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A Little Work A Little Play
Foreword To The Book 'A Little Work A Little Play ' By H.S.Malik
I consider it a privilege to write a foreword to the memoirs of an old and valued friend, H.S. Malik. He has had, indeed, as he admits in the Preface, 'a very full and interesting life', and I am glad that he has been persuaded to share so much of it with those who will be reading his story.
My friendship with the author goes back long years. During World War One we were both officers in the Royal Flying Corps in which he served with such distinction. A few years later we found ourselves as students together at Oxford University. Here we shared a common love of games, where I must confess he gained a proficiency which I could not match, except in those, like lacrosse and ice hockey, which were peculiarly Canadian. From Oxford, we separated to serve our respective countries in various ways. We were brought together again when we both became concerned with diplomacy and international affairs. It was a great joy to me, as the Secretary of State for External Affairs of Canada, to be able to welcome to Ottawa in July 194 7 the High Commissioner for India, my old friend, H.S.Malik.
While in Ottawa, the High Commissioner did much to strengthen and develop the good and close relationship between India and Canada, something which Canadians cherish and the foundations for which had been well laid out by two great men, Pandit Nehru and the Right Honourable Louis de St. Laurent.
Mr. Malik made a great many friends in Canada, for himself and for his country. He knew, of course, the customs, the ways of life of the West. He could fit easily into any part of western life, but without altering in any way the impression he always made as a proud and complete citizen of his own country and a fine representative of his race and its traditions.
I saw much of him in those days and was able to appreciate the easy skill and effectiveness of his diplomacy. One place, however, where I refused to do any business with him was on the golf course. I had my position to maintain with the diplomatic corps as a Foreign Minister. How could I do that if I golfed with one who was capable of playing the course with a score equal to his age, something which I could not hope to do unless I lived to be one hundred years old or more.
My feelings of warm friendship for the author of this most interesting volume which covers so much of the recent history of his country extends to his wife and family, whom I have had the privilege of visiting in India.
L.B. PEARSON Ottawa, 1972
Preface Of The Book 'A Little Work A Little Play ' By H.S.Malik
I have had a very full and interesting life and have finally been persuaded by my family and friends to write about it, though I myself am still doubtful about it being worthwhile.
Opportunities have come my way and I have, I hope, made good use of them. One of the great mysteries of life is why some people, eminently worthy in every way, seem to miss success in life while others not so worthy do much better. For lack of a better explanation, many people put this down to karma, merit earned in a previous life or lives. However, I am well aware that such success and fulfillment as have come to me cannot be due to any particular merit on my part. I can only put it down to good fortune. Moreover, time and again, when I have made mistakes - and I have made many-I have somehow escaped the expected consequences of those errors. The many tight situations I have been in, which I have survived without experiencing serious harm, the crises I have successfully faced, the successes that have come my way, all this has left me with the conviction that in some mysterious way I have been protected.
My life has been enriched by the many friendships made with fine men and women in India and in countries which I have lived in; some of them distinguished in many walks of life often exercising authority and influence in national and international affairs. These friendships have lasted through the years and have been a source of great joy and happiness to me. I have been particularly fortunate in meeting people who have become close friends even later in life when one would think that new friendships could not be formed.
These contacts have helped me grow. I feel life is a continuous process of education. I have learnt to assess the importance and significance of the great and rapid changes that have taken place in my life spanning the 20th century. Apart from the opportunity of being actively involved in World War One, my life in the I. C.S. was rich and interesting at a time when district officers enjoyed so much responsibility and authority. Service in the Central Secretariat came at a turning point in India's economic and political evolution, followed by years in an Indian Princely State during a period of revolutionary political change, and finally the fortune to serve as Free India's Ambassador in 1947 when when we were just beginning to have direct relations with other sovereign states. It has been a fascinating and rewarding experience.
A full life, rich with opportunity, service and some sense of achievement, enriched immeasurably further by having a happy family life with a wonderful wife and children, the love of friends, good health, much fun and laughter, and what has always sustained me, devotion to the noble principles and traditions of my faith, which has given my life a spiritual content without which it would have been dry and barren. It is this faith that has helped me always in discriminating between the trivial and the important.
As a young man I found myself one day dining with some friends in a restaurant in London which was a favourite haunt of artists and writers, among them were Augustus John, the great Rupert Brooke, Gerald du Maurier and others. One of my friends pointed out to me a quotation by Hilaire Belloc on the wall of the main room which was said to be a favourite of the friends who frequently met there, and I have always thought it to be as good a guide to living as any:
From humble homes and first beginnings,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There's nothing worth the wear of winning,
But laughter and the love of friends.
New Delhi, 1972