The PI apologises


Now what in the name of Jesus H. Christ’s controversial Dad could that be? Could it be that dratted π = 22/7 that appears in every mathematical identity, and whose point Archimedes himself could not explain? Or does it stand for something? Private(s) Investigator like that Magnum PI character we used to watch on NTM every week for lack of satellite or cable TV, the one who all the women used to drool over, and who, I still maintain, looks more like a gay pornstar than a ladykiller? Or perhaps, it means Poop Inquirer, or… wait for it… Pube Inspector!

Magnum Pee I.

No, PI, for the purpose of this piece, means none of the scandalous options listed above. It merely stands for ‘pseudo-intellectual.’ We recently established that it was one of the more annoying social characteristics. My friends from the college days would remember as one of those morons who would go on and on, ad nauseum, ad absurdum, about everything that had anything to do with politics, local or international, philosophy, religion, economics, society and culture. In fact, I used to be, and I state this most emphatically, an expert on every science that did not involve mathematics. This was more than just a tad ironic because I had A’s in both my O- and A-level Math, and was studying for a major in computer sciences with a minor in math. Be that as it may, I had an opinion about almost everything under the sun, and the disdainful certainty with which I propounded my opinions and rejected everybody else’s, makes me want to puke now.

To me, God was a fictional character, I was the embodiment of all good with all the love for the poor and the downtrodden in my heart while everybody else lived selfishly and inhumanly, the true axis of evil was Bush and Musharraf, the maulvi, mullah, maulana, allama, ayatollah were all demons in sub-human form, communism rocked, the Seraiki people were all absolutely oppressed, the Punjabis all remorseless oppressors, hence, ‘Viva la  revolución’, Marx’s words were nothing less than ‘hadith’, Che was the superhero, Adam Smith was a plagiarizing idiot, Mill an insufferable fart, democracy was a total farce and capitalism was evil, along with the entire white race.

Opinions on the ‘Bieb’ remain divided.

Thing is, as life rolled on, I realised that one does not really need to refer to high-sounding philosophies and ‘-isms’ to make sense of it all. One can pretty much make head and tail of most life-phenomena, if one views life as a perpetual game of conflicting and aligning interests. ‘Interest’ is what makes the world go round, the basis of all economic and politics. It is what governs human behavior at every level, from individual to the highest levels of social organization: socioeconomic classes, political parties, means and mechanisms of government etc. All history and religion fall into place. We find every political and economic theory speaking to or of one interest or another. I don’t intend to delve deeper than this, nor am I trying to prove any point. All that I am trying to say is, if one makes an unbiased assessment of one’s own existence, it is hard to find any action that is not motivated by narrow self-interest.

In our limited spheres of existence, do we not do everything in our power using all the breathing space that life affords us to remove any obstacles in the path of our desires or ambitions, justifiable and otherwise, often letting go of even the last shreds of decency along the way:  lying, making false promises, creating a whole lot of hurt and acrimony?

And having done that all day, we go online, watch the 8 o’ clock talk shows and rant and rave about how Zardari is worst thing to have happened to Adam since Kane, the PPP has picked the country’s corpse down to the skeleton, the MQM are all bloodthirsty ethno-linguistic zealots, Nawaz Sharif is an elitist stooge, the Army is the root of all evil, Amreeka is an exploitative global hegemon etc. After all, aren’t all of them using all the space they have, the power they wield, to protect, preserve and project their own interests, the way they define and understand their interests, the same as us? Even if we think they are all thieves and murderers, don’t thieves and murderers organize to look after their own interest, just like we do?

Though in truth only about half of us have a Little John.

Who is the hypocrite here? Who gives me the right to sit in judgment on all these macro evils when I am just as evil at the micro level? It is at the micro level that people first perfect the unscrupulous exercise of self-interest into an art-form before they go on and execute it to a tee at the macro level. So, where is the big fucking difference?

In the final months of Nana Jan’s life, he was having his nightcap when I went over to spend some time with him. One of those 8 o’clock shows came on and a bunch of politicians, intellectuals, media-persons, experts got together to opine on the political situation of the country, in sagely tones and self-righteous airs. I expressed a desire to be one such person one day, someone who is listened to, who can influence the way people think, who has a voice, someone who is not just a someone but a somebody.

My dying nana spoke priceless words that night: “Baba, ay sab barey bhenr de chud hin. Channel change ker. Madhuri da dance gole.” Literally translated, it means: “My dear boy, these are all sister-fuckers of the highest order. Change the channel. Find the one where Madhuri is dancing.”

Not much can top a well placed Madhuri ‘thumka’.

This Nana-ism is now the only ‘-ism’ I subscribe to, the only philosophy that makes sense in this life which is just a jumble of a thousand different complicating interests. Now, where to find my Madhuri is the question?! And how?! Because the real one is now beyond even the MILF stage!

I have a feeling this piece has gotten a bit too dense for something that started out as an attempt at humour. I think I am still as big a PI I ever was. And I leave the definition of it to you this time, kind imaginary reader. The point is mankind would need to find a higher driving force than interest to be able to get in touch with its own humanity. Plato spoke of the need of a philosopher-king to set society right, not a sales-king, not a corporate-king, not any democratic dictatorship, not an absolute monarch nor a Machiavellian prince. A philosopher king! But hey, wait a minute, wasn’t he a philosopher himself?! O brother, it looks like even Plato had his own agenda; he is announcing his own candidacy for the top job, making his own sugar-coated grab power for himself and his ilk. The bastard!

Hasnain Haider an untrimmed, unshorn bureaucrat aims to have a laxative effect on the world!


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Categories: The World I Know


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7 Comments on “The PI apologises”

  1. Alliya
    August 7, 2011 at 4:17 am #


  2. Hasni
    August 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    heh. seems like nana jan has stolen the show! 😀

  3. Irfan
    August 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    First had no idea that you knew to write like this…you could have written easily for PI and a few more well known series like Dynasty, Bold and the Beautiful, Air Wolf etc or even for movie scripts like Raging Bull, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon etc. Second, I get where you are coming from…yes we all do have our selfish vested interests but what keeps people like us apart from the crooks, the murderers and the corrupt is our values, faith and respect for humanity.

    • Najaf
      August 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      good one!!

    • Hasni
      August 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

      heh, it just hit me from ‘PI’, the thing that made this magnum dude so desirable to desi women back in the 80’s was probably the girth of his…………………… ‘moustache’! 😛 sahee fauji putr nazarde!

  4. Najaf
    August 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    not that i totally agree with the micro and macro part, but loved the way you built it up and brought it all down.. “Baba, ay sab barey bhenr de chud hin. Channel change ker. Madhuri da dance gole.” Classic!! 🙂

  5. rumi
    August 5, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    hahaha…good job khan saab!

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