Never Ever Dream Again (Autobiography of Fazal Raziq Shahab) Part 31

It is generally believed that Wali e Swat, physically hit State employees when he was displeased with their performance. But this was not an aristocratic action but like a father figure, reminding his subject to avoid negligence in their duties. He expected 100 % accuracy in everything as he himself performed regularly, keeping all the State organs harnessed and under strict control. He had also issued a Royal Decree that all Tehsildars and Hakims should keep visiting the under construction projects of the State regularly in liaison coordination with the State P.W.D.

One evening, as I was sitting with my officer in his residence, the Tehsildar Landaki, called on phone and told my officer that the contractor working on the construction of Octroi post was cheating. We rushed to the site at Landaki, found the trick of the head mason. My boss hit the man two or three times and asked the sepoys at the Post to demolish the work done so far. We returned to Saidu Sharif and he asked me to stay for dinner. As we started dinner, the telephone bill rang. I picked up the receiver. It was the contractor calling. He asked to connect him with my head. He took the receiver and after exchanging some niceties, the other side raised the pitch higher and complained about the beating of his man. The dialogue ended in a harsh exchange of words. The matter was left there and then without further aggravation on both sides.

A few months later, a quarter at Kota fort, constructed by the same contractor, was scheduled for the visit of Wali Sahib. He used to keep a wooden hammer in his car to check the quality of floors. The poor type of concrete gives a hollow sound. As he entered the room, he asked for the hammer. I braced myself to face any eventuality but decided to say the truth.

The floor responded to the stroke of hammer that only the finishing was OK, but underneath was very weak and lean concrete. He turned to me with glaring eyes and asked why the poor quality work was allowed. I blurted out, “Sir, this contractor is very problematic. He does not obey even my officer and boasts he would do each work according to his own sweet will.” I also related the previous event of Landaki.

Wali Sahib immediately ordered on the spot to black list the contractor for ever. He directed me to dismantle the floors and relay through departmental staff. Of one thing I am dead sure, Wali Sahib would never have punished me physically, because I looked so fragile and innocent.

The image created by some negative minded people that the Wali was a tyrant ruler, is totally baseless and miles away from the real facts.Of course he was the most powerful ruler and as stated by TASS, the Russian official News Agency, but he was a benign Aristocrat.

He did punished if he saw someone urinated on the main road side, but not himself. He sent a guard to beat the violator one or two fests. He was very strict for those who cut road side trees. Most of the roads had trees lined up on both sides, making the travel pleasant. At some reaches, the trees embraced each other on a certain height, making a green tunnel. It was so enjoyable to pass through those natural tunnels. The longest such tunnel was on the road from Barikot to Shingardar. Now you can see the difference, looking at the present scenario of this reach.

I have observed only once, Wali Sahib personally beating a driver named Moambar who drew a State Girls School bus. There was a blind curve just below our house in Afsar Abad. Wali Sahib was coming from Saidu side and the Bus driver was coming from the opposite direction. Both the drivers sensed the danger and pressed the brakes hard, stopping inches apart from each other. Now everyone knew, Wali Sahib always was seated in the front with the driver. If the car and the bus had a collision, he would have been hurted. He stepped down his car and pulled Moambar with his left hand down and with the right hand hit his legs with a hunter. I was standing above the mound, a kid then. After a few blows, he left him and went on his usual evening drive. The next day, a group of State Army were deputed to cut the mound of earth, some 40 feet high and straightened the road.

Wali Sahib was very much sensitive as for as trees were concerned. Chinar and Rosewood were his favourite trees. Poplars were also encouraged specially on the road sides. He wanted his people to be disciplined, well dressed and will mannered.

To Be Continued…

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