Tribute to a brother who played all his roles in life with honour and dedication
Hussain Rahim was my immediate younger brother, born four years after me. Despite our differences, we remained close for 59 years, until his departure on August 8, 2010, two months short of his 60th birthday.
What moves through us now is a silence and a quiet sadness. There is a longing for just one more day together, one more word, one more touch. Little by little, we realise his life has given us memories too beautiful to forget. So, rather than mourn his death, let us celebrate his life.
Hussain belonged to the Royal College 1962 Group. He was a good sportsman. After captaining the college Under-16 cricket team in 1966, he found himself in the First XI squad for the 1966/1967 season. For some unknown reason, he did not figure in the Royal-Thomian of 1967. He was the 12th man on the side. Shortly after, he quit cricket to focus on athletics, and went on to represent the school at sports meets. A glowing moment was when he won the Under-16 440 yards challenge trophy at the inter-house sports meet in 1966, four years after I had laid hands on the same prize.
In the 1969/1970 cricket season, I coaxed him to forget the past and get on with life. He finally agreed to get back into the game. Getting into the team after a three-year lay-off was not easy. But he applied himself with a firm resolve and found a place in the team. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and found himself playing in the Royal-Thomian of 1970, at the Colombo Oval. Sportswriter T. M. K. Samath wrote in a special box story in the Observer: “When Royal’s M. H. Rahim walked out to bat in the 91st Battle of the Blues, it marked a unique achievement. He is the first Malay in 42 years, since M. S. Ahamath, to play in the big match”.
I took along my parents, who saw their first and only Royal-Thomian cricket match. Hussain was elated to see them in the invitees’ block, reserved for the players’ parents. He won the Fielding Prize for his fine performance that season. He also turned out for the Colombo Malay Cricket Club in the early Seventies.
After leaving school, he joined an accounting firm and continued to play sports. In 1976, he married his sweetheart, Mufliha Jaldin, and they had two children, a boy and girl, who were brought up in the best Islamic tradition. Son followed father at Royal, and like his father, the son represented the school in sports. He was in the Royal College First XV rugby team and won his rugby colours. The daughter studied at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Balika Vidyalaya and graduated with a Bachelor of Information degree from the University of Colombo School of Computing.
Hussain was deeply religious and performed Haj twice. The first time was to fulfil his obligation as a Muslim, the second to accompany his dear wife on her first holy pilgrimage. In later years, he built a separate prayer room, adjoining his house, where he spent many an hour in spiritual communion with Allah.
Hussain was laid to rest on August 9, 2010, as the sun was setting and the shadows of the adjoining buildings began to lengthen on the Kohilawatte Muslim Burial grounds, by the banks of the Kelani River.
A dear friend said: “It was a very well attended funeral, and the sermon reflected the high esteem in which your brother was held by the local community.”
Goodbye, Hussain. May your path to joining the Creator be free of obstacles, and in the fullness of time may Allah grant you the Bliss of Jinnathul Firdouse, which you so richly deserve.
Comment: I have known both Branu and his late brother Hussain since the ole school days at Royal, The Malay Club and even thereafter, for almost 5 decades. The memories of the years gobe by will never fade away. May Hussain enjoy the music, birds and ripples, on the other side.
Fazli Sameer / Riyadh
Aug 15 2010