Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (2)

In the city of Mumbai I became acquainted with a very remarkable personality. While I’d like to share his name with you, prudence dictates that I refer to him as Ahmed. As his name suggests, he was a follower of The Prophet, and a very devoted one at that. Ahmed supported, and took an active interest in more charitable enterprises than I’ve seen any other single individual sponsor. He had a particular interest in creating job opportunities for downtrodden peoples, and it was of scant interest to him if the needy were labeled Moslem, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu. Need qualified any one for his help.

In addition to his own considerable charitable enterprises, Ahmed found time to get involved in organization and support of educational and healthcare institutions sponsored by foreign organizations. It was in this connection that I first met him. He was a regular donor to our annual fund raising activities for schools and hospitals. Ahmed never tolerated poor management of his gifted money. I well remember his close inspections of projects he’d donated money to. If he was not satisfied that best results had been achieved from his gifted money, he’d demand satisfaction or his money back.

Knowing his reputation, it was with considerable apprehension I answered his first summons to a business luncheon. As it turned out the occasion was quite enjoyable and I developed a keen interest in West Asian arts and literature at that meeting that I retain to this day. The dinner meeting also heightened my respect for this man, whose practical life shone through everything he did without it being offensive or threatening.

Ahmed had a lot of money, and conducted his national operations from a tower building in Mumbai city. There were property development monuments to his business skill scattered around India. It was some time before I knew him well enough to enquire how he’d achieved this success.

The fact is Mr. Ahmed was not born to riches. As a boy he ranged about the city of Mumbai selling balloons, combs and other cheap items from a push cart to make a living. Hard work, long hours, combined with clever business deals raised him step by step to the head of a business empire. He was noted in a corrupt business environment for honesty and integrity. It was an impressive rags to riches story!

Ahmed refused to dwell on his obvious skills in reaching such a lofty pinnacle. He modestly told me, “When Ahmed is in partnership with Allah, no one can hold Ahmed back?” That was his simple explanation for his rags to riches success story! Because of his philosophy countless people were blessed. He made Islam more understandable than any other person I’ve met of that persuasion. There was no hard sell preaching or high blown militant theology in his contacts with others, just acts of charity and kindness to all. When he died, thousands mourned his passing in the great funeral processional.

How wonderful it would be if all exhibited that same disinterested benevolence which motivated the life of Ahmed. The art of walking the talk rather than charity for a manipulative purpose.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2015 All rights reserved”

18 Comments Add yours

  1. It is not easy to maintain one’s integrity and rise in the world of business. How wonderful to know of this man and always, so interesting to learn of the sundry characters you have known.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was only when I began blogging stories about people I’ve known and received comments like yours that I realized just how fortunate I’ve been. Some of the people I’ve met and the places I’ve worked or visited would be what others can only dream about and it has given me such a wealth of experiences and knowledge that I would not have dreamed about as a teenager. Life is funny that way, some are favoured and some not.


      1. You’re a rich man, indeed. =)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are absolutely right. Having worked for charitable organizations most of my life I did not retire with a wealth of money, but memories, friendships, experiences are worth more than money can buy.


  2. jstansfeld says:

    Ahmed’s story is most topical at this time when Moslem militants are so foolishly and cruelly marring their religions” reputation through their form of manipulation Thank you for sharing this “other side of the story” in which kindness and generosity shines out and garners our admiration and respect. I’m sure that Ahmed was right about Allah’s response.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I believe so. Even though there will be dispute about the fact, we all serve the same God no matter what name is given. Selfishness is part of human nature that needs to be overcome and we do see evidence of that around the world. Unfortunately charity is in short supply compared to need. There is enough wealth in the world to modestly care for the needs of the world’s poor, but it is concentrated and hoarded. I’ve heard tales about grain being destroyed in order to keep the price on the world market up. Don’t know if that’s true, one would hope not! But we do know some live extravagantly while others starve. As for the militants, they are so evil they have no right to exist.


      1. jstansfeld says:

        You are so right about the wealth inequality. I just got back from visiting my daughter and husband who are serving in a hospital in Honduras – what a poor country! In Honduras the roads outside the main cities were pot-holed dirt tracks and even in the city were heavily pot-holed. The rural areas have crude schools, no sewage and some water although, as in India, we saw women washing in the river. Our son-in-law was treated in child with serious intestinal parasites (huge worms which he passed out both ends). We came back through Houston, Texas with its state-of-the-art airport in such stark contrast. The USA may have a huge national debt but it has an incredibly rich working infrastructure and comforts unheard of in Honduras. I feel very blessed and also guilty that we have so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s why some Western nations have a national debt. We are borrowing from others in order to maintain a lifestyle which in the final analysis is unsustainable, but we would vote out any politician who was honest enough to try and fix the situation as the majority want handouts from the government and that always leads to an eventual depression and loss of status in the world. We are on the verge of another “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” situation in the West, and the alternatives are cause for fear.


  3. So nice to see you Ian. What a lovely story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Val. Best regards.


  4. Eddie & Esther Norton says:

    How True!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess we have seen manipulative giving in our time haven’t we? 🙂


  5. cardamone5 says:


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you agree. Thanks for visiting.


  6. Yoshiko says:

    That is a good example

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Yoshiko, too often in this world charity is given with the aim of manipulating the one receiving charity. That should not be.

      Liked by 1 person

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