Friday, December 03, 2021

Everywhere is a graft town

By EMN Updated: Nov 23, 2013 11:29 pm

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is a colony in Karachi the commercial capital of Pakistan (Land of the Pure) and which is named Gilbertgunj after some English Lord who served there. Local denizens called the colony Rishwatgunj (Graft Town) because numerous Pakistan civil servants and some defence Officers had constructed palatial mansions and retired there in comfort. Even amongst them there was an exception by way of a mere Excise Inspector who had managed to construct a similar abode. His mansion was surrounded by the usual high walls and corresponding iron gates. On his front wall facing the street there was marble plaque on which had been inscribed “This by the Grace of Allah the Merciful”—and affectation with most Muslims.One early morning the Excise Inspector went out for a stroll on his spacious lawn when he espied an old bearded man nodding his head and shaking it admiration while looking at the mansion and expressing “Wah! Wah! At the same time, his cheeks were streaming with streams of tears. Puzzled, the Inspector went over and said and said: “Huzoor, I noticed that you are admiring my palatial mansion. So then why are you also weeping?”
To this the old man replied: “Your mansion is indeed among the finest here. And I admire you for it.” Then pointing at the marble plaque, the old man continued, “I am only shedding tears because you have given credit to the wrong entity. It was not Allah who gave you the riches for you to retire in luxury. It was I!”
“And who might you be, Huzoor?” asked the Inspector.
The reply: “I am Satan!”
Perhaps this story is apocryphal but it has nevertheless become a fable. This is not related to any particular community or religion because it can be applied anywhere spanning across nations and cultures. And, of course, our very own Nagaland also. There may not be any particular colony in any urban town in the State with a plaque like the one in Gilbertgunj in Karachi. And it is for sure that Nagas most of whom are professed Christians would not think of even such a marvel. However, the closest but by a huge margin may be signboards proclaiming in English “Residence of ……” Such signboards are there in Chozuba town, or for that matter, someone’s “ki” (house/residence) in Kohima, and Dimapur and possibly in urban places elsewhere in the State.
Your guess will be as good as mine on how many Nagas today must be thanking the Almighty for his graciousness to Nagas when we witness the speed in which personal wealth is burgeoning but life in the public domain is crippled. Whichever way the story above of graft town is interpreted there can be no escaping the ugly truth that corruption is getting the better of us.
How and where do we begin to put an end to this or is the adage that “desperate times call for desperate measures” to describe us.
At the other end of the spectrum is also the law that holds creation together that : “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it,” according to Augustine of Hippo.
The choice we have been making is staring us in our faces in the form of schools without proper classrooms, teachers or toilets. Poorly constructed buildings and roads under various projects. Schemes on paper not on the ground. The list is endless.
The future is ours to change and the present is the aid in our hands.

By EMN Updated: Nov 23, 2013 11:29:46 pm