The Silent Majority

http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/images/2007/02/mb/silent_majority-thumb.JPGFound this more than personal so decided to share.
I got an emergency call this morning & had to reach Teen Talwar. Dialed driver’s number but to no avail. Came on road for a taxi but it occurred to me that I had forgotten my purse (wallet) in drawer. I had walked far enough from my office by then. Searched the pocket, got a 50 rupee note. Going back was wasting time. I jumped into a coach. There was no seat available so stood firmly watching outside in anticipation. Soon I started coughing as I noticed an old man right behind me enjoying his journey with a cigarette. As if the smoke outside was not enough to fill the coach this man was literally making sure the inside look like a burned arena. I noticed the men & women (he was standing near second seat from women’s compartment) feeling uncomfortable with it too but expressing there disapproval only with their angry looks. So it was basically happening for some time before I joined in, i guessed. I took a sigh of relief when he finished the cigarette but wait. He took out another one, lit it & after a while I could feel the poisonous gases choking my throat. I was strictly advised by doctors to stay away from smoke and dust due to my previous record.

This man was acting as if a smoking ban has just been lifted off him after years. He finished second & started the third one. The old man looked like a past criminal from his physical appearance, only lacking in physical power due to age. For a moment I thought about requesting him to discontinue his enjoyment but the feel of all others there being silent too made me think about different possibilities. Will he accept? What if he argued? Should I just stay silent as these kind of jungli people never understand? What if the guy turns out to be a good soul? My friend once had a very serious fight on similar pity matter in a bus.

( Image credit : divoid)

By now we were 30 minutes into the journey. And every one had lost his patience but all we were doing was look at him with hate in our eyes & he, unmoved by it was only busy looking outside thinking, GOD knows what. Few women who had kids with them were more concerned. The bus conductor didn’t sound cooperative either when a women was arguing on kiraya. He had a paan in his mouth too. Many were looking at each other helplessness as if they had been asked to reach the K-2 peak. Few other were trying to keep themselves busy by looking outside where there was another flavor readily available.

“chacha , aap ye cigerete bujhadainey , meherbani hogi aap ki”
I had enough, so I finally broke the silence around 45th minute.
kia ? He said & looked at me with his equally ugly eyes.
Kia kaha beta? He said again. . . Thinking he can’t listen properly I was louder this time
“Aap ye cigerete bujhadain , takleef ho rahi hai hamain” (trying to act like self proclaimed party leader by using hamain). Everyone looked at me with helplessness if in case I request one.
He did not utter a single word & looked at me in an apologetic way. Threw the cigarette under his ugly chappal & remained focus looking outside again. I was shocked.

How humble. How easy it was, to do this task 45 minutes back too, which we all others, the silent majority made it look like an impossibility. The event looked like a perfect reflection of 12 million stories in this city where the majority is silent. It does not express its correct views let alone the opposite ones. Afraid of abuse, afraid of the evil even if its weak, not having unity even for their just right, not shouting for their rights and things that are wrong thinking it will never change.

Food for thought :

ONE MAN even though he may be WRONG can takeover the majority just because of their Silence

29 Comments so far

  1. BoZz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

    Good show MB. We should all strive to take action when we witness a breach of law or things that cause discomfort to others. Having said that, I am well aware the risks one runs in doing just that in our ‘jungle’ city.

    Our people are short tempered, aggressive, mean and it does not take much to brings things to a physical level, even when at fault. One of the reasons that you got compliance from the old man was in all probability due to his age.

    How ever I do believe that we have to try. It has to start one day. After all if we do not do it for ourselves who will do it for us?


  2. Omar R Quraishi (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    We could take this in our paper as a letter provided we know the name of the writer


  3. Omar R Quraishi (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    email me directly MB if you are interested in this

    omarq@cyber.net.pk


  4. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    Good Idea – MB send this to Dawn @ letters@dawn.com


  5. BoZz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    On the same note I came across this article from Dawn of today http://www.dawn.com/2007/02/23/local38.htm

    HYDERABAD: Call for replacement of smoke-emitting vehicles

    HYDERABAD, Feb 22: The district council on Thursday called for a gradual replacement of smoke-emitting mini cabs, rickshaws and donkey carts with CNG-rickshaws and expressed concern that poisonous smoke emanating from unfit vehicles was not only adding to environmental and noise pollution but also causing different ailments among people.

    Donkey Carts ! – I never heard of donkeys emitting smoke before this. I guess in Pakistan everything is possible.

    They fart yes, so maybe the Hyderabad District council was referring to the methane gas from the donkey farts! In that case, I guess, we humans are next on the list. Imagine what potential approx. 17 million x 10 average/day (depending on what you have eaten)farts could or could not do :)


  6. MB (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    @Omar

    Thats me brother.

    @BOZZ

    Interestingly believe it or not. Out of the 6 or 7 times i have requested people to discontinue smoking, when on a bus. Only two refused. Others were cooperative. But i had friends with me then.


  7. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

    Bozz, now that is the famed Alternative Energy……you should have been at the Fuelling Pakistan Exhibition to give a presentation on this. :-))


  8. zahra (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

    MB, i always thought you were a guy…??! hehe, sorry


  9. BoZz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    How did you come to that conclusion.

    MB uses a purse = woman
    MB said he/she was close to womans compartment = man or woman
    OLD MAN said beta = man but possibly a woman too

    So which one is it MB…..?


  10. MB (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    hahaha
    urdu wala tha yaar
    wallet kerdeta hun
    happy ?
    lolzz


  11. BoZz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Thanks for solving that one. The one that I forgot to mention but that gave you away was,

    MB searched the pockets = man generally

    However MB even if you are some where in between, it is ok by me ;)


  12. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

    I tried to stop one man today which he refused by saying “khidki say hawa arahi hai”


  13. BoZz (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

    I have one solution for people like that, as reported by Sami. Stand real close to them and give them the royal ‘methane’ treatment constantly (make sure you are laoded with channas). And when he complains repeat the words “khirki say hawa ahrahi hai”


  14. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

    lol @Bozz. we need a http://www.mrmethane.com for that


  15. mansoor (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

    bozz: lol @ farting problem :D

    mb: good show man! i did the same at daewoo stand in rwp recently.. worked with one, didn’t work with another… so my mom scolded him into putting out his cigg :p lolzzz

    and they said women have no power :P


  16. TEE BEE (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    All the jokes aside over here…..

    MB..i think you have pointed out a really good thing over here….over the years whatI have seen is exactly the same thing…that our people have been so suppressed that they dont stand up for ANYTHING at all now…I mean why are we lacking our initial right for justice…aren’t we supposed to stand up for WRONG and let us be heard….I think it is time that our let go our fear and speak up the right thing….

    And i would say in pity matters like these…a little courtesy and a little respect to the other person will CHANGE the whole situation (in a positive note)..we just need to be calm and give respect…

    Didnt mean to start a lecture over here..but just few thoughts which can make a big difference if they are really understood..


  17. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    MB, I will again start to like you if you could avoid words “junglee” and “ugly” for people. Honestly it tells lot about you.


  18. Adnan K (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

    good post MB.

    I just want to share with everyone that I have been thinking of moving back home for a few yrs now and have been discouraged by a lot of people here. I am not discouraged and have one thing to say. If i dont try to make a difference I have no right to blame the country or the people for whats happening back home. We will never know until we step out there to TRY. Thanks MB, you have further strengthened my resolve!


  19. Fariha Akhtar (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 12:30 am

    Gr8 post MB which has turned out to be a Delicious food for thought! :)
    It is indeed irritating when ppl don’t speak up even when sumthing is creating a lot of trouble for ’em. But sumhow this has become a second nature of us Pakistanis just because of the general thinking that “iss mulq main kuch nahi hone wala”
    Being a girl I would want to point out another issue which is i guess a common problem of all the women but very few raise their voice against it. While traveling in public transport, while shopping and even in colleges and at workplace, some “junglee” men are always there looking at ’em as if they have never seen ne woman b4, they sing cheap songs imagining themselves as filmi heroes and sumtimes they even do things that can’t be mentioned here. Most of the women find all this really abusive..but how many actually try to stop this. This is primarily because we are told “ignore kardiya karo aise loagon ko warna apna hi tamasha banay ga” but for how long? for how long will we have to ignore this? We hear a lot about women’s rights but sorry to say a common pakistani woman is still living with a sense of insecurity and to a gr8 extent its our own fault b’coz we are either afraid to speak up or most of the time we shy away.

    PS: I hope that ne guy reading this won’t find it offensive until he is himself involved in any such activity.

    @Poo Poo Head: Dear PPH..those who are junglee..deserve to be called so and that’s y even i have used this word in my post.


  20. Pak_Stallion (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 7:32 am

    This story must be promoted and published for greater audience to have a bigger impact. Nicely done.


  21. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

    MB, this post could be a classical content if you had not used words like Janglee etc.

    It’s surprising that most of us claim to be educated and then feel proud to use terms like Tullah etc as If everyone else deserves to be insulted by us.


  22. MB (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

    @Adnan :
    Bro just to make sure it becomes classical i should not hide whatever that came to mind then. I wrote what we all felt like. And the feeling was this :

    With all the bad impression he was having there due to his attitude the word should be taken in context of the environment there & i cannot hide what everyone was thinking then just to make sure it suits educated guys. Well, why act like a holy angel dude. We educated ones, specially here i have notice try to use words as if evil feelings never touch us, we poor souls are so pure that we try not to “touch” the bad words.

    The honest truth is we the educated ones are the best of hypocrites when we speak using beautiful words & act like angles to give a good impression of ourselves. I have conveyed the minimum of what i guessed that would have been coming in everyone’s mind. I was specially angry over the fact that there were kids nearby & one was in a woman’s lap, probably with illness. Now i hope i am justified in using that word. Consider yourself in their position & then tell me what you say.

    Your reply, if any would be welcomed. I am still willing to take that word back but would that not be unjust then to hide it ?


  23. BoZz (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

    I am with MB. And not because of some chip on my shoulder.

    We are who we are. The first part of improvement and awareness is assessment.

    Assessment is the process of gathering information about yourself or others in order to make or take an informed decision.

    What should an assessment look at? An assessment should include a look at one’s values, interests, personality, attitude, skills etc.

    The words MB used, were apt for the given situation even if they were modest and tapered off for my liking.

    Let anyone deny that we are not Junglis to say the least, would be running away from the truth.

    We subjugate women, we imprison them, we work them to death, we rape them, in open, we rape them with friends with consent of others, we march them naked in the streets and we hack them to death in the middle of villages (see today paper http://www.dawn.com/2007/02/24/top7.htm).

    We are not Junglis? We are not only Junglis but the most degenerated, Jahil, low-life, people you could find.

    Calling a donkey by it’s name should not be considered insulting. Except maybe by the donkey himself!


  24. omar r. quraishi (unregistered) on February 24th, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

    arsalan haleem — I am no longer associated with Dawn —


  25. Fariha (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 12:17 am

    Gr8 post MB which has turned out to be a Delicious food for thought! :)
    It is indeed irritating when ppl don’t speak up even when sumthing is creating a lot of trouble for ’em. But sumhow this has become a second nature of us Pakistanis just because of the general thinking that “iss mulq main kuch nahi hone wala” Since i’m a girl so I would want to point out another issue which is i guess a common problem of all the women but very few raise their voice against it. While traveling in public transport, while shopping and even in colleges and at workplace, some “junglee” men are always there looking at ’em as if they have never seen ne woman b4, they sing cheap songs imagining themselves as filmi heroes and sumtimes they even do things that can’t be mentioned here. Most of the women find all this really abusive..but how many actually try to stop this. This is primarily because we are told “ignore kardiya karo aise loagon ko warna apna hi tamasha banay ga” but for how long? for how long will have to ignore this? We hear a lot about women’s rights but sorry to say a common pakistani woman is living with a sense of insecurity and to a gr8 extent its our own fault b’coz we are either afraid to speak up or shy away.

    @Poo Poo Head: Dear PPH, I agree with Bozz..those who are junglee deserved to be called so…and that’s y even i’ve used this word in my post.


  26. F. AHMED (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 1:00 am

    it was a good point raised by MB. I would like to point out a few things. i have, at least a couple of times, witnessed people smoking when their own todlers/small children are sitting with them, often in their living rooms.not to point out that i also felt chocked.

    i know some one who does that very often and i have pointed to him that this is very harmful for his children and he just matter of factly told me that there is so much pollution in pakistan that smoke from a couple of cigirates a day would not cause anything. here iam talking about a parha likha admi not an illitrate.

    a few time i just forced him to put the cigirate out or go outside. i just cannot believe a parent doing this to his own child, what to talk of strangers.

    immortal2001@hotmail.com


  27. F. AHMED (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 1:16 am

    i agree with fariha that men do not treat women with respect! we all know about it but no one does anything as it does not concern them.

    what happens in public bussed, outside schools…. is common knowledge but as long as it does not happen with someone close to us, no one bothers.

    people like that should be punished on the street in front of everyone, then and there.

    iam in UAE for the last few years and as you know it is full of femailes from all over that world with all trypes of dresses being worn BUT no one dares to do or say anything as they know that they would be punished.

    in pakistan people know that even if they are caught a few thousand rupees would be enough to set then free, unless they take pungaaa with some powerfull people.

    immortal2001@hotmail.com


  28. Party~Boy (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

    Pakistan shows its wings to the world….

    http://www.tourism.gov.pk

    Pakistan the only country in the world that connects Central Asia – East Asia – Middle East – Russia and China

    My Pakistan = The Land of Free

    I wonder why Indus valley civilization (present day pakistan)….made the first ever Mirror of the world.

    I wonder why people of Pakistan respect their Guest more than any thing else…..Our hospitality…

    May be becuz this hospitality goes thousands of years back … cuz we are located on the

    *** Ancient Silk Road ****

    May be our passion to meet new people, to make friends, to know other person, to welcome travellers,

    I remember once my ex-galfriend told me when i was studying in U of M…

    Once to go Paki you neva wanna go back…

    may be there is truth to this….may be we are more admired in the world than we think we are…

    may be our passions, our openness, our courage, our love, our self respect, our pride, our hospitality, our rich History dating back thousands of years….more Ancient than the Egyptian pyramids…. our Himalayas in the North…. stronger and the highest in the world…at the same time dangerous to climb….our green lush fields of punjab….our rough shifting deserts of sind…our unique and rare mountains and fields of Baluchistan with its Blue wate Beaches….our lovely, beautiful Kashmir Valley….

    all these things make up Our Pakistan and many more…more than you and I can imagine…..

    aRe yOu boRed::::::Explore Pakistan….U wIll neVa b dA sAME

    ***
    Dusti (M. Ali)
    Mrkt. Reseach & Business Psychology consultant
    MN-USA
    ali_globalbiz@yahoo.com


  29. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 3:07 am

    nice blog MB.
    keep them coming. and a fairly nice idea abt breaking silence too.



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