Lahore was home to some unforgettable characters that epitomised the spirit of Jinnahs Pakistan and the great City of Lahore. These persons represented patriotism, devotion, loyalty, courage, self-discipline and faith. This weeks column is a tribute to the memory of these individuals. Dr Muhammad Khan was the father of the great writer Ashfaq Ahmed. He was a veterinary surgeon and became a close friend of the family during their service days before independence. He was also my grandfathers companion on the daily morning walk in Lawrence Gardens, which usually ended with Doctor Sahib having a cup of Kashmiri Tea at our house. One day, I woke up in the morning to find my body covered with red rash and an itch that would have driven anyone crazy. I was sitting in the verandah daubed with Calamine Lotion, when the two friends returned from their morning exercise. Dr Muhammad Khan took one look at me and called for a bottle of Enos Fruit Salt. As my mother looked on in concern, he mixed two heaped tablespoons of the digestive powder in a glass of water and ordered me to drink it. When he began mixing a second glass with the same dosage, I panicked. Holding me in a grasp of iron, the good veterinary surgeon forced the concoction down my throat with a chuckle. Needless to say that half an hour and four trips to the toilet later, my rash disappeared as if it had never existed. Mian Khair Din lived with his family somewhere around Garden Town and owned a successful gold and jewellery business in Anarkali. This remarkable man walked all the way from his house to Anarkali and back on a daily basis. Mian Sahib was a close acquaintance of our family and always stopped by for a few minutes on his return journey to chat with my grandfather. Lean of figure, Mian Sahib always wore a spotless white kurta, white dhoti and a pugree of the same colour and never turned up without goodies for us children. He continued with this practice and commitment to his friend without a break till he became too feeble to move. Baba Ahmed Din joined our familys domestic staff as a young man in the days of my great grand mother. Diminutive of height, he had only one good eye and a hole at the base of his throat - the result of a primitive tracheotomy. He could only speak and that too in a voice that was like a loud whisper, by plugging this hole with a cotton wad and placing a finger on it. This unique individual would walk all the way from his house inside Bhaati Gate to Queens Road on a daily basis to bring news of the old city to my mother, whom he had literally brought up from childhood. Having done his duty, despite not being in our employment anymore, Baba Ahmed Din would walk back to the walled city. This routine did not alter come rain, hail or storm until one day his old heart failed him and he passed away, while starting off for our house. Everyone called him taoo which is perhaps a corrupt form of the word taaya. Taoo migrated from India as part of the exodus in 1947. He and some members of his group set up home in a temporary settlement behind our house where he started running a small karyana and general items shop. One always found him with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face till one day I happened to see him sobbing uncontrollably in a dark recess at the back end of his store. It was much later, when I had joined a career that I came to know taoos story from my late father. Taoo hailed from a small town near Delhi, where his family ran a small but successful business. When the killing of Muslims began, he along with his mother, father and two sisters joined a group of people who decided to take the road to Pakistan. The party was attacked en route and his entire family was butchered before young taoos eyes. He was amongst the few survivors left for dead, who were rescued by a Muslim military detachment. This story raised taoo in my reckoning and I decided that I would sit at his feet in abject respect during my next visit home, but fate snatched him forever from the world of the living before I could fulfil my intent. It is however on every Independence Day that taoos face materialised out of the mists of time asking if his sacrifice was in vain. The writer is a freelance columnist.