There is one book in Pakistan that has never changed from the day of its inception, some 45 years ago. The parents of all young children in the country are a hafiz of this book. There is no limit to the joy of parents when their children start parroting voices from the text of this book, the stepping stones of great knowledge and wisdom. Children get rewards for memorising this book and are then proudly asked by their starry eyed parents to recite it in front of guests. Yes, you have guessed it; it’s the Urdu al-Qaeda and English al-phabet book.

When I look at Kindergarten books, I always feel they are very old-fashioned and need to be revised. This book in particular has been in circulation as far back as I can remember. The symbols with the alphabets are usually the tanga, lutoo etc, but have been replaced with motorcars and YoYos or their meanings have changed entirely. It’s usually said that this new generation of children are much smarter than the older generation. Here is my small contribution to update this al-phabet book, so that the children of this country might know what kind of a world they are about to step in to.

The first image was always an Apple and still is an Apple but on an iPhone. Pakistani batsmen have been unable to use the Bat for some time now so that should be replaced with Batman. And now the Cat has acquired new meaning after Imran Khan left his past behind him and found religion and politics.

Click on images to enlarge

D was always for Dog but now it’s Dengue. Politicians always demand Elections, and then for the Army’s intervention when they lose these elections. The symbol of the Fish is now replaced with a big fish eating small fish.

Ghairat is the word that can open doors for you anywhere and everywhere in this country, whether its politics, law or the media. The world according to Habibis is a must to survive in Pakistan and the famous Ink pot is obsolete but survives only as a prevailing reminder.

The current flying coffins … sorry airlines are far older than these Jets on our roads nowadays, and for the last many years the Kite has been in chains. Our children should know about Load shedding seeing how it will remain with us for the unforeseeable future.

The Media is the new messiah and all the problems of Pakistan will vanish if we follow our anchormen. The Nose is now our favourite past time i.e. poking it in every private matter, or for that matter our foreign policy in Afghanistan.

Parrots are found on footpaths, morning shows, or as experts on talk shows prophesying our future. Quaid is now a word for under the table transactions and the Railways are without tracks as once the British left, they never returned to construct them.

Who can forget the Swiss letter that is about to chop off another Prime Minister. Twitter and the social media are the first words out of a child’s mouth these days. While the opposition is now under the suo motu Umbrella.

The symbol of the Van should change after the sky rocketing fuel prices. The Agha Waqar car was actually meant to be a water car. And the X-rays of our warrior priests should also be included in our children's curriculum.

Here’s hoping our children will learn the ropes to survive in this land of the pure, and what better time to prepare them for this than the very first days of their lives.


The author left architecture for painting but ended up as a cartoonist and now writes Hijjo. He is the jack of all trades.



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 (32)

September 12, 2012 5:20 pm
Fantabolous and Odacious Alphabetical Order for the future KIDYYY Scholarz
September 14, 2012 7:41 am
how about 'O' for Osama bin Laden
Sultan Khan
September 13, 2012 8:19 am
Explanation shall ruin the aesthetics of the word.
September 14, 2012 4:50 am
S for "Secularity" would be nice.... since this seems to be a buzz word now a days !
Capt C M Khan
September 12, 2012 8:54 am
Y for Yankee (distributing Yankee Dollars ) and Z not for Zebra but for Zebra Pattern ( The Polarization of extremes in our society). Excellent article though.
Agha Ata
September 12, 2012 1:32 pm
You forgot to mention "Z" for Zial ul Hque.
September 13, 2012 11:12 am
S for swiss letter is the best ;)
Naseem Dar
September 14, 2012 6:04 am
"Z" for Zabardust and Zabardusti
September 12, 2012 8:38 am
did you forget about Z, or you don't want the children learn about the famous leader of momins: ZAID HAMID.. .IT is a mistake, not an inadvertant error, you should correct it at the earliest. otherwise he may file a case against you for blahshaming against the SELF-PROCLAIMED KHALIFA.
September 14, 2012 5:42 am
H. Being
September 12, 2012 8:28 am
Wonderfully imaginative and hilarious. Loved the Water Car.
September 14, 2012 7:35 am
F for Facebook :P
September 12, 2012 8:33 am
Where is Y and Z ?
September 14, 2012 2:58 am
The Habibi (or Arabic) worldview for all patriotic people is the best way to negate and nullify the larger-than-life influence of the nefarious, hegemonic, take-your-pick-negative-word neighbor. The kids will anyway learn all that in future history books, why not make a start in their ABC's itself?
September 13, 2012 6:27 pm
Some better suggestions -: J = Jihad, F = Fidayeen, A = AK47, B= Burqa, M = Mullah
September 12, 2012 6:14 pm
Hilarious, but didn't get the "Habibi" reference. Will someone care to explain?
nasra aleem
September 12, 2012 5:01 pm
you really did great effort keeping in view the new era.Kindly add Y for Yahoo and Z for Zardari for completing your innovative alphabets.
September 12, 2012 8:51 am
Habibi - - - awesome.
September 12, 2012 9:25 am
Good question. My guesses would be as follows: Y: Youtube Z: Zoom-in
September 12, 2012 9:53 am
Y is Yousuf Gilani and Z is Zardari.
September 14, 2012 10:03 am
Good effort.
akhter khichi
September 13, 2012 7:57 am
F should be for facebook instead of fish
Victor Ostrovsky
September 12, 2012 10:59 am
height of sarcasm in the authors figure of speech. the crux of this post can be noticed easily by every sane person living in this ignorant and fool-hardy society.
September 13, 2012 4:24 am
good piece of writing!
Cyrus Howell
September 14, 2012 5:34 am
' L' is for Load Shedding (seeing how it will remain with us for the unforeseeable future). Like. : O)
Loved It
September 13, 2012 3:25 am
What a wonderful article.
September 13, 2012 7:22 am
Good and something different, to make the reader smile and think as well. keep it up
September 13, 2012 6:45 am
I am absolutely impressed with the quality of thought and humor. I cracked up multiple times what with the cool billi finding religion!!
September 13, 2012 10:01 am
Tahira, USA
September 12, 2012 2:31 pm
If you really intend to print this little book after completing it, may I suggest that each picture page be followed by a blank page asking children to give three more examples for the letter, possibly with pictures. That would inspire some thinking and imagination and also give their feelings an outlet.
September 13, 2012 12:30 pm
This is the second blog from the author which I came across and both were equally brilliant. Beware NFP here come another one with a bang! With me being a fellow architect, it was not very difficult to choose a favorite.
September 13, 2012 11:11 am
nice one :)
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