Tuesday January 18, 2022

Results, not rhetoric

January 07, 2022

I started last week’s article by saying that I am 72 years old. And I proved it to myself today, Wednesday, the day I am meant to submit my article. I forgot. It was around 8:30 at night when my sister said ‘good night’ to me and said, ‘we’ll write your article tomorrow’ – because she is the one who actually inputs it when I dictate. I nearly sank. I said, ‘No, I should have given it in by now’. I thought I’ll make my excuses but my wife said, ‘No, if you can stay up this long watching useless television and boring cricket matches that are going on, you can write your article’. So, I said, let’s try and do it because something has been going on in my mind for a few nights.

I suddenly realised when I was in bed, about to go to sleep, that Surah Fatiha, the first surah in the Quran is, to me, the most important surah because it is the prayer that God has given to man to show him the right path: therefore, we ask God in the prayer to show us the path walked on by those that please Him and not the path trod on by those that displease Him. The Holy Quran is God’s answer to that prayer which makes it so important.

I consider Surah Fatiha the most important surah and the most important prayer for us. So, now I have made it a point of making it my last prayer before I go to sleep along with the Kalimah. Since then, I have been going to sleep rather quickly and having a comparatively more peaceful sleep. It’s all psychosomatic, say the non-believers. I say to them, to you your way and to me mine – and good luck to both of us.

When I wake up the next day, I am confronted with the din being created in the media by things that are oh-so-irrelevant. Did Imran Khan hide the foreign funding that his party received? If he told an untruth, then his persona of being truthful and trustworthy stands shredded, which is sad. Knowing Imran Khan as I do, I find it difficult to accept that he could be so deceitful; the opposition is making a production out of it and wanting him to get disqualified by the courts as Nawaz Sharif has been.

We are not through with this particular scandal still cooking but, I personally think it is a case of misadventure when Imran Khan took his popularity for granted and took his eye off the ball. As a batsman he should have known how important it is to keep your eye on the ball otherwise you can get hit, even fatally, by a ball travelling at 90 miles plus per hour.

I hope that is not what has happened and that he gets out of this kerfuffle in one piece. Imran Khan never tired of calling opposition politicians corrupt and liars, people who could not be trusted. Now the opposition’s representatives are turning the same thing around on Imran. After Imran gets out of this mess, he should learn to talk less and do more.

All my life I’ve been telling my politician friends in Pakistan and abroad that, in your business, it is results that count – not rhetoric. Imran Khan has been long on rhetoric and short on results. Of course, a lot of it was caused by historical mistakes and by global compulsions like the price of oil going up over which Imran had no control. You have to learn to live with such things as best you can and try not to be driven by political compulsions. When a politician in power claims all is fine, yet his country’s grocery shelves are bereft of any kind of food, then that is what informs people’s perceptions, not rhetoric.

Reminds me of a prayer that my paternal grandfather loved in which man prays to God not to make him in charge of his own fate even for a moment. Why is that? Obviously because we are flawed creatures, we are bound to make mistakes and ruin our fate. “Ya Hayyu ya Qayyumu birahmatika astaghith aslih li sha'ni kullah wa la takilni ila nafsi tarfata ayn” [O Ever Living One, O Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all, by Your Mercy I call on You to set right all my affairs. Do not place me in charge of my soul even for the blinking of any eye (a moment)].

So, when we have raised our self, or khudi, so high that God asks such a person before deciding each fate, as Iqbal says: what is it that you want in your destiny, his first desire should be only this prayer – don’t make me in charge of my fate even for a moment. There is a certain degree of humility in this also so I am not contradicting the great Allama but reinforcing my understanding. God knows best.

The writer is a veteran journalist, political analyst and author.

Email: humayun.gauhar786@gmail. com