Al Haj Bakeer Markar

"From Him do we come and unto Him we return" says Al-Quran. Many a man has trod the soil of the earth. Many more will do so in time to come. But not everyone of them will leave their footprints in the sand of time. However, there are a few who have done so.

One such illuminating personality is Deshamanya Al Mukkathamu Shazhuli Al Haj M. A. Bakeer Makar, whom I had the rare and distinct privilege to serve as his private secretary for well nigh twelve years.

Born on May 12, 1917, he could have easily led a life of luxury but chose the tortuous road of politics to serve the people.

He was loved and respected by all for his honesty and spirit of sacrifice towards, especially the victims of disaster as evidenced in his ready response in aiding the disaster and cyclone victims of Kantalai and the Eastern province.

He helped build in Eravur with Iraqi aid 100 houses with a mosque and a school following that area’s disaster by a huge cyclone.

Tragedies like these and the plane crash of the Indonesian Haj pilgrims at Kimbulapitiya, near Katunayake were some of these events that moved him to tears. He initiated the Indonesian Haj Memorial building at the Main Road, Seeduwa-Katunayake.

He displayed his rare leadership qualities with insight that only a few of his contemporaries had always concerned about the well — being of the people.

At this time of grief, I would like to recall two incidents. During the time of the communal problem that arose in the Eastern Province, several refugees came to Colombo. Among them there were Zanooba, a little girl cuddling her grandmother Mutthamma from Kattankudi. He took Zanooba as his own daughter and brought her up.

"Having heard from my media friends of my great agony brought on by the communal riots" recalls S. Thillainathan, a senior journalist, about this great character "his several attempts to contact me had failed due to numerous reasons". "However, within weeks when he abruptly noticed me down Galle Road, he immediately stopped his car and coaxed me to accompany him to "Mumtaz Mahal" and asked "Thillai! didn’t it strike to you that I was still among the living? Why didn’t you come to see me?" and took me to the upstairs and tried to give me some money after offering several of his clothes," "This deed of the Speaker, brought tears to my eyes".

His total period of service in Parliament was 16 years and 1 day.

May Allah grant him the highest felicity in Jennathul Firdouse!
Alhaj A. H. M. Azwer,
Member of Parliament.