Empathy and compassion are to humans what soul is to body. Hence the concept of humankind without humanity is a desolate landscape and a barren phenomenon. Meanwhile, the death of mortal humans might not be such a loss as the demise of immortally exalted ideals of humanity. Mournfully, after being in ventilation for long, humanity is now dead. It is no longer with us. Its funeral procession has recently been carried out in Pattoki. Its death is being mourned by the conscientious few. For them, it’s harrowing to foresee a world where we humans are to live in a heartless and sadistic societal milieu.
The heart-breaking and distressing incident in Pattoki displayed the death of our social conscience and society. According to the FIR of the incident, Muhammad Ashraf, a papad (rice crackers) seller, was mercilessly tortured to death by ‘honourable’ guests at a wedding party. The video doing the rounds on social media, showing the poor man’s dead body surrounded by apathetic crowd shamelessly devouring the wedding feast, is egregious and appalling. The video has left me in a state of shock; my heart is shedding the tears of blood; my hands tremble as I pen these words.
The horrifying tragedy proves we are no longer led by conscience rather being driven by materialistic pursuits, vile inclinations, megalomania, egoism and unsatiating gluttony. We have reduced ourselves into lifeless bodies. We have failed as humans. We have flopped as society. We have defied and defeated humanity.
We as society have traded our epithet of being the crown of creatures for material possessions and egoistic desires. We have degraded ourselves down to even the so-called senseless animals. Even lawless realms of jungles don’t witness such scenes. Haven’t you seen an animal body crowded with and surrounded by the fellow animals in grief?
The funeral of the hapless labourer isn’t his, but of humanity, empathy, compassion — of our society, in fact. It’s the burial of our collective conscious and erstwhile exalted humanistic ideal that made us human being. It’s a testimony of degenerative societal plight, growing insensitivity and inhumanity.
In a time where avarice and ultra-materialistic tendencies drive individual and societal interaction and interplay, such gruesome incidents are not unexpected. Rich, powerful, elite and aristocrats are empowered enough to mend, mould and manipulate legal, social, ethical and moral values in line with their vested interests that hardly leave any space for upward social mobility of the downtrodden and the destitute. As trendsetters, they set society on a path that empowers them at the detriment of the hapless lot. The richer gets richer and the poor gets poorer, only to be consumed by agonising circumstances.
The papad-wala was at fault. In an ultra-materialistic and egoistic world, he couldn’t become one. He wasn’t an elite, aristocrat, a politician or a bureaucrat who would have been received warmly by sycophants. He wasn’t a henchmen, a puppet to any notoriously prominent and influential thugs. He wasn’t a mugger or hooligan. He didn’t trade or cash on his conscience. He wasn’t an enlightened criminal or a whitecollar thug. He didn’t choose to loot and plunder. Unlike parasitic and extractive class who thrive on other’s blood, sweat and labour, he had chosen to trade his blood, sweat and labour to make his living. Since he was of no benefit to any of the callous guests, he was treated as such.
In the midst of the demise to humanistic values and exalted ideals of altruism, magnanimity and selflessness, we are being reduced into hard-boiled and cold-hearted colonies of unfeeling masses. We are being transformed from crown of the creatures to curse to the fellow beings and creatures around. We have outspent and outlived our dignified epithet and used the same as an exploitative tool against the underprivileged and destitute segment of society.
Would justice be served to the victim? More resourceful the persons, higher the exploitation and manipulation of so-called justice. This sums the answer.
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