(PROTECTING YOUR FRIEND’S MODESTY)
This is the English translation of my earlier post named ‘OUR VALUES’ for my non-Urdu readers.
Iqbal Singh and Hameed Ullah were childhood friends. They spent their early lives playing together.
When they grew up, Iqbal Singh got busy in managing his ancestral vast land holdings while Hameed Ullah tilled his few acres. In spite of great financial divide, both never let a moment pass where they could put one over the other, in jest, like old friends. They had cordial family relations. Every year Hameed borrowed money from Iqbal for his crop and promptly paid back, together with the interest, after the crops were harvested.
This year, because of the incessant floods, the crops were ruined and Hameed Ullah became destitute. He could not return the debt that he had accrued from Iqbal Singh. As a result, Iqbal singh sued Hameed for non payment of the debt. This is the story of this court case.
Hameedullah could not believe Iqbal Singh could do this to him. He in desperation found himself consulting a lawyer. The lawyer told him that there was only one way to get out of this bad situation. He advised him to say in the court, “I have paid the money back and Iqbal Singh is suing me unnecessarily.” You should say that when you went to his house to pay, Iqbal Singh was not present in the house so you paid the money to his daughter in law. Now for a small sum Iqbal Singh would never allow his daughter in law to be dragged in the court to testify and thus the case will end in your favour.
This certainly would have been the case only that, in the court room which was stunned after the claim made by Hameed Ullah, every one heard the loud voice of Iqbal Singh, “It is possible that he has paid the money to my daughter in law. If he will tell the court what is her complexion, I will withdraw the case. All he has to do is tell if my daughter in law is dark, brown or fair skinned.”
There was silence in the court for a while, then a weak voice of Hameed Ullah emerged, “Since I have not seen her, how can I say how she looks. Actually I never went to Iqbal’s house and never paid the money. I lied in the court and please give me punishment.”
There was a storm of hurried and loud conversation that engulfed the court house and the Judge had to shout ‘Order, order”. He announced over the commotion that the decision on this case will be made known after the interval which begins now.
The lawyer of Hameed Ullah took him to task during the interval. He said, you idiot, you ruined your own case. All you had to do was one word. Even you could have said, “brown” for example. To this Hameed Ullah replied, between sobs and tears, “Iqbal is my dear friend. We have family relations and I often go to his house. His daughter in law receives ‘eedi’ on every Eid from my hand. We never allow the beauty of our daughters to be the subject of public discussion. His honour is as important as mine. He knew that I would never tell the complexion and that is why he put this condition.”
After the recess, Iqbal singh was no where to be found. The Judge announced that Iqbal had withdrawn his case. And Hameed is freed.
The next day Iqbal met Hameed Ullah only to taunt him, “I was just joking”.