Just like Madame Defarge of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ silently kept knitting the registry of all those condemned to death and punishment, when the simple and humble peasants eventually rise to the massacre of the oppressors, the nature is writing down all the names and crimes of the feudals acting as pharaohs in the land of the pure. Just as the ‘bloody red queen’ of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland uses pigs as her foot rest, flamingo as a mallet, hedgehog as her croquet ball and monkeys as her throne support, feudals in Pakistan enslave the commoners and treat them like animals. You annoy them slightly and the verdict comes ‘Off with his head‘ and job done. Remember the pharaoh who said to Moses ‘I give life and I give death’. These are no different.
Feudalism in Pakistan is a disease, the metastasis of the primary ailment called colonialism. It’s been ages since the imperialists left us but the common man remains enslaved to the feudal lords all across Pakistan. Big lands, property, cars, arms, luxurious pastimes, oppression of the poor, harassment of women and private jails symbolises them. And when these above-the-law feudal lords become a part of government and legislation, the world sees that this country is in state of anarchy and lawlessness.
Shahzeb, the 20yr old handsome young man, the only son of his parents was killed in cold blood right after his sister’s valima dinner, not on a huge issue but a trivial squabble. ‘You don’t know who I am‘ attitude of the feudal youth driving those lavish cars, surrounded by armed men as their security guards, has replaced the humans in them with devils. Shahzeb Khan is not the name of an individual nor does the killer represent an individual criminal. Shahzeb represents a commoner, who like any brother would be annoyed if someone harasses his sister and would get over it if the issue seemingly settles. He has no right to protest or raise voice against an influential monster and can be cleaned out of the way if need arises, with no one to look for justice. The killer represents the pharaohs of the society, with their right to attack, grab, harass and then get humiliated if a ‘kammi-kameen’ makes noise, eventually plucking the weed out of their way. The whole picture of this tragic incident is a portrayal of our intolerant society. ‘You annoy me – i’ll kill you. You disagree with me – i’ll kill you. You don’t know who I am, but i’ll make sure you will as i’ll kill you‘.
Shahzeb killing symbolises a sick mind-set which should be dealt with an iron fist. But who wears an iron fist in front of the pharaohs? Yes. The same commoners, the peasants, the ‘awam’ which is painted black in face by an angry zameendaarni who uses the filthiest language for a man, her father’s age and he stands helplessly in front of one ‘bloody red queen’ of the area like a helpless animal. Or, the same peasant who is beaten and taken to task for annoying another ‘red queen’ by telling her that the bakery is closed and he can’t sell her the cake. Or, you and I who would become Shahzeb Khans in future if we opt to stay silent.