ہمارے عہد کی اس سے زیادہ بدقسمتی کیا ہو سکتی ہے کہ وصی شاہ اور فرحت عباس کو ترجمان شعراء اور عمیرہ احمد اور نمرہ احمد کو ترجمان نثر کہا اور سمجھا جا رہا ہے۔ ہم نے سطحیت کی ساری حدیں عبور کر لی ہیں اور بڑی کامیابی سے۔ ہمارا سارا وقت پلاٹ اور جائداد کی خواہشوں میں گزرتا ہے ٫ جنس مخالف سے ناجائز تعلقات کی حرص اور تمنا میں گزرتا ہے اور باقی کا وقت اچھے اور لذیذ کھابوں کی تلاش میں صرف ہوتا ہے۔ ہم ہر لمحہ شریعت کے نفاذ کا نعرہ لگاتے ہیں اور ساری دنیا میں فحش ویب سائٹس کو تلاش کرنے والی سب سے بڑی قوم ہیں۔ ہم ہر سال لاکھوں کی تعداد میں تبلیغی جلسوں میں روح پرور بیانات پر سر دھنتے ہیں ہیں اور واپس جا کر اپنے کاروبار اور ملازمت میں ہر قسم کی بد دیانتی اور جھوٹ سے کام لینا شروع کر دیتے ہیں۔ ہم جنت کے لئے پیر پکڑ لیتے ہیں اور مطمئن ہو کر پہلے سے زیادہ بد کرداری کا مظاہرہ کرتے ہیں اور اپنے کو دین اور دنیا کا کامیاب ترین شخص تصور کرتے ہیں۔ ہم عظیم قوم ہیں !!
ایک عظیم الشان ماضی ہے ہمارا ۔ ہم اٹھتے بیٹھتے دنیا کو بتاتے ہیں کہ کس طرح ہمارے خلفاۓ راشدین نے انصاف اور عدل کے معیار قائم کئے۔ لیکن گھر واپس جا کر اور کام یا کاروبار کرتے وقت ہم ان سب معیارات کو فراموش کر دیتے ہیں۔ ہماری زیادہ آبادی دیہی ہے اور وہاں کا زمیندار / وڈیرہ ہمارے خدا ہیں۔ انہیں مکمل استحقاق ہے کہ وہ مزارعین کی بہو بیٹیوں کو عیاشی کے لئے اٹھا کر اپنے یا دوستوں کے ڈیرے پر لے جائیں۔ کاشتکار کی مٹھی بھر زمین کو پانی لگانے کے جرم میں موت سمیت کوئی بھی سزا دے سکتے ہیں۔ یہی لوگ ہمارے ممبران اسمبلی بنتے ہیں اور ہمارے حکمران بنتے ہیں۔ ستر سال سے یہ مکروہ کھیل جاری ہے لیکن عدل اور انصاف کی مجال نہیں کہ ہماری معاشرت میں مداخلت کر سکیں۔ ان لوگوں کے لئے مخالفین کو قتل کرنا ایک کھیل ہے جو وہ جی بھر کے کھیلتے ہیں۔ اس قتل کے جرم میں انہی کا کوئی مزارع تھانے اور جیل کی ہوا کھاتا ہے۔ بھلا یہ کیسے ممکن ہے کہ ان کے خداؤں کو سزا ہو۔ وہ بخوشی پھانسی کا پھندا اپنے گلے میں ڈال لیتے ہیں۔ انکی لینڈ کروزر اگر لاپرواہ ڈرائیونگ کی وجہ سے کسی سرکاری اہلکار کو کتے کی طرح کچل ڈالے تو ہماری اعلی عدالتیں انہیں شک کا فایدہ دیتے ہوئے بری کر دیتی ہیں تاکہ وہ اسمبلیوں میں جا کر ہماری نسلیں سنوار سکیں۔ ہم نے قسم کھائی ہے کہ ہم اسوقت تک کسی کو ووٹ نہیں دیں گے جب تک وہ ایک چمچماتی ہوئی 3000 سی سی سے زائد انجن کی مہیب مگر آرام دہ جیپ میں ہمارے علاقے کا دورہ نہ کرے۔ اسکی جہالت تو اسکا طرہ امتیاز ہے۔ بھلا رعب داب کے بغیر بھی کوئی حکمران بن سکتا ہے؟ شہروں میں ہم صنعتکار اور سرمایہ دار کو پوجتے ہیں۔ آخر کسی اور میں اتنی سکت کہاں کہ وہ باقاعدگی سے ہمارے گھروں میں راشن بھیج سکے۔ ہمارے بچوں کو اپنے ہاں ملازمت دے سکے اور ہماری ضرورت کے موبائل فون دلوا سکے؟ ہم بھلا کسی پڑھے لکھے متوسط آدمی کا انتخاب کیوں کریں؟ وہ تو تھانیدار کو کہہ کر ہمارے غنڈوں کو نہیں چھڑائے گا۔ ہماری تو ساری زندگی ہی اس جدوجہد میں گزرتی ہے کہ قبیلے یا خاندان میں ہماری ٹوہر ہو، لوگ مشکل وقت میں ہمارے در پر گڑگڑائیں اور مدد کی بھیک مانگیں۔ یہ ہوتا ہے اونچے شملے کی شان و شوکت کا مظاہرہ! یہی مقصد حیات ہے۔ اور بھئی انصاف اور عدل تو کوئی ہمارے خلفاء راشدین سے سیکھے!
کئی سو برس گزر گئے جب 712ء میں ہمارا بہادر سپہ سالار محمد بن قاسم دیبل کے ساحلوں پر لنگر انداز ہوا اور راجہ داہر کو شکست فاش دی۔ اس وقت سے لے کر ہم مسلمانوں نے 1857ء تک برصغیر پر حکومت کی۔ یہ مطلق العنان حکمران تھے۔ کسی کی مجال نہیں ہوتی تھی کہ وہ بادشاہ وقت کے انداز حکمرانی پر انگلی اٹھا سکے۔ ان میں سے کئی نے تو ثقافت، علم و ہنر اور لکھنے والوں کی سرپرستی بھی کی۔ لیکن کسی بھی دور میں کسی دانشور کی مجال نہیں تھی کہ وہ حکمرانی کا کوئی نیا انداز متعارف کروا سکے۔ ایسے بدتمیز کی تو وہ زبان گدی سے کھینچ لیا کرتے تھے۔ ماشا اللہ کیا رعب اور دبدبہ تھا ہمارے شاہوں کا۔دسویں صدی کے بعد کافروں کے یورپ نے احیاۓ علوم کو گلے لگا لیا تھا لیکن کمال ہے ہمارے بادشاہوں کا کہ انہوں نے ایسی بدعات کو اپنے سے کوسوں دور رکھا اور مطلق العنانیت کا علم بلند رکھا۔ اورنگ زیب عالمگیر کو جب جزائر برطانیہ کا پتا چلا تو اس نے ویسے اپنے اتالیق سے ضرور کہا تھا کہ آپ تو ہمیں یہ سکھاتے رہے کہ دنیا کی ابتدا اور انتہا ہمارا ہندوستان ہی ہے۔ ہمارے عظیم شاہوں کے دور میں علوم و فنون کا بول بالا ہوتا تھا۔ شاہجہاں نے تاج محل بنوانے کے بعد معماروں کی انگلیاں کاٹ ڈالی تھیں کہ کہیں وہ لالچی ہو کر اسی طرح کی کوئی اور عمارت نہ بنا پائیں۔ دیکھا آپ نے صاحب فن کا کتنا خیال رکھتے تھے وہ لوگ! اور ذرا ان کافروں کی دیدہ دلیری ملاحظہ کریں کہ صنعت و حرفت کو حرز جاں بنا بیٹھے اور کئی یونیورسٹیاں قائم کر ڈالیں۔ ان درس گاہوں نے مسقبل کے علم و دانش کی آبیاری کی اور پھر یورپ بھر سے نئے حقائق اور ایجادات کے دور کا آغاز ہو گیا۔ لیکن ہمارے بادشاہ دنیا کو اہمیت ہی کہاں دیتے تھے۔ انہیں علم تھا کہ انسان فانی ہے اسلئے رعایا کے بچوں کو لادین کیوں بنایا جائے؟ انہوں نے سختی سے ہر لادین جدوجہد کو مسل کے رکھ دیا ورنہ تو نیچ ذات کے بچے ڈگریاں حاصل کرکے خود کو حکومت کا اہل گردانتے۔ کتنی غلط روایت پڑ جاتی۔ ٹھیک ہے ہمارے مذہب میں ذات پات کی جگہ نہیں تھی لیکن آخر دنیاداری بھی کوئی چیز ہوتی ہے۔ ہم نے بھی براہمن کے مقابلے میں سید لا کھڑے کئے اور جن لوگوں کو یورپ میں استاد کی جگہ دی گئی ہم نے انہیں لوہار، ترکھان، جولاہے اور کمی کمین قرار دیا تاکہ وہ علم حاصل کر کے اعلی نسلوں کی برابری کا سوچ بھی نہ سکیں۔ وہاں مونگ پھلی فروش اور بس کنڈکٹر کے بچے صدارت اور وزارت عظمی پر فائز ہوتے گئے اور ہم یہاں نسلی برتری کے احساس تفاخر میں غرق احتسابی روایات سے بالا بنتے چلے گئے۔ کیا ہوا اگر عالمگیر نے اپنے تمام بھائیوں کو قتل کروا دیا؟ خود تو بیچارے نے ٹوپیاں سی کر ہی سادہ زندگی گزاری نا!712ء سے 1857ء کے طویل عرصے میں ہمارے شاہوں نے مشاورت سے بالا ہو کر فیصلے کئے جس سے انکی خودداری کا بھی پتا چلتا ہے۔ دربار میں نمایاں مقام معدودے چند لوگوں کو عطا ہوتا تھا اسلئے وہ ان لوگوں کے لئے مختص تھا جو جی حضوری، خوشامد، اور قصیدہ گوئی میں سب سے اعلی تھے۔ ہماری ثقافت میں تو میرٹ نام کی کوئی چیز شامل ہی نہیں تھی اور اسی لئے آج بھی عہدے اور اعلی منصبوں پر صرف ہمارے احباب اور رشتے دار ہی فائز ہوتے ہیں!
جاری ہے ۔۔۔
In late 2018 PTI (Pakistan tehrik e insaf) was the majority party in the general elections. Before that, during the five years 2013-2018 Nawaz Sharif’s party PMLN had won the elections and he was the prime minister of Pakistan. He couldn’t complete his term as the Supreme court of Pakistan ruled him a liar and a dishonest man who amassed illicit wealth during his long years of rule. Proofs of his ill gotten money are scattered all over the world in the form of large properties in England and elsewhere. As a prime minister he was proud to have the residence permit (aqama) issued by UAE which showed him as an employee of Emirates. No other ruling head in the world ever held such permits while ruling his own country but his priorities were different and all converged upon building an empire for his children and family. He has two sons and a daughter, Maryam Safdar who lives with him along with her family.
It was this political backdrop in which Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan. People of Pakistan were enthralled at the idea of change which Mr. Khan has promised them. The long years of rule by Sharifs (from 1981 to 2018) in which the whole country was drowned in debts and loans just because the lust and greed of this family didn’t know any limits. This mega corruption became a way of life and destroyed the very fabric of society which used to have some respect for ethics and honesty in day to day dealings.
First 100 days of Mr. Khan were uneventful and he and his chosen ministers kept saying on TV and print media that their hard work should not be judged in such a short time. Public at large carried so much hatred for the rotten system of corruption that they agreed to give them more time and now (as of October 2019) 13 months have gone since Imran Khan took oath as the premier. After the passage of first 100 days Khan told his followers that he and his team needs at least six months to straighten up the affairs of the state. Perhaps he didn’t realize that making such promises is going to be a futile effort as in the past 4 decades the society has been converted into small groups and clans and feuds. Land grabbing (qabza mafia) and monetary corruption became the everyday routine under the Zardari and Sharif’s rule and people were not ready to become honest overnight. Even the judiciary has become corrupt with the passage of time. People are very angry that in spite of the fact that major corruption cases has been proved against the former rulers, Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif and former president and party chief, Asif Ali Zardari, yet nothing could be done to take back the money from them. On the other hand courts (specially Lahore and Islamabad high courts) have liberally granted bails to this corrupt mafia which resulted in them having fun time in their palaces and mansions and least bothered about the number of corruption cases against them. One supreme court judge while writing about the corruption and dishonesty of Mr. Nawaz Sharif even commented that these people resemble a Sicilian mafia.
Similarly their properties abroad are the source of hatred for local population yet Pakistan government and judiciary could do nothing about them. There were tall claims by Imran Khan’s chosen few that they will snatch all their wealth back to the people of Pakistan but nothing was done in this direction which has angered the people and added to their helplessness in the face of blatant lies and stubbornness of past rulers.
The bitterness in the public has increased manifold in the past months due to the extremely poor performance of Imran Khan and his economic team in controlling the prices of daily commodities and with the ever increasing taxes imposed by the IMF (International monetary Fund) treaties. A previous hardliner of the PTI and a close associate of Imran Khan, Mr. Asad Umar was sacked and removed from a cabinet position as people were getting restless due to the prices and taxes which are breaking their backs and the middle class is rapidly disappearing. More and more people are getting poor as the bills for electricity are rising almost every month and common man has failed to understand this whole phenomenon.
Imran Khan is very happy that he is now an internationally acclaimed statesman as perhaps USA and KSA have assigned the job of an intermediary between Iran and KSA. What he fails to realize is that people of Pakistan are not bothered about the Iran-Saudi tussle and care more for the 3 decent meals per day for themselves and their families. Pakistan is rapidly going down in an abysmal economic collapse and almost everyone is now telling others that Mr. Khan is totally clueless about his role as prime minister and his team of ‘experts’ is worthless when compared with the sky rocketing prices within this time span of 13 months. Ever increasing utility bills and taxes are only adding to the misery of the common man.
A brief introduction to the problem:
The first Muslim ruler came to Sindh (now Pakistan) in 712 A.D. From that day till 1857 A.D India was ruled by Muslim rule. Generally they maintained peace and there were hardly any forced conversions to their religion. That is one reason such large numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, Jain, and Christians were able to follow their religion and traditions freely. After the war of independence in 1857 the British ruled India till 1947 when the whole country was divided into two separate countries, India and Pakistan.
The map of Pakistan and India (combined with borders which are in place since 1947).
In undivided India there were many princely states ruled by autonomous or semi autonomous rulers recognized by the British.
The Kashmir dispute dates from 1947. The partition of the Indian sub-continent along religious lines led to the formation of India and Pakistan.
In theory, these princely states had the option of deciding which country to join, or of remaining independent. In practice, the restive population of each province proved decisive. The states with Hindu majority opted to join India and Pakistan has no objection even though there were some associated with borders of Pakistan.
Although many princes wanted to be “independent” (which would have meant hereditary monarchies and no hope for democracy) they had to succumb to their people’s protests which turned violent in many provinces.
Because of its location, Kashmir could choose to join either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, was Hindu while most of his subjects were Muslim. As the majority population was Muslim, they wanted to join Pakistan. Moreover most of the rivers of Pakistan has their origin in Kashmir and it was natural for Pakistan to want it to be its part. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir fled to India and Indian forces occupied Kashmir against the wishes of its citizens and that has led to a series of conflicts between the two countries.
In 1947 after fleeing to India Hari Singh appealed to the Indian government for military assistance from India. He signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947.
Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January. In a resolution dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove its troops, after which India was also to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
Once this happened, a “free and fair” plebiscite was to be held to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their future. That promise by India was never kept and now the people of Indian occupied Kashmir are rising for freedom. India has more than 750,000 army troops in India with killing of innocent freedom fighter going on in every district.
In recent years India has started to built huge dams on the origins of the rivers who flow in Pakistan and are the only cause of its fertile plains. This is against all human norms and against the Indus water treaty signed by both countries back in 1960’s.
At present India has control of 45% of the area of the former Princely State of Jammu andKashmir (Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Siachen Glacier); Siachen glacier was supposed to be no-man’s but in 1984 India invaded it and took control of this area to which Pakistan responded and sent its troops there. This war is still going on and is called the highest war in the world.
At present Pakistan controls 35% of the region (Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir). China administers 20% (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract) of the state since 1962. About 45% is under Indian occupation called Jammu-Kashmir and includes Laddakh.
When I talked to Alice her son James was not home. I inquired about him and I came to know that as he is 19 now he was uncomfortable living with his mother so he has gone to another city in USA for work and lives there. She also added that he now has a girl friend and is happy. After talking to many other parents and reading I realized that after turning 18, it is some sort of a sin to live with parents in the West (America, Europe, Canada etc).
Aslam is now 32 and lives with his parents in Lahore, Pakistan. He is married with two kids. His wife has differences with in-laws but she doesn’t want to live alone either. Millions of boys are living like this in Asia. I don’t include girls as they get married and live with their respective in-laws.
I remember a young girl about 25, in USA who writes a blog regularly and who in her introduction says that her widowed mother has re-married, her sisters and brothers are all married and since she has a chronic illness and lives with her family, she is the only one not getting laid. Apparently getting laid is a big problem in the West. Not that in Asia and the East in general young don’t want sex but its contained within the norms of family, faith and society.
By writing these lines its not intended to prove which group of parents is doing good and which region has lousy parenthood practices. Both West and East has good and bad points when it comes to rearing the young ones.
In most of the Asian, African and middle Eastern countries poverty plays an important role in child rearing customs. With poverty I mean not having a house or residential place of ones own, no means of transportation, not enough food and abject illiteracy. The corruption in third world countries led to some families of ruling elite get their kids (and grand kids) quality education and top jobs in the West or in countries of their origin. It is common to hear that in Asia, Africa and middle East somebody has ruled for more than 25 or 35 years while it is unheard of in the developed world where democracy has strong roots and people at the helm of affairs are held responsible and punished if an irregularity is seen. The result is that in most countries of the East there is no long term planning in educational fields and the children are not given education which in turn makes the future generations also poor. Their parents are too busy making two ends meet and they prefer to have two working hands instead of a college degree after a long unproductive time. Having educated parents like in the West plays an important role in rearing the young ones. The parents of the developed world are (almost) all educated and read a lot when a child is born in the family. They know the do’s and don’t s of the parenthood. They know when to seek help when needed. When a child falls ill, they take him to the doctor. In poor countries or so called developing nations the average parents are not educated. They trust in centuries old practice of taking care of kids. There is hardly any role of emotional well being of a child. Instead the father or the father figure in the family is supposed to be the strict-at-all-times while the mother is the giver of everything from food to well being of the child.
In most of the poor countries religion and ritualistic practices are all the stuff parents are equipped with. When a young ones falls ill, there is no health care facility near them. So they are forced to depend on the local hakim (a quack who has been trained in the field of medicine through ages of accumulated knowledge) or a 10th grade so-called doctor who only knows the names of Aspirin and a few antibiotics. Steroids are given in every minor illness even. Its a miracle that children in these countries survive. Please note that the infant and maternal mortality rates are highest in these countries.
In Asian and other countries parents provide a very strong financial and emotional hard shell to their young ones. No matter what age they reach, they know they have parents at home and family around them which will always take their side. When Aslam was 18 he took admission in a university for his masters class. After post graduation he got a decent job and then they married him. Not for a single day he thought he can live without them. Nor his parents ever wish that their son live separately. Here is a very prominent difference between the two child rearing customs. We can argue that in developed countries children are given freedom but we should not forget that children in the West later develop depression frequently and suicide rate is much higher than in the poor countries.
Not only the children live with their parents for their lifetime but they in turn take care of them when they grow old and its not considered an unpleasant duty. They do it with all their heart. Perhaps that is the reason that there are hardly any old people homes or nursing homes in these cultures.
We are all empty at times. Being empty is not derogatory at all and does not mean you are not useful. Useful to yourself and to others. Emptiness simply means scarce use of or no upper story. Of course these men and women have an (almost) fully developed brain inside their heads which is measured in grams like everyone of us have this mass of protoplasm. But is brain just another measurement like temperature and weight which can be gauged by means of tools? After all brain is much more than a few grams of tissue and we need to fill it with our experiences. It however depends greatly what are those experiences and how deep is our yearning for learning. Education does play an important part in its growth. Empty people fill it with very shallow and superficial stuff and then claim they have a ‘know it all’ brain. That is where things get askew.
1. Empty people are mostly concerned about themselves only. They start the conversation with “I or me” and end it at the same note. During talking they hardly ever think about the content. They ride on impulses and therefore whatever they talk about is mostly gibberish and lacks in solid content.
2. They have very selective memories. Their past is full of insignificant (not for them) and random learning processes. For example if in grade 6 their colleague told them that she has seen pigeons pooping on a window sill, they will repeat it after doing graduation at any random point and leave the listener bewildered about its reference. Element of suddenness is the hall mark of their talk.
3. They are mostly concerned about their shoes and clothes. Hours or even days are short when it comes to their choice and description of these items. They firmly believe if something goes wrong with these things, life will stop but for others. They will continue to flourish however. In this choice of clothes and shoes they give all the importance to the newness of the fashion market. They, somehow, must grab every new fashion regardless of the fact that they can afford it or not.
4. They don’t know how to speak softly. Always loud, they firmly believe that the pitch of their voice is a big argument in itself. In a sedate environment it is quite often that the only voice (loud) you hear is their yelling or shouting. They believe that if they talk in a soft tone, others will not be impressed by them.
5. They believe in argument but they don’t believe in reason. Quickly and without thinking they will convert any segment of daily talk into an argument of their choice and then start yelling. The proverb, think before you speak, is not in their vocabulary.
6. They believe they are the king or queen of the universe and rest of the population was created to obey them. If they happen to be a worker, they spend their lives lamenting that why someone else is the boss. In a work environment they live to see that their activities (all of them including the visits to the wash room) are all conveyed to their boss who should always think that in the work area there is no body else capable of swift raises and promotions.
7. They talk incessantly. But when it comes to content, well, that is another matter. They are capable of talking only about people (or their shoes and clothes). They are not capable of talking about events or ideas.
8. They are always full of complaints. A faith keeps them alive that the world has been very cruel to them and that they deserve a better life, in home or office. The result is that they believe they are the only perfect humans on earth.
9. They make fun of other people in their absence. They will ridicule the other person for his/her appearance, color, habits, the way they converse, clothes he/she wears, even nails. Its inevitable that they find flaws and above mentioned and other areas of daily life. They will appear real cool in front of these people and act very polite but as soon as they meet another person, they start telling him how inferior is the person they just met.
10. Empty men and women are ingrates. They will never acknowledge if someone has been kind to them or did a favor. When talking about something in this area, they will always downplay the guy who helped them. Their main premise is that they are the perfect human beings and nobody ever helped them nor they would need help at any time in future.
(Names and places are real like poverty. In one US$ you get approximately 100 rupees).
Tufail and Razia got married some 30 years ago. At that time they lived in Kasur. They both belonged to poor families and when I asked about it they were not hesitant in telling me that they didn’t have any fancy dreams about a happy life. It was a sin to think of a comfortable life. That is how poor Pakistanis live in villages (mostly) and in big cities.
Like their village dwellers they were also not educated (there are usually no schools in villages and if there are some, they charge large amounts of money which the villagers can’t afford then there are schools in public sector which don’t charge much but they don’t teach either) the only education they got was from the molvi (prayer leader) of the nearby mosque who taught them how to read Arabic alphabets and some verses of Quran. Within one year they had a son. Tufail’s father was a laborer (called kammi in Pakistan which means a worker of low existence). These kammis are not paid a salary but are given wheat and other edibles as approved by the big landlords who employ these people to keep them entertained and work in their household. The zamindar or big landlord is like a god to these people and they spend their lives according to whatever they think is ‘good’ for them. Worse case scenario of slavery in 21st century.
After Shoki was born, Tufail was taken seriously ill. His father spent all his belongings and got him admitted in the ‘big’ hospital in the city (the district head quarter hospital with basic health facilities but no medicines or even decent lab tests as a rule). He had ‘sugar’ (Diabetes mellitus) and the entire village ‘knew’ there is no cure for it. Razia had a sister in law who was working as household maid in nearby Lahore (provincial capital of Punjab). Razia was pregnant again and in next three years they had two more kids. Both daughters.
Tufail himself was not a craftsman or skilled laborer and too weak to work as a farm hand. There was nothing to eat and the joint family system couldn’t support them. Razia’s sister in law told her to come to Lahore and she did that. They landed in a upper middle class neighborhood and Razia was hired as a maid for Rs. 500.00 per month. Insulin for her husband took 400.00 per month and three kids were growing up fast. She was given a one room ‘quarter’ in the house where she worked. For electricity and gas Rs. 100.00 were deducted by her employers. Her three kids were now placed in nearby houses as servants. They were from 5 to 7 years old and could only help the ‘begum sahib’ (landlady) to the extent that her babies were kept busy. Physical beating was a rule whenever a toy or a kitchen utensil was broken by these kids and they also started to help in washing and laundry. Total monthly income of the family was now 900.00 rupees. For an estimated price of essential commodities this table can help you visualize how much this 900.00 is:
Flour (the staple food which is used to make bread three times a day): Rupees 300.00 per 10 kg (20 pounds, the family needs 40 kg or 80 pounds of flour per month).
Rice: 100.00 Rs / Kg (2 pounds). Monthly use: 10 kg or 20 pounds (Rs. 1000).
Eggs: Rs. 10 each (they don’t eat eggs. Breakfast is leftover bread and tea.
Milk: 2 pounds (1 kg ) daily @ Rs. 50.00 per kg.
Meat: Poultry: 200.00 / kg or 2 pounds
Beef: 250.00 / kg or 2 pounds (result: They don’t eat meat).
Edible oil: 150.00 Rs. / 2 pounds.
Utility bills are not included as for 100.00 Rs. the ‘quarter’ owners don’t want anything more from the family.
When they get sick, they have to buy the medicine which is very costly. Medical attention can be had for Rs. 20.00 from a government hospital but they have to commute and spend an entire day and that costs money. So they prefer to stay ill or go to the nearby pharmacy which sells all the drugs and prescribes for their illness by someone who has passed grade 10 education. They cannot think of having vacations and can’t afford TV or schools. The eldest son was sent to a handicraft center where he earns Rs. 600.00 per month. He got married 3 years ago and now has 2 sons. The younger daughters were married off similarly when they reached 14 or 15. After getting married the girls found husbands who didn’t make more than a few thousand rupees and thus they are also working as maids in various houses to make the ends meet. There is another, youngest boy who goes to a government school where there is nominal fee of Rs. 50.00 per month but he has to buy all the books and stationary from his own pocket which is again a burden on family income. There is no social security to help them (and there are thousands of such rural families working in the posh houses of big cities). Their boys who remain uneducated, tend to either fall to drugs or crime or more recently resort to violence in the form of terrorist groups. But before becoming big they constitute small mafias which extract protection money from the local vendors and carry illegal weapons with them. Police have no mercy for these lesser people. Whenever there is a theft or burglary, their men are always the first suspects and beaten mercilessly in the process as there is no body to talk to the local police station in-charge who operates on ‘power and sifarish’ (approach & reference of a powerful man).
This story continues like this in millions of households across Pakistan and it does not have an end as the misery keeps on growing while the people in power corridors are themselves busy in making money and buying palaces in England and Dubai. Law has lost its place from this land and it has become a painful gulf between the very rich and very poor. Lack of a literate middle class which is vanishing rapidly is even more painful to observe.
Three months have passed since the historic supreme court judgment on 28th July 2017 which declared that the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif is not honest and credible since he be removed from his office. There was no public out cry as everybody knew that Sharifs have done nothing but amass huge wealth in their 30 year rule over the country. They constructed some roads in their majority province, Punjab but nothing was done in the domains of education, health care or even clean drinking water. The younger Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif who is the chief minister of the largest province, Punjab madly persuaded his mega schemes for transport but in the same province patients died of unavailability of medicines. In the largest cardio-vascular hospital in the city of Lahore, patients with Coronary artery disease were given two years time for a bypass operation while he spent billions of rupees on local train project. His utterly failed schemes which were supposed to revolutionize the economy were Yellow cab scheme, Danish schools, and Cheap roti scheme. Billions were spent on these projects and they yielded nothing for the poor. PMLN cronies got all the benefits and they were clamped officially.
The camp of the ruling party (PMLN) is now busy to malign judiciary and military because they firmly believe that these two institutions are behind the supreme court decision. Fortunately for Pakistan the public does not believe in the thesis of PMLN. They are fully aware of the corruption scandals of Sharifs which were first came to international lime light by the Panama papers.
The second and third place political parties, PTI (Pakistan tehrik e insaf) and PPP (Pakistan peoples party) are trying their best to fill the vacuum. The one province which has been the source of power for Sharifs has a cultural set up in which people don’t choose leaders but gods. In a recently concluded by elections in NA 120 the PMLN candidate won because they generously distributed money, cell phones and jobs. What we are observing is the sad demise of integrity and merit from Pakistan. When the public is ready to be sold for a few thousand bucks, there is no room for quality or honesty. It looks as if the people have accepted that the political leadership is allowed to earn billions and that they are above the law.
On 19th October 2017, the NAB (National accountability bureau) judge, Bashir Ahmad formally indicted Maryam Nawaz Sharif (who incidentally is the de facto prime minister of the country and the daughter of Nawaz Sharif), her husband, Captain retired Safdar and Nawaz Sharif. There was no public out cry seen outside the NAB court in Islamabad and the proceedings progressed peacefully. All of them have pleaded not guilty and now the nation will wait for the court proceedings while Sharifs will try their best to malign the institutions because they love to claim that there is some conspiracy going on against them. They, however, fail to tell the people of Pakistan that what magic wand they had which made them billionaires after coming to power 30 years ago.
1. Photography: Use the lens to capture the following.
A bicycle or its parts. Any other machine / machinery parts are also FP worthy. So take heed and give importance to the old parts lying in and around your dwelling. A favorite is a very old (read ancient) automobile. The likes of a T model and Volkswagen photographed at oblique angles with rust showing as decor are strongly recommended. Fungus growth is to be considered an added advantage, provided your shots highlight it.
A passage/ street/ residential block/ sea or riverside etc. and what grows out there like ground nuts and sweet potatoes (which are not seen on the ground hence the whole charm of photographing them).
A flower or its parts. Flower containers are somehow not popular.
A bridge or its parts (like what is it like under the bridge). Little bit of water can be included to increase the marks (if there are such in deciding a FP blog).
Try to capture the abstract like Wind, Breeze, Sounds etc.
Decorations on festive occasions.
2. Prose (remember poetry as such finds it very difficult to find place in the freshly pressed elite club).
Preparing a meal.
Thinking of preparing a meal.
Talk about a movie you don’t want to watch.
Talk about a set of movies you don’t want to watch.
Latest fight between husband and wife (read girlfriend / boyfriend if you don’t like the nomenclature).
How you avoided a fight with your girlfriend / boyfriend.
Teething problems of your dog.
Travel & / or visit to an exotic place (exotic means outside America). This account will encourage the Americans to have sympathy for those ‘poor’ people / their system of living & they would feel great. You get freshly pressed.
Wear an old dress and talk about it (want be sure of getting freshly pressed: get a corresponding photograph also).
Numbered account of your recent visit to your in-laws who gave you a very cold shoulder.
Lists: Like a list of activities which you never plan to do or a list of things which you actually did but the neighbors called the police.
Sketches are popular. You can be FP if you can draw like a 2nd grader. Cruder the sketches, more FP’able they become. Like you can sketch your cat’s maternity leave and see it getting popular in no time (or till the kittens become grand parents – who knows).
1. FP = Freshly Pressed.
2. … This list is not complete and cannot be completed. New ideas will keep on coming. So keep on waiting for them and add yours, please. Till then good luck with the dreams of getting freshly pressed.
3. No matter what your FP’ed blog contain, rest assured that there will be hundred of keen followers and like-ers who will shower you with even keen (read absurd) comments as it provides them with the only chance of getting noticed.