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Ansa Hathni, also known as Noor Jahan!

by Atta Qasmi
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Atta Ul haq Qasmi

Last week, after a long illness, Ansa Noor Jahan passed away in Karachi. The entire nation is saddened by this tragic loss. Noor Jahan was a famous elephant belonging to the Chirya Ghar Zoo and was named after the legendary singer Noor Jahan. Now, it has been announced that her burial will take place in Karachi’s Safari Park. I do not know if there will be an epitaph on her grave or if it will be a simple burial with no marble roof. Will it be left exposed to the sun, rain, and wind? These matters are for the Chirya Ghar authorities and her relatives to decide. My only concern is that if someone who is unaware of her burial site reads a prayer there and it is answered, the Chirya Ghar authorities will no longer be responsible for her upkeep. In the future, no one will remember that she is buried there. Therefore, the elephant’s supporters may build a magnificent shrine in her honor, and it may become a pilgrimage site like the mausoleum of ‘Ammi Jaan.’ Her supporters may come to offer their prayers and fulfill their heartfelt desires, and annual three-day ceremonies will be held in her honor.

The blessed shrine will be adorned with green tents, arranged with long hair and green clothes flowing down to the knees, and bells ringing. Anchors will also be distributed, and everything that happens in the tombs of famous elders is possible here. However, even then, an animal will be buried in a tomb, while there are also such shrines in Lahore where no one is buried at all, and therefore such shrines are called “absentee saints.” Due to these concerns, I advise the administration of Nur Jahan’s tomb not to build a tomb, but to bury it and flatten the ground. However, there is a fear that if this information is brought to the attention of the public that Nur Jahan is buried under this flat land, no one will know if someone is walking over it and if they happen to fall ill in the evening, Nur Jahan’s sovereignty is guaranteed. After that, this part of the earth will once again become sacred, and a series of prayers to remove the ailments from “Aman Ji” will begin.

Despite everything, this Hathni (elephant) is incredibly lucky, despite the use of expensive medicines from Europe’s top “danger doctors” for her treatment, special care was taken with her diet, but who can interfere with God’s work? Death is inevitable, yet despite this, the relatives and doctors of Hathni couldn’t sleep all night until her final breaths. Since the news about this “Afifa” (gentle) elephant came out, many Pakistanis have been standing in front of hospitals making trains and insisting that they be kept at Charya Ghar (elephant sanctuary). They are ready to promise in writing that they will take children who come to Charya Ghar on their backs for a ride. Instead of their routine meals, they will happily eat the same food that the late and departed Hathni used to eat. The condition for this is that their treatment must also be at the same level as the late Hathni’s, just like hers. After that, whether they live or die, they will not have any complaints, nor will they have the anxiety in their hearts that they would have died without treatment.

After the horse-riding accident, I went to Lahore’s Chirya Ghar yesterday. As soon as the animals saw me, all the monkeys, gibbons, deer, cheetahs, lions, and aquatic horses closed their eyes and lay down on the ground, taking long, deep breaths. It seemed as if they were on the brink of death. I became very worried and went to the manager of the Chirya Ghar and told him about the animals. He said that everything was fine and that they often pretend to be on the brink of death as an excuse to not be held in captivity.

I asked one of the monkeys who I trusted, and he told me that they were protesting against being held in captivity without any crime and wanted to be treated as free citizens like other Pakistanis. They wanted to be freed from this captivity. Hearing this, I felt a great love for these freedom-loving animals. If I had the power, I would have granted them their freedom, but when they realized the nature of their freedom, they would come back the next day and say that they had been given free food, medical treatment, and other facilities during their captivity. Life outside was hard for them. Therefore, they should be sent back to the Chirya Ghar at the first opportunity.

Now, who can explain to these animals how great a blessing freedom is?

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