SUKKUR: Three-foot tall Burhanul Haq Bukhari hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to finding jobs. For now, he is working as a peon in a government department on daily wages and is trying to make ends meet with a salary of a little more than Rs7,000 a month.
His father, Ehsanul Haq Bukhari, also a man of short stature, was an expert goldsmith and earned enough to look after a family of 11 members. He taught his craft to Burhan and his four brothers but they were unable to continue with the family business. “We started working with our father and learnt the art of making jewellery. We were earning good money through the craft but but with the introduction of machines, goldsmiths have been left jobless,” Burhan told The Express Tribune.
Like his siblings, Burhan also did not complete his education and left his studies right after primary school. “It was very difficult for me to continue my studies with my physical structure as students always used to pass insulting remarks on my height.”
Five years ago, when his father died, Burhan quit his family business and started working as a peon in the Sindh Public Transport Service in Sukkur. “My salary amounts to nothing in comparison to the price hike. For us, meat is almost forbidden as it is expensive. We only get to eat meat at Eidul Azha,” he said. “Four out of my six children are studying in different classes while the remaining two are too young to attend. Since we live in a joint family system, and my brothers make more money than me, I feel that my kids will grow up with a sense of deprivation.” Burhan’s wife is five-foot tall and two of his kids are also growing according to age. Four of his children, however, also have Burhan’s physical stature.
As Burhan is not employed on a permanent basis, the burden of securing a job weighs heavy on his small shoulders. “I have been trying to get a permanent job in the government department for a while. The former Sukkur district nazim, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, had assured me that he would give me a good job but he never fulfilled his promise. Luckily, my colleagues are very cooperative and help me in my work.”
His co-worker Kashif, who works as a guard, helps Burhan discharge his duties. “Burhan’s physical structure does not allow him to walk too much, which is why we all help him,” said Kashif. “He is a very good and loving person.”
Deputy administrator Syed Majid Ali Shah, appreciating Burhan’s work and nature, said that they were trying to find him a permanent job. According to Shah, the office timings are from 9am to 5pm but Burhan is allowed to leave at 2pm. “Sukkur deputy commissioner Shahzad Tahir Thaheem has recommended that Burhan’s salary be increased from Rs7,000 to Rs10,000. We will increase the salary as soon as we receive the order.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2013.
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