Shahid Batalvi Speaks

with apology to Black Elk for he speaks first

In The Name Of The Father

with 3 comments

I have a general idea how this begins but I am not sure how it ends, if it ever ends that is. Towards the end of his physical journey, he in his usual style used to ask me, “Yaar Shahid, Ae jism-i-insani vi ki cheez ae”. I knew that most times he wasn’t looking for an answer but it was more to the affect of, “you continue to look for an answer and so will I; let’s discuss when we both have time”. We used to and still continue to communicate with each other via Bulleh Shah’s verses. When I visited him in January 2004, he repeatedly said,


Bulleh Shah mian gNNa chuup saaRa

MaZae VaKh nae porian porian dae


These days when I see him or hear him in my dreams, or we communicate at some other metaphysical plane, I tell him,


Bulleh Shah aSan mrNa Naheen

Gor Peya koye hoR


You, the reader, may not subscribe to such forms of communication. If you do, you may have some set of perceptions on which you base your beliefs. Consider this, what you may. After all, your cognition, your beliefs, your upbringing and your bias is all that is in your wallet today. I consider this form of communication to be via synchronicity of the “collective unconscious” as is the framework behind Carl Jung’s conceptual idea or perhaps the ancient Hindu notion of Atama and Jivatama.


In the last four years, I have read everything that has been written about my father. It is amazing how even the most remotely published articles, letters or essays, a powerful search engine on the internet, will bring up on your screen. The rest are provided in hard copy by friends and family.


People have written so much about my father. In essence what has been written and published about him has primarily described his personality and his accomplishments. People who knew him for some time have described his legal, teaching, academic, and literary skills and achievements. People who knew him longer have written about his work with the BBC, Radio Pakistan, All India Radio and his debating phenomenon in college. People who knew him even longer have talked about life in Model Town and the early days on Temple Road and some going further back to events and happenings in Batala.


But there is a lot more to Ijaz Batalvi than all of this description put together. How does one sum it all up? One cannot. The sum is bigger than its parts. Imagine everything that is in your mind or perhaps your brain today (depending on whether you think from a neurological or psychological perspective) and realize that every thought, idea or memory first developed as part of sensory experience through your five senses and then through some magical activity in your head became thought, idea and subsequently memory. Everything in your mind started from this sense experience but then the ultimate idea or thought transcended and became bigger than the sense experience.


Similarly, Ijaz Batalvi, the sum, continues to be bigger than its parts. I will try to describe who I think I eventually realized Ijaz Batalvi is after living with him as a son and a friend, and much more, all these years.


But first, I have to address a couple of issues that I had chosen not to speak about publicly till now. I will address these issues once and once only. Since my father now maintains perpetual public silence, I will speak on these issues after having received due advance apology from him in some context. I, like my uncle Ashiq Batalvi, reserve diplomatic skills only for people who deserve them, and hence the “buck stops with me” on this subject.


The first issue I take is with a person who has written, in what he refers to as a “private view”, that by taking up the role of Special Public Prosecutor in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Case, Ijaz Batalvi joined the group of Mr. Bhutto’s executioners. He also states that at a later date in London Mr. Batalvi told him that this prosecution was just another case for him, no more, no less and for some reason this person was not satisfied with the answer.


There were five people including my father sitting in the study at our house in Model Town on that day. My father is the only one maintaining silence. Others, if they chose can vouch for this conversation any time. One of us asked why my father had not defended Mr. Bhutto, who incidentally, had been called to the bar the same night at Lincoln’s Inn, as my father. The actual conversation was in Punjabi. His response was, “Yaar, O meray kol aya ei naen”. That person then asked, “If he had come would you have taken the case”. My father paused for a while and then said, “Yes, but it would have been too late by then because, I had already seen the prosecution’s case. I would have to let his people know that legal ethics do not allow me to now see his brief and I would have referred them to a competent friend”. This person was adamant and asked, “Knowing what you now know about the case, if you had defended him, would you have been successful”. Ijaz Batalvi, being the master of understatement smiled and replied, “Well, a formidable defense could have been put together”.


I describe and state all this because I have a very vivid and photographic memory. I have read somewhere that it is the result of a DNA flaw in which your body does not produce the protein that is responsible for “switching off or fading the light” on distant memories. Well, so much for that. I digress.


For him, it was just a case, no more, no less, just as perhaps defending Mr. Bhutto would have been just a case no more, no less. But some people, rather than have their cognitive skills, their intellectual acumen and their political prowess lead them into refining their ideas and improving perhaps their literary skills, let their quivering emotionality take charge and run rampant till means become the ends and the actual ends are lost with the process of time.


Each of my father’s cases that will go down in history as either changing the legal or constitutional landscape of Pakistan or making a substantive impact on social issues or human rights was still just another case for him. He was driven by the challenge of the case itself and the new legal ground that could be traveled through that challenge. Ask any lawyer that worked with him in his office or any of his law students and they will explain this to you. I presume that people who either don’t understand professionalism, or have no sense of who a professional person is and have no profession themselves, undermine the sensibility to profess anything that they are stating as their public or private views.


This person has continued on his diatribe in a subsequent article with such insights for the reader as if he is the sole keeper of so called factual events in historical context. I neither have the time nor the patience to respond to such individuals or their rants. Neither did my father. Some people who have nothing constructive to offer to society are simply spinning around the axle of history, driven only by some emotional context of events and individuals through association. They are perhaps trying to justify that their own meaningless lives may have some worth, if somehow associated with that big event or that appropriate person in history.


The second issue I take is with people who have written about my father’s social interaction or lack thereof, after the trial of Mr. Bhutto, in public and literary gatherings. It would have been fine if some of these people writing the articles had experienced such events first hand but these are individuals who did not even come of age at such time and were perhaps mere children and had heard such stories from others. This as they say in legal jargon is subject to hearsay. These writers can perhaps elucidate for the edification of the reader, that such experiences stated are not their own but have simply been heard from others without substantiation.


And the ones who are stating them in the first place should think, if maybe, one of the reasons my father limited his social interaction after the trial of Mr. Bhutto was that people once again, let their quivering emotionality take charge and had nothing intellectually substantive to talk about anymore for a long time. Yes, it had to take a lot of water under the bridge and every where else for these people to find whatever nonsense they were searching for. What were meant to be literary gatherings, were limited to discussions around the Bhutto case and its consequential events. In the midst of all this, Ijaz Batalvi chose not participate in such events since he did not want or need to explain or justify anything to anyone and just got tired of being asked nonsense all the time.


The only time Ijaz Batalvi does not like to engage in an intellectually charged discussion, literary or otherwise, is when he needs to sleep. He loves his afternoon siesta and all of Lahore knows that.


I have addressed this subject publicly and have stated my position, once and for all. If anyone wishes to discuss these issues that I have stated, any further, I will be happy to talk about them but not in a public forum. My father always told me that I lost my patience too soon. I am still trying to improve on that front but like Ashiq Batalvi, whose literary genius I can never match, I have no patience for nonsense.


Now I want to write about Ijaz Batalvi as I have known him and continue to know him as time moves on. He touched many lives and continues to do so in his own way. His was the subtle and patient way.


Ijaz Batalvi has an approach of engaging you by creating an environment and then letting you experience that environment to the best of your abilities. Depending on ones cognitive and intellectual skills, ability to comprehend, and socio-cultural viewpoint, the environment he created would range from nurturing, to challenging, to down right fearful. This is Ijaz Batalvi personified. Ask any and all of his students who lived through the 7:00 AM torts class, rain or shine, at Punjab University Law College for more than four decades and they will tell you what I am talking about. Ask any lawyer who worked with him and was trained by him in his chambers at 4 Turner Road and they will tell you what I am talking about. For certain people that he cared about, the environment was more challenging than usual but in a subtle way. Some readers are smiling at this point, for they know what I am talking about.


If you came in contact with him at some point in your life and are still paying attention, you will realize that some of the environment that he created around you still continues to work long after he has reverted to perpetual physical silence. As a matter of fact, for me, the impact of the environment, he created, is now exponential.


Physical silence can be tremendously powerful and human beings have used it for millennia to refine thoughts and ideas. Ijaz Batalvi used silence as an amazing instrument. Those who have seen him perform inside the courtroom know how he would pause when either the opposing side would make a ridiculous statement that had no bearing on the evidence of the case or perhaps the judge would ask a question bordering on being farcical. He would have this long pause and then look up through his bifocals. The silence would become uncomfortable and then his response would either cut your jugular or diplomatically put you where you belonged. The irony of it was that if you had half the sense you realized where you belonged because most of the times his twist of words and his command over the language left you confused whether he was agreeing with or opposing your position or in his subtle way, letting you know that you were wasting everyone’s time. Most times it took people days to understand the real context of his comment, if at all. Such was his command over language and ability to structure words into sentences that had meaning at tangents you were either not prepared for or aware of. This was Ijaz Batalvi personified.


When Salman and I were growing up, the environment that was created by our parents and more specifically by our father was in essence a process and effort to erase all socio-cultural, socio-religious, socio-economic, socio-political predisposition, bias and prejudice under the umbrella of life. It was understated and it used to come in dosage as prescribed, as needed.


I remember driving with our father to the FCC (Forman Christian College to those who don’t recall this acronym) Church and waiting outside while the Christmas Day service would be in progress. We would then look at the expression of jubilation as people would walk out of the church. We would just sit in the car and experience the whole event. Subsequently, the ritual of visiting the homes of all our Christian family friends would be undertaken.


At a very young age we were taken annually by our father to several Imam Barghahs on Ashoora at Mochi Gate in Lahore. The experience for me was awe aspiring especially during those winter nights. The understanding and importance of belief, tradition and ritual was emphasized time and again. I now fathom its value. What was important was to imbibe the experience and subsequently create your own realization of the environment and its manifestation in understanding the complexities of life. 


I recall a trip to Taxila with some of our cousins accompanied by our respective parents. All the cousins were just running around the alleyways playing some silly games. At one point my mother asked me to go look for my father. All of us cousins went darting around looking for him and soon realized that we could not find him. About ten minutes later we found him sitting on the ground in one the small coves, cross-legged and eyes closed. He said, he was trying to remember how it was like in a previous life when he lived here as a monk. He then continued to describe in vivid detail how all the monks would walk down the hill and go to the village and people would give them some food. They would then come back and continue their prayers and meditation. We all laughed at this description and thought nothing more of it. Years later, I realized that I was starting to get similar feelings about things and events that I would remember at certain times. Is this synchronicity or perhaps something else? I don’t know.


I remember an incident when Salman and I were in our teenage years and our mother said, “Ijaz sahab, ae munDay koe naMaz vaghyra naen pRah dae”. He responded by saying, “Flahat Begm, I have raised both my sons to be seekers and I think they are doing a good job at it. They will figure out themselves when it is time for naMaz”.


TayNoon doorOn Ke Matti DaenDae Bullehia Aa BaeJa Vich Maseeti

ViCh MaseeTaan Dae Ke Kuj HunDa Jae DillOn naMaz Na NeTee

BaRon Paak KeTae Ke HoVae Jae AndRae Rhe pLetee

BiNa Kamil Murshid Bullehia Aenvain Gae Ebadat KeTee


And no, Yasir and Zara by “seeker”, he did not mean in a Harry Potter sort of way. Myra is old enough to understand and Kamil is too young to be engaged on this subject yet, but one of these days both of you need to become familiar with the burden of being a seeker. Then together we will understand what the following part of Dada’s poem “Yaadon Ka Shahar” means:



Kaesay Kaesay LOg

Keh Jin ke nukta vari aur nukta shnasi

Un ke jaan ka bojh banee ………”


The events that had the most impact on me personally were the visits to the shrines of saints accompanied by my father. The first one was to the Urs of Hazrat Ali Hajveri commonly known as Data Sahab. The initial problem of leaving my shoes in someone else’s custody was eventually overcome, albeit with some challenge.


Once we were inside and got closer to the shrine, I got my first sense of belonging to an environment that was bursting with emotion, love, passion and fervor and its inextricable knot to the helplessness of life and the cards it has dealt for you to play your hand. I was sold. There was no need to pray for anything. For those who knew Ijaz Batalvi well enough will somewhat understand why he used words such as faqeer, dervish, malang and majavar to describe himself. I am not sure at what point in his life he got sold to the concept. It was most definitely before I was born. His friendship with aŘNgay Shah and years later the short story by the same title which upon Agha Babar’s insistence was changed to “Faqeera, Faqeeri DooR Ae” is a testament to his belief in mysticism, spirituality and the inherent self-deprecating character of the malang. The real aŘNgay Shah was even more fascinating then his namesake character in the short story but about that I will tell you some other time.


Then there was the king of occult, a man by the name of Ashraf Kamal. I am sure some readers knew him very well. Others have no idea whom I am referring to. If you have any particular interest in the world of the occult and did not encounter Ashraf Kamal during his life, your threshold for fear tolerance has not been validated yet. We were all young teenagers around then and I am not sure who among the group that day made the request, but an encounter with Ashraf Kamal was organized by my father, contrary to my mother’s insistence that, “Ae BChae dR jAn Gae”. Ashraf Kamal showed up that evening and as he walked through the main entrance at our 83-F Model Town home he told my mother, “Baji maen andr vaRayAn Tae maeno Gulab De kHshbo Ai Ae”. I knew right away that this would be an interesting evening.


We were all sitting in the study and the discussion was drifting between various subjects but one could tell that his demeanor was shifting. All of a sudden he turned around and started talking to individuals who weren’t physically present in the room. The volume of his voice went up a few decibels and the pitch of his voice dropped at least two octaves. Now he was in full form and in a trance like state. One of the capabilities this man possessed, among others, was the ability to link into your live thoughts. No past, no future, just what you were thinking right then. As he started talking to people in the room and telling them about what they were thinking and the likely consequences of their thoughts, one could tell from jaws dropping that he was more than hitting his mark. In the next few minutes he took on some other worldly persona and I felt that the collective level of fear in that room had gone beyond everyone’s threshold. As things started to spin out of control, Ijaz Batalvi slid forward in the seat of the chair he was sitting on, took off his bifocals, and looked Ashraf Kamal straight in the face from about a foot away with eyes and expression, I had never seen before and never ever saw again and said, “Kia chAHtay ho tum, iS vkat jAo yaHaan sAy”. They both continued to stare at each other for a few more seconds and then Ashraf Kamal looked down on the floor and said, “aCHa THeek hae, JaTa Hoon”. The evening ended with Ashraf Kamal leaving about an hour later with a limited post mortem of the evening’s earlier events. On his way out he hugged everyone and apologized if he had unduly scared anyone.


I have never forgotten the expression on my father’s face that evening for it taught me how to deal with raw, unadulterated fear. This was beyond the proverbial “nothing to fear but fear itself” phenomenon. It was the ultimate lesson in how to shove your arm down fear’s throat and yank its tongue out. I had a couple of subsequent encounters with Mr. Kamal at his residence and any residual doubt, I had about his abilities in the land of the occult, was eliminated.


In 1989, I had an interesting encounter at the mazar of Shah Inayat where I had the opportunity to check my ability to deal with raw fear. It was one of the days of the urs of Shah Inayat and my friends Farooq, Abrar and I decided to visit the mazar. We got to the mazar through the narrow winding streets and were obliviously roaming around, enjoying ourselves. At one point, upon hearing the authentic beat of the dHol, I felt the urge and started dhMaal in an open space near the mazar. This sort of action was something very typical of my father as well. In any case, a minute after I had started my dhMaal, this malang with bloodshot eyes and anger on his face drew close and started doing dhMaal around me. At one point he gave me a shove and looked at me as if I had encroached on his space like some alien dog. For a moment I was confused, but then I knew what to do. I jostled him in return and shouted “Maula HaQ” loud enough to be heard above the beat of the dHol and started dancing around him. I turned towards him with the expression that said, “Shah Inayat allocates this space freely to all”. As I twirled, I once again charged him and screamed “Maula HaQ” a second time, inches from his right ear. This time he stumbled and took a few steps back to regain his balance. At this point, an old woman, whom I had not noticed till that time, who was sitting on the ground close by smoking a cigarette, called to the malang and said, “Oay rAen dae ae tAn deVana Ae”. I barely heard this but upon hearing it, I actually smiled. I don’t recall what transpired over the next few minutes but at some point, we started to walk towards the mazar.


Many years ago, we were having a very charged discussion and my father asked me, “Yaar Shahid, aiDay LkHaan saal guZr Gae Naen, InSaan Nae AiDe trAkee keeTe Ae pR LoKan nOon raEn Da cHaJ Naen Aaya – Aidee Ke VaJah Ae?” In those years, I used to hold tight on to the reins of my intellectually sophomoric high horse and rode full gallop. We exchanged some minor thematic ideas and then I declared that the fundamental problem was that even with all the advancement in human society, the base human instinct for greed in general and acquisition of limited resources at any cost to others, had not evolved beyond what were there millennia ago when man lived in the cave. The so called modern and civilized societies were only such through the use of well defined and efficiently functional social controls in the form of strong policing and judicial systems. Take these away for any period of time and watch the instinct return and manifest itself in the social fabric. The want by either an individual or a state to take away from another, or use force, crime and/or power to acquire resources or possessions, has not essentially changed since the caveman used these tactics.


In the world today and in most cases, unless there are psycho-pathological factors, the individual reverts to such actions due to the result of the combination of three primary socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural manifestations. These simply put are poverty, absence of literacy and disenfranchisement from the political system. On the other hand, the state reverts to such actions against another state to maintain political and economic control with means that can be physical in the shape of wars or economic in the shape of sanctions. The end goal is to maintain economic and physical control in a global economy and to maximize control over limited resources in the world. Ijaz Batalvi gave this some thought and then replied, “Yaar, Ae kisAe hAd tiKar drUst Ae”.


In 2003, I told him that I still believed in my original hypothesis and had added another key socio-cultural factor that was the basis for strife across the world today. He asked me to state this factor. I explained to him that most societies and countries were glued together by two different types of “plaster” that came in the form of either religion or nationalism or a combination thereof. In the context of human history both were extremely fragile, lacking durability and could be shattered at any point in time by the factor that either bonded people together or made them sworn enemies. This attribute came in the form of ethnicity or ancient tribal affiliation. All socio-political conflicts afflicting the world today, which have subsequently resulted initially in some form social aggression leading to guerilla warfare and then all out wars have or had origins in ethnic differences. These ethnic differences are so immensely strong that even tens or hundreds of years of national or religious unity have collapsed in a matter of months in the wake of so called “ethnic cleansing” in a society. This “cleansing” stems from differences among ethnic or tribal affiliations that are carried down in history and no spirit of nationalism or religious unification can help to eradicate the said differences. Sometimes religion is used as a political agenda to mask the ethnic issues. This ethnic factor compounds the instinct for greed, individual or state based. Ijaz Batalvi looked at me for a while and then said, “Yaar, AiDe Barey ViCh soChNa PaVay Ga”.


June 3rd 2005 was a Friday. Fatima and I had made an appointment at the Reston Hospital where modern technology, with a very high degree of certainty, was going to tell us if our second child was going to be a girl or a boy. I was going to meet Fatima at the hospital. That morning I kept thinking about my father. I usually think about him every day but that day was different. As I walked out of the house and into the garage a feeling came over me and I walked past my car. I looked up at the clear blue sky and said out loud, “Abba Tu he Murshid Aen, maen taeRay he hath tae bAet karNan”. The next moment I thought if Ashiq Batalvi were here he would say, “BeTa ke kHuRaFaat BaK ReA Aen”. At this thought, I smiled and got into the car to meet up with Fatima for the appointment at the hospital.


Kamil was born on October 19th, 2005. He is already more than a handful at two and a half years old. Due to all his “running around” and ending up in a “star gazer” position in the second trimester he did not start breathing for the first few minutes of his life. Then he spent his first week in the intensive care unit before coming home. It was a strange feeling. When I first held him in the ICU, I whispered in his left ear, “Bina Kamil Murshid Bullehia AeVain Gae Ebadat Kete”. I felt like crying but didn’t.


At the end of my Murshid’s physical journey, I was not present in the room and for that matter not even in Pakistan but continents away in USA, where I reside. For reasons and feelings beyond my comprehension now, I had the impulse to call at that moment in time and talked to the people present in the room. I later confirmed some of the events with my mother.


Some of Ijaz Batalvi’s last clear words before my mother asked him to recite the Kalima were, “Maen GHar Ja rHa hoon”. My mother responded by saying, “Ijaz Sahab, Aap GHar hee pay haen”. Murshid, with mind sharp as a sword, repeated, “Maen GHar Ja rHa hoon”. My mother thought that perhaps he was still confused about being in the hospital and said, “Ijaz Sahab, Aap kuCh pŘhatay bhee to naheen, Kalima yaad hae Aap ko”. Murshid smiled his typical smile which meant, whom are you trying to test, and gently replied, “Mujhay sao Kalimay yaad Haen”.


Murshid’s last words, which I am told by my mother, he spoke loudly and clearly were, “aCHa kHuDa Hafiz, Allah kay HaVaLeh”.


If you have not read “Faqeera, Faqeeri Door Ae”, I urge you to read it now and if you have already read it, I ask you to read it again. It is very important to understand the notion of “Faqeer Jatay Jatay Dua Dae Gea”.


At this point, I am usually short-changed by the limitations of the Anglo-phonic expression and revert to Punjabi as my mode of communication. I will still transliterate, what I have to say, into English, since the people who matter the most to me, need to read this part and will make the most of it, if read transliterated, than otherwise. As usual and yet again, I digress.


Murshid O KaeŘa GHar Ae.


 Murshid Ae O GHar Ae jithay jaan Da rutBa kiSay kiSay nOon milDa Ae. Ae O Ghar Ae jithay jaan laee bRa kSHt KTna paiNda Ae.


Murshid Maen jAd RaTaan noOn utHna Tae vaKt de ruŘi Tae peA KurLaNan Aur soChNan Kae sHaed Ae Baazi Ve KuTTay Lae Gae Tae Kday Kday Os GHar Da DarVaZa DisDa Ae Jithay tOon VasNa Aen.


DrVaZa KHatKaan De Himat Naen Painde Kae sHaed AnDr Aan De IjAzt Na MiLay Ya DrVaZa kHuLay Tae pTa chlae Kae Mehfil barKHast Ho cHukee Ae Aur AgLe Mehfil de uDeeK Lae ik hOr hyati laNg jaVay.


Aehe sOch viCh kday Hnaer HuNdee Ae kday sVaer HuNdee Ae. vaKt de ruŘi kday Vad De Ae kday Ghat De Ae. kday AGaan TurNa kday pChaan muŘNa. ruŘi dAe kuTTay Maeray Val Aenj Vaenday Nae JeinVain Maeray kol OnaN De BhuKh Da Hal HaiGa Ae. InSaan InSaan De Bhukh Da Hal maoJooD HunDain Ve OnuN Lah-e-Aml Tikr Nain Lia Skya kuTTay De BhuKh Da Ke kR sKDa Ae.


AiNan soCHan viCh sVaer ho jaNde Ae. vaKat de ruŘi pCHay Rae JanDe Ae. Maen AGaan Tur PaenAn. dHol de aVaZ ik vAr fEr dUr ho jaNde Ae.


Yaar Murshid, hOr Tae masLa ya painDa Koe AeDa aoKHa Naen par TaeRay BajOn PeeŘ bŘee HunDee Ae.


I thank you father for giving me the opportunity and I salute you for creating the environment that helped me become the sojourner that I am today. I hope to meet you again on the other side of the door, again.


hUN tAe iko he aAs Ae. G-block dAe QaBristan da O iLaKa jiThay Batalvian da adDa kHaanDan VasDa Ae, OThay Qawwali di ik Mehfil sjJae Tae cHonKae Nusrat Tae SuTa PaeYa Ae, Aes Lae Faiz Ali Faiz Mehfil Da Rang JamaVay. aŘNgay Shah D-block toN doNan paeRaaN vich kHGnroo pa ke TurDa AaVay Tae aDi MaaR ke Kvay “UTh pHLayA LoKa saHday Tae Kisi Km da naen, jiDa Hae Uday Kisae kM da hovay tae sahNooN kHbr Naen”. Tae maen ve kaVaan, “hoVay jayŘa qlandar da divana oHo vich maidan dae naCh da ae”. uDae baAd oO dHmaal paVay kae jiVaen Ijaz Batalvi kaenDa se “KHuDa de PnaHa”.


And so Zara and Kamil, just like your papa tells you stories about how things are and how they ought to be, and the importance of learning how to learn, your papa has been told stories by his papa. The story continues and so does the telling of the story. Adieus papa until we meet again.


My Murshid is a story teller. It’s a pity that life’s professional and other social obligations limited his ability to tell the entire story. Nonetheless, stories he did tell in all forms of his literary works and his oratory skills. Telling the story is just as important as the story itself. So I suggest that if you have the ability, tell the story before you forget the story or more likely the story forgets you.


Mil jaVay Da Apayae Allah,

yaar nooN sjda kAr laeyeh

yaar nooN sjda kAr laeyeh

yaar nooN sjda kAr laeyeh 



The author is the Vice President of Telecom and Technology Strategy at Nexius Inc., a telecommunications consulting company based in metropolitan Washington DC area. He can be reached at his personal email address at


Written by Shahid Batalvi

April 29, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Personal

3 Responses

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  1. “Yaar
    Shahid, aiDay LkHaan saal guZr Gae Naen, InSaan Nae AiDe trAkee keeTe
    Ae pR LoKan nOon raEn Da cHaJ Naen Aaya – Aidee Ke VaJah Ae?” The basic instinct of the human race is for self-survival. The story goes that there are 3 cavemen they each meet a new caveman. 1 flees , 1 kills the other caveman, and 1 invites him over to dinner. The last one did not live too long. If you believe in evolution, and I think even the least scientific of us holds some belief in the theory, then you have to believe that the only way we survived through thousands of years is through the basic instinct of self-survival. You can call that greed, necessity, hunger or what you will, the instinct of 1 man is always going to be to survive at no matter what the cost. As human society has evolved we have brought social, political, cultural, economic, judical controls so that we control the greed of the self to provide for the many. We do not allow the 1 person to inflict such a level of damage to our society\’s fabric. As a consequence of this we have enabled the "weak" in our society, protecting them against the evolutionary effects that would have destroyed them. I consider this to be the first bit of humanity in the human race. The first time when it was not ok to kill the caveman but to help him live.  The issue then becomes is that we greatly over-burden our already scarce resources of the planet. We then cause states, societies, ethnicities, to conflict as a whole over these greatly over burdened resources. So my answer/thought is "Insaan nOon Is Duniya Wich raEn Da cHaJ nae Aya" . You may call me a pessimistic, but the human race, as it is, is not sustainable on this planet. In fact it is the only race that has destroyed the planet to a degree where it would take millennia to repair.


    May 11, 2008 at 12:39 am

  2. So Atif, the fundamental flaw in the logic is as follows:
    If that "1" man were to believe in self-survival at any cost then that man is lacking basic humanity. Human society has survived due to an element of collective solidarity amongst each other in spite of the instinct for survival at any cost by the "1" man as suggested. Human race has survived due to this solidarity as a collective and not an individual. If ten thousand years ago human beings were conducting, in vivo, proto dentistry for which evidence has been found in Mehrgarh, Pakistan then solidarity has always trumped survival of that "1" at any cost.
    Adding social control in society is not adding humanity but only safe guarding the already existing humanity that has sustained itself through the millennia. This social control is necessary since humans have not evolved to the point of self management. If humans had truely evolved they would have understood by now that greed which not "need" but "want" by either an individual or a group is not viable for the collective humanity. Similarly, if humans had evolved by now they would have understood that disenfranchising one group from the structure of a political system will only exacerbate the socio-political and subsequently socio-economic and gradually geo-political situation.


    May 11, 2008 at 12:50 pm

  3. Let me clarify a bit. Anyone 1 man has the basic instinct of self-survival at any cost.  It is a fundamental  instinct in all animals and human beings, in my opinion human beings do not deserve the credit of being better. Even through the centuries of human evolution that single instinct has not been diminished and perhaps as "competition" for the same resources has increased, over the last couple of years, it might have been enhanced. If you put 2 human beings on a deserted island without any social , judicial control they will resort to barbarism if needed for their own self-survival. If they feel threatened by the other individual they will either flee or resort to murder. So that would tell us that self-survival is a more innate instinct to us than basic humanity.You do have exceptions to this (like any bell curve there are outliers) ; so for instance you have the people that devote their lives to helping others Edhi, Mother Teresa and then you have the other extreme of people.


    May 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm

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