I am in this mental hospital for six months now and the doctors, here, have declared me to be ‘completely insane’. They consider that the reason I turned into a psycho was fear and confusion. However, I am still not sure if I am really insane, nevertheless, I have these attacks wherein I am fully dominated by fear, anxiety and puzzlement. I was a different person altogether; I used to be a blogger and a social activist – that is what I used to call myself. I possessed a sane mind and unshakable determination and clarity in my ideas. But things started changing slowly and gradually. As I kept on experiencing the realities of the practical world, everything changed about me.
As a young man I was an extremist revolutionary. I used to have the photos of Karl Marx and Che Guevara on the walls of my room. When my parents first saw the photographs, they did not dislike them; I think they thought Karl Marx to be some sort of Sufi saint because of his beard and Che seemed more like a Rock Star for them. However, once somebody told my father that Karl Marx was an ‘atheist’, and his son had a photo of an ‘atheist’ in his room. As a result, I was cursed by my father who forcibly removed his photo from my room, while I kept on insisting that Marx had more emphasis on creating an equitable and just society for the poor than discussion on religion. Nevertheless, he was furious and did not stop; and I am sure that the anger that he showed that day was not about the photo alone but it had more to do about the financial difficulties at home and my inability to support him in earning a livelihood for the family. Even, while removing Marx’s photo, he was showing a human behavior typical of a capitalist society as explained by Marx himself….. What am I saying? ….. I don’t know what I am saying. It may be because of that anxiety I told you.
By the way, once I had the craze of finding a t-shirt with Che’s photo on it. I found it somewhere but it was so expensive that my hatred multiplied for the capitalist society. Meanwhile, I started to calm myself, saying that it was not necessary to wear Che’s t-shirt to be a revolutionary. I felt sorry for Che and the way capitalism has taken a revenge on him, and those who have liked him… Should I explain how? No? I think you are getting confused. Let’s get back on track.
I was a university student before I turned into what they call ‘completely insane’. And, most of the confusions that I have now, basically originated from the educational institutions that I attended. Few things in university were so absurd. Our university was declared to be a heaven of learning but, most of the times, questions were not liked by most of the teachers. Students were asked to be self-sufficient but they were discouraged to have their own views and ideas. The teachers complained about the lack of students’ participation, while the teaching methodology and the contents that they discussed were outdated and were totally teacher-centric. And, with each passing day the university environment was being dominated by extremist religious beliefs and thoughts.
The teachers used to discuss the matters related to Islamiat circumstantially in English, Communication and even science classes, and nobody objected. If, by mistake, anyone asked a question with a word science in it in Islamiat class, he would receive an ample dose of irrelevant lecture and advice and the teacher could complete the class without having to teach.
There was another interesting ‘phenomenon’ that I could experience – though the university had its own mosque, which was very large and attractive, most of the students in our department did not use to go there for prayers, as it was on the other corner of the university. They had turned one of the corridors into a place of saying their prayers. And, nobody ever told them not to use that place and go to the mosque for their prayers. I could even see the teachers and administrative staff use the same place to say their prayers. Though, in the same corridor whenever I stopped the teachers to ask them any question, they would advise me not to stand there as I could block the way.
On the other hand, I also remember an incident when a few of the students suggested to hold an urgent meeting in the mosque regarding the rise in the tuition fee as they were not allowed to hold their meeting anywhere else; they were never allowed to do so. It was declared by the staff and many students themselves that mosque was a place for prayers alone and not useless meetings of the students. At that time, I kept thinking about the purpose of the gallery in our department.
There were many such weird incidents but I was not very vocal about them. However, one of my friends considered keeping quiet as an insult to his humanity. He was a revolutionary, no doubt. He also had the photos of Marx and Che in his room in the hostel. Like them, and unlike me, he practiced what he said. He stood against any injustice, religious extremism and, of course, absurdity. But, the staff members and the students for whom he fought so daringly, accused him of blasphemy… Did I say blasphemy? I hope there isn’t anyone around to hear what I say. I hope you don’t tell anyone that I used the word ‘blasphemy’… I might be charged with blasphemy, as well… See I am shivering now… The attack of fear, I told you about!
I hope this glass of water calms me down. So, he was killed mercilessly in the university – a place for education and learning. Was dragged through the corridors in our department – a pathway to pass through to reach the rooms. And, his corpse was thrown in front of the mosque– the place for prayers.
And, I have heard that after he was killed one of the professors went to his room and saw Marx’s and Che’s photo. He shook his head in despair and said, “He was killed on wrong accusations. See he was a religious person and had a picture of some Sufi in his room.”