In Western movies or cartoons, the celebrations of a child’s birthday usually include a piñata. Whenever I saw one, I wished I had one too. Smashing a colourful ‘horsie’ to bits and pieces at first and being rewarded with candy for the effort – what kid would not want the same? It is only recently, however, that the people of Pakistan seem to have embraced the Piñata Philosophy very closely.
The only difference is that there is no candy involved.
The reason behind it is simple: we people are fed up.
We are fed up of all the problems and issues and controversies and concerns and incidents that never seem to end but just keep on piling up on us. There is no respite whatsoever from the crushing weight of the halaat for the general population of Pakistan. There is no aspect of our lives these days, not even one, that we can look to for some comfort or point out and say that this bit right here – yeah this one, a little to the left of the debt problem, very much obscured by the rest of the things, waiting for us patiently in the corner – this bit is good; we have no problems with this bit.
And we feel entirely helpless.
Complain and bemoan as we might, staging protests and dharnas and holding strikes, nothing has been done. The media has become our strong mechanism of defense, or at least, given us a voice. But nothing effective has been done. Or is being done.
Or will be done?
So, of course, there is anger. On the surface, every semblance to a ‘normal’ life is maintained, but the anger keeps on bubbling just beneath the skin. It festers a little as a new issue emerges, rankling the ‘normal’ existence some more. Till one day, the kettle of rage boils over.
And it boils all over some poor soul who has the misfortune to get caught.
At that point, it doesn’t matter whether it is his first time ever or not, whether he is innocent or guilty, or whether he was just in a wrong place at a wrong time. He is going to pay, pay dearly and maybe even with his life, for all that is amiss in our world.
We beat the poor bloke with our fists and any sticks and stones we can lay our hands on to. We kick him and punch him. We tie him up and drag him around the dusty streets. For this is the solution, the only solution perhaps, it seems. It is the candy that this human piñata gives us – a way to make us feel in control of our miserable situation.
And they totally deserve it.
How can they even think they can commit a crime and get away with it? How dare they think they can commit a crime and get away with it?
But how dare we think that we have a right to make a piñata out of others? How dare we think we can get away with taking the law into our own hands?
Yet, we do dare.
It is precisely because we dare that we have incidents like the lashing of ‘thief’ brothers in Sialkot and the shooting by the rangers of a cell-phone ‘thief’.
And the episode that I saw on the news the other day where another man who had snatched a woman’s handbag was beaten to a pulp.
And the one…fill in the blanks.
Although, from a people deprived of candy and any positive steps to make life even zero-point-one percent better, can anything else be expected?
Especially when we have such impressive role models in the form of the current leadership and the political elite. They haven’t yet been caught using force on each other but they are black belts in verbal bashing – no one can beat them at the ‘sport’ they’ve taken to Olympian heights. Their minions, however, have been known to repeatedly succumb to the lowly non-verbal piñata bashing, be it a rally or a polling station or anywhere they accidently come face to face.
Maybe it isn’t that ‘lowly’. Lawyers and doctors certainly seem to be aspiring to their standards. Or maybe it is the other way about.
Now where did I put that hockey stick? The neighbour’s generator is getting on my nerves.