Super heroes are known usually to have extraordinary or superhuman powers, and are recognized for their services in protecting and defending society. These larger than life characters are brilliant, their extraordinary abilities – in the case of Spiderman his generally enhanced physiology and ability to climb on walls and ceilings, in the case of Superman his eidetic memory, super human strength and speed etc make it enthralling to watch on screen. It’s a compelling story and one as old as time but one that works nevertheless, the good guys fight the dark forces and eventually the evil forces pay. I wish it were so simple in the real world; that people who are not just malicious in intent but carry out heinous crimes would get their comeuppance. Salman Taseer has a lot in common with Batman because unlike most super heroes Batman is known for not having any super powers as such, but for using his intellect and having an indomitable will.
Taseer’s fight for justice is no different than that of Batman fighting his enemies in Gotham except that this is reality, which makes what he did something remarkable. He spoke up for Asia Bibi, (a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court receiving a death sentence by hanging. Shabaz Bhatti spoke out against the Blasphemy law and was killed .It is tragic that the minorities in this country are offered zero protection, and when Salman Taseer did talk about a pardon, a lunatic actually stated that if she was pardoned then some people -wonder who -could it possibly be the banned militant outfits- “would take the law into their own hands.” This was far from an empty threat; it was to drive the point home, because the brutal murder of the Minorities Minister was insufficient. Salman Taseer was beyond courageous in standing up for a victim who had a target on her back and by proxy anyone who defended her would be killed. He , fought the dark forces much like Batman would , and in doing so protected the values that are enshrined in our religion, speaking the truth, defending someone’s honor and standing up even in life threatening situations .Unlike the movies though we cannot go back to reality after the suspension of disbelief after a couple of hours. Real life doesn’t have moments which you can pause and continue at your pace. Time as we know, stops for no one.
On the day Salman Taseer was murdered it did, though , even if just momentarily, and not just for his nearest and dearest but for all those of us who believe in religion , and to those who don’t but believe in morality, it stopped as we lost the man who taught us through his death the essence of being ,the greatest lesson we could ever learn , the story of courage which was not a fable , but as agonizing and authentic as it could get , he taught us that” it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” Salman Taseer is the definition of a martyr and a hero. He did what we can only imagine non life like characters doing, on a set, with a script; that predicts the ending. He threw all that to abandon and paid the highest possible price, his life. The irony that panned out that day was cruel , it was inhumane but it is magnified a thousand times over every time someone defends Mumtaz Qadri much less when it s a member of our parliament. Malik Mumtaz Qadri shot the man he was to guard, it was in his job description, and he did it not once, but 26 times. It was an act deliberately done in broad daylight, the message sent was clear- don’t you dare: if you do you will meet the same fate.
And so when we had our MNA from PTI who champion “Naya Pakistan ” one in which “sasti hogi roti par mehengi hogi Jan” he does exactly what Qadri did that day. In defending a vile cold blooded killer he pulled the trigger all these months later, all over again. Those that showered rose petals on Qadri sicken me to my soul, and I feel this need to vomit – to physically purge the fact that humans can be so reprehensible and so abhorrent. Yes Qadri was released (so was the cleric who accused Rimsha Masih of blasphemy ) and yes the lunatic’s who have an insatiable appetite for blood and gore and whose conscience has been put to sleep did welcome him with open arms but he is nothing more than a beast in human form .
However I know that Salman Taseer will live on , in true form , larger than life , and that’s something no one can take away from him , his valor , his dignity , his honor , and ours for fighting the fight that no one dared to. For giving up his life because truly it is so easy to say we believe that ” people are either your brother and sister in faith , or they are your counterpart in humanity ” , living up to these words and holding yourself to a standard that no one else is setting for themselves in the first place, is truly heroic. Stuff that legends are made of. That’s why Salman Taseer is not just a super hero; he is a ray of hope in a world which turns sinister when hounds are let loose and marauded by their comrades.