A Tribute to Sema Tahir

by Tariq Banday

Ever inspiring as you were, you touched many hearts back home and many more beyond – in the far off lands – shaping the lives of hundreds of students and setting an example for all the aspiring humanists and educationists.

Sema Tahir, you were the one who had an inherent flavour for life and love. A radiant face decorated with a beautiful mind, loving heart and an impressively strong nerve.

Your courage and determination were absolutely brilliant. Calm and composed, you had an entirely unique aura of your own. Exercising your freedom to the full and respecting the liberties of others. Keeping secrets and revealing wisdom.

Though you would take your time to get adjusted to different places and situations but once done you would make the ambience better and outcome bolstering. Some of your qualities were saintly sacred – forgetting and forgiving. Moving on in life mattered the most to you, come what may and despite all the odds.

You would always add value to the words and ideas. Gifted with a creative and thinking brain, you were almost an all-in-one – a wonderful writer, a great reader, a quick learner, a pleasingly patient listener, an inspiring teacher, a soothing friend, a reassuring colleague, and as Waqar Bhai (your unfortunate husband) puts it ‘an ideal mother (to Ali and Awab, the two tender souls) and a highly understanding and reassuring spouse.

As a batchmate at the University, we all will remember you as a connecting soul. Through your words of wisdom and actions, you were like an umbrella over the flock of friends amidst an unfriendly downpour. A topper, you were a good-at-everything kind of person, whose absence would be always felt and presence ever enjoyed.

Your contribution to local programming especially your presence in the morning show Subhai Subhai telecast on Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar some twenty years back, when you had just finished your post-graduation in Mass Communication and Journalism (from the University of Kashmir), was simply amazing. You almost overhauled the entire programming and presentation style-sheet there. Those who you have worked with will agree that you added an intellectual dimension to the show and it became an instant hit at that time.

Witty, sharp and smart, you were bestowed with the best of many beautiful qualities – your striking sense of humour with a reservist tinge was remarkable.

And when you left the valley, to play your role at a bigger plane, you showed the way to all those who had the will to work and contribute. Turning into a prominent and respected figure in the Wisconsin city of Madison, United States of America, you gradually started taking up community building and leadership roles – from a teacher to a principal. You surely would have moved further and touched and inspired thousands of more men and women, students and parents, had the fate not been so unfaithful to you.

Your courage to live was almost unparalleled. Always full of life, you lived to give it meaning. And in your death too, you stuck to that graceful demeanour. You fought cancer like a warrior – never ever letting this dreaded enemy win over you – your confidence or courage.

May Almighty Allah accept Madinah Academy of Madison’s (United States) initiative for the institution of Sema Tahir Endowment Fund in memory of and honour this dedicated soul. May your legacy of giving and guiding live long.

Good Bye Sema! May Allah’s mercy be your companion all the way from Qabr to Qiyamah and beyond, till eternity.

(The author is a banker and the ideas are his own.)

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