Abdul Sattar Edhi (1926-2016)

“I have never been a very religious person,” he told the Daily Times newspaper in 2009. “I am neither against religion nor for it.” He found inspiration in socialist writers who lambasted the ruling capitalist class whom he thought were responsible for poverty in the world. And he did not see why work to alleviate suffering should be restricted to Pakistan. In 2005 the Edhi Foundation donated $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the US.

“My religion is serving humanity and I believe that all the religions of the world have their basis in humanity,”

Abdul Edhi, The Guardian Obit.
QuartzAbdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistan’s “angel of mercy” – Jul 19, 2016


Born in BantvaGujaratBritish India in 1928, Edhi and his family fled to the newly independent Dominion of Pakistan during the Partition of India and settled down in Karachi. Here, he established a free dispensary for the city’s low-income residents. His activities and motives were described in detail by many forms of media at the time, which quoted: “Edhi is also inspired by the famous Khaksar Tehrik, a semi-military volunteer organisation that emerged from the lower class. Dressed in Khaki, the colour of the earth and armed with belchas (spades), the volunteers would walk from one village to another village to solve people’s problems. (Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia)”

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I was struck by the quiet dignity of this man, when I read about him. How some simple person, just going about his life, could help so many people over such a long, long life, and never be recognized outside his own country until his death. Is it tragic that this is true, or simply the mark of a truly great man? Maybe it is both at the same time.