According to an article i read recently, bestiality is a rite of passage in parts of Pakistan. Considering that sexual depravity is no stranger to young, virile Pakistani men, I am reluctant to dismiss this claim as another journo out to malign the image of Pakistan.
Rites of passage, after all, are essential to human life.
Take for example the rite of passage involving young bloggers in Pakistan. At some point in their blogging career, all of us write this post.
You know, the one in which we deride, mock and seek to humiliate the ‘elites’ of Pakistan, their obsession with material goods and Facebook, their cluelessness regarding the local transport network, their obliviousness to the rampant poverty faced by the unclothed majority, their contempt for our local vernacular.
Inevitably, these rants exhort the elites to pacify their ‘liberal extremism’, to nullify their ‘western-boot-licking’, to pop out of their ‘bubbles’. Words like ‘reality’, ‘common man’ and ‘masses’ litter these posts like plastic bags in Clifton Beach.
Let us lay aside the implicit irony of English-speaking, computer using bloggerati railing against people who are essentially their own friends and family.
Let us look instead, at something far more intriguing.
What makes someone a ‘real’ Pakistani? What makes something a ‘real’ Pakistani experience? From what these posts imply, being rich and privileged strips you of the ability to be real.
What a fascinating idea!
It appears that the venerable Defence Housing Authority is no more than a figment of my imagination, that the Fez nights at Sindh Club are merely a mirage concocted by misfiring neurons in our elitist brains, that those of us going to ‘dance parties’ and ‘social clubs’ are merely computer generated holograms, created to incense the fevered blogger and implode Pakistan from within.
On the flip side, it also implies that the poor are one coagulated mass of noble, wretched, helpless, nameless limbs and faces whose entire destiny depends on whether or not we stop watching “Jersey Shore” and sipping skimmed milk espressos.
What a load of bull.
For starters, while there is no reason to defend the oblivious and corrosive actions of the elites in our country, pointing the fingers at people essentially from the same background as yourself displays stunning self-delusion.
Secondly, holding up the ‘poor’ as some paragons of virtue, as being common or part of an undifferentiated mass, robs them of their individuality, their diversity, and only further intensifies the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
And most importantly, defining some things as ‘real’ and others as not only deludes us from taking responsibility for the fact that every action, every moment, every experience is as real (or not) as any other. Eating out in Burns Road or Anarkali is not more any more ‘real’ than the same being done in Zamzama or MM Alam Road. Spurning the advances of nefarious corporations might be healthy for your wallet, but falling to their embraces does not cloak you in a halo of ‘unreality’.
So, much like young men allegedly deflowering unsuspecting four-legged mammals, bloggers railing against the elite is one rite of passage we can all do without.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2010.
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