The vibrant youth of today might not know Ghulam Abbas and his “Anandi” or “Mandi.” Abbas was one of the best short story writers of the Subcontinent (1909-1982) and “Anandi” was probably his best afsaana (short story). “Mandi” is a black comedy of 1983 based on “Anandi.”
“Anandi” is a bustling town a la Pigalle or De Wallen. The devout dwellers have convened a meeting in the town hall. They want to expel the sex workers who are spreading obscenity in the town. Their presence has stained their culture and moral values. The chastity of their noble daughters is in danger. The harlots are intoxicating the innocent minds of their sons. The pious leaders of the town expel the sex workers to a desolate place far away from the town.
The prostitutes start building their houses. An army of masons and labourers are engaged. They are human beings. They have to eat. So, eateries come into being in the deserted place. They need entertainment. So, a theatrical company also arrives there. In search of cheap shops, many merchants and traders move to this abandoned wilderness. Soon this desert turns into a colourful town that is named as ‘Anandi,’ equipped with all the amenities of life like roads, water, sanitation, schools, electricity, hospitals, cinema houses, post office, police station, etc. Thus, it becomes a hub of tourism, trade and entertainment.
A few years later, the pious residents of Anandi convene a meeting. The agenda is: this ancient and historical city of their elders is being polluted by the sex workers. It is decided that they should be expelled to a deserted area, far away from the borders of Anandi!
The citadel of Islam, Pakistan has disintegrated in the wake of the 1971 war. Since then, three political parties have ruled the country – turn by turn. The people of Pakistan have recognised their true face: all are corrupt, incompetent and opportunists. The politicians should be lawmakers but they are in fact law breakers. Instead of working for the welfare of people, they trade accusations and sling mud on each other. In this backdrop, the intelligentsia has convened a meeting. The problems of the country are discussed thoroughly. And it is decided that the only solution is a new political party with a brand-new leadership. The members must have no past. They should be innocent and clean like a newborn baby. They must be common people like push-cart vendors who can contest elections without spending a penny. No turncoat or old politician will be allowed its membership.
A new PPP (Pure Patriotic Party) is launched. It sweeps the election with 100 percent majority. All its members are push-cart vendors. There is no opposition. They can boss around the army chief, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Chief Election Commissioner, Chairman National Accountability Bureau and rest of the bureaucracy from top to down. They have amended the constitution. They can appoint any push-cart vendor as principal of any medical college. They can appoint a rickshaw driver as PIA pilot. They can appoint any guard of their private security companies as the Chief of Army Staff.
Six months later
The intelligentsia has convened a meeting. The country is going through a very delicate situation. The new PPP has broken all the records of corruption, nepotism and inefficiency. It has outperformed the PTI in terms of trolling and introducing filthy and abusive language in political gatherings. Mr. Ten Percent has become a midget before the new PPP members. Under the cover of privatization, they want to auction the nuclear program which is now owned by Modi & Sons. They are Zionist agents.
To save Pakistan from complete annihilation, a new political party is indispensable – one whose every member is pious like a newborn baby!