Archive for August 2011
“What we want is not talk about Bengali, Punjabi and Sindhi … yes! They are units; they are provinces … pathan … yes! But I ask you; have you forgotten the lesson that Islam taught us 13 centuries ago … and I think you will agree with me that whatever else you may be or whatever you are … you are Muslim. That you have now carved out a territory … vast territory, it is all yours … it doesn’t belong to a Bengali or a Punjabi or a Sindhi … its all yours. You have got your central govt where every unit and every provicen is represented. Therefore if you want to build up yourself into a nation and get rid of this poison; for God’s sake give up this provincialism. You are only voicing my sentiments and sentiments of millions of Mussalams when you say that Pakistan should be made on pure foundation of social justice and Islamic socialism, not other isms!
Brotherhood, equality, fraternity of man these are all basic point of our religion, culture and civilization. And we fought for Pakistan because there was danger of denial of these human rights in sub-continent. After all the story of Pakistan and its struggle and its achievements is the very story of great human ideal, struggling to service in the face of great odds and difficulties.
Let us now plan to build and reconstruct and regenerate our great nation. Now it is time, chance and opportunity for every Musalman to make his or her fullest and best contribution and make the greatest sacrifice and work ceaselessly and selflessly in the service of our nation and make Pakistan one of the greatest nations of the world. Pakistan is now fait accompli and it can never be undone”
Abdhul Rahman is a mid forties Bangladeshi national selling Miswaak in front of my mosque. It is a very common practice here in Saudi Arabia, where labour class does day jobs to earn decent money in order to support their families back home. Like Abdul Rahman there are thousands of other Bangladeshi national working different jobs in one single day.
Rough estimates suggest that there is a population of 5.6 millions foreign workers in Saudi Arabia and 0.1% of them makes Bangladeshi national. And of these 0.4 million Bangladeshis, if I am not wrong 98% of them does what Abdul Rahman do for living. Most of them doing regular jobs as tea boy or office cleaner, in afternoon selling Miswaaks or water bottles and mainly washing cars as side business. We have to admit one thing that they are business oriented; I wont be wrong in saying that Bangladeshi labour class is hired on just 400SAR per month salary but with their side businesses they do make more than 4000SAR per month; but surprisingly their lives never seems to have changed.
I have been seeing Abdul Rahman doing this work for more than 15 years now, and he is still sitting there selling Miswaak, he also does car washing in the evening which surprises that has he not earned enough in 15 years to elevate himself from this work and do something extra-ordinary or atleast go back home to Bangladesh and do decent investment to live a respectable decent life; it does amazes me. For example, if he sells 5 stick of Miswaaks in one day, 2 SAR piece so he must be making 300SAR per month; and if he washes 2 cars in one month on daily basis for 50SAR each, he must be making 100SAR; total being 400SAR in 30days period, 4800SAR in a year and 72000SAR in 15years i.e. 1368000BDT. Don’t you think 1368000BDT is enough to set up a decent earning business? I know I am getting crazy; but at least this much could have forced him to move out of street shop and car washing business. Yes it does surprise me.
But my surprise give me answer after I analyse the how world economy and businesses have been effected over 15 years. Rise in cost of living, food prices, real estate hike and Wars have no doubt affected every single person living on earth. But Mustafa a car technician from Pakistan has some other story to tell.
Mustafa a Pakistani national is in his late 40s and a professional car technician. I was told that my father has been his customer since 1983, i.e. even before I was born. At that time he uses hold his personal tools and standing outside different workshops just to grab a customer to fix minute faults in a car. But now to my surprise, after more than 25 years he owns 4 of his personal workshops with more than 20 employees working for him. He and his family are living a decent life with his kids studying to be professional engineer.
So what was different for Mustafa than Abdul Rahman, has he not been lucky enough, or the profession he selected was not worth paying or may be his the will power was not that strong? I don’t know what it is; but I know me and my family has spent more than 30 years living and working in Saudi Arabia. Thanks a million to God that HE gave us the best life we wished for and my parents has a very decent and respectable living environment back home in Pakistan which now we are enjoying. But there is always something which stops you; there is always an excuse that we should go on working before settling permanently to Pakistan. Excuse of political turmoil in Pakistan, economic instability, insecurity, lack of basic needs and facilities; I am sure Abdul Rahman also have a fair list of excuses which stops him from doing something different and stops Mustafa to leave Saudi Arabia. World is no doubt a messy place to live in.