“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.
“pinna pakarh”, “daur chaaurh”, “paycha lag gaya hai, dheel daii DHEEL Daaayyy, BOO KAAATAAAA” … guys shouting the victory slogan; and then big speakers of stereo deck playing, “Patang baaz sajna say, patang baaz balma day … ”. This is typical night of spring festival of Basant celebrated on rooftops of old homes in central city of 1000BC cultural capital of Lahore.
The Basant Festival or Jashn-e-Baharaan (Festival of Spring) hails the start of spring. Kite-fliers in Lahore’s old town take to their rooftops and use strings coated with glass to cut the competition from the sky. Keep your head tilted skyward to glimpse the vibrant-coloured kites. For those wanting to get a piece of the action, Lahore’s shops are full of kites, so you can pick one up and claim your slice of the sky.
There a lot of rush at kite shops as children and middle-aged men gathered to purchase their favourite coloured kites and strings. The festival is part of the city’s centuries old culture, adding that a number of special dishes are also prepared for the occasion. Basant is the event of colours and lights, number of people in the area has installed lights at their residences; “the dance of kites in lights” is visible to everyone who would look up.
Last spring my friend living near most famous and monumental structure of Chauburji in Lahore invited us to celebrate the Basant at his residence. We all pitched in financially to buy kites and strings. I have to admit that we were not expert kite-fliers, though very enthusiastic. Among 10 kites bought, we lost half of them to the rivals and claimed one; it wasn’t a bad business deal in return of fun. His mother also prepared typical Lahori dish of “Nihari Naan” to add spice to the festival. It was not doubt best of all festive nights.
Nowadays Basant has taken shape of business; there are music concerts, family gatherings, theatres and official kite-flying competitions making this century old festival fun as well as profitable.
A country with more than 180 million populations belonging from various castes, religions, background, speaking more than 70 languages and eating hundreds of different kind of food makes Pakistani cuisine a refined blend of various regional cooking traditions famous for its richness and flavour.
Pakistani cuisines, as locally known as Khabay varies greatly from region to region with in Pakistan. Starting from metropolitan city of Karachi with its variety of tastes from different parts of world to the 1000BC old cultural capital of Lahore; then cuisine from eastern border with Afghanistan to the northern beauty and heavenly place of Kashmir; the tastes, the colour and pleasure to senses varies within every single kilometre. The arrival of Aryan from Central Asia, Afghanis from eastern border and Arabs with Islam made history of food in Pakistan. The taste from Eastern Afghan Empire, the traditions of local tribes, the colours from Persian Empire and last but not least the spices and aroma added to food Mughals enriched Pakistani food.
If you ask me, I cannot even list the kinds of Pakistani Khabay as there are countless dishes made here. Namely “Chicken Korma”, “Chicken Karahi”, “Aloo Keema”, “Mutton Palao”, “Chapli Kabab”, “Sheesh Kabab”, “Palak” and on and on and on; but my most favourite is the colourful, spicy, tasty and aromatic dish of “Chicken Biryani”.
Biryani is a set a rice based food made mixed with many kinds of spices; either with meat and/or vegetables. Even there are more than 20 kinds of Biryani dishes, but my most favourite is “Masalaydar Chicken Birayni”.
“Masalaydar Chicken Birayni” consist of Chicken, rice, yougurt, chilli powder, haldi, coriander , black pepper, hot masala, onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste, zeera, cinnamon stick, green chilli and salt; all these simple ingredients are turned into sensual, delicious dish that fire the blood and satisfy the heart. And they taste even better if they are shared with someone you love.
Well I have to share my drinking experience with you. It’s not like what you are thinking; drinking all night, having headache or hangover in the morning and not remembering anything, nope never; I am more into non-alcoholic beers or malt beverages most precisely.
It all started when I was a kid, I don’t exactly remember the age but I remember to be kid … :D; anyways I had my first malt goes by the name MOUSSY or I call it The FAT MOUSSY. It was small but fat looking bottle with text claiming to amuse my nerve while dirking.
I opened my first dead cold silver coloured bottle, I remember the fumes came out to pleasure my sense of smell, my eyes closed and I felt fresh at the moment. Brought the opened bottle close to my thirsty lips and had my first sip of pure non-alcoholic malt; mmmm … what the **** … yukh!!! That’s very bitter. I took it as the first and last attempt to have malt, but I was not able to forget the refreshing feeling I had when I opened it for the first time. After lot of waiting and grinning, Big Fat LEMON Moussy malt came to rescue. It was friendly, tasty, and yummy and the world became so better after that; Moussy ruled me for next years.
But life has never been fair. There is always someone getting himself ready to bite you; that what happened to Moussy, it got its competitor.
“Ladies and gentlemen please put your hands together for the one who has come to pleasure your sense of taste, smell and quench the thirst of dry lips, here she is, the one and only … Miss BARBICAAAANNN!!!”
She is slim, tall, tasty, yummy and not alone; she brought team of Lemon and Apple Barbican with her. She was the drink of my dreams; it is Apple flavoured malt of Barbican. She ruled for next coming years, she was with me all the time. And not only that, she kept on growing by bringing strawberry and pineapple to me. Those were good days but unfortunately the sad reality is that every rise has its fall.
News was everywhere, there is someone new coming to take over Barbican; someone more tasty, more colourful and more enchanting. Suspense grew everyday, thirst increased every moment and eyes waited every second.
The moment of suspense came to an end when Mr. BARIO came to us beating MOUSSY and BARBICAN with it mature looks, colours and taste. Mr BARIO came with his whole team of apple, lemon, pineapple, strawberry and coolest of all The Berry. Now it is BARIO who is my friend, my mate, my companion who is always there for me. Even right now I am not alone Bario with its Berry flavour is amusing me with its amazing taste and thirst quenching powers. BURRRP!!!! Excuse me … 😉