Ghrair phirta ha liya yooh taray khat ko kay agor
Koi poochay kay ya kiya ha to chhipayah na banay.
The stranger, not to be regarded as one’s own, is going around with your letter in such an open manner.
If someone were to ask what it was, even if he wanted to conceal the contents, he could not.
Mirza Asadullah Ghalib
Who in the world of Urdu literature and poetry would not thank Mirza Ghalib for what he gave to us: the gift of lyrical poetry laced with love, tenderness, passion and, above all, our intrinsic humanity. Yet Ghalib is a poet of tragedy, bearing the burden of an increasingly unbearable civilization and echoing its pains with marvelous concentration and cumulative effects. It is this gift and the struggle for “endurance” that makes Mirza Ghalib relevant to human existence forever.
Metaphorically speaking, in the unbearable political landscape of present day Pakistan, Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza has emerged as a “Politician of Tragedy” full of meditative reverberations claiming a struggle for “endurance” and speaking of a national burden in a communicative articulation never experienced before in the nation’s lifetime. God forbid, to compare ZMirza with Mirza Ghalib would be an unpardonable atrocity. But the point is that ZMirza has succeeded in echoing this nation’s pains with marvelous concentration, cumulative effects and political skill highlighting this nation and its people’s tragic existence and their battle for survival against mounting odds. That’s where the metaphorical analogy becomes relevant.
I cannot say what will happen to ZMirza. The chances are that he will be history soon – perhaps made an example for others not to betray friends – perhaps to rot behind iron bars or even once again join the ranks of cavalier politicians bent on ruling this nation. I cannot even say if all this was a staged drama, the unfolding of a carefully planned and written script. A charade?
But what about ZMirza’s political enterprise – rather, political initiative? Will its reverberations survive? Will its cumulative effects alter the political discourse in this country? Will mafia politics stop? Will murders stop? Will “Bhata” collections end? Will the underlying causes of our political abyss cease to exist? Will there be a careful self-reflection by the incumbent ruling elite on their political conduct? Will democratic governance improve? Will ethical norms in political governance take precedent over personal selfish interests? Will peace and stability prevail? Will we survive as a nation?
No matter what happens next, ZMirza deserves a “thanks” for what he has done so far. He has exposed the hypocrisy implicit in our present political structure in our so-called democracy. Irrespective of what ZMirza’s hidden agenda might be (and don’t rule it out), he has demonstrated courage, boldness, and audacity in exposing the true nature of darkness that has besieged our contemporary political culture. He has pinpointed the culprits and challenged the status-quo; ZMirza has spoken out like no one has dared to before; he has equated the present state of affairs in the country with “wretched politics”; he has challenged the nation to fight back and seek justice, fairness and equality for all. Is that not what democracy is all about?
The question is: Are we at the threshold of a better future? In my considered opinion, no — not until the nation prepares itself for a public trial and sets on a political discourse to purge the entire national political elite by a whirlwind political revolutionary movement in a “snap election.” The nation has enough evidence to discard the present rulers, lock stock and barrel, and send them packing to face justice for their atrocities against people of this nation.
What we need to understand as a nation is that the present ruling elite is a Mafioso outfit that considers politics as a craft to hold onto political power to perpetuate its control over national affairs and maintain the socio-political-economic status quo indefinitely. Irrespective of ZMirza’s hidden or real intentions, the fact is that the ruling elite’s hypocrisy and absolute lack of commitment to public welfare and ethical democratic norms is clearly exposed. If ZMirza’s acts are not a political charade, then undoubtedly it has been a brave political initiative that needs to be seized upon by the progressive political forces in the country that are opposed to the politics of status quo.
As a nation, we need to comprehend the notion of historical inevitability – political conditions cannot stay like this forever: Either we fail and fall apart as a nation, or march on to transform our national destiny. But the important point is that the transformation of our destiny will not happen because of celestial intervention. It has to be planned, willfully pursued: the entire nation has to be engaged in the process of making a people’s revolution, skillfully steered by ourselves without foreign help or patronage.
Democracy is not something that comes in an aid package, an NRO-infected political virus that poisons the entire body politics. Democracy is like an organism that breeds in a structural form, that must be perfectly healthy in its conception, that must be carefully nourished and served by those who are committed to the basic dynamics of democratic health – By selfless dedication to moral and ethical rules of governance.
In today’s Pakistan, we have all the necessary ingredients: We are already at the edge of collapse and at the lowest ebb of national calamities – and those responsible for these disasters have been exposed. It is time to act in unison and join the emerging people’s revolution for justice, fairness, equality, rule of law and, above all, for moral politics.
Thank you, Mirza!
Whatever your intents, God only knows better, but we have now an avenue to turn around and fix ourselves!!
You have made people clamor for change — and that is what is needed now! Amazingly ZMirza has been going around with the letters. To quote Ghalib:
“Even if he wanted to conceal the contents, he could not!”