Posted on October 27, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Photo of the Day
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Owais Mughal

The scene below is from June 01, 2008 where people are seen pushing a broken down bus near S.M. College, Karachi. The photo is a very good representative of our society in literal as well as philosophical way.

Let me tell you why I think so..

(1) Literal in a sense that such scenes are very common in Pakistan where passengers of a bus are also asked to push it when the engine dies down.

(2) Philosophical in a sense that note the dua (prayers) written on the bus as ‘allah nigehban’ (May God Protect You) and ‘allah mehrban’ (May God be Benevolent to you). But unlike our symbolic and ritualistic society these brave men are not waiting for some divine help to appear. They are taking matters in their own hands and should I say..‘himmat-e-mardaaN, madad-e-khuda’ (God helps those who show courage).

I’ve read somewhere that while the war of independence in 1857 was getting crushed by the British, the ladies in old city Delhi were heard saying:

‘khuda karay faraNgioN ki topouN mein keeRay paReN” (May God put pests in the guns of colonial powers). Of course such prayers were not going to be heard. In the end Delhi lost its power seat for the next 90 years.

Allama Iqbal has also said:

Khuda ne aaj tak us qaum ki haalat naheeN badli
na ho jis ko khyal aap apni haalat ke badalnay ka

Photo Credits: Jehangir Khan at Associated Press of Pakistan

18 Comments on “himmat-e-mardaaN…

  1. Khushi Muhammad says:
    October 28th, 2008 5:16 am

    I live in Beijing and I have friends and relatives living in many different parts of the world. I don’t know ANY other region where people answer the call for help as readily and promptly as folks do in Pakistan. That’s commendable!
    Sorry for being slightly off topic, though.

  2. zia hussain says:
    October 28th, 2008 6:36 am
  3. Tazeen says:
    October 28th, 2008 6:57 am

    An Indian friend commented on our situation and said that she is impressed with the resilience of Pakistani people. I said, its about time we become less resilient about taking things on the chin from our successive government and start reclaiming decision making power, after all it is the tax paying awam that is dealing with all the blows.

  4. Unaiza Fatima says:
    October 28th, 2008 10:13 am

    Khushi Muhammad
    Thank you for paying a tribute to our people. It is easy to find evils in our society just as in every other society, but many unique “goodies” can be found among us, just as this one.
    Divine help does not mean someone will come from sky and do something for anyone. People who are pushing the bus DO NOT KNOW whether the bus will be started or not. (But most likely it must have started.) Nothing can happen without Allah’s will and these people know it very well. It is just a matter of His will whether something would be executed or not. He asks us to create resources and He has promised to help.
    Allah has said in Quran that Human gets what he strives for.

  5. Anwar says:
    October 28th, 2008 10:45 am

    Very interesting post and subliminal message it carries… alas for those it is intended cannot read.
    Enjoyed. Thanks.

  6. Ayesha says:
    October 28th, 2008 11:10 am

    Kudos to these people for not waiting for divine intervention….
    I think the main problem in Pakistan is that people depend so much on “Allah”….

  7. Owais Mughal says:
    October 28th, 2008 12:35 pm

    During college days my friend and I were once travelling to Naran Valley.

    From Mansehra to Naran, we were in a Toyota Hiace. After Kaghan there were quite a few glaciers on the road and this ‘Hiace’ used to get stuck in them. The driver and conductor were of course very experienced. At the start of every glacier, and in no time, the conductor used to tie a rope infront of the ‘Hiace’ and then shout “aa jaao bhuee aa jao” to the passengers.

    This was a call to passengers to pull on the rope and help the ‘Hiace’ out of the glacier. It was like an expected duty of passengers to help the ‘Hiace’ out of glaciers. Of course almost everyone obliged b/c it was in the benefit of all to reach the destination early.

    If you are interested then details of that trip can be found in an earlier ATP post called ‘In the Land of Kunhar’

  8. Feisal Khan says:
    October 28th, 2008 12:35 pm

    Hmmmm, shouldn’t it be himmat-e-mardan, madad-e-Allah?

    On a less serious note, ;-), himmat-e-mardan, madad-e-khuda is also the motto of 1st (Skinner’s) Horse of the Indian Army, one of the oldest cavalry regiments of the old British Indian Army. On a side note, James Skinner, who raised the regiment, wrote his memoirs in Farsi.

  9. Rashad says:
    October 28th, 2008 2:43 pm

    Dear ayesha,

    what about the people who depends more on “Amerika”?

  10. AF Ahmad says:
    October 28th, 2008 3:31 pm

    I am reading in this picture a number of other things that could be considered a microcosm of Pakistan.

    The gentleman to the extreme right is an older person and was presumably first out of the bus, because he is farthest from the door, which would have led the others to join him. That’s leadership at the lowest level, where it really counts. The person to the extreme left doesn’t seem to be giving his all, a far too common occurrence too.

    You can also glean a little bit of Pakistani urban culture from how the people are dressed. Three people are wearing shalwar kameez, two are wearing jeans and one seems to have chosen some hodge podge as his style.

    The bus itself seems to be leaning slightly to the right, not in the political sense, although that might be its owner’s tilt too, but signifies a structural deficiency like most things in the country. And of course, it needs to be pushed to get it going. Enough said.

  11. MQ says:
    October 28th, 2008 3:56 pm

    Well said, Ayesha!

    And why is only “himaat-e-mardaaN …”. Why not also “himmat-e- aurataaN” for a change?

  12. A Fine Balance says:
    October 28th, 2008 4:55 pm

    Guys try to think:

    1. Why won’t God heal amputees? If He listens to prayers (or he exists) surely atleast one amputee in the history of mankind must have been healed (with proof).

    2. Why do bad things happen in equal proportion statistically to evil and good people? Surely either God has no system of fairness on earth (life is unfair) or God does not exist.

    3. Why do so many innocent children die in earthquakes?

    4. Why does God never show up? Why did he not leave any solid evidence of His existence (the way we understand Him) that can stand in an impartial human court of law?

    Now to “himmat-e-mardan, madad-e-Khuda”

    If a society makes endeavors, they get results because they have made the efforts, not because God suddenly starts helping them LOL. By this logic, even I can proclaim to be God and I will help you finish a task only when you yourself finish it!! I am soo great :)

    Now people will start their imagined concocted explanations that has nothing to do with objective reality. Remember, any argument for God should be able to stand in a court of law as a solid evidence, not on subjective and blind beliefs.

    There is none.

    All we have are imagined concoctions to give us hope and help us through the difficulties of lives, that one day we will be in heaven and our enemies in hell :) (of course without proof of any such eventuality).

  13. Shaheed Faiz says:
    October 28th, 2008 7:02 pm

    The guy on the left, who doesn’t seem to be helping at all, looks like the conductor of the bus.

  14. Sajjad Junaidi says:
    October 28th, 2008 11:17 pm

    Dear Fine Balance

    I think you are trying to take this discussion to a different topic. You should discuss that in some other forum but not this one. I am not an editor of this website, just a regular reader and occasionally contribute in the comments field. I have no problem with you expressing your point of view and some people might agree with you too.

    I personally believe not here. Have a good day.

  15. Zia Ahmed says:
    October 29th, 2008 1:06 am

    That means Pakistanies are no doubt very helping peoples, in this case they could have already paid the fair charges and still they are pushing the broken down bus ! What a nature.

  16. Faraz says:
    October 29th, 2008 1:16 pm

    What I see is six people trying to make something happen, and another 17 (16 commenters plus 1 photographer) doing nothing but making useless comments. Get to work!

  17. Umar Shah says:
    October 31st, 2008 12:17 pm

    I think Shehzad Roy’s song ‘Laga Reh’ represents this photo very well :)


  18. October 31st, 2008 12:38 pm

    Owais, you seem to have this brilliant quality of finding something positive in anything and everything.
    Great post.
    Thanks for sharing.

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