Hoja Nasreddin jokes and consumer rights
by, Naseer Ahmed
Chillie: (talking on phone). A lot of people tend to see the deeper meanings in Hoja Nasreddin’s jokes. You know all those rationalists, humorists, idealists, logicians and mystics. Hoja’s jokes are like songs of birds and everybody could find the meanings they want in them. Perhaps, you do not know but whenever meanings of words and songs are confused, it is always better to go for clarity.
If you do not have that special talent for clarity, you could use confusion as a business opportunity. If you ever have attended a Yoga class, you would understand it very well what I mean. I do not know what Hoja really meant but I have turned his jokes into an oracle for whatever problems you all suffer. You need guides and Hoja is your best guide and I am his interpreter. I could guide you myself but I think dead sell even better than sex.Besides, you are into trusting the living interpreter of the dead. Oh, I should not be so disrespectful to the heart and soul of my oracle.
Hoja lives and guides you, I am just an authentic interpreter who knows his Hoja very well. You know things do not sell well without an aura of authenticity. You have to dress up your products in flimsy and revealing garments which cover the bad sides of your products adeptly.Oh, this business talk which some losers say is the waste of breath does not let me introduce myself properly. But you must treat your product as a priority; you have to play a side kick. When it comes to business playing sidekick means you are the hero of the real heroine, the goddess Money.
You are laughing but that is how it works. The more you laugh, the more you believe and this belief suffers when those products do not live up to their claims and you begin to cry. The sad stuff about all this is we all begin to lose the real difference between a broken glass and a broken heart. But that is how things are, the promise of free choice leads to no choice while we all try to feel happy about the choices we make and products we buy and sell. You know that mind thing that outlives the body. Again, I have gone a bit astray but losing my way is a very attractive tactic to keep you into the shop.
Enough chit chat, I am Chillie from Chelsea. Do not please, confuse me with some stupid Sheikh of past; I am an entrepreneur who established an oracle of fun with the blessing of Hoja and with the support of some illusion makers and delusion manufacturers. I have to put down the fone now and attend a fool who wants to know what Hoja thinks about him.
( A Pause)
Chillie to Consumer:
Now tell me please how could I help you?
Consumer: I want my rights, product makers, service providers and governments do not protect my rights.
Chillie.It is a really a big problem let us consult Hoja joke book. Let us see whether we have answers for you.
Answer 1. One day, the Hoja was speaking to the community and he said,
“Thanks God that he didn’t give wings to the camel, otherwise you wouldn’t have any sound roofs.”.
Consumer. What does it mean?
Chillie. Well, it means you do not deserve your rights because you have a strong disposition for misusing them. Hoja says that having no rights is basically good for you because rights would give you power and it is quite common that people tend to abuse power.
Consumer: You provide a poor interpretation and a very poor service here. You are a businessman; you are using Hoja to deny my rights. If business people have wings, we also need strong roofs. Our rights are our protective gear; we could clip the wings of flying camels to ensure the fairness and safety of our roofs. So cut the crap and try to give me better interpretations or I am not going to pay you. You know consumer is always right. Now tell me how could I get my rights?
Chillie. Ooh, a tough customer but you know I do not add anything from me, it is just Hoja. Let us see what he says about this one.
Answer 2. Nasreddin Hoja ‘s old house had a leaking roof. One day the Hoja decided to fix it. He borrowed a ladder and with great difficulty climbed up to the roof. Just as he was setting off to work, he heard a knock on the door. He looked down from the edge of the roof and saw a stranger in front of his door.
`I am up here.’ Hoja shouted. When the man looked up, `What is it that you want?’ he asked him.
`Please come down,’ replied the man, `I have something to say to you.’
Hoja precariously descended down the old ladder. Once on the ground he again asked the man what he wanted.
`Alms,’ said the man, `could you spare some alms.’
Hoja thought for a second and then told the man to come up to the roof with him. Hoja in front, the beggar behind him, both running short on breath, climbed up the ladder. Once on the roof top, Hoja turned to the man and said: `I don’t have any.’
Consumer. How now? What does that mean?
Chillie. I am afraid you would not like this answer too but Hoja is Hoja.He does not care about your displeasure. Here Hoja says that if you want to become a consumer with rights, you need to have good money to buy stuff.If you do not buy stuff, you are no longer a consumer and if you are not a consumer, you have no rights. It also tells you a simple truth which I know you dislike very much because it hurts your pride but like Hoja say beggars are not choosers and they have to suffer for their impunity of window shopping.
Consumer. You are trying your best to dissuade me from going for my rights but misinterpretation of innocent jokes cannot change the dictionary meanings and international conventions which make me consumer whether I have money or not. I think Hoja says here that I should not ask for my rights meekly but demand my rights like those brave women who won the rights to vote. If I do not show courage, I would lose my rights. You business people do not do this ethical business and corporate responsibility stuff whereas you laugh at our poverty, ignorance and powerlessness. It is time for you to let this Hoja bird sing for me. Poor Hoja does not like the songs which you make him sing. He is one of us, free him and let him sing for us.
Chillie. Consumer, you are a trouble maker. What do you want? I could give you plenty of sugar, some flour, a bit of honey and lots of chickens.
Consumer. Lookey here. The seller chooses to be a buyer. I spot some deception here. I think poor Hoja came to you for some piece of bread, you did not give him bread but you saw his poverty as a business opportunity. Here you sell this laughing imbecile to increase our sorrow and poverty. I know you rich guys; you set us poor guys on other poor guys. Thus, you make money. I am not going to sell other consumers out. Tell me how should I shop wisely?
Chillie. Now you know and I must tell you that poverty and wisdom do not mix well. Selling out is a good option otherwise we have deputies who know how to sort out bloody do gooders. Let me answer your question first.
Answer 3. One day the Hoja was shopping in the market place. He came in front of a garment stall. He spent quite a long time looking at the colourful shalwars, the kavuk sashes, the chemises and the coats. Eventually he picked up a shalwar. After holding it in his hands for a while, he changed his mind and picked up a coat instead. He was about to leave with the coat when the vendor asked for his money.
`Hoja Effendi, where are you going? You didn’t pay for the coat!’
`I exchanged it with the shalwar.’ Nasreddin Hoja replied brazenly.
`But you hadn’t pay for the shalwar either.’
`Look Fellow,’ the Hoja was insolent, `why should I have paid for something I didn’t buy?’
Consumer. What are you upto now?
Chillie. This advice is not for you .I believe it is for me. Hoja says that it is time to throw you out of this shop because you do not pay for the service you asked and you try to use this right crap to insult my intelligence. Be off and never show your face again or I shall call our deputies. You know I am very good at deeper meanings.
Consumer: No, Hoja here advises me that every service and product that does not protect my rights and interests is rubbish. You cannot sell bad products, poor services and illusions. The deepest meanings are about protecting my rights, not about justifications of your oppression.It is time to respect consumers and their rights that is what oracle says. Any oracle that does not respect democracy and human rights is a conspiracy against us. Close your shop, free our Hoja and let us make things better for us.
Consumer. Deputies are consumers too. They have seen light too. They are here to take you, not me.Thy Damnation is Nigh. The prison sells awaits you. We all know who you are. You are that famous Sheikh Chillie, not Chillie from Chelsea.The eggs are broken and the cat is out of bag. Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum. I must tell you a Hoja joke now.
One night Nasreddin Hoja ‘s wife got sick. She was in pain and she asked the Hoja to go fetch the doctor. Nasreddin Hoja headed towards the doctor’s house. After he left, the wife started to feel better, the pain vanished and she decided that she didn’t need the doctor any more. She sent her son to run and catch the Hoja and tell him that the doctor was no longer necessary. The boy caught up with his father in front of the doctor’s house. As Nasreddin Hoja was knocking on the door, the boy delivered the message. It was too late, of course. The doctor opened the door and Nasreddin Hoja , in utter confusion, hesitated before the doctor who was apparently woken up from his sleep. Soon the Hoja’s mind processed the new information he received from his son and grasped the need to say something to the doctor who expected a good reason for being disturbed in the middle of the night.
`Doctor Effendi, I came to tell you that you do not have to come to our house right now, my wife is feeling better.’ he stammered.
You did not ask what does it mean?
Chillie. I knew that you were a trouble maker.Go to hell and take this anti free market Hoja with you.I do not like him anymore. You have turned such a good chap into an ugly commie. Your day will come too. You will regret the freedom you gave to this poor joker.
Consumer.Oh no, do not paint doom because you have been confronted. It is just about corporate responsibility and business ethics and consumer rights. Nothing dodgy there.Just old fashioned common sense and compassion.
Chillie. It is a slippery slope. It will lead you towards dark waters.
Consumer. You slip on this slope and we land on the firm ground of our rights.Chillie, it takes some time to come to terms with truth when your favorite delusion breaks and you lose your power, wealth and prestige. Now, Ye consumers, insist on monitoring and regulating of product and services, ensure health and safety, participate in production process, policies and consumer politics and protect your environment by managing waste properly. Seek redress from institutions, organizations, companies and courts whenever somebody violates your rights. Make your not only you but people around you have access to basic facilities. Work for peace and law and order because your rights are connected with peace in your society. Promote democracy because it is the only form of government that could protect your rights. Do not hide in cupboard, it is time to come out and choose wisely and ethically for you and your future generations. Free Hoja and yourself from prejudices which damage quality of life.
The way to wonderful smile and hearty laughter is the way to rights, responsibilities, freedom, democracy and compassion.
Yaar e man ba dilam mehrbaan sho
Apnay mere haquq ka nigahbaan ho.
Be kind to me ,oh bunch of delights
Protect,, yours , mine and their rights
(I wrote this for Consumer Watch Pakistan).