SRINAGAR: A young man suffering from cancer is among the volunteers providing help to patients and their attendants at SMHS hospital.
Afaq Rashid Khan, aged 30, lives in Srinagar’s Batamaloo area. In the premises of SMHS hospital where tents have been erected by several voluntary organisations, Afaq on Monday is exchanging greetings with a group of five men. Seeing his elegant manner and eloquent speech, it is hard to believe that he is afflicted with cancer.
After the greetings are over, he comes forward to say Assalam alaikum and introduces himself. There is no stress on his calm and determined face. He says his mission is “service of humanity”.
Employed as a switchboard attendant on ad hoc basis in the Upper Sindh Hydro Project at Kangan in Ganderbal district, Afaq was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago.
“Before I was diagnosed with cancer I had been suffering from severe pain in the lower stomach. The doctors were treating me but were unable to diagnose the problem,” Afaq said.
When he lost weight drastically in a few days, he went to Dr Nisar Ahmed Wani. “He asked me about my family, marriage and profession. He also consoled me, saying life and death lie in God’s hands. But he did not say what the matter with me was,” Afaq said.
“Doctor Chacha”, as Afaq calls Dr Nisar Wani, called him to hospital and did some tests on the day an earthquake struck Kashmir, October 25, 2015. “On that day he broke the news. When the whole of Kashmir was jolted, I was jolted by another shock,” said Afaq.
The next day, an operation was performed on Afaq at the hospital.
It is not that Afaq has been doing voluntary work after he was diagnosed with cancer. His social service dates back to the year 2002, when Afaq’s father suffered Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level). “His kidneys were at risk. That day I recognised that the real pain lies in hospitals. I took a pledge to do something for people (Khidmat-e-Khalq).”
Luckily, Afaq’s father was saved. Afaq began working on the pledge he had taken.
“In between I became married and had three daughters, Alhamdullilah,” said Afaq. “See, life and death lie in the hands of Allah. He can offer shifa (cure) to any disease. Our job is to help people come out of misery if we can do that.”
The family of Afaq has been actively backing him. “My parents and wife always push me to be engaged in this social work. They perhaps think that my mind will be diverted with this, but even if I had no disease I would have done this,” said Afaq.
“Why to worry when the whole world can be one’s family? It is no big deal just dying for oneself; to die in the cause of humanity is the real service,” said Afaq.