By Humayun Gauhar
Sabeena, a very pretty girl from Karachi whose beauty can stop the traffic dead in its tracks, asked me the question that is on everyone’s minds, “Please write and say what is going to happen?” This article is my answer. I dedicate it to her and all the people who are concerned. I will answer the question in allegory and poetry.
After watching the pathetic performance of the ‘Assembly of the Unwise’ that passes for our parliament last week I was appalled. It was held with the sole purpose of finding a solution to the crisis that threatens not only to demolish the government but the system as well. Instead of dousing the fire with water, the treasury eggheads threw more fuel on the flames and this old nursery rhyme came to mind.
Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall
Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall
All the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Poor Humpty, he thinks he is cock of the walk. Instead, our Humpty is a large Ostrich egg that has occupied the wall that rightly belongs to the rooster who should be cock of the walk. Those around him are smaller eggs of carrion eating crows, vultures and owls who have pushed him off the wall twice before. With friends like these, who needs enemies? These little eggs are about to become small fries and prove the adage: “It is more dangerous to have stupid friends than intelligent enemies.”
Humpty Dumpty hasn’t fallen off the wall yet but with the earthquake going on beneath him and his egghead friends stupidly pushing him off, he needs a miracle to stay on his perch. They are not the king’s horses and men because there is no king, only Humpty’s delusion that he is king. Those closest to Humpty are owl eggs, a bird that is supposed to be stupid in our cultural context. Which reminds me of a line from a Pakistani folk verse: Har shakh peh ullu baitha hai, anjam-e-gulistan kya ho ga? – “With an owl perched on every branch, what will the fate of our garden be?” In case you are wondering, the first line that completes the verse is, Barbad gulistan karnay ko, sirf aik he ullu kafi tha – “To destroy the garden only one owl was enough”. I wonder whether the ‘ullu’ is a Butt, with apologies to the many good Butts.
Humpty Dumpty in on the wall and also hiding in his mental bunker. Best that he gets off and away in one piece and tries to climb back on again once the race is back on, but without rigging and nobbling it this once. If he qualifies for the race that is. And herein lies the rub.
Humpty Dumpty fears getting off the wall lest he becomes an omelet and the eggs around him get scrambled. Many chefs are waiting armed with knives, frying pans and spices that are the criminal charges against him and his ‘egghorts’ as in cohorts, not warthogs. The worst spices are called terrorism and murder, the first of which could land him in the jug and immediate scrambling. The others are money laundering, embezzlement through kickbacks and commissions, perjury, election rigging and what have you. Quite an egg, our Humpty.
Then possible High Treason looms. Democracy is the will of the majority of the people. Subverting the will of the people is subverting the Constitution. Subverting the Constitution is treason. QED.
Stupid Humpty who would be king has one owl’s egg in his midst that he has given the job of maintaining law and good order and security to. This egg’s performance left one flabbergasted, searching for some method in this madness. The only method one could find was that in reality he is deceitfully trying to push Humpty off the wall by injecting steroids into the conflagration, perhaps to take Humpty’s perch himself, just like another egg recently betrayed the master chef Imran Khan. But don’t rule out the simple: stupidity that is rife in Humpty’s nest of eggs of owls, crows and vultures masquerading as King’s horses and men, even though at one time or another many of them were laid by the King and were in the King’s Party.
This particular egg with a petrol pump has a hairy head adorned by a luxuriant wig. Because this egg’s head keeps growing with self-importance he has to waste money on buying and larger wigs in three sizes – short, medium and long to show that he has real hair that grows and he gets haircuts. He should fear the day he gets a real haircut. Reminds me of our elders’ warning: “Never trust a man in a wig because he has a massive inferiority complex.” I would add: “Never trust an egg with a wig either”. These eggs with more chips on their shoulders than needed to pave Humpty’s entire motorway don’t realize hpw that a man’s beauty lies in his head, not on it.
One night last week the frustrated bewigged egg launched a vile attack on one of the few non-eggs in the ‘Assembly of the Unwise’. Though Humpty tried to calm the troubled water in the Assemblage the next day, Aitizaz the non-egg gave bewigged a befitting reply, tearing him apart limb from limb and shredding him to shreds, even taking his wig off with words more piercing than bullets. He’s from Cambridge remember. What a performance. Even better than the one two days earlier, though that one left me looking for logic. He agreed that the elections had been rigged and that there was corruption in the ranks, that the ‘Assembly of the Unwise’ had failed to deliver, but then he went on to say that he stood by Humpty Dumpty for the sake of ‘democracy’ and prevent the precedent of tens of thousands of chefs and sous chefs descending on Inqilab Avenue and Azadi Chowk outside the halls of the ‘Assembly of the Unwise’ and overthrow governments. One was left wondering: how can you support a corrupt Humpty that has got on the wall through rigged elections if you support real democracy? You should push him off the wall, let him be scrambled for the sake of achieving real democracy that cries out for accountability, for letting genuine democracy enter the Land of Gotham for the first time ever so that no more fake Humpty Dumptys get on its wall again. Gotham was agog. I suppose he is hostage to his party’s line that can change faster than you can say ‘democracy’ – “our promise is not written in the Hadees or Quran”, remember – and because they fear that if Humpty falls off the wall he could take the entire system down with him of which they are all beneficiaries. They will all get fried, scrambled or become omelets, never to be put together again except by the King’s spooks and the Hegemon’s spooks who laid many of them in the first place.
The bewigged egg started the proceedings of the ‘Assembly of the Unwise’ with a speech atrocious in its belligerence and bellicosity, full of threats and dire warnings with nary an olive branch in sight. He set the tone by pouring the first can of fuel on the flames, making well nigh impossible the possibility of forging a solution to the crisis. The eggs against Humpty followed in similar vein, first castigating Humpty for his failures – “How could you let the situation come to this sorry pass with your intransience and obduracy?” – but all then saying that they stood by him because they stood by what passes for democracy in Gotham.
I am no astrologer, more an interpreter of political events, and right now my political radar tells me that Humpty Dumpty is trapped in a dead end and the system is in terminal decline caused systemic failure. Unless the Master Chefs of Gotham, Qadri and Imran, compromise I don’t see how he can get out of this one. Both are highly unlikely to. Neither are the protesters likely to run out of steam. Their passion has to be felt: it is palpable.
I am thinking of Allama Iqbal’s poem ‘God’s Command to the Angels’ that was earlier called ‘Ode to Lenin’ but the obscurants caused the title to be changes.
Arise now! Awaken the Poor of my World,
And Shake the Citadels of the great.
Set the blood of Slaves Afire
Let the little sparrow engage the dreaded falcon
Comes the Day of the Rule of the People
Erase every image of tyrants and oppressors
Burn down every bushel of wheat from every field
That does not feed the tiller.
It was ‘Defence of Pakistan Day yesterday. What are we doing to defend Pakistan today? God forbid, we seem to be working towards ‘Destruction of Pakistan Day’. It is time to stand up and be counted to save our mother, our land.
So I won’t get so excited as to say that the Day of Democracy has come, but it may be the beginning. Wait to see the streak of while light of dawn on the horizon, and if you do, bow down in thanks.
Never lose hope. Never lose Faith. God is great. So are the people, His vicegerents on Earth. They will win their lost God-given sovereignty back. Ameen. People keep talking about scripts, implying that they are written by the army or the CIA or both. God writes everyone’s script. He writes the scripts of the cosmos. The only relevant scripts are the script written by Him. He is the greatest scriptwriter, the greatest bestselling author.
Got it pretty lady, ladies and gentlemen? Does this answer your question? Keep Faith and only with God. We will overcome. The people will prevail. Faith. Peace be upon you and yours.