By: Muhammad Umer Karim
It was fine sunny morning of June 1996; when we entered the campus of Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam as first year students of Bachelor of Engineering in Agriculture. Everybody was young, ambitious, bit excited and trying to get acquainted to new atmosphere, slowly and gradually got introduced, obtain roll numbers from notice boards and finally occupying seats in First Year Class rooms, Lecture time started and the Teacher entered and asked everybody to introduce themselves, afterwards took attendance.
During attendance, a young guy knocked on the door of the class and asked for permission from Teacher to enter; Teacher showed an arrogant behavior and insulted him a bit for late coming but permitted him to sit down. Attention of all the class fellows was diverted towards that new fellow due to his unique get up. He was wearing Black Qameez and White Shalwar with Sindhi hand embroidery around the collars. Teacher started the lecture, subject was Calculus (Mathematics)- quite dry and boring subject. Except some front benchers, every body was praying for time to pass quickly. The new guy sitting near me was continuously under my observation. He was calmly sitting and trying to absorb the insult in the first class of first day of First year of B.E (Agric). Break of classes started and during the break I introduced myself to him and got to know his name which was Tanveer Chandio, I noticed the initials of his name, “TC”, on the back of his Black Qameez under collar with hand embroidery and asked him where he got that embroidery done. He told me in a whisper that his mother was much excited for him to study at a University so she knitted/sewed the whole suite for him. He started to condemn the teacher and told me that in next class he will take revenge of this insult. Then I started meeting other class fellows and went out of the faculty for Cigarettes and refreshment. Second Class, after the break, started and Tanveer’s seat was vacant. Teacher started the lecture and, after few seconds Tanveer appeared at the door and entered with a loud Nationalist Political Slogan. Everybody, including the teacher, was cowed down, Tanveer was “warmly welcomed” by Teacher and the class continued, and Tanveer looked at me with meaningfully smiling face.
Time moved quickly. Days passed then months passed. We entered into second year of our degree programme. However, Tanveer was not interested in studies. He became a very active member of a Nationalist political party and always remained absent from class and was busy in quarrels and disputes with the University Authorities; resultantly he could not pass first year. Tanveer had the unique habit of wearing Black Qameez and White Shilwar, which kept him prominent in Campus.
During our Second Year Tanveer disappeared. Whenever I asked his party friends about his absence, they would casually say that he went to his village and did not come back. They were assuming that he belonged to a poor family so, may be, he could not afford to study further.
Time passed, we moved to third year and ultimately first term of final year. One cold December morning we were sitting in Central Canteen sipping hot tea, a guy in Tanveer like dress appeared and walked in limping style towards us, when he came near me, I was shocked to recognize him; it was “Tanveer”. We met him, while my friends walked towards class, I sat with Tanveer and asked him where was he lost and what happened to his leg? He again started in his same old careless style and said that in fact he belonged to a very poor family, his father worked at small hotel as waiter around Hyderabad and his mother sewed clothes of neighbors. He was sent here by his parents to study but due to substandard education background and Cheating at School and College he could not follow the English Language teaching style, so he decided to be a Comrade (Nationalist Student Leader) and gets some support but that also need a heavy purse or continuous monthly income from illegal sources (Bhatas). In the mean time his neighborhood friends taught him easy way to earn money, I was shocked to hear that he learned to make wine (alcohol) and used to sell it. Due to my curiosity he described that whole process, how to collect sugar cane juice mix it with catalyst and burry it in pottery than get the wine evaporated, extracted and sell, What a miracle I was thinking while listening him, he was talking like an expert chemist and our society did not let him be qualified Professional. According to him, he was very successful and earned lot of money. In the process due to non payment of one monthly tax to Law Enforcement Agencies he got arrested. One week ago he got escaped from the window of Police lockup, due to high jump from Window he got his left feet cranked and that’s why he was limping, then he changed topic and told me about his Fist Love, during this business he fell in love with a neighborhood, but her family is not willing to give him her hand, because their family tradition is to sell the girl instead of straight marriage, what surprised me was that Tanveer was not worried about his case and escape from police custody and cranked feet but for the girl he loves. I took serious notice of all this and lectured him for his future, aimed to help him to complete his education. This inspired him so again he decided, while sitting on canteen, to leave everything behind, take admission in first year and complete the degree. I tried to explain him the ways to take both Politics as well as Education together-for influencing and completing his education, He promised to follow and he also fulfilled his promise, giving time to his classes as well as addressing Students for Social Problems, arranging and managing Political processions. Soon results started showing up, Tanveer was now a changed person and got Probation in first term of First Year, One day in morning I was sitting at Central Canteen, Tanveer came as usual dressed in Black Qameez and White Shilwar, but his Qameez from backside was dirty with mud wheat straws sticking to it. I was worried and asked Tanveer what happened, but I observed he was not worried at all and was calm and relaxed. His reply shredded my heart, “Yar! Last night I did labor work to fill a truck of straw, Here in University I am feeling that now students are not gathering on my call, They are not following me but those who can afford bills for cups of tea and refreshments and for getting degree and influence the teachers I have to be a leader with a crowd after me, so today I am happy, I have earned money today and I will pay the Tea Bills and then I will be followed. I made an excuse and left the place because I was not able to hold back my tears of joy on transformation of Tanveer.
That was our last meeting, University was closed, I got busy in my final year project/thesis. One day got the news that my Unique Friend “Tanveer Chandio” is killed, and his Dead Body was found in a gutter/ sewerage disposal channel around his neighborhood. His murder was doubted/ suspected on the parents of the Girl he loved but this time I was not shocked, because I was worried how many “Tanveer Chandios” are we going to sacrifice on this system?