Saturday, September 3, 2011

It’s a donkey’s life

When I watched the news of angry cricket fans pelting donkeys to protest against the alleged match-fixing by the Pakistani cricketers, with the photos and names of the players pasted on the donkeys’ heads, I just felt sorry for the poor animals. Come on! Why beat or scold the innocent creature when it did not indulge in corruption, match-fixing, floor-crossing or took bribes. We shower donkeys with rotten tomatoes and eggs and sometimes hang shoe necklace from their necks at protests, perhaps because the real culprits are at large and this humble animal is easy to reach. There is no harm in protesting but why are donkeys dragged into it every time? A more common habit among us is to label our friends and kids with names such as ‘donkey’ and ‘gadha’ when we witness some stupidity by them. Again, why blame the donkey? Did it do something stupid or asked that person to be a donkey? I really feel sorry for this innocent and humble animal. Donkeys are complex creatures, capable of many moods. They can be friendly, affectionate, independent, patient and even sad, and there is no questioning their intelligence. A donkey is as smart as any other animal around. Donkeys can be trained and tamed very well, and hardly become too wild to be handled by men. Though they are capable of kicking with both hind legs — what we call “dolatti” in Urdu, this is only when teased and their nerves are tested. A donkey doesn’t demand much attention but carries a lot of burden and can walk for miles. In simple terms, it is very economical to keep one as a beast of burden. Pakistan happens to have one of the largest populations of donkeys, around nine million. This low maintenance creature is used extensively for transport, whether riding or pulling carts. Donkey is mentioned in the Quran at seven places and a Hadith teaches us to recite ‘Astaghfaar’ and seek refuge upon hearing a donkey’s bray as Satan is present. Islam also teaches us to respect the rights of animals too but we seem to forget this and show no kindness to these beasts of burden. Islam also teaches us not to burden an animal beyond its capacity but we all have seen donkey carts full of heaps of goods and the animals being beaten harshly! Donkey carts, though slow, are a pollution-free means of transportation. But those who have a grudge against this poor creature are going to blame it for being slow. I think being slow is not as bad as the hazardous smoke and loud noise of our rickety buses and rickshaws. Cities like Karachi are famous for donkey cart races. Donkey carts, with their single riders guiding them masterfully on the streets of the city and making noise due to the pebble-filled cans attached to them, may be deemed dangerous by some residents. However, they are a unique Karachi feature and demonstrate the vibrancy present in the local communities. These races attract a lot of crowd and much money is made by the winners but the riders walk away with the cash and the donkeys only get grass to munch on. During the recent floods that hit Pakistan, donkeys were among the rescuers! Yes, Mr Donkey to the rescue! Due to vast destruction and inaccessibility of large areas, rescue work and aid was slow in reaching the flooded areas. As people were reaching out to the international community and aid agencies to help, the police guided 30 donkeys strapped with flour, rice, cooking oil and sugar along narrow, muddy tracks and mountain terrain to reach some villages. Looking at the so many good qualities and uses of this harmless creature, I must say that I admire the donkey, but I would like to apologise to it for the mistreatment it receives from us humans.

Laga reh!

August brought many eye-opening events to our nation this year. It all started with heavy floods across Pakistan, then took a turn when President Zardari went for a foreign trip and its related “Accidents”, then the Sialkot brutal act and now the Pakistani cricket team scandal.

It makes a normal citizen like me think about this country. Where will this happenings lead to us? If I just focus on our Cricket team, there was a “good “time when players like Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad came to the ground and game turned its side completely. I agree that Wasim Akram was blamed for “sattay bazi” but it was never proved. Our current Pakistani team is basically involved in other things apart from cricket more. Muhammad Asif is mostly found at Dubai Airport for having heroine in his luggage or later having a never ending dispute with Veena Malik. The 19 year old Muhammad Amir is found talking to girls in the crowd when he is standing at the boundary. The most surprising man in this scandal was Salman Butt.He is the guy who dedicates the victory of Pakistani Cricket team to social reasons like Flood and terrorism victims and now is claimed to be part of this Mazhar Majeed Scandal. It is already shameful for us as a nation that Mazhar Majeed is a Pakistani too .Later we claim that in countries like England and America, we are disgraced.

We have completely lost the element of self respect in us and then we claim that why so many calamities are surrounding us day by day. I had the same question in mind before seeing the Sialkot brutal act. I believe that the nation who has died inside and keeps itself silent on wrong acts can not hide itself from such problems.

Now the flood disaster, I totally agree with Imran Khan’s statement on Pukaar telethon that Why we seek international aid? Why cant 12 crore people support 2 crore people? Countries have labeled us with endless tags of corruption and yet we ask them to help. Our self prestige has died. Our very own “elected” officials and so called people in driving seat will take away all money that nation is providing in the name of those flood victims. The help will never reach them and the new palaces will built outside the country. In the end, the nation will suffer again. I believe that Corruption and dishonesty has become part of every Pakistani. Starting from leader to the general public, we do corruption. If a leader does that in millions, we do that in hundreds depending on the amount we can access to. Our situation is like Shehzad Roy’s song “Laga reh” .Like he says “Naik woh hay jissay mauqa nahi mila”.

Since early years, we have been told Pakistan is passing through important test. It’s a fault in our breeding now that is supposed to change now. For how many more years will we act like this? Why our norms and values have come to zero? Why can’t we live like responsible citizens? Our leaders treat us with this sentence “Inko mut jagao,ye kissi zaroori kaam say so rahe hain” .I hear people saying that Pakistan will face a revolution this time but I doubt our abilities as of now. There is a huge difference between the 1947’s nation and current nation. Will a corrupted and a dishonest nation survive it? This question still remains unanswered.