I refuse to lose my religion!

Part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water. I managed to do that and nearly got lynched in the process.

Amna Iqbal September 22, 2012
What about the rest of us? Meaning the living; those of us who have to make a living, those who have to get to work despite knowing that there is a fair chance we might get shot at for not showing enough solidarity. How do you express solidarity through violence for a system that is about peace in times of chaos, anyway?

I was supposed to be angry today. I was, still am. I am fuming, in fact, because I work for a newspaper and part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water.

I managed to do that and nearly got lynched in the process. I was a block away from my office when a group of kids surrounded my car with sticks. Our car was stopped and just as they were aiming for the windshield I stepped out and asked them what exactly they thought they were doing.

They stopped immediately and slowly backed away. I have two theories here of what stopped them – the sheer surprise of a woman stepping out amid them screaming or a collective moment of self-reflection of how attacking their fellow countrymen and women, risking lives, even their own, was making any sense. I am pretty sure it was the former and not the latter.

I wish it was the latter even though the former would have made me feel a little heroic. Had it been a little bit of the latter, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I walked in fuming and a colleague of mine, who also had to snake his way through lynch mobs to get to work, told me how he stopped to ask a policeman in his super secure mobile what the safest route to take was; he was told to go home and sleep.

Words of wisdom, surely.

As I started writing this through a red haze of fury, my editor walked in and I go off on a rant on how unfair a day like this is. My editor is one of those people who manages to counter the chaos of a newsroom and daily rants with an otherworldly calm. He silently took out a 500 rupee-note and asked me to read what one of the inscriptions on the note said,

‘Husool-e-rizk-Halal Ibadat hai’  (Striving for an honest livelihood is a form of worship).

The day progressed with the usual newsroom mania that ensues on a day like this. Eventually the race to get pages done overwhelmed everything else.

The anger didn’t subside though. It was channelled however to a different direction. I know now that I am doing the right thing – I refuse to give in to dishonesty, I refuse to suffer fools and stay at home and, most importantly, I refuse to lose my religion.

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Amna Iqbal The writer is the publications designer at The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Fatima | 11 years ago | Reply I understand the sentiment and completely agree with it. Though, having some trouble connecting the title with the content. How you losing your religion?
gp65 | 11 years ago | Reply @p r sharma: "I think by religion the author means to endeavor for honest livelihood or sincerity and devotion to work despite all odds .. This is the religion she refuses to lose". I think that the people criticizing this blog get what you are saying. But in effect she is simply saying that HER religion " work is worship" is better than their religion. This argument is the root cause of problems in Pakistan. People need to get back to making religion a personal matter between them and their God and not drag religion into every argument.
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