Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid

  • A fond tribute


Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid hardly needs an introduction. The quintessence of multidimensionality (senior analyst, leading intellectual, reformer, man of letters, orator, Islam’s Renaissance – and Re-Renaissance – man, revolutionary, military strategist par excellence, and the foremost authority on Iqbal), he is the paragon of selflessness, industry and scrupulousness. Just when the nation’s challenges appeared utterly insurmountable, the extraordinary vision and insight of Hamid came to its timely rescue…

Having typed this far, it’s obvious to me that it will be useless to continue along this line. That’s because all I have produced is a string of tired clichés that (at best) have a tenuous relationship with reality. Also, it’s silly to go on extoling the virtues of a man after stating that he needs no introduction. And what does ‘senior analyst’ even mean when no living soul in Pakistan has ever heard or seen a junior analyst?


I vividly remember that sunny spring day in 2009 that proved to be the turning point of my (then) mediocre career (I was a lowly crime reporter associated with a minor daily). The great Zaid Zaman had graciously – and quite surprisingly – consented to grant my newspaper an interview. The Almighty sure works in mysterious ways, for it so happened that all our political and defense reporters were either sick or out of town, and it fell upon me to interview the great man. This was a problem: Zaid Hamid was a living-legend while my experience was limited to reporting/interviewing small-time criminals. So it was that when I arrived at his residence I was shaking like a fig leaf. Such was my agitated state that in my clumsiness I toppled a side-table and knocked two expensive looking crystals off the mantel. It was the most harrowing experience of my life, but one that I came out a champion at the other end of. From that day on I was more than equal to any challenge that came my way. I won the interview-of-the-year award; and it was only the beginning. All the best newspapers now wanted me, and the public just couldn’t get enough of me. I switched to TV and was soon interviewing all the famous people. My book on the art of interviewing celebrities, which became an instant best-seller, started being taught in journalism programs across the country. As if this was not humbling enough, international renown was around the corner, as…

I have a feeling this project was doomed to fail from the very outset. Perhaps it’s beyond my limited abilities to do justice to such a colossus of a man

I am afraid I must stop here. For this is more a fond tribute to myself – Zaid Hamid appears to be behind even the background. Not to mention the fact that none of it ever happened.


I seems like yesterday that I was judging young Zaid along with other participants in a primary-school debating contest. It was then that I first saw an ungainly boy, clad in shorts and a polo-shirt, shyly making his way to the little podium. His speech was an absolute mess, midway through which he felt humiliated enough to storm off stage. At the prize-distribution ceremony, merely by way of cheering him up, I called him onto the stage and announced that he would grow up to be an important man (although to be honest I didn’t think so at the time). Imagine my delightful surprise as I saw him grow, over the years, first into a feisty young man, and later into a sharp mind with a penchant for rhetoric, philosophy and nation-building. Of course, taking nothing away from Zaid, I flatter myself that I played a small but significant part in his development…

This too is an obvious non-starter because calling somebody who is senior to one by a good decade ‘young Zaid’ is hardly appropriate. Also, the imagery that combines the concepts of shorts and the now great Zaid Hamid has potential to trigger extremely unpleasant visions on the part of the public.


I was one of the thousands of patriots from all segments of society that had thronged the airport at 4 AM to welcome our hero, the great Zaid Hamid, when he returned home in Oct 2015 after being released from a jail in Saudi Arabia. (The demographic that I was representing was that of exuberant youths.) The crowd, garlands in hands, couldn’t wait for its hero to appear, and it was then that I realised how blessed the nation was with Hamid’s unrivalled vision and leadership…

I am afraid I am again off to a bad start here. While the incident is not completely a figment of my imagination, and something like this did happen, it wasn’t as much a throng as a small group (as per news reports, the news crew outnumbered the ‘crowd’ by three to one). And at least half of them were holding placards reading ‘Down with Zaid Hamid’ (some were carrying rotten eggs too). Also, while I once was an exuberant youth, that was a long time before 2015. And it is well known by my readers that I was never patriotic enough to receive heroes at the ungodly hour of four in the morning.


If, for a while, the ruse of desire is deemed calculable for the uses of discipline; the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can soon be recognized as the desperate effort to ‘normalise’ formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its denunciatory modality. Zaid Hamid…

This obviously won’t work either, for how can any of it make any sense to the hapless reader when it’s making absolutely no sense to the writer?

*I have a feeling this project was doomed to fail from the very outset. Perhaps it’s beyond my limited abilities to do justice to such a colossus of a man. With this humble admission, I end with the hope that worthier souls will someday take up the project yielding worthier results.


  1. He is a very intelligence man.of pak.because he take all aneme of pak full do not say lal topi OK. …..

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