Be alert on public woes, Shaikh Sultan tells govt staff

Be alert on public woes, Shaikh Sultan tells govt staff
Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi launches his latest book Under the Flag of Occupation at the London Book Fair.

Ruler of Sharjah in a candid talk about his daily routine, writing and his childhood passion



By Mustafa Al Zarooni

Published: Sun 17 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:21 PM

His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, wears many hats.
He is a benign Ruler, an insightful historian, a farsighted writer and a merciful humanitarian, who is keen to solve people's problems.
At a question and answer session, which covered a wide range of topics, on the sidelines of the 45th edition of the London Book Fair (LBF 2016), Dr Shaikh Sultan talks about his routine, the UAE's Year of Reading initiative and his experiences as a journalist.
Above all, he has urged government officials to not ignore even the smallest problems that residents report. He said, if they are unable to take a decision, they can refer the matter to him.
Punctuality holds the key
Dr Shaikh Sultan has always been touring Kalba and Khor Fakkan to ensure welfare of the people, makes his strong presence in literary field and even available on the phone at any time. Many people wonder how he finds time for all these things.
Shaikh Sultan's answer was very simple but a surprising one to all who complain of not getting enough time to fulfill their duties.
Shaikh Sultan said: "What regularises my timing is prayer. It is all about punctuality. It is what I am about, and everything to me. If a person is disciplined, everything will be in order."
If the morning prayer ensures a calmness and concentration needed for the entire day, the live radio hot line helps Shaikh Sultan to know the matters concerning the public throughout the day. He called upon the government officials to give prominence to taking right decision on matters concerning the public and give priority to their demands and requests.
He urged not to ignore even a simple matter and not to hesitate taking decisions in favour of common people.
"If you find it difficult to take a decision, refer the matter to me."
While replying to questions about Shaikh Sultan as a historian, and his call to rewrite the history of colonial rule, he said the real historian is the one who doesn't write at time of events.
"Writing should be done after the events come to an end, so the writer will be liberated from external influences. Therefore, the history is not be written unless the issue turns history."
According to him, one who writes after the defeat is different from one who writes after victory.
Often, writer favours the victorious, and so most of the historic events becomes wrong at the hands of such historians, who writes when the ruler is in the reign of power.
Also, there are many stories an tales, which should be told, and also there are people with vast experiences of 30 to 40 years, who do not have the potential to document them. But experts in the field and historians can help them.
However, he added: "It is difficult to write our history and someone who tracks my writings will learn that I am cautious and keep a distance from sensitive issues. In the West people are different from us. They welcome criticism with open heart and respecting others' opinion, argue with each other in a civilised way."
On the Year of Reading
On the UAE's initiative of Year of Reading, Dr Shaikh Sultan said: "We want to create a reading population, a progressive society that can keep pace with the future and is free from the destructive thoughts, which are alien to our customs and traditions.
"We are dealing with young people, to prepare and impart them with right education, who can, in turn, raise their own children as useful subjects."
He agreed there are some impurities in the society, and there is a need to purify these impurities from the society, without damaging the customs and traditions.
But what are the ideas of this society? No doubt, he said, they are deep-rooted in Islam and its values. He also answered to questions about intellectuals, statesmen, economists in the UAE and lack of interest in writing autobiographies.
Shaikh Sultan said: "There are some people who are not interested in writing for the fear of embarrassment, while there are others who write at the end of his lifetime, for fear of being blamed."
"There must be an entity which will write for those people and give them hand in writing. Every person can write, but they need some help to verify the information. As for me, I have written my autobiography, which documents an era when information were unavailable in libraries, but available in memory. Nevertheless our children and grandchildren have the right to know our present and past history."
Sultan's latest venture
"At present I am writing about the early days of Gulf region and its present status, with a focus on how the land was shaped and the major events the region had witnessed through the years.
"There were some who wrote in the past about the Gulf and its history, but that writing was not in-depth as the writer was not knowledgeable and proficient in the history of our region, nor did he live to see for himself so many events."
Shaikh Sultan is trying to bring out an encyclopedia of Gulf region, in a chronological order with an intellectual and historic perspective - that too in seven volumes.
He also talked about his plays Odat Hulago or the Return of Hulagu (1997) Al Hajar Al Aswad or the Black Stone, which anticipated the regional turmoil.
malzarooni@khaleejtimes.com

Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi tours the pavilion of Shajrah international Book fair 2015
Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi tours the pavilion of Shajrah international Book fair 2015
Dr Shaikh Sultan believes in developing a reading population by imparting the right education to the younger generation which, in turn, helps them raise their children properly.
Dr Shaikh Sultan believes in developing a reading population by imparting the right education to the younger generation which, in turn, helps them raise their children properly.
Dr Shaikh Sultan is of the opinion that the culture and tradition of the region, which are deep-rooted in Islam and its values, would help remove ‘impurities’ in society—.
Dr Shaikh Sultan is of the opinion that the culture and tradition of the region, which are deep-rooted in Islam and its values, would help remove ‘impurities’ in society—.

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