Hajay Qiyamat Nai Ayi

Friday, August 13, 2010 F.H 9 Comments Category :

("Hajay Qiyamat Nai Ayi"-The Doomsday Hasn't Come Yet- is the title of a poem written by Munnu Bhai.)

Jinnah Flyover, also called Cavalry Bridge, is an overhead bridge that directs the traffic coming from Gulberg towards Cantt and D.H.A. That night I was driving over the bridge with my grandmother when we passed by this huge billboard advertising Stoneage jeans with Iman Ali on it. And I must say, she looked murderously beautiful, wearing skintight, coal-black denim jeans, lying on her back against a backdrop of black leopard motifs, the overhead flood lights setting off her sharp features to perfection. Looking at it, nani ami sighed and 'tsk-tsked' in her endearingly characteristic way and said,'Bus jee, qiyamat diyan nishaaniyan ne aye saariyan. Allah e Pakistan nu saambay! Aye mulk nai bachda hun!" (All these are signs of the Doomsday. God save Pakistan. There isn't much hope for this country now.) Then she went on to mutter something that sounded like 'fahashi, uryani, bepardagi...Amreeka' but it's quite possible that I misheard so I can't say.

It made me smile though. Nani ami saw Pakistan being created. She's heard Jinnah live on radio and in the crazy orgy of violence that swept across the Subcontinent in '47, she actually saw her house get burned down...by Muslims, who thought it was a Sikh household.(My grandfather's grandfather being a Muslim-convert-former-Sikh might have had something t do with that suspicion. Like I said, crazy times!) And like most eye-witnesses of the bloodied events of Partition, she is not happy with the way things have turned out. She believes that Pakistan was created to fulfill a divine mission, of upholding the unique Islamic tradition and a rich cultural heritage and seeing modern-day Pakistani women in chic Western apparel somehow make her feel that our sacred mission has suffered a serious set-back.

Good old nani ami.

If I'd been in the mood, I'd have pointed out the kacchi basti sprawling alongside the railway line that runs below the flyover. From my vantage point on the bridge, I could actually glance inside those little ugly doll houses made of brick and plaster, tiny rooftops laid open for the world to see, packs of little, naked, malnutritioned children playing under flickering yellow light bulbs, thin black men and fat black women with dirty hair and dirtier clothes lying limp on broken chaar-pais. A bleak world indeed, at stark contrast to the glitzy universe of sin and splendor splashed across the enormous advertisement boards all around; in direct collision with the smattering of luxury stores flanking the bridge, where the city's elite shops. What was heartening to see though, were the green and white flags hoisted on top of every rooftop, for the upcoming 14 August. Robert Browning might have called it 'love among the ruins'. I could have pointed out all this to nani-ami with the cool, candid frankness that only exists between your grandparents and you. I could've phrased some sort of an elegant speech on the comic tragedy of grossly permutated ideologies and fallen ideals, on Iman Ali's hauntingly surreal beauty and the various signs of Doomsday(which of the signs is more frightening by the way? Glamourised cattle shows comprising multiple-sclerosis-fighting, Westernised super-models or the average man committing suicide due to hunger and poverty. Which one?) But nani ami looked too genuinely dismayed and I suck at oratory anyway. So I forbore and turned on the radio instead. Zia Mohyuddin was on, rendering Faiz's Subh-e-Azadi

Ah Faiz! The brilliant godchild of the Muses. Faiz, the enigma, Faiz the renegade...Faiz, the revolution. I love Pakistan for a lot of reasons and Faiz Ahmad Faiz is one of them.

Life, as Ayaz Amir puts it, 'doesn't come in one piece. It is made up of different things: joy and tragedy, triumph and sorrow, kindness and cruelty, the stars and the gutter.' And I don't mind the conflict really. It's despair and dejected resignedness that gets under my skin. For all it's worth, a clash of ideologies, a battle of priciples atleast keeps the blood gushing and the cerebral motors running. Atleast it keeps the accursed phantoms of stagnation at bay. Atleast it gives you something to work with. Pessimism, on the other hand is just a behavourial dead end. A tattered quilt plumped up by a stuffing of negativity and self-depreciation. And believe me, we have plenty of that in this part of the world. As a friend writes, 'the task becomes more daunting when a 13 year old tells you with all the confidence in the world that there's no hope for Pakistan.' (She teaches Economics at a local school)

Now that's just sad.

I mean, granted that like Orwell's Animal Farm, Pakistan just might be a 'revolution gone wrong' but a world's yet to be created in which wrongs can't be set right and differences can't be borne with! From the brightest star above to the bumpiest rut down under, this place is ours. All ours. We're connected to it by no mean link. Doesn't that fact alone give us so much to go on for? The sky isn't going to come crashing down on us any time soon folks; let's make the most of it till then.To keep the spirt of optimism alive and never, not once, giving in to the demons of hopelessness and helplessness; that would indeed be a welcome start. And to keep the flag flying high. Always.

Sigh. That was just a lot of bromide, wasn't it? But what can I do? Anniversaries make me go all sentimental. And they make my friends go all crazy. Take a look at their Independence Day celebrations.

Now here's some cool patriotism, no?:)

By the way, Jinnah Flyover has quite a colourful history. It is said that back in the '90's, the then Punjab CM(our very own Khadim-e-Ala), on his recurrent visits to DHA to see his not-so-secret second wife, had to wait for long hours at the railway crossing and because love(especially the clandestine variety of it) knows no patience, he had the flyover built to save time. It is also said that the second marriage didn't work out(some scandal-scavengers say there wasn't even a marriage to begin with...oh well!) and then there was the whole martial law mess of '99 so Khadim-e-Ala had to run, but the bridge has stood the test of time with utmost resilience. True, it's no Taj Mahal but still, full marks given to his Lordship for thinking outside the box and demonstrating to perfection the fine art of juggling romance and public service; there's a little poet hiding somewhere inside you, dear sir.

So before I sign off, happy birthday Pakistan. Let me be among the first ones to wish you.(It's still a few hours away, but I have an unfailing habit of forgetting birthdays so...!!) Here's to you, my love and to new beginnings. Cheers!



  1. Loved ur article.THATS THE SPIRIT.

  2. Love the patriotism that shines through your writing. We need a bit more hope and optimism

    Its not just 'give peace a chance', its also 'give Pakistan a Chance'!

  3. I get senti on occasions like this too :P
    'From the brightest star above to the bumpiest rut down under, this place is ours. All ours.'
    YUP!! That's so true.
    It's annoying when ppl start thinkin of themselves as too cool for stuff that's very very Pakistani... I mean dunkin donuts as a snack over a bazaari road-side fried (in-goo-looking-oil) samosa..? come on!! :D
    oh n a word about patriotism in ke..its nice to see students in green n flags being put up, not to mention a certain someone roaming around in a Quaid getover..;P i dnt think that happens in any other uni(*cough* cz they're all CLOSED)... n i like that.

  4. Brilliant words, effortless style. Shaabaash!
    *The second wife was nicknamed Honey...my mother and her DHA aunty gang still refer to it as Honey Bridge*

  5. N who that certain someone might be Fizza ? :P :p

  6. the water fountain uncle! ;P

  7. Simply superb!

    We, as a nation, lack patriotism. The rare piece of it we are left with, is disappearing fast. However, many still do have it n we certainly ought to have more of it in each n every Pakistani from the Khunjerab Pass to the islands of Karachi n Gawadar n from the Sialkot Sector to the Kharan Desert.

    The news that Pakistani flag gets burnt in Quetta n that the national anthem is banned in the schools of Khuzdar (2nd largest city of balochistan) are heart-wrenching.

  8. Brilliant post !

    Well, we certainly lack Patriotism. What can you say of a country whose politicians were enjoying relishes of a European tour when the entire World's media was criticizing them for their presence despite the flood devastations in country? Honey Bridge construction(btw,I didn't knew the name before), for instance, also had personal motives of our well-known 'Khadim-e-aala'. So, when our politicians are suffering from the most chronic stages of Patriotism Deficiency; what can you expect from bourgeoisie and lower classes residing here.

  9. I just read your article- brilliant! Your writing style mingled with your uplifting patriotism is infectious!! Another wonderful article in Faiza Style. Loved it and writing, attitude, and thoughts like this make me proud of Pakistan! No doubt further in the future, you will make your nation proud! Kudos once again.