The legend of a "Slave-girl" (part 1)

Monday, January 31, 2011

It is part one of the story "The legend of a slave-girl". Because of its length i decided to put the story in two parts.

It was a chilly night but the sky was clear. The rugged land with low lying barren mountains scattered here and there was beaming with the brightness of full moon. Down on one side was a valley, green with vegetation and flooded with small canals. On the west of the mountainous region was a less frequently used road, where people coming from the plain areas usually traveled for adventure’s sake. From the top of a barren mountain two shadows could be seen approaching the group of men encamped near a bonfire, probably lit to relieve them of the cold. When viewed closely one could notice from their wide glittering eyes and pronounced body movement that the two newcomers were youngsters, most likely teenagers full of energy. Also the wonderment about the world around them could be easily read from their manner. This could lead a keen observer to take into account that despite they been very energetic were lacking direction in life.

They reached the peak breathing heavily, and it was not before one of them spoke that the presence of a female was noticed. The newcomer who spoke was undoubtedly a girl of pretty features and her purple shirt with black jeans and the hair-do were the true depiction of the trends among the teenagers of her gender, in every respect. She was the focus of all the ten men sitting near the fire. But their manners and appearances showed sophistication.

“We were traveling from the road west of this mountain when we got something wrong with our vehicle. This fire attracted us to you.” The girl talked to the men in a slight shrilly voice after which she turned towards her companion who now got attention from all the men.

He seemed a guy of the same age group as the girl, and was dressed in brown trousers and a loose brown shirt on top. Dressed more like an adventure seeker from the thrill-movies of the day, the guy seemed a perfect match for his surroundings. It was now his turn to speak.

“Actually, we are travelers and have been to these mountains before too, but such sort of thing has never occurred before.”

Men could be seen looking at each other before one with curly hairs welcomed the newcomers with a little laugh and mockingly addressed his companions

“Who is there now who says that they came here for the sake of ‘legend’? No my dear friends, it’s an outdated story and only helps men to think something other than cold.” Saying this he started rubbing his hands, as if trying to get rid of any unwanted thought. A man with brown moustaches started looking at the other end of the mountain unpleasantly, as if the remark was directly meant for him. The newcomers were surprised, and kept looking at each other before another man with grey-ish hairs brought them food from a small tent.

It was only then that they could hear something of the ‘legend’ again.

“It’s the first time I am out hunting with you guys on these mountains at a full moon. Though I myself do not believe in such tales but the atmosphere here is mesmerizing” replied the man with moustaches, facing up to look at the moon.

“A legend?” the girl asked. “What sort of legend is it?” the guy added.

Both of them were getting impatient to know and their eyes went gladder on asking about 'the legend'. This was the time when the whole company exchanged glances before the oldest member of the group replied

“You both are so young that the story might have never reached your ears. Nobody now consider it a truth but we can’t deny that it is interesting to be told.” When saying this even the old man’s eyes had got some glitter in them.

“Yes yes, I want to hear it again too. It can be entertaining for all of us here” replied the youngest in the ten men who was dressed in black.
The one with black curls had his nostrils moved a little on hearing this.

The old man started speaking again, but a noticeable change could be felt in his tone, which sounded him several years younger than what he actually was.

“Those were the days when the villages nearby first breathed the chimney smokes of the industries. The then ruler took control of every business flourishing in the land, and all the villagers were bound to serve him. In such a background the nearby valleys heard songs of hope and freedom coming from the lips of a slave-girl.”

“A slave-girl?” asked the girl in surprise.

“Yes, she was a slave, but things were different when she was born. The girl was a young princess when her father’s kingdom was attacked by a treacherous ruler from a neighboring state. The king was killed, and the daughter was made a slave. But slavery could do nothing to her enchanting features and mesmerizing voice. Her eyes would speak of a promising future for all the villagers.”

“What was her name?” the girl could not resist asking.

“It was a tradition to give no names to the slaves back then and so she was just called slave-girl” the old man replied, irritated at her untimely question.

“Please carry on with the story.” the guy impatiently said. So the old man started again.

“The people of that region had a different concept of slavery than ours. The slave-girl used to dress up as a princess and was given a life-style equal to all her age fellows, but when it came to ideas, she was forced to bow down in front of her masters. The king wanted her to shun off all what was taught to her by her righteous father and pious mother, and surrender to what they had for her. She had no power to take a stand against the king but it was equally disturbing for her to kill her own beliefs and principles. The slave-girl knew that if she truly surrender to their ideas the whole kingdom of her father would have to pay generation after generation for the loss.”

“What did she do then?” asked the young man in black.

“She never let her true spirit die but she had to hide her beliefs for the sake of her protection, from the king as well as from the villagers as all of them had surrendered before the alien king. It was only when she would be out singing in the forests near the valley that she would let her feelings come out in words.”

Everyone continued listening to the old man in silence and suspense.

FOR NEXT PART READ: The legend of a slave-girl (part2)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Laws enacted in a society determine the direction of its progress. Muslims of sub-continent dreamed of a separate homeland, where they can introduce and practice laws according to their own interpretation of the Islamic principles of Law. Creation of Pakistan was the first step towards this goal, but coming up with Law which corroborate Islamic values in accordance with the current needs of the society required the nation to explore and experience the pros and cons of the legal systems already flourishing in the world.

In the last six decades, we have gone through a number of legal experiments, adopting Secular views and experiencing certain kind of Islamization, Pakistanis have come across a number of questions regarding the legal scenario.

In the past few years the urge to define our legal philosophy has met new zeal. The armed militancy of Talibanization brought much more than unrest and disturbed law and order situation, a social legal system based on values alien to the common masses were given boost, triggering the nation to reach a consensus in finding answers to the queries they felt when experiencing all these different legal philosophies and instigating the common masses to analyze legal history of the nation, and revise the already flourishing system.

At the level of common masses heated discussions are going on, and all of a sudden the whole nation seems to shoulder the responsibility of framing the Laws supporting Islamic values acknowledged by the founding fathers of the country. From the nature of laws to the role of legal institutions in the life of a nation, its direct or indirect relation with common masses, a common man is busy addressing these questions and erecting Law according to his/her own interpretation. Without this involvement and interest of a common man, the intelligentsia alone can not be of any help in coming up what the nation dreamed of achieving at the time of the birth of the country.

From Lawyer’s movement and the interest shown by masses for it to the women empowerment bills, the decision making seems directly influenced by what the nation demands.

Is it that we are about to enter a new legal phase in the history of our nation and is the next goal in front of the nation concerned about framing and enacting the Law we always yearned for? This is a question which the current situation compels me to come up with. What do you say?
(Related post: See Khurram Ali Shafique’s article Cornelius of Pakistan)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Freedom was the only code of conduct Saba ever wanted to follow in her life. Her life resembled the voyages of Air, which are without any marked beginning and destination. Like a multi-colored butterfly, she would move from one flower to the other, and would gather all the scents and colors scattered around the garden.

But one day when her black round eyes were busy examining a tiny insect, which had crept silently onto the bosom of the flower of her life, her mind got struck by a thought which turned into a question.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, “What brought this insect close to this flower? I need to know this. I certainly do!” And she steered the boat of her thoughts towards an altogether different and alien direction. Her question fuelled the fire burning inside her and all she wanted now was the answer to her question.

She inquired her heart about it, and found in the chamber of her heart some icons and idols which she had unconsciously borrowed from others. They were residing there for long now, and she could not feel there presence anymore.

“Can you help to solve my query?” she asked the idols.

“You mean us? Oh, certainly we can not. We were not carved by your hand, and we were never built by the clay of your beliefs and thoughts. We are strangers to each other, no matter how close we may live!” was an agonizing response from them.

Saba who once used to consider herself a being enjoying the bounties of Freedom, got disappointed after realizing that in her own heart she had been fostering chains of slavery for quite long. As soon as she realized this, the idols fell to the ground leaving behind only dust and marble.

Saba was astonished at this new definition of Freedom. Life was at a new edge and the chamber of her heart stood empty, creating a vast space inside her. She again changed the direction of her journey, and now she desired to know the true essence of Freedom, as it was dearest to Saba to find independence.

With high aspirations she set out for her new search but for quite a while all she could find was hopelessness around her. The emptiness inside her could not let her bear all this, and she was about to loose her self in the darkness persisting around her, when the arc of her life found a focal-point.

It was a new discovery for her. Someone who longs for freedom finds difficult to revolve round a single point, but the brightness of that point rescued her and gave a new meaning to her life. Once again her life took a turn, and the chamber of her heart got filled with the brightness of that point.

“What are you, and what makes you so enchanting?”

“I am Love and the radiance of truth makes me bright.”

“I was a desperate being, but you made me blissful. Why is that so?”

“You developed a quest, and your self-determination helped you survive. You craved for the truth, and now the encounter with Love soothes you.”

“I feel I do not know what I am looking for. I started with one question, came across something new, and came back full circle to where I started. I cherished freedom, and life has brought me back to my first dream. Can you help me? Perhaps you can tell what freedom is?”

“It is all you have attained on the way. Questioning is freedom. Cleaning your heart of thoughts not belonging to you is freedom, and finally moving around one focal point is freedom”

Saba continued conversing with herself, her surroundings and with her life. Soon the arc of her Life became a complete circle, revolving round the same hub. The focal-point got deeper and deeper every time Saba came up with a new question, shining more intensely. All the scents and colors in the garden came to gather near her, and unconscious of their presence Saba is busy creating more depth to her Life. Now she understands the true essence of Freedom, which is making her life all the more interesting and colorful.