EVERY war has its debilitating effects. It takes time for the scars received in a war zone to heal. Fifty years back, Eidul Azha fell on Jan 28, 1972. According to this newspaper, barring traditional ceremonies, Eidul Azha was this time around observed, not celebrated, by women and children. There were some exceptions that women wore new clothes, otherwise all of them spent the day in their old clothes. It reflected the general feeling of solemnity. The usual cheerfulness was conspicuous by its absence. Never before was Eid observed in the country with a sense of sadness and national loss. Children also showed remarkable awareness of what had happened. They readily understood when their parents told them the reason for not getting new outfits. In some cases, they themselves told their parents they would not like to have new attires. It was an austerity Eid.

To add to the glum mood, at least 22 persons were injured in the city, including a 17-day-old infant, in a clash between two groups. They clashed in Nashtar Basti behind PIB Colony soon after the Eid prayers. They fought over a minor issue and later one of the groups resorted to rioting and even fired a few gunshots. The trouble began when a young man objected to another involved in anti-social activity near the former’s hut. He later lodged a complaint with the New Town police station. While returning home, the accused came with 20 men and attacked him.

A different kind of agitation took place on Jan 23 as the media relayed it the next day: artists working for the television industry formed the Television Actors Equity to protect the status of actors participating in TV productions and for their welfare at large. More than 100 TV actors who had assembled on the lawns of the Karachi TV Station took part in the inception ceremony of the association. Speakers urged the authorities to be responsible, and revise their fee structure in light of the ever increasing cost of living. An eight-member committee headed by actor Mahmood Ali was set up on the occasion.

Staying on the subject of responsibility, on Jan 23, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan inaugurated a two-day seminar on the status of women in Pakistan with special reference to their role in national reconstruction. The event was organised by the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club at its Karachi branch. Begum Khan said wider education and vocational training opportunities for women at all levels should form the bedrock from which just and lasting results would come in due course. She pointed out there were many snags along the road, some stemming from outworn traditional attitudes, some from the lack of full recognition of the very vital links between freedom and responsibility.

And on Jan 27, a news item appearing in Dawn’s Karachi metro page caught many an eye. It read: portrait of head of the state would now be displayed in offices of the government, autonomous and semiautonomous bodies, along with the photo of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. President Z A Bhutto had earlier stated that only pictures of the Quaid-i-Azam would be displayed in public offices. The ministry of defence, however, directed its subordinate offices and corporations that apart from the Quaid’s photo, the picture of head of the state should be used in offices.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022

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