Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saddam’s Great Iraq – 5

After the event of encounter with Egyptian and Palestinian surveyors, atmosphere of the whole camp became very accommodating for me. Engineers of various countries and nationalities started giving me ever more regards than before. It appeared that they had accepted me as an authority in matters of surveying and route location for canals and drains. During my visits to headquarter in Baghdad, I felt that the head office design engineers appeared to be having more regards for me than before. Eliminating this incidence of check to my work, I would have been as an ordinary survey expert as so many others from various countries. I received considerable regards and respect from Iraqi members of the department. Four years of my assignments in Iraq will remain to be the most beautiful and charming period of my life. I can never forget the love and regards that I received from Iraqi people. In my opinion they are the most beautiful people, physically and mentally, in the world. It was a great blessing of Almighty that he gave me a chance to serve in Iraq and show my capabilities confidently. Indian and European engineers had instructions from the Iraqi management that they should consult me in all matters of survey of canals and drains.

During my stay at Babul (Hilla), I passed my evenings by the side of canal, flowing through middle of the small city. Fridays were off days and the rest of the party used to leave for their homes whereas I and Egyptian surveyors used to stay on in Hilla. We used to go for Friday prayers together. In a mosque where a young Iraqi religious representative used to recite Quran in a tone and style that I never heard before or after. He had a supernatural command over reciting the Arabic of Quran. Tone of his extraordinary voice still keeps sounding in my ears. Even my Arab companions had a high opinion about this gentleman.

Grave-of-Hazrat-Ali From Hilla, I visited Najaf city to pay a visit to the grave of Hazrat Ali (PBUH). The site of the grave covers a large area having a large number of graves of other renowned Muslims of the past. Some people say that the spot of grave of Hazrat Ali (PBUH) is only an estimated place whereas the actual burial spot of his holy personality is not known to anybody. I also visited the location of Karbla to pay homage to Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his companions. The Mazaars cover a wide area that needs a whole day to visit all the graves existing within its premises. I did have extra ordinary feeling during my visit to this tomb. Coming out in the open area, I tried to guess the confrontation scene of the battlefield of both sides for which I could not satisfy myself completely. The entire area is a lot absorbing and one can concentrate and feel the active battle going on between 70 people against the cruelty and murderous moves of thousands. People fighting against Imam Hussain (PBUH) did not allow him to leave with his family, children and companions back to Madina. At entrance of Koofa city, I saw the tomb of Imam Muslim Bin Akeel (PBUH), the first Shaheed of this battle of Karbla. In hot weather in the area one can feel the agony of 70 men, women and children, whose every approach to any source of water had been cutoff by force, during the scorching heat of the weather. During summer, one needs a glass of water after every half an hour period during the day.

It was this Babul project from where I had my first leave of two weeks approved for flying over to Pakistan during last week of December 1979. I remember that I had been permitted for that with a very smiling face and happy heart, although it was only after about 7 months of my joining duty in Baghdad. I enjoyed my leave in Pakistan with my family and returned to Baghdad very happily as if I was returning to my second home, the land of very beautiful and well behaved people.

I touched the head office for the requisite formalities and then moved to Babul and started work on my assignment. Everybody, everywhere greeted me every wholeheartedly with very smiling faces above widely open arms, warmth of which had every ting of truthful sincerity.

A few weeks after my return from Pakistan, the project in Hilla got completed in all respects. All of us retuned to head office in Baghdad. There we had to attend office daily almost without mentionable professional activities, waiting for the next project to start. All periods of stay in Baghdad used to be quite expensive because I always liked to stay alone. Other outsiders jointly hired accommodation and shared it paying comparatively very low charges. I being new could not arrange an independent room for myself, so I had to stay in hotel. My daily payment for hotel residence was equal to a month’s payment by my friends as they told me.


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Category: Travel

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