By Irfan Bukhari –
The ugly man behind the holy job
Though I live on people’s donations, mostly simpletons who consider maulviat as an institution of Islam but I wield unlimited powers in the society. My journey to present-day-state of power started from a very poor family of a far flung village of Punjab. Unable to afford my schooling, my parents sent me to a nearby madrassa where I joined a pool of neglected children living completely on the mercy of mohtamim (administrator) of the religious school and semi literate teachers.
The same madrassa was my school as well as my home. We (all students) would live in madrassa, learning Islamic teaching by heart day and night, bearing extreme corporate punishments by teachers, and last but not least collecting meals from nearby homes for satiating hunger. At time I would face very humiliating attitude of food-donors but I had no other option but to digest the venom of hatred and insults.
My family was comfortable on sending me in a free ‘boarding school’ as I was no more with them to share their limited morsels of food. My desires, expressed off and on, before my parents regarding getting admission in a government school simply met a harsh ‘NO’ from the other side. My discomfort was growing with every passing day as my soul was refusing accepting the environment I was pushed to live in.
Years passed. They brought emotional and psychological changes in me too. Now my feelings regarding insults had started fading away and every abnormal thing had turned to be a routine matter for me except one thing. This one big thing was the sexual harassment by senior students and teachers of the seminary. Every night was like a new test in my life. After initial resistance and refusals and consequent punishments, I learnt the art of survival-by-surrender.
After getting holy lessons in the morning, it was terrible to be indulged in the dirtiest job – sodomy – revolving around lust of shameless teachers. Then like all other things happening in my life, this nefarious molestation too became an un-painful part of my life and the time when I myself was a senior student sexually exploiting junior ones in the same madrassa came swiftly.
Twenty years later, I got a job in a madrassa situated in a big city with a lot of resources, donations, mysterious-funding and many more. I would teach in the madrassa in the morning and in the evening would visit various homes for teaching at reasonable monthly packages plus lavish food stuff. My inborn oration skills were earning fame for me in the religious community particularly among mullahs representing my sect as well as in the masses by leaps and bounds.
I started receiving special invitations to deliver sermons in various parts of the country and audio tapes of my speeches were selling like hot cakes in a particular sectarian community. One of my affluent admirers gifted me a car and revenues of my madrassa started swelling as my one call would collect huge donations.
This was the peak time to quit a salaried job. With the help of my domestic followers and funding from foreign friends I raised my own madrassa cum mosque. Now I was a king of small estate with ever-growing ambit of influence and power. My identity and respect was in my extreme stance against opponent sects and their ulemas therefore I always kept ‘religious differences’ alive with ‘nasty rhetoric fertilizers’. The capacity in my sermons to set things on fire brought civil administration of the town and media as well on my door step.
The maulvi had turned into a Maulana. The one mosque and madrassa was insufficient to appease my lust for money and power and the time had approached to launch a religio-political party. On firm assurances from ‘foreign and local friends’, a new party to ‘end woes of Muslim Ummah’ was raised with new slogans, new posters and new blood. Local donations and foreign funding took only few days to expand party’s network across the country. The days of teaching Surf/Nahuv and Qadoori for earning livelihood were a distant memory now.
The jihad starts. It was like a boon from heaven. Donations from brotherly Islamic states were huge but they were nothing before U.S. bucks. The anti-sect content of my fiery speeches was temporarily replaced with jihad related stuff. Hundreds and thousands of youngsters from the length and width of country were trained to embrace shahadat in fight against infidels. When my mujahideen were fighting the battle, I was roaming in the country in an armored vehicle due to fear of death.
The Russian infidels licked the dust and left Afghanistan but our jihad still continues in another form and manifestation. Now my verbal hatred against rival sect has the support of AK-47 and mesmerized manpower. Now I can occupy any piece of land in any part of country to establish new mosque/madrassa. From local civil administration of the cities to top politicians avoid locking horns with me and my party. My vote-bank card disallows legislatures and mainstream political parties to take any legal action against my misdeeds. In case my party gets banned, I will run the same under new flag.
My life has changed except one ‘bad habit’ I learned in dark rooms of muddy madrassa few decades back. Today I publishe three papers and magazines, can bribe or threat media to propagate my message of hate and kill. With three wives, fourteen children and uncountable number of disciples and followers I feel pride in parents’ wise decision of sending me to a madrassa.