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A Tribute to Ikbal Rasul

Death we know is an inevitable truth of life and yet when the memory strikes its finality unnerves us and shakes us to the core. Everyone dies but not everyone lives and it can be said of Ikbal Rasul who passed away in the wee hours of Friday 19 August, 2011 at St. Lukes Hospital, London. He was only 48 years, leaving his young and loving wife Taskeen. His passing was like a candle blown out by gentle breeze. He was severely ill for sometime in Charing Cross & Hammersmith Hospital. His last rites was performed at Carpenders Park Cemetery.

It makes me feel very sad that today I am writing his eulogy at my residence not far from his area 4 Wembley office. Because it reminds me of that day sometime in 1988 in Lakhimpur when Rupak (my cousin) introduced Ikbal to me who was hoping one day to come to London. An innocent looking ambitious young man who was keen to work for Social Services Department, asking me about the job prospects in the UK. In his eyes that day I could see his determination and enthusiasm.

Ikbal was born in 1963 at Lakhimpur town. A brilliant boy to his parents – Md. Sultan and Halima Sultana. He did his schooling and Higher Secondary from Lakhimpur High school. Then he went to join University of Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi. Had his Bsc and Masters in social work and Sociology in 1989.

A true “bandhab” to work for the commoner, he started his job at SOS Children’s Village in Hojai, Nagaon – a charity who was funded by an Austrian philanthropist - Mr. Hermann Gmeiner. The main branch of at SOS Children’s Village is at Azara near Borjhar airport.

Ikbal finally made it to London in 1991 to work for Department of Social Services area 4 at London Borough of Brent. Soft spoken simplicity still remains a touch stone for him, echoes his sentiments about himself, his service for the common people – a life which always sub-served its own welfare to others. His job involves his genuine concern and affection for mankind vied with one another to draw people from all walks of life, with an unmatched magnetism which enable him to embrace the diseased, vulnerable, disabled and underprivileged men, women and children was genuinely unearthly.

During my visit to Town Hall and Brent House I met him several times. In our casual chat at work he raised his concern and depression for this wicked world. I was amazed to see his simplicity and unlimited character, his piety was beyond the comprehension of this morally degraded society.

Assamese Community in London will miss him very dearly. When this news came people flocked to his Harrow residence. He likes to come to the community gatherings and used to take active part and help.

I remember one day in Srimanta Sankardev Jayanti celebration at Southgate Hall, Ikbal was collecting money for the occasion and saying to me – “Sankardev was a Nabi who spread the message of peace to this world. Human life is full of fun and miseries. On the contrary he imbibed all the human values, coupled with an unflinching faith in God and an intense desire to serve humanity at large”.

Now we know you will not be with us at our Sankardev Jayanti celebration. But your spiritual presence will always guide us to way forward.

At this moment of grief I joined all the members of his families and friends in silent prayers. May his soul be one with absolute soul and enjoy the eternal bliss. Now I conclude with that emotional quote of an unknown poet " Farewell my friend but not good bye"

Rini Kakati

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London, UK

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