Ideological mix-up

It’s really shameful that even after debating for years the correct order of the motto left by Quaid-i-Azam for the nation, our Establishment remains confused in what order to place Unity, Faith and Discipline. Some years ago Islamabad’s mandarins put up Quaid’s portrait in steel on a hillock on Islamabad Highway near the airport with the words of the motto beneath it — apparently to inspire the people than practise the Quaid’s message themselves. But the order of the words of the motto in Urdu and English in shining stainless steel on either side of the hillock has changed a few times. The combo picture, by our staff photographer Ishaque Chaudhry, shows the latest change — the Urdu and English versions present the motto in different orders. Was it a blunder on the part of the Islamabad authorities or deliberate? Until President Gen Ziaul Haq arrived on the national scene in 1977 riding the wave of Nizam-i-Mustafa, the order used to be Unity, Faith and Discipline. But the missionary president changed it to Faith, Unity and Discipline, perhaps to rhyme with the ‘Jihad fee Sabeelillah’ that he had added to the motto of the Pakistan Army — an inspiration that served extremely well the US-backed jihad fought against communist Soviet Union in Afghanistan in 1980s. As conservatism got well entrenched in various branches of the Establishment, someone decided that ‘Faith’ in the Quaid’s saying should get precedence over ‘Unity’. The change caused a furore that prompted several scholars of the Pakistan Movement to vent their views on the Quaid’s beliefs and the message he wished to convey in the order he placed his three points. As the changing times made the Establishment rediscover Quaid-i-Azam’s liberal ideals, the three-point motto was restored to its original form. Is it that the latest change in placing the points in different order in their English and Urdu versions also dictated by changing times? After all our role in the ‘war on terror’ requires our Establishment grounded in English to put Unity on the top while Iman (faith) is more dear to the Urdu-knowing masses.

When big fish eat small fish farmers

By Imran Saleem


GUJRANWALA: Despite government’s tall claims about massive availability of fish-seeds and soft loans, per acre fish production has been stalled at around 1,000 kilogramme annually for the last 17 years.

Fish farmers say the production has been stagnant due to: unavailability of loans under the Chief Minister’s Loan Scheme to all fish farmers; a lack of administration staff in the Fisheries Department; conventional methods of farming; expensive fertilisers and electricity; rampant fish diseases; and the lack of a proper fish market in Gujranwala.

There are over 1,000 fish farms spreading over 5,000 acres in Gakkhar, Ojla, Alipur Chattha, Madras Chattha, Merajke Chattha, Qadarabad, Bhatti Mansoor, Qila Didar Singh, Head Khanki, Rasulnagar and Mancher Chattha. These farms produce 5,000 tons of fish every year. The variety of fish bred in these farms include: 50 per cent of Rohu, 15 per cent of Mori,15 per cent of Thailla, 10 per cent of Grass Carp and 10 per cent of Silver Carp. Of these, 40 per cent of fish are exported to Afghanistan and the Middle East while the remaining 60 per cent is sold in Lahore and Rawalpindi fish markets.

Fish is sold at inflated rates in the city because there is no proper fish market here.

One public and 30 private fish hatcheries are functional in Chenawan, Alipur Chattha, Qadarabad, Kailanwali, Wazirabad and Muraliwala, providing almost 3.7 million fish-seed to farms annually.

There are small fish markets in Alipur Chattha and Qadarabad. There used to be a fish market in city but 10 years or so ago, it was converted into a cloth market. This factor has left no choice for local fish farmers except selling their produce in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

The Fisheries Department, which was made to help fish farmers, has been no help to farmers due to a lack of staff and infrastructure. The district office of the department has only three staffers and they have no transport to visit farms.

Many farmers said expensive electricity rates had made it difficult for them to run their tube wells. This creates shortage of oxygen in ponds resulting in deaths of 40 per cent of fish. Some farmers sell dead fish at half rates in Wazirabad but most of the dead fish are destroyed.

Viral disease Ulcernization also increases the rate of fish mortality, while the presence of lethal ammonia in ponds due to fertilizers also kills thousands of fish.

Imtiaz Naseem Cheema, a fish-farmer of Gakkhar, alleged the department rented out its bulldozers to only influential and “ordinary” farmers had to wait for six months for their turn.

He said the Fisheries Department did not arrange training sessions for farmers.

He said if a fish market and a fish-packing plant were set up in Gujranwala, the sale and production of fish would go up in the city.

Zakaullah Khan, district officer of the Gujranwala Fisheries Department, told Dawn the government gave a 50 per cent subsidy on the rent of bulldozers for the digging and renovation of ponds besides subsidised electricity, government’s lands on lease and loans at 2 per cent of interest rate to increase the production of fish. He claimed fish production in the district had increased from 1,800 tons in 2006 to 2,6031 tons in 2007.

He said government’s barren land had been utilised for fish farming. About diseases Lernia and fish lice, he said both were curable but farmers did not follow the instructions of the department.

He said mostly farmers were uneducated and used excessive amounts of fertilisers for quick growth of fish, but it caused ammonia, a lethal gas for fish.

He said ammonia could be controlled by using lime but most of the farmers had no knowledge about the method.

He said farmers did not have nurseries where fries were reared for two months and then shifted to ponds. He said many farmers would release fries directly into ponds which decreased fish growth by 50 per cent.

He said if farmers maintained at least six foot water level in ponds and keep checking the contamination of pond-water by using ‘Sachie disk’ equipment, deaths of fries could be avoided.

Ghulam Abbas and

By Dr Rauf Parekh


AANANDI is one of the most striking and distinct short stories in Urdu.

With its publication in 1939, critics and readers recognised its author, Ghulam Abbas, as a writer to reckon with. Known for his craft marked by profuse details and a controlled pace of events, Ghulam Abbas tells the tale in such a way that it fully conveys the social repercussions of a moral issue.

The plot is very simple: after long deliberations, the city fathers decide to relocate prostitutes far away from the city as they feel the latter are a stigma society must be rid of. And a piece of land six miles away from the city, the remains of an old village named Aanandi (happy or joyful, that is), is allotted to them. When the ladies of the evening move in and start building their houses, a small army of labourers and workers gathers there, which in turn lures shopkeepers into setting up shops. The government provides the town with electricity and as admirers begin to visit and patronise the ladies, a bazaar, a mosque, a theatrical company, a cinema, a park, a factory and ultimately, housing schemes surface and the humming town becomes very much a part of the city it was intended to be removed from.

Twenty years down the road, the city fathers gather again to rid the city of stigma, wondering why their elders had decided to relocate the red-light area to the middle of town. This time, the prostitutes are shifted to a piece of land twelve miles away from the city. The satirical moral of the story shows readers the duplicity of society and they instantly share the author’s insight.

Renowned poet Noon Meem Rashid, in his preface to Ghulam Abbas’ book Jare Ki Chandni, says that Aanandi raises many questions such as whether or not vice and virtue are relative terms; whether or not the ‘elders’ of society create a new vice while trying to banish it; and whether or not the entire progress of civilisation revolves around women who gratify our lascivious desires for petty amounts. Using prostitutes as a canvas, Ghulam Abbas draws a picture that derides, wrote Rashid, the equivocal mentality and the contradictions of a male-dominated society.

Born in Amritsar on November 17, 1909, Ghulam Abbas received his early education in Lahore. Being a voracious reader, he had read English, French and Russian literature extensively. At the age of 15, his translation of one of Leo Tolstoy’s famous short stories was published in Hazar Dastan, Lahore.

After his father’s death, Ghulam Abbas had to abandon education. The first job he got was in the railways where for Rs30 a month, he had to mark the goods. But he quit the job as he thought that as much money could be earned with his pen. As a freelancer, he wrote regularly for many literary magazines such as Humayun, Nigar, Adab-e-Lateef and Sheeraza, rendering many masterpieces of western literature into Urdu. He got paid Rs20 for a short story published in the 1929 annual of Nairang-e-Khayal, a prestigious literary magazine published from Lahore.

In 1928, Ghulam Abbas joined ‘Dar-ul-Ishaat Punjab’, Lahore, the famous publishing house run by no less than Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj. Ghulam Abbas remained associated with it till 1938 and edited Phool, a landmark Urdu magazine for children and Tehzeeb-e-Niswaan, a very popular Urdu magazine for women. He joined All India Radio in 1938 and edited AIR’s Urdu and Hindi magazines, Awaz and Sarang.

After independence, Ghulam Abbas migrated to Pakistan and joined Radio Pakistan where he edited Pakistan Calling and Ahang. In 1954, he joined the BBC and remained associated with it for a few years.

Among other literary masterpieces, Ghulam Abbas translated Washington Irving’s The Alhambra, which was published under the title of Alhamra Ke Afsane in 1929. His satirical novelette Jazeera-e-Sukhan Waran was published in 1941 but had earlier appeared in Sheeraza, Lahore, in instalments. His other translations include President Mohammed Ayub Khan’s book Friends Not Masters, titled Jis Rizq Se Aati Ho Parwaz Men Kotahi. He wrote a few books for children, while other works include Kan Ras, Gondni Wala Takya and Dhanak.

Critics have traced the influences of Chekhov and Maupassant on Ghulam Abbas but the most evident influences are of Prem Chand and Tolstoy.

Ghulam Abbas died in Karachi on November 2, 1982, and was buried in Society Graveyard.



© DAWN Group of Newspapers, 2007

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