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IQBAL

the little carpet boy text:

MAGNUS BERGMAR

artwork:

JAN-Ă…KE WINQVIST

Peace be with you, Inayat and Sadiq!

With you also, Shaukat!

Sardar said that I q ba l is free to work. Is that so?

Yes. We don't have enough money for food.

I'll give you 500 rupies* in Peshgi-advance!. My sister needs 800!

Then we're in agreement. The Peshgi will be paid in installments. Here's 50 rupies. We'll take care of him and he'll learn a lot.

For 50 rupies Iqbal was on the way to becoming a debt-slave...


Early the next morning.

Here is my nephew, Iqbal!

Thank you Sardar!

I'll teach you not to run around!

Let this be as lesson to you others, also!

Saif! What do you want.

Here, it's me who decides!

I've heard that Iqbal has begun to work.

Night falls. The first day of work is finished...

Giv e m e the m o n e y ! He is m y s o n an d the m o n e y is m ine . You'll only use it for narcotics.

Ov e r the ne x t y ea rs Iqb a l w ou ld w o rk 1 2 h o u rs pe r d a y, 6 d a y s a w e e k .


The doctor has said that I must have an operation, but I don't have any money.

But I'm working mother. Isn't my money enough?

No. I have to ask Ghulla for peshgi!

Gullah. I have to have an operation and buy medicine. Can I get peshgi for Iqbal?

Peshgi is that debt which causes Iqbal to become a debt-slave with Ghullah. He re is 6 ,0 0 0 rup ie s !

Hurry up, Shafiq. The match will begin soon!

It is Friday, the boys' only free day. Two teams have gathered in the open space between the canal and the houses. Iqbal has looked forward to this cricket match for an entire week...

Each group collects money.

Winner takes all. Iqbal, Shafiq and Rafiq, come and work! We have a carpet that has to be finished!

In the middle of the night, Ghullah comes to Iqbal's house and drags him out of bed...

Even though it is their free day the boys cannot refuse. They are debt slaves and Ghulla decides...

..He needs to sleep!

That can wait! We must get the job finished!

....but today there is not to be a match for Iqbal...

Brother, would you like to play?

Iqbal, the peshgi means that I must allow him to take you!

No Sobia. I'm too tired...


Iqbal is so tired that he falls asleep...

I have to escape from here!

....I have to go to pee...

T h e bo y s w a it un til Gh u lla h i s n 't th e re ... I'm feeling sick and have to go outside and throw up!

I'm about to crap in my pants!

I need to pee...

The boys run as fast as they can along the canal. They know that the foreman can't run after them, because then the others will try to escape...

Good Iqbal!

The boys forget the terrible things that will happen later on...

When Iqbal comes home...

Watch out Iqbal! Ghullah is very angry and is looking for you!


The next morning Ghullah gets Iqbal at his home...

The boy's father and Iqbal's mother come with food...

As pu n is h m en t for run n in g aw ay, the ch ild re n are ch a in e d ...

One Morning... Where is Maqsud?

Ghullah gets the sick Maqsud...

He re, i t ' s me wh o de ci de s whe n you wo rk!

He is very ill!


Iqbal runs away again...

...and goes to the police station...

We'll go to the carpet owner then!

sigh... The carpet owner has beaten...sigh... Maqsud!

You have to do something!

Goo d to s ee tha t the po lic e are d o in g the ir job !

Cha in up the little traito r! He's run aw ay from h is w o rk !

Th a n k s !

Iqbal thinks constantly about how hard his life is, but he can't think of a way to be free...

All the bo y s in the fac to ry are de b t s lav e s . No n e of the m h a v e a pe s h g i, w h ic h is wh a t the de b t is c a lle d , le s s tha n w h e n the y s tarte d to w o rk for Gh u lla h . Afte r fiv e ye a r s in the ca rp e t fac to ry it w ou ld be c o m e ev e n w o rs e for Iq b a l...


Iqbal's half-brother is getting married... I need a sack of su ga r f o r Aslam' s wed d i n g!

Oh , th a nk yo u!

The bridegroom has arrived!

But after the par t y. . . You have to m ake u p the time you were ab se nt for the wedd i n g!

He re i s w h a t y ou ne e d . I ' l l c ha r ge it to I qb al !

Iq b a l, y ou 'll ge t tim e off w h e n y ou r ha lfbro th e r As la m g e ts m a rrie d !

Iqbal arrives at the wedding, not knowing that it is he who is paying...

The women begin to dance...

An d by the w a y, afte r y ou r ha lf-b ro th e r's w e d d in g y ou r de b t ha s go n e up to 1 3 ,0 0 0 ru p ie s .

The bridegroom receives necklaces of money from the guests. Iqbal is happy t o b e a t t h e p a r t y, w h i c h lasts three days...


One day a man co me s b y a nd sp ea ks with the carpet slaves. . . M y name is Yousu f ! T he pe sh gi de bt which makes you sl aves i s un l a wf ul . Follow with me t o a mee t i ng of t h e Bonded Labour Libe rat i o n Fron t , BLLF tomorrow and you wi l l l e arn mo re.

Lo ok out !

You k no w w ha t w ill ha p p e n to y ou if y o u le a v e y ou r w o rk !

Iqb a l ign o re s his ow ne r's w a rn in g an d tak e s pa rt in the m e e tin g ...

T he ow n e r i s co min g !

S a y, d i d n ' t I s e e you yesterday?

Ye s . . .

At the meeting, BLLF' s l ea de r Ehsan Ullah Khan spe aks. . .

Wh at's y o u r na m e?

Debt slavery is forbidden! No one can force you to work. You have the right to be free. Children shall not work, but rather go to school.

Even though he is sh y, I q ba l g i ves a little speech... Our owner Ghullah is cruel! I don't want to work any more! I want to go to school!

You were good!

Iq b a l!

I'm Ehsan Ullah Khan. Would you tell us about your work?

Here is a Freedom letter. It says that you are free according to the law. Show this to your owner!


Where have you been?

You can't force me to work. Read this!

What is this?

My F re e d o m le tte r.

Iq b a l is b a c k in the ca rp e t fac to ry...

Ha, ha! You' ll n ever g et f re e o f your d eb t !

Yousuf comes to see Arsh ad Ghu l l ah . . . You must release I q ba l ! BLLF' s lawyers wi l l h el p h i m!

In L ah o re Eh s a n is th in k in g ab o u t Iqb a l... I'm worried about this little boy in Muridke!

Let him attend the Apna school* here in Lahore!

You wi l l pa y f or t hi s, You su f !

* A p n a s c h o o l m e a n s , " O u r O w n S c h o o l " . A l l o f B L L F ' s s c h o o l s a r e s o named.


Tw o o f I q b a l ' s d r e a m s h a v e n o w c o m e t r u e . H e i s f r e e a n d he can begin school...

Would you like to go to school?

Ye s! Plea s e rea d , Iq b a l!

A -P-N -A , A PN A !! When Iqbal visits his home village he speaks with children in other carpet factories. Many now dare to leave their owners....

Arshad Ghullah comes to Iqbal's house... You mu st be g in to w o rk a ga i n , o t he rw is e the oth e rs won ' t wo r k e ith e r!

Be careful! You now have Arshad as an enemy! I'm not afraid of him any longer. He ought to be afraid of me!

I don't have any time for you!

Iqbal now speaks a t BLLF' s me et i n gs wh ere free debt-slaves g at he r. . .

We are...

Free!!!


But Ghullah hasn ' t f org ot t e n I qb al . . .

I'll s e e to it th a t y o u g o to ja il!

Muhammed Rafiq, the man who Ghullah delivers his carpets to threatens Iqbal... I ' l l ki dn a p y ou an d y ou r mo t h er. Wa tc h ou t tha t y ou do n't d is a p p e a r!

We ha v e rec e iv e d an in v ita tio n to Sw ed e n ...

How is it going in school?

Iqbal tells his friends... I'm go in g to fly !

L u c k y yo u !

Bu t I p ro m is e to b rin g pre s e n ts ba c k w ith m e ! Wo u ld y o u lik e to go w ith m e ?

I' m st u dyi n g a s muc h a s I ca n! After visiting Sweden Ehsan and Iqbal continue on to the USA...

Iqbal is also given a scholarship. When he finishes school in Pakistan he will have his study at an American university paid...

T h e You th in Ac tio n Aw a rd for hu m an righ ts is giv e n to ...

On returning to Pakistan, Iqbal is greeted by his friends...

. . . I QBAL M A S I H!

B u t t h e r e a r e o t h e rs ... Eh s a n Ulla h s h a ll die !

Iq b a l s ha ll b e pu n is h e d !


On Easter Day 16 April 1995 Iqbal goes home ...

The carpet manufacturers know that Iqbal always comes home to visit on christian holidays...

Hello m o th e r! How is m y d e a r s is ter Sob ia ?

I'v e m is s e d y o u de a r bro th e r ! Later the same day Iqbal meets his relatives Faryad and Lyaqat...

We're going to bike out with food to Amanat in the field!

I QBAL !

S u d d e n l y. . .

"The former debt slave boy Iqbal M a s i h w h o f o u g h t f o r c h i l d r e n ’s rights in Pakistan is dead!"

The news spreads around the world...

At the police station on the same night the murder is committed...

Faryad is forced to put his fingerprint on a sheet of b l a n k p a p e r. T h e n t h e p o l i c e write down what they claim has happened...


As the first morning prayer is heard from the mosque...

Oh, ... IQBAL!

Please, Mr Imr a n, take my chair!

Scared to death, Faryad and Lyaqat go into hiding with relatives...

The police, the carpet people, Zaki Hussein and his brother Ali put t o g e t h e r a s t o r y. . .

Faryad and Lyaqat are sitting with the police Ghulam Bari together with several carpet manufacturers and the land owner Zaki Hussein when a car arrives...

Don't wail old lady. What is so special about a poor boy being murdered? If you don't stop we’ll kill your other son also!

Wh o i s i t ?

Imran Malik, president of the carpet people!

The next day Iqbal is buried...

If y o u do n 't do as w e s ay w e w ill k ill y o u to the s ev e n th ge n e ra tio n .*

Where are your children? They shall tell the story they have been given! Otherwise we'll kill all of you!

Faryad and Lyaqat seek protection with BLLF...

On the pa p e r w ith F ary a d 's thu m bprin t, Gh u la m Bari w rite s tha t th e bo y s ha d s ee n th e field ha n d He ro ha v in g s ex w ith a d o n k e y. Whe n the b o y s m a d e fun of him h e pic k e d up a s ho tg u n an d fire d , ha p p e n in g to hit Iqb a l... Th e Hu m an Rig h ts Co m m is s io n s up p o r ts the po lic e rep o r t a n d s pre a d s it... * T h i s m e a n s t h a t e v e r y b o d y i n t h e f a m i l y w i l l b e killed.


....foreign embassies write home. So do those who work for foreign organizations... Newspapers throughout the world spread the Donkey story...

The morning after the murder Hero is awakened by the police and the brothers Ali, who is called 'Ponytail' and Zaki Hussein. Hero is a farmhand who works for “Ponytail'and Zaki... Tak e this s ho tWh y...? gu n an d co m e w ith us !

But Hero who has been presentated to the entire world as halfcrazy and a murderer is completely innocent. He is only poor... At the police station...

You must say that you have murdered the boy!

If you don't do as we say we'll kill you and say that you were in a fire-fight with the police.

I killed him! I, eh...

Wha t b oy?

Soon Hero realizes that he can be hanged for the m u r d e r. . .

I d i d n ' t m u r d e r t h e b o y, J u d g e !

The carpet manufacturers had threatened to kill Iqbal many times... If he doesn't come back and work we'll kidnap you and kill him!

Hero is declared innocent. But he is soon arrested again and no one is allowed to see him without permission from the Minister of Interior...

...and one month before the murder they came to see Ali and Zaki Hussein... Who are they?

You're not to worry about it!


Already before the murder those who were jealous of BLLF were brought together for a meeting with carpet exporters, brick kiln owners and the security police... How can we get at BLLF?

Spread the word they have embezzled money!

And get Ehsan!

But he who had the job of killing Iqbal goes free...

No!!

Come along!

Dr Aslam and Haroon! You shall spread rumours against Ehsan!

Haroon and Dr Aslam threaten the teacher Anjum... Say that Ehsan is a terrorist and that he asked you to place a bomb!

After the murder of Iqbal the security police arrest some people working for BLLF...

We have the security police behind us. If you don't help us that's treason and that carries the death penalty!

Stop!

Who are you?

It is Ehsan who murdered Iqbal. He kills one every year!

I'm Lyaqat, with my uncle Faryad and our guest Iqbal!

So die d Iqb a l Mas ih , the bo y w h o w o rld w ide is a s y m b o l fo r the f ig h t ag a in s t ch ild lab o u r...


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