ACCHA | Pakistan Today

ACCHA

  • The word is full of meaning for us all

The Cambridge dictionary this month made ‘accha’ available to the English speaking public. As incorrectly pronounced as ‘Iraq’ by the dictionary’s own British and American English pronunciation guide, the word is defined as an exclamation meaning ‘yes!’ and a word of agreement as in ‘that’s good.’ But really, the word is much more versatile than that.

There’s the triumphant “Accchha” when Donald Trump lost the elections, a reaction that had little to do with a Republican defeat and everything to do with the defeat of the particular person holding office all that way across the world.

Then there is the incredulous eye rolling “Accha!” as when Imran Khan claimed there was no mention of Jesus Christ in history.

There are other examples.

A disgusted “Accha!” and an incredulous one as a comment on Sheikh Rasheed’s appointment as Interior Minster. Sheikh sahib, if you remember, felt it necessary to add to Imran Khan’s intelligent statement about a possible military confrontation with India by reminding India that Pakistan was a nuclear power with small warheads capable of targeting and destroying particular targets. Sheikh Rasheed was then the Minister for Railways.

“Acha!” in the same tone follows the appointment of (Dr) Firdous Ashiq Awan, who in yet another cabinet reshuffle recently has been appointed special assistant on information to the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Usman Buzdar. Dr Awan rolled over from the PPP to join the PTI and was once focusing on the healthcare system not too long ago when she was still with the PPP, and was then unaware of the existence of time release capsules. There she stood, staring down at an expelled capsule and her incredulous and perplexed “accha!” was heard through the corridors of the drug regulation department, and led to the unfortunate removal from office of some people who were better informed such as the then Federal Government Analyst.

The “Accha?!” following Dr. Awan’s appointment is aptly followed by a ‘Good Lord!’ particularly since she has recently made the intriguing remark that the mask is insufficient protection as the coronavirus can sneak in via the nether regions.

Whatever the reason for such appointments, including that of Mr Vawda, they serve to do nothing but drop one’s opinion of the current government, if there were space for it to go any lower.

Far more than the crime is the need to concentrate on the attitudes that make such crimes occur, that make them so common in Pakistan where women have few rights. But for a government that wishes to be seen to be doing something….accha…., chemical castration makes sense for the government

So then there’s the happy ‘Bohat Acha!’ a ‘Very good indeed’ when the Pakistan born molecular biologist Asifa Akhtar recently won the Liebniz Award, one of Germany’s most prestigious awards for scientific research. It’s good to get such positive news, particularly these days. Ms. Akhtar works for the Max Planck Society. Eighteen scientists from this society have been recipients of the Nobel Prize. Perhaps Ms. Akhtar may one day receive that honour as well, although again perhaps it’s better not to wish that on her, seeing the fate of other Nobel Laureates from Pakistan.

Such as Malala Yusufzai the activist who merits a sad, resigned “Acha.” Malala, the youngest Nobel Laureate ever, a young and courageous Pakistani woman we should be proud of, instead her countrymen shunned her following the events that led to her Nobel Prize.

Such as Abdus Salam, the theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate, also from Pakistan. Recently his house in London has been declared a national heritage site. The house has a plaque on it which reads: ‘Abdus Salam 1926-1996, Physicist, Nobel Laureate and Champion of Science in developing countries, lived here.’

Yes he did. He had to, because he was not allowed to remain in Pakistan. ‘Accha,’ (with a pained look and a sigh) for him.

It is sad that the pleased ‘Accha’ is rare with reference to what takes place in this country.

It merits a disgusted ‘accha’ as well as an incredulous one that the President of Pakistan has recently signed off on an order that allows chemical castrations of men accused of rape. Rape is rarely a simple sexual matter. It is mostly a twisted manifestation of power and is often accompanied by murder or extreme violence. For this reason it is common in feudal societies such as Pakistan, and even more common in homes where the fact that a husband rapes a wife or a child is ignored, or in this society not considered to be rape. This is a society where judges are rarely neutral and officialdom is easily bought off. To castrate or kill a person accused of a crime is fraught with danger. It is very likely that only the poor will be subject to punishment and the rich let off. There is also the danger of the wrong person being accused of a crime on purpose.

Far more than the crime is the need to concentrate on the attitudes that make such crimes occur, that make them so common in Pakistan where women have few rights. But for a government that wishes to be seen to be doing something….accha…., chemical castration makes sense for the government.

Rabia Ahmed

The writer is a freelance columnist. Read more by her at http://rabia-ahmed.blogspot.com/



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