A Tribute To Tikku Sahib
He sat and people gathered around him,
He remained silent and unheard music filled the space,
He was the carrier of an ancient glow,
Take him for all in all:
He came to touch the hearts and heal the wounds.
Today at approximately 3: 00 PM we cremated Tikku Sahib in Rosehill Crematory, Linden, NJ. Some 60 people gathered there, and earlier at Tikku Sahib’s residence in Edison, NJ, some ninety people came to bid him Godspeed.
Tikku Sahib came to US some thirty years ago. A Chemical Engineer by profession, he worked for top echelon pharmaceutical firms: Merck, Schering, and American Cyanamid. During this time he acquired MS in Chem. Engg. and a MBA. He had a productive professional life, where his hard work, uprightness, and dependability earned him many admirers. He also had a patent issued to him for a work in chemical engineering.
While his profession achieved stability, acclaim, and rewards, Tikku Sahib raised a wholesome, well-rooted, and cultured family. The Tikku home became a landmark for hospitality, attention, care, and affection. A visit to the home became a pilgrimage for many KP’s. New KP residents of the Tri-state area (comprising N.Y. City, N.J., and Connecticut) had to pay a visit to the home for anointment in the Tri-state KP community. There were also broken-hearted, lonely, and depressed people who found soul nourishment in the Tikku home. For years, when KOA was a fledgling organization, operating effectively only in Washington D.C. and its environs, Tikku home was the site of KP festivals in the Tri-state area. Tikku Sahib’s wife Dulari held her own powers of people magnetism with her overflowing affection, generosity, and an engaging manner. To the two of them you have to add the magnetic presence of Tatha Ji, the octogenarian father of Tikku Sahib, and his two superbly behaving sons. The family drew its strength from its distinct culture, tenacious cohesion, robust generosity, and spontaneous gregariousness. Tikku Sahib had the gifts of gab, gentle demeanor, rollicking laughter, sly public relations sense, and an ample capacity to suffer fools. With these qualities he had become the most widely liked and respected KP in the Tri-state area. When you were in his darbar you could do no wrong and you were treated like a royalty and a saint combined into one.
Tikku Sahib had a religious bent of mind and because of the understanding of life emanating from that, he lived simply. He had his homes furnished without glamour. He did not drink alcohol (to the demanding hosts pushing him to take a drink at their parties, he would simply refuse the offer, and if that did not work, he would simply say that alcohol did not suit him medically, which always worked) He never smoked in his life and never very much went away from a simple Kashmiri meal. He was no neon-light chaser, finding his happiness in his home with his family, rarely going out for vacations. He almost lived like a Kashmiri Pandit living in Kashmir who was accidentally thrown in US. It was his hidden religiosity and ethical foundation that gave him strength and power over other people. People saw a glow in his face and a confidence in his voice and a simplicity in his demeanor that made them unconsciously feel that they were in the presence of someone special. He had many diverse friends and one wondered where did he draw the line, but he seemed not to feel any burden due to that. He looked to future, even though there was a strong tug in his heart for the past filled with Kashmir and the rest of India. Occasionally, he would drift to his past, just keeping enough of his mind focused on the present and the future to coast by. He did not have too many doubts about how to live life. The main foci of his life were on his profession and his family. For him his core and extended family were the canvas of his life. Everything else was secondary. This was the best opportunity for him to love and be loved. We saw how his heart bled when someone in his extended family passed away. Closer at home, we saw his love for his wife – well hidden behind the social sensibilities for others to see easily. His love for her was of oriental style but still romantic and sometimes even melodramatic. He loved his children dearly and looked at them as his lasting legacies. People would be amazed to see Tikku Sahib attending social parties in the accompaniment of his seven year old granddaughter Meera (he gave her the name from the long past) and his wife. The little girl slept with her grandfather. Once she stayed with him in India for two months, without the accompaniment of her parents. He was quintessentially a family man in this age of individualism. Tikku Sahib cared about people, often more than they knew. In this age of self-disunity and alienation, he was a remarkably integrated man. He enjoyed light-hearted discourse and had an electric reaction to jokes. He seemed to subliminally believe that laughter was one of the best things in life. After a stint as a public person (KOA President, 1983-84 ), he realized that he was not a man of politics but a man of the family . His friend circle being nothing but a dilation of his family circumference. His approach was somewhat Gandhian, as he sought to influence KP community from the outside. As long as his family was doing well, he thought he can not have much to complain about. His personality and persona were that of a rational man caught into a bewildering world, but counterbalanced by his faith in his religion, softness for people, and sympathy for the human condition
Tikku Sahib was a noble man, who belonged to another age, to another place. Today, we mourn him, tomorrow we will miss him. A star has passed away, but his glow will linger on.