Discipline: And that's an Order!

Zulfiqar Haiderali

First appeared on Chowk

It appears that in our country, the only uniformly disciplined institution after the Armed Forces is the doodh patti chai industry. The consistent way they make that tea has been perfected over centuries of philosophically disciplined contemplation, or at least how long it takes to boil the water.

Discipline, uniformity, harmony, synergy, 'in-sync', consistency, etc. These are the golden rules that have baffled our social scientists ever since they decided to ponder over a problem that eluded them so much: finding synonyms for discipline.

But seriously, look around you, dear reader. Does anything really appear to be in order other than the ridiculously timed traffic signals?

Take public transport. Portugal's Royal Paynin Dias Institute of Transport Regulations, on the request of concerned city traffic officials, and which was shared in strictest confidence with yours truly, recently conducted a study. One of their recommendations include organizing a roadside 'Match-the-Two-Look-Alike-Buses' competition for school children. Successful children, if any, and their 6 future generations, will be awarded full study scholarships to any university in the world.

The report clearly identifies two transport areas that need improvement. The truck/bus/coach art techniques and rickshaw/taxi cab seat cushions. In fact, the Institute, acting on the request of more concerned city officials, have recommended a line of European designers, including none other than the House of Armani and Elizabeth Arden for a preliminary range of cushion cover designs drafts for bus Route 5-A and Makhmali Coach, while the Royal College of Arts and in England has been suggested for a more uniformed design format for oil/water tankers rears.

These are some disciplinary developments. What about discipline as a nation?

It is indeed heartening to know that as a nation we really have learnt, at last, to cherish our freedom of speech and thought in a disciplined manner. And nowhere is that unified emotion more visible than on the auspicious occasion of our nation's birthday, our Independence Day, our 14th of August. The reader will note, with great pleasure, that Allama Iqbal's emphasis on individuality is expressed so naturally in the various sizes, dimensions, shades and design variations of our national pride: our National Flag.

For the benefit of our fellow overseas brethren, dear reader, let's spend a moment revisiting our 14th of August Celebrations.

Like every great nation on earth, we begin Independence Day celebrations with solemn pledge of loyalty, patriotism and a joint prayer for the prosperity, integrity and well-being of our fellow Pakistanis. This is followed by a thoughtful contemplation of where we can better ourselves as a nation and what the great Quaid-e-Azam would have wanted us to achieve. After this, we all remove our motorbikes' silencers and take part in a grand inter-city rally and wake the hell up of every ignorant, unbelieving and sleeping citizen.

Even in the higher strata of the young, hip society, the celebration is marked by a few emotional hugs and kisses, a few recitals of our Quaid's three golden rules of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, while a Pakistan Day Parade is engrossingly watched - live from Fifth Avenue, New York.

Before I conclude and before you're overcome with patriotic discipline and start sobbing, here's another interesting finding of that traffic study which really blew my top: Did you know that an average auto-rickshaw's decibel level is slightly LOWER than the combined levels of the entire US Navy Atlantic Fleet?