Nad was born in Pakistan in 1973 and came to Halifax with his parents and brother. True or not, Nad always led us to believe that his family’s route to the UK was not the normal one for an immigrant family. Far from coming to the UK for that very laudable reason pursued by most immigrants, economic self improvement, his family came instead at the behest of his father who was a Muslim scholar and so needed here to help in the religious education of their fellow Pakistanis.
Exactly how religious Nad was I do not think any of us knew. He was unquestionably proud of his ethnic and religious heritage but kept this for the most part, close to his chest. Like everything. However, his love of hot and spicy food was something he never sought to conceal. But then Nad’s late mother, so we are told, was a great cook, so it is hardly surprising he had such a penchant. Otherwise, he appeared to us to be highly anglicised and indeed, his accent bore not a single trace of anything other than what he was. A West Yorkshireman.
Educated at Crossley Heath School, as far as we know, Nad did not go onto any further education. Not that this was to hold him back. The combination of extreme intelligence, an imperative for self education and improvement, creativity expressed largely through photography, but above all else, innate entrepreneurial drive, led him to set up his own IT company. That is how I first met him in 1999, whilst working as a business consultant in Halifax. Not that he sought nor wanted any help or advice from me. Indeed, not from anyone. Outwardly Nad was extremely self assured and with good reason because he was more intelligent than most. Consequently he did not suffer fools gladly. Indeed, not at all.
Nevertheless, when gratitude was needed, Nad was never sparing in giving it although he never made a song and dance of his charitable nature. The best example of this was a small 'thank you' party he held for the nurses and doctors who helped to treat him. We only found out because he left a copy of the invitation on the office printer. He did not want us to know. But to me this is to his credit. Giving should be a private matter done because it is right, not because one wants applause. This was Nad to a tee. It was part of the contradiction we all saw in him.
He did however accept my offer to introduce him to another client company of mine, Andel, where I think both he and I soon fell under the then mesmeric attraction of the late Ian Pogson, the company’s founder. From that point on in 2000, Nad gradually became a fixture at Andel, growing with us and contributing in no small part to the company’s success. In the last two years when his diabetes began to really take a toll and both severe kidney and eyesight problems developed, Nad clearly struggled. What was worryingly obvious to many of his colleagues, Nad brushed aside with his customary bullishness. I never once recall him complaining nor bemoaning the fact that his health was failing and he could no longer do what he once had. Self pity did not exist in his lexicon and until very close to the end, he continued to work harder than most able bodied people do.
It was with genuine shock and sadness that we heard of his sudden death. Yes, we all knew it was inevitable, but nevertheless I do not think any of us were ready for it. Thankfully, the only fear that Nad ever expressed to anyone, that he would die alone, did not happen. His lifelong friend Bilal Mustafa was by his side. For this small mercy we all give thanks.
We will miss Nad and remember with fondness and gratitude all that was good in him. He has left a positive and indelible mark on the lives of all he met.
May Allah have mercy on the first of us and the last of us as we ask Him to grant us and you strength.
Ataul Mustafa Nadeem, 5 February 1973 – 18 June 2020.