Wasshington Diary: Change of seasons and Dreams
by Dr. Manzur Ejaz, May 12th, 2009
When we were lion-hearted, when the tidal waves of our thoughts were keen to demolish every boundary, when a new flower buds like our soft souls looking for excuses to fall in love, when every dream seemed realizable, when every day came with a new dream and every night opened a mysterious book revealing secretes of times to dawn, when death was unbecoming inevitable, when life’s ocean had no shores, that was the time our good fortunes waited for the fragrance of new seasons. Those times whirled around us like youthful leopards. That was our time sowing seeds of new dreams and looking for blossoming. Those were the times when no one was born old.
In those days, we were responsible for our own existence. We had no desire on taking the beaten tracks lay down by scriptures and there was no need to take cover under any ethical shelter. We were responsible for everything happening in the world: the death of a VietCong or the murder of a South American revolutionary carried out by the CIA felt like a tragedy in the family. We could not say “I am a student and I have nothing to do with the world beyond studying, I am a typist and I have no obligation beyond typing, I am a teacher and my function begins and ends in the class room.” We believed that our existence simply fell into two classifications: the oppressor and the oppressed.
In those blossoming seasons we were convinced that to become a true social or natural scientist, the change to society was prerequisite. To become an artist and to share human creativity with the masses, all kind of oppressions had to be ended. A brave heart fighting imperialism and cruelty were telling the world “I wanted to become a singer and artist, I had never dreamed of picking up the arms to even kill an ant but I had to fight to keep my dreams alive. I knew if I didn’t fight the repression my dreams would die and so would I because what is left in a life which is devoid of dreams?”
The time took a very unfortunate twist and everything turned upside down. Our lion-hearts were transformed into jackal cleverness and rising waves of our thoughts turned into narrow passage of stinking water. Our hearts were hardened like villain Kaido, the springs of hopes dried up; every day came with a new retreat, every night turned into whaling the dead and the air thickened with the poisonous greed. Our lives became the function of physicians, our being turned into a sewerage dump and our misfortunes started showing its naked dance. The crops of death and haltered ripened and the newly born started becoming old even before coming to this world. No one was left with responsibility; everyone started fighting for him/herself, as Bulleh Shah put it:
Jad aapo apni pey gai, dhee maan noon lut key ley gai
(When everyone started looking for his own, the daughters started looting the mothers)
We all became wooden swords and every war became the battlefield of grabbing money.
However, if the days of our dreaming were dashed, the soil raising crops of hatred and destruction was also going to become barren. So, we see debris of tsunami, of greed, and death all around us. The bodies of yesteryears’ so-called warriors are lying naked in the fields being eaten by vultures. The paraphernalia of their chariots is being used in cooking ovens. The people with insight can see this with their naked eyes but the blinded could never see it and will never be able to observe. As promised by God, their seeing and hearing is sealed forever. But new seasons are humming to blossom.
Now, once again, in order for the singers to share their music with the world and for the scientist to unravel the secrets of nature, we have to once again pick up arms and burn down the crops of hatred and destruction. To become real students of knowledge we have to demolish the walls of darkness. If someone cannot understand it, he/she should ask a homeless Pakhtun who knows very well why an artist can never become an artist and a scientist can never open a laboratory. If we keep extending our dreadful slumber then a future child will ask the same question in Lahore and Multan as to why he/she cannot sing and why it is necessary to pick up arms to do so!