Grandparents are the fragile threads that bind families; the common factor between fractious siblings; the ‘soundkeepers’ of their grandchildren. Grandparents are a precious fort of wisdom, experience, and tenderness. Few of us are fortunate enough to benefit from both sets of grandparents – I know my paternal grandparents through the values their children embody: a strong family bond, forbearance and the love of books. My maternal grandparents directly influenced my formative years and youth.
Growing up in the shadow of two strong, trailblazer personalities – Amma and Abba, as we called our maternal grandparents – was not easy. However, now that both have passed away, we find ourselves following their footsteps and adopting their habits. Their lifestyle reflected a sense of brotherhood combined with Sunnah practices ingrained in the Muslim culture of the bygone era they represented.
Self-Discipline and Perseverance
Born in the flux of the pre-Partition time, both my grandparents achieved education and professional success through the strict discipline their upbringing inculcated. Fiercely independent, Abba, a Muslim League supporter, set up a successful business in what was then East Pakistan, surrendering his right to a wealthy inheritance. Political turmoil in Dhaka forced him to relocate his family and start afresh in Karachi. Yet, perseverance, calculated risk taking and patience helped him to survive and flourish in difficult times.
My grandmother Amma meanwhile was one of the first four Muslim girls, who passed matriculate exams in that region. With her family’s support, she was able to attain a Masters in Political Science despite the responsibility of six young children. It was self-discipline that helped her balance her family and professional responsibilities as a college lecturer.
This is an excerpt, and there’s more in the magazine – buy the print issue from our online store