Phairi Wala --------- Tradition or A Way to Earn?

Ramadan is here with all its blessings and we are among all those lucky ones who again got a chance to gather these blessings ALHAMDULILLAH. Beautifully decorated and crowded mosques, teeming markets, kachoreez and last but not at all the least “Phairi Wala” are all the belongings of Ramadan. Former belonging is found commonly in the middle or lower-middle-class areas of Pakistan. Many kids or even elders of the elite class are not even aware of this “creature” but a big number residing in small colonies or societies are not only well aware of this but also wait for him with the sight of Ramadan moon.

I also know one such phairi wala who has been doing this work for 20 years. He is called “Bashir Phairi Wala”. According to him, that’s his family occupation and before him, his father used to make wakeup call by beating a drum (dhol). Bashir works at a shop in day time to earn his living and in Ramadan, he takes the additional responsibility of waking up people for sehri. 

“How much do you earn from this work, Bashir?” I asked him.
“Baji! I don’t perform this work for earning anything.” He replied with a peaceful smile.
“Then why you do this work even if you know that everyone has alarms these days in clocks, mobiles and even digital watches?” I was a bit incredulous.
“These alarms can take my place?” He replied by looking into my eyes.
“I don’t do this only for the sake of waking up people only. I know they have better sources than me to wake them up. This is a tradition more than an occupation. People wait for me as Ramadan begins. I have been doing this work in this locality for a number of years and people love to introduce their kids to me and tell them about my passion for this work. I feel pleasure in doing this and will continue as long as I am alive and after me, my son will continue like I followed my father”. He said with sparkling eyes and moved away.
“ Logo uth jao! Sehri ki tyari kro. Bashir Phairi Wala aa gya.”(O people! Get up for fast. Bashir is here to wake you up.)

I know this shout will follow drum beat every Ramadan as the person doing it considers it a part of tradition more than an occupation and traditions never die. 

Written By
Tehreem Junaid


  1. Asim UmarJuly 27, 2012

    very well written Tehreem. you made me proud. These Basheer Phairi Walas will always remain part of our lives as you very rightly said its tradition more than occupation and traditions never fade away.

  2. Asim UmarJuly 27, 2012

    well done Tehreem. I am so proud of you

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