The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s honourary government banned Twitter for around 8 hours due to ‘blasphemous content’ being published by some people (who may be Twitter’s out-of-bounds children, the way our authorities were trying to make it control those unnamed individuals). Funnily many tweet-a-holics didn’t have a clue about any blasphemous competition going on on twitter till the government imposed the ban and announced the reason. Not surprisingly, after the uproar the ban caused, the micro-blogging site was back on soon after. A real in-your-face moment that must have been for the IT minister who, BTW, started trending in Pakistan alongside #TwitterBan, a short while after the ban was imposed.
It has been quite a while since anything going on in the country has affected me in any way. I have successfully become numb to all the horrid things happening around me every day, mainly because I have given up hope that any of it will change. But the recent incident in Hangu, where a 13 year old kid, Aitezaz Hussain, died, trying to stop a suicide bomber from bombing his school, saving hundreds of lives, managed to shake the ‘behiss’ wall I’d built around me.
Then, earlier today, in yet another horrifying blast, SP CID Chaudhry Aslam was killed. Several attempts had been made to kill him in the past and this time, the killers got their wish. The reason why his death has affected so many is because he was one of the few who aren’t afraid of naming and standing up against the terrorists. The wall around me shook a bit harder.
But the hopelessness remains. Even with such brave and dedicated people amongst us, we are still plagued with decade old problems and are still not ready to accept and deal with them. What are we willing to change to make sure that these heroes didn’t die in vain? In a few days, we will start hearing theories proving that both the martyrs weren’t as noble as they are said to be, that they don’t deserve so much attention, that thousands of others are dying every day, that drone attacks are still our biggest problem.
We are a nation who loves to malign our heroes and defend our enemies. We don’t want to be saved. All we have is meaningless words and theories that we cook up because we can’t serve our country in a better way. Our lives will only become worth saving when our mindsets are healed.
Humsafar is back with a bang (most probably because HUM TV has nothing good to air) and though I was one of the many who joined in the Humsafar mania, the fact remains that hot shots like Ashar (if they exist in the real world) never prefer ‘sada and masoom’ Khirads over the glamorous Saras. The following is inspired by real life situations, though much different in nature, but the bias factor was the same. The conclusion is, appearance matters more than grey matter.
This is how Humsafar trio will behave in real life.
Characters: Khirad, Ashar, Sara
Place: Curtain shop
Ashar: Which colour would you prefer for the living room’s curtains? Blue or purple?
Khirad (in a low voice): Ummm…
Ashar (smirking): Take your time. You have 10 seconds.
Khirad (after a while, in low voice): Blue, I suppose.
Sara (grinning, too suggestively): HI Ashar.
Ashar (mirroring her expression): Right on time Sara. We are deciding which colour would be better for our living room curtains. Blue or purple? Khirad says blue. (Turns towards Khirad again) So any particular reason for not choosing purple?
Khirad (in a low voice): Purple is too flashy.
Ashar (sighs in exasperation and disregards her answer): What do you think Sara?
Sara (flashing another smile): Blue because purple is too flashy.
Ashar: You’re right. You were right too Khirad but you see Sara has a proper explanation of her choice.
Characters: Khirad, Ashar, Sara
Place: Dining room
Khirad and Sara cook up some food. Ashar sits down to taste.
Ashar (looking down on Khirad’s dish dispassionately): Hmm.
Takes a bite, nods and pushes it back without comment.
Ashar (smiling widely at Sara): So what have you cooked up today Sara?
Sara smiles and bats her eyelashes and puts down her platter.
Ashar: I’m already sure it’s delicious. (Takes a bite) And I was right! Good job, again.
Sara: OMG Ashar gave me a compliment, you have made my day! Thank you.
Khirad: Was there something wrong with mine?
Ashar: Oh, no nothing. But Sara’s looked better. (Winks at Sara as she flashes her evil grin at Khirad)
Sara (in a fake polite voice): Oh but I’m sure she tried her best.
Characters: Khirad, Ashar, Sara
Place: Ashar’s office
Ashar, Khirad and Sara are discussing a ‘business presentation’.
Ashar: So sales are going down. You have 10 seconds to come up with a suggestion to improve them.
After 10 seconds:
Khirad: Improve product quality.
Sara: Launch a colourful advertising campaign.
Ashar: Sara is right. Packaging attracts customers, not quality Khirad. Think rationally.
Favouritism sucks. Sucks, I tell you.
Kids are such cutie pies!!! Found this over the internet and can’t help but share it The captions are my own in this one. Pictures were taken from here.
Be proud of who you are.
Don’t beat around the bush. State the obvious.
Have your own world of reality.
If you love something, don’t hesitate in getting it.
So after 4 years of ‘classes’, ‘studying’ and ‘hard work’, my graduation is just an exam away. These 4 precious years of my life that I dedicated to Karachi University have taught me a lot. Though most of what I’ve learned is not even remotely related to my subject, they have still been years of learning. I have learnt the value of time and how to make long, boring, useless, repetitive classes useful and constructive. I have learnt the value of life and how to spend it savouring PG’s samosay instead of wasting it by going to Shamsu’s class. I have also become be-izzati proof, thanks to 3 years of H.I’s classes.
Anyway, since now I’m almost done with uni, I feel fit to dish out some tips to those poor souls who still have years to suffer. Here’s what you do when exams are around the corner.
Procrastinate. As much as you can. It teaches you how to be efficient and quick. One night before your final paper is more than enough to complete your assignment and prepare for your exam. Don’t waste all those precious days in studying when you can watch movies and crappy television instead.
However, you don’t want to look like you didn’t work hard at all! Therefore, shut your room, sit in front of your computer and bite your nails so even if your mother does come in, she thinks that you’re actually ‘working’. Also, don’t sleep at night.
Read. Read anything that comes your way. My experience tells me that a day before exams, even the old school history book becomes interesting. It might not help you in your exam but it will increase your ‘knowledge’.
Teach yourself not to feel bad about not studying. Seriously it’s ok. You’ll get through. Worse things have happened.
Vent. It’s natural to be tensed about exams even when you aren’t studying. Hiding it will do no good either. So hold a group chat with your friends (everyone in class is online on exam night) and talk about the butterflies in your stomach.
Play games on Facebook. The best stress-relieving method indeed! Sending game requests, crossing one level after another is very therapeutic.
Lastly, please don’t take my advise. Thanks.
Dear People of the Nation,
Thank you for being kind enough to remember my birthday. Amidst the loud fire crackers, silencer-less bikes, countless gun shots, I managed to hear that cakes bearing my name were baked and sold at fancy bakeries and many people wore green and white to remind themselves that they are one of those who walk on my surface spitefully every day.
But I also heard many people grumbling and clenching their teeth at all the celebrations. Many of you, deprived as you are, complained that I haven’t been of any service to you. People living in other countries are far more accomplished and happy than you are here, in your own country. Sadly, I have no other option than to agree with you. But am I ashamed? Should I be ashamed? I don’t think so.
I’ll be blunt with you all today, just like you are with me all the time. Those people are happy in their own countries because they thought for the future of their country instead of their own. Because they chose to not repeat the mistakes they made in the past. They chose to stand united. They chose to work together without being ashamed of their identity. They chose to contribute to their nation’s prosperity. They chose their country.
While ‘Delhi belly’ has turned into a mine of gold, I’m still suffering from the blood of those killed for honour. A lot of blood has started seeping in because of other reasons as well now. How many of you have tried to help those who suffer? I can’t help them without you, I’m just a piece of land. It is you people who give me an identity and get your own in turn. I’ll give you whatever you give me. And if all you are getting from me is violence, grief and insecurities, maybe you should go have a thorough look at yourselves. In all your cynicism and misery, you dismiss the enthusiasm and love of those who actually want to make me a better piece of land. Who try to heal the countless wounds I’ve borne throughout these years.
Despite all this, I still can’t wish that you’d leave me. It is a pity, really, that I should still depend upon you, who don’t mind washing dishes abroad but hate to keep me clean and make fun of those who try. I can only resent myself for loving you all so much even after all your disputes have put me through.
The Wounded Land of Pure
P.S. Make sure this letter doesn’t cross Jinnah’s eyes.
The other day I was watching this video of a debate between Oxford students, I guess, where a Muslim student was defending Islam, claiming that it’s not a terrorist religion, contrary to popular belief. I have absolutely no objections to this statement and agree with him completely. Islam is the religion of peace, a complete religion that addresses all humanity. It is not an idealistic religion, as most want it to be, neither is it violent. It takes every aspect of human psychology into account which includes kindness as well as violence. Violence is a part of human nature and it needs to be dealt with in order to keep the society harmonious. However it doesn’t allow discrimination, doesn’t encourage terrorism in the name of Allah and condemns all the heinous acts and ideology of the terrorists. If anyone tries to actually study Islam without being shallow, they’ll see the logic behind all its teachings.
Anyway, this post is not an explanation of my religion. I believe that Allah and Islam are above the petty criticisms of people who are incapable of listening to other people’s point of view and are trapped inside the small box of what they call their opinion. Allah doesn’t need to be defended, He is beyond that and petty human claims do not, in any way, affect His existence and His message. If someone wants to believe otherwise, it’s their choice and Allah has given us all the freedom to choose our own ways after sending down the truth. In short, we can’t influence anyone’s thinking as most people try to do.
What I really want to write about is the fact that we, the Muslims, curse the world for misunderstanding us. The question is, haven’t we done the same? Haven’t we limited Islam to whatever suits us? We have deprived girls from receiving education because they are supposed to observe ‘pardah’. How in the world does purdah stops anyone from receiving education? Islam has made it obligatory for every Muslim man and woman to seek knowledge and we stop girls from obeying this important instruction.
We boast about historic Muslim rulers, mathematicians and chemists and all the important discoveries they made in their respective fields. But apart from taking pride in those dedicated researchers, what else do we do to honour them? Apart from condemning non-Muslims, who actually strived to gain knowledge and made important discoveries which made our lives much easier, what else have we done practically? Have we ever tried to study this vast universe Allah has created for us so that we can develop further? No we are too busy thinking about what’s halal and what’s haram. You come across the most stupid and illogical discussions (read arguments) which take seconds to become abusive, about Islamic teachings. While cursing each other for believing what we think is wrong, we forget that Allah has clearly and strictly prohibited Muslims to be abusive or hurt someone’s feelings, no matter which religion or sect they belong to. We also forget that He has also, in the Quran, said that when Muslims talk they should keep their voices low and polite.
If we are capable of forgetting such basic orders it’s no wonder that we forget that Allah has ordered us to read and gain knowledge of the world we live in.
BTW I absolutely loved that video!!!