October 12, 2010

Because they are the sons of lesser men…

Cruel isn't it? Binding notebooks when he will never even
get to spell his own name. (Photo: Dawn.com)
You know why we’re always stuck in the middle of plights? It’s because we have refused to acknowledge the sanctity of the human race. The Ottomans abolished slavery from the world, but did they really succeed at that? What are all those people working in your homes if not but slaves? Particularly the teenage kids? They have no rights, no destinies and no futures. They are bound by their fate and their slavery because they were born in the wrong place, in the wrong house and in the wrong family. Your mothers shout at them, and treat them as if they do not deserve to live; as if they do not have any aspirations, as if they have no life. They forget to do dusting in the morning, and they have to repent for that act for days. We make them cry because they forgot to polish our shoes because we made them run errands for us when our friends were coming over for the cool party that we threw. Was that their fault? Or was that ours?

They want to go to school but can’t because that would mean their family has to starve. They bear abuse and they soak up their tears knowing that despite wanting out, there is no outlet for them. They are slaves, and quite helpless at that. And you know what happens when they accept they are slaves? They become incorrigible; because we turn them into so. I’ve seen teenage kids who are forced to work as domestic help hide their basic nursery grade English and Urdu books because they feel ashamed they are not at the same footing as we are; because they are ashamed that we think they are inferior to us because they do not have the same amenities and luxuries that we have. But you know what? I feel ashamed of depriving them of their dreams; of depriving them of their hopes and desires; of depriving them of their will to succeed and to make themselves proud. I am ashamed. I do not deserve the luxuries and the comforts that life throws at me every now and then, when they can’t even afford a Pepsi because that would cut into their monthly house budgets.

We have even defined certain utensils which are only theirs to use because God forbid, if they ate from “our” utensils, we would be left with no choice but to destroy them. We have created a second class citizenry out of our own people. Why then do we expect them to vote for the intellectuals and the kind hearted? Why can’t we understand their plight? They go to vote because they are offered a thousand rupees for their vote; because a thousand rupees is more than what they even wish for. Is the state to blame for our ills? Or are we?

They are to blame when something goes wrong, and they are to blame when everything is quite right but you’re pissed. They are to blame for waking up late, and they are to blame because we kept them awake at night. They are to blame because they went to the market one day without telling you, and they are to blame because you yelled at them till they cried. They are to blame because you don’t give a damn about their lives, and they are to blame because they were born in some third grade family. Their mothers toss and turn at night with tears streaming down their faces because of the plights their sons are in, but their sons are to blame because they make such poor servants even when they’re perfect. They are stuck forever, in a paradox because we choose for them to be stuck in the middle of one.

And I am to blame for thinking about it, feeling their pain, and writing about it. Because they don’t deserve to have people read what hell they are made to go through because frankly, they are to blame for going through that hell in the first place. Even animals are treated better in this country now. Maybe that’s why all our humanity is spent on polo horses, and dogs, and cats.

We make them cry. We have caused a sense of depravity amongst them. We have abandoned them because that is what the Grand Scheme entails maybe? My heart cries for the thousands of millions of such kids across Pakistan, who cry every night because tomorrow brings a new hell with it. I feel their sorrow because somehow, God was unjust to them; because somehow, they are the sons of lesser men.