Tribute to Baba Qaboos

Mohammad Osama Rawat –

he morning of January 11 was perhaps the saddest morning for me in the recent past. In routine usually I scroll the messages in my mobile phone after the morning prayer and while doing so to my utter shock and disbelief, I came to see the sad message of the demise of our beloved Sultan who was affectionately and respectfully called Baba Qaboos by every individual living in Oman.

Mohammad Osama Rawat

I came to Oman in July 1992 and the first glance at his photograph at the airport induced a respect for him as he looked so graceful in his appearance and later my love and respect for him became more firm and concrete when I interacted with the locals and the expatriates who have already been living in Oman and had witnessed his extraordinary love and care for the people and the nation.
It is hard to mentally accept that he is no more physically present among us but with heavy heart and the faith in Almighty our creator one has to accept the reality of life.
“… Every one shall taste death..” (Al Quran – Surah – Al Imran – Ayat: 185)
“.. Every one upon this earth will perish. And there will remain the face of your Lord, the owner of majesty and honour..” (Al Quran – Surah – Ar-Rahman – Ayat: 26,27)
He was a legend in the true sense. Though he was a monarch, but yet a true democratic people’s leader who ruled over the hearts and the minds of people in the country and commanded an infinite degree of respect and love. His very first and the last priority was his people and the nation. He delivered his best, what he promised to his people when he came to power in 1970. He has left behind a rich legacy which will continue to carry the Sultanate to further greater height in times to come. He maintained a well-balanced foreign policy with an approach of working for the peace around the globe. Under his wise and visionary leadership Oman established an international image of the most peaceful country in the region as well as around the globe.
He managed to transform Oman, which had only a couple of schools and hospitals, virtually no proper road, sea and air transport infrastructure, into a modern nation with world-class schools, colleges, universities and hospitals within the reach of everyone living in the country. He very seriously and sincerely managed to improve the living standards of his people.
The modern international airports in Muscat and Salalah, the sea port facilities of Suhar, Salalah and Duqm, the world-class specialist hospitals in every governorate, the cardiac centre at Royal Hospital, the kidney dialysis centres in all governorates, the world-class cancer hospital, which is under construction near Sultan Qaboos University and shortly going to be commissioned, the health centres within the reach of every village, the road infrastructure which connects almost all villages to the big nearby towns, the Muscat Expressway, the Muscat-Sur Coastal Highway, which has dramatically shortened the journey time, are some examples of his care and concern for his people. He tried his best to provide everything for his people and virtually lived and died for the nation and its people.
He has been quite authentic in his vision for Oman and practiced his own visionary beliefs to ensure the best for the nation and for the people. He tried his best to make Oman, the region and the world a better, safe and peaceful place through his dedicated efforts to promote peace and harmony at a time when the world is riddled with strife. Under no circumstances he let the others’ opinions to distract him from the path of peace, universal brotherhood and progress.
He was the first in the region to support the women’s right. He focused on empowering the Omani women throughout his life. He has to be credited for the increasing number of women students in higher degree classes and joining the government and the private sector to establish their mettle at work in offices. He also encouraged to promote the participation of women in politics and ensured that they could serve at highest levels of the government even heading the ministries.
The country’s constitution devised under his able guidance guarantees both men and women equal protection under the law. That is the reason that the women in Oman are able to hold jobs in every profession, like banking, engineering, medicine and teaching. Oman is considered as one of the leading nations in the region in terms of gender equalities.
He was very proud of the nation’s culture and heritage and focused on putting the Omani culture, tradition and heritage on the world map at all places he visited.
The legend, our Baba Qaboos, the longest serving, widely respected and loved Monarch, the darling of the masses has physically gone from where he came but will live in our minds and hearts forever.
May Allah bless, guide and give strength to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, the new Sultan of Oman, to carry on his rich legacy to take the Sultanate to a further greater heights.

The writer is a senior general manager with a private company based in Muscat.