Friday, July 30, 2010

Of Blurps and Blurts: Wikileaks,David Camaroon & Karzai.

Act real Mr. Camaroon.
There is a young student in Pakistan who has written a long, long blog on Wikileaks, the new "Magic- Black at that" webomania ala Pakistani-Afghan-US-Islamists hash-a-mash! Her long rants which I could not verify or understand no matter how hard I tried showed what this world is becoming , a world full of junk, far removed from reality, where each actor is on a different page. The Pentagon has started studying the 90,000 leaked documents now. It shows the names of the Afghan informers. What a shock for Mr. Karzai? Or is it? Was all this leaking business deliberate? You know pre-elimination game? Is this the reason why Mr. Karzai who seemed to be shaking hands with Pakistanis only a few days back, signing Afghan Transit Trade Agreement which all of the Pakistanis are not too happy about, suddenly asks the NATO forces as to why have'nt they attacked the Islamists inside Pakistan? Why is he thinking out or rather raving out loud?
And across the border Mr. David Camaroon, who till a few days back was speaking good of the Pakistanis, insists on his "business" visit to India (see Mr.Campbell's insightful, baring article in India times today) that Pakistanis must take action on groups like Quetta Shura, Afghan taliban???, Pakistani taliban, and of course to please the Indians Loit. How in the world Afghan taliban , if I were to ask? We are not fighting in Afghanistan and who is funding and supplying latest arms and ammunition to the forces that are destabilising Baluchistan? And what about the daily, ghastly human rights abuses in Kashmir? I hate terrorism. I bieng a female openly challenge the extremists with my writing and tv appearances, yet why am I asking Mr. Camaroon as to why is he also taking a one sided public appearance in India? I thought that Mr. Blair had done enough of dirty "lying" drama regarding the Iraq invasion (remember the "good conscience scientist committing suicide?) . I really thought Mr. Camaroon was more stable, smarter, and even "real" than well....
But  to put all his delegation in their places we have Mr. Campbell's article. I do not need to write any more.
India is smug with its recent happy signing and business with US. Now it is expanding its interests' safeguards with Myanmar( Burma). No questions about Burma's support from North Korea in building its nuclear capability, its shameful abuses of human rights, its almost genocidal extermination of political opponents and masses. So Indian military might is easily looked away from. No questions about its growing, almost nauseating regional influence, Afghanistan, Pakistani Baluchistan and all. Poverty increases in India. Pakistan has been paying the price of its Afghan war involvement thanks to the US and India's growing military might. India still keeps on expanding its strategic and foolishly military interests, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in its own regions (what do you think the Maoist insurgents are gaining popularity on?) and depriving the Pakistani people of their economic progress as the larger chunk is spent on defence budget. And Mr. Camaroon thinks that just by his foolish statements India will be impressed. He hasn't heard of the Indian "Banya" I think.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Honour Killings In Sindh.

Why am I being killed for being gang raped? Whither justice? Whither Islam?

The sad story of a 50 year old married woman from Larkana , Sindh stares at us from the newspaper, making faces at us, grimacing, sending shivers down our spines. Ms. Husna Bhutto , a married woman, was shot dead in cold blood by her son-in-law, Ishaque Bhutto, as he could not tolerate the fact that she was gang raped. This kind of beastly revenge from a woman who had even brought up the  murderer as a son shows the kind of mentality that is prevalent in Sindh even in this day and age when president Asif Zardari is talking of putting in “chips” to monitor movement of cattle and buffalos in the Benazir Waseela-e-haq programme for poor people. When he can promise to bring in “free” internet and laptops in villages and towns of Sindh , why can not he see that the poor victims of gang rapes are being forced to change evidence, or being killed to free the men who did the heinous acts?
Where is the Sindhi society on these injustices? The few NGOs do protest but where is the large majority of Sindhi people? I am asking the intellectuals, writers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, rich and affluent. Why are they just not voicing their protest while these injustices and sheer barbarism blackens our newspapers and our honor as a nation.
The criminals have disappeared reportedly in Baluchistan to avoid being arrested. Why Baluchistan? Why has Baluchistan become a safe haven for criminals from Sindh? There is so much talk of disappearances from Baluchistan and so much hue and cry of injustices by the Pakistani state on Baluchis. Then why are these criminals easily finding safe havens there?
It seems that there is an immoral camaraderie in men from Sindh and Baluchistan to help each other in cases they describe as “Honor Killings”. Kill any woman and man  , because of any reason , be it property, desire, greed, and justify it as honor.
Where is the religious lobby, whose responsibility is most important? Where is the judiciary on this? When will we do any thing to bring these injustices to court? Is there any more serious situation than is prevalent in Sindh now? Will the blood of Husna Bhutto not rise up and drown all of us in shame as that of  Sassui did.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Press release by War Against Rape on student nurse at JPMC, Karachi.

War Against Rape (WAR), Karachi
Gang-rape of Nursing Student at JPMC, Karachi

19 July, 2010, Karachi: War Against Rape is outraged at the gang-rape of a Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre’s nursing student on July 13, 2010, at the hospital by a group of doctors, one of whom is an ex- medico-legal officer.
WAR sees this incident as an act of sheer barbarism where the accused in order to cover their tracks attempted to take the life of the survivor by pushing her off the building, due to which she suffered serious injuries.  The fact that the main accused is an ex-medico-legal officer is a matter of deep concern. The audacity, with which the perpetrators committed this act inside the hospital, brings to light the utter failure of monitoring systems and the failure to provide a safe working environment to women.
Reports of sexual assault of nursing students in hospitals by senior doctors are made every year across Pakistan. Cases of sexual harassment are even more common in these settings. They typically demonstrate the abuse of power by those in influential positions by committing human rights violations apparently without fear of accountability and punishment.  The survivor and her family in this case have recently expressed that they are under immense pressure to withdraw charges. WAR demands that the Government ensures complete protection for the survivor and her family, conduct an impartial investigation, and not only arrest the remaining perpetrators of this heinous crime, but also take the case to its logical end.
WAR also urges the Government, especially the Social Welfare and Women’s Development departments to take every measure for the quick recovery of the survivor and her family and to make sincere efforts for their rehabilitation.
WAR  also demands that policies are put in place that prescribe penalties for those abusing authority by harassing students and other staff members. The Government, especially the Health Department, should conduct an inquiry into existing power structures in hospital settings that cause a perpetuation of such crimes,  what kind of mechanisms are there for those being harassed or assaulted to report and what actions have been taken so far to stem out this problem.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sexual Harassment In the Workplace: The case of rape of student nurse in Karachi..

The sexual harassment in the workplace bill was passed by the national assembly recently and most women and people were happy that this issue will not be just become a vague scandal mongering issue. Millions of women in Pakistan are now in the workforce in urban areas in fields as varied as schools to hospitals to media. The bill which emphasizes the organisations to implement procedures and mechanisms so that a complaint can be lodged against the harasser in the work place.(  See my previous post on sexual harassment . ).
The sad and eye-opening rape, violence and assault of the young nurse in Jinnah hospital, Karachi is indeed a very painful reality that nurses in Pakistan have to face since ages. Here, the almost "Angelic" profession is degraded and the girls as usual are considered objects. This is true for almost all professions in Pakistan. And the main reason is lack of implementation of laws and procedures to make the workplace environment safe. The repressive and criminal mentality of most men is apparent, whenever a woman especially a younger woman comes in the work force. Even young  lady doctors are not spared, even when they are relatively better off than the nurses. I have been a doctor for thirty years now and am saddened to see that even after much academic improvement in nursing with institutes such as the Aga Khan Nursing School , the JPMC Nursing School and other big nursing schools in Karachi, there exists a mindset especially of male doctors from towns and villages , who because of their posting and power as a medico-legal officer, resort to such violent and criminal acts.The conditions have not improved because the laws of sexual harassment were not implemented. Had they been implemented long time ago , the conditions of sexual harassment and sexual assault would not be so worst as is seen nowadays.
 The sad part is till today a rape survivor is not examined in a dedicated place. We are fighting for strengthening the medico legal evidence still ( ). The nurse survivor has told Ms. Humera Alwani, an MPA from Sindh, who is also a member of the Pakistan Nursing Council, that she was forced to go into the room where she was gang raped.  This shows the total disregard by the male doctors and collusion of the lower male staff with these men , of the sanctity of the hospital premises. It seems that these acts have continued in the past and only because this girl jumped out the window, this has come to attention. There have been hundreds of instances where the survivors have not even reported sexual harassment as they think that even their families will withdraw them from education. Girls in Pakistan , especially from low socio-economic class have to fight against all odds such as taboos, primitive cultural norms, tribal and feudal mindsets, lack of availability of opportunities to education, early marriages and childbearing etc to enter any professional field. The profession of nursing because of it's close contact with males is even considered disrespectful by the suppressive mindset people in Pakistan.
 Pakistan faces this dilemma today. It needs an educated, progressive workforce in order to develop and grow and the women population is almost 51%..As it is there is shortage of nursing and other paramedical staff. We really need women in medical and its related fields. A free and fair work environment is the need of the times. The dismissal from service of the barbaric doctor,  by insistence of Mr. Altaf Hussain of the MQM shows how important it is to give institutional and legal cover to work place environment. Only  mechanisms of justice when in place for employees and workers to avail of, will ensure a fair and free society.
A more proactive role by the Sindh government now of improving services for collection of evidence, providing helpline 24 hours all over Sindh ,implementing policy decisions on rape and sexual assault with the help of organisations like WAR, Aahung, HRCP, which have the recommendations ready, implementing the sexual harassment in the workplace bill in letter and spirit in all hospitals, private and governmental institutions, all academic institutions, offices and media workplaces , has to be taken seriously.
It is imperative for the political parties in government and opposition to work for implementing  these laws so as to make the workplace and institutions of learning and philanthropy like hospitals and nursing schools safe.

Dr Meher Zaidi.Writer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The State of the Sindhi Woman.

The State of the Sindhi Woman.
By Dr Meher Zaidi.
Hafeezan Bhutto (Dawn image).

Sindh is a major province in Pakistan and comprises cities like Karachi (a port city), Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah, and smaller towns like Larkana, Thatta, Hala etc. There are large rural/agricultural areas  spread over Mirprkhas and all area along which the river Indus flows. My inclusion into the definition of the Sindhi woman will be for this purpose the women residing in all towns of Sindh except Karachi. Due to the complex socio-cultural milieu and the relatively cosmopolitan makeup of Karachi, many issues have a slightly better and different projection.
The most devastating picture emerges as that of Hafeezan Bhutto, a 30 year old BA pass, woman who made a dramatic entry into our lives when she was shown on Sindh TV with her husband Hajjan Bhutto and brother Zahid Bhutto, apparently well dressed young men, pulling her by her hair, beating her and pushing her for drowning into the Larkana Rice Canal. Due to the timely response of people and police she was saved from being killed ruthlessly. Her story is typical of what is happening to the innocent and beautiful Sindhi woman everyday. She is declared a “Kari”, an adultress and then killed in cold blood by various means such as guns, poisoning, throwing in canals and rivers, suffocating, burning or strangulation. This maybe done with collusion of police or the powerful “Wadera” of the area. Often a “jirga” a communal court of sorts grants the death wish. In this case it was the sheer cruel, blatant disregard for all norms of civilized behavior and the utmost macho-male worship status of husband or brother in the “Sindhi” family that showed this horrible injustice to us thanks to the media. Hafeezan Bhutto rises like a brave goddess, in her sheer desperation to defy death she jumped out of a moving car and called for help. This is not her story alone. In my work, I come across several young   , educated Sindhi women who are working and contributing both to the family and the country but are totally at the disposal of the males in their families. They can be declared “Kari” anytime and killed. They cannot choose life partners. The marriages outside biradaris, caste or even for love are totally out of bounds. In this day and age   , the Sindhi woman is kept like cattle or an asset. She dare not exercise her right or use her wisdom in choice of matters such as marriage, choice of way of life etc. The perpetrators of violence in her case were her husband who is allegedly in police and her brother who is also young. She has now requested the minister of Women development, Ms. Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto who rang to help her, to get her employment in the police department This will be good as such people who have suffered become more sensitive to women’s issues and help other persons. The question asked by similar victims many a times is “when will I be able to freely chose my life on the basis of education?”, “when will my parents accept me as a human being with a mind?”, “when will I be able to laugh and enjoy life freely as a daughter, a mother, a wife?”. These questions are asked several times and every time I have no real answer. I dream of a day when our Sindhi daughters will be loved for the sheer presence of their selves. I dream of a day when no Sindhi woman will be declared a Kari and killed. When all girls will be freely educated in Sindh and go to their jobs. I dream of a day when the Sindhi woman will be accepted and cherished for her education and wisdom.
As usual the government functionaries have promised some help like lawyers for her to obtain divorce and fight the case against the violent perpetrators and protection to Ms.Hafeezan on an adhoc basis. This maybe some consolation but this is not the permanent solution. It is high time that the women ministers and other political men and women of Sindh push towards egalitarian judicial mechanisms in place. The whole mindset of the Sindhi man has to be changed. For this mass campaigns of awareness raising like the issue of child marriage being a cognizable offence, Karo-kari deaths being declared murders, freedom to choose life partner for adult women need to be undertaken. If this kind of social injustice is allowed to flourish in Sindh, there will be no progress, no development. A very large Sindhi population is of women. In rural areas they are contributing a good percentage of income to the economy. They should be given their due rights as agricultural workers.
Lack of education, lack of entry into job markets by the Sindhi man has resulted in this vicious cycle of  un-natural dominance by power and force as was the epitome of “Wadera” power. Lack of devolution to the tiller also resulted in the strength and dominance of the “Wadera” mentality. This vested interest has protected its growth and dominance even at political level. The mechanism of adult franchise has not resulted in true representation of Sindhi man or woman as her economic dependence on unequal and unjust social class dominates the scene. The Sindhi woman is not free in rural and urban Sindh because she is not economically independent. The repressive customs of her bounding by the males of the family, her subjugation to decisions of “jirga” will keep her bound for life.
The socio-economic conditions will only improve with more education and complete capping on corruption. The department of education is the most corrupt department in the entire country. Its complete overhauling with the goals of free, demand oriented education to all is the need of the times. This has to be undertaken on a war-footing. When education is free and compulsory to all boys and girls, gradually a shift in mindset will also occur. The crises centers that the present government is undertaking should be increased to cover all towns and villages in Sindh. These facilities should be made self sufficient with vocational and other educational training facilities. There should be scholarships available to all deserving students at all levels. The practice of granting scholarships only to the well endowed and influential should be at once abolished. All educational scholarships and endowments should be advertised for all. As has been seen in the matriculation and Inter results girls take more scores and pass in greater numbers. Maybe the good change in Sindh will come through the Sindhi woman as she is more likely to be fair and just, more likely to be  un-corrupt. The primary education should be improved and all basic subjects except mathematics should be taught in Sindhi if needed by choice. The books and syllabi should be made up to date and in line with the education policy.
Only through these basic reforms can the plight of the Sindhi woman addressed. Only through empowerment can the fate and direction of Sindh change.
The Karo-kari program by the Sindh police with the help of USAID had given a phone line help number. Where is it? The media should advertise it frequently for the benefit of the women .Next time a woman should be able to pick up a phone and call for help, before being assaulted or killed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jessica Stern ..A Brave Admission of Denial of Sexual Abuse.

The brave girl who made a life for herself and now exposes how the society due to ignorance and sense of false security denies what children have to say about bieng raped even in US is the expert Jessica Stern. Her interview sheds light on the continuous humiliation,  a rape and sexual assault  survivor has to face in a society be it a country like the US or like Pakistan. Hearing her recall, questions arise as to how a society by denial,  as the civilised US with many systems in place makes the child's suffering worse and how difficult it must be for children especially the girl child in countries like Pakistan where systems ,even for justice are not in place, where children and women are violated for power and macho dominance and to teach the enemy a lesson. Where incest is pushed under the rug, where collection of evidence as for a crime is disfavored in the name of religion.Where tribal and fuedal mindset people have started residing in urban posh areas like Defence and Clifton and testing their raping and humiliation skills amongst urban schoolkids especially girls, where even middle class salaried people cannot have safety  and justice for their kids because there is no system. Where women domestic workers are raped, humiliated, abused and eventually killed as so often reported in Punjab's major towns and cities.  This also opens many questions as to why and how a society that is governed by higher principles of religion and morality becomes so unjust and cruel.This also opens up the question as to what is terrorism,and what is poverty linked crime? Is poverty the drive for some forms of violence?  or lack of moral and social control as in case of the tribals and fuedals of Sindh which drives them to rape and karo-kari murders is the driving force.So many issues to be researched and addressed and yet the Pakistani society continues it's state of "Denial".

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cover Me, Oh, Cover Me!

Cover Me!

This is in honour of Allah Wasai, a fifty year old lady and her 12 year old little girl who were paraded naked in a town near Meerawala in Punjab and the people looked on. Nobody interfered and the state did not even register an FIR.

آسمان پھٹ رھا ھے
میرے پھٹے رَحم کی طرح
اور اس میں سے گر رھے ھیں
میرے خونی لوتھڑے
یہ چیتھڑے ھیں چیتھڑے
تیری میری عزتوں کے چیتھڑے
جو گر رھے ھیں
بکھر گۓ ھیں
ساری قوم کے چیتھڑے

وہ ایک شھر ھے میراں والا
وھاں کا بیاں کرتا ھے ابنِ بطوطہ
کہ ایسی قوم بستی تھی وھاں
کرتی تھی عورت کو نھاں
ٹھلاتی تھی بازار میں اس کو عریاں

کیا یہی وہ لوگ ھیں بے شرم عریاں
جو کرتے ھیں آج بھی عورتوں کو عریاں
جیسے ماٰئ مختاراں
اور آج وہ اللہ وصائ
جس کو اللہ نے خود ھے بسایا
اور اس کی بارہ سالہ معصوم بیٹی
دونوں کو ھے رب نے بنایا
اور یہ ان کی چادریں کھینچنے والے
کیا یہی ھیں انساں
نھیں پر یہ ھیں شیطاں

ڈھانپ دو ڈھانپ دو
ان کے جسم ڈھانپ دو
دے دو ھماری رِدایئں دے دو
ھم جو ھیں عیسٰی  ھم جو  ھیں مریم
ھم ھیں سارا ھم ھیں آسیہ
ھماری رِدایئں دے دو

ختم کرو ختم کرو
ظلم و جبر کا بازار
یہ فریب یہ کرب
ڈھانپ دو ڈھانپ دو
ان کے جسم ڈھانپ دو
اللہ وصائ کو بسنے دو
اس کی بیٹی ڈھانپ دو
اس شھر کو ڈھانپ دو
میراں والے کو ڈھانپ دو
بدل دو اس کی تاریخِ کُل
بنا دو اس کو شھرِ گُل
سمیٹ لو سمیٹ لو
گندگی سمیٹ لو
یھاں ھو عزتوں سے پیار
بے شمار بے شمار

پھٹے رَحم کو جوڑ دو
رُخِ دریا کو موڑ دو
جوڑ دو جوڑ دو
ٹوٹے دلوں کو جوڑ دو
ختم کرو ختم کرو
اپنا ظلم ختم کرو
مردانگی کو پھینک دو
آوارگی کو چھوڑ دو

جلے گلشن کو سینچ دو
بھارِ کُل  بکھیر دو
ختم کرو اب ختم کرو
اپنا ظلم ختم کرو

یہ ھے میری رِدا
کس نے ھے یہ چاک کری
واۓ میری رِدا
کیوں خس و خاشاک ھوئ
یہ ھے میرا جسم
کیوں زینتِ روۓ دار ھوا
ھے کیوں یہ میرا غم
لبِ عیسیٰ  اشکبار ھوا
یونھی کب تلک میں تیرے ننگ کی صولی چڑھوں
یونھی کب تلک تو خدا کے حکم کو ٹھکراۓ گا
یونھی کب تلک میرا یہ حسین جانفشاں سا جسم
ایک شبیہِ مزار ھوگا
کیا تو سنتا نھیں ایک جوگی کی پکار
جو تیرے درد کے صحرا میں کئ بار کھے
ڈھانپ دے اس کے برگزیدہ جسم کو پھر سے
جس کو عیسیٰ نے بھی ھاتھ لگانے نہ دیا
آڑ بن کے کھڑا ڈھال بن کے کھڑا
جب تمام شھر نے تھا اس کو گھیرا
وہ دوسری مریم رھی صدا پھر مسلم
پاک بی بی بہ شکلِ پاک بی بی مریم
کیا تم قرآن کا فرمان بھی جھٹلاؤ گے
کیا تم حد کے پار اتر جاؤگے
اسے عورت ھی رھنے دو
اس کی رِدا نہ چاک کرو

اپنا دھن خود پاک کرو

Aasman phat raha hai
Mere phate rahm ki tarha
Aur us mein se gir rahe hain
Mere khunee lothrey
Yeh cheetrey hain cheetrey
Teree meree izzaton ke cheetrey
Jo gir rahe hain
Bikhar gaye hein
Saari Qoum ke cheetrey
Who ek sheher hai Meeranwala
Wahan ka bayan karta hai" Ibne Batuta”
Ke aisee qoum basti thi wahan
Kartee thi aurat ko nihaan
Tehlatee thi bazaar mein usko uryaan
Yeh mein nahee kehtee, yeh tareekh kehtee hai!

Kiya yehi who log hain besharam , uryaan
Jo karte hain aaj bhi aurton ko uryaan
Jaise Mai Mukhtaran.
Aur aaj who Allah Wasai
Jis ko Allah ne khud hai basaya
Aur us ki bara sala masoom beti
Donon ko hai Rab ne banaya

Aur yeh unkee chadarein kheenchne waale
Kon hain insaan?Kaise Insaan
Naheen, hain yeh bas shaitaan!

Dhaanp do, dhaanp do
Un ke jism dhaanp do
Le lo, le lo, haamaree ridaen le lo
Hum jo hain Eissa, hum hee hain Maryam
Hum hain Sara, hum hee hain Aasiya
Humaree ridaen le lo
Dhaamp do, dhaamp do

Khatam karo,ab  khatam karo
Zulm aur jabr ka yeh bazaar
Khatam karo, khatam karo
Yeh fareib, yeh karb
Dhaamp do, dhaamp do
Un ke jism dhaamp do
Allah Wasai ko basne do
Us ki beti ko dhaamp do!
Is Shehr ko dhaamp do
Meeran Waley ko dhaamp do
Badal do us ki taareekh-e- kul
Banado us ko shehere gul
Sameit lo sameit lo
Gandagee sameit lo
Bana do us ko shehre gul
Jahan ho izzaton se piyar
Beshumaar, beshumaar.

Phate rehm ko jor do
Rukhe darya ko mor do
Jor do, jor do
Tute dilon ko jor do
Khatam karo, khatam karo
Apna zulm ab khatam karo
Mardaangee ko pheink do
Awaargee ko chordo

Jale gulshan ko seench do
Bahare kul bakheir do
Khatam karo, ab khatam karo
Apna zulm ab khatam karo.
Hai yeh meri rida
Kis ne hai ab chaak kari
Wai yeh meri rida
Kiyun zeb khas-o –khashak huwee?
Hai yeh mera jisam
Kiyun zeenat-e ruwe daar huwa
Hai kiyun mera yeh gham
Lab-e Eesa, Maryame ashkbaar huwa?
Yuheen kab talak mein tere nang ki suli charhoon?
Yuheen kab talak tu Khuda ke hukm ko thukraye ga?
Yuheen kab talak mera yeh haseen, janfishan saaya jism
Ba shabeehe suliye Eessa mazar ban jaye ga?
Kiya tu sunta  naheen is jogi ki pukaar?
Jo tere dard ke sehra mein kai baar kahe
Dhaaamp de uske bargazeeda badan ko phir se
Jis ko Eessa ne bhi haath lagaane na diya
Aardh ban ke khardha, dhal ban ke kardha
Jab tamaam shehr ne tha us ko ghera
Who doosri Maryam bhi rahee sada phir Muslim
Pak bibi ba shakle pak bibi Maryam
Kiya tum Quran ka farman bhi jhutlao ge?
Kiya tum hadd ke paar utar jao ge?
Usey Aurat hi rehne do
Us ki rida na chaak karo.
Us ko Aurat hi rehne do
Apna dhan khud pak karo.


The sky explodes open
Like my torn apart innards
And falling down are my blood clots
Lo, these are the torn shreds
Of my vain vanity!
Spread across,
The entire nation
The torn shreds of my honour!
And that town known as Meerawala
Whose tales stated Ibne Batuta
That a similar nation dwelled in the past
Who paraded naked their women in public
This is not a wanderer’s tale
 This is written in history.
 Are these the same people
Shameless and cruel?
Who create Mai Mukhtaran?
And today Allah Wasai
Who God Himself bestowed a life
And whose twelve year old , innocent girl
Both God has bestowed an existence.
Who are these that snatch their cloaks
Are they human?
Nay, but these are Satan.
Cover them, cover them
 Cover their bodies.
Take from us, take from us
These cloaks
That cover our souls
We are like Eissa,
We are like Maryam
We are like Sara
We are like Aasiya
Take our cloaks
Cloaks that cover our souls
Cover them , cover them!

Finish it now
This tyranny and injustice
Finish it now
This farce, this pain.
Cover them, cover them
Cover their bodies.
Let Allah Wasai live
In honour and respect
And let live her daughter too!
Cover the town
Cover Meeranwala
Change its history
Make it into a town of gardens
Where there is honour and respect
Unboundful, unboundful.

Repair my torn innards
Bend the river’s flow
Repair, repair
Mend the broken hearts
Throw away the macho label
Water the dry flower-beds
End it now, end it now
End your tyranny and injustice.


Lo, who has torn my covering cloak
Woe, who has made my song a lament of dust and disgrace!
Wail, why has this pure body of mine become a symbol of the Cross?
Wail, why has this pain become the lament of Jesus and Maryam’s, tears?
Till what time will I have to bear the burden of the Cross?
Till what time will you refuse God’s commandments?
Till what time will this hardworking body of mine
Be the tomb of of the image  of the cross?
Do not you hear the wail of the ‘Jogi’?
Who says that in the desert of your pain
Cover this respected body
That body which was not allowed to be touched
Even by Eissa
Who covered like  a shield
The body of Mary Magdalien
When all the town had encircled her
For cruelty and stoning
She then remained forever a Muslim
Pure and clean almost like Mary
Will you disobey the commandments of God?
Will you digress the commandments of thy Lord?

Let her remain an ‘Aurat’,
Do not tear her cloak
Let her remain an ‘Aurat’
Clean your own soul
Clean your own soul!

'Aurat' means 'Covered one' . This term is used in Urdu and Arabic to denote a woman.
'Eissa' is the Urdu and Arabic name for Jesus.
'Maryam" means Virgin Mary. Mary Magdalin is also known as 'Maryam' in Urdu.(Tafheem).
'Suli' means the Cross in Urdu. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Data Da Darbaar.. A Poem In Honour Of All The Wretched Poor Who Find Hope At Data Darbar, Lahore And those That Lost Their Lives.

The Poet for the wretched, poor of the earth.

A Poem by Meherzaidi.

Aik Khamosh tanhaaee,

Aik akailee cheekh

Mein chalee thee data dar te

Piyaar di mangan bheek

Raste vich the kankar, kaante

Raste vich the rordhe

Piyaar de payal paake ,sajke

Mein lagee thee theek.

Wahan pohanch kar dekha manzar

Dil mera te khaak hua

Khoon de cheentey

Dil de tukrde

Zehan khas-o-khashak hua!

Yehi who dar hai jahan pe dunya

Aatee thee sab aas liye

Bhook , aflaas, dard ke rogi

Paati thee sab us paas jiye

Faiz ke heerey, piyaar ke mukhre

Sukh di chaaya, dil di maaya

Ohon mein dekhi

Dil way tutya saraa

Thandi pardi thee degh fakir di

Bhooki, nangi chaaya.

Kaale saanp de khooni jabre

Tapak, tapak marjaya

Bhaag rahe the harsoo, kaaran

Sab log bachane jaanein

Mein bhooki, nangi sonch rahee thee

Hai konsee simt vich chaaya?

Sadyon tau yuheen khula tha Data da darbar

Bhooke, nange, paon tutte, aate the harbar.

Aake phenke dukh de kapre

Cheethrey dard de saarey.

Pait de aag noo thand pardhate

Dil dey dard utaare.

Jab koi aas na rahtee ho tau

Data hee paar utaaare

Baith ke uske dar toun bhookian

Karein singhaar saarey

Dil de muraadan payein sarey

Nange fakir, Shahsaware

Koi na lote khaali haathan

Jholiyan bharwein saarey

Aur yeh kale naag kidhar se aiye hain is baar?

Khoon ki holi khel rehein hein vich Data de darbar

Yeh mere Khuda se cheen ne nikley mujh jogan di parkar

Ulat ke rakhdein ge un ki dunya

Mere sayeen, ghareiban de sarkar

Faiz bakhshey ganj-e-alam, sab nu pata ai harbar

Piyaar di payal baje, baje gi aihoon, hi harbar

Lot awein gi is de ronqan, bhik mangee de dua hai

Ghareeb tareen, mayoos khalqat paati murad sada hai

Sadee manatan, saade zakhman Allah Weikh raha hai

Bhalee murad paye gi dunya, Allah hi deta hai!

Tu tordh de Masjid, phordh de sheeshey

Data di nagri phir bhi rawe gi

Lahore hai basya us de karam se

Data di faqri phir bhi rawe gi

Aayen ge Rahzan loot de marde

Nezon de upper saron ne udaate

Mulle ulte seedhe sabqan pardhate

Phir bhi nache ge khalqat

Faiz ki ulfat, bhook se fursat

Thukraye huey log japein ge

Data ki mala, data ki mala!

Ooper se Allah dekh raha hai

Mujh nangi ki phatee doshala

Data ki nagri aabad rahe gi

Har bar, sada, Insha Allah!

De ga Allah , khaye gi khalqat

Tum jhootey zaalim, firaun ke beito

Jao, bhago, pahar mein baitho

Allah ki maar tum par pardhe gi

Ghareeb ki phitkaar tum par pardhe gi

Mujh bechatee fakirnee ki tujh par aah hai

Jis ke shar se yeh kuhram macha hai

Data di nagri aabad rawe gi

Har dam sabz wa shaad rawe gi

Aayein ge saare bhooke mangte

Khayein ge khaja, fakir saare

Pawein ge muraadan, dil di saare

Naachein ge khushyaan vich be yaarey

Data di nagri shaad rawe gi

Data di basti abaad rawe gi!


Ah, this lonely quiet

Lo, this only scream!

I had started my journey to” Data darbar”

To get the alms of Love!

My path was strewn with thorns and stones

I had adorned the anklet of love

I had plumped up my vanity with Love!

What I saw at his abode, my heart was torn to pieces

The drops of blood, the pieces of heart

My mind has gone crazy!

This is the abode where all humanity comes

With hope,

All hungry, wretched, lost to hope ,of painful hearts,

All humanity

Get the diamonds of “Faiz”

Faces of Love

Peaceful shade

Treasures of the heart!

The “Fakir di Degh” was cold

Hungry poor and wretched

The black “Naag” sat with his jaws

Dripping blood!

Running helter skelter

Were people where safety bade.

I, the, hungry ,wretched woman

Was looking for a shade!

For centuries was open this” Data da darbar”

Hungry, naked, broken legged wretches

Came in hordes everytime from afar

They threw away their clothes of pain

They throw away their scraps of sorrow

They extinguished the fire of hunger

They removed the mantle of sorrows of the heart

When there is no hope, no way

Data is the one that rows your boat to the anchor.

Only at his doorstep sit the wretched, hungry, poor women

Adorning their ego, self and vanity!

Only at his doorstep find their desires fulfilled

Wretched poor and the horse mounted kings!

No one returns empty handed

Everyone has his “jholi filled”

But where have these black “Naags” come from?

Who are playing blood drenched “Holi”

At the “ Data darbar”.

They snatch the mantle of Love from me,

A wretched, lonely woman,

They will be overturned and destroyed by him

Master of the wretched, poor.

The giver of treasures of Love

Everyone knows about him.

The anklet of love will sing songs

In this city everytime.

The happy times will return here

This wretched alms seeker-woman prays

The poorest, wrtechedest people get their wishes fulfilled always.

Our “mannatan”, our wounds Allah sees

Our “Bhali Murad” will be fulfilled

It is God Who gives.

You can break the mosques, you can blow the glass

The city of Data will remain.

Lahore is flourishing because of his shadow

Data’s “Fakiri” will remain.

There will be dacoits plundering, looting,

Puting heads on the tips of their swords

Mullahs will teach right or wrong

But the “Allah di Khalqat” will dance.

He will always bestow “Faiz”

He will always feed the hungry

The wretched and forsaken, the poor and the needy

Will always sing his praise on beads, rosaries

Allah is watching from above

The torn scarf of me wretched, naked, hungry woman.

Data’s city will be always dwelled

Allah will give

And the hungry will eat.

You liars, you sons of “Firaun”

Run back to the mountains

Hide there.

Allah’s rage will be upon you,

The wretched poor’s “phitkaar” will be upon you.

Mine, this without a roof on her head- woman’s curse

Will be upon you

Those who have destroyed this peace.

“Data Nagri” will always be blessed

By the presence of us wretched , hungry and poor.

It will remain fertile land, green

Full of food for the absolutely hungry.

All the hungry, wretched will always come

All the “fakirs” will eat here.

All the people will find their hearts’ desires

All their wishes fulfilled.

All the people without friends will find hope and dance

Data’s world will always be there, flourishing

Data’s world will always be there, happy.

I wrote this poem on 2-6-2010 , a day after the twin suicide bombers attacked the shrine of Hazrat Data Gang Bakhsh, Ali Hajveri, one of the most popular Sufi saints of the sub-continent, who is revered in Pakistan. Here most wretched of the humanity come with hope of finding some solace, where people who have no hope , who have no means to allay their fears, solve their problems, millions find food. The attack was done at a time when thousands were praying.The first affectees will be the wretchedest poor who will go hungry. Inspite of strict orders in the holy book of Muslims that those will not find me who even stop people from feeding the hungry, wretched poor, these ugly people are killing innocent.
I have used Punjabi language mixed with Urdu words in the original version. My Punjabi is not so good, therefore I will seek pardon. This poem is the scream from my heart. A few words translation in English is given for those that do not understand Urdu or Punjabi.
Darbar: Shrine , palace.
Faiz: benovelance.
Fakir Di Degh: the food cauldron that is cooked and distributed at shrines.
Naag: A python in sub-continent, fatal and feared.
Jholi: lap, usually the beggar asks for alms by putting his shirt edge forward. In praying also we seek help by the same gesture.
Holi: a festival of colour, here used as metaphor.
Mannatan: desires, prayers, wishes, usually asked at shrines.
Fakiri: The way to Godliness.
Khalqat: humanity.
Firaun: Tyrant Pharoah.
Phitkaar: cursing wail.
Data Nagri: Lahore is known as Data Nagri . Nagri means town.
Fakirs: mystiques, those who tread the path of God.