Qabristan, The final Destination!
What is the current use of graveyards? Are we caring the place meant to be our last resting place??
Can we start working for our last resorts???
Current poor condition of Graveyards and chances of Betterment…
The other day I just asked my fellow Pakistani colleague about the bad condition of Graveyards in Pakistan; expressing my sorrow for filthy condition and odd use of many graveyards in our country. “We all know, this is our last resting place. When I wonder how many rich, able, beautiful and important people are buried in the graveyard (having a miserable outlook); I really fell sorry and think about what would happen to me. Will I be resting in the same filthy Qabristan after spending whole of my life willing to be clean and live clean?” I raised the point to him. “In a country where living people do not have any importance; who the Hell will care about the dead” He replied in a pungent manner.
“Every soul shall have taste of death; In the end to us shall ye be brought back
.”(Surah Al-‘Ankabut ; Paara 21 Ayah No. 57)
The above ayah starts revolving whenever I visit the graveyard. When we go to bury some near and dear one. When some puppet leader or Government Official behaves in an undaunted manner against Islamic way of life. When people use their power and authority to their own interests, not caring about their responsibilities towards a common man. Have they forgotten death? Do they not know about the final accountability in the Darbaar of Allah on the dooms day??? I often wonder this, I often wonder this…Khair baat dur tak nikal gayee!
It all started during my latest visit this EID-UL-ADHA to Pakistan and witnessing poor conditions of one of Graveyards of Karachi called “Rehri Goth ka Qabristan” which is one of biggest in the city. Uncontrolled growth, dirty area, wild bushes, miserable condition of graves; it seem like it has just gone through some catastrophe. If you are visiting any old grave, then the pathway will just make you wonder you are one character of some adventurous movie. You have to make your way in between the graves in a puzzled manner and avoiding wild bushes with severe nails and remain careful regarding any wild lizards.
Looking back, we are occasional visitors of this Qabristan on an average 2-3 times in a year usually at the EIDs and Shab-e-Baraat. Shab-e-Baraats are used to be vibrant and see somewhat better arrangements with lighting and somewhat settled condition of this place. We have seen the rapid growth in the graveyard during our life spans. Elders and known acquaintances passed away and became residents of this graveyard. The whole place filled up and people even built graves at the verge of walkways. Increasingly bad law and order situation in the vicinity of this area with time and busy people not thinking much about their last resting place. But one thing which is common at large, yesterday and today; it’s bad condition. The condition was bad yesterday and today it’s not getting any better.
So, we went to this graveyard to visit graves of our forefathers. After fateha, we found a Gorkan and hired him for cleaning and repairing graves. This guy was old in his early fifties and was talking unstoppably counting things that he can do and things he will do. “Beta aj tum apne buzurgoo’n ki Qabroon ko nahee dekho ge tu kal koi tumhari Qabroo’n ko bhee nahee dekhay ga” he said and rightly so. We have to arrange this privately because the government priorities have not reached this point to clean last resting place of their citizens.
While we were trying to arrange cleaning and repairing of these graves; my uncle suddenly noticed talking voice coming out of nowhere. We looked the vicinity around and found out two men talking to each other right up on the trees. They were GUP-SHUPPING in such an easy way that they have no ghum in their lives. Later, I was told some people relating to the Interior have such a habit of discussion forums on the branches of trees. Woow man, new thing for me!
We then discussed the spreading and growth of this graveyard and how the trends of visiting graves are now changed. To be noted, there is a distinctive pathway bisecting this graveyard. “Beta people who used to visit this side (where old graves lies) are now resting on the other side (the relatively newer graves); so here you can witness a whole change of generation”: Uncle said. “We will soon be here sooner or later; will anybody take care of our graves? Will we have a peaceful end? Are we doing anything to secure good places in aakhirat?” I was all surrounded with such questions…
When I went back the other day to checkout the progress of maintenance works; this Gorkan came and showed me things he had carried out including cleaning of whole lot (our family graves) and repairing grave of my grandfather. I reminded him of what still needed to be done. His counterpart/helper spoke out in the middle “Bhai jaan mai apko theak batata hoon, yeh Qabristan ka purana hissa hai aur yahan iswaqt khara hona theak nahee hai; lutairay kisi bhee waqt ajate hai aur paise mobile wagaira cheen lete hai; so better we should talk outside this area”.
So we quickly went away to discuss the remaining work in a much safer area. And rightly so, I am often told by my family “We are not going to Graveyard these days because of vibrant criminal activity there”. It’s really painful to see such condition that these places are now been governed by criminals and who can loot you while you are there to visit graves of your dear and near ones. People who were a must for this world once, who kept themselves neat and clean, pious women; all of them now resting in graveyards catering all sorts of odd activities. Aaaah!
Apart from above; we have witnessed businesses of jaali pirs and their activities surrounding these graveyards. TV shows have often exposed such elements and their illogical and heinous activities by which they capture/destroy innocent people. People use the graveyards to do Taaveez dhaagay and Jadoo Tona which is clearly a sign of bad belief and diversion from the Islamic teachings. We also see rounders and addicted people using graveyards as places of peaceful activities. This is clearly an alarming situation and people should start thinking upon a social turnaround; we can at least get lesson from civilized nations who are keeping their graveyards up to the mark.
Government surely will not think about this; they have other important things to do like preparing their next generations to rule us in future… I am just wondering if social welfare organizations may take an initiative to keep up graveyards. If famous companies can adopt roundabouts/signals for their publicity; why can’t they provide some funds for graveyards as their social responsibility? Can media take some time out to address these issues and spread social awareness? If not, we can make small individual family groups to take care of small bits of our family graves. This will encourage other people to realize their responsibilities. Remember death can reach us anytime, anywhere and at any age. Will you like to be surrounded by all above mess? It’s a NO from my side; what do you say???