A simple insight by a Pakistani writer into the sorts of hilarious SDRE self image deniers who are presently running around Bakistan, pretending to be TFTA's. I love the part about "his arab ancestors".
Smokers’ Corner: Camel talk
Nadeem F. Paracha
October 3, 2010
Last Thursday I bumped into an old college acquaintance of mine. We were both on the college cricket team. He also used to come up with the catchiest of slogans, usually aimed at our right-wing political nemeses. We called him Mirza because he had this habit of breaking into speeches about how he had Mughal ancestry, and how his ancestors were Persian-speaking traders from Samarkand.
I lost all contact with Mirza after we finished college (in January, 1988), but a common friend had informed me that Mirza had gone to study economics in Dublin. When I met Mirza again, I could hardly recognise him. He always used to maintain a scrubby stubble, calling it ‘Majnu beard.’ But when I met him again, he had a longish, flowing beard.
‘Hey, you’ve become a preacher, Mirza,’ I said, jokingly.
He smiled back: ‘Alhamdulillah!’
Mirza told me he was running a garment business in Karachi, and had got married in 1995. That’s also when he came back to Pakistan from Dublin. Mirza’s wife had spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, but was studying in a college in Dubai when their marriage was arranged.
‘Arranged marriage?’ I smiled. ‘Doesn’t suit a Majnu.’
He laughed: ‘Well, that’s that!’
‘But when did you become a molvi?’, I asked.
According to Mirza his wife’s father (a successful businessman), was a long-time member of an Islamic evangelic movement.
‘I was lucky,’ Mirza smiled.
‘That’s nice,’ I replied. ‘So, no more drinking then?’
‘Oh, yes,’ he proudly announced. ‘I haven’t touched the stuff in over fifteen years!’
But then Mirza said something that really made my eyebrows hit the top of my forehead.
‘I had to answer my true calling,’ he explained. ‘Because after all, my ancestors used to serve the holy Prophet (PBUH).’
‘Excuse me?’ I was taken aback.
‘Yaar, you know.’
‘I know what?’ I asked.
‘My ancestors were Arab traders who converted to Islam during the Prophet’s time. Many of them then started to trade with traders in the subcontinent, and some also accompanied Muhammad bin Qasim when he invaded Sindh.’
‘Wait a minute,’ I said, holding out my hand. ‘I thought your ancestors were Persian-speaking traders from Samarkand related to the Mughals?’
‘No,’ he respond, looking surprised. ‘Who told you that?’
‘You did!’ I replied. ‘You constantly talked about it during college. The whole cricket team knew where your ancestors came from.’
‘No, my friend, that must be someone else,’ he laughed.
‘No, Mirza jee, it was you. Why do you think we called you Mirza!’ I said. But he continued to deny it. Exhausted by his convenient amnesia, I asked: ‘Tell me, Mirza, does a Pakistani have to have Arab ancestry to become a better Muslim?’
‘Bhai, I have no problem with Muslims who do not have Arab ancestors,’ he replied, putting a hand on my shoulder.
‘Oh, but I think you do!’ I said. ‘Twenty years ago you claimed to have Persian ancestry. Twenty years and a beard later, you suddenly decide to have an Arab ancestry?’
‘Relax,’ said Mirza. ‘I never said I had Persian ancestors, and…’
‘Hogwash!’ I interrupted. ‘Suddenly, all Pakistani Muslims have decided to adopt imaginary Arab ancestors. What has happened to you people?’
Mirza just smiled and shook his head.
‘Forget it,’ I smiled. ‘Now can I offer you a soft drink?’
But lo and behold, I couldn’t. He said he doesn’t want any soft drink either.
‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Don’t tell me you have diabetes.’
‘I don’t,’ he said.
‘Good, let’s have a cold drink then,’ I said.
‘I can’t!’ He replied.
‘Why, because they are made by Jewish companies?’ I asked, smiling.
‘No, I can’t because colas look like alcoholic drinks, and we are advised by our elders to avoid them,’ he calmly explained.
I was shocked. ‘Mirza, have you gone nuts? Are you allowed to have water?’
‘Yes, of course!’ He said.
‘You may as well not!’ I said. ‘Water is transparent. It looks like white wine and Vodka. Why not quit having water as well?’
Mirza turned crimson: ‘I think we should part. It was good meeting you. Good luck and God bless you.’
‘Sure, mate,’ I shrugged my shoulders. ‘God bless you too.’
Shaking my hand, he bid farewell: ‘Allah Hafiz.’
‘But, of course,’ I dryly groaned.
‘Excuse me?’ He said, staring at me.
‘Oh, nothing,’ I replied. ‘Twenty years ago it used to be Khuda Hafiz.’
He shook his head again, this time with a slight look of disgust on his face.
‘Right then,’ said I, shaking his hand. ‘Khuda Hafiz… Abu Mirza.’