As the everyday citizens routinely makes their way through columns and columns of a newspaper, the mention of ‘Tharparkar’ automatically sets the stage for whats about to follow. Its been engrained within us to expect the article attached to contain a mundane listing of the number of lives the scorching desert has claimed. Let’s develop an algorithm to create the standard once-a-summer article? We begin by making sure that the prose mirrors the land it speaks of; infertile, barren and unrewarding. Just like the sterility of the desert, the article panders a fittingly fruitless debate. The arbitrary death toll chosen needs to fall within a certain range - enough to muster the sympathetic clucking of an educated tongue, but not enough to elicit any genuine concern, lest the reader feel compelled to spend more valuable time on this as opposed to the much more engaging debate over the Panama Papers, the fifth of its kind this week alone. The article itself need not convey any sagacious evaluations of the causes of said deaths, nor should it make any attempt to explore the more troubling, deep-rooted reasons for the steadily increasing recorded numbers. The fatalities must be attributed solely to the global-warming induced heat waves prevailing nationwide, because, practically speaking, the average reader has no knowledge of the fact that the temperatures of Thar have experienced no significant variations from those of summers long past.

The gist of the bulletin itself must avoid making any mention of the slow demise of the TRDP, the well-intentioned Thardeep Rural Development Project, nor the well-intentioned negligence of the region by the provincial and federal governments. However, it is absolutely imperative to wedge in a reference to some of the infrastructural measures undertaken by said governments in Thar, such as the Sindh government’s Effluent Disposal Scheme (EDS), or the accelerated harnessing of the Tharparkar coal reserves, so that it is evident that the government is most certainly paying attention to the area (one aspect is clearly enough), and is in no way responsible for the socio-economic factors that have led to the devastating famines and resource mismanagement in the area. But it is not enough to merely force in this information, no; the piece must include a more forthright statement from a spokesman of the government, for the slower of wit among us, which will state in words absolutely clear that the heat, and the heat alone, is somehow responsible for both the inadequate supply of food, and the increasing infant mortality rates. It is also acceptable to go one step further, and completely deny official knowledge of the deaths in question. After all, the article will be addressing the same audience as that of the government, and if the latter has the audacity to release said statement to the press, then surely a newspaper has the liberty to consider its readers equally guileless and feebleminded.

It is absolutely necessary to absolve oneself of any and all regard for investigative journalism in order to write this specimen article. The plight of the dying children of Tharparkar simply isn’t sensational enough for those of us born to a higher god. There is, therefore, no lucrative benefit in attempting to expose the grassroot-level problems that have plagued Tharparkar ever since its caste-defined, self-subsistent system broke down to pave way for a form of consumerism that is even more class-based, just not as explicitly so. There is no profit to be turned in addressing the government’s repeated inability to redefine Thar’s infrastructural and socio-economic networks, in order to facilitate this structural shift in the desert’s social framework. There is also no monetary advantage to be had in trying to propose a more effective and balanced approach to the problems Tharparkar faces today; an approach that involves the provincial officials actually sincerely committing to the thorough implementation of the proposed and funded projects, as opposed to cutting the figurative red ribbon, and then immediately turning their gazes elsewhere.

Be wary that the eventual outcome of this is not to garner any real attention or to even slightly bring more awareness and education to the general population. Its just to justify more ink on a newspaper thats fit to burst with much more enticing stories. Stories such as Qandeel Baloch’s latest raunchy escapades, idiotic arguments over Mr. Eidhi donating his eyes and the obnoxious hurricane that is the American election season. These are the things that viewers must ponder and contemplate over the most, the hallmark of dinner table discussions and fireside conversations. It’s logical that this takes precedent over whats happening in Tharpakar. The blunt truth of the matter is that Tharparker is just not enchanting enough to grip your attention.