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Actually, Mangoes Are Sour!

As summers are just around the corner, the sweltering heat of the blazing sun also brings in the joy of sweet mango. The onset breeze of summer knocks the green unripe mangoes and fills the air with the synchronized sharp scent. This ‘flavourful’ wind brings back lots of nostalgic memories; some remember stealthily climbing to the trees laden with lush fruits; some commemorate self-organized “mango eating competition” with their loved ones. Others look back on a familiar summer scene in vast garages and rooms when the family members and friends had the buckets filled with ice and mangoes, killing the severity of the season by enjoying the ‘royal fruit’. But in no time, the unique taste and euphoria is becoming a thing of the past.

Some people and journalists including leading journalist and columnist Rauf Klasra, have drawn attention to the “Massacre in Multan” at the hands of private housing societies, which have been building rapidly in place of mango orchards in the rich city of Multan.

As we all know that the historical city of Multan is famous all over the world for its variety and unique taste of mangoes, and these mangoes are indeed an integral part of the culture and identity of Multan. Sadly, the constructions in the name of the housing societies are not only a source of destruction for the enchanting fruit and the symbol of the city, but also an elegy of the country’s agriculture, and the inhabited land.

To destroy the agriculture land is the case of obliterating our real and fruitful assets for small gains; from farmers to land owners and business persons, all are compromising ‘food for businesses’. Due to this severe negligence and short-sighted gains, a silent catastrophe is at our doors.

Little could be expected from the government and the ‘deep state’, as one way or the other, they are all involved in the ‘game of profits’. Instead of deep and careful planning for our ever increasing population, the government is encouraging the usurping of ‘sweet’ lands. The government’s focus is only on the construction industry, and the construction businesses are rooting for residential colonies. They are cunningly making rounds of profits at the expense of arid lands.

Until recently, there was only one ‘defense’ society that stood out. As soon as Malik Riaz’s famous Bahria Town flourished, these societies could be seen developing everywhere. Today it is fair to say that this land of God is now at disposal of these private residential colonies.

Bearing in mind, the government and the state machinery are the ones encouraging these societies in the name of the prosperity of the construction industry. Lamentably, the civil societies, mainstream media, the lawyers and judges are not paying much heed to this highly contentious issue. Perhaps most of them are benefitting from this private housing schemes or they are actually ‘residing’ there.

Leaving the lower class, now anyone who had enough money to build a house is taking ‘refuge’ in these residential colonies, leaving behind cluttered houses, dilapidated streets, boiling gutters, and poorly secured neighborhoods. The government is now setting up shelter homes for the lower class. Safe to say, at the moment the whole country is a combination of shelters. Some seeking shelters in Red Zone areas, others in housing societies, and the ‘residuals’ in Ehsas Program Shelter Homes.

Just a few months ago, I happened to visit the sports city Sialkot. I was quite astonished to see that the small city which had villages and fields is now flooded with the ring of various societies over fields, drains and even gutters with different kinds of names. The famous chowk that was the landmark and prominent identity of the city of Sialkot has now become only a remnant among the whole circle of societies.

Mr. Klasra has mentioned Multan regarding mangoes. It is well known that Multan is profoundly famous for the fiery heat and slushy mangoes. Although mangoes are produced in different regions of Pakistan as well, but Multan has a special recognition when it comes to the distinct taste of this fruit. Moreover, the hospitality and generosity of Multanis is palpable in the season of ‘King of Fruits’, when back-to-back ‘Multani stamped’ crates of these mouth-watering fruits are dispatched all over the county and abroad as gifts.

Regrettably, Multan is set to lose its identity and trademark generosity with the rapid loss of orchard land. amidst the desolate trees and iron concrete in the name of development. However, the owners and occupants of these residential colonies might be protected from the woes outside in their cozy homes and rooms. But how long!

It appears that only some sensitive people have their blood boiled for the rapid loss of our treasures; while largely others are oblivious to this plundering. The farmer is finding solace in selling land due to his low income, while the middle class is hustling to secure its house and shelter. Who could stop these modern shelters to be built, rather than sheepishly saying: “in this season, actually, mangoes are too sour to eat!

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Naya Daur