March 12, 2011 3 Comments
I am an elderly person from the next few decades (if I get to survive). Next few decades which I am not very much hopeful regarding my old age. Old age, when I will not have the same stamina as I have now and my physical organs will not function in the same proper way. I won’t be able to sustain my provisions on my own.
Where will I live then? Who will provide me with food and clothing? Who will be there to take care of my health? It will be useless to ask these questions to the future youth because by the time they will come up with an idea, I will be resting in peace for hundred years.
One solution that the majority has worked upon is to work hard, earn money until there are chances and then settle down in another country where they have made some system for elderly people. Many celebrities like Uzma Gilani, Munni Begum, Majid Jahangir, Umm-e-Habibah, Zohra Noorani, Tehseen Javed, Sajjad Ali and families of scholars and middle class people have applied this strategy to turn their olden era into a golden era. They are nice people and have right to live wherever they want to whatever the way they want. May be this is a part of globalization that you grow up with thoughts of taking care of yourself and your family, be nice to everyone and live your own life. For most people now “how to live?” matters more than “where to live?”. The thing is that I cannot expect anything from them like helping in building this nation, except for crumbs of donation time-to-time or a statement “I miss Pakistan”.
Still some ladies (I call them great), the legends of our time, like Bano Qudsia, Bajya and Bilqees Edhi preferred to stay. May be because their names begin with letter ‘B’, who knows. All I want to know is that why did these ladies prefer “where to live” over “how to live”?
I’m not a celebrity. I’m just a common person. Everyday I notice the increase in number of old women beggars. In last eight or nine years, I even saw many of them sleeping on sidewalks along with their grandchildren. I wouldn’t say that they all have come from the interior of Sindh or Punjab or Baluchistan or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (jitnay mushkil khud hain utna hi mushkil naam rakh diya soobay ka). Many of them belong to Karachi.
I remember few families from my childhood. They had migrated from India in search of a peaceful land. They sacrificed their loved ones, lost their properties, even their basic belongings. There was one family whose head of the house was a sixty five year old lady and was obviously an illiterate person. She had a son who was killed during the riots of sixties and left few children including other family kids whose parents were lost during partition. Then there was another family of similar kind. The seventy year old lady was responsible for her eight little grandchildren and a mentally ill daughter age 55. Sometimes they had nothing to eat for days but one time meal that was a ‘roti’ , no curry to eat with. Neighbours provided them with some good food but that was not on the regular basis. They still needed clothes, education, somebody to supervise them. Both ladies became nani’s friend. They were from noble families in India. I am sure there were thousands of stories like this.
The ladies must have died soon as they were already feeble and ill. But I don’t know what their grandchildren had gone through. If they are alive, they must be my age now or may be a little younger or older. May be few of them had found a good support later on which rarely happens. But what about the rest.
There was no system at that time. Not even the concept of having a system. Children from that time are now middle-aged and have grown as unwanted beings while the children of this time are growing as wild beings. God knows what kind of society we’re going to turn into next twenty or thirty years.
Edhi seems to be the only refuge for elderly people especially women. There are few adult homes but they are mostly for men to live till their death and they are expensive too.
I have no hope at all from our political parties and religious groups for next hundred years. They will keep growing fear and hatred in people’s mind against each other. Only if common people support each other and help each other about solving issues of common people like them.