Dilemma of Joy
“Giving least damn to the thought about not being happy I jumped onto the table the way America had jumped onto Afghanistan back in 2001 and India onto my land in 1947. And recently Baghdadi thought onto our Mushtaq Veeri. It was perhaps unfortunate. Perhaps I had just reached near the point where one turns into Shaw, Russell and Ghazzali. I was perhaps just a mile away from challenging social hegemony of Nouman Noushehri”, writes Haseeb Abdullah.
The market was bustling, faces turning pale, tongues drying up. The sun was yet to hide behind the hills. The vehicle of time was moving at the snail’s pace. The cool wind was blowing from Pakistan and everyone was waiting upon for the call from office of Ruwait e Hilal committee. Those movements were indescribable when the sudden announcement from Muneeb u Rehman’s office lifted us above moon to anticipate the joy of the next big day.
Happy faces of children, storming through the gates of mosque to receive those remaining dates that were yet to be distributed. Children preparing for the Eid day. Males lamenting the expenses of the day whilst as women folk busy in cooking delicious cuisines for the family. Young ones with bum fluff preparing for the Eid prayers. The happiness was all around. Smokers were happy for the puff which they could now enjoy in broad day light. The elderly had their own reasons to revel: their long waiting to listen Fauji Bhaiyu K Liyay at 3 pm while relishing each sip of Nun Chai had come to an auspicious end.
The social media had turned unprecedentedly dramatic, with the flood of wishes all around. Those who never bothered to enquire for well-being were first in the queue to text. What was more interesting was the digitalisation of the wish itself.
Observing these happy faces of the most unfortunate people on earth, a quote of an Arab Muslim intellectual struck my mind. “The real Eid of Muslim world shall be the day when your lands are free and your constitution is Quran”. This quote had two things; the freedom and the constitution. They were meaningless to me. Perhaps mind of the slave works less. Perhaps the brain of an oppressed was unable to comprehend this. Or perhaps the reason to me was that being localised in thought is better always. Thinking about the geo politics of Palestine crisis and writing about that was meaningless, even thinking at the first place. Whatever, ignore. That was only a thought. Why to give damn to a thought of a salve. Can the one under occupation ever think something good? Can someone who was being ruled by a lady with remote batteries available in New Delhi only, think about something great?
As something great as rocket science or the philosophy of Socrates. I made my brain use the condom, the way Khuswant Singh’s pen never does.
But there was more than this political quote that was squeezing happiness out of this blissful day. There was something worse that faded away the glow from my delightful face with red cheeks to smile and feel the pleasure the way Angelina Jolie feels. The way, Major Gogoi’s family feels. The way Zaira waseem and Waheed Para feel. What were those obstacles and barriers? I could not decipher those signals, but they continued rambling deep into my heart, ripping of my mind and soul.
The mind of a slave comes to a standstill, once the feast is served on the table. Giving least damn to the thought about not being happy I jumped onto the table the way America had jumped onto Afghanistan back in 2001 and India onto my land in 1947. And recently Baghdadi thought onto our Mushtaq Veeri. It was perhaps unfortunate. Perhaps I had just reached near the point where one turns into Shaw, Russell and Ghazzali. I was perhaps just a mile away from challenging social hegemony of Nouman Noushehri.
Preparing to load my tummy with delicacies, I looked into face of my sister who reminded me of a girl whose house I had visited days back to deliver a bag of rice and other stuff, for their father had died years ago as a part of collateral damage in occupational military operation. Five sisters were they. All beautiful, Desdemona’s. Enough pretty to catch the gaze of any one who desired loot of the untouched booty. Enough innocent for not asking anyone for anything. I lost myself into her pretty face. She was not the only such girl in the town. Every street here abounds dozens of her type. I was grief stricken for there could be anyone like Gogoi waiting upon to exploit them for their poverty. Anyone could turn barbarian anytime. Anyone could turn Asiya and Nelophar anytime. Anyone could turn Mubeena Gani anytime. This is the real face of occupation and this is what filled me with remorse.
I looked into the delicacies that were there for me. My eyes could soothe the taste and my tongue chants the praises. I got the gaze of Bilal, a son of daily wager Ghulam Rasool who was turned blind by a trained policeman whose family fattened on the blood of youth. His shrieks reverberated into my ears. He perhaps too wanted to see the delicacies. He perhaps again wanted to see how the Eid celebrations looked like. He perhaps too wanted to see how the occupation looked like after blinding him. He perhaps had thought that occupation too was shrieking. However, it was not so. There were celebrations all over. I closed the eyes to feel how the dark world looks like. I failed to see anything. Yes few electric signals and a face of a woman who was dragged out of her office later. I felt ashamed. Bilal made a smile.
Iqra was there, waiting for her university professor to tell her how much beautiful she looked in her new dress. She kept waiting upon, for the comment on her plentiful dishes. There was no one to eat. There was no one to comment. There was no one to praise. She felt remorse.
I left the table and peeped through the window. I saw a little girl standing on a dune. It was not the dune.it was her father’s grave. Perhaps she had turned there to receive her monetary gift on Eid. Perhaps to show her father how she lived. She was ignorant. She was yet a child. She took the verse “and don’t say that whoso is killed in the path of Allah is dead. No. indeed they are alive” in its literal sense. The nostalgia for the past revelling moments with her father on Eid was apparent from her innocent eyes. She left the spot without paying accolades, a pathetic penniless little child. I felt the misery out of that scene penetrating my bone marrows. I was devastated, internally.
Author is a Doctoral Fellow at Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History Aligarh Muslim University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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