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HomeBlogs‘Life and Prison’: The journey from varsity to prison

‘Life and Prison’: The journey from varsity to prison

“We have not seen happiness in this life; there shall be a life hereafter where we would sail into merriness,” says the last line of the novelette Zindman o Zindan by Javed Arman, which has been perfectly crafted in the Balochi language.

Written by Javed Arman, the seventy-one page novelette of the Surab-based writer portrays an ordinary man’s life in the Baloch society who goes through unending sufferings, hardships, sorrows, haplessness, corruption, pity and so forth. The novelette also briefs the readers about the loopholes in the laws of the state resulting in unjust decisions leading to destruction of the lives of normal people. The novelette takes one to the depth of affection, to the social harmonies, bonding and conflicts. It takes a moment to have the readers feeling the haplessness of a suicide’s commission as a last option. Arman tells some bitter realities of the society in different shapes – police, clerics and neighbors. This collection of the author, in very short, is a fantastic piece crafted on the ground realities of the Baloch society, nevertheless, the Pakistani society and mindset.

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Published by Izzat Academy Panjgur, the novelette Zindman o Zindan carries the character of a student who had to quit his studies when he was studying in the last year of his university. The sudden death of his only parent (mother) led to a negative impact on his educational career. And then he was looked after by his maternal uncle, whose death orphaned him thoroughly. He turned to drug addiction, becoming a debtor and someone who merely enjoyed his life with himself behind the four dark walls of his room.

Depicting the Baloch society in general, mostly the youth enter into evils such as drug addiction as a last option after they face clouds of worry. They think drugs as the only way they can live their life thereafter. Such a mentality is, very sadly, promoted by state institutions by taking bribes from the drug dealers and allowing them to sell drugs to people of all ages – be it a child, youth or aged person – and any gender whether male or female openly. Unfortunately, the ratio is accelerating among the females and children which can be a great threat in the time to come if not prevented.

Arman discusses another worthy point in his book about how the law is controlled in the country, particularly in the Balochistan province. Among the characters of the book, a religious cleric was involved in getting the leading character of the novelette capital punishment of life imprisonment for a crime committed by the cleric’s friend; the religious cleric had good terms with the SHO of the concerned police station. We mostly witness that law is administered by powerful people of groups, whereas personal terms and bonding also destroy the legal framework. The author has described the legal loophole accordingly.

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Above all, the short novelette discusses the downfall of merit while applying for jobs and even the standard or qualification of the governmental officials. Undeniably, the ‘selection’ of candidates on recommendations and bribes is a routinely practiced act witnessed by common people of the country although. While coming to Balochistan, plenty of officials cannot even read and write in English. Not only the bigger jobs, even the recruitment of peons and other tiny jobs are recommended by the provincial ministers and local body. Even people are found committing suicides after continuously failing to acquire a job; four such cases have been reported in Makran division in last five months: one from Dasht (Kech), one from Buleda (Kech) and two from Gwadar. Arman, engulfed by the merit crises, deemed suicide as the last option after being kicked from his job when he asked to maintain the merit in the department.

The master-piece by Javed Arman deserves a glance, for it introduces one to the bitter ground realities of the Pakistani society in general, and the Baloch society in particular. He supports as hypothesis by covering examples which are mostly visible in the surroundings, making him more of a realistic author. Most dishearteningly, the novelette focuses on how a student turns into a drug addict and then eventually gets behind bars as a punishment for a crime of murder he had not done.

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