Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Maker of Manama-hattan

"What if I don't like the place? What if I want to return to India after 6 months"? I asked my prospective employers.

I was signing a two-year contract to work in Bahrain. And like many people at that time, I was not sure how the country, and its people, would be.

In fact, I clearly remember reading the name of HRH the Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa’s name then, when I checked a volume of Britannica Encyclopaedia under ‘Bahrain’, in a British Library of my hometown.

World wide web was still very very new then, and Yahoo’s search engine did not return much information on Bahrain. I remember the name because I had found the repetition of 'Khalifa’ in the late prime minister’s name twice, somewhat strange.

Willing to risk 6 months, I came to Bahrain. But those ‘6 months’ turned into ‘22 years’ this month.

NBB (National Bank of Bahrain) building was the tallest building in Bahrain I had seen when, after I was received, I was being driven from the airport to my company accommodation. 

Today, I see not one tall building, but many skyscrapers. A full ‘Manama-hattan’ skyline.

All, thanks to the dynamic visionary leadership of this great man who left us now. It is not just the skyline, but the economy and the human development index which have all risen higher too.

The wise leadership, and the determination with which he motivated his council of ministers to work for the betterment of the country will be deeply missed.

If one is bewitched by beautiful Bahrain, it is because of great governance by the ruling family, and especially, by the late Prime Minister. He leaves behind a huge void which cannot easily be filled.

His was a leadership which made Bahrain strong and vibrant for all citizens, and which made Bahrain welcoming and safe for all expatriates.