Question of identity

by Bakhtiar Hakeem

The question of identity or the identity of ‘identity’ can be approached from two directions. After having come into grips with ‘identity’ one can find his or her place of comfort; anywhere in between the two ends of the continuum of identity. One can call one end the nadir and the other zenith. To some the issue may look absurd, for what was being named and called ‘identity’ was life, their life; dear like life; most precious of their possessions! Why to put it to question?

After explaining the two ends, I will start travelling inwards. May the journey help you locate your place. It will not be easy, for it will need a lot of introspection. Customs, traditions, rituals and your own sacrifices to maintain and sustain it, will not let you change one bit. Yet some are brave, have strong desire to grow and improve. The education they carry as degrees or other credentials can prove as the vehicle of change for them.

One end is defined and described by Him. My manufacturer and producer tell me that I am as good by birth, as is my sweeper, the nigger next door and Stephen Paddock. Incidentally seven more instances of mass shooting have taken place since Oct 1, 2017. My DNA and RNA is as good as that of mother Teresa, Edhi, and all of His chosen people called prophets. Yes, I share same father Truman (the terrorist killing 240 k in two days) and Hallaku Khan (Baghdad, 1258); had. This commonality of seed should kill all my prejudices, ill placed prides of superior family, racial and clan rivalries.

When my name, the food/drinks I take, my clothes, my 50 acre sprawling ranch villa, my gold-plated elevator (King Salman), my twenty inches biceps, my fleet of 7,000 cars ($5 billions), my muscle strength and beauty (Miss universe) and my title of Sir, or Lord or when I am feared as number one killer (of 198, Uzair Baloch); I stand on the other end of the continuum. I rule, then my son would rule, much like, my father ruled; (Pol Pot or Edhi).

When I stand on zenith, my agenda of life is universal integrity, since I entrust myself the role of His vice-reagent. Then I stand for universal values of human equality and justice. No discriminations. He grades me the best when I deliver the best for His creatures (98:7 Quran). Then I am known by what I give, and need not have any pre-fixes or post-fixes. Nor I have to hide my pedigree, and classification by birth. Some examples here; prince vs. churl, chaudhry vs. mirasi, lord vs. pleb, brahmin vs. dalit, khan vs. kissan, aristocrat vs. commoner, vip vs. riffraff (tom and dick).

When delivery (righteousness) becomes performance evaluation then I am known as messiah.
I can move out of self, and get into the cage of family, and next step is clan for self-aggrandizement. And yet higher or bigger and deeper and long-lasting animosity comes from racism and nationalism. Sure, Pakistanis have not read the poem ‘Wataniat’ by Iqbal. Now some more examples.

Do not ask from the natives of Congo Basin, now DRC; when they were slaves of King Leopold II of Belgium (1885-1908). They were his personal slaves at his plantation. Do not ask from the Jews of Nazi Germany, what took them to gas chambers and what could save them from concentration camps. Do not ask Gen Collin Powell (African American) why he refused to accept the presidential ticket in 1996. Do not ask any Hutu or Tutsi, how deadly is the other. Even do not ask the Muslims of UK, what makes them shiver especially after Brixit. For the Race Relations Act-1972, amended time to time, does not give them any place like it gives to minorities like Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. How can they! Welsh and Scottish have yet to get an equal time for their languages even; and never can they produce royalty eligible ‘blue blood’.

Rohingya muslims, Pol Pot (1968-1999) ruled next door (Kampuchea) collecting and creating minarets of skulls. You are still better off.

When I live by clan identity, as Mezis, Shinwaris, Durranis, Mahsuds, Bettani and a dozen more…having been divide into Pashtun and no-Pashtuns, first; internecine fighting and instability is my fate. I cannot look at Afghanistan as our country. I am too myopic. When I have to face Pirs (Amin Fahim-Talibul Mula family) and Mirs (Talpur rule 1783-1843) I need to add weight to my name by adding Bhutto and Zardari, both. Isn’t it a good example of crisis of identity? Then I grow bigger; the partisan identity; to be a Khilari, (PTI), a Jiala (PPP) and a Sher (PML N). Then day in and out I strive to set superior example of negative symmetry. Since you were worse, I have all the right to be bad. Everyone charging the other to be worst. How can you tell anyone of these three, where lies the interests of Pakistan.

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