Street language written on the walls generally tells the story of a city we were shocked to read. It is what is written on the walls in Karachi. The statements use language which would incite the people to rebel, revolt and are intended as insult to certain sections of our society. What amazed me and my family was that the provincial and local administration did nothing to stop such evil? Who is spoiling our walls and beautiful buildings, both, private and public? Why are our religious and political leader not going around educating the general public and tell them that God is beautiful and loves beauty?
My late father used to tell me that before partition of the subcontinent and even after the genesis of Pakistan for around two decades our neighborhoods, streets and walls of the buildings were the cleanest. Our neighbours, the Hindus who migrated to India, the Parsis and the followers of other religions living in Sindh at that time, used to encourage the youth to paint beautiful murals on the walls of different buildings. The Hindus from Hirbabad, Hyderabad, were famous for this.
All societies, be they of any religion accord a special importance to civic sense and civic education. Our religion accords tremendous importance to ‘Civility and Civic Education’ but unfortunately we do not preach and practice it in our daily life. The time has come for all of us to focus on this aspect of Islam and keep our cities, towns and villages neat and clean. Let’s decorate our city walls with murals highlighting the region's culture, art and history. Youth can be called upon to participate by painting murals that encourage education for citizenship and a sense of belonging and civic responsibility to their society, the environment and local culture. Let’s transform the city's main street into a unique mural that exhibits all that comes to their minds. Let’s promote awareness of the problems from which our Pakistani society suffers today such as environmental, traffic laws, health and hygiene, tolerance and many other issues.
This act can increase tolerance in our society and remove hate and extremism from our country and violence from major cities such as Karachi. Historically graffiti is more than expression; however, civil society, media, youth and government must come together to beautify our cities by bring constructive and informative graffiti on the walls instead of hate slogans and tonics provided by quacks.
Islamabad, September 19.