I Have Sinned

This hitorical account of Sindh as I was reading in a book actually reminded me somehow of the current political and ethnic scenario in the Urban Sindh V Rural Sindh. Here is how it goes. Matthew Cook writes in the “Introduction” of Robert Huttenback’s book “British Relation With Sindh”:

Sindh generally attracts little attention in South Asian history. Perhaps the best known historical ‘document’ about the region comes from the pen of Sir Charles Napier. According to many reports, he sent a laconic dispatch to Lord Ellenborough, the Governor-General of India, after Sind’s conquest in 1843. It consisted of a single Latin word: peccavi (I have sinned).

Matthew Cook writes in the “Introduction” of Robert Huttenback’s books “British Relation With Sindh” that some historians question the veracity of Napier’s pun. Philip Woodruf, in “The Men Who Ruled India” writes: “Sir Hugh Dow, the last British Governor of Sind but one [i.e., second to last], traced its origin to Punch in 1846. Woodruf is correct to note that the pun originates in the satirical magazine “Punch”, but is incorrect regarding another fact: the year of the pun’s publication was 1844.

Ignoring the rest of the discussion over the veracity of this pun allegedly by Charles Napier, let’s get to the bonafide record straight.

Cook writes further that inconsistencies regarding the “peccavi” pun clear when one rejects Napier as its author. In an ignored 1938 Sind Historical Society lecture, N.M. Billimoria states that the pun’s author was Catherine Winkworth, a young schoolgirl living in Britain. Billimoria reports that Winkworth originated the pun during a class discussion on Napier’s conquest of Sind. Her teacher, obviously struck by his student’s wit, suggested that she sent it to “Punch”. She did and it appeared in the magazine’s 18 May 1844 edition.

How the “peccavi” links to the present political and ethnic dilemma in Sindh must now be plain and clear: people are trying to sin, more in the urban centres.

Reference: Robert Huttenback, 2008. British Relations with Sind 1799-1843: An Anatomy of Imperialism. Edition. Oxford University Press, USA.

The Futility Of Karachi Mayhem

As news spread residents of Karachi left work and rushed to get home PHOTO: Express Tribune/M.ADEEL

As news spread residents of Karachi left work and rushed to get home PHOTO: Express Tribune/M.ADEEL

Published at Express Tribune

Raza Haider, an MQM leader and member of the Sindh Assembly, and his guard were shot dead at a mosque in Nazimabad in Karachi. It was a sad event. Target killings are unwarranted and uncalled for. The culprits of this cold-blooded murder and all such murders should be caught immediately and punished severely.

But another sad event followed the murder. As soon as news of the incident broke all shops were closed. Members of the self-proclaimed ‘middle-class’ and ‘most educated’ political party of Pakistan were allegedly seen threatening shopkeepers. Some shopkeepers were even physically attacked by workers. A Pakhtun cobbler’s small shop was torn down.

Should shops and businesses in Karachi be forced to close down?

The closure of businesses and shops means a substantial loss of billions of rupees every day. It means that daily wagers will not have money to buy food to feed their families. Bread, milk, eggs, pulses, flour and rice will not be available.

Pakistan is already suffering from massive budgetary difficulties and day-to-day financial problems. An entire day without business in the financial hub of the country will not help solve our national economic problems.

The politics of pain

Only one party could be responsible for the city-wide shut down of business. Karachi is MQM and MQM is Karachi. If any party wants to prosper in the political culture of Pakistan it should practice patience and tolerance even in the face of tragedy. Punjab is often seen coping with the after effect of any tragedy much prudently. This is why the party should advise its workers to stop the forceful closure of shops and businesses.

Business as usual for city police

Meanwhile, as the public rushed to reach home safely, policemen continued the practice of greasing their palms on Shahra-e-Faisal and other busy routes in Karachi. Why would the police harrass civilians on a day when the entire city was worried about security and getting home safe and sound? I am not in favor of ransom during a normal situation in the country but during emergencies it is inexcusable.

All in all, I feel that we, Pakistanis, are quite emotional as a nation. We react to the things emotionally while completely forgetting its adverse outcome. We must understand that during such trying times Pakistan needs our honest and patient services more than it needs impulsive reactions.

Killing Two Birds With A Single Stone

Few days back, I attended a wedding ceremony of one of my friend. This was after almost 2 years that I’ve been to some wedding. And, then, that I found something completely a thunderclap. It’s that, Government had decided days back to put a ban on the extended time of weddings: the wedding halls should be closed by 12 midnight. I’m not sure of the penalty if someone breaches this rule by continuing the wedding after 12 midnight, but what I’ve heard from the word of mouth is that the groom would be nabbed, detained in a lock up for one day on the very night of his wedding. The penalty is something mirthful, if at all it’s genuinely legitimate (Caution: This is what I heard from a word of mouth, while not giddily I believe)

I forgot to add that this thunderclap wasn’t at all with respect to the performance of government actually, but what really was it about is that the invitees were seriously following this law. They came on time — they joined the happy moments with relatives, friends, acquaints — and then fled on time and many even before the 12 midnight without thinking of elongating the wedding time to even an hour or two.

As I was reading one of the article on Dawn, it was criticized that this law isn’t really about safeguarding the interest of the bride-groom relatives, friends, acquaints and generally the residents of Pakistan. The presentation of law, if anything, speaks volume about the failure of government to cope with the national security condition, the national energy crisis including this ‘kunda system’ and all.

The motive of government might have been the same as delineated by the author who wrote in Dawn, and that a good thing has been done inadvertently. But then, a restriction on weddings of such sort out of the blue is actually commendable. Even if there was some normalcy in regards with energy crisis and crimes like theft, robbery, mugging — I would have preferred these restrictions yet. And I hope there would be a myriad like me commending on this ban.

If anything, this is one of the bonzer step government has taken and this is something lauded by almost everyone I’ve seen and I’ve known to, despite that fact that government has really killed two birds with a single stone — by blotting out its failure of coping the relevant problems, simultaneously enacting a law on the wedding time. Besides, some more restrictions need to be placed with respect to the standard of weddings in general — the lavishness and flamboyance in particular.

Sometime back there was a news in Pakistani media about the usage of Guns in weddings — the aerial firing and all — that killed some of the invitees. I believe this should also be stopped at once by enacting a strict law on it.

Progression first, Philanthropy later or vice versa?

Yesterday, I read this news that a meeting of MQM delegation with President is underway regarding the funds demanded by MQM from Federal which will be spent on development work going on in Karachi. The meeting also discussed about IDPs and some other discussions.

The President showed a green-light and approved a number of 12 projects that include: building of parks, beautification of certain areas and tree-planting in the City Karachi. These projects after the valuing costs Rupees 22 billion.

So, as the Cowasjee says, let’s set the priorities first. And before that, let’s take an example to help setting up the priorities: If your garden needs attention whilst in your house you have a sick child, what is your first priority? — A question asked from Cowasjee.

It may seems a critical evaluation of MQM and President, and I don’t know if MQM will agree to it or not. To me, it makes a grand sense. The comparing of a sick child with the renovation and beautification of garden is a considerable example.

Should the ‘Green Karachi’ project not be slowed down, with money diverted to relief camps for those displaced persons who are seeking refuge? Yes, we must have the parks, but for the moment, until some sort of normalcy is returned to the country, they can be fenced in and measures taken to ensure that there are no encroachments. The large shady tree-planting, not an excessively expensive exercise, should go ahead forthwith. But it is the homeless and dispossessed who have sought hospitality who must take priority when it comes to spending the people’s money. [DAWN — Cowasjee’s article]

President Zardari was on official trip of begging globally. He was begging on the name of IDPs in particular and Pakistan in general — his bank accounts in both particular and general while it’s unknown how much he spent from his wealth. Zardari on his yesterday’s trip to Karachi pleaded the business community in Karachi to step to the fore and help IDPs wholeheartedly. This all he expressed, but again, none of us know how much is spent by ministers and president themselves.
Qamar Zaman Kaira lavishness
It has also come in to notice that one of the minister from PPP on his visit to US spent thousands of clams on luxury while his 3 million countrymen are homeless – living a very unfortunate life. These people are hopeless case – the retard politicos of our nation.

My personal opinion is, we should be helping dispossessed people more than elevating the developmental work. We can develop our country – our city in sometime in near future as well, but presently, the unfortunate 3 million people are contingent more upon the mercy of Allah and the attention and aid of His beings. At this phase of time, we should be giving them more attention and care than spending billions on developmental work.

PS: Some of the excerpt is taken from Cowasjee’s article “I own Karachi … and can sell it! – 3”.

Reference to excerpt: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/16-ardeshir-cowasjee-i-own-karachi-and-can-sell-it-3-159-hs-06

Street of Peace and Love

What will come first in your mind with this name “Street of Peace and Love”? Have you ever heard about it? I’m sure almost all urbanites know about it. Ruralist are being left out for a pilgrimage to this street or as a whole – this city – since they’re primitive and uncultured – believed by people galore within one of the claimed socio-economic class of Pakistan – also call themselves most educated class within country.

Passing across this street, had a chance to look at it. A barrier was seen at one end of the street on which it was found written “Street of Peace and Love”. I made myself out of wonderment by laughing while thinking about this biggest fraud of 21st Century – a living fraud — and that too in such a big metropolitan city.

The Street may be having Peace and Love inside, but out – for the rest of the country it’s a disgrace to country’s name along with the others in same profession. But since this street has a big-name than others of its kind because of its unique nature, as one of the pious fugitive used to live here once upon a time – now his slaves — the street has its prominent name by virtue of the pious person’s deeds and moves.

I hope by now everyone must have understood which street was being addressed above.

Why is it a street of peace and love — now I’ve stopped laughing and seriously thinking how this street is actually proportional to its name.