In Pakistan: I am BIG. You are small!
Guest post on Pakistan today by Saeed Wattoo
This is in response to Wali Zahid’s post, Messed-up Pakistan Series – Curse 2: Sultan Rahi
Our possessions and our power bring us curse. This is the curse of arrogance. Armed with this curse we go about splurging, strutting and uttering poison that kills souls and spirits.
This mass murder committed by condescending looks, sharp words, trenchant tones, grandiose gaits and vulgar opulence is our instinctive tonic without which we feel insignificant as humans.
We murder souls and spirits and then celebrate it. Unless we treat others as rats, the rat in us doesn’t come out of the rat-feeling.
Unfortunately the murdering of a soul is not a quick work. It is accomplished with multiple blows and with weapons sharp and blunt. Each blow along with the pain releases a corresponding dose of benumbing drug and eventually the pain vanishes. Ghalib had lamented that:
“Ranj say khugar hua insaan to mit jaata hay ranj;
Mushkalain itni pari mujh per k aasan ho gaeen”
How could one become addicted to pain without being getting numb? It is only numbness that can make the pain of tortures and torments disappear. Perhaps it is this numbness that poor Ghalib is celebrating as his victory against the ravages of his executioner.
Numb, dumb and dead souls crawling like cockroaches sans any self esteem count for nothing and are weightless burdens on earth.
No society worth its salt can stay erect and stable when the frenzied rampage of power and wealth narcissistically mutilates human spirit as celebration of its worth. All the cosmetics of concrete and colour constructed on the face of a society cannot conceal the ugliness of such a disfigured soul inside.
Poverty is no weakness. What weakens a society is the massacre of poor souls just for the reason they are poor. Poverty becoming a pretext of dehumanisation is what eats a society hollow. Since you are poor you are to be numb, and must bear the slights and slanders with the spirit of spiritlessness.
I hear the bemoans of apathy exhibited by the people on seeing someone in distress and their not coming forward for help. I wonder what else one should expect from numbness?
This numbness must go to instil some honour in the society. It is the crisis of honour – not of poverty – that plagues us. Least honourable being those who are most endowed, whose ignoble endowments are the instruments of stealing honours.
Before the equitable distribution of wealth, the restoration of respect and honour must be demanded as a foremost fundamental right of existence. And if we are unwilling to pay the debts of honour then the consequences of default may be the total alienation of the masses. Since alienation either triggers withdrawal or violence, therefore, given the alarming levels of apathy and anger manifest in our society we may already be at advanced stage of collective alienation.
Saeed Wattoo is a graduate of UET Lahore and is a civil servant serving in Pakistan Customs.
Also by Saeed Wattoo: Are we victims of vacuous gazes?