Dubai: It has been a week since the disappearance of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, former Vice President of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the United Arab Emirates. PK Abdul Kader, who has looked after the personal needs of the late Sheikh Hamdan in his palace since 1968, is still heartbroken.
Talk to Gulf News, the Indian expat from the state of Kerala shared fond memories of his special bond with Sheikh Hamdan which lasted more than five decades.
It was his older brother PK Kunju Mohammed, who worked at Sheikh Hamdan Palace, who brought Abdul Kader to Dubai. “I came here to work at the palace with my brother. I have never worked or lived anywhere else in all these years, ”the 13-year-old grandfather said over the phone.
Shortly after his arrival in 1968, Abdul Kader was given the important responsibility of meeting the personal needs of Sheikh Hamdan.
Serve it at home and abroad
His job was to serve food and medicine for Sheikh Hamdan and accompany him on some of his trips abroad, recalls Abdul Kader. “The late Sheikh Hamdan was an embodiment of kindness. His charities are countless. He treated me very nicely. There was no shortage of facilities for any of his employees in the palace. We were all very well taken care of. “
Abdul Kader said he had accompanied Sheikh Hamdan to London and Morocco. “I would never have been to these places if I hadn’t worked with him,” Abdul Kader said.
Currently, holding the title of Housekeeping Manager, Abdul Kader and his family live in a three bedroom villa on the premises of Sheikh Hamdan Palace in Zabeel.
“There are a large number of employees of different nationalities working in different sections of the palace. Sheikh Hamdan was very attentive to the well-being of all of us. When an employee fell ill and had to leave the palace for treatment, Sheikh Hamdan would keep him here and offer him treatment. Some have even been sent overseas for treatment. We have all benefited greatly from his generosity. Our families prospered from our jobs in his palace. Our children were educated and married with the support of Sheikh Hamdan.
Special link with Kerala
“There are many from Kerala still working in the palace. Sheikh Hamdan has always shared a special bond with Kerala and its people who form one of the largest expat communities here. His charitable initiatives have helped people all over the world, including our homeland in Kerala, ”said Abdul Kader, from Thrissur district in Kerala.
One of Abdul Kader’s four children also works in a Sheikh Hamdan stable. “He always stays with me in the palace premises. My other children have returned to Kerala. Everyone was extremely sad after learning of her passing. It is an irreplaceable loss for all of us. We will always cherish the good memories with him. There was not a single day when we were able to hold back our tears, ”said Abdul Kader who continues to oversee the daily operations at the late Sheikh Hamdan’s majlis.