I will skip the details of my marriage. They are very PAINFULL. I do not want to go through those memories again. Those wounds are healed long ago. My wife was obsessed with two things, cleanliness of soul and home. For the first one, she prayed eight times in 24 hours, while we could hardly maintain the obligatory five times a day. Her worship times were Fajar, Sakht, Chasht, Zuhur, Asar, Maghrib, Esha and Thahjjud. Holy Quran was her constant companion and four to five times monthly, she recited the Holy Book from ‘Alif Lam’ to ‘Wannas’.
Along with all these religious duties, she kept the large house we occupied then, clean to the best satisfaction of everyone. So she served the big family also with due attention to each. I thought I have married a “Waliullah” or Saint. I was fully satisfied as far as she was concerned. When she arrived in my house, a few local girls, especially came just to see my choice.
‘Roshni’ was also one of them. She made a wry face, passing where I stood and whispered with clinched teeth, “she also has blue eyes but not like me.” I murmured, “Thanks God, she is not like you.”
My marriage took place on 17 October 1965. We had a few nights of blackout also due to the Indo Pak September War. After a few months she suffered a miscarriage. That was a great shock for us. The whole family felt the disappointment. I consoled her that we are just in our early twenties. I was 23 then and a year or two was the difference in our age.
ALLAH granted us my son Humayun in 1967, and that year Wali Sahib asked my father to shift to the newly constructed Bungalow No.AB-2 on the Road Side. So we left the old large Haveli. My brothers and class fellows of Jahanzeb College came to help us to bring the house hold luggage down from that haveli. My wife missed those mud stone walls, long verandas and a spacious courtyard, wherein our young kids learnt to ride bicycles. Our neighbors then were Dr.Sherin Jan, Delaram Khan Subedar Major and Dr. Seri Ram.
Our shifting from the old haveli, the downfall of the historic Afsar Abad started. All the large old houses were razed to the ground and new modern quarters and large bungalows for Masheers, Naib Salar and Secretary Mahmood Khan were constructed at the foot of the hill. I and my father still continued to go to the Naib Salar Umara Khan residence, where we played cards and listened to Radio news, as TV transmission were not yet extended to the State.
The 1960s was a revolutionary decade in the history of Swat as a State. Socio economic developments were taking place with unimaginable speed. Education and health facilities were made accessible in far flung area. Trade activities gathered momentum never observed before. Mingora was becoming hub of trade and industries. The little town was expanding in an unplanned and unregulated way to every side. Wali Swat encouraged investors from Punjab to install silk industries in Swat. So hundreds of silk factories started operations in Mingora, Katelai and Rahim Abad.
As the Swatis were lacking skill, most of the labour were brought from Punjab. Wali Swat prohibited these Punjabis to wear “Lang”. The mill owners were bound through legal bonds that they would not shift their looms in case of abandoning business in Swat.
Gradually the local labour became technically at par with the Punjabis and were now had enough majority to take over the labour unions. There also developed some social evils in society, particularly in the slum areas of the new City. Alcohol was one of these evils. Previously it was limited to a few number countable on fingertips. Foreigners were served only in Swat Hotel. But some local addicts or beginners could get local made “Tarras” as well.
Some sophisticated users had the facility to get foreign brands from a shop in Main Bazar in the guise of other commodities. But the dealer did not serve every Tom, Dick & Harry. His clientele was very limited. There was another hotel in the outskirts of the city, who did serve limited people, personally known to him. A man named Afandi was in this illicit business for a long time. I do not claim that I was the only Mr.Clean in my circle. But I was not addicted Alcoholic.
Actually I was going to tell you how my wife was devoted to religion and the Holy Book. One night, I was invited by a friend to a party at the hotel mentioned above. I had a busy day, preparing data of yearly expenditure by the State on Education, Health and General Administration through our office. So I could not get time to change and went directly to the Hotel. I was wearing a brown three peace suite that day.
The party ended very late and when I reached my residence, it was almost 12 midnight. I rang the bell. My father opened his room door. I passed him silently, holding a handkerchief to my mouth and entered my room. My wife immediately knew what was wrong with me. I slumped awkwardly on the bed and lost. When I got up in the morning, I found myself in Shalwar Qamees, instead of the suite I wore last night. I was very much ashamed myself and swore I will not go to that hotel again. My wife said nothing about last night and continued the daily errands as usual. As my office going time arrived, I found my suite properly ironed as I have no other one for a change.
To Be Continued…