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An Anecdote from the Life of Lutfi Omer Pasha

12325273_1128786973838924_677097966_nWhen he was forced to escape to Bosnia after taking upon himself the sin of his father, the then young Austrian officer Mihajlo Latas settled in Banja Luka, entering the service of the respected merchant Hajji Alijaga Bojić.

As a young and talented man, he made numerous acquaintances with Ottoman officers and ulema, learning Turkish language and Arabic letter. He started showing interest in Islam as well, reading religious literature. Eventually he embraces this religion, taking the name Omer – after his teacher of Turkish language. Hajji Bojić and his family accepted the young Mihajlo/Omer as family. He even stayed at the same house with them, in one of the rooms. He established a special bond with Bojić’s mother, “the grey-haired lady”, who took care of the household. He often made jokes with here. Hence, on one occasion, when the old woman was working around the fireplace, he lit a firecracker behind her back. The explosion shared her so much that he turned around and hit Omer on the head with tongs. The hit cut Omer’s Head and, after seeing the blood, the old lady took care of his wound by herself.

A long time has passed and Omer left Banja Luka with the recommendation from his patron Bojić. Through Travnik and Vidino, the service took him all the way to Istanbul and the imperial army where he built an enviable career in the coming years, reaching the rank of the marshal and the title of Pasha. In glory and victory, he returned to Banja Luka after more than two decades, leading the army that was to finally break the rebellions and enable the implementation of reforms in Bosnia.

After the meeting with representatives of authorities and the people, Omer Pasha asked about Hajji Alijaga Bojić. Learning that he is still alive, he ordered his guards to visit the aged hajji and invite him to a reception with the marshal, in a solemn manner and with highest honors. Omer Pasha personally welcomed his former patron and benefactor in front of the inn and took him in for a feast. He was happy to hear that the old lady is still alive, although already in very old age. Hajji Alijaga invited Omer Pasha to visit their home the next day, an invitation that Omer Pasha accepted with great satisfaction.

With escort and rich presents, Omer Pasha arrived the next day to the house of Hajji Alijaga, where he was welcomed by the old lady herself. After kissing her hand, Omer Pasha asked: “Dear mother, can you recognize your Omer?”, and the old lady answered: “My Omer has a scar on his head. It you have that scar I made then you are my Omer”. Omer Pasha than took off his tarboosh, revealing a scar where the cut was. Crying of joy, the old lady hugged Omer Pasha and enthusiastically said: “You are my Omer!”

(Source: akos.ba)

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