A life more spectacular than the rainbow

By Syed Shoaib

Book: Living under the Rainbow - My Enchanted Life
Author: Bashiruddin Babukhan
Pages: 288
Year: 2012

In the age of pulp fiction and self-help books, this life story comes as a refreshing whiff of fresh air. Just breeze through it to feel the cool of a life lived colourfully and in turn, help yourself take out the stress from the steamy touch of daily living. One of Hyderabad’s well-known personalities Bashiruddin Babukhan’s book “Living under the Rainbow - My Enchanted Life”, is the autobiography of a man well-rooted in human values, despite the high life led through a myriad of rich experiences in different parts of the world and in the company of high-society people like politicians and film stars. Known for his intellectual honesty, Babukhan has opened the window for us to get a glimpse into his life lived and recorded with a clarity that can even be converted into celluloid. For an industrialist-cum-politician, who resigned from the then Chandrababu Naidu ministry as the only minorities’ representative putting the secular credential of the Telugu Desam party under cloud, charitable work comes easy.

Bashiruddin Babukhan’s book being released in Hyderabad
by Union Minister Jaipal Reddy lon 23 December last year

In the rich (literally and figuratively) life narrated, of particular interest to me was the second chapter on ‘Bangalore and Beyond’. The keen observation of the Jesuits who run the St Joseph’s European High School - “Despite being deeply devout Christians, where the laity routinely wore the cilice, never once did they even suggest that I and other non-Catholic students convert” - calls for kudos. It still holds good today, like the overt comparisons between Hyderabad and Bangalore over weather and schooling.

Babukhan sitting by a grave

The author is a Muslim who, through his varied achievements, has made a difference to the negative world view of his counterparts. In the chapter on ‘Empowerment through Education and Philanthropy’, he notes: “I often wonder why even educated Muslims adhere to Shariat only in matters concerning marriage, divorce and inheritance?” This observation comes from a man who is constantly thinking of ways to uplift the majority poor and uneducated section of the followers of Islam.

The last lesson on ‘Chinese Checkers and Western Check-ups’, teaches one how even the rich can handle physical illness with grace and grandeur. In places like Beijing and Chicago, the legend managed to study up the commercial and media aspects of the place along with time-consuming inhalations and other medical procedures. It is with academic precision that he absorbs cultures of different countries. This is incredible for a man who is on the wrong side of 70 and going strong.
As a doyen of the regal clan, the glossy pages of the book, well-produced colour and black and white pictures, cover page with pleasant rainbow colours, simple language and precise life record smacks of polish and erudition. Like the final chapter proclaims, Babukhan has left behind a legacy through this record of his life journey. This book stands as tall as the big commercial complexes built by him in the City. Way to go Sir! (