by Prof. Nadeem Jamali
My childhood in Karachi, during Gen. Zia’s rule, the government organized massive celebrations on each independence day. Citizens of Karachi in particular — mostly non-Sindhis- participated in these celebrations enthusiastically, with Pakistani flags everywhere.
In our Sindhi home, we were not done mourning Bhutto’s hanging. Seeing my father sitting in dark, with tears in his eyes was very difficulty. I had cut out black and white pictures of Bhutto from the newspapers reporting his death, and put them in frames all around the house.
P*** flags were not allowed in our house. We were Sindhis, not Pa****. In the GOR (Government Officers Residence) neighborhood on Bath Island, our apartment stuck out as a home that did not celebrate independence. To me and my brother, just over 10 years old children, this was not fun. It was isolating. It was also frightening at times. On one occasion, some kids in the neighborhood, after visiting our home for a birthday party and noticing the un-Pakistani life style, threatened to report our family to the martial law government… Our father laughed it off, but we children were nervous. But August 14th came around, more than anything else, we felt a sense of isolation, of not being part of something celebratory going on all around us, of missing out.
So, one year, we pleaded with our father to let us bring some Pa**** flag decorations to hang from our balcony. After some initial resistance, he relented, perhaps appreciating what the children were going through. It was great fun. Our balcony looked beautiful. It no longer looked like a balcony of sourpusses. We were like everyone else, one with our neighborhood, joined in a celebration.
I don’t remember the exact reasons, but when the next year’s independence day came, we children did not feel like getting any P*** flags. Perhaps we had grown up a bit and realized that there were things more important than being part of a celebration. .. the enemy’s celebration. Or perhaps the MRD movement had begun.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.