A LITTLE OF MY WISDOM, AND LOTS OF LOVE
FROM LESSONS LEARNT FROM HIS GRANDFATHER TO HIS EXPERIENCE OF SLEEPING WITH SCORPIONS TO A RARE EMOTIONAL RECOLLECTION OF HIS MOTHER, HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM SHAIKH MOHAMMAD BIN RASHID’S NEW BOOK, QISSATI
It is an introduction that has to be done. I love my people and to them I write these lessons from my own life. Perhaps it will be an opener to writing the history of our country, to keep the memory alive. Qissati is the start of my biography.” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shares his insights about life, leadership and rare family anecdotes in his new book Qissati (My Story), which he terms an “incomplete biography”. |
If you want a good read with fascinating insights and rare recollections of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, then Qissati is the book for you.
The book, the title of which means My Story, was termed an “incomplete biography” by Shaikh Mohammad and offers powerful insights into life in the desert, about family and governance before the era of air-conditioning and long-haul flights.
Shaikh Mohammad, a gifted poet, philosopher and a prolific writer, had published several books in the past. This new book offers his recollections and musing, starting from a very young age.
The publication of
Qissati (50 stories in 50 years), coincides with celebrations to mark 50 years of his service to the nation.
Gulf News just obtained Shaikh Mohammad’s book and here’s our attempt to get the key take-aways:
CHAPTER 1: “From here we started and there we reached ”
“The first lesson I learnt in life is to serve others. This is the lesson that my grandfather, Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum, taught me. He taught us to serve the people first and foremost.
“I love to break new records in front of my people. To reach new heights. I believe that what drives nations towards development is not money and wealth but ambitions ... great ambitions.”
CHAPTER 2. “My father, visiting the king of kings”
“I learnt from my father, Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the value of simplicity, of being down to earth. Of being close to the people ... and how to serve them. It was my life’s greatest lesson.”
CHAPTER 3. “Sleeping with scorpions”
I say, sometimes, sleeping with scorpions is much easier than living with them. When I was young, my father used to send me to the desert, to a guy named Humaid Bin Amhi. Humaid taught me about desert life. I would wake up in the middle of the night several times due to scorpion bites.
“I realised later that Humaid put baby scorpions on my bed on purpose. I learnt that bites from baby scorpions helped build immunity for bites from mature scorpions. (Not everything that hurts you is evil. Sometimes, it’s for your own good and protection).
“Scorpions apparently look for some warmth at night. A couple of years ago, as an adult, I got bitten by a scorpion and I realised that I still have the immunity. “
“The scorpions of the desert are much easier to deal with than human scorpions. I hate rumour mongers. They ruin your heart. They destroy institutions. They focus only on the negative. They never tell you about the positives ... and good side of people.”
CHAPTER 4. “What my father taught me”
“My father, horses and Dubai. These three are my earliest memories that will stay with me forever. Horses combine pride, compassion and power — all at the same time. That was my father. And this is Dubai. He taught me how to read the desert and animals. I learnt from the desert that arrogance has no place here.”
CHAPTER 5. “Latifa, my mother”
“In Arabic, Latifa means the delicate woman. The companion. The rare human being. In life, Latifa is my mum, my heart. The most beautiful, the most delicate, the best companion in my life. Latifa’s job was the life companion of Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai for more than four decades. Rashid Bin Saeed changed when she passed away. He was never the same after she passed away.
“She had great love for her children.
They will say, after a long time. Here they existed, here they worked. Here they accomplished. Here they were born, raised, loved and beloved by people. Here they launched that project and here they celebrated its accomplishment. Here they started, and here they reached in a couple of years.
But I was the one closest to her heart. I have never seen love like her love, a heart like her heart, and a companionship like hers.”
CHAPTER 6. “Latifa, my mother Part 2”
“My mum was a beautiful princess. My mum was the most beautiful of all queens. My mum was the tallest of all palms. If she walks, a deer accompanies her with Allah’s blessing.
“I remember, when I was about the age of 7, at Humaid’s place. He was teaching me the art of hunting. Then I saw a gazelle, left by its mum shortly after birth. I sat there hugging the calf, hoping that its mother would come back. At sunset, the mother did not come. I kept holding it, and knew who would compensate for its loss: My own mother. She gave me life. And she would give this calf too. My mum, her smile, was life. It was the most beautiful thing in life.”
“There are so many beautiful things I remember about her. One day, she was explaining to me my first trip to London, talking to me about a strange country, about an adventure that awaits. She said I was going to fly in the belly of a big bird, to cross oceans. I was surprised, amused when she told me that I would sleep inside a high-rise building ... When she told me about the trip to London, I couldn’t sleep all night.
“My mum bought me two new kandouras and a nice jacket. I was happy.”
CHAPTER 8. “185 years looking for Dubai”
“Dubai is not a mere coincidence. It is a long journey. That journey started with Shaikh Maktoum Bin Butti, who laid the foundations. And then his brother, Saeed Bin Butti, who taught us about pure justice. That’s the first lesson in Dubai’s unwritten Constitution. The second lesson, also taught by Saeed Bin Butti, is that we don’t make enemies — and we don’t give anybody an excuse to be our enemy.
“Then came Shaikh Hasher Bin Maktoum, followed by Shaikh Rashid Bin Maktoum, who oversaw Dubai’s stability and security and economic development.
“Then came Maktoum Bin Hasher in the late 19th century. He was a visionary. A genius. He laid the foundation for investments and commerce. In 1912, my grandfather Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum, when he started his rule, Dubai’s population increased significantly as trade flourished. This is the insight we inherited from my grandfather: Always find ways to diversify.
“And that’s why when someone asks me: ‘Why is Dubai always looking for new projects? From Media, to Internet, ports, the answer is in Dubai’s unwritten Constitution. Diversification is our foundation.”
CHAPTER 9. “A big storm, like Judgement Day”
“The year was 1961. A powerful storm hit Dubai. I saw a leader in front of me. How he acted in a crisis. How he sent his sons and cousins first, rather than send- ing other people, outside — to the streets, to the sea in order to help and save people.
“That time, there was a ship, MV Da
Ra, anchored off Dubai. For 13 years, this ship was sailing between Mumbai and the Gulf. It moved people and goods. While the storm lashed, a blast hit the ship. It went up in flames. We went to the ship on small boats to help in the rescue effort. That day, we helped around 500 people. The lesson: The true test of a leader’s ability comes in times of crises.”
CHAPTER 10. “The kindest man I ever knew”
“The day my grandfather died. People loved my grandfather, Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum. He passed away on September 10, 1958. He was known for his patience. He spent 46 years constantly renewing Dubai, which until now is an unfinished story of renewal. During his reign, Dubai went through numerous challenges. Each time, Dubai was like a Phoenician bird, able to regenerate.
“In 1939, a huge fire hit Dubai’s Deira district. About 300 houses and shops were gutted. There were casualties. A year after, 1940, another fire erupted, this time in Bur Dubai, with more than 400 houses and shops in flames. At the same time, the pearl trade went down, with the Great Depression.
“In 1945, many Dubai residents contracted measles. Back then, Dubai only had a small infirmary to deal with diseases. With that lesson, Shaikh Saeed ordered the building of a big hospital from his own money. It is now known as Rashid Hospital.
“Crises test the real mettle of a leader, someone who takes responsibility. During his funeral, when we were walking behind his body, my father was holding my hand every so tightly. I didn’t know if that was grief, or he just wanted me to remember that moment.
“Till today, I still don’t know the answer. But I know that this is the path that we will all take. And what is left when a person leaves is his good deeds… will immortalise his memory among the people.”
The UAE government is keen to achieve and sustain the highest levels of national food security, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said yesterday.
“Food security is very important to ensure quality life for UAE society and is a fundamental requirement to achieve the UAE’s comprehensive and sustainable development,” said Shaikh Mohammad while reviewing the results of the government accelerator team’s efforts to adopt modern agricultural technology at Emirates Towers yesterday.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, were also present.
“Achieving food security is ■ an essential part of the UAE’s approach,” added Shaikh Mohammad. “We want the UAE to become a leader in food security by developing a sustainable and integrated food security system that employs future technology to innovate solutions to the challenges of securing food sources. We do recognise that achieving food security for our society is the foundation of our comprehensive development journey.
“We want a better future for coming generations and everyone in the UAE should have safe and healthy food. We want to develop tools and solutions for the challenges of food security and innovate models and practical mechanisms to improve the agricultural production sectors in the country to provide sustainable and reliable resources.”
While visiting the headquarters of the Government Accelerators Programme, Shaikh Mohammad was briefed on 10 strategic initiatives developed by the accelerator teams to adopt modern agricultural technology.
The UAE has become a hub for innovation and development, and it is on the right track to build a strong knowledge based economy, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said during a visit to the Legislations Lab yesterday.
“The Legislations Lab ensures our vision in the race towards the future. We won’t work to develop futuristic legislations in the UAE only, but we will export it to the world to benefit from it,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
Shaikh Mohammad at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, UK, in 1968.
OUT SOON! The English of His version Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s book new Qissati available will be in three weeks.
WAM Shaikh Mohammad reviews the results of the government accelerator team’s efforts to adopt modern agricultural technology at Emirates Towers yesterday.