By: Khalid Hashmani
All those who knew Anwar Memon are truly saddened by his untimely departure from among us. May God rest his soul in peace and give us all enough strength to bear the loss of this great friend of Sindhi community!
I have personally known Anwar Memon for more than 55 years. Being a friend and admirer, I always looked Anwar with respect since our days at the Government High School in Hyderabad. Anwar’s impersonation of SaeeN Bashir Qureshi (who was a great teacher with the high hopes that his lethargic students who would one day become scholars of Persian) was legendary in our school. No matter how much down one felt, hearing Anwar impersonate SaeeN Bashir Qureshi made us forget all your sorrows and filled us with laughter and smiles. As the fate would have it, I followed him to Cadet College Petaro in 1960. There, apart from sharing common bond as having our homes in the same city (Hyderabad), we also became roommates in his final year at Petaro (1963) and came to know a lot of good and some not-so-good things about each other. In Petaro, Anwar belonged to the Jinnah House for first few years and then joined the newly created Shah Abdul Latif House. He was considered by most cadets as a leader without stripes. Although he was not an appointed section/House leader, he commanded more respect of all the cadets than most of other cadets who had formal stripes. After passing the Intermediate Examination from Cadet College Petaro, Anwar joined Sindh University Engineering College [now called Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET)] in Jamshoro. I after passing the same examination from Petaro joined another Engineering college in Karachi, Sindh. But as we were meant to meet again, I transferred to Sindh University Engineering College in late 1965, where Anwar had been elected as the President of Student Union. He was very influential and highly respected by both students and faculty. He was instrumental in helping me in couple of troublesome situations. After receiving Bachelor’s degree, Anwar landed a very prestigious job with one of the leading Petroleum Company and was envy of many of his colleagues and friends.
In his days at the Sindh University College, he often lived on campus during exam days but otherwise he lived at his home in Hyderabad city. All friends and admirers knew that best way to see Anwar was to go to the Cafe George in Saddar area between 6:30 PM and 9 PM. At this restaurant (a well known jaunt forits delicious mutton patties), Anwar was a good friend of the cafe owners and the waiter who exclusively served Anwar’s table. Naturally, he had developed an excellent relationship with them and created what was known as “Anwar’s trap” that I am sure many of his friends including myself fell into again and again. The setup was that Anwar would greet and order the very best of patties and pastries, impressing very one with his lavish ordering. When the waiter brought the bill, Anwar would open his rich-looking leather purse and take out a new and crisp one-hundred rupees note and give it the waiter Behold in 2-3 minutes, the waiter would come back and say something like “Sir, we do not change for this large note” The guests already awed by his gracious and generous hospitality, were ready to do the “return” favor and would immediately pay the bill! Jokes aside, Anwar was indeed a very gracious and generous person He donated only donated himself but also pursued other to donate large amounts to the Young Sindhi Engineers Society that was originally started at the NED Engineering College in 1920 or so. The society donated old and new books to poor students who could not afford the high cost of engineering books.
Soon, we lost track of each as I went for my post graduate education to America and he pursued his M Phil degree in UK. More than decade later, in 1981 we once again found living in the great city of Toronto, Canada. By then we were married and each of us had kids. Adi Najma and ada Anwar invited us to their gracious apartment located on the corner of Warden Avenue and Sheppard Road. As the time went by, we had created a small circle of few friends and went together on many family outings to cottage country and beach towns such as Wasega beach and so on. In 1984, in collaboration with Dr. Javaid Laghari, Dr. Altaf Memon, Dr. Aftab Kazi, Mr. Shankar Lakhvani, Mr. Israr Ansari, Anwar Memon and I, we laid the foundation of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA). Often meeting in each other’s homes, travelling to Buffalo and Pittsburgh, we carried out surveys, framed by-laws and constitution, nourished SANA in its early years. SANA now has become one of the strongest organizations of South Asian immigrants who now live in Canada and the USA. Anwar was instrumental in getting the SANA logo done by a well-known Sindhi artist and led many of the SANA initiatives including the holding of 1997 SANA Convention in Toronto.
Anwar, we miss you a lot but promise to join you sooner or later! In the meantime, we will always remember you as a friend and as a leader!.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 23, 2012.