Random Thought: ‘1984’ by Irshad Salim

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Irshad Salim, Karachi: One day I asked Professor Kahn why do we keep hearing all the time about freedom of expression, right to dissent, etc.

“Wisdom of crowds is a huge septic tank”, he said–“it needs vent pipes”.

“Otherwise, the Methane gas will creep thru the walls of the close septic tank–it will find its way and spread into the subsoil strata, the underground water, etc.”

“Eventually, he said, “the soil burden (top layer of the soil) will bulge, and the pungent odor of the gas will be discernible to all.”
According to him, “a small err (like lighting a matchstick) will create explosion –if there is no methane gas recovery system in place” he explained.

“Therefore, vent pipes are necessary,” he said, looked at me and smiled.

Years later, I ended up constructing landfills and landfill cappings, Methane gas recovery systems and Leachate treatment plants, Compost Facilities, Transfer Stations, Cleanups, etc.
That’s when I understood Prof. Kahn’s explanation in 1984 about the wisdom of crowds and the freedom of expressions, etc.

1984 is George Orwell’s famous book, which I had nonchalantly read in the 70s. Ironically, in the Summer of 2022, a young kid Hamza reminded me of it when he walked into a book stall at a Sunday Bazaar in DHA/Clifton, and asked for a copy of it. Out of impulse, I bought him the book.

His mother thanked me, but asked why I had done that. I had no answer.

Today, someone WhatsApped me Dawn’s latest editorial captioned “Orwellian State“. I need to read the book again!

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