Intezam Hussain Naqvi

Intezam was not only my younger brother but also my closest friend. His unique combination of humility and humour, love for family and country, and natural integrity, left an impression all who met him and there is still no day that goes by that I do not think of him in some manner.

Leaving India in 1960 to study overseas, I returned to India every three to fours years and witnessed his development in stages from a 15 year old to a Squadron Leader in the Indian Air force. Each visit, one could see his development through his experiences in the armed forces but without ever changing his natural personality.

My first return visit to India from Australia, by coincidence occurred at the time of the interview process for the Indian Air force. I insisted that he should wear my recently purchased Australian-made suit, shirt and tie. Apparently, at the end of the interview, one of the interviewers happened to ask where this suit came from as it did not look local. Intezam admitted to the interviewers that it was his brother?s suit from Australia. The interviewer then asked whether the shoes were his own, to which he proudly said that these were his very own and not his brothers as his brother?s feet where too small. The interviewers all laughed as Intezam had, disarmingly, demonstrated his personality-honest, straightforward and fun-loving. He was the first person from our community to join the Indian Air force. This was a huge achievement in our society and remains one of great pride to us all till now.

Intezam was a very humble person. He never wore his air force uniform outside his station and never used his position for any personal glory. Indeed, I once specifically asked him to bring his uniform so that I could take a photograph. He did this but he insisted on wearing it only upstairs in a separate room for the photograph only. Then he removed the uniform and what is represented but also because he separated his position in the air force from the position he represented in our family and among friends. You see this very rarely in India, or indeed, anywhere in the world.

Intezam had a remarkable sense of humour. He enjoyed teasing me about various awards that I received in Australia, saying that they clearly must be easy to obtain in Australia or be able to be paid for. Memorably, he was selected as one of eight helicopter pilots to carry the Commonwealth Heads of Government during the CHOGM Conference in New Delhi in 1983. By coincidence, he flew the Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke and he told me that he asked him if knew me, to which he said ?no?. Intezam then had the ammunition to tell me on my next visit, in his typical playful style, how ?you give us the impression that you are some big shot in Australia but my fried Bob Hawke hasn?t even heard of you!?

I may not physically see my remarkable brother any more but I think of him almost every day and am thankful for the moments we shared together. His personal attributes of duty to his country, his piloting skills and work ethic, his integrity, his love of family and friends, his humility and humour together with the story of his heroism have made him an appropriate and distinctive role model for many young people in his hometown and the air force. In the eyes of his children, his nephews and nieces and, more recently, his grandchildren, Intezam is the hero they aspire to emulate.

Ikram Naqvi