Uzi and the Lone Grocery Shop of Nawan Kot :
Excerpt below from The Legend of Rohi - by Hassan Miraj
Amidst these dunes, the oasis of Nawan Kot is situated at a crossroad of four sand highways. One track leaves for Bijnot, the other leads to the city and the other two navigate around local dunes and dhaars.
On one side of Nawan Kot, lies the centuries old Mughal fort. Located by the riverside, it was one of the series of forts built at Khan Garh, Islam Garh and Khair Garh. As time lapsed, all arches, elephant gates, tunnels and Mughal grandeur caved in while the boundaries, minarets and stories survived to tell the tale. On the other side, stands the mosque maintained by the Hobara Bustard hunters. Centered around a pond that sits at the crossroads of these sand highways, the oasis of Nawan Kot has the ability to transcend through the physical dimensions of time and space. Between the mosque and the fort, the water pond serves the cattle of Rohi, the soldiers of the Rangers, the residents of Rohi and the plants that compose the fabulous world of Cholistan.
The place is comparatively livelier because of the constant existence of water. The real beauty, however, is the immaculate trimming of the trees. The plants are so precisely manicured that the use of an accuracy instrument cannot be ruled out. At the outset, this phenomenon remains a mystery that is until the locals explain that the trimming is a result of the grazing cattle that eat the dropping leaves, maintaining the linear silhouette.
In this chowk-city of Nawan Kot, where Rangers and gypsies are always in transit, Haq Nawaz is the most permanent resident. Every morning, a vehicle from the Abu Zahbi Palace Office imports this cleric of the Nawan Kot mosque from the neighboring city. Haq Nawaz only returns after he has preached the message and has completed the long day?s journey, including five divine stopovers. Besides the meager palace office salary of Rs8,160, he also runs the lone grocery shop of Nawan Kot.
Despite his devout manner of ablution, Haq is far and away from the rigid dialectics of religiosity. His conversation is free from the vanity of serving his faith in a desert for the last 20 years. His deep set eyes, framed with Gandhi-glasses tell of a faith that was born out of redemption.
Though the cash box at the shop and the devotees at the mosque are mostly discouraging, Haq is persistent. The unseen devotion of this cleric-entrepreneur with his Lord closely resembles the invisible umbilical cord that ties the calf with its mother. Haq shows up to open the shop and the mosque, regardless of customers and the faithful.