Our society so reeks of symbolism. Apparent is all that we as a society often settle for, not because that’s all that we are offered but because we never yearn for the deeper, the more substantial for our own good sake. For developing that conscious awareness of issues on an intellectual level is more difficult than forcing it on someone. And also because symbols help us fight the contradictions between our actions and proclamations.
We force restaurants to keep their shutters down and the non-fasting minority to hold their bellies tight instead of waiting for that real feeling of respect that would naturally keep them from exercising their jaws in public. We keep stressing on the beard instead of nurturing that faith to a level where a Muslim man would unconsciously go for the beard to emulate the Prophet (P.B.U.H), in a manner that would confirm both his action and spirit in the faith. We reprimand our children for saying “Allah Hafiz” instead of salam when bidding farewell when both mean the same thing; it’s just Arabic versus Urdu/Persian. Similar is the conflict between Khuda and Allah or reading the Quran in Arabic even if we don’t understand a word to actually implement the faith in our lives. We keep stressing on purdah when we don’t waste any occasion to harass any woman we set our eyes on, from the burqa clad to the hip teen [honor and respect and the morally upright society should be for the mothers and the sisters and the daughters-all women aren’t all that *smirks*]. We go searching for halal meat in the market with haram money in our pockets (taking from “Khuda kay liyay”).
We flash our degrees to contribute to the literacy figure but break the traffic rules with the impunity afforded to an ignorant fool. We keep blabbing on about social justice in the developed societies in the choicest of accents and get our extra baggage checked in without any charge through a Pakistani acquaintance behind the counter even before we set out for the Land of the Pure. We talk about empowerment of women and then go on air accusing them of faking up rape cases to get asylum in the developed world. We seek enlightened moderation in marathons and women football and fashion pageants and strip clubs and deny our people the right to a government by the people, of the people and for the people.
We give our children human names and deny them the right to think, to doubt and to question; the right to excavate the substantial, the substance behind the ornate facade, to disentangle the web of hypocrisy and symbolism and rituals.