My name is Allah Ditta and you can obviously judge me by my name; I belong to the lowest class of human beings in Pakistan. You are fast at judging but you forget that I am still a human being. I have no money, no business and no education but I work hard. I work around the clock. I work for my four children and their sick mother. I want to make sure that she stays with them as long as possible.
I sell balloons. I bring smiles to a lot of young faces. I am just as honest as anyone else is. I don’t steal. I don’t rob. Somehow, lives all around me seem better than me. I don’t beg. I work. Pakistan is a hot country and I am not boasting but walking up and down streets, selling balloons and carrying this big rack on my back all day is not very easy. So yes, I like to think that I work really hard. But I am still starving. I am starving for the smiles of my children. Shouldn’t they come around?
My problem is I am not alone. There are so many like me. I am just another poor citizen of this developing country. And while this country is all tangled in terrorism, foreign affairs, Burka Avengers, female empowerment and all, my family is starving for food. I am not sure if all that is more important and excuse me for not giving a shit about it, but I have four young children dying on me.
I have been told to get a better job. I couldn’t get a job because I was never educated enough for one. I didn’t get any education because my dad didn’t and as I see it, my sons won’t either. I tried to send my wife to work as a maid but they won’t take her, she is sick. That’s not all. She is a Christian; heck, I am a Christian. I can’t hide that too long. They don’t want her because she is a Christian. They don’t want her to touch their stuff. Christianity is the religion of the majority of the world. In this country, we are untouchables.
Life is difficult. Difficult is an understatement. I beat my wife one day. I beat my sick wife because she was whining about money and I had none. I have not been gambling with it. I put food on her table when I can. And my son, he is been bickering about school but I can’t send him to school. No it’s not free. It is not free at all. I need to send him to work; he will work at the mechanic’s shop and learn something in life. Maybe he will be able to send his son for education. I don’t care. I can use a set of hands right now. My stupid wife is on the bed, someone has to work with me. Besides, what is this education? It’s no good to me or to anybody of my status.
You are sitting there, in your drawing rooms, discussing me and the future of this country. Your only hope in getting rid of poverty is to get rid of the poor people. You waste time and judge me, that is all you do. Yes, I beat my wife and I send my son to work. I am depriving him of education. And I will sell my vote too. If it gets me immediate money I will do it. It might make my wife better; I will be able to get a few medicines for her. I will sell my vote to whoever gives me a little money. Or better, a bicycle. I will sell my vote for money, for a bicycle or for a tiny loan. And don’t you sit there and judge me. Your status updates about the right person to vote means nothing to me. Don’t judge me from your air-conditioned bedrooms and don’t judge me through your expensive laptops. Don’t talk to me about women emancipation and the rights of children. I don’t give a shit. I don’t give a shit about your revolution and your change. I have to feed my children and save my wife from dying.