Captivating Catchwords

Composed by Azhar Ali Khan on the occasion of the All Pakistan Cottage Industry Conference held in May 1950

Editor’s Note: We are reproducing two essays by Azhar Ali Khan written 50 years ago. While they are extremely dated they retain their value as historical documents providing a commentary on the trajectory of Pakistan. In them one can identify what has and has not changed in the culture of Pakistan over the ensuing decades. These essays are part-serious, part-satirical, part-tongue-in-cheek. They were penned as a challenge in alliteration – to see how long an essay on a serious topic could be written using most words beginning with the same letter. This is the ‘C’ essay. The ‘P’ essay would be reproduced later.

Comic Crusade

Capering to the clang and clatter of a comic crusade of captivating catchwords, coteries of complacent, carefree and contented committeemen, careering under a canopy of comfort and conveniences, come in cadillacs, chryslers and convertibles to congregate in conventional committees and conferences called in capital in connection with cottage industry campaign and converse, claver, confabulate, colloquize and cogitate in cool complacence only to make confusion worse confounded. Can they claim any close connection or contact with the critical, cruel, chaotic, calamitous, cataclysmic and catastrophic conditions confronting cottage industry or can a cavalcade of confused committeemen casually making cursory and conventional calls at cottage industry centers, calculated to convince craftsmen of their counterfeit care and concern or to console their criminal conscience, conceivably come to any concrete conclusions.

Constructive Criticism

Close connection with cottage industry coupled with our care and concern for the cottage worker compels us to categorically criticise, comment and counsel. Careful consideration with calm composure condoning commentator’s characteristic causticity, will convince the conveners of committees and conferences that it is cogent, coherent, candid, conscientious, conclusive and constructive criticism, which could be considered a concrete contribution to the cause.

Criminal Callousness

Cumbersome committees and conferences cannot camouflage the criminal callousness, comic cajolery and colossal cupidity of a calcified, crooked, clumsy, clownish, confused, crazy, capricious, corrupted and conceited crowd, characterized by clouded vision, chronic complexes, clandestine cliques, cognizable corruption, constant clashes, and clannish cockfights with many a crawling and cringing creature of late now catapulted to captain and command, carefully and cleverly contriving to keep out of cognizance the claims of capable, competent, and clearheaded people combining conscientiousness with a capacity of creative work.

Communistic Canvassing

Clap-trap and callithump of committees and conferences, culminating in no clear-cut and concrete course of action and a complete lack of collaboration, co-operation and co-ordination, cannot create conditions conducive to a co-related development or clarify the chaos and confusing convulsing cottage industry. Clear contradiction in concept and conduct cannot create confidence. Copious crocodile tears, commonplace compassion and commiseration cannot console and comfort the common man or control and curb the carefully calculated communistic canvassing conducted amongst the credulous convincing them of a capitalistic caucus crushing countless creatures, which could be corroborated by concrete causes.


Coaxing and cajoling the consumer to conserve country’s capital by confining himself to country-made commodities while quietly conceding the claims of commerce to continued imports of consumer-goods, even cosmetics, confectionery, condiments, cordials, canned-fruits, condensed milk, cream and cornflakes, cutlery, crockery, combs, clips, besides of course, cloth, chemicals and colours in considerable quantities, coupled with a corrupted customs control, conveniently conniving at contravention cases and consignments of contraband commodities continuously coming, is a colossal contradiction compelling us to call for clarification and to characterize it as a conundrum beyond comprehension. How can customers care for crude and costly country-made commodities when costermongers carrying cartfuls of comprehensive and colourful collections of comparatively low-cost imported consumer-goods confront them at every corner compelling them to cast away all considerations?

Capsized Control

Confused and complicated trade controls clearly culminate in the creation and consolidation of capitalistic classes completely controlling country’s commerce and in crushing and crippling capable, competent and conscientious people, not commanding cash, who could creditably carry on in competition with capitalists and carve out a comparatively comfortable career but for a crazy and capsized control. Cannot they control the corrupted capitalist continuously cramming his commodious coffers with considerable cash at the cost of the common man?

Crippled Craftsmen

Captains in command of country’s craftsmanship, the chromatopsia clouding clear vision, and the cachexia confusing clear-thinking calls for complete cure. Cast away chimerical and “comprehensive” schemes, cut out committees and conferences, convince the craftsman, crushed and crippled by circumstances beyond his control, of your capability and capacity to combat and conquer the conflagration consuming cottage industry by concentrating on a compact, concrete, courageous and concerted course of action.

Cover & Cash

Call capable, competent, conscientious people, closely connected with cottage industry, conversant with the craftsman’s complicated problems, and commanding his confidence and not complacent and callous capitalists, their commercial commitments clashing with cottage production, to captain the craft of the country’s craftsmanship, caught in cataclysmic currents and cross-currents of clumsy committees and conferences and nearly capsized. Give cover and cash to craftsmen instead of a comic cadence of captivating catchwords.


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