Accession Day

With absolutely no fan fare and adulation the accession day of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum on January 4th was a pretty quiet affair. Nothing surprising about it because the accession day is generally a quiet affair. This trait in UAE rulers has never failed to surprise me. In many countries around the world, rulers bask in extravagant and lavish ceremonies for their accession days, birthdays, etc. They use the occasion to pump up their glory. Here all such dates go unnoticed- unless the media brings it up. Here it’s never about the rulers, its always about the country.
This takes me back a few years down the memory lane. It was in 1998. It was the first year of Dubai Shopping Festival. It was about 7 or 8 in the evening. My family and I were walking down the streets near Gold Souq when we saw a few people gathering on the sides of the pavement. The police were clearing the road off. Curious, we also joined the crowd and waited for about 10-15 minutes. Suddenly there was a bit of whispering and everyone turned. There, walking on the pavement with a walking stick in his hand was the then ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum. With him were a few others including HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Photographers and the police rushed to the group. But Sheikh Maktoum just waved them aside with a smile. And his expression was evident- I am just walking through my city. Why are you making a fuss about it. We all just stood there transfixed and amazed. If this had been in India, my homeland, that particular street would have been cordoned off for 5 hours, troubling the people there and causing traffic chaos.
Years have passed. UAE has grown. And living here has almost become a luxury. But the humility still remains. That’s probably why the country has thrived so. Yes, we have had our share of problems…but hey, which country doesn’t. So here’s wishing success to the current rulers and those to come…may the Lord bless you