By Samir Tariq
February 24, 2014
Let’s acknowledge one thing folks. As a nation, we are an extremely industrious people and highly innovative as well. Therefore, our poor economic situation, which seems to be worsening by the day, is beyond any rational reasoning at least to me.
Where else in the world would you find such highly creative, extremely ambitious and downright greedy, shameless and vulture-like souls who would rent out the mausoleum of their nation’s founder for a meager amount of a few thousand rupees?
Imagine this scenario.
You are the caretaker of a place – a place where the father of your nation rests in a grave, on the land that he fought for all his life. He did not just fight for himself but for millions of people like you and I, so that we could live with respect and dignity, in harmony and freedom.
But as a caretaker, you see this piece of land as a gold mine because to your numb mind and dead soul it is just another piece of property. It is simply a place for you to make money, if not in large amounts at once, then at least in small chunks for a very long time. You think about how to use it as effectively and efficiently as possible.
And that’s when the youth comes in to help.
In a society where extremism, confused sectarian identities, social stigmas, sexual frustration and an unnatural gender divide prevails, you have found the ideal ‘target market’ for what you are about to launch as your new business model.
You turn the mausoleum of the Quaid into a ‘love-shack’ and rent it out by the hour.
But how do you reach out to your ‘target market’?
You needn’t worry. They will come themselves. All you have to do is step out of your office and look behind the bushes and benches…
And there you have your customer; scared and excited at the same time but more than ready to give out a little cash that his father must have earned either through sheer hard work or in bribes. Whatever the case, that guy with his sagging jeans and even more sagging values is more than happy to get a little privacy with a girl wearing a mask of innocence on her already-ageing, characterless face, in a city of 19 million zombies. They are eager and willing even if it means desecrating a place where their own fathers and mothers would have entered with their shoes off, eyes downcast, reciting Fatiha.
However, there is a threat to this business model and you might not enjoy the monopoly for too long.
Other such soul-less scoundrel ‘businessmen’ might already be in the market under the garb of caretakers and project officers in several other places such as tombs of Sufis and mausoleums of national heroes, selling the sanctity of these places for money.
But Mr Caretaker of Mazar-e-Quaid, you needn’t worry too much. After all, you have the prime property in your control and as long as the shameless sons and daughters of this nation can adjust their ‘honeymoon bookings’ to dates other than August 14, December 25, September 6 and March 23, it will all work out just fine for you and your partners in crime.
You, Mr Caretaker, need to develop a network so that you get business sitting at home through referrals. And why not?
Any money coming in is welcome in these hard times and that too without any personal investment.
And with this money you will send your children to school. School – where they will read in text books about how Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, along with other selfless people struggled for years and how they made personal sacrifices just to ensure that children like your sons and daughters could live a comfortable and dignified life. And then one day, they will come to you in all innocence and excitedly say,
“Daddy, can you please take us to see the tomb of our great leader? We want to say thank you to him.”
What will you say then? Will you say?
“Sorry children, I sold that place to the devil a long time ago, along with my soul, to make money. Let’s just say thank you to the Quaid on the Rs1,000 note.”
You might not be able to say much but you will know deep down that all that money was not worth the shame and insult your children would feel knowing what you have made of their great Quaid.
Shame on you. Shame on us.