• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Case brief

Case brief

Neither ghar ka, nor ghaat ka” is intended to address issues relating to Pakistani population home and abroad as well as the Muslim race in general in a light hearted and non-confrontational narrative. For overseas non-Urdu reading and writing generation of ex-pats, a sort of khicri of desi and English languages and expressions are in the script.

Dhobi ka kutta; na ghar ka na ghaat ka” is a household mohawra. Kids get an early introduction to it in school text books. In this “hawala” for a start, we are victims of our key education strategy, a “ratta” driven literate species, whether it is normal education, Arabic, sports commentaries, parliamentary discussion, ISPR releases, media discussion vocabulary, etc.

To set the lighter tone, let me start with an old joke. A Sardar used to live in a multi-storey building. A flat three floors above him was occupied by a very rich man. The Sardar was very curious about the extent of his wealth. One day he saw the rich man leave and decided to go up, not with theft in mind but purely for tafteesh. Just as he was about to settle down after breaking in, the occupant returned to collect something and found the Sardar wandering around. “Tussi ki kar rae o meray khar wich” shouted the man. The poor Sardar in a state of shock came out with whatever explanation came to his mind “Ki dashaan° janaab, maen dig payaan°”. The owner further annoyed with the explanation rants “Saari dunya utoon° haithaan° digdi a. Tussi tin manzalaan thalay rehndey o. Uttay noon° kiwaen° dig paee?” Shaken even further by that time, the Sardar explained “Janaab, taleem je koi na hoi!

Multi-culturalism and its “siyaapaas”

A good start to description of modern multinational life is a piece of “multi-cultural” poetry from some anonymous Murree fame Paharia [پہاڑیا].

“Taali haeth nashista pudam

Utoon ik itt ashnee si

If I head parey na kardam

Sirr wich aa ke wajni si”

ٹہلی ہیٹہ نشتا پودم

اتوں اک اٹ اشنی سی

اف آئ ہیڈ پرے نا کردم

سر وچ آ کے وجنی سی

A Lahoria would call a victim with mixed up thought processes in his own unique expression a “gawachi gaan” [گواچی گاں] translatable in English perhaps as a lost soul, quite literally a lost cow. You just have to see a cow relaxed in the middle of a busy road, holding up traffic, unconcerned with potential dangers and just not reacting to efforts to dislodge it towards safety. English despite all its depth and literary riches cannot match the visual imagery that the parallel Punjabi expression can construct.

Unlike India which does not allow its United Kingdom nationals who migrated to UK and subsequently earned UK citizenship, the latitude to hold dual citizenship. Pakistani nationals are allowed dual citizenship and usually like to travel maarhha mulk with both passports in their pockets.

The undefinablepunga

It may not be just a coincidence that both words, Punjabi and Punga have “P” in common. If you are a born Punjabi or spent part of your life in Punjab, especially in Lahore, you cannot have not heard the word “punga”, especially in angry or sarcastic conversation. A Sardar friend was very fond of using the word “Punga”  [پنگا] . Someone asked him what exactly did punga mean? Not entirely sure himself he said that he didn’t know for sure what it meant, but what he was sure was that there was no fun in life without a punga!
پہاجی اے تے پنہی پتا مطلب کی اے، پر پکا یکین اے پنگے بغیر زندگی وچ صواد کوئ نہین .

Proud Pakistani is used something like that. Clear meaning is unknown but saying it gives the user of this expression a lot of “swaad”. A lot of us will have seen hundreds of Pakistani families’ resident or nationals abroad returning in numbers at airports in Lahore, Karachi, etc. When a Punjabi kid from Manchester sets foot on “sohni dharti” for the first time, he turns to his abbaji standing in the queue and enquires in a mixture of contempt & surprise emotion “Aba, haa Pakistan ae”? The nervous abba, afraid further embarrassing questions might follow next hastily responds “Yes puttar. Chal houn agey dekh”.