The weight of the world
Her eyes welled up with tears when she started telling us her story...
We met her in one of the wards of Karachi’s Psychiatric Hospital. A quiet ward with no proper lighting, space or clean-up. Gloom pervaded and we wondered if, in such a setting, sunniness had any chance of entering the distressed hearts. Every patient in the room had an accompanying relative. Mother or sister. Except her. She was alone.
You could easily tell she was overburdened with sorrow. Her eyes welled up with tears when she started telling us her story and she wept when she mentioned her children.
“My husband took away my children,” she told us. “He denied being the father of my newborn. He accused me of cheating him. He divorced me, killed my new born by throwing it in a gutter and took away my three year old son. I don’t have anyone but my mother.”
She wants her son back.
With what words can you comfort a mother who had lost her children just 20 days back? I was silent while my friend, with better skills, tried to console her.
The hospital had banners of the ruling party - the only change we had noticed since our last visit. The rest was unchanged: the same filthy grounds and wards without proper ventilation.
The husband guilty of infanticide roams the street freely and why not? Are not the rulers criminals themselves? Do they not reflect the people?
I wonder how long and what does it take to change the mentality of the whole nation?
In another department of the same hospital, we met a very weak child admitted as a long term patient. Due to our limited Sindhi, we could not communicate properly with the child’s mother. She, like many others in the hospital, was from interior Sindh where health care isn’t available. They go to quacks and so-called holy-healers but when the patient’s condition deteriorates, they come to Karachi to seek professional help. Sometimes it’s too late.
Why are the two most important sectors, health and education, ignored by the government? Can we really be a developing nation when there’s no development in these sectors? Millions of children attend public schools and isn’t it a shame that they read the same books their parents read? A stagnant curriculum and a prevailing rote culture – when, really, when will we change?
This post was originally published here.