Momentarily, my sub-consciousness owed such a celebration to the early arrival of New Year’s eve. Puzzled, my eyes nervously darted towards the bottom-right corner of the laptop screen, anticipating the date display to prove my suspicion right. To my greatest relief, the date boldly remained to be 17th of September, a date I would have expected had it not been for such celebration. Accusing myself of faulty vision, I closed and re-opened my eyes only to stare at the same numbers as before. Not a single number was out of ordinary. Shifting the blame on my memory, I racked my brains to recall the significance of this day, again and again. Everytime it failed to ring a bell. The mystery wasn’t solved until I opened my twitter account to find #HappyBirthdayAltafBhai trending and I registered myself residing in the vicinity of a MQM unit office.
That’s when my mood switched to that of utter indignation; my mind conjuring flashes of certain historical events. Pakistan wouldn’t have been here if Quaid-i-Azam hadn’t had struggled for it selflessly not even stopping to think about his own well-being once; Pakistan’s existence had always dwelled in danger after India acquired atomic power if Abdul Qadeer Khan hadn’t taken the same stance for Pakistan only a few years later; Pakistan wouldn’t have been able to clench a single Nobel prize if an ingenious like Abdus-Salam hadn’t been born. Yet, never had I witnessed the birthdays of these national heroes being celebrated with as much enthusiasm and zeal as Altaf Hussain’s every year.
I fear the day when our nation’s upcoming generations wouldn’t be able to distinguish between our national heroes and politicians; former who moved mountains to bring glory to this country and latter who tried everything possible to have the former’s actions lose their effect. The moment their naïve minds would label our political leaders as heroes, our society’s conscience would be put to sleep.
The birthday party didn’t conclude until the midnight, next day. Birthday songs were played all day long, introducing me to a whole different musical taste. The fireworks in the evening, however, did let me enjoy a few moments of joyous awe as the whole neighborhood came rushing out of their houses to behold the spectacular sight.
What saddened me the most was the hypocritical conduct of MQM. Ironically, only a handful of days prior to this hulla-baloo, MQM made a call to mourn the sad demise of 300 workers in one of the biggest fire incidents in history, when a garments’ factory in Karachi caught fire. However, the birthday party failed to synchronize with the sympathetic faces of their leaders every time they were seen giving their views about the incident. Moreover, the comfort of the nearby residents was totally ignored and most of them were compelled to stay up all night long due to unwanted noises.Quite honestly, any political leader’s birthday is not worth a senior citizen’s sleep or a student’s undivided attention towards his late night studies.
And in the end, a question stands gaping at me: Was Altaf Hussain’s birthday really that important of an occasion?