By: Asem Mustafa Awan
The two pictures are in no way connected and ordinarily these are donkeys and their owners faced with different situations.
The first depicts an old man riding the donkey with a weight that would amount up to half the weight of the animal. This appears cruel but the two are moving and have miles to go before they take a break.
The old man in his late 70’s has a simple attire and his simplicity added with uncorrupted village look tells it all. Life for him for decades has not changed as he was born with animals around him and he moves now with his animal carrying the same that was decades ago.
The questions remains unanswered, why did he not move into the 21st century what was he lacking that never made him come out of his primitive attire and approach towards life. What was he lacking that he has remain unchanged for decades. These answers have many an untold stories that are all heart breaking.
Metaphorically this picture tells a sad state of affairs and in a broader perspective this picture tells about the nation that has been overloaded with so many issues that are infinite. To begin with, water is the most precious of resources that is contaminated and over 80 per cent of the population in the country is denied clean drinking water.
Education is not free at all and meetings between government and the private school owners tell it all as how education is prioritized. It is the elite that have controlled education and have made millions besides schools chains that impart education that makes ‘coconuts’ (regrettably a term used for people who have brown skin but they are white from inside).
Justice system in Pakistan is a process that goes on snail pace and often it is the third generation that is representing in the litigations. All others in pursuit of justice including the honourable judge also pass away to be with the actual ‘Lord of the Judgment Day’ and the case stays unfinished.
The figures are in millions not in thousands in case of children who are not in school and cases that are pending in the overburdened courts are in thousands and there is no ray of hope at the end of the tunnel.
The second picture is the aftermath of the burden that the animal is unable to take and collapses with the weight.
This picture metaphorically fits our national scenario where people have been brought to knees with price hike and struggle for daily sustenance, which has become next to impossible. For the nation as a whole and for the poor in particular, meeting both ends in the prevailing situation becoming a gigantic task.
Education and clean drinking water are the issues now only elite can desire and the poor can only think about, as these two basic rights of a common man, are now deemed as privileges instead of rights.
These privileges are available only to a handful people and ‘land of the pure’ only caters to the privileged elite who have tales of corruption that could have them hanged over a hundred times and it would still not atone to their sins for the havoc their actions played with the lives of the people of Pakistan.
India controlling the water is one such example where the incompetency and delay from Pakistan side resulted in the unending case that is still in the International court of Justice.
As regards education the mushroom growth of different syllabi: American, Oxford, Cambridge, Turk and Madrassahs all have different mindset of students and there is no cohesion in any of the class. The divide grows in all segments of society.
The promise of one syllabus stays a dream for national unity and dream it stays. One syllabus nationwide is sorrowful demise of educational systems implanted by the rich elite who have been looting with both hands unchecked and have chains of schools nationwide.
These pictures depict the pitiful state of nation as a whole. Over seven decades have passed and population as a ‘herd’ remorsefully stays directionless besides its leaders who scream at the highest pitch to be ‘change agents’ but in fact they are agents of their own whims and vendettas against others and their actions cost none other but the nation herself.