FOR 364 days of the Gregorian calendar the country’s wedding halls and hotels are abuzz with music and incandescent dances performed by the host and guests, both girls and boys, to celebrate a happy occasion. However, on the 365th day, that is December 31 or New Year night, the country’s moralists suddenly wake up to campaign against those who want to publicly celebrate the onset of the new year.
In the big cities, groups of youth hailing from religio-political parties equipped with sticks led by their elderly leaders scout streets and roads sniffing private houses that may be committing the ‘crime’ of celebrating New Year night. Conversely, one can conclude that it is the way of the bigots to celebrate New Year night
What is the logic one may ask these zealots, for protesting New Year night celebration? We all follow the Gregorian calendar for recording the days of our birth and death and eagerly await the first day of the month of the same calendar to receive our monthly salaries. The pesh-imam of our locality never misses the first day of the month of the Gregorian calendar to receive his salary from the mosque’s managing committee.
In the pre-Zia era, hotels and clubs in all big cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar used to publicise in advance the holding of music-dance parties on New Year night; it never spread fahashi (lewd behaviour) as the present day obscurantist would have us believe.
Shockingly, these are a handful of bigots who impose their will on the majority. Instead of some semi-literate obscurantist dilating on the definition of what is righteous let it be a choice of individuals to exercise discretion.
The government must rise up to the occasion and ensure that no one takes law in their hand on New Year’s night, December 31, 2018.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018