Hero cop who died with his boots on.
BOOK REVIEW: Living in poetry —by Nasser Yousaf
A scrimmage in a Border Station
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail
– Rudyard Kipling.
It was a relatively calm and overcast afternoon this February when a crowd comprising family, friends and admirers assembled in the old Peshawar Club to remember one of the most fearless police officers ever born to the country, Safwat Ghayur, who embraced martyrdom last August in the line of duty. The solemn occasion also saw the launching of a poetry book Safwat Ghayur and other poems authored by Ejaz Rahim, the former chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and an accomplished poet in English.
While outside a light drizzle lent a short lease of life to the fast departing winter, inside the hall there was hardly an eye left dry when Safwat’s young daughter recited a moving poem from Ejaz’s book. But that was something that the valiant officer would have disliked, nay scorned with his signature frown. Safwat would never let emotions overpower him. One remembers only one instance shortly before his martyrdom when emotions got the better of him.
He was tired and sweating profusely after his exercise when a deep feeling suddenly seized him and he intoned, “Oh, what a great blessing daughters are!” It was now Zainab’s turn to repay those compliments and that she did with the courage that a little soul of twelve could command. Zainab’s younger sibling Usman did not fail his father either as he read out his poem with the zeal that would have forced a big smile on Safwat’s lean smart face.
It was an afternoon that turned out to be poignant and yet fulfilling and one that saw everyone willing to rush to the rostrum and reminisce about the great man. “Safwat used to go to his mother’s grave three times a week. When he received a specific threat regarding his routine, he started visiting the cemetery seven days a week,” recalled Jawad Qamar, a young police officer from Punjab. Jawad could not have drawn a better portrait of his hero as one finds his impressions in what could be called the preface of the poetry book.
“We live in prose; he lived in poetry,” was how a retired police officer described and recalled Safwat rising to the stature that legends are made of. As opposed to a misperception in some circles, Safwat was not at all over-assertive. He believed in reason and was averse to any suggestion that could have curtailed the people’s right to expression. A widely read man, Safwat’s intelligence was awe-inspiring and yet he never sounded pedantic. Fearlessness and intelligence personified that frail-looking man in uniform and that is what we miss the most in these dark times on our soil.
One of the most scintillating poems in the book is titled ‘A Conversation with Safwat Ghayur’. The poet, benefiting from his close relationship with the martyred police officer, has produced the best in verse from what the two must have talked about umpteen times.
“I am a policeman, Sir,
My job is to risk everything
For the sake of others
I am supposed to lead men
Into the jaws of danger
Such leadership demands
Both courage and character
Do you then propose that
I dispense with them?”
And when the poet advised him thus:
“Prudence, prudence — I advised
Courage, Courage — he replied
Prudence makes sense
But not in times
When the sole choice
Is between courage and cowardice.”
Hailing from the distinguished Nishtar family, Safwat could have got any posting that he might have aspired to and that might have placed him far beyond the claws of peril, but he preferred to live in danger and meet it head on. Ejaz Rahim has done a service to the country in the shape of a book that must adorn bookshelves in all households as a beacon for the young men and women of this country. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would also be well advised to include A conversation with Safwat Ghayur in the English curriculum for secondary classes.
The writer is a Peshawar-based freelancer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
With Thanks : DailyTimes
Keeping him alive —Gulmina Bilal Ahmad
Silence is not an option – by Kamran Shafi
A hero who died with his boots on – A tribute to Safwat Ghayur
The finest intelligence agency in the world- by Omar Ali