Sunday, January 20, 2008

Inspirations : Sir Ahmed Hassanein

I was reading about Sir Edmund Hilary and was reflecting about what a truly inspirational man he was. When I was a child, everyone knew "Sir Edmund Hilary who climbed Mount Everest with Tensing Norgay".

In reasearching on Sir Edmund on the net, I found another adventurer, albeit of a different nature, in the form of Sir Ahmed Hassanein. Here is the short description of him in Wikipedia -

"Ahmed Pasha Hassanein (1889 - 1946) - Egyptian explorer, diplomat, one of two non-European winners of Gold Medal of Royal Geographical Society in 1924, King's chamberlain, fencing participant to 1924 Olympics, photographer, author and discoverer of Jebel Uweinat, and writer of "The Lost Oases" book in three languages."

It was interesting enough, but when I read the details, I was immediately enraptured by this man. Son of a sheikh of al-Azhar, but graduate from Oxford? Explored the then unexplored Sahara desert and discovered evidence of civilisation even earlier than the pyramid-builders, from a time when the Sahara was fertile?

Interesting description of him -
"... explains Rennell Rodd’s remarks in his introduction, where he says that Hassanein had consulted him ‘in a very delicate matter’ in which he proved himself to be ‘generous in his judgements and, for I know no other way of expressing what I mean, a great gentleman’. Rosita had fallen in love with Hassanein, but the details are hidden behind Hassanein’s discretion and Rosita’s catty remarks. It was said in Cairo that she would climb into his tent and try to seduce him, but that Hassanein refused her. ‘I was determined not to offend Allah and his mercy’, Hassanein is remembered to have said, ‘for we were in the midst of uncharted desert with the perils of death surrounding us on all sides.’".

Read the rest in Wikipedia.

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