This is a brilliant article sent to us by Mr. Muhammad Hassan Miraj and makes its central point in a very touching way.
After fighting the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, as he crossed River Tiber, Constantine had no idea that the slogan which he had coined for a very temporary victory is going to be a monster which will haunt the generations in times to come. While Faisalabad burns in violence, we can only trace the blood to those who mixed religion with politics in a ruthless manner.
A city where half of the places take its name from Sikh Characters i.e. Gobind Pura, Guru Nanak Pura, Ganda Singh Wala, a city which owes its development to good old Raj and British officers serving the “Father, who art in Heaven” in the name of mother Queen and whose top educational institutions are missionary schools like La Salle and Sacred Heart, a city whose eight bazaars are still a feeble sketch of Union Jack, has become one of the most fanatic and intolerant city….perhaps there will be a time when this city will not like to be known by its famous stalwarts like Bhagat Singh.
In later part of 19th Century, as British took it to heart that they have to develop Punjab, they resorted to constructing artificial canals and inviting people with promises of lands. The first name given to this tract of land was Chenab Colony. Historically, the area is termed as Saandal Baar, one of the three Baars(plateau), the other two were Neeli Baar and Ganji Baar. The city grew along the lines of Union Jack only to become the industrial hub of the newfound Land of pure.
Before Partition, the city had a fairly healthy mix of Sikh Jaats, Muslim Sheikhs, Hindu buisnessmen and a very Limited Anglo Indian community; this infact shaped the Economical outlook of the city. The Jaats held the agrarian side, Shiekhs and the Hindus did the Industry and Anglo Indian community was busy in keeping the stiff upper Lip traditions of Raj. While Ganesh Mill provided a lifestyle to the city and was major activity during the day, the evenings would see Ganda Singh, a local landlord, sitting on his famous Tonga and roaming around the city. Somewhere, around the city, the folks of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan would sit down for Riaz and unknowingly, in a slum nearby, a lean hindu girl of sharp features would rhyme along her mother, kneeling in front of saraswati, not knowing that her son would one day be as famous as none from this city and would be known in entire world as Amitabh Bachan. Outside the city in the districts of Samundri, Bhagat Singh was yet to start his Ghadar party and Prithvi Raj was a small time actor, only years after he would migrate to Peshawar and set his foot in the showbiz world.
Then came the 1947, and it was never the same. Decades after decades, as the vacuum created by the migration of the upper class of society was being filled by relatively ambitious class which largely had seen no values, the city started taking another shape. The first dent in the structure came when the middle ring joining the inner side of 8 bazaars was obstructed (all the eight bazaars joined at Clock Tower, retracting they had small rings which grew larger but they connected the inner side of these bazaars, the inner most ring was the one which had Clock Tower in its centre) and a mosque started to rise, slowly and gradually. A lateral passage was obstructed, in the name of religion. The city did respond to the social cause of Peoples Party, but as there was nothing but disillusion from them, they never looked left then on. The epitome of Catholicism was the time when certificate of Pardon was sold publically, the epitome of religiosity came when donating a hefty amount for Madrassah became a virtue and doing it publically would meant a seat in Parliament as a military goon had taken refuge of religion to call the shots. The dictator played the tone which was so common with the rats, that they followed him in large hordes, only the piper was cloaked as Mullah. One of the few men that stood between the free world and communism, this American Marde Momin was also the last hope of religious bandits. The dose of religiosity grew and so did the no of madrassahs, and the rigidity soon started taking tones in discussions. The city is no more a city of calm people who would mean business but is another Gujrat (Indian) in making, where businessmen are investing their money in religion. The city has highest no of catches for Alqaeeda explaining the reason why it’s one of the lowest hit city. The question of religion has become a question of violence and there is no room of dialogue. The vanishing middle class, deeply hit by consumerism, is too busy to check the dropping tolerance and a religious bonanza is doing whatever it takes to arm it for times to come. The youth is indifference and the small thinking proportion is too carried away with other pre occupations that they hardly bother….The city is now a city on the hill…..MAY DAY …MAY DAY
Behold, I send you as sheep amongst the wolves…..