Dr. A Q Khan
Mohsin e Pakistan

Robbers, thieves and dacoits

Posted in English Articles  by draqkadmin
May 17th, 2010

Random thoughts
By Dr A Q Khan

In the olden days if someone made a major mistake, he/she would be ashamed. Very often they would even change their residence and start afresh somewhere else. Nowadays, robbers, dacoits and wrongdoers walk with their heads held high as if nothing has happened.

There is a clear difference between theft and dacoity. Theft is committed without the use of violence while a dacoity is committed by an armed gang that doesn’t hesitate to use violence and kill its victims at the least sign of resistance. Sometimes these dacoits are killed by brave policemen at the risk of their own lives. Just as good and bad are always found together, so too are honesty and dishonesty.

In India there are many tribes which live by thievery. They operate at night and use grease and oil to cover their bodies to make themselves less visible and to be able to easily slip out of the grasp of their victims. Theft is an age-old profession, and almost 150 years ago Ghalib said:

Na lutta din ko to kyun raat ko men chen se sota;

Raha khatka no chori ka dua deyta hun rahzan ko.

His disciple, Maulana Hali, said:

Apni jebon se rahen saarey namazi hoshiar;

ik buzurg aatey hen masjid men khizar ki surat.

In the olden days, theft was committed without the use of weapons or with only a knife. With the widespread availability of arms, violent robberies and dacoities have become common. Since banks and jewellers usually offer good spoils, these have become prime targets. Another wicked practice is that of kidnapping for ransom, especially of children. Even influential political personalities have been reported to have resorted to this. Mr Sadruddin Hashwani is said to have left Pakistan for fear of members of his family being kidnapped by influential persons who have eyes on his hotels, especially the one in Bhurban.

There is an English saying that the one who steals a purse is a thief, the one who commits a dacoity is a dacoit, but the one who forcefully takes over the government is termed a valiant, brave revolutionary. Our moral values have deteriorated to such an extent that theft and robbery are now considered to be minor offences and limited to insignificant individuals. It is the bigger game played by influential people and businessmen that attract attention. It has become a free-for-all.

Theft of another kind, but theft all the same, is the obtaining bank loans worth billions of rupees against fake, non-existent or insufficient assets, and then having the loans written off. In this the conniving bank officials are as guilty as the actual defaulters. After some time, most of these loans are declared bad loans and the perpetrators declared to be honest and respected citizens. Despite being defaulters, they continue to live in luxury, owning valuable properties, SUVs and millions of dollars/rupees in bank accounts, both foreign and local. In this land of the pure, a poor peasant who is unable to pay back a loan of one hundred thousand rupees is forcefully deprived of his few kanals of land, which is then auctioned off. However, if you default on five hundred million rupees or so, you don’t lose anything–not even the respect of your colleagues or your own self-respect. The common man knows all this but is too helpless to do anything.

Theft, robbery and dacoity of every nature are not only big social evils, they are also big sins against our religion. The Holy Quran states: “But, without doubt, I forgive again and again those who repent, believe and do righteous works and keep to the Right Way.” (20:82) Those who sincerely repent will surely be forgiven by Allah and shown the right path. However, insincere repenting is meaningless and indulging in the same thing over and over again is even worse and unpardonable.

Judicial judgements are given on the basis of evidence produced. If a crime is established beyond doubt, then there is no question of pardon. Even though the evidence is there for the loans taken through connivance, action is often not taken and the defaulters continue to be haughty and proud. Despite their crimes, they will go all out to liquidate those who dare criticise them. Nowadays the courts are trying their best to deal with this menace and to recover an amount of almost 200 billion rupees of defaulted loans, but it seems to be an impossible task, more so because influential people are involved.

A long time ago there used to be a very informative programme on TV by the name of “Kasauti” of which Himayat Ali Shair was the compere and Iftikhar Arif and Obaidullah Beg the participants who solved almost all the difficult puzzles. Iftikhar Arif is still very active in literary circles. Obaidullah Beg sometimes comperes programmes. We have not seen anything of Himayat Ali Shair for a long time. We pray for their good health and long life. In the two verses below by Iftikhar Arif and Himayat Ali Shair, respectively. I see some similarity with my own situation. Arif says:

Mitti ki muhabbat men ham aashufta saron ney;

Wo qarz utarey hen jo wajib bhi nahin they.

Humayat Ali Shair writes:

Aaey they tere shehr men kitni lagan sey ham;

Mansub ho sakey na teri anjuman sey hain.

I would have used “mulk” rather than “shehr.”

Let us now consider some verses that aptly reflect the character of some of our local influentials:

Bafaiz-e maslehat aesa bhi hota hey zamaney men;

Key rahzan ko amir-e-karawan kehna hi parta hey.

— Jagannath Azat

Rahzanon key baarey men aur kia kahun khulker;

Mir-e-karawan yaaro, mir-e-karwaan yaaro.

— Himayat Ali Shair

Nowadays on TV there are many discussion programmes about all the ills that our country faces, but the moment the compere asks any question about foreign accounts, foreign properties, etc., the more-loyal-than-the-king supporter of the person in question immediately aggressively reacts. It reminds one of Habib Siddiqui’s famous verse

Kia jaaney rahnuma ko buri kis liey lagi;

Rahrau to ker rahey they kisi rahzan ki baat.

Even though the common man knows the names of the culprits, they are not in a position to do anything about it and can only hope for some help from a higher order. A well-known Persian saying is:

Rehmat-e haq bahanah joyad.

It means the Blessing of Allah looks for an excuse. For Muslims it is an unpardonable sin to lose hope and faith in Allah, as only Kafirs have no faith in His compassion and kindness (12:87)

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