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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A quiet beginning

The nation has never ushered in a New Year this quietly before. And never before has it, in such absolute solidarity, wished or prayed for its tragic history to be just that: history. Even without all the controversy surrounding it, from the ever-changing official statements about the cause of death to the blatantly engineered Zardarization of PPP (which will probably end up destroying our largest political party over the coming year), the assassination of BB was an event that shocked Pakistan and forced all of its citizens to take stock. But it was not the only cause of the clouds of grief that hung over our land. All year round, in 2007, we witnessed the deaths of countless people. Oblivious to guilt and innocence, uncaring of which views were wrong, which right, and which merely senseless, from every corner of our country the loud wails of mourning (in which all voices - regardless of belief systems, political ideologies, and ethnicity - sound the same) shattered the few remaining tiny dreams of the bulk of our population. Pablo Neruda's "Come and see the blood in the streets ... ", once only a powerful line in a great poem (though a reality to Karachiites for years), transformed into difficult-to-ignore images on our TVs and the obsessed-with-gore vernacular press. (Download the poem in PDF, if you do not have a copy already.) With each successive tragedy, the questions that Faiz asked of this land of the pure, came back to haunt me: In case my handwriting proves unreadable: Tüjh ko kitnoñ ka lahoo chaahiyay, aé arzé vatan, Jo teray aarizé bay-rang ko gülnaar karayñ? Kitnee aahoñ say kalayjah tera thandaa ho ga? Kitnay aañsoo teray sahraaoñ ko gulzaar karayñ? Here's a translation for those unfamiliar with Urdu: How many people's blood d'you need, my country, To bring a glow into your colourless cheeks? How many sighs will cool your burning breast? How many tears to make your deserts bloom? Is there anything that we - as individuals - can do to make this year, and the years that follow, different? I believe that each of us, in our own varied capacities, can and must! The Not-A-Greeting Card I sent out to my friends at Eed-X'mas-NewYear has a quote from Gandhi who - amply qualified in this regard - offered the following advice: Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. Peace!

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8 Comments:

Anonymous sabah said...

I just read your blog. No one could have summed it up better. It was such a tragic end to the year. The greatest political legacy that Pakistan had was taken away in an instant. I was at Beach Luxury the night it happened and got back home at midnight after braving the storm. I have never been that scared ever before. A cousin was telling me that when he was born, the city was in upheaval because of ZA Bhutto; and now his wedding got shelved because of BB- Its tragic that 30 years down the line, things are still the same.
I am deeply saddened by her loss, not that i followed her politics carefully or anything. But on some level she was democracy for this country, i had my hopes pinned on her. I thought she could revive politics in this country. She was a dynamic woman and for her to survive in this male infested society and gain people's respect was commendable.
Ive been reading up on her, gone through her history, speeches, and her 5 point agenda. She convinced me. She convinced me to believe in a truly democratic process for Pakistan.
I dont know whats going to happen to this country- but like you said, I want to do something about it.

02 January, 2008 15:18

 
Blogger Maleeha said...

'can and must' is correct.
To continue doing whatever it is we do best, and even things we don't do all that well. To just continue.

02 January, 2008 16:04

 
Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Best wishes!

:)

02 January, 2008 16:59

 
Blogger mystic-soul said...

Kiya Khubsurat likha hai !!

Faiz se bagair hum log kiya kerte?

02 January, 2008 22:00

 
Anonymous nuzti said...

You have said it all and very well, I must say! Your words speak for a lot of people who don't come out and say much but never the less feel the same. Pity the nation that has been saddled with such corrupt, selfish leaders who cannot see beyond their ownself and have led the country to the brink of disaster. But the time for complacency is gone. Let the present situation be a turning point. This year every Pakistani MUST resolve to help the nation get rid of the army raj and work diligently towards it.Whatever little effort they can make it is imperative that they MUST do. A massive get the vote out effort is needed if the present regime is to be thrown out. Pakistan needs an honest, visionary leader with a clear sense of direction and progressive ideas to lead the nation out of this quagmire. Keep fighting and keep writing!

03 January, 2008 23:14

 
Anonymous phase said...

Faiz se bagair hum log kiya kerte?

Faiz's poetry is being used by intellectually dumb people just like crutches used by disabled people.

Use of Faiz's poetry is no more a FASHION it has become an indicator of dumbness.

11 January, 2008 21:07

 
Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Phase...Waah...kya baat kahi hai! Subhaan-Allah!

Aap to bohat hi zaheen maaloom hotay hain!

:D

15 January, 2008 01:46

 
Anonymous samina b. said...

From Chickens to Chirkeen. From Jalib to Jafri. From Faiz to Farida. Maan, Zakintosh. What do you eat and drink?

21 February, 2008 23:28

 

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