whilst I was in London and he asked me to attend his book inauguration ceremony in Islamabad. I was due back to Lahore two weeks later, but the urge to meet him and become acquainted made me to change my ticket date. I landed at Allam Iqbal Airport, Lahore, at night, one day before his book launch and the next morning, I travelled by road to Islamabad to attend the ceremony.
He was delighted to see me and introduced me with enthusiasm to others. We all followed him to the main hall where the ceremony itself was taking place. I grabbed my seat and that moment took me back to the time when I was English literature student in the UK, where we were taught about world-famous eccentric personalities such as renowned Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde.
The remarkable Oscar managed to survive his youth decked out in flamboyant clothing, exuding eccentricity, and he did the opposite of what Victorian England expected a man to be; he flaunted it for all he was worth.
Another great persona of his time, Salvador Dali, an eccentric artistic genius we discussed, was highly imaginative. He also indulged in unusual and grandiose behaviour with his ever-present long cape, walking stick, arrogant expression, not forgetting his trademark upturned waxed moustache.
Dr Mubashar’s appearance reminded me these geniuses in world history. An eccentric personality, wearing a white shirt with a red tie, with his hair done up in ponytail, he was surrounded by many people. His warm choice of colours such as red and orange, uplifted and energised the crowd around him always.
Some criticised him for his eccentric behaviour, a behaviour which in their view, did not fit in easily with Pakistani culture. But, such individuals are highly developed, mischievous sense of humour and a childlike curiosity and drive to make the world a better place. And Dr Mubashar had all that for sure.
I was anxious to be his spiritual student, but time did not allow me to meet him as often as I would have liked to. I am sure there must be many out there in a similar boat.
Many know Dr Mubbashar’s outstanding academic achievements, but I was pulled towards him more due to his spiritualism. During the launch of “Meem Bashar” I found a moment alone with him, discussed a blessing with him but he stayed silent. To my regret, there was a great deal of hustle and bustle on the stage. He was surrounded by too many people as usual, and this included the media; sadly, this left my conversation with him incomplete.
I am particularly anxious to discuss a dream in his book “Meem Bashar”, where a horse man appeared in his dream when he was 7 years old. He had a dream where he saw a man sitting on a horse, wearing a green turban and a red scarf around his neck. Dr Mubbashar stared at him silently for a while and later decided to ask who he was. The person on horse replied: “I am HUSSAIN”. The very next day, the young Mubbashar told his grandmother of his dream. She started kissing his eyes and hands.
Mr Zulqernain Tahir was of course much more fortunate, he had many sittings with him as he has known him for over 15 years.
Before Covid-19 hit the world early this year, Mr Zulqernain told me that he requested Dr Mubbashar “to pay respect to shrine of IMAM HUSSAIN together as we both were summoned by Karbala”, but Dr Mubbashar said: “I have no courage to touch the holy land of Karbala where the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Hussain (as) was brutally slaughtered along with his family and companions. It pains me to an extend that I will definitely die touching the land of Karbala. Even I can not stand to the thought of what had happened to Imam Hussain, his family and companions.”
I feel I can continue to write about him for a great deal longer, even though I have not known him for a long time. But I felt connected with him as I am sure many did. We have indeed lost a legend.
His restless soul was a seeker. As Rumi said:” Two there are who are never satisfied — the lover of the world and the lover of the knowledge.” Dr Mubashar definitely was a lover of knowledge as he explored in depth of suffiasm and spiritualism such as his ultimate fascination of Sultan Bahoo’s kalam.
Dr Mubbashar dazzled me with his an extraordinary and charismatic personality. A Sufi, an intellectual, a humanitarian and philanthropist has been laid to rest at his mother’s feet at Miani Sahib graveyard in Lahore.
RIP Dr Hussain Mubbashirand you shall forever live in our hearts and close to souls. — PAK DESTINY
Sarvat Hossein— A British-Pakistani Freelance Journalist