Names and meanings

After Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s statement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa being ‘our Mohsin’, I was reminded of my meeting with a fellow who called himself ‘Just Mohsin’. The year was 1979, I was visiting Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. He was studying there, and instead of introducing himself as Muhammad Mohsin he was more comfortable with ‘Just Mohsin’. Perhaps the name carries a special significance. In the land of the pure, there is a long history of ‘Mohsins’.
During his trial in the Military Tribunal, Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy used the term “My learned friend” but then corrected himself by saying “You are neither learned nor my friend”. In the fertile land of five rivers, certain words carry no meaning. In the historic Anarkali Bazar, Sheikh Inayatullah and Sons, a general merchant shop existed before the partition. It remained in business till the decade of the nineties. Rehmatullah succeeded his father and ran the business very efficiently. He introduced the hearing aids technology in the city which he supervised. As the technology was new, it had teething problems. He dealt with all complaints. To soften the anger of the complainants, he extensively used the term ‘Meray Mohsin’ but did not mean it. His words were magical. After his death, the shop was shut down, and a plaza has been built in its place. The sound of ‘Meray Mohsin’ of Anarkali is now history.
In politics, there is no place for ‘Mohsins’, it’s either interests or ideology. In the chequered political history of Pakistan, only two real political parties came to the fore (PPP in 1967, and PTI in 1996). Somehow the platform of the Muslim League has been used from which various brands were introduced, PML-Functional, PML-Nawaz, PML-Quaid, PML-Council, PML-Convention, PML-Zia, PML-Awami and PML-Musharraf to name a few. In the decade of the seventies and eighties, ‘Mohsins’ were focused on getting rid of Bhutto’s People’s Party which sought social equality and supremacy of the constitution. After the judicial murder of Bhutto in April 1979, his daughter led the party with courage and conviction. Finally, she was silenced on December 27, 2007, at the same venue where the first Prime Minister fell. With her departure, the party fell into the laps of her husband Asif Ali Zardari who is currently the mastermind of the PDM movement that has been tasked to contain Imran Khan’s (IK) party which currently challenge the status quo after the neutering of the Bhutto’s party.
Finally, in the year 2022, voices are being raised across the board for common resistance against the exploiters but there is a lack of confidence on both sides. Civilian supremacy is the only way forward. Till the decade of the seventies, the conspiracy behind the murder of the first PM was being debated, since then two more have been added to the list (Bhutto, Benazir) with the fourth one recovering from his attempted assassination. After failing to get an FIR registered, the former PM continues to fight for a fresh mandate through free and fair elections.
When Fatima Jinnah refused to accept the dictator she was declared a traitor. It did not stop there. I remember the huge banners on the historic Town Hall in Lahore posted every year on 27 October with Ayub Khan’s photograph under the caption saviour and Allama Iqbal as conscious with no mention of Jinnah the founder as his sister had dared to oppose. It was taken as a challenge against Manhood and Mohsin Hood which was unacceptable. Madre Millat did not survive long after this episode. She died in 1967, Ayub Khan was toppled in 1969, and Jinnah’s Pakistan was dismembered in 1971.

The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email:

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