By Mirza Ahmed Ali
As Hussain lifted his gold medal to the screens, hundreds of villagers in his native village celebrated for the first time in months. “This is no ordinary festival, we have been waiting for a scrap of good news for months and this is one of our own children doing us proud,” said 76-year-old shopkeeper Chaudhery Ahmed Doda.
“It is amazing to see a local wrestler become a world champion. You should have seen his family celebrate, they spent months standing in lines for Watan Cards to rebuild their homes and now they are over the moon,” said neighbour Altaf.
Abdul Qadir, Azhar Hussain’s father said “He won for us and for his country. I am so proud of the fact that my son has given us all hope when we so desperately need it.”
Qadir and his family lost their home and a large portion of their land in the floods and are now working to rebuild. He said that after Hussain’s victory in India scores of relatives and friends had been visiting him from remote villages in the province. “Stranger’s are bringing us mithai and greeting us on the street, it is wonderful,” he said.
Hussain’s parents said that nearly the entire village watched Hussain on television. “Everyone was supporting him and we were all glued to the television sets, I watched my son receive the gold medal at Doda’s shop, where nearly a hundred people were gathered,
Safdar Hussain, Azhar Hussain’s school teacher said “We are proud of him because he has brought a good name to the country and we hope that he will keep on winning.”
Meanwhile, Hussain’s family is still waiting to receive government aid to rebuild their destroyed property. His new bride, Rashida Begum is worried that they still have no house.
“We are rebuilding and gathering whatever we can from the wreckage but we still don’t have enough money to construct a house,” she said.
Hussain’s family and several other villagers are presently living in a temporary shed, where they say they will greet Hussain on his return from India.
Locals said that this national hero deserved the government’s help in rebuilding his and his families’ life.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2010.