Nawabuddin Electrician by Daniyal Mueenuddin: My Review

“I was brought up with kicks and slaps and never enough to eat. I’ve never had anything of my own, no land, no house, no wife, no money, never, nothing. I slept for years on the railway-station platform in Multan.”

- From the text

The writer has tried to deliver a message that Nawabuddin Electrician is running scams against the government by slowing down the speed of the electric meters, but is respected for this act in the society, on the other hand, the robber who tries to snatch Nawabuddin’s motorcycle ends up shooting him and getting shot is left to die. To my understanding, it’s not the question of the lesser evil that I am concerned with but rather with the paradox of how the system conditions and forces one to commit crimes and later on punishes them as well. This is not a defence for the crime, the criminal must be punished depending on the nature of the crime but the partner in crime, that is, the system that rendered one criminal must be taken as criminal as well. Crime can not be eradicated by merely punishing the criminal however by eradicating the conditions that render one criminal fi rst. The socioeconomic conditions that render one criminal are mentioned in the story as the robber informs Nawabuddin that he grew up getting beaten up now and then, owned nothing, no land, no house, could not afford the wedding, and was broke.

Aristotle’s Tripartite theory is quite relevant here, in the fi rst phase, that is, Physiological Stage, humans and beasts are the same, as both require food, shelter, sex and all basic biological and physical needs. The next phase is the Emotional Stage, where a sense of belongingness, respect in society, friends, etc. are required and only after these two stages, does one move to the Rational Stage where one attempts at developing a rational understanding of society and himself. Latter on Maslow called it the self-actualisation phase. It is the physiological stage where humans and beasts have the same needs and desires, therefore if a human is enforced in the physiological stage for long then his/her turning into a beast is natural.

  • Topics I explored through this story.
    • Almost all stories have underlying ideologies that they are preaching.
    • Inequality and systematic oppression have much to do with crime rates.
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