Aaj News

Ali, the wadera and the fig tree: A tale told by Nazish Brohi

Competing forces of piety, politics, power and patronage clash in activist's short narration of real-life incident with unexpected happy ending
Published 08 Apr, 2022 03:52pm
Photo via stonepierpress.org
Photo via stonepierpress.org

Researcher and activist Nazish Brohi shared an interesting story about “fruits of heaven, fruits of labor and the politics of patronage in a small village” on her Twitter profile on Wednesday, garnering immense praise from social media users.

“So here’s a little story about Ali, who works in our home,” she said starting a Twitter thread narrating the events.

Ali, who belongs to a small village in Rahim Yar Khan bought a fig tree, also known as a plant of paradise. A fig tree is one of the most expensive trees in the world, and the older it gets, the more valuable it becomes.

Using most of his annual bonus, Ali bought the tree for Rs 12,000, to donate it to the mosque in his village.

Ali sent the tree to his village in a bus, and informed the mosque of its arrival. “Ali was sent videos of the tree being planted outside mosque. Mosque distributed almond milk at planting ceremony. Ali was thanked and congratulated. The village would have jannat ki chhaaon,” narrated Brohi in her Twitter thread.

"Everyone was happy, until…

“A week later, the tree disappeared.”

It turned out, it was the local wadera – landlord, who had the tree dug up and brought to his house by his men in the middle of the night. Why? So that the shade of heaven would now be on his house.

Protests by the mosque and villagers was met with the argument that the wadera owned all of the land. Hence, “it was his right to move his things wherever he wanted.”

The wadera wasn’t the evil kind. He was actually considered to be a good guy as he had once chipped in to pay part of the ransom when Ali’s family buffalo was kidnapped by enemy tribe.

The decision was then left to the jirga. “Jirga decided that while land belonged to landlord, mosque had first right to heaven and heavenly things, including tree and its shade. So tree had to be replanted outside masjid,” she wrote.

“But the wadera also had a right. So all the fruit of the tree, the fig, injeer, was promised to landlord for first five years. No one else entitled to heavenly fruit,” added Brohi.

Both villagers, mosque and wadera accepted the decision.

“Everyone was happy. Life went on. Till the first fig got eaten by a mouse,” another crisis struck.

The wadera has sent men to guard the tree at night, but that wouldn’t be possible in the long term. The village is trying to find a permanent solution – pest fumigation was considered but mice can come from the fields.

“Anyway, Ali is happy. He's now part of decision-making core of his village,” said Brohi, and that’s how the story ends.

The researcher’s tale, especially her storytelling abilities, is being praised by many.

One person dubbed Brohi the “queen of non-fictional short stories.”


rahim yar khan


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