Abdul Sattar Edhi’s 89th birth anniversary would have passed without any fanfare, had Google not decided to remember the Pakistani philanthropist. The search giant put a beautiful Google Doodle on its home page, celebrating the life and work of Abdul Sattar Edhi and his Edhi Foundation.
A former clothe trader, who started helping bury the dead bodies voluntarily and supporting destitute women and orphaned children, eventually founded the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network in Pakistan.
Be it rescuing the people injured in road accidents, to tending to people in the wake of terrorist attacks, ambulances belonging to Edhi Foundation are always the first to reach the spot and take care of injured and bury the dead.
In a destitute country like Pakistan, where basic health infrastructure is almost non-existent, Edhi Foundation is a godsend for people across Pakistan.
The story of Abuds Sattar Edhi is diametrically different from super rich people. It also shows that determination opens new ways for people who don’t give up hope. Edhi dedicated his life to the poor from the age of 20, when he himself was penniless in Karachi. The reach of Edhi’s foundation grew internationally, and in 2005 the organisation raised $100,000 in aid relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Edhi was a mohajir (a rather misunderstood term in Pakistan pertaining to people who migrated to the new nation carved out of India in 1947). He was born before partition in Bantva, Gujarat, India on February 28, 1928. He died last year in Karachi of renal failure. He was offered treatment abroad, but insisted on being treated in a government hospital at home.
In the wake of Abdus Sattar Edhi’s death, the foundation is now run by his son. The Edhi Foundation’s slogan is: “Live and help live”. In his honour, Google changed its logo in the United States; Iceland; Portugal; Australia; New Zealand; Japan; Estonia; the UK; Denmark; Ireland and Pakistan to a doodle, or illustration, of Edhi. “In celebration of Abdul Sattar Edhi, let’s all lend a hand to someone in need today,” it said. The technology giant’s team has created more than 2,000 doodles for homepages around the world. Among those recently celebrated are Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Fred Korematsu and Edmonia Lewis. “The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation,” the company says. ‘No religion higher than humanity’
While the world has recognized Edhi’s contribution,, in Pakistan he remains controversial figure. Many have accused him to be Ahmadiyya or Qadyani, an allegation that has nothing to do with truth. The rumors in this regard when Pakistani Ahmadiyya community decided to award him for his selfless and philanthropic services. With more than 1,800 ambulances stationed across Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation is Pakistan’s largest welfare organisation.