Memories of a living saint

Memories of a living saint: In a land of many saints and Sufis, notions and terms which have now been appropriated by western academics working on Pakistani Islam to denote any construction of Islam which disassociates itself ...

"Sattar Edhi migrated to Karachi after Partition, and was the son of a small-time Gujarati Memon businessman. Edhi helped his father in his work, but by 1951 had decided to take a very different path from most Pakistanis. According to reports, he set up a small dispensary for poor people in the old part of Karachi where he lived, which eventually gave rise to his life-long humanitarian mission. By 1974, the Edhi Foundation had come into existence, and by the time he passed away some 40 years later it had become one of the largest philanthropic institutions in Pakistan. It is said to have mobile dispensaries, orphanages, shelter homes, an animal hostel, maternity homes, morgues and graveyards. There are estimated to be 335 Edhi centres or similar institutions across Pakistan, with hundreds, if not a few thousand, ambulances. The Edhi Foundation is said to run the largest free ambulance service in the world. The Foundation has even set up branches internationally, wherever Pakistanis lived and recognised Edhi’s mission. All the work done by the Edhi Foundation is based on voluntary contributions, and Edhi himself was seen in the streets collecting chanda from anyone who wanted to contribute. Children were most enthusiastic about the old man walking across the country collecting contributions, but so were businessmen and the common people."

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M G Warrier


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