August 20, 2010

The Tide of Misery

The floods of 2010 have ended up extrapolating what the state has failed to do over 63 years: help the Pakistanis. There is misery everywhere; dripping off the faces of the poor who have nowhere to goto, showing in the lines and creases of those who have spent an eternity trying to live a life which they did not deserve. The question arises, what did we, what did the State of Pakistan, which is mandated to treat them like kings and queens, to do help them?

I read the tales of the endurance of the Pakistani nation everywhere. I hear stories about how we are unbreakable and how, we never give up, come hell or high water. But when you slow down and ask yourself why are we like this, you will find we are not an enduring, patient, taking-everything-in-our-stride nation by choice. We have been made to bear everything and we weren't given any options by the state. We were never given any option other than to surrender our lives to the miserable destiny that was decided and forced upon us by our very own Pakistani state. When someone tried circumventing all the misery and sufferance, he was struck not unlike how the kings in the olden days used to strike down traitors and revolutionaries.

When we were young, we were drilled strong and hard into learning patriotic songs by heart and singing them in the assembly at school, or at national holidays. It has been what, 10 years at max, but I don't remember even a single one of them now. Does that reflect poorly on me? Or does that act as a mirror to the State? The State that has never cared for it's citizens?

We are forced into rote learning "facts" from history. Facts that would make our enemies cringe with jealousy and which make us float with joy. Facts such as how we are the un-challenged jewel of the Muslim world; how we defeated the "paleed" Hindus at their own ball game in 1965. We have been forced to live a life of paradoxes by the State, and the status quo dare not change because it so much easier to maintain it and make a fool out of us. We never won the 1965 war. And the Hindus did not start it, we did. But blah. Forget it.

What about the facts that we see everyday, during day and night that never seem to register with us? How many grubby hands do you see everyday on the signals while you're listening to punk metal/rock with the AC turned to full and music blasting out your new 450w Kenwood speakers while those hands wilt prematurely under the relentless sun? How many times have you thought to wonder why they are out there and you are in here, and why you have never done anything for them? Have you ever wondered why you are repulsed by their sights, or have you accepted that as a "fact" too? Maybe your rich dad, or socialite mom thought it would be crass to teach you otherwise.

We are a living effigy of suppression, oppression, corruption and all other synonyms attached to these words. Every synonym. The state has time and again proved to be inept and incapable, but so have we. We vote the state into power don't we? We accept its crass policies don't we? Maybe we also learnt that as a "fact", to follow and never lead, and to obey and never question.

There is poverty, abject poverty. But that does not kindle the emotions in me that, say, Angelina Jolie does. And it's true for all of us. But what do I do? Do I stop caring? Do I start laughing, poking fun at people's misery? I know neither the state, nor a majority, will stop to offer a helping hand, and yes, I've witnessed firsthand how much people are willing to give, but what does that mean? Do I give up and not try? Do I let my crass side take over?

Every day, whenever I step out the house, incidents occur that make me boil over. But who cares why I'm boiling? The state? It couldn't care less even though it should. This nation of 180 million has isolated 20 million people because we just don't give a damn. We are in a stupor heading for a disaster. Some might say we are in the middle of the disaster but once again, what are you going to do about it? The rot set in a long time ago. We need to stop living in the past. Musharraf was good, Zardari was bad, Nawaz Sharif was gay, Chaudhrys were bloodsuckers, whatever! Get out of the WAS and start thinking about the is!

My mind rambles on, but then I remember it is as pointless and aimless as a housefly, which will die in 24 hours. The point is, it doesn't know it will be dead in 24 hours. I think I now have a rough idea of how much time we've got before the lava bursts, decimating everything.