Essa Khan – No Pillow As Soft As A Clear Conscience


In today’s cut throat business world and especially in the developing third world, there really is no time for morals and character and all those old school ideals that I grew up with. One large corporation only wants to bring the other one down and eat off the pieces. In these times of economic and political despair it is almost unbelievable that a poor man from the sparsely populated, little educated corner ofPakistancould lift so many spirits and give such a ray of hope to the global corporate community.


Essa Khan was making his regular rounds ofGilgitSerenaHotel. As per his duties as a housekeeper he was also inspecting the rooms that guests had just checked out from. And it was while performing this routine task that he noticed something out of the ordinary in one of the rooms. The safe deposit box that is usually left open after a guest leaves was still sealed shut.


Alarmed that someone might have left some valuable behind, he procured the main keys from the administration and opened the deposit box. And there, sitting in the abandoned safe were $100 bills amounting to almost $50,900. And this is where the miracle steps in, without thinking twice, Essa Khan handed in the money to the administration which in turn contacted the guest and returned his money to him.


It’s like one of those stories from the scripture that my grandmother used to tell me when I was a child! There is an ancient Islamic tradition of ‘amanat’. It is that if someone entrusts you with his treasure or valuable, whatever that may be, whether deliberately or by chance, it is your duty to guard that trust and return to the trustee his or her entire treasure or valuable  without ‘khyanat’ or without deceiving that trust. And in return God shall reward you for your honesty. It is a simple concept for the simplest of morals. Many stories from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life bring this moral to life. Stories that I feared had long been forgotten.


There is much to be said here not only of the honor of this man himself but also of the organization that nurtures integrity of such standard. We need to stress here that such circumstances bring out the important comparison between character and executive skill in business and it is such circumstances that also highlight that both hold equal importance. Setting an example from the top sets forth a trickle down effect that filters through the entire corporation. It is the setting of such standards that will in the future bringPakistanto the forefront of the global corporate sector, because when you mix ethics with business sense, it produces a boom of goodwill that spreads through the hearts of people around the world.


In light of this stunning show of moral fiber, Essa Khan’s employers rewarded him with cash and free education for his children. The government ofPakistanstepped forward to congratulate Essa Khan as well and showered their appreciation on him. It was a very well received action by the public at large and suddenly my heart like those of many others, felt lighter. It felt good to know that we as Pakistanis, although competing in a fast paced, currency oriented world, still know that “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Albert Einstein.


Essa Khan’s forefathers are originally from Hunza. His father migrated in 1948 from Jammu-Kashmir during the Dogra Raj and then settled in Danyore village, approximately 20km from Gilgit Serena Hotel. Essa’s family includes three daughters and two sons all of whom are currently studying. Essa Khan has been working with Gilgit Serena Hotel since 1990 and his present position is of Assistant Executive Housekeeper.


By Mehreen Haq

Holds an MA in Mass Communication from Kinnaird College, has studied photography from the Darkroom School of Photography in Florence, works with Happa Studios, a design studio that provides for all types of advertising requirements, is a student of kathak dance under instruction of Nahid Siddiqui, is editor of The Fourth Article magazine, is a photographer for News week Pakistan, and is an avid observer of life in general.


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