Back in January 2007, I wrote about beggars on the streets of Lahore, Karachi and the growing indifference in our society towards these extremely poor and forgotten people. Hundreds of organized gangs are operating in almost every big city of Pakistan who amputate the organs of little kids, old and young people and then leave them on streets to make good money for them. But what about the unfortunate beggars themselves?
We see them every day at traffic signals and footpaths from our car windows and most of the times just throw a coin at them and try to ignore them as they don’t exist. This level of indifference in our society is sad. May be we were put on this side of the car window for a reason, to be able to help those on the other side.
Our courts are too busy solving the legal and constitutional issues, the law enforcement agencies are occupied keeping an eye on politicians or arresting and deporting them, and all of us are too busy debating all this … but, for whom? Maybe it is those who are debating the ‘big picture’ who are really missing the big picture that can only be seen in the small pictures.
The photograph above by Jawad Zakariya, once again reminded me of the miserable life of these unwanted people in our country. Society rejects them and police harshly beats them on daily basis, adding to their misery.
As I was taking photos in and around Data Darbar. This old man asked me to come over.
“Will you print these photos in the newspaper?”, he asked. Before I could explain that I wasn’t affiliated with any paper, he continued. Tell them how the police brutally beat us up all the time….and he showed me the injuries on his arms and legs.
“Why do they do that?”, I asked.
“Because we sit here begging. This is Data Darbar ! where else can I go.”
… and he started crying … print this in the paper maybe then they’ll stop … then he thought for a moment …
maybe if you print it they’ll get more angry….
another pause …
print it, maybe some higher up will see it and make them stop.
“They hit old crippled men”…..”shameless animals”….”Is this why we made this Pakistan”…..”Is this Why ???”………..he kept asking as he wept.
I had no answer … I got back into my Civic … turned on the AC … and started driving away.
“Is this why we made this Pakistan?” I have asked myself this questions many times and never found an answer. Can you think of an answer?