Zafar Alam Sarwar
Being a member of society dedicated to social welfare of all human beings is a matter of pride. More so, when such a member is determined to safeguard the socio-economic interests of the state he lives in, and is ever ready —intellectually and physically — to defend its borders even at the cost of his life. I’m one such citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. But I’m not alone. Millions, who think alike, are on my side with the will to fight for the integrity of the country and engage in national build-up.
Our elders demanded Pakistan, struggled for it and achieved it, so that we, as free and independent people of a sovereign state, could conduct our affairs, physically and spiritually, according to our traditions, ideas and genius. We were taught to stand on our own feet and rely on our own strength to achieve anything in the world. Looking to any foreign power for justice and fair play was not advisable, nor is it now.
There were tens of thousands who realised, sooner than later, that Pakistan was destined to play its proper role in the world to which its size, manpower and resources entitled it. So, sincere efforts were made in the past by selfless men and women and talented youth to develop the country’s industrial potential side by side with agriculture. Economic prosperity as well as advancement in the field of science and technology was one of the objects.
There were some in civil and military departments who had the highest sense of honour and the highest sense of integrity, conviction, incorruptibility, and readiness at time to efface oneself for the collective good of the nation. They may have foreseen decrease in dependence on the outside world for necessities of life, increase in the resources of the state and more employment to people. How much we have gained and how much we have lost? The balance-sheet now is talk of the town.
The youths of the twin cities, married or unmarried, are recollecting the addresses and messages of the founder of Pakistan wherein he had given a direction to the Muslim League activists for setting up a people’s government to develop Pakistan into a welfare state. “Very good, we made Pakistan a nuclear state; but, very bad, the nation of 160 million seems getting divided into three classes — the rich, the poor and the ones living below the poverty-line,” say the grown-up children. They fear a great majority of masses may fall in the last two categories if the dream of one million men, women and children, who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan in 1947, is not translated by the next Independence Day.”
Taking seriously the so-called chaos, confusion and concoctions in the wake of unprecedented rise in the cost of living are husbands of salaried class. Even husbands with workingwomen as their wives are unhappy. The reason is simple. Soaring prices of all items of human use, such as wheat flour, bread, sugar, rice (broken and whole), cooking oil, pulses (washed and unwashed), meat, vegetables, milk, butter, curd, tooth paste and toilet soap etcetera have disturbed their monthly budgets. Admitted that tomato has come down from Rs40 to Rs30 per kilo and potato from Rs30 to Rs20, but pulses have not retreated. Mash sells at Rs95, ‘masoor’ at Rs160, ‘chana’ at Rs70 and ‘moong’ at Rs65 per kilogram. Similarly, white gram is stilling higher at Rs100 to Rs120, black gram at Rs70, ‘atta’ at Rs23 to Rs.30 and cooking oil at Rs135 instead of Rs95 per kilogram.
Accusations mar pleasantries: disputes and ‘battles’ do take place between husbands and wives. But they cover it for therein lies their honour. The claim of husbands is that they have to work harder than their life partners to meet monthly expenses of family members who include old parents. “Many of us are doing double jobs — one in the morning and the other in the afternoon until midnight — and our wives remain doubtful of our evening duty, they think we indulge in some extra activity,” say husbands who are at the mercy of their wives.
A young handsome husband travelled with me by train from Lahore to Rawalpindi. He was not happy with the attitude of his wife who belonged to a rich family. “She has turned arrogant and doesn’t respect my parents because they are poor, she wants me to desert them, I’ve decided to divorce her and take my child with me, I can’t meet her expenses in such a blood-sucking reign of high prices,” confided the Multani cameraman to me.
Husbands are not wrong. They have to face many problems in performance of duties in private and public sectors. Environment is politicised. Promotions and appointments are not on merit. There are political pressures leading to corruption, bribery and nepotism. Honest husbands are doing their utmost to remain above such a disease and maintain an intellectual harmony with their wives. They consider patience, tolerance and God-gifted ‘jazba’ (will) as their weapons to fight the unbridled “bulls of loot and exploitation.” They see a ray of hope in the cloudy winter weather.
Email: zasarwar @hotmail.com
Source: The News, 19/1/2009