By Lukman Harees –
“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one”- Khalil Gibran
The untimely death of Adhil, the youngest son of Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, in London shocked the Nation. He went to UK only in September 2016,to study for a Masters in Comparative Politics in the Department of Government at London School of Economics , on a prestigious Chevening Scholarship. It was really pathetic and heart breaking that Sri Lanka lost a very promising future leader of character, at a challenging time when the country has been crying out for a different kind of robust, dynamic and youth leaders of such stature and grounding to steer it forward .
Many tributes have already been expressed in appreciation ; but no amount of sympathies and condolences expressed can compensate the grieving family for their sad and irreparable loss. It will however be a lasting tribute to this young man if we draw apt lessons from his brief but impressive and vibrant sojourn on earth to ensure his abiding legacy endures, to provide continuing inspiration and encouragement to the future leaders of our country.
Adhil , an Attorney-at-Law, was a Director at the National Youth Services Council, Ministry Economic Affairs and Policy Planning. He was also an Official Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and represented Sri Lanka at the 68th United Nations General Assembly. He belonged to an illustrious political family ; his grandfather being Deshamanya Bakeer Marker who rose to become the Speaker of Parliament and his father being Imtiaz Bakeer Markar who became a Minister . Both of them were well versed in all three languages , and their names were immortalized in Sri Lankan parliamentary history for reasons of their honesty and integrity in politics, and served the people without caring for the ethnicity, race or religion , thus receiving much support from the Sinhala community than any other Muslim candidate. They also both stood for national reconciliation and unity , exhorting the Muslims to live in harmony with their other countrymen in a united Sri Lanka.
It was this amazing quality and character of integrity and looking beyond narrow boundaries of race and religion that this budding youthful leader Adhil inherited from his father and grandfather. He was showing signs of great promise and positive vibrancy being imbibed in these values of integrity and unity, to rise up as a future leader, when the Angel of death unexpectedly visited him few days ago and took his blessed soul to unite with his Maker.
I remember his speech at the UN as one of Sri Lanka’s Youth delegates. Adhil referred to Siva whom he met on his travels to the North, who felt alienated in his own motherland due to the long drawn bloody ethnic war in Sri Lanka. Siva wanted to live in a country where his dignity and inclusivity were protected, like any other youth of his age. Adhil therefore stressed the need for youth to be in the forefront of Sri Lanka’s struggle to overcome the deep scars of that war which divided communities and promoted hate. Numerous tributes made in the Facebook pages by his own colleagues in the university and Youth circles bear testimony to the fact that he has been serious in his commitment to overcome the many obstacles in the pursuit of national reconciliation and harmony and joined hands with many social activists to defeat nationalism and hate mongering of all hues – whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim. He also had his feet firmly on the ground despite his family standing.
Another reason why Adhil stands out was his disciplined behaviour and his exemplary character when his dad Imtiaz was both in and out of power, at a time and age when the country has to bear the disgusting sights of sons of famous politicians breaking into night clubs ,getting involved in drunken brawls and assaulting others even soldiers, without fear or sanction. The credit should go to his parents for imbibing the true values of Islam and Sri Lanka of discipline, tolerance and integrity in these children. The political culture has been already spoilt and polluted due to the lack of respect for rule of law and for decorum in public life and involvement in every form of social evils, by the political class which has made the made ordinary people to shun politics as a career path for their children. Precisely the reason why the Nation is in dire need of youth in the class of Adhil to reinstate the public trust in the warped political system in existence today.
Adhil should therefore be considered as an emblem of a great youthful personality whose principles of life should be emulated by the current youth with leadership prospects, especially at this opportune time, when the country is struggling to build an united, inclusive Sri Lanka, overcoming the reactionary forces hell-bent on creating a social commotion built on religion, ethnicity, language, social inequality and mean economic issues. May Almighty Allah bless Adhil reward him for exemplary life, and make him attain the highest eternal bliss – Jennathul Firdhous and also provide solace and the strength of patience to his grieving family to bear this irreparable loss.