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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Tale That Never Ends

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: December 27, 2012
Original Link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\27\story_27-12-2012_pg3_4

It is often said that you can determine a person’s character by putting them under a test in their weakest moments. By that definition, a man emerged as a victorious gladiator from the gallows of Rawalpindi. A defenceless man, tried with malice and, of course, convicted in similar fashion. In an unprecedented manner, his family members were not allowed to attend his final rituals. His adversaries thought that his story would end right there, but as they say, there are stories that never end. There is no epilogue ever for such tales. lf I still sound unconvincing, take a look at any story you witness on the silver screen. The hero triumphs in the end and we exit the dark theatre with a bit of renewed hope, still believing in this world, as uneven, crooked and corrupt as it may be. At times, we see the hero perish in the end on that very screen, yet we emerge with renewed hope that it is all about inner strength. The body may very well turn into dust but hope never dies.

How often do you see a lady emerge in a highly chauvinistic and male-dominated society? But as they say again, where there is a will there is a way. A fairly young, traumatised, harassed and verbally abused woman somehow managed to rise in a fairly controlled society. People often comment on that meteoric rise yet fail to acknowledge the real reason behind it. In my usually humble opinion, the strength and courage ran in her blood. Any other woman in her shoes would have given up, but no, she was definitely different, made of a different metal, different nerves and a different vision. She was so different that many men were afraid of her and many were unable to stand her sheer guts. Therefore, after a failed attempt on her life in Karachi, the same people were successful. They gloated in glee and claimed victory. Wow, what a remarkable act of valour it was: one unarmed lady and the killers decided to hit her from the rear. Again, the same people thought that it was the end of the story.

So when these lines will be read, there is word on the street that a 20-something, political rookie, the son of that slain lady, will pick up the mantle and launch his formal career. The critics will rush to the usual judgment and claim that an amateur young man is there to get the vote of sympathy. Here comes the irony. Had his mother not been ruthlessly slain, the son would still be enjoying his youth. The young man loses his mother in a manner that is unparalleled but he does not go on some sort of a rampage of revenge, but instead chooses the path of his mother. He stands up and says, “Democracy is the sweetest revenge.” Branded and peddled as a ‘spoilt rich and out-of-touch young brat’ by his detractors, it sure seems like another man is about to embark on that thorny journey.

But wait a minute, his family is here and it is here to take advantage of this country. I simply ask what family we are talking about. A father, who happens to be the first president who has relinquished presidential powers rather than holding on to them? Two younger sisters, who have not said or done anything to defame this country but reiterated what their mother stood for? Thus, the usual scorn and snide remarks laced with poisonous venom will follow the rookie chairperson as well. Very simply speaking, history is about to repeat itself.

I encourage the readers to revisit some newspaper archives and see what was said in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. What was said at that juncture is perhaps going to be repeated again, with a new twist and a new style. The words will change but the underlying message will remain the same. As wisely asked by an anchor on the idiot box, how many are out there who would follow the path of his/her grandfather or mother? I reckon there are very few. In the wake of the recent slaying of a voice of reason in the land of the pure, one can only be hoping for a miracle.

Since its inception, the country has been divided into two distinct categories: one that wants to give the people their right to elect and rule and the other that simply wants to rule over them. This is the real tussle and this is the real issue. The names will change, the characters will change, but the tussle will remain the same. This story will never end. Each era will bring a new face, a new name, but the tale will go on. But the point to remember is very few names have the ability to garner popular public support. Like it or not, it is entirely up to you.

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