Friday June 21, 2024

Bitter fact of life today

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
January 30, 2020

Every now and then one hears from the mouth of out-of-power leaders that they will not make any mistake, rather take people along with them in long march to true democracy for a big change in our system so that the common man doesn’t feel he is deprived of basic human rights—for instance food, health and education and employment.

Many activists can’t hide their desire to appear on television screen: they think general election is being held soon: “Very likely this year.”

What some leaders seem to have forgotten is that masses are now losing trust in political leaders because of their past wrong-doings based on self-interest.

“We don’t want such a fishy politics which doesn’t solve any of our socio-economic problems. We want ‘susti roti and daal’, and free education for our children,” say middle, lower and poor parents.

The city olds, having lived through 16 regimes, whisper: “All these political self-seekers have pledged our present and future generations through foreign loans worth billions on World Bank and International Monetary Fund conditions. Why should the poor masses pay for the electricity and gas pilfered by the rich flour and sugar mill owners as well as influential political leaders?

The majority of suffering masses comprehend various issues in their own way, such as food price hike, unemployment and poverty. The main point of their thinking revolves around the sky-high ‘roti’. The exploited sections of society say the power hungry politicians should stop juggling with words. “They should better join hands with peasants and labourers for urgently needed soft revolution.

The downtrodden people have revived deep interest in problems and, at the same time, awaken the slumbering society to Islam.

There’s no denying the fact that popularly respected Baba Ganj Shakkar was one of the most revolutionary thinkers and poets of his time: He understood, practiced and spread the spirit of Islam in the sub-continent.

He was against poverty and illiteracy: That’s why his powerful and thought provoking poetry appeals to the downtrodden of the 21st century also. One of his Punjabi couplets says: “Punj rukan Islam dey, tey chhewan Farida tuk; jey na labhey chhewan , tey punjey yee jaandey muk (There are five articles of Islam; but O Farida there’s also a sixth article, and that’s ‘roti’; if man doesn’t find the sixth one, he forgets the rest).

Educated young and old citizens, who read the Quran, study the Quran, and practice the Message of the Quran, fully comprehend the meaning of what Baba Ganj Shakkar said long time ago. ‘Roti’ is one of basic needs of a human to survive, and worship one true God. What may happen if the centuries old (unjust) social and economic system can’t nab hoarders and profiteers, and the price of ‘roti’ goes up and remains beyond the reach of the ordinary citizens?

The leaders will have to awaken their conscience to see what happens in society when roti goes sky-high. Who will buy one roti priced eighty rupees?