Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

The God of all things – Facing Reality

March 30, 2007

I wish I had paid attention to expressing myself. My vocabulary is so short, and I never took reviewing seriously, but here is a book that tells the most compelling story, of Truth. It does so in a simple way, too, explaining the concepts in a way that are easy to comprehend:

The God of all things – Facing Reality, by Aminah Kamble (Rajasa Robbins)

The thread above on themadinah discussion board is the most uptodate online collection of chapters in her book. Not all the chapters have been posted there, and I intend to keep posting the rest of the 40 chapters in my possession.

The story is told by Aminah Kamble, whose own story of reversion is a fascinating search for the Truth:

The story of sister Aminah Kamble

The author(ess) started to post the chapters of her book on her own site for the book:

God of all things site

but she has been very busy, and couldn’t continue beyond chapter 16 on that site. The madinah board thread is the most uptodate one so far.

Her book is ready for publishing. A total of 585 pages. The book dimensions are 5.25 x 8 (inches). The price of the book I’m told will be $15.99. And it will be available for purchase on amazon.com

When it is published and/or ready on amazon.com, I will let you all know, Insha`Allah.

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Tajallee: 002 – a crazy man

February 5, 2007

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.

Tajallee: 001

February 3, 2007

being grateful

Some time ago, I provided a couple or so translations of the short works of Shah Baleeghuddin, published in his book: “Tajallee“. This is a continuation of that effort. Shah Baleeghuddin was a very welcome speaker on Islam and society, He spoke in Urdu on Pakistani radio and TV during the Z

ia years, but vanished to the Arabian Peninsuala for his business and professional work. He published a book called “Roshni’, and then this “Tajallee” in Urdu, based on his speaches. I think he may be a consultant on Islamic issues, but at the moment I do not have any definite news of him. Anyway, read and enjoy:

Sultan Tughral was a king  – no ordinary king, a great king. Allah (swt) had blessed him many qualities fit for a king, like courage, enterprise, together with intellect and wisdom. He worked hard as well. He was king, but he was not given to enjoyment and pleasures of the flesh. He kept at improving the lot of his subjects, because he had taqwa, the fear of being held to account by Allah (swt).

One night he went on his round of the city, to find out the state of his subjects. It was winter, but he did not change his routine of finding out for himself. He returned late from his round, and found that the security guard at his private quarters was shivering with cold. The Sultan stopped by the guard, talked to him with affection and warmth, and told him he would immediately send warm clothing to him.

The guard became happy, and prayed duas for the Sultan’s long life. Virtue never goes waste. It always produces good results. However, the good deeds that are done for showing off, do go waste, even cause adverse result in the Hereafter.

When the Sultan reached his palace, he quickly wrote down his diary, and his orders to the wazeer and (Prime Minister) and the Chief of Police. He dealt with a few other necessary items, and got so busy that he forgot the promise made to the guard.

The guard was counting every second that any moment now he will reseive warm clothing, and will escape the biting cold. We are told not to give false hope to any one. False hope is even worse than other lies. Sign of a good Muslim’s is that not only does he fulfil good expectations of himself, but also gives more than his due. The last Prophet of Allah peace be upon him is reported to have said that this is a great quality in one. Receiving more than expected always makes a person greatly happy. This was the Sunnah of the leader of the Prophets. When he promised something, he always provided more than his promise. Silmilarly, when he took a loan from someone, he always returned more than he had taken in loan.

Sultan Tughral finished his work, and went to bed, and slept immediately. He was too tired.

Man can forget. He can put off promises. He can lie. He can deceive. But Allah (swt) is not like that. He remembers everyone. The Sultan was a man, and he forgot his promise. But Allah reminded him of the promise. How? A man came to him in his dream, and said:

“O Sultan! your bed is very soft and very warm! Be thankful to Allah that He has given you such blessings”.

The Sultan said to him: “I am always thanking Allah. I am not vain or proud of my wealth, power and strength. I know that those who give themselves airs for these, soon receive a jolt.”

The man in the dream said: “Tughral! had you been really grateful to Allah, you would not have left that guard waiting for warm clothes.”

The Sultan immediately woke up from his dream, got warm clothes, went to the guard, helped him put on his warm clothing, and apologised for the delay.

The Sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him is that that one should not feel vanity on receinving Allah’s blessings, but should be grateful to Allah by helping His other creation. This is what Allah likes much:

wallahu uhibbul Muhsineen
Allah likes those who are very kind.

true story 004: Where is Khalil?

February 19, 2006

Where is Khalil?

In a dimly lit small room, with a damp mouldy smell, six humans sit huddled together,

· Two old parents, bent backs, cataract in the eyes
· A wife, looking old due to having seen a good day only once in a while,
· Three children, two school going, having had their schooling resumed only after stops, third ready to go

fear evident from their eyes, waiting, waiting for Khalil!

But where is Khalil?

Perhaps I should start at the beginning, and tell you who is Khalil.

But what is the beginning?

Is the beginning before Khalil’s birth, or even before his parents were married? Is it when his parents had to leave their respective homes in India as a result of anti-Muslim riots in the wake of Independence?

This is how it happened: Lulled by assurances of a peaceful life, and told that all weapons, even kitchen knives, were being collected from everyone in the province, so as to ensure communal peace, Khalil’s grandparents were also persuaded to give up everything in their house that could ever be used in defence. Little known to them, the Sikh and Hindu Mahasabha were being armed by the police and the paramilitary armies of the neighbouring princely Sikh States.

On the night of independence and after that, these were let loose on the Muslim villages, or houses of Muslims, with murder, pillage, rape and abduction, often led by the police, or the Sikh regiments.

When the attackers left the village of Khalil’s grandparents with their booty, including ornaments and some girls, there was little left except dead bodies and a few injured ones who were left for dead. Among those were Khalil’s grandparents and one teenage son. They managed to walk part of the way, and to take a train through part of it, along the route experiencing yet more attacks and yet more dead.

They reached Lahore, but to live their lives meant a lot of struggle. They eventually made Lahore their home. Struggling to make a new life, they married off their son, to whom was born Khalil, whose parents decided that their son would get the highest education. Also living in poverty, they impressed upon their son the virtues of honesty, hard work and education.

Khalil did not disappoint them.

He studied and worked hard.

When his father fell ill and was unable to provide for his family, Khalil worked tuitions to support the family. He was fortunate in that his hard work was rewarded, and he even took a gold medal from the University.

That is where his good luck, or rewards for hard work, ended.

He sent in applications for jobs in the thousands, he appeared in hundreds of them, but was not lucky enough to land a job. Apparently he needed a “good” reference, which means from someone high up in politics, bureaucracy or the army. He knew no one in these.

Khalil was interested in knowledge. He became a member of four libraries in the city, but his membership brought him in contact with people who are considered unsuccessful in this world, so these clubs did not help him either. His networking was in the wrong nets.

He tried starting businesses with money borrowed from friends, or from selling his family’s meager possessions, but here too he was unsuccessful. In the presence of adulterated and sub-standard goods and services, in the need to bribe police officers and protection racketeers (which he refused), his businesses never flourished except for brief periods.

In one of such periods, Khalil’s parents found a wife for their son, and Khalil soon became a father in his own right.

Tired of failure in his own country, he sold off the family “silver”, and bought a visa to Saudi Arabia, which turned out to be fake, but not by the immigration authorities at the airport. So he managed to stay and work for two years, naturally not in well-paying jobs. Enough perhaps to pay off the debts incurred in his visa, but not enough to breathe easy for a while even.

He had to return to Pakistan when the Saudi police, in one of their raids, found he had a fake visa, and the same old story of applications, small transient jobs, hunger and the kids’ intermittent education began.

He had a fine mind. He read a lot, and analysed it. He came to Islamabad once a week or so, met a journalist friend, told him what he had seen or analysed, and went back to Lahore. His journalist friend often used this input to write his column. Eventually, in one meeting, Khalil told his friend Javed that he could not take it any more. Life had been too difficult for him to carry on.

Javed tried to console him, but Khalil was now past consolation.

Javed advised him to start his own business.

Khalil listed the businesses he had started, finances he had gotten together, the hurdles in the way of principles he had encountered, and how his businesses had failed.

Javed felt too deeply for his friend, so asked him to think of a business he could handle best.

Khalil was a good driver. He mentioned this, and together they concluded that running one’s own private commuter van would be a good business for Khalil.

Javed asked around, and found a second hand van for Rs 1.10 million.

Khalil went quiet, but on encouragement, and Javed promising he would also chip in with Rs. 200,000. Khalil calculated and by selling his parents’ house, his wife’s jewelry, and loans from other friends, he could come up with only Rs. 450,000 – thus the total between the two friends was Rs. 650,000.

They were quiet for some hour or so, when Khalil said he would try to get the rest somehow, and to have the van kept for some time.

After a few days, Khalil returned with the balance.

He had sold his kidney and obtained his price in advance.

After a suitable match from one of those who needed a kidney transplant, his kidney was removed, and when he had recovered, he started driving his van. He enjoyed his work, and it paid him well.

It looked as if his troubles were now over.

Far away, in a land of which people like Khalil can only dream, a Danish paper decided that the time to test Muslims had come again, and commissioned 12 caricatures of the prophet (saw), mocking him and the religion which is all people like Khalil have left.

Peaceful negotiations failed; the Prime Minister of Denmark refused even to see the ten ambassadors of Muslim countries about the issue. The Muslims of Denmark sent a delegation to the ME countries, apprising them of the attack on their religion, and seeking support to have this resolved.

Little by little Muslims, tired of centuries of abuse, tired of an elite imposed upon them, protested, some burning down the consulates of the countries where this provocation had taken place.

Pakistan was late on the scene. A protest took place in Lahore. It was meant to be peaceful, but from somewhere an organized gang of motorcyclists appeared, bent upon destruction. They smashed windows, looted stores, set fire to buildings, and to transport.

Khalil was driving his van when the arsonists caught him.

He pleaded with them, to no avail.

In no time his van was on fire.

He tried to extinguish it with his shirt, but what an inadequate fire extinguisher a shirt is.

Finally, he threw his shirt towards the burning van, and disappeared.

He has not been heard of since.

true story: 003 – grab, grab, grab…..

October 13, 2004

Grab, grab, grab…..This is what the world is all about 😦

The prophet (saw) said something like: if a person grabs hold of a piece of land belonging to someone else, that piece of land will be made into a tauq (yoke) and put around the grabber’s neck, and he will have to go around with it.

There was a time when people had a sense of what is theirs, and what is not, and they were careful not to touch what did not belong to them, but alas, no more. Now people want to grab, grab, grab…..

This is a little story of how me, one weak and frail person, fought not just the high and mighty in the land but almost everyone else to restore some land rights to the common man. True story, of course.

_______________________________________________

I was reasonably happy.I had a government job, which paid me enough for a respectable living. Although the atmosphere at work was more of persecution, I had determined that this was the best place for me. I lived in rented accommodation with 4000 square feet covered area on a 500 sq. yard plot. The house was much larger than my needs, in an elite locality, where most people were educated officers. The area was clean; at the front there was no construction, so there was greenery around me. From the verandah on my house’s first floor the hills were visible, and they were hardly 2.5 km away. Any problems with utilities like electric or gas supply breakdowns, telephones, etc, were immediately attended to. My wife and I did not earn enough to live lavishly, not even enough to visit my mother on a yearly basis, but my life was comfortable. I had a new small car, bought on installments. I was married, and we had two kids. While my wife also worked, my mother-in-law also lived with us, and took care of the kids during the day until my wife returned home.

When there was load-shedding of electricity, I made an alternative 12-volt system for my kids, so while the rest of Pakistan suffered mosquito bites and heat, my children slept peacefully through electricity blackouts.

Then one day, after eight years of living in that rented accommodation, my landlord asked me to vacate the house.

“But why?” I asked, “you told me I can live in this house for the rest of my life”.

“You believed me!” the landlord exclaimed in disbelief.

What could I say? I speak the truth, and I mean what I say, and I expect others to be the same. Here was someone telling me he did not mean what he had said!

“But why, what have we done to incur your displeasure?” I asked again.

“Oh, you are a perfect tenant. I wouldn’t normally want you to leave but the market rent for this house is now double what you pay, and I know you are already paying more than you can afford. You cannot afford the rent”, came the reply.

He was right.

“Give me time”, I asked; and as he was a gentleman, he agreed.

So my wife and I went house hunting. I had been spoilt. I have always lived in clean localities, with large open spaces but with all municipal facilities. So I looked for similar accommodation in residential sectors that were newly being built, where the rents were likely to be lower.

Those experiences are also worth relating, but maybe some other time, insha’Allah. What I learnt was that these houses were also out of reach for me.

One day while worried about where to go, I passed by the chief of my organisation, and he asked what was wrong with me. So I explained that I was about to be evicted, and the rents had now gone too high in the localities where people like me would prefer to live.

“Why don’t you get a house of your own? You can get a loan from us. Bring me an application, and I will sanction your loan”, he said.

That was very kind of him, I thought. I immediately went to my office, wrote an application for a house-building loan, took it to the chief for sanctioning, and got it signed. That evening, my landlord came to ask about when was I going to vacate the house. I told him excitedly that a loan had been sanctioned to me, and I will buy a house and move. He didn’t respond with any happiness or excitement. Instead he asked, “how much money has been sanctioned to you?”

I told him the amount.

He shook his head; “You won’t be able to buy a reasonably sized plot even in the new sectors with this money, let alone a house.”

And then he told me to go check the market for plots/houses on sale. I did that for the next few days, and my heart sank.

My wife looked at me one evening, and said, “ask your father-in-law for a loan”.

That was a thought. Before my marriage, I had it conveyed to my father-in-law that from our side there was no demand for dowry. This was unusual, as generally in the settled areas of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, the bride’s side gives a lot of dowry to the bride, and that can include a car, a house, cash etc. which is of course made use of by the bridegroom.

Totally unIslamic, but a custom from the Hindus, and I had broken that custom so that my marriage would be more Islamic.

I was still hesitant, so my wife said, “Shall I ask?” I told my wife to go ahead.

She did and came back with the requirement that I submit a feasibility study and repayment schedules.

F-in-L had been the Finance Director of a large industrial cum commercial empire, and so I understood his requirement. All through his life he had dealt with feasibility studies and payment schedules! So I prepared and submitted the feasibility with a schedule of repayments. The loan was promptly sanctioned, 🙂 and the money transferred to my wife’s account.

Armed with this money, I went into the market to buy a house. There I discovered that I had to lower my expectations, and even then all the money I had been able to muster was somewhat short of the price, which was climbing literally every day. Then my neighbor, who was in the same boat as me, told me that with the same money we could buy a plot jointly, subdivide it, and build our houses on the subdivided plot.

The experiences of that will be related some other time, insha’Allah. Let us fast forward to the topic of this story.

This new sector where I built my house, was soon flooded with people with a lot of money. They were feudal lords, who do not pay taxes, instead collecting from the government, benefiting from every government scheme, and being at the forefront of all politics, democratic or otherwise. Or they were very highly placed bureaucrats, similarly benefiting from government schemes. The children of this elite have no respect for the law, and would fly their four-wheel drive Pajeros on the roads.

Normally, when you have housing schemes in the developed world, all facilities and amenities are in place before the owners are expected to take up residence. In the third world, generally facilities follow the residents. A sector for development is opened up, and there is a very poorly constructed narrow road. When the sector is nearly fully populated, and people press for facilities and if they are influential, those facilities are provided. Fortunately, in my sector, electricity and gas were available from the start and telephone followed shortly, and the roads were also paved properly, three years after I had moved in.

Even the President built a house in my area. He was the chief of a very large tribe.

At the side of the paved roads there is land which house owners are required to maintain, without restricting its public nature. However, I found that almost everyone had encroached upon this land, grabbing it upto the edge of the paved road, and erecting fences or even walls, thereby leaving the pedestrians no space to walk. This I saw happening all over the place, and could do nothing. Then one day the owner of the corner house being built at my street’s junction with the main road also put a fence around the land meant for pedestrians.

That was a serious traffic hazard. So I asked people if a vehicle breaks down where would the other vehicles go?

Or if there is need for a lot of vehicles to be parked in our street, where would these be parked?

Or if a pedestrian tries to save himself from a flying vehicle, how would he do it? In fact, while going for walks, three times I had nearly been run down by vehicles at that junction.

I discovered that there are laws and directions governing this land, and how the owners can make use of it to beautify the surroundings of their houses, without restricting the public’s right to use it.

I approached the offending gentleman, who simply refused to remove that encroachment, instead relating how he had been shortchanged by the system. If he had complaints against the system why was he punishing us, I asked. He did not consider this question worthy of reply.

I asked my neighbors on the street, and they agreed with my objection to that particular gentleman, but no more. They weren’t prepared to remove the encroachments they had themselves made, or make a representation against that particular encroachment, or even talk to the gentleman about the traffic hazard he had created.

I asked my colleagues and friends, and their responses were similar.

My family was upset with me for being so civics minded, and for making enemies in the neighbourhood. You are making it difficult for us to live here, my family told me. Why don’t you mind your own business, every one said?

But this was my business, I protested!

I went to the municipal authorities, and they agreed with me, yet expressed helplessness at this breach of the law. The high and mighty were doing it, and it would be wiser for me to join them, rather than make any protests. Many of their Directors were also doing the same.

One of my colleagues got angry with me: “First get the President to remove his encroachment, and then maybe I will listen to you”, he said. Great, I thought, everyone here thinks he is above even the President.

I wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper, and it was published. I mentioned this issue to the Executive Director of a think-tank, who told me I was wasting my time on small worries. I should be concentrating on changing the government. Apparently that is the issue this think tank specialised in. Change the government, and everything will be all right. They had struggled all their lives to make governments fall, and had succeeded umpteen times. Yet I could not see any improvement in the conditions of this nation. So, I did not agree with the approach of that think-tank. To the Executive Director, however, I was a friend who had helped him in the past, and he hoped to keep me interested in his own organisation, so he gave me some practical advice. He told me one letter wouldn’t do. There had to be many letters, and in many newspapers, for any notice to be taken.

When everyone else was opposed to any activism who would write letters in my support, I wondered?

Still I asked around for help, and got refusals. I then asked if I could use names and addresses, and fortunately, from those who weren’t owners themselves, but were resident tenants, that permission was granted. My friend in the think tank also provided me with a list of his supporters and sympathisers, whose permission to use their names for writing letters had already been obtained by his organisation.

So I wrote many letters from my relatives and friends to the newspapers, as much as twenty-five letters a day to five daily newspapers. Soon it looked as if the thinking population of this city was grossly upset with encroachments.

All this must have worried the municipal authorities. They eventually moved in the face of such a campaign. They first issued notices to house owners to do these themselves by a certain time. When there was no compliance, the authorities began to remove the encroachments from the city. Everyday I looked, and was happy with the results. Soon it would be my street’s turn. I waited with pleasure. Ramadan was coming, and the authorities were near my street, and then the work stopped.

I asked why, and they said they would renew their campaign after Ramadan.

Ramadan came and went, and I waited.

Eid-ud-duha came and went, and nothing happened.

I asked again, and was told yes, it would soon start. But how soon is soon? Eight months passed after Ramadan, and no activity.

I learnt that just the day before the encroachments were to be removed from my street, one of the employees of the authorities had been murdered in a commercial market while removing the encroachments, so the unions wouldn’t let the authorities begin their drive again, or the authorities wouldn’t do it themselves.

I was stuck with the encroachments on my street, and the rest of the city.

Then one day, in desperation, I wrote a letter to the Federal Ombudsman. I received a very courteous reply that my complaint had been registered, and had been allotted a complaint number, which I should use in future correspondence. Soon my complaint would be looked into.

After nearly a month, I received a letter again from the Ombudsman. Enclosed was a letter from the local municipal authorities. That letter explained that the authorities were alive to such violations, and had been taking steps. It pointed out how the authorities had started a campaign nearly a year ago, etc. etc. – basically singing laurels of the authorities.

It was a very standard sort of reply. I wrote back to the Ombudsman that the campaign had stopped in the middle, before it reached my street, whereas I was one of the earliest complainants, and I enclosed copies of newspapers cuttings with my letters on this subject.

The Ombudsman again sent my letter on to the authorities and intimated to me what he had done.

In due course, I received a letter again from the Ombudsman, with an enclosure, which was another letter from the municipal authority, detailing how civic that body was, and how alive it was to the needs of the residents, and it would be doing something about the issue.

I waited, and then asked for a time frame, and the letters flew back and forth through the good offices of the Ombudsman. This went on for another year, until I sat down and reviewed the entire correspondence, and got very angry.

So I wrote a very nice and courteous letter to the Ombudsman, asking him if he was supposed to act as a glorified post office, or was his function to see that the complaints of a citizen, if genuine, are attended to. Here, I pointed out, the authorities were taking us in a merry-go-round.

I think the sarcasm got him. Any way, the Ombudsman’s office called the municipal authorities and me to his court – he had the powers of a Federal Supreme Court Judge. I was a little apprehensive, because of the sarcastic language I had used. The authority sent an inexperienced deputy director to represent its case. The poor guy could offer no defense of his organisation’s procrastination, instead almost weeping at not having any authority himself. He propmptly got rebuked for his employers sins. He said he had no manpower to do the job. He was told by the Ombudsman to hire daily wage laborers and do the job. Or to hire a contractor and get it done to the complainant’s satisfaction. And to get it done within a fortnight, although it was hardly a day’s job. This extra time was being given to him as a grace, the Ombudsman added.

That gentleman whose fence was the straw that broke the camel’s back, noticed that I had reactivated my attempts to get the street cleared of encroachments. One day he came to my house and threatened me of dire consequences. I told him to go to the law, as what I was doing was trying to get his usurpation of public land redressed through the law. He said unmentionable things about the law, about the Ombudsman, etc. and threatened that he would abduct my family, mentioning that his tribe had just become famous for the notorious activities of some of its members in politics and bureaucracy. That was true, so I worried about it. I said the ayatul kursi, and asked Allah (swt) for help, putting my family in His care. Then I sought links in the law-enforcement department, and told them of this threat. I was told not to worry.

The gentleman received a visit from the said law-enforcing department. It must have been quite a visit :), for after that he became very subdued, and although he kept complaining about the removal of his encroachment, never issued any more threats, or even come to me.

The job was done, and reported to the Ombudsman who wrote to me to verify that it was satisfactory. I wrote back that it wasn’t, because the contractor had dumped the earth by another main road, which had become an eyesore. The authority received another rebuke, and that eyesore was also removed.

:)))

This is how a meek, frightened weak person had his city cleared of encroachments despite opposition from the President of the country down to his own family.

btw, the encroachments are coming back, and I don’t have the energy or strength for another campaign.

Anyone wants to renew or restart this campaign?

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