Mr Abdul Samad (the old man) at different stages of his life You are very old, with wrinkles covering all your face. Although your eyes are still hopeful and you are still cheerful and undefeated, however, you are lonely and inconsequential. The lands that you bought with your hard-earned money forty years ago, with all the then notables of the area being signatory witnesses, are now being forcefully seized from you by the current notables and their accomplices. All your indisputable proofs do not mean anything anymore. You are insignificant and unnoticeable in front of these gods and so are all your proofs and papers. The gods do not possess any legal documentation, but in their case, what matters is their word and the mob they can bring along, equipped with all sorts of unimaginable weapons. These people commit their atrocities with complete impunity and with all the administration’s machinery and facilitations by their side. It is an opportunist’s world and therefore the crowd sides with the invincible who may be wrong. You say they are demons and you are not afraid of them, but for the people they are gods, immortals who can kill and have killed plenty with no remorse. People are afraid. Yes, most of these people are the same who once you helped and donated pieces of your own land so that they could have a roof for themselves and for their children. But there being no end to human greed, they need more free lands now and they are being promised more by the gods to support them by encroaching upon others’ land and property. But it is not entirely their fault; they cannot go against the wishes of these untouchable warlords as there is no rule of the law, but instead the law of the jungle prevails where might is always right. A timeworn, lonely, unschooled and ordinary man like you cannot ever win a fight with these most influential people who hold all the highest official ranks from Chairmanships to Ministers for generations, constantly changing their political affiliations and principals in life in order to remain in POWER. It is just impossible to beat them where the writ of law is lacking! But when do you ever heed rational advice? You were equally stubborn back in the 1950s when you were a strapping young man in your 20s. How could you travel on foot for ~600 Km from your village, the wind-swept Buleda, to Karachi across some of the most uneven terrain and challenging mountains just to look for a teacher for your unschooled village? Even begging could not convince any teacher to come to that remote godforsaken village of yours. The only dedicated person who willingly agreed to go, and also seemed to be accustomed with the local language was this middle aged man who once used to be a teacher but was then crippled with degenerative diseases, unable to walk or even crawl. His family had abandoned him and he was living in a residence attached to a school and taken care of by his former colleagues. You thought he was the man you were looking for. And against all advice you took the suggestion of a doctor that the sick teacher’s condition might be treatable in an open and unpolluted environment. Based on this hope you made a promise to the sick man, Waja Naseer, that you would take him to your village and take care of him for the good of an ill person and an unschooled village. How idealistic! And then you found out that Waja Naseer, due to his physical and psychological conditions, could not travel via cars, stallions, donkeys or even camels. That’s when you should have given up on the idea, but you actually determined to carry him on your back! Really? Did it even strike your mind that it was 600 km grueling trek that would take around a month on foot? Yes, you did manage to carry the teacher on your back all the way through all those monstrous mountains. An entire book could be written on your ordeals with Waja Naseer during this journey. I know that he was eventually treated and he taught everyone in the village for twenty long years, but this does not change the fact that you were irrational and illogical in carrying this old man on your back all the way. Father! The world is different now. It has only worsened. It has weakened the poor and enriched the powerful. If the gods have set their hearts on snatching your land now, they will do so by any means. It is not only you father, they have seized the lands of many others and no body dared to raise a voice. These gods are well known for land grabbing and no one can do anything against them or about it. You are not different Father! Please give up father. I am sorry I am not as bold and as patient and as persistent as you are. I cannot recommend picking up a fight against these gods who act with impunity and are made unbeatable by the corrupted system. I know you will not stop believing in your impractical-self and your truthfulness and will stand your ground until your last breath. I just ask for your forgiveness that I am not by your side physically in all these trying times for I have taken up another challenge. A challenge you inspired me to commit to. Being your son I won’t give up on my task. I am sorry father I see no hope for you this time! There is no land for young or old but only despair when the Law cannot protect the weak! You won’t give in, would you? Just know that I am with you in your lost cause with all my heart and soul and you are in my every prayer. With all my love, Your helpless son, Yarjan The author is a Scientist at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is from Buleda, a tehsil in district Kech of Pakistan. His Father and he are fighting for their land grabbed by the most influential family of the area (a family of current and former Ministers, Senators, and Chairmen) Published in Daily Times, November 11th 2018.