Banjar hai sab

CHAUKHANDI TOMBS, Karachi (pic by Sahar Z)

Banjar Hai Sab Banjar Hai
Hum Dhoondne Jab Firdaus Chale
Teri Khoj Talaash Mein Dekh Piya
Hum Kitne Kaale Kos Chale...

This song sums up the morass I find myself in these days... it has been a strange and tumultuous fortnight. We'd returned from Pakistan, a month back, full of 'amazing stories' and then on November 26 something happened that turned what we'd thought were small crevices into giant canyons.

Suddenly all that love and bonhomie that we felt there began to seem small in the face of the hatred that 10 young men carried in their backpacks. A hatred that they unleashed on unarmed people without a thought to the network of roots that joins every man to five hundred others, each of whom is joined to five hundred others. And each of those five hundred, to yet another five hundred. These roots are invisible to touch but we see them in the eyes of those we love. And once those eyes are forced shut that love turns to hatred. A hatred that is carried on in multiples of 500 through the invisible roots of our eyes.

In this past fortnight I have listened to many theories, counter-theories, solutions and super-solutions about what SHOULD, COULD and MUST be done. I have also been part of many conversations in front of the TV and on the Net and in these moments I have felt the draining futility of all this solution-finding, this building of air castles, this bullshitting ourselves and others in the hope that somewhere in the heart of these discussions lurks an answer, however nebulous. The thought is comforting if comfort is what you're seeking.

Perhaps we talk to let off steam. Or feel protected by the force of our convictions. Or maybe we just talk because it's easy.

The one and only thing that I have realised in this past fortnight is that we've been wrong; way off the mark in combing a wasteland of words in search of Paradise or its active principle, if there's such a thing. We've walked a hundred 'black miles' in search of a Subcontinental Utopia, a place where former brothers could be re-united. But we're nowhere close to resolution.

I have come to the realisation that answers to the problems of our beloved Subcontinent lie not in talk and discussions... a pursuit that invariably gets entangled at the edge of some old scar. Or falls right in the middle of a still-festering wound.

But I do have great respect for the roots that grow from our eyes. I respect them because these roots don't know any boundaries... they just grow... and fall in love... with other roots. And in their growth and multiplication lies my biggest hope. I shall therefore not talk, not discuss the pros and cons of this war or that peace... these boycotts or those CBMs... your terrorists and our victims. I shall not talk this language because it is the language of subterfuge and reaction.

Instead with open eyes I shall remain silent so that my roots don't stop growing.


  1. you start off by giving the impression that YOU have a solution but you end the piece in such realistic fatalism!!! But wanting to grow roots from the eyes sounds very're a Sufeeee...


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