The sorry incident of Bahawalpur got me thinking.
"Behti Ganga main haath dho lo (Wash your hands in the sacred river)"
These were the words uttered by one of the victims, to his comrade, moments before they both died horrific deaths. The scene was of a crashed oil truck with petrol leaking and flowing like a river along the rocky road. Many would have expected the surroundings of the truck to be lifeless with people evacuated along a radius of couple of miles, at least. However, this was not the case in this setting and people, surprisingly, were swarming the truck and the flowing "gold" in hopes of gathering some of it in their one and a half liter plastic bottles of Pepsi and Coca Cola. What happened next? Well...the inevitable. The truck caught fire and blew up taking at least one hundred fifty lives in a process in a manner that seems to be a trademark of Satan. Some were lucky, or not so lucky, and survived with a privilege to live the rest of their lives with burned faces, bruised bodies and scarred minds. Moments later, social media was filled with a flurry of pictures and comments from the "patriotic" Pakistanis, labeling the deceased as greedy, ignorant and a mere useless baggage on the face of the earth. But was it really the case? Were they responsible for their instinctual conditions and uninformed minds?
You know, amidst all the destruction and confusion succeeding the blast, a pattern seemed apparent. Those who died on the spot were being hurled into ambulances to be taken to the only "reputable" hospital in the entire city of Bahawalpur, where they could be announced to be dead and have their names listed on the list of the deceased; while those who had signs of life left in them were transported slowly and one by one to some other hospital in another city. You know why? It's because the only hospital in the city of Bahawalpur did not have a unit for the victims of burns. Pitiful, no?
People can blame whoever or whatever they want for this catastrophe, but there's only one system that I'll blame for this and all such events and that is democracy. The National Assembly of Pakistan has two hundred and seventy one seats in total out of which one hundred and forty eight (more than half) are in Punjab. Yes you got that right; you win Punjab, you win the majority no matter how disliked you may be in other provinces. And most of these seats are concentrated in the Northern part of Punjab, so you don't even have to win over an entire province, rather winning a part of a province, or a handful of cities, will go a long way towards giving you the crown of feathers for five years, give or take. How about that? The idea of democracy is to empower the people but, in this case, democracy seems to be stripping the people off of it.
Now, because of this imbalance in the constituencies, the people in power are prone to go on a spending spree in certain cities, where there are more "stakes", while completely ignoring the cities that, simply, do not matter in the electoral process. I was hearing on the news a few days ago that Lahore alone has more hospitals than a great many cities of Southern Punjab combined. This, in no way, means that the people of Lahore do not deserve it. They deserve all of this and more, but places like Bahawalpur deserve better too, no? Unless steps are taken to counter this imbalance, incidents like this will continue to happen, whether we like it or not, and we'll continue to forget them with time, just as Bahawalpur will be forgotten in a few days' time.
Watching a video of moments before the disaster got me thinking. The scenes of people carrying plastic bottles, fighting among themselves for black gold and referring to the stream of this black liquid as "Ganga" (a sacred river in India) made me shudder. What lows have these self-centered, egoistic, idiotic and self-declared aristocratic thugs made us hit? They deprived people of education, for an educated majority would never let them get away with what they're doing, and compensated for this inconsolable loss with roads, highways, underpasses and an inflated economy whose belly is about to burst with the amount in loans that the country has to repay. And now, finally, they have succeeded in what they set out to do. The people of Pakistan, or the majority at least, have become mindless and ignorant slaves ready to be manipulated by these string holders. Just try and imagine the mental deprivation of a man who got burned to death while filling up an empty bottle of Pepsi with petrol. The worth of his life was, literally, one hundred and four Rupees, give or take. The economic, educational, social and religious states of the majority have deteriorated to such an extent that they have become instinctual, in the truest sense of the word.
You know what the saddest thought of all is? The saddest thought is that the same "representatives" or "leaders" or stooges or thugs or...whatever you might want to call them will get elected over and over again by the same people that they wronged until these stooges no more will for these positions and their idiotic children are old enough to take their places. You know why they choose them over and over again? Well...it's because they belong to the same religion, sect and cast, silly.