By Maj Rauf Shad (Retd), Arty (2nd SSC)
Editor’s Note: Maj Rauf Shad (Retd) was commissioned in an Arty Regt in 1972. After his retirement, he opened a small Stationery Shop in CSD Rawalpindi. He has also established an English medium school in his village Rajoha in District Gujar Khan, not for business, just to impart quality education to the under-privileged children.
“Now since you are leaving for few days, from here you go to your rooms. Place your satchels. Have quick-lunch. Dress yourself decently. Prepare your travelling bag and place it aside. Put everything extra in the box / cupboard. Lock them properly. Don’t forget to hand over shoes and uniform to the bearers. Now take your travelling bag and move orderly to the buses already waiting outside. Do take a small gift for your mother, specially for your younger sister, if you have one. Watch your conduct throughout the stay. Now the return journey………………….”
Above is a portion of word by word very comprehensive briefing which Maj Zafar Mustafa (Abdali Coy Comd) gave us in PMA back in 1972 when the course was leaving for mid-term break.
Such were the briefings, sermons, lectures, and talks that he was very affectionately nick named DADDY by his cadets. Such nick name is unusual in PMA. Short sentences, pressing words and concerned tone was his style, invariably to begin with, ‘now since’, for example;
“Now since all 125 G*** have gathered in Abdali Coy, you tell me what to do?”
“Now since our friend Tariq Anjum Pervez Rana B**** has lost the rattler, you stay put till found”.
If love is all about care and concern as it is defined, then Zafar Mustafa was all love.
Once under a Sheesham Tree he gave talk to the entire Coy on selection of life partner. “Physical looks are till the honeymoon”, he gave the opening statement. Two hours passed. No one looked at the watch. Nobody went crazy for the lunch. He finally ended, “if so possible, do remember those who would have accepted you otherwise”. As we got up a whisper came, “Daddy has surely become forty”. Fall of Dacca made him sad. He cried and wept. Many a time thereafter he said, “Pray to Allah we are checked / kept at appropriate level, rest we sink the whole ship along like Yahya Khan”.
In persuasion of his advice I took a small gift, a necklace, for my younger sister. What a delight! She showed it to every girl in the family. Then whole village used to be the family. My sister who was unmarried then is now grandmother. She has gifted out all her valuables but not the necklace. It is now her regular wear. At every family gathering, while looking at me she puts her hand on it and smiles. I smile too, but the reason is different and she does not know the secret.
I used to do Daddy’s parody at PMA to make my platoon mates smile at tough moments. One fine morning during an exercise near Mansehra I saw tired GC Nasir Mehmood scuffling with LMG and cribbing. I got up, took Daddy’s posture (left hand in pocket, right leg over left, full weight on supporting stick in right hand) and said, “Now since you are about to Pass Out, soon you will be here on honeymoon”. Nasir giggled and got romantic. He very softly placed his hands on LMG as if it was his fiancé and said “Haan yaar, kitna maza aaye ga. Kesi khubsurat jagha hai”. There were so many interesting anecdotes during the course of my service where Zafar Mustafa was cheered and cherished. I skip over those and come to recent present.
On retirement, I established a school in my village Rajoha. Not a business. It was my passion, my dream with reason and purpose. My village is the second largest village of Gujar Khan. No boy attended the college as a regular student after me; English language is major drag due to disgruntled teachers posted in rural areas on punishment. In March 2012, my first ever Matric class was parting. I was happy and excited, the under-privileged little divine beings were ready to receive and deliver a parting talk in English. Topic was “Exploitation of village people and role of outgoing class”. At the Rostrum, as, I said “now since you are leaving”. I abruptly recollected Maj Zafar Mustafa of Tobe Camp, PMA. I gave a bit long pause and smiled. Class started sobbing. Later when I asked ”why should you sob?”, they replied “Your tone was too deep”. I murmured with closed lips, “Yes, it was Zafar Mustafa Tone”. The day was at his name and I did inform him.
In Nov 2014, on the demise of my wife, the very first condolence call I received was of Lt Col Zafar Mustafa. He knew, I have the only child, that he is an eye surgeon and placed away from home at Panu Aqil. It moved me. Where from he sought all the details? It speaks level of his concern and kindness.
DADDY left this world and proceeded to his Heavenly abode on 28 July 2015. It was a very shocking news for al his cadets. Lt Col Zafar Mustafa was a man to cross the river with. This has ever been a rare commodity. He was kind to us. Allah will be kind to him. May his soul rest in eternal peace, Aameen.
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