The annual livestock cull is over with the country’s prime breeding stock duly depleted yet again. For a country that admits its meat supplies are insufficient by its observance of two meatless days a week, it would neither be undemocratic nor irreligious, nor unreasonable for those who pretend to govern to attempt to establish some sort of orderliness when it comes to sheer numbers.
What is supposed to be an event denoting sacrifice has in far too many cases become a mere flaunting of wealth and the worst form of vulgar conspicuous consumption. The very fact that dealers in deep freezers and refrigerators double their trade in the run-up to Eidul Azha should make everyone think and wonder as to exactly how much sacrifice is involved. To celebrate with ‘zeal and fervour’ as is the case with all types of festivities is fine and dandy, but there must be some sort of balance in both.
There is hope, however, that sense may be somewhere around the corner, in very small pockets, as a number of commentators, in the press at least, during the run-up to Eid, have questioned this latter-day form of observance of the festival of sacrifice on the grounds of overdoing things — which is a national trait in all walks of life — and on the grounds that the public crowd-pulling camel and mass slaughter that takes place in the streets of the cities of Pakistan and undoubtedly in public in the rural areas where the fat feudals reign supreme, is not exactly a spectacle to which children should be exposed. What does this particular form of entertainment do to the impressionable youth, all too often illiterate with unformed minds? It’s the sort of thing the militant madrassas might recommend to the young boys they brainwash.
But then, to expect the modern-day Pakistani leaders who have crawled into positions of power to even think in terms of moderation, or of any imposition of law and order and decency, is asking far too much of them. They are the prime examples of what should not be done as they are of what should be done but is not. So until there is a revolution of sorts in the national mindset, the spirit of sacrifice is set to wane with the years as vulgarity waxes.
Also, during the run-up to the festival, hopefully the nation was given a wake-up call and taught some sort of a lesson. We have one Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry but we could do with a dozen or so Justices Jeffery Cooke and an equal number of prosecutors who can do the job they are supposed to do, produce evidence, pursue it and make it stick.
The sentences handed down to the three gluttonous greedy cricketers for the corruption in which they engaged, who betrayed the game they played and the public who paid to see it by turning it into a lucrative business, should have induced a bit of pondering by our peerless politicians who have done the same on the field of national politics — remorselessly betrayed those who put them where they are by means fair or foul and who have made governance and the non-imposition of law and order into an ongoing business bringing in handsome profits. And this pertains to whatever leadership this country has had, whether in or out of khaki.
On a lighter note, all is not gloom, Birkin bags are still with us. Early this month, at the Istanbul Regional Conference on unhappy Afghanistan, displayed was the tan Birkin bag of which we had learnt when our foreign minister visited India with the black one. But discreetly, not worn on the arm. In photographs, there it was — a tan B-bag standing next to the ministerial feet. Then came Saarc at Addu this past week and we had the full monty — it was dashingly elbow-banded in all its glory.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2011.
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