Peaceful beams of rising sun, shining dew drops on rose petals, coquettish waves on the sea shore, sweet little chirping birds and cool breeze puffing around the hair, depicts a panorama where every one of us would simply love to hem in! Just envisage for a moment a social order brimming with love, affection, kindness, gentleness, justice and humanity; a state of affairs where every thing might be in apple-pie order. You will find the same peacefulness and serenity which you were envisioning in aforementioned panorama. Our heart and mind comes into contact with the highest level of calmness and composure by a mere glimpse of this particular scenario. And imagine if it becomes reality, we can discover heaven in this mortal world.
There was a friend of mine who’s quite senior to me, in age and in intellectual capacity as well. He often used to say, “Farhan, kash hum moteyoon ke aik mala hotay, tou jenay ka bohat maza aata…” (Farhan, wish we were a pearl necklace, then it would be fun to live). At that time I used to reply with a sweet smile, “Khalid bhai, agar hum moteyoon ke tarha bay-jaan hotay, tou hum zinda kesay hotay? Or phir ice cream kesay khatay?” (Khalid bhai, if we would be lifeless like pearls then how could we live? And how could we eat ice cream?) “Haan ye tou mainay socha he nahin thaa…!” (Oh yes! I didn’t think about it. ) Khalid bhai used to reply scratching his head with a smile.
About 10 years have passed and today when I gaze through the condition of my society with a little bit grownup mentality and notions of my own, that “despondent smile” of Khalid Bhai reflects into my eyes and even at times gets me into tears.
How pathetically we are trapped in the barriers of various socio-economic categories. Servant class, middle class, upper middle class, super class, these classifications that we have made on the basis of wealth, I think, is a scandalous and shameful act in a Muslim society. We are the follower of a glorious personality who always treated all and sundry equally. But even then we don’t bother to do away with such hideous classifications.
A few days back, we were invited to an Iftar party at my cousin’s place. After greeting everyone, when I wanted to shake hands with a servant out there, my cousin’s remarks pinched me like a needle. “You are greeting Nazir as if he were also a cousin of yours,” the sentence which was so shocking to me, was a “necessary remark” by my cousin to maintain his status. The wretched condition of our mean and shoddy attitude is that when we go to visit our relatives, we even don’t bother to greet the servants. And if anyone of us does, first the relatives gaze with strange eyes and then the servant extends his hand reluctantly (as if something unique is going to happen).
Socially, we’ve considered our servants so much below the standard that it has eliminated the characteristics of humanity from their lives. They are forced to realise that they are utterly different and below us in eating, dressing, social gathering rather in every walk of life. We better look after our pet animals, give them the best to eat, the best to live and keep their young in our laps gladly but have we ever taken the child of our servant in our arms with the same gladness?
Just imagine what a large part of humanity we are wasting in this way, which doesn’t have any object in life, any part in social and economic development of the country. They are considered a mere burden on the society. If they are given only their fundamental rights, indubitably they can prove quite fruitful for the welfare of the society.
Just take a look at a rosary, a large portion of it consists of beads of the same size but there are a number of those that are small in size. And regardless of their size, all these beads are threaded in the same twine and stand united in one string. Similarly, when we talk about the rosary of human beings, apart from the economic and social conditions all of them ought to be threaded in one stratum. None of us is superior or inferior except on the basis of piety. We just have to consider that even when we stand in front of our Creator while offering prayer, we aren’t allowed to make any sort of classification then how can we divide ourselves in various strata and feel to be ‘superior’ ones.
The beads of a broken rosary spread in various directions. The same is the condition with us today; we are roving like the beads of a broken rosary not knowing our direction. I don’t know what were the exact intentions of Atif Aslam but it seems that he highlighted the pathetic condition of our society when he said, “Hum kis gali jarahay hain, apna koi thikana nahin, apna koi fasana nahin” (“What path we are taking, we do not have an abode, we do not have a story”).
Ramazan is the only time when there seems a little order and balance not only in our daily schedule but in the social structure as well. During this month the well-off, help the poor by giving them alms through which they enjoy those necessities of life from which we get pleasure throughout the year. And on the other hand we also experience the same condition of hunger and thirst through which the poor has to undergo 24/7. As a result, social and economic life of all arrives at the same level to some extent.
But the unfortunate thing is that we don’t try to maintain the same balance throughout the year. This sacred month is a sort of an opportunity to straighten out the knotted and pending disorders of our social and economic lives. And when there is an order and balance in the life, when every one gets equal rights and facilities without any classification of ‘poor or rich’, the society truly brims up with love, affection, care, kindness, justice and humanity. The breeze of peace, loyalty, harmony and honesty swathes the society and life becomes heaven.
(DAWN, 20 September 2008)