By Maria Sartaj
14 Jan. 16
Yes, they are dead. Some report seeing a couple of inactive ones here and there but mostly they are missing in action and presumed to be dead. Sharafat (nobility) is an expired concept and is considered a boring characteristic to posses now.
People often discuss terrorism as the root cause for all the current problems in Pakistan as if it is the only thing plaguing it but let us turn our gaze towards deception and hypocrisy. On the face of it, it may seem like a non-issue but lying has become a national trait with us Pakistanis and we take it with us anywhere we go, shamelessly. “Liar, liar your shalwar is on fire” can best be used to describe the casual attitude towards telling tall tales.
Imagine reading a fantastical yet historical account of the inhabitants of Pakistan, it may read something like this: “Once upon a time, some 20 years from now, a river ran through the heart of the entire South Asian subcontinent but now lies high and dry. This glistening body of water known as the sharafat ki nadya (river of nobility) nourished souls and kneaded them into Shareefzadas and Shareefzadis. These folks were dotted all along Pakistan: gentle, benevolent and affectionate. This community of people seems to have survived till the late 1980s and with the advent of fast food and mobile phones they have increasingly gone extinct. In 2016, if you come across a noble desi, you gasp trying to catch your breath and then dismiss him/her off as “koi jhol hoga issme boss” (there must be something more to him/her). The shareefs were replaced by the hyper phenkos (fabulist). Again the phenko can be found in growing numbers in the country. Some say the last of the shareefs were forcefully converted by trying times into Phenkoism. What really happened is a mystery but as a group phenkos are super intelligent species lying at the speed of light and getting away with it.”
The tailor who promises to have your dress ready by tomorrow — but in your heart you know he will not — belongs to this phenko group. So does the person on the phone who promises “haan haan nikal chuki hoon ghar se”(yes, I have left and I am on my way to you). You know this fabulist is still sitting at home, watching television without a care in the world.
Time is not valued especially if it someone else’s. Small lies lead to big frauds, hence the country is where it is. One cannot keep blaming the politicians for every wrong in the nation; the onus lies with us too but we are busy competing with others to care — exaggerating, showing off, living to get validated by others because simplicity must be the name of an ailment.
Buddha said that three things cannot be hidden, namely the sun, the moon and the truth, but since he is not from our faith his words of wisdom mean nothing to us. There are also countless hadiths that strongly discourage lying but we have all come across those who lie and end their sentences with a Mashallah and an Inshallah.
The shareefs were people who seldom fought with others; they rather believed in the joint family system but this new age spinner of yarns is an individual that starts eyeing the family assets even before the grandparent of the family takes flight for the heavens. The phenko moulds his/her children to view cousins as potential threats so in turn his offspring start a fierce competition within the family, even in their diapers. Everything from looks to grades to potential career choices gets compared so the phenko chacha or mama (uncle) is forever running a marathon against their own kind.
One of the biggest lies also floating around is “aap mere bhai/behen jaise ho” (you are just like my brother/sister). This promise of solidarity is made at the drop of a hat but is merely lip service. No one means it, not even your siblings. Our world is all about running a race hectically trying to defeat others, never to better ourselves. We plan opulent weddings to show off wealth that we may not actually have, we cheat in business because “others indulge in it too” and our friendship is based on mutual benefits. Who are we deceiving? Sooner or later people find out what you were all about anyway.
Body language experts list the following signs as visible markings of lying: providing too much information, covering one’s mouth while talking, looking to one’s left after telling a lie, shuffling feet, repeating phrases etc. I think some of these experts ought to visit Pakistan for a survey; there may be a mine full of study material waiting for them.
Ladies and gentlemen, people here are also experts in providing the wrong advice to misguide purposely since we cannot see others progressing. Females are stingy when it comes to complimenting other females freely. Men have often killed or thrown their parents onto the road, in an accident, to avoid going to work on certain lazy days. So much for productivity.
Honest people are silenced in our society; the dishonest gang up on the lone ranger and make sure the truth is swiftly buried. What would happen if these daily lies are dropped from our lives? Life would become easier to deal with. With deception one has to remember countless stories and that is too much mental work. When we glance back at the generations before us we realise that yes perhaps they were not the greatest but a sense of genuine-ness presided in most of them, which has gone missing today.
Moral collapse has seeped into the social fabric and most seem to be oblivious to it, which is a dangerous sign. No community of people can really thrive and build themselves if they keep on fooling each other.
Oral terrorism must be eradicated urgently. Next time look for the other kind of bullets (goliyaan) people spout so easily and say no to fundamentalism of that kind.
Maria Sartaj is a freelance columnist with a degree in Cultural Studies and a passion for social observation, especially all things South Asian. She tweets @chainacoffeemug
Source: The Daily Times, Pakistan