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Sorry Mr. Saba Dashtiyari

Everyone has to die one day but some people unexpectedly live a bit longer. Saba Dashtiyari’s death was also quite delayed…

Prof. Saba Dashtiyari was an outspoken Baloch rights activist and a strong supporter of the freedom of Balochistan.

Whoever killed him was not in a hurry. The murderer lent him time to mend his ways. But just because Saba Dashtiyari was an emotional man and used his heart more than his brain thats why he could not figure out how to make use of this ultimatum and how to play within the rules. He kept on playing with fire through his firebrand speeches and rousing work for the rights of the Baloch nation.

It is true that universities are the havens of freedom of speech and freethinking but this is a western principle and is alien to our culture and traditions. We believe that freethinking and infidelity have little or no difference. They go hand in glove. So, if you had to become the icon of freethinking, you should have gone to a place where the society and state have the tolerance to put up with such ideas. Such a luxury cannot be bestowed upon you in a theocratic state. Here, you have to keep your pupils limited to the curriculum that has been well-defined by the state…

Saba Dashtiyari’s killers were generous enough to give him a chance to follow the code of conduct of the government service and let him secure his promotion, pension and other retirement benefits. If he was so hell bent upon fighting for the rights of his people, he should have quit the university first and then have his passion of speaking the frame of mind fulfilled.

Mr. Dashtiyari, it is beyond any doubt that you’ve played a vital role in promoting Balochi literature, history and philosophy according to the 21st century standards and we respect you for that. But bear in mind that at least two dozen of the books you wrote were published by the very state who you deem as the murderer of your nation’s rights and wishes.

We’re very pleased that you collected hundreds of thousands of books and documents in various languages of the world that featured Balochi literature, history and culture and preserved them as “Zahoor Shah Hashmi Reference Library” which is one of its kind in the world. How nice it would have been had you dedicated the rest of your life in this noble work…

Mr. Dashtiyari, you were a great man. At least you should have thought about your nobility. Does it suits, a man of your calibre, to sit with students in the canteen, chat with them, take part in politically-motivated hunger strikes, address public rallies, join demonstrations and chant slogans just like the common man?

Do you think that everything on your mind needs to be told and everything in your heart needs to be let out? You used to say that one should have the courage to say and face the truth. Does every truth need to be told? If this is such a great principle, why won’t your colleagues follow the suit? Do they not see the things that you do?

Mr. Dashtiyari, we know that you were the ocean of history and knowledge. But were you unaware of the treatment the Greeks meted out to Socrates? What the Nazis did to the scholars who opposed their ideology? How Soviet and Chinese Communists purged the so-called “liberal” teachers and philosophers? What pains the freethinkers went through during the McCarthy era in the USA?

Well, these might be far fetched examples to you. So let’s talk from our history shall we. Have you forgotten the fate of the professors and teachers of the Dhaka University who harboured “anti-state thoughts”? How they were eliminated from the face of the earth right after the initiation of “Operation Searchlight” on 25 March, 1971? We so wish you had visited the national museum of Dhaka to see the blood-stained carpet that serves as the relic to the cleansing of great Bengali icons of knowledge and wisdom.

You can’t fool us long by insisting on calling yourself as a knowledge-seeking man and that you’ve got nothing to do with the armed resistance. You’re more dangerous than them. You’re the kind of people who can arm the minds of the masses. In order to get rid of a snake, its head needs to be crushed. Likewise, it is only natural to stamp the people who become the brains of an awakening nation. Brain dead, thoughts vanished, man finished and problem solved…

Saba Dashtiyari, we really wish that you had understood all that we mentioned above. It is true that you were a great thinker and teacher but maybe you lacked common sense. But it is not your fault as every great man suffers from the same problem. And this deficiency leads to the inability of speaking the right thing at the right time.

Saba, we are really sorry for your death. But this sorrow is quite less than the pain of seeing you alive. However, consider your death as our compulsion. After all, we have to run the state…

Wusat Ullah Khan is the author of this article which was written in Urdu and published on BBCUrdu.com. The translation into English is done by Moign Khawaja after seeking permission from the author. Please credit both the author and translator while republishing it.

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