By: A Contributor from Australia
Sydney: Writing out another Bible may be challenging but with all its qualifications Australia’s Hazara Community are more than just a match for playing the role of the ancient Isrealites. Without a future vision, a sense of direction, long term financial and economic planning, any non-egoistic responsibility, any consciousness or care; the community is afloat on the tides of the time, obedient and under its mercy.
To visualize an even simpler picture, imagine time travelers for the medieval times visiting 21st Century societies or even imagine lifelong inmates suddenly returned back into civilization. I can only hope that these would give you an idea of psychological, ideological and physical desperation and exhaustion the Hazaras in Australia suffer from, 99 percent of them at least!
Be it on the streets of Auburn in Western Sydney or the markets of Dendenong in Melbourne, there are grim reminders of pre-Eid shopping rushes of the past as Naswaris spit out riches, Hajis count their dollars, Zawaris sell their “holy soil”, teenagers try gangster sunglasses, poses, haircuts and gangster language; women run for their lives from the fear of being seen in the street, girls try the latest weightless technology, Martiko discuss the prospect of getting a or another wife, Moisafeeds boast about the value of the houses and cars being purchased by their relatives–all these at the heart of a first world country. You might also spot about a few new arrivals who, obvious by their non-local fashion and oily hair, have no clue as what in Neptune’s name is going on these streets. They are confused, scarred and punching themselves that this it isn’t just another of those dreams. Careful search can lead you to people who still continue the historic tradition of going door to door pleading for mercy and money in a distinct Hazaragi accent–you know who i am talking about. Once inside their new prison wards also known as homes, women either continue their never ending whining on how much they miss the bygone days or resort to watching another of those old age Hindi movies to forget their worries for the evening. Being cooks, servants, prisoners and baby producing machines, are of course, no issue anymore; they are so used to it.
Imagine many of these talk shows coming in one of those ten times a week Mehmaanis. Yes, they do get together on more than regular basis. Now these parties are what i call the ideal mix of spice, similar to long hours of nonstop pointless idiotic chattering on Bakul Stop. Mullahs head these gatherings and forward their agendas on the benefits of Hajj, starvation and Khoms, tales of Arab warfare, the righteousness of people on their side, the Sawabs of keeping girls indoors, the countless faults of the society they have willfully chosen to live in, the supposed moral inferiority of the West, the supposed superiority of their religion over the religion of the host country and other tasteless works of fiction revolving around the idea that Hazaras owe all their history, tradition and culture to the Arab World. They “RESPECTED” the Buddhas of Bamiyan so long as every one looks at their posters and no talks about them or any way relates back to them. By all means these sermons endeavor to follow a carefully selected and little understood path that has been rehearsed a million times in my every own lifetime. The Sirchandaas and Rishsafeeds nod their heads with agreement followed by a quick “Balay, Balay”. And the common men put their heads down, sit motionless and listen to the Haji Agha without uttering a word or using a single brain cell.
Upon descending on their rest houses, the nobles report to their Sirchanda and discuss the strategies to catch up with the opposite Chanda or Taayefa in terms of size, Mehmaanis and money. This is followed by the swift calculation of the amount they will be paid in unemployment welfare plus the income from their secret, tax-free jobs. Plans are then set out as to where they will do their next shopping for the latest model of clothes and accessories. A few burps later they remember the fact that they have not paid the fat, rich Mullah for a month and for the grace of Neptune and a Khana in paradise, they and their Qaum should contribute and help the Haji Agha or Sayeds get fatter, lazier and richer. Hazaras are “spending” over 1 Million Australian Dollars on the construction of a mosque while the 20000 displaced people of Behsud sleep without shelter and those in Darra e Sauf starve to death. Of considerable importance in these commitments is the social orientation of these people towards a Quettagi, Watani, Irani or Syrian community. Next comes a sound sleep without a single thing to worry about. Obviously, if you are not paying attention you won’t have a worry.
This is a typical afternoon in the life of the typical Hazaras in Australia. It is worth mentioning that you will find many not so typical but stereotypes are certain to remain the majority for the foreseeable future, most of whom still mock each other for having lived in Iran, Pakistan or Syria.
It is sad but it is true. The social underdogs of Pakistani and Afghan societies are once again hell bent on becoming the underdogs of the society down here. It is not the lack of academic literacy that seems to be the problem but ignorance and idiosyncrasy of the masses, the fact that most these Hazaras have never been through war and serious subjugation but in their days make up the better-off economic class of the suburbs they came from. Furthermore the sheer scale of this “problem” is dire and denies the poverty stricken people back in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the much needed helping hand. Many in the community are aware of it but either are powerless by the donkey and Einstein principle or have turned a blind eye out of frustration and choice. Those with people skills are busy expanding their Taayefa Bazi or spreading religious ignorance. And the few others are too busy supporting their families and relatives back in Afghanistan and Pakistan to worry about any of that. The few accessible social evens are spent digging up old graves, rivaling over who can come up with the biggest feast, spending time and energy crying over Arabian folk tales, celebrating warlords and Hazara Islamists. In the midst of all these it is fascinating to see males and females deflect towards the opposite ends of the venue as if they were like poles of two magnet bars.
Anyways, if you have your hopes tied up on with the performance of the diaspora down here, you had better be less hopeful as the actions down here won’t yield the results that could fulfill your and our immediate and less immediate needs. If you expect the Hazara diaspora to repeat the post World War II success story of the Jewish immigrants, you might have to wait longer that you or we, as people, could afford to.
To end it all on a positive note, let’s all understand that if we can’t afford to be disappointed, we can all afford to be responsible individuals was CAN at least, every now and then, give this struggling engine of ours a good push.