Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In Memory of Ibn-e-Insha

Dear Insha jee,

Today marks your 34th death anniversary. There was almost no mention of you in the morning news on any television channel. It is heartbreaking but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that PTV is no longer supreme. In fact, it is on the list of endangered species as far as television channels are concerned. We have, now, many private channels spewing news, views and abuse all day long. Since you will not add to either their viewership or ratings, thus you are ignored while a filmi award show and half clad Brazilian models feature in headline news.

Don’t let the above mislead you. Pakistan has not changed much in the last 34 years. It has in some ways, but not for the better. We are still entangled in an identity crisis on provincial, sectarian and religious grounds; a pastime that, at all levels, keeps the entire nation busy. Individual welfare precedes national interest. Besides praying for roti (bread), kapra (cloth) and makan (house), we’ve added electricity, gas, sugar and water to the list also. Religious tolerance is at its worst.  The national flag, though, retains the white colour for minorities but it seems that’s all we have for them now.

Your residence in North Nazimabad is a short walk from a friend’s place. When in London I saw a house, in Notting hill, with a plaque, ‘George Orwell lived here’. Nothing of that sort is done in our country, except in graveyards. The only other plaques installed around the length and breadth of the city are in commemoration of new roads and bridges and have names of dead, ousted or exiled politicians and dictators. A country which does not celebrate its writers, artists, thinkers and philosophers lacks a soul. Did we ever have one, I wonder, in the first place?

But all is not lost Insha jee, Imran Khan is going to become prime minister and fix all our problems. What did you say? How can a sports man become a politician?

Anything is possible now Insha jee. But not all that is possible is good.

P.S: Aap achay waqt main kooch kar gaye...