Last week I received a letter from, well, a thief. I am no journalist and don’t know what to make of it. He/she has asked me to convey their message to the common citizens. As I have no idea what to do, so here I am posting the letter verbatim. Hope you people can help.
Dear countrymen and women (aka awaam)
I don’t know from where I should start. I am a professional thief and have the rare distinction of belonging to a family which has been thieving for generations. But today I am representing all the thieves of the sub-continent, all my brothers-in-art. We have been serving (stealing from) you people for centuries. There is a long list of our achievements. For example, after completing your prayers at the local mosque, you were searching for your chappals but could not find. Yes it was us behind that little joke with you. Yes it was me who caught and sold all your hens from our mohallah. And yes it was I who would steal parathas from your lunch box at school. Well, I can go on and on but I think this is enough of an introduction and to remind you people of our worth in the society. And you, the university freshman, how can you explain the pocket-money spent on that cell phone you gave to your girlfriend? Even that we didn’t steal it, still you use our name when your parents asked about it. And you the banker, how would you explain the misappropriation of money if we were not there? And you policewalas, how can you run a family on your own salary if we do not supplement your income?
I am writing this letter to you because I know the Chief Justice cannot give us justice (in a short while you will know why). I cannot expect anything from our politicians because they are also involved. Even they claim to be our cousins but they have not formulated a single law for our relief. Hopeless bunch they are. Same is the case with the bureaucracy. So you are the only hope and I expect you will consider our problems sympathetically and will surely help us in this hour of need. Following are some of the problems threatening our very existence and I want to sensitize you people about these:
By any definition, thieving is an art plus science. But presently, there is no credible database for us. Only the local police stations have some record of us in their No. 10 lists but these too are outdated and I know quite of few legendary thieves in those databases even after decades of their death. So our request is that it should be considered as a profession just like any other profession and a body be formed which accredit thieves and based on performance, there should be a service structure and promotion. Moreover, every scale should have a limit on how much one can steal and if somebody transgresses, he should be punished by forcing him/her to spend a certain amount of time like a common citizen.
The second problem is that since there is a lack of awareness in the media and the people, every tom, dick and harry is labeled is a thief. Moreover, the Chief Justice is hell-bent on proving all corrupts as thieves. This is preposterous. In reality, there are very few noble thieves left in the country and it is a disgrace to them if you label every corrupt person as a thief. As I said earlier, it is an art plus science, so how can these corrupt politicians be termed as thieves if they are caught every now and then with their loot? I request the media and you people to please stop insulting us by calling everybody thief.
The third problem is that we qualify as an endangered species and therefore, we should be provided protection. At least there should be one university specializing in our field. Otherwise, this essential part of our culture will be lost forever and our future generations would never know what a real thief is.
The fourth problem is that due to the increased security especially in mosques, we are unable to earn our livelihood with respect. The guards should be strictly told that they should look for terrorists and hence they have no business stopping us from stealing a few pair of shoes from the mosques. Similarly, there is an increase in the trend that the people keep their shoes in their front while praying which is tantamount to depriving us from our rightful business. And the drug-addicts are posing as thieves bringing disrepute to our noble profession.
Since, the holy month of Ramadan is going on and also the Eid is coming, so I hope you people will ponder over the risks faced by us. As they say, you scratch my back and I scratch yours. Otherwise we would be forced to quit our profession and live like the common citizens. And that will be a great loss to everybody in the society.
P.S. Please! Stop calling your president as a thief. We still have some self-respect left in ourselves and we cannot tolerate this kind of humiliation to our profession.