I wish all my family and friends a very happy Father’s Day. May you enjoy this day and celebrate the fathers in your families, and give them all the appreciation and recognition they deserve. They quietly work and worry for our well-being- emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual. They do it selflessly and without complaint. In every father’s DNA is the desire to protect, provide for and serve their family, and it is a beautiful thing to watch. So Happy Father’s Day Shahid, Reza, Arif and Eric and all my brothers Omar and Pasha, cousins, extended family and friends! Hope you can manage to celebrate despite continuing COVID19 restrictions.
Naturally, my thoughts go back to my father Mohammed Farooq, who departed a long time ago, and I remember fondly all that he taught us five children. So dearest Abuji, thank you for teaching me to stand for justice, for there is no peace without justice, and no justice without heart; for teaching me to value our ancestors and what they stood for despite their mistakes and shortcomings- whether it was the Islamic Empires that valued knowledge and diversity and inclusion, or the Mughal Empire that brought so much beauty to the Subcontinent, and was a successful example of multiculturalism; for teaching us to love adventure, travel, social engagement and community service; for the passion to learn poetry, literature, science; for valuing other cultures and role modeling cultural integration, for bridging East and West always; for embracing and thriving on innovation and change; for the love of music that you had from Elvis to classical Western to classical Indian to Um Kulsum to Celtic; and most importantly for loving books, reading, writing- I know I owe that definitely to you and may I fulfill your dream of writing a book as you never got around to it. I am sure our future generations will carry these values forward and in that sense your spirit is always with us. And here is a more detailed biographical blog about you that I wrote 6 years ago: http://sufidialogue.com/2014/06/15/memories-of-my-father-mohammed-farooq/
Along with the spirit of celebration, we must also remember and stand with and support societies and nations whose fathers are taken away, killed, tortured, humiliated, imprisoned unjustly- what a horrible human rights crime to steal fathers from families. In the era of Black Lives Matter- how crazy is it that we have to remind our justice and police and prison systems that black lives are human lives too- I am keenly aware of the pressure, fear and burden on fathers in persecuted communities here and abroad. And so, I pray for better societies that live up to their self-proclaimed ideals of liberty and freedom for all. In the meantime, have a fantastic Father’s Day all of you fathers!