I did not. But I now do. I also now know that it was celebrated with great fervor. I am glad that it was.
Even though some have raised concerns about how such a celebration might "isolate" Sindh from the rest of the country, especially in the wake of the violence that the country is in the grips of, I think the idea of celebrating our heritage is a good one.Â In fact, I hope that it will be followed by the "Pakol Day," the "Karakul Cap Day," the "Kulla Day," and days for celebrating all the diverse and rich array of caps and turbans worn all across the country.
What I cannot understand, however, is why the centerpiece of the celebrations seemed to be guns and fancy firepower, even more than ajraks and Sindhi caps?
This was so not just in this picture, but in a number of other pictures too. And it is by no means specific to this celebration. All across Pakistan, we see this morbid fascination. Guns at Basant are as disgusting as guns at weddings or guns at college graduations. And yet, the insecure amongst us cling to them in shallow bravado and false machoness. In ordinary times, the spectacle are merely disgusting displays of bad taste. In times like these, such acts become ominous reminders of how the validation of violence (also, here) is a deep deep scar on all of our society.
The picture above is particularly disturbing, not only because of the ugliness of the weapon but for the obvious glee on the lady’s face (from the photo’s caption, she is a "political activist") – not to mention that in her glee she forgot to don the Sindhi Cap she is supposed to be celebrating. One assumes that the child clinging to her (in a state of shell shock, as he should be) is her’s. One wonders what lesson he is taking back from this episode?
But the bigger question really is, what lessons are we teaching our children about violence and the validation of violence?
Three past posts from ATP still haunt me to this day – the first about an angry mob burning a thief alive, the second about WAPDA engineers opening fire at protesters, and the third of a man beating his wife a his son looks on. All three are really stories about the validation of violence; stories that we have had to write again and again.
The question, indeed, is: with all this fascination with guns and all this violence thick in teh air, what have we become ourselves and what are we teaching our children to become?
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