Of Journalism

December 14, 2008

A marriage……

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 1:10 pm

A happy marriage: Hard to escape from devastating memories

By Sayyed Fawad Ali Shah

KARACHI: His face looked overwhelmed with emotion, after witnessing so many tragedies for years, as he danced to the traditional Pushto folk tunes, with no fear.

As the sweet melody embraced the hujra, where a wedding of a couple displaced from Bajaur was taking place, like the fragrance of Jasmine, Ajmeer Shah started dancing to forget the dreadful memories that burdened his mind. Many music and dance lovers gathered around him.

Ajmeer Shah is one of the hundreds of people who escaped their hometown after being victims to the torture of the Taliban regime.

The scene was joyful. Everybody present was enjoying it. As the drumbeats reached their peak, they filled Shah’s head with the horrible sounds of bomb blasts.

“For the last two years we have seen nothing except the murder of our tradition and our culture by the Taliban,” the young man said, adding that people in Bajaur were not arranging marriages in their traditional style for a long time now as the Taliban had banned music in the agency bordering Afghanistan. He said that they were not allowed to arrange their ceremonies as per their traditions.

“They have destroyed all the music shops and schools and those who tried to resist them were killed,” Ajmeer told Daily Times. We want to start a new life, he said.

The ceremony was arranged in a befitting manner. It depicted the true picture of a Pushtoon marriage. Elders were clapping hands and cackling. Females were glancing at the gathering of men, from behind the walls of the house.

Rizwan Gul, the bridegroom was wearing an off-white shalwar kameez and his father was busy with arrangements. “My marriage was to be held last year,” he said. “However due to the fear that prevailed in our home town we could not have it,” the bridegroom revealed.

Gul said that he could not express his emotions in words. We are happy and sad, he said, adding, “Happy because we are witnessing a joyful event after so long and sad because we have lost the land of our love, Bajaur.”

More steam was put into the ceremony when the wedding procession started its journey towards the bride’s home at Banaras. It looked like as if the youngsters, deprived from observing their traditions for years, were in no mood to let even a minute pass without getting some fun out of it. The youngsters were wearing colourful clothes and were carrying drums, flutes and other traditional musical instruments. They were teasing the bridegroom, dancing in the vehicle and passing comments on the passerbys. For females, as per tradition, another vehicle was arranged. The jubilant women were singing folk songs and hooting at each other. Most of the girls were wearing traditional dresses called ghagras.

It looked like they wanted to forget their past and throw away all their sorrows and grief. For them it was a new life, a new birth. The militants in Bajaur had crashed their souls. For the last five years, they could sing their favourite folk songs or even speak loudly. They had every reason to be pleased as they were witnessing a world where girls were allowed to dream.

As it usually happens the driver of the male bus was trying to leave the other vehicles. The ceremony came to an end when the procession started its journey back home.

Sitting among the females was an old woman, Haleema. Her eyes looked empty. She was staring at the sky throughout the journey. Questioning the angels about how many schools the militants have destroyed in her village, and how many sons have been killed in the name of religion, after she left.

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