While an indifferent state continues to add new chapters to our tale of woes, commoners are no less creative in dispensing misery. The state’s abysmal record in governance left the door open to people. Millions seized the initiative taking a leap in the realm of governance by spawning millions of small states; each lorded over by one of us. The states comprise our homes and public spaces next to them. Rank in the pecking order has a direct bearing on the size of ‘My State’.
While some are happy to limit claims to green belts outside their homes, there are some who don’t mind taking over the whole road if need be. Perhaps a manifestation of the infamous trickle down affect Shaukat Aziz would lovingly talk about, prosperity of very few trickling down in time to miserable many. What has actually trickled down is elite’s penchant to grab, claim without scruples.
What is common among Milads, Marriages and Funerals? The answer is all three are mostly held on roads, streets with a complete disregard for others who have equal rights over the road. We thus become a source of misery to others even in happiness and grief. The administration is invariably clueless even unwilling to act. If its a Milad, then the officials seem to be under a divine obligation to play blind to the shameless occupation. After all who can possible dare to disrupt Hamd-o-Sana of the almighty?
It is quite a sight to see bearded men draped in crisp white shalwar qameez and pieces of shimmering green cloth trailing their gilded turbans. They strut like peacocks spouting the divine message and censure in equal measure. They are the organizers and are more than willing to respond to objections from frustrated commuters by violence even accusations of blasphemy. They conveniently forget that blocking a public road is no less a sin than any other causing misery to others. It is a crime too.
Marriages are no different, if a source of pleasure for brides and grooms, then certain displeasure for the hapless commuters stopped in their tracks by the gaudy tents on the road. People are neither apologetic nor cognizant of the misery, noise, food litter inflicts on others. Not to forget the loud, blaring music that is played at ear splitting decibels.
Quite often when you leave your house in some urgency, you suddenly find yourself staring blankly at a tent blocking the road. It is downright infuriating regardless of what the occasion is. In grief too, we seem to spare no one except the departed. The aggrieved make it a point to share their grief around. Yes by blocking the road. Because of the gloom pervading the Jinaza, no one dares to object.
What explains this crude behavior? Is it lack of education or administrative will? Whatever the drivers are, one fundamental reason is the “I damn care” attitude that has taken root at all societal levels. The powerful operate without fear or remorse. In the maddening struggle to survive, to hatchet one’s way through the jungle that Pakistan is, the small courtesies are often deemed excess baggage, too unworthy of the warriors inhabiting the land of pure.