I am a sardar

Published: June 28, 2011
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Yes, I have men and guns but these are just the traditional trappings of power.

I am a Sardar. I am six feet tall and came out of my mother’s womb ready to raise hell. To borrow from Isaac Babel, if rings were fastened to the sky I would have pulled it down to the earth.

Yes, I have men and guns but these are just the traditional trappings of power. I look after my men and their families. They are my clan; we are bound together by ancient geographies and histories. They are my children.

I uphold tradition but know that in order to survive in today’s world an education is essential. I studied Agriculture and History at Cambridge University and returned to help my people work the land. We prosper together.

I am seduced by the city but have not forgotten the village. My people have schools and clinics. No child goes untutored, no woman unattended in labour. We have a zero infant mortality rate and crime rate. Everyone is tended to either with my resources or our collective welfare funds. No man sleeps hungry. Our young ones go to medical school, but return to work in the village. We have not forgotten our roots but we allow our trees to grow tall.

We produce the best mangoes in the world and I have worked with the government to set up cold storage and packing factories so that this crop and others make it to the markets. I ensure that the MPA from our area spends this district’s budget wisely. He fears my wrath.

I am not like the other sardars who own houses in Karachi where you can walk in and buy any drug you can name. My sons do not jet around DHA in their double-cabin SUVs with guards. My sons know how to shoot but have been taught the value of saving a life. They do not rely on other men to do their dirty work. My sons do not need a coterie of city slickers to prove to the world that they are from an old and respected family. They do not live fast and die hard.

mahimmaher

Mahim Maher

A journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan. She has worked as the city editor at The Express Tribune and Daily Times, and now writes long form investigative and explanatory pieces on Karachi’s civic and urban infrastructure with a focus on transport, public spaces and water.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.