National Geographic : 1967 Jan
Clustered, sun-baked, round-shouldered mud huts look like Pueblo Indian adobe houses, with projecting rafter ends and rickety lad ders leading to the flat roofs. Typewriter Wallahs Crowd Sidewalk Office Imam, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photogra pher Al Moldvay, and I reached ancient Hy derabad in the evening. Next morning, oppo site the hotel, 15 typewriter wallahs had set up their machines on the sidewalk and were typing letters, filling in government forms, and completing questionnaires and applica tions for illiterate clients. Even the literate sometimes must use the typewriter wallah, for court documents and related papers must be typed in English, the one nationwide lan guage. That is why we had no problems on the road: Most signs are duplicated in English. Excitement ran high in Hyderabad this day, for it was the second election of union council chairmen in the republic's history. Under the "basic democracies" system of local government introduced by Field Mar shal Ayub Khan in 1959, the population is divided into units of about 1,000 in the west and 1,250 in the east. These units roughly correspond to the size of the typical Pakistani village, where each villager is presumed to know all his neighbor's strengths and foibles. Every village-size cell elects one representa tive to a union council that administers local affairs for about ten units. Each union coun cil elects a chairman, who represents his re gion on the next higher council, and so on through district and divisional levels. The 80,000 or so union council members elect delegates to the National Assembly.