A short and not-so-sweet story of the ‘Awaam’

So this Awaam we hear about all the time on the half billion news channels on Pakistani TV, what does it really do when it is not protesting over some serious non-issue or burning, breaking, and stealing public and private property? (Allow me to pull an Inzi here) I have been blessed by God (and read Allah if you’re reading this between the 1st and 30th of Ramadan) with a position to employ enough people and to also have the time to sit back and wonder, ‘why do any of my employees not frequent dharnas, jalsas, and other methods of stabbing our severely injured economy in its only functional lung?’ They too complain about the scarcity of electricity and how difficult it is to survive on one salary while all they do is work extra shifts, take up part time jobs, or pilfer. But not a single one of them has ever requested leave or not shown up at work to attend a protest, or has come back bruised after a laathi-charge. The human resource turn over in a business like mine can be frightening, so that’s a mother lode of half-skilled people and yet no political involvement or inclination. Leaves me wondering but with fewer possibilities this time: 1. I’m paying them way too much (which I figure am not) 2. Have employed all pious, god fearing, civilized angels, content with what they make and how they live (which is not true either). While the most likely 3. These people just have a real job.

With that said, I’m beginning to believe that this bhooki, nangi, mazloom, children selling, wrist-slitting, press club frequenting, somersaulting, suicidal awaam has to be plainly bored, or frustrated, or both to end up protesting as often for miseries everyone else is also equally subjected to.

While my question remains where it was, we have at least established the fact that people (transporters, masons, paanwalas, jamadars, cops, shopkeepers, blue-collar employees, entertainment and service business sector, shopkeepers, hawkers, barbers, et al) that lose a day’s worth of income due to such protests and other beyghairati do not make up the awaam. Unless it’s a conspiracy of the Jews, the Indians, the Americans, the Afghans, the political opposition or side-effects of predator drones, or acidity from greasy samosas, or even Satan himself, this all seems pretty made-up, plastic, a drawn-out drama, useless waste of a potentially money-generating day, or even another useless tradition we’re yet to grow out of.

To most people (if any at all) reading this, I might be heartless and insensitive or in simpler terms, a cold-hearted bastard worthy of a dozen lashes, drive out to your nearest slum, there will be dozens of unemployed people hanging around waiting for some kind of an opportunity to relieve themselves of built up frustration while those that are at work will be at work or remain indoors when the opportunity for the bums presents itself.

Diary of the ‘Innocent’ Bystander!

I scurried, was worried,
I would miss the show,
Were they singing?
Were they dancing?
I did not know

I ran, I crawled,
Climbed a lamppost,
Climbed trees,
Fought away the men,
I just had to see!

Yelling, screaming,
Kicking and profantiy,
The circle grew big,
The circus of humanity,
They cheered and clapped,
For the man with a wig

I named one Laurel,
The wigged-man was Hardy,
Out comes a gun,
Time to conclude this party

I slid off my tree,
My shalwar was torn,
I clutched my slippers to my heart,
And decided to run,
The gun went off twice and I hit the floor,
There’s a nine millimetre lodged,
Quite deep in my buns

What comes to my mind when I read:

Pathan: Hand carts, work-horse, naswaar, Namaaz ka ‘tame’, squatting, short tempers, long beards, ‘82 Corollas

Sindhi: Mangoes, sugar, laziness, cunning, diplomacy, men with dyed hair, Pajeros and Land Cruisers, lazy eyes, soorma/mascara, Sheikh-knob polishing (hunting)

Baloch: Turbans, theft, murder, pride, sheep, goats and other things that move

Punjabi: Paratha, lassi, more paratha, a lot more lassi, wigs, golden beds, golden shoes, golden dressing tables, ‘show wali gaari’, Brigadier, General, televeeyuns, mayyure the trayyure..

Memon: Paan, mithai, computer/toy shops, Vespas and Honda 50s, Haji saab, one dish party, pot bellies, ‘Nimaaz’ time, estate agencies, brokerage, ‘visible piety & charity’, golden, silver and pink furniture

Muhajirs: Choori daar pajamay, embroidered kurtay, Honda 75cc, 100cc, 125cc, ‘Mobile’, gutka, Nazimabad, BYOBs, ‘decent/inno-cent boys’, ‘cute/sweet gurls’, ‘Haq-parasites’

I’m talking majorities here, I could be generalizing too, big fucking deal..

All the same kings & all their same monkeys

The stereotypical behaviour of stereotypical people!


Ever since its inception, Pakistan has been in various ways controlled by the fortunate few. The pity party’s favorite stance is to cry wolf and poke the beast with pointy sticks (only to end up running in every direction on the map possible). The evil feudals with their sugar mills and ‘bay-dard dils’ ever prospering, turning the stove under the deprived masses’ seats up a notch with every harvest of sugar cane. The bureaucracy with their greased palms and heartwarming psalms of honesty and dignity embezzle God’s favorite people with impunity. The Fauji Jawans with their silk mufflers and generic cigars (every Brandy gets the distinction of being called Cognac here and the ‘g’ is never forgotten, good men these Gentlemen! Hup!) get acres of Pakistan allotted to them every few years, the ‘bhooki awam’ to remain quite bhooki.

I too, would stage a sit down out side a press club for the atrocities against my 19 children or burn down effigies of my neighbour, since his sacrificial bull is bigger than mine, it’s the Government’s fault! But what if next year he doesn’t buy a bull at all or mine gets to be bigger? What if my 20 children (or was it 19?) all get enough food to eat and books to read? Crystallized sugar grows out of bougainvilleas? Citizens get green number plates and policemen don’t have the authority to stop, check and harass the ‘deprived’ masses? What if Asif Ali Zardari isn’t President and Pervez Musharaf gets capital punishment for the Bugti Murder? What if there’s Hi-Octane flowing out of everyone’s garden hoses? What are we going to do or say or want next? I think I know! We will kick back and dig up the Kashmir issue all over again if we finally get down to the bottom of whoever killed Liaquat Ali Khan (everything intended).

Ye mera Pakistan hai!

Na deen hai na imaan hai,
Pakistan meri jaan hai!

Na andhi hai na toofan hai,
(phir bhi)Aatay cheeni ka bohraan hai!

Na roti hai na makaan hai,
Aur aadhi qaum kisaan hai!

Izzat, zaat aur pehchaan hai,
Kia yahan ek bhi insaan hai?

Itna behaal aur pareshaan hai,
Ke Allah bhi hairaan hai!

Phir bhi jaan hai toh jahaan hai,
Ye mera Pakistan hai!

In the Name of Allah and His Prophet


(1900s) 

Countless men had fallen,

A myriad of homes leveled,

Such is the outcome of a struggle,

The destiny of this holy land,

In the Name of Allah, and His Prophet,

And castles of dust and sand

 

(1940s)

Woman nor child pardoned,

Blood for blood must shed.

Where echo cries of wailing men,

A crescent will soon hoist.

In the Name of Allah, and His Prophet,

And hoards of pale-yellow rocks

 

(1970s)

Stalins, Hitlers and Haqs alike,

On souls and such their egos fed.

The scion in the East forgone,

The clergy sows its desert spells.

In the Name of Allah, and His Prophet,

And zealous troops to clash at will

 

(2000s)

State brimming with states within,

Fortresses cloak mock-lords in vain.

While lofty archers mark their prey,

Princely Emperors bask away,

In the Name of Allah and His Prophet,

And worldly riches and eternal fame