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Saturday, January 02, 2021

My Nanihal … 6

The Habibullahs

Despite my khalā's repeated attempts at my calling her Bajia Jān … which I sometimes did call her … she preferred my calling her Tazeen Baji. Today is her Death Anniversary and just the right day for me to write about her. 

Inam Khala and Tazeen Baji

She was the youngest child with three older brothers that you can read about in my previous post. Her father was Shaikh Habibullah, who was the V.C. of Lucknow University and an M.L.A. (U.P.) of Muslim League.

Shaikh Habibullah

Tazeen Baji had an M.A. in Philosophy and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology from the University of Lucknow. She was an activist and a Muslim Leaguer. I fact here is a photograph of her seated with Jinnah Saha, Liaquat Ali, and Fatima Jinnah among others at a University function.

Tazeen Baji with Jinnah Sahab and others

Many people may not know this but Jinnah Sahab asked the students to come up with a slogan for Pakistan and TB and her colleague, Abidi Sahab (founder later of BCCI) came up with a slogan each. Abidi Sahab's slogan was a word longer so Jinnah Sahab chose TB's slogan which we now hear all the time: Unity, Faith, and Discipline.

Tazeen Baji married a colleague of hers, at Lucknow University, Abdul Rafay Faridi. They lived very happily together until he passed away.

A. R. Faridi

Faridi Bhai was the (Retired) Chief Executive of Burmah Shell (later PBS), and the (Retired) Chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation, as well as of Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation PIDC). A very pleasing and loving person. I visited him often and the conversations were always delightful.

Tazeen Baji

TB was a beloved cousin and, eventually, a neighbour. Though, of course we had many differences of opinion (I regret about that, sometimes, because of the difference in our age), partly because she was a Muslim Leaguer and I was (at least in my heart) an Indian Congress Party lover, after my own father. 

Tazeen Baji once angrily threw me out of her house when I objected to some 'some so-called Islamic' laws. Baji Jania (Attiya Husain) and Fuad Bhai (F. S. Husain) were also there. I walked out and they came out and brought me back after speaking to TB. Later on I feel that she had changed her views quite a bit, seeing the problems our leaders were creating and their total absence of honour.

Tazeen Baji had three children.


Abdul Waris Taufique Faridi

Toffee, sadly, is very ill
and is looked after by a nurse.

Shehla is how I spelt her name
but just discovered on the Internet
that she spells it differently. 


To read more about Shehla/Shahila go here.



Tazmeen - the girl with a lovely voice that she says has now gone and she doesn't sing anymore - was married to her paternal cousin in Lucknow. She divorced him and has a daughter by him: Tameen, whom you'll hear about later in this blog.

I was 9 years older than Shahila and 12 years older than Buttercup, so I was asked on a couple of occasions to be their 'guardian' at a party. I was even invited to their parties where I met Benazir. Here is a picture of Buttercup with BB.

Buttercup married Bernard Weymuller, a Frechman who loved Sufi teachings and was an extremely lovable and loving person. It was a tragedy that he had a heart attack and died.

Buttercup & Bernard

Faridi Bhai with Bernard

Buttercup & Bernard, had a duaghter: Sonia.
More about her in this blog, too.

Buttercup is also an Abstract Artist.
Here's an artwork of hers.

Art by Buttercup

Tameen, now separated,  has two children.



Buttercup and Tameen's Kids

Tameen is a poet and also many other things. Her book that you can buy off Amazon is wonderful and it's so great to see her write.

Here is her poem that I read today on the Net.
It's about Tazeen Baji.


It is seven years now
Since I smelt your Jean Nate perfume
And snuggled into the soft contours
Of your loving protection

Your naughty laughter ascended from a rotund belly
As you recounted riveting stories
Of the Second World War and our colourful family
Tales of mystic saints, jinns, bandits, adultery and royalty
You were the life of the party

Blessed with a searing intellect and wondrous creativity
I witnessed your brilliant extemporaneous speeches
Mesmerize audiences and enthrall them to pieces
You were not only my beloved grandmother 
But equally my mentor and teacher 

You were also a gourmand, like me 
And we shared many a delicious meal
At ease in your full-figured body
You never let it be an excuse to be somebody
Fearless. Respected. Opinionated. Authentic
With a will of steel

A champion of women’s rights
Was a cause for which you worked tirelessly all your life
From the time you were young
A passionate advocate with both fervent pen and fiery tongue
You were a five foot round ball of vitality
Cramming your days in service to humanity

But also quiet and reflective
As we sat on the verandah by the bougainvillea tree 
Contemplating the monsoon rains
You told me how scared you were of death
And would fight it with your last breath

This fear of the inevitable 
Was at odds with your deep faith in the impenetrable
And the frank admission
Of your considerable powers of intuition

Then one day I got that dreaded call
That immortality was about to make landfall
I prayed for you to hold fast and stall
And you heard my appeal
Waiting for our last farewell 

As your life ebbed little by little
I held your shriveled hand in the hospital
No longer able to speak
Communicating with our eyes
We smiled, embraced and cried
I told you not to be afraid 
As tears drifted down your wizened face

In our final hug
Your body was cold to my warm touch
But I knew I could let go peacefully
Because Nana awaited you on the other side, eagerly 
And as you soar together in eternity
I know that you are both watching over me

Thanks, Tameen. 
This was such a lovely poem!

Sonia is really tremendous.

Sonia Weymuller

She does so many things … I am amazed at her energy and at her work. As Founding Partner of VentureSouq and her other efforts, you can read about them here.

Sonia with Tameen, Maaryah, Luqman

Here is a picture you might enjoy

Can you guess who are the people in the photo?

Tazeen Baji was a Minister in Pakistan, was a Head of APWA,
and was also on the Board of Karachi Grammar School.

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