Random Thoughts

Fable and Fact

I have fond memories of an amusing ballad "Andheri Nagari Chaupat Raja", which roughly translates "Dark is the nation and insane the king". The hilarious and sardonic poem begins with the graduation ceremony at a gurukul with a disciple seeking the advice of his guru about going to the dark nation to seek his fortune. The teacher advises against the venture despite great economic potential, by saying "Andheri nagri Chaupat raja; takeh ser bhaji, takeh ser khaja". There is one fixed price for spinach and dates and everything and thus the denizens lack intelligent discriminating abilities and these irrational and unjust policies pervade all aspects including commerce, law and ethics, making it an undesirable abode or ally irrespective of monetary or strategic benefits. The young and unwise new graduate goes anyway.

In this strange land, one night four brothers plan a burglary and try to breach the wall of the house of an affluent family. The bungling incompetent thieves bring the wall down, but in the process are killed by the falling bricks. The mother of the thieves is angry and grieved and files a lawsuit in the court to seek compensation for her loss. In arguing her case before the Qadi, she claims that her sons were merely following their profession and the inappropriately constructed wall caused their demise, for which the homeowner was liable. The judge following the strange and uniform national code of justice, asks the homeowner why he should not be sentenced to death for the loss of the thieves' lives. The frightened and frazzled homeowner uses the defense that those who constructed the wall are the guilty party and thus exonerates himself. The bricklayer is then summoned to the court and he says it is not his fault as he did his job well and the cement must have been of poor quality. The wrath of the judge and his warped justice then descends on the cement mixer who is accused of pouring too much water during mixing. The cement maker admits that it happened, but attributes it to his required mandatory greeting of the passing Mullah, a legally justifiable diversion that diluted the cement. The Qadi calls the Mullah in. The honest man has no excuse and the judge pronounces death by hanging for the convicted Mullah. The national legally prescribed fixed size noose is brought to the courtyard to string up the guilty offender. Whatever the fault of the Mullah, he is a decent god-fearing man who has refrained from indulging in sin, including gluttony. His neck is thin and his visage lean and his head and cranial capacity on the small side. The noose keeps slipping off his head and neck. The irritated judge who has other commitments, then pontificates that the deaths must be punished and since the circumference of the noose is unalterable by the national religious code, the only way for justice to be done, is to hang the first person whom the noose fits.

The chubby newly graduated disciple feasting on the cheap dates was idling time watching the wheels of justice and his stout neck fitted the noose. He was to be hanged in the public square next morning as an example to the citizens and to emphasize that justice not only should be done, but it must also publicly seen to be done. The desperate disciple sent an urgent SOS to his guru via a messenger. The guru promptly arrived early morning at the public square and created a ruckus by insisting that he be hanged instead of the disciple. The intrigued Qadi was taken aback at this strange self-destroying demand and even the Mullah suspected some theological mystery. They kept asking the guru for the reason and he refused. The irritated judge then threatened him that if he refused he would be beheaded instead of being hanged. The guru pleaded that he must be hanged. Under further intimidation and duress, the guru confessed that on this day of the new moon, anyone who was hanged would go straight to heaven and was guaranteed double his share of beautiful virgins. The Qadi, then insisted since he was the judge, he would decide who would be hanged. He decided he would hang himself. In the meantime the news had reached the king. He repaired to the scene and used his primate privilege to be hanged. The relieved guru and disciple promptly crossed the borders of the strange realm, vowing never to return again.

That brings me from fable to fact. Recently a woman doctor working in the gas company in Baluchistan was gang-raped by army men in uniform, possibly to set an example to people with sympathies for the oppressed Baluchis. The remarkably brave woman and her enlightened and loving husband decided to go public and bring charges. Pakistan, however is a democratic friendly country as defined by Proconsul Bush. Its Chaupat Raja being a supporter of uniformality, refuses to charge the army personnel and invoked the strange law of Huddoud which specifies that if a woman cannot produce four Muslim men as witnesses to the rape, then she is guilty of fornication and must be stoned to death. (The problem is that there were only three rapists and they being devout Muslims follow the Muslim Civil code and the Secular Penal code and have taken the fifth amendment and have been enrolled in the witness protection program on grounds of national security as per Patriot Act 2'just a side joke and crack at our own primates Proconsuls Vajpayee-Gandhis-Nehru and Bush). Many of you may remember a similar case recently in Nigeria.

To add insult to injury, in topsy-turvy Pakistan and the victim's province of Sindh, it is the rapee victim, not General Raper Napier, who says "PECCAVI". It is a stain on the honor of the raped woman's family that must be avenged by the honor killing "KARO-KARI" of the woman, but not the rapists. The final irony is that the raped victim's own grandfather has called for the honor killing of his own abused and violated granddaughter! Where are the American feminists when you need them? Probably watching their mohels perform male circumcision and reciting monologues at raves of RAWA!


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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