Thursday, August 13, 2009

Visiting Mardan Church

by Tajrin Midhat

Tajrin Midhat with Christian children in Mardan

Sometimes I wonder who we are. It’s perhaps not so facile a question to be perceived by the mind that utilizes only one percent of its ability to think. For the mysteries of the universe and our existence within, is not a matter as self-explanatory as we may like to think with our limited intellect.

But what really is the significance of man in this limitless universe, in which there are far more galaxies than people? The vastness of the universe is incomprehensible. The starry heavens above us, the celestial order, and the imagination that can take one places that are magical…I am barred by my limited perception to explain something that my mind is incapable of fully perceiving.

And back on ground, there is Gojra, so much for man being the microcosm of the universe. What have we learnt from history? What has science and technology given us except a mathematical precision guaranteeing the accuracy of targeting arsenals at those who have taken no part in this course of modernity? Cynical, and disturbed, yes my thoughts are, but they only epitomize the hollowness of the times that we are living in.

The ‘Internally Displaced People’ are supposed to be the subject here, a term that evokes nothing but a feeling of indifference perhaps. No matter how disconnected it may sound from the reality of those who come to be defined under this term, it is yet another example of how the powerful has dictated the life course of the weak, the dominated, the suppressed. It’s not a story of today, but a fact that represents the primitive instinct of man to dominate, to control territory, exposing the dual face of globalization.

The Christian IDPs in Mardan are yet another story, same old story, we should say of a people whose lives are turned upside down by a political upheaval, not based on any ideology but that of relentless materialism, a war in which there is serious money involved. The uprooted victims are of course struggling well, for what choice do they have but to go on living, living for the sake of just living, perhaps in hope of a better tomorrow, not knowing perhaps that those in power are too blinded by the temporary pleasures of the world to abide by any universal principles of justice and righteousness.

We happened to visit a part of Mardan that has long been buried in some deep dark corner of the city’s soul. The 120 years old church built in the colonial time stands still. How indifferent is the land to the fate of the creatures that inhabit it. Those rulers are gone. The trees remain there, alive; they have survived the vicissitudes of time.

Perhaps it is only nature that takes a just course, whether it’s the ruins of a bygone power in the deserts of Egypt, or the lost glories of a sunken empire, time levels all. For in the end we are all made of the same clay and shall return to it.

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