Tajallee: 002 – a crazy man

Another short story from Tajallee, translated for you by yours truly:

A crazy man

A crazy man got up in the full gathering of the highest and the mightiest in the land and seven seas across, and said something in the ear of the ADC of Her Mejesty. It seemed that what he said was so important that the ADC immediately crossed to Her Majesty, and whispered.

The very next moment the Quen motioned to have the ceremony pause, as if time had stopped still – what has happened? All, big or small, looked at each other in question.

Her Majesty had come on a visit to Pakistan. She was being shown the different cities, feted, entertained, for she was Queen of the former colonial power, and still Head of the Commonwealth to which Pakistan belonged, and in any case we Muslims are famous for our hospitality. In those days, Dhaka (spelt Dacca then) was a part of Pakistan. A reception had been held in Ramna park, near Dhaka University.

Ramna Park had been prepared as a bride. The path from the entrance to the VVIP enclosure was covered with red boradcloth. This was overlaid with thick carpets. Two chairs with Ganga-Jamni work were at the front. The shamiana (tent) had been decorated like the bride’s mundap (shed). Rainbow colours everywhere; line after line of Electric lights; multicolored flowers and plants in similar flowerpots. British and Pakistani flags flew everywhere. It was very pleasing to the eye. At the perimeter of the park were Euclyptus trees whose height and the rainbow across the horizon made the atmosphere even more lovely. In the centre of the park, a military band was performing. Its young, attractive leader toyed with his thin shiny stick in the air, conducting the band, as if moving in dance steps, from leading his men in one direction of the park to the other.

This performance to delight the senses was going on when the buggle was sounded, there was commotion, and Her Majesty the Queen arrived with that distinctive air of Royalty. This was the holder of the British crown, Queen ELizabeth II. Accompanying her was the governor of East Pakistan, Mohammad Azam Khan – Lt. General MOhammad Azam Khan, who was the right-hand man of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, until he became a victim of Palace intrigues.

As if on cue, the well-turned out military formations started moving in unison. These included the Air, the Naval and the land forces. The colors and shine of their uniforms, medals, insignias, belts and shoes were enchanting. As they marched, there was no one more alert than them, starignt lines, staright arms and legs, straight necks, expanded chests. All of them marched, but there was only one sound for each step taken. It seemed these were not men, but well-programmed robots, that do not move out of step.

When the military parade ended, the other items on the programme were started. The ceremeny was at its peak when it was stopped unusally. It was the command of the guest, the Queen, so no one could say anything, but the Governor of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was not pleased. The Military officers were red with anger. The bureaucrats gritted their teeth.

The crazy man who had whispered in the ear of the military secretary of the Queen, motioned with his hand, and the world around froze its activity. Just then the adhan was said over the microphone from a corner of the park, and some musallees (namazis) went to that corner to offer Salat and to prostrate before Allah.

The Queen’s programme for Dhaka was being decided. It was decided that it would start after Asr and continue till after Maghrib. When it was finalised, and the last touches were being given, that crazy man said that – the programme has no provision for Salatal Maghrib. The comment was ignored. That slave of Allah again said – this is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with emphasis on the Islamic. His intervention was again dismissed with a disdainful smile.

That crazy person was no unlettered old man. He was an ICS, COmmissioner of Dhaka. It was his duty to look at every detail, and to make sure everything went like clockwork. Those in power thought the ignoring of his comments twice is sufficient for any madness. Nothing more need be said.

When the day of the ceremony arrived, then just before the time of its start, that Allah’s abd called one of his subordinates and ordered him to “arrange for Salah in one corner of the park. Here is the Muadhdhin, and here is the Imam. Install loudspeakers for them”. The subordinates heard and looked at each other in amazement, as if asking what is this madness?

Still, he was the boss and there was no time, so they had to make the arrangements.

When the adhan was over, a few got up to make saffs, while thousands who had said La ilaha illallah, stayed seated. When the crazy man who had the saffs laid out for Salah, stood in the Saff, tears rolled down his eyes, and he made this dua:

“O Allah! Your Rasool’s Ummah has become devoid of honour. Show it the right path”.

What else could the poor man do!!

When the reception ended, the Queen said something to her military secretary. He went straight to Wahid Bukxh Qadri and said: “Her Majesty thanks you for having stopped the rceremony. Had this not been done, and the Salah not been said in time, then she would have felt very sad as Salah is the most important duty of Muslims.

The Queen’s words pierced many hearts.

May Allah bless Wahid Buksh Qadri with Jannatul Firdaws.

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