Everybody is independent

Published Aug 17, 2012 07:53am

-Illustration by Abro.

Independence – something which we have been hearing about since childhood – was achieved after a great many sacrifices. And to date, we are giving sacrifices for it. Even after 65 years, everyday somebody has to be sacrificed in the name of the independence devi so that she is safeguarded. Whoever comes in to power and goes out of it demands sacrifices from the public.

When two twin brothers were born on the night of 15th August, their birthday too should have been together. However, our elders decided that we would celebrate our birth on 14th August, a day before our actual birth. Since 14th August was also the 27th fast of Ramazan and the last Friday of the month, we decided to celebrate our independence that day. Even though, we came into existence on the 15th of August, and the 28th fast of Ramazan. But those in power decided that indeed independence celebrations will be on the 14th of August and so for the past 65 years we have been celebrating our independence a day earlier.

Maybe our elders wanted to associate independence with Islam or celebrate our independence separately from our twin brother, either way we labeled the brother as an enemy from day one and those in power still have the need of having an enemy so that they can rule in peace and spend the money – intended for our progress, education and health – on buying arms and ammunition. Now it’s a different story that they are ever increasing the number of our enemies, so that those associated in the defense business may prosper.

That night when the announcement of independence was made on the radio, only a few people had a radio. The majority was asleep as they had to wake up for Sehri. They would have never imagined that a day would come when their descendents would celebrate independence and display their happiness by using weapons. Now, when the clock strikes 12, the city rings with the sound of shotguns – the smell of gunpowder persists.

Youngsters remove the silencers from their bikes and parade around the city, the whole night. The city vibrates with noise. If a patient or a person in an emergency situation comes out on the street, he/she is unable to reach their destination. It sometimes feels as if we are sitting on a stockpile of gunpowder, such aerial firing and bombings were even unheard of in the few wars we fought.

We don’t know why our happiness lies in gunshots and bombings. Whether it is the sighting of the Eid moon, New Year, wedding, birth of a son or even winning a match; our display of happiness lies in gunshots and the next day’s newspaper carrying the figures of the dead and injured shows just how much we celebrated the night before.

Bothersome flag-borne cars whiz by dangerously, nobody knows how much money they waste or how much money they are out to make. But God bless independence because of which even we can parade the flag in our car. A donkey cart, rickshaw or motorcycle – whatever it is, must have the flag affixed. Even though its pitch black in our houses due to load shedding, our government buildings are bathed in light – all to celebrate our independence.

And then once the independence phase is over and we don’t take off our flags, the government helplessly requests us to take off our flags else, there won’t be any distinction between their governors and the common public. Our judges too are carrying around flags these days, receiving the same protocol as our other leaders. They too have started considering themselves a leader of the people. They too make us wait endlessly on the roads when they are leaving or arriving; just like there was a time when generals claimed to be the people’s voice – now the judges too claim the same.

As for politicians, they give sacrifices, invest their money, get your vote and are then liable to ride in a flag affixed car. Although our TV anchors also consider themselves as the country’s real leaders, with the authority to topple the government they’ve made diligent followers out of the public.

So yes, everybody is independent – from politicians to generals to judges, officers and clerks, TV, newspapers clerics, journalists, businessmen, supervisors, thieves, extremists and lawyers – everybody is proud of their independence. They use all the might they have to take advantage of this independence. If there is somebody who is not independent, it is this county which with open eyes watches all but does not have the freedom to say a word.

 


The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.


The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (13) (Closed)


batool
Aug 17, 2012 08:14am
voice of patriotic heart
Samir Gupta
Aug 17, 2012 08:07am
"Even after 65 years, everyday somebody has to be sacrificed in the name of the independence devi so that she is safeguarded. Whoever comes in to power and goes out of it demands sacrifices from the public." Visual art in prose indeed.
Solitar
Aug 17, 2012 01:08pm
"When two twin brothers were born on the night of 15th August, their birthday too should have been together", recalls to my mind guilty feelings for having been taught distorted history, "the real birth of my home country". It leads me to a bitter reality thinking and questioning; why have we never been able to be true to our history, culture, values and a beautiful country Pakistan, for which our ancestors embraced martyrdom? I remember when as a school boy I came across an insight, “the nations that forget their history…unexpected destruction and ill fate becomes their destiny”. Being little vigilant to the prevailing situation in Pakistan…my hearts fills with sorrow and unending grief. Liberty and independence demand RESPNISIBILITY. What has been our contribution as a free nation Pakistan, since its birth, in the fast competing world? Why have we not been able to provide with standard living to the poor masses with haggardly faces…waiting…for a piece of bread by toiling from dawn to dusk. Who has taken the heart of flesh from us…we don’t feel for others. Let’s us be ONE PAKISTAN above any creed, colour and race with a common slogan; PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!
Nasrullah
Aug 17, 2012 08:42am
Excellent piece of writing... Those in power have attained the maximum level of freedom to do anything irrespective of violating the fundamental rights of common men...
Capt C M Khan
Aug 17, 2012 08:46am
Excellent article, especially the portion of NEW KID ON THE BLOCK....the JUDGES, so true. Keep writing.
Capt C M Khan
Aug 17, 2012 08:47am
Excellent article, especially the portion of NEW KID ON THE BLOCK....the JUDGES, so true. Keep writing.
Nasrullah
Aug 17, 2012 09:09am
Excellent piece of writing...
Broc
Aug 17, 2012 09:29am
I very much enjoy reading Mr. Khuda Bux Abro's blogs. He has an unusually sharp eye for every-day details of life. And at his finest, which is often, his expression can be lyrical, almost enchanting. But this piece left me somewhat underwhelmed, not because I do not agree with his very valid point that celebrating something with gunshots reflects poorly on the psyche of a society or his equally valid point about the presumptuous judges jostling for more power but because of the excessive cynicism the pervades through this blog piece. It's a cynicism that almost seems in vague these days, which is why I would not recommend jumping at this bandwagon of, for want of better word, bashing things just for the sake of it. If people want to celebrate one day, let them do; I would imagine a great many of these people who affix flags on their donkey carts or run-down cycles do not have— and more often than not, for no fault of their own--much to celebrate otherwise. That's why I am a little puzzled too at the selection of these featured photos. I find them in a slightly poor taste; if the intention was to make a humorous or an ironic statement, I am sorry I missed the point.
Muhammad
Aug 17, 2012 09:29am
Most of us people are now selfish.: what we think is righ, what tunnel vision we have is right, what passions (harmful also ) we have is right and what actions we take (harmful also) is right!!!!
Broc
Aug 17, 2012 09:31am
PS: I wish to clarify that I took the time out to type those remarks because I care. I intend no offence and hope none is taken. And I look forward to more apt observations and beautiful chronicles of everyday life from this exceptionally talented blogger. Keep up the good work!
talalraza
Aug 17, 2012 09:50am
So while the author started off with the criticism of "how we celebrate our independence by display of guns and ammunition" , he suddenly jumps to judges and the flags on their car :) Can anyone tell me if it sounds really cool nowadays to hit the judges ?
munish
Aug 18, 2012 06:48am
excellent article , its not about india or pak but generally speaking i feel it is the society values that are going down. my elders tell me that in good olden times neighbours used to share evrything from food to their soerrows to ther smilesbut now no one is bothered what is happening next door. should not indians share sorrow of people in pak and vice versa? it will reaaly help
munish
Aug 18, 2012 06:51am
excellent article , its not about india or pak but generally speaking i feel it is the society values that are going down. my elders tell me that in good olden times neighbours used to share evrything from food to their soerrows to ther smilesbut now no one is bothered what is happening next door.