the world bleeds

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Its a beautiful day, as it is Saturday i decided to pick up the newspaper and sit under the flower tree and read the newspaper. As i flipped through the articles. I concluded we are a dying world. And someway along the way we all have either decide its okay or simply we believe in miracles or star wars. But does that somehow justify our dying morals and values?

I don’t understand how the lens don’t break when capturing the moments of extreme pain of human kind. When it captures the rubbles which were once protection against the environment. It does not break, when fathers and protectors succumb to tears. the lens does not break when mothers and shields go frantic and lose sight of their charge. the lens does not break when a child and innocence instead of learning to play is pushed to the hone their animal instinct to identify food and eat. But the lens does n0t break, the lens goes home it produces hundred thousand dollar worth of portrait. We see it, we it again and again and we feels sorry till we know the story and we don’t need to read it again. We convince ourselves that they did something to deserve to be posted in most vulnerable moments of their lives.

I go back to drinking my tea, enjoying cool breeze on my skin, the lack of sun and cloud cover. I read little more and then I just think do those people feel breeze like I do, do they stop when they smell summer flowers. Do they have summer flowers? Do they stick their nose to the window smelling rain on soil. Do they have windows? My heart does not break, tears don’t come to my eyes. This is the moment i realize why the lens don’t break. Life is a wonderful thing it builds immunities to everything that it survives, eventually, maybe a little too well. It can’t break its heart with every vicious act and neither can I.  So I put away the newspaper, and lean back marveling the evening.

The Reply

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What you do(say) “may” get done(said) to you.

In last 50 days of summer I have spent a lot of time on internet. As any person still in educational system would do in their long summer vacation. I am not new to internet, but the level of hate, intolerance, bigotry and all the other nice big words we use to define internet pigs and trolls, doings, fell short when I surveyed the comment section.  It really does not matter where you are, Facebook, YouTube, Dawn news,  MSN news, you will have the displeasure to come across over whelming number of these.

The thing is these comments are rarely challenged by anyone, why? Because good people are tolerant and nice and simply the bigger people who have self-taught themselves to ignore them and move on. they would like the video and share it. Most recent example is Theresa May speech on ISIS and Islam. I don’t know this woman and I don’t know her background but when she was reading the speech there was definite effort by her to be convincing and honest. She said that ISIS was not following Islamic teachings in any way. I think that no body has spoken that in more clear terms then her, that specific point.

Yes credibility of speech giver always should be accounted, but the content she recited was perfectly well in the context with her motive, so points for that. So many people choose that moment to spew hate because well nothing like ruining something good. It feels like it has just become a habit of so many ignorant people. They don’t know how to survive in a good environment let alone a peaceful world. Like most places in internet when some act of violence comes up and the people spewing violence relate one way or another to “Islam” even when later on it might not even my Islam related just done my some sick individual who was doing whatever he wanted.

Now most people like to believe they “understand” Islam. When they are not even Muslims or have not even been educated in Islam. Islam is not something you can google and understand or learn. You need educators to teach you Islam in its true sense and form. And most of all you need the environment in which you are ready to be tolerant and understanding. If google was an educator all schools would have been shut down by now. Google tells you stuff it does not teach you anything. Islam is a doctrine of life you need to be taught you ain’t equipped to get it just by google.

Now people say that it’s in Quran to kill non-Muslims. First of all it’s not written like, step outside and start killing people who you feel are not Muslim. This is where comes the desperate need of educators and a lot less google. Yes there are many harsh verses on warfare and (Physical)Jihad inciting killing non-Muslims. All those verses(Ayah)  have “Shaan-e-Nazool” I don’t know the English synonym of that word but it means in Urdu the events which happened which resulted in the revelation of those verses. You see, to understand the significance and the back story and events and circumstances in which that verse becomes something which needs to be enacted upon we relay on Tafsir of Quran. You might be thinking what Tafsir is, it’s usually 7 or more volumes of explanation of verses of Quran. You can think of it as Encyclopedia, which only explains Quran to all humans who obviously do not have the understanding of the exact meaning of that verse. IF you are the person who in this moment is thinking why should it be so complicated? Why do we need to make so much effort? Because dear, why do you study Shakespeare when he was just play writer and poet? Why do you write books and books on understanding philosophy when it sums up to even more nothing. Why do we tangle ourselves in webs of technology which seems unending and very expensive with each weave? If you can’t make the relation still, it’s the knowledge my friend. Knowledge comes with effort. Islam is the doctrine of life, its knowledge, for its followers. Many Muslims don’t always follow it, but many try to, it’s not easy,  its not very simple and at times it challenges you. The beauty of this knowledge is that if you follow it long enough you will start to understand the wisdom and hidden beauty in it.

Sky is blue, water is wet, ISIS is bad. Those are facts. but have you ever tried to question why ISIS happened. Just because Big Brother has you believing that it was always there and they are the reason for all that is wrong in the world. It does not necessarily mean its true. I mean lets face it world was pretty bad place before ISIS. Lets just question Big brother what was he doing for 7 years on the territory before ISIS took the very same territory. The Big Brother claimed that it had sent its troops to eliminate the threat which might affect the World. I don’t know Big Brother but it sure feels like that you meant to implant the threat in the territory which might affect the world.

However every passing day ISIS kills more people it spills blood on the ground. Covering up the land soaked with blood of 100 thousands of innocent men women children, civilization and society. I knew one Iraqi uncle, he once correct by pronunciation of Arabic alphabets. It was few months after the invasion by Big Brother. He was looking for asylum. His family wanted to move to Europe though. We don’t know if they ever made it. Never really heard from him after his return to Baghdad. 20 years of friendship which crossed borders ended  when somebody across Atlantic decided a threat needed to be eliminated, but that’s a story for another time when they are tears to spare.

Coming back to the point what west easily forgets is that how many people this ISIS has killed. And how many of them were Muslim? Overwhelming majority were Muslims. Some people who like to create divisions when they know there is already a huge tension, say that they kill only Shias, a lie. As we all don’t know, very little addressed fact, but a fact that they bombed and killed nearly 8000 Kurdis who are overwhelming of Sunni Maslik. its unfair, its unjust but it’s how popular reporting works, it’s not based upon equity it is based upon drama and what ever would churn up the most negative emotions and incite miscommunication.

You still don’t get what I am trying to tell you. Go watch Zootopia, they beautifully and creatively have broken it down in a way even kids get it now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan a Hard Country

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This is one of the most refreshing books I have read on Pakistan affairs. Well one can say it is one of the best written books in that department. That certainly does not mean everything is accurate or agreeable at times. The writer who however was not biased or wrote with “western prejudice” especially being a British. This book really well, sums up Pakistan till 2010. Nothing much has changed since except that maybe time of early 2000s may be returning, regarding our relations with India and USA. The terrorism situation since then has improved in some ways, in others, it probably has not. But morale definitely has improved and so has trust in army.

The most highlighted problems are ecological ones in the first few chapters. Especially water problems in Pakistan. The constantly decreasing water table, the floods and lack of dams and reservoirs in face of it. He also shows his surprise at water wastefulness of Pakistanis, considering water shortage is drastically increasing. When an English tells you, you are wasting water considering he comes from country were it rains nearly one third of the year, we need to listen because he might have a point.

He also runs comparison between, traditional law and Shariah. Something I was pleasantly surprised by. As he states:

“The population of Pakistan by contrast has a choice between the law of the state, law of the religion (The Shariah), and local folk, tribal or community law.

People move between these three codes depending on circumstances and advantage, often pursuing their goals through several of the simultaneously as well as through violence or more often threat of it. The authorities which are supposed to implement the state law in conjunction with Shariah, very often end up following community law or even turning blind eye to violence. Often this is because they have been corrupted or intimidated but often, too, it is because the police concerned share the cultural attitudes of the populations from which they are recruited. So the sorry nature Pakistan as a ‘negotiated state’, in which authority is a matter of negotiation, compromise, pressure and violence, not formal rules, is exemplified by the area of law and justice. 

What a sorry state of affairs that is, unfortunately he could not have put it in better words.

He also kind of denies the western views that Pakistan might suffer from Islamic revolution or some people who are afraid that Pakistan might me liberalized.  In words of a young Lahore man Ali Hasan, he sponges off all these assumptions

“If I were to jump on a box and preach revolution with the best programme in the world, you know what would happen? First, people from all the other provinces would say that we can’t follow him, he’s a Punjabi. Then most of the Punjabis would say, we can’t follow him, he’s from such and such biradari. Even in my own village, half of the people would say something like, I can’t follow him, his grandfather beat my uncle in a fight over land. If you preach Islamic revolution most people won’t follow you they practice different kinds of Islam and worship different saints. So you see we can’t unite behind a revolution because we can’t unite behind anything.

. It covers more or less all the plights of this nation on provincial level. This book is solely about Pakistan and its coordination, within a province and between provinces. Also the provincial parties and their damaging roles. I mean they hardly ever play any other kind.

The thing that most shocked me in this book was his take on MQM. It was most surprising. He nearly seems to be in awe of MQM. Which is little weird. Maybe they were not that bloody pre 2010, I don’t know. However I think his tilt towards MQM might be because, they are, unlike PPP and PMLN not feudal or big family run party. It is more of a middle class party to him. What he termed as modern urban politics. I still can’t understand how that is better in wake of what they do but he did play down their open killings in Karachi “a lot”. Again maybe at that time period they were not so active. Also he does not believe in any speculations and against MQM, real evidence is hard to come by or did before Rangers.

There is this reference which sort of describes a lot about our society,

Imran Aslam of Geo described what he called ‘the Sharifs’ Pakistan as

“Conservative with small ‘c’. It is a form of religion that gives stability and comfort but is not fanatical, and is peace with itself – unlike our psychologically and culturally tortured liberals, and equally tortured Islamists.”

It might make more sense in the context he was speaking, but still kind of does, doesn’t it?

This book is worth a read. Highly recommended, very well written done and one gets the feeling he gets Pakistani mentality, well he really tried to at least.

Moments of Beauty

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Not every day has to be great day, not everything has to be awesome. Not every plan needs to work out. Most days are just moderate or drag. We fall behind. disappoint, screw up and night comes and we look back and say what a waste and beat ourselves up about it. The thing to remember is its not too late for anything unless you are dead. That is another debate. So lets just focus on things that we have, we have kindness.

Kindness is when you come home and find cold beverage in fridge. When you find food in the oven. Kindness is when you put a water bottle in someone’s room. Kindness is when curtain’s are pulled close in so someone’s sleep does not gets disturbed. Kindness is to give aspirin to some one who might be in pain, and offer them water, without them having to ask repeatedly. Kindness is to remember another’s need along with yours. Kindness is not to remind another of their shortcomings. Kindness is to make someone laugh. Kindness is to listen. Kindness is to offer when not asked, kindness is to care without being reminded. Kindness is granted to each and everyone, just remember the kindness extended to you and be grateful for each little act. That is kindness to onto oneself. Makes breathing easier, existence little brighter. Count the acts of kindness.

i am pretty sure everyone has experienced at least one such act of kindness. Those are moment of beauty the moments that make you feel good make things good. What more can one ask from a moderate day?

 

Islamabad Literature Festival 2016 (1)

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This year was 4th ILF, but my first. Circumstances only allowed me to attend three and half sessions. But it was a really good experience. IT was my first time to actually attend a gathering of this sort where writers and intellectual from nearly all the fields are present.

(Faiz Ahmed Faiz Open Air Stadium: 3:30-4:30)

The session on Regional Connectivity and stability. Something as one of the audience directly pointed out to the one of speakers (Nasim Zehra: anchor person, columnist) as a topic never really discussed with vigor and facts it needs to be addressed with on the media.

5 speakers were present, Hina Rabbani Khar (26th Foreign minister), Anatol Lieven (Britsih Journalist, policy analyst), Nasim Zehra, Omar Zakhilwal (Finance Minister of Pakistan)  and Jean François. Mr Zakhiwal like a true politician droned on for long time trying to state that international investors should focus on regional projects. 

Nasim Zehra stated that asymmetry of power between military and government is the reason of setbacks on our economic growth she perceived that if we put behind chasing stability and focus on economic growth. Antol Leiven disagreed with this assessment saying if security and stability was not achieved, economic growth was not possible. Also the energy business due to sudden fall of fuel prices on international market has now become a very insecure investment for the investors. So if the security was not an assurance at a certain level such investments would not come easily. Hina Rabbani Khar said that during PPP rule their policy to start trade with India even with tension over Kashmir issue was an excellent decision and in which we got ever our regional issues for economic ones. In Pakistan or more like in south Asian region our basic problem is that economic issues are treated purely as political moves. Nobody moves forward or thinks further then 5 years of their tenure. Economic stagnation in the region is because territorial issues have over shadowed necessary progressive decision. Mr Jean Francois retold the history of France and Germany alliance on economic projects in 1951. Few years after the destruction of World war. The people already had fought two wars with each other, not mention the invasion of Paris by German, but French leadership understood that for regional peace and in hope there would now not be another war they initiated economical growth projects. They put people opinion aside and moved on, because they had a vision for the future. Same thing may not apply to our region but it could be partially adopted.  

Even though we have very tense relationship with our neighbors. When events like Yadev ( RAW Agent) and Pathan Kot ( Terrorist attack ) happen things seem to spiral further down. But events should not over shadow the strategies of nations.

Summarizing: Regional Connectivity especially for the economic projects and massive development along with minor ones to support and keep the system functioning are necessary. This needs to be pushed by media. CPEC is a very major project and of huge importance but it can not happen if regional security and stability is not completely achieved.  Political leaders should be strong and motivated enough to influence public opinions to get over prejudices and move on with things on economic front. The chances of political unity even for the interest of the country is in words of Pakistani Awam who have come to a sorry conclusion of  “absolutely not”.

It was a vast topic but when it comes down to it was a lot of talk and lack of action which is how many projects in Pakistan just become names instead of things which have physical presence.  A tradegy voiced by Hina Rabbini Khar on TAP gas pipeline a project on which “talks and discussion” started about 25 years back.

The session ended with people questioning would this generation see the economic growth of Pakistan or will it go down in wishful thinking. Will Pakistan be secure from international and internal sabotage long enough for CPEC to be fully functional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coffee House of Lahore: A memoir 1942-1957

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I found this book in library last year, did not read it then but now I have.  I would recommend it to everyone. Here are few stories I have picked to share, I hope they motivate you enough to read this book.

K.K Aziz says about Coffee house. “I learnt how to behave with my age group, how to respect my seniors, how to make friends and keep relationship in good repair. The frequent discussion which I participated taught me the virtues of tolerance. They also taught me how to debate a point without losing temper, to sharpen my arguments rather raise my voice, to understand to understand other person’s point of view and give him right to express it and gain clarity in speech and lucidity in thinking.….There could not have be no better training in human dealings because human beings with whom I was interfacing were among themselves so different of outlooks…. I learnt to become flexible in what I said and what I listened to. Also I had to be patient with suffering fools, because in every society and group there are bores and people with stunted minds. I don’t know to which degree I learnt these virtues and I can’t be a judge of it. But I tried hard and I think I became fit for human company”

In its physical location the house was ideally placed. Within five minutes’ walk from it lay the University, the Mayo School of Arts (NCA later), the Punjab Public Library, the Lahore Museum, YMCA Hall, Law Collage, Oriental Collage and the Government Collage. Islamia Collage, Dyal Singh Collage and MAO Collage were within a 10-minute cycle ride. The House had been put right at the heart of the intellect of Lahore. The language of Coffee house was Punjabi and English purely, Punglish. Though written language was Urdu. It mostly was made up of Leftists but does not mean other were not present. What the Coffee house did have was tolerance.

This was the time period where population of Lahore was around 300,000 not more than 10 million.   

Now this book revolves around 100s of people, who all had one thing in common they loved to read and talk about what they read and drank coffee. The writer K.K. Aziz name which was given to him by Jamiluddin Hasan, who said “You know your first names are too long to encourage intimacy. It takes sustained breath to pronounce “Khursheed Kamal”. So right now, under the authority granted to me by our friendship, I hereby bestow upon you in a perpetuity the much smaller and melodious name of K.K to which I am sure you will get used you soon.”  

K.K entered Coffee house in age of 15 or 16 in 1942. But this book is more about a time period. A different time period a quieter time period. This book is littered with scenes and people most of us have not heard about. Some names are famous others not so much. There few scenes in this book that strike me as they are form another world “My friends and I had bought our tickets and were in a large crowd waiting on foyer for the matinee show to come to an end. When the show ended the audience began to come down the stairs to go home. At the corner of stairs appeared Champa in her white Sari. The chattering crowd in the foyer fell silent. There was a hush until she reached the end of the staircase, turned right and walked out of our sight. The elite was paying tribute to beauty. There was not a single wink, ogle, leer, even an audible breath. Those were civilized days.

Abdus salam a smart man not of science but also was interested in other contemporary subjects. K.K recalls his one meeting “We recalled our government Collage days; Salam Talked about what he had to endure at the hands of Sirajuddin and the officials of the education department. I asked him if all this was due to him being an Ahmadi. He doubted it and pointed out Qazi Aslam too was an Ahmadi and later become Principal of Collage.” A well-known scientist after the death of Abdus Salam commented whom K.K told him his sad tale of disappointed when nobody would sanction a scholarship in name of Salam. “You say the Ahmadis have not done anything to salute Salam. Yes, they haven’t. But aren’t they Pakistani’s too?”  So we are people who are jealous of other people who are better and brighter than us, this jealousy goes deeper, than any religious or cultural bonds what a tragedy.

I found this book in library last year, did not read it then but now I have.  I would recommend it to everyone. Here are few stories I have picked to share, I hope they motivate you enough to read this book.

K.K Aziz says about Coffee house. “I learnt how to behave with my age group, how to respect my seniors, how to make friends and keep relationship in good repair. The frequent discussion which I participated taught me the virtues of tolerance. They also taught me how to debate a point without losing temper, to sharpen my arguments rather raise my voice, to understand to understand other person’s point of view and give him right to express it and gain clarity in speech and lucidity in thinking.….There could not have be no better training in human dealings because human beings with whom I was interfacing were among themselves so different of outlooks…. I learnt to become flexible in what I said and what I listened to. Also I had to be patient with suffering fools, because in every society and group there are bores and people with stunted minds. I don’t know to which degree I learnt these virtues and I can’t be a judge of it. But I tried hard and I think I became fit for human company”

In its physical location the house was ideally placed. Within five minutes’ walk from it lay the University, the Mayo School of Arts (NCA later), the Punjab Public Library, the Lahore Museum, YMCA Hall, Law Collage, Oriental Collage and the Government Collage. Islamia Collage, Dyal Singh Collage and MAO Collage were within a 10-minute cycle ride. The House had been put right at the heart of the intellect of Lahore.

This was the time period where population of Lahore was around 300,000 not more than 10 million.   

Now this book revolves around 100s of people, who all had one thing in common they loved to read and talk about what they read and drank coffee. The writer K.K. Aziz name which was given to him by Jamiluddin Hasan, who said “You know your first names are too long to encourage intimacy. It takes sustained breath to pronounce “Khursheed Kamal”. So right now, under the authority granted to me by our friendship, I hereby bestow upon you in a perpetuity the much smaller and melodious name of K.K to which I am sure you will get used you soon.”  

K.K entered Coffee house in age of 15 or 16 in 1942. But this book is more about a time period. A different time period a quieter time period. This book is littered with scenes and people most of us have not heard about. Some names are famous others not so much. There few scenes in this book that strike me as they are form another world “My friends and I had bought our tickets and were in a large crowd waiting on foyer for the matinee show to come to an end. When the show ended the audience began to come down the stairs to go home. At the corner of stairs appeared Champa in her white Sari. The chattering crowd in the foyer fell silent. There was a hush until she reached the end of the staircase, turned right and walked out of our sight. The elite was paying tribute to beauty. There was not a single wink, ogle, leer, even an audible breath. Those were civilized days.

Abdus salam a smart man not of science but also was interested in other contemporary subjects. K.K recalls his one meeting “We recalled our government Collage days; Salam Talked about what he had to endure at the hands of Sirajuddin and the officials of the education department. I asked him if all this was due to him being an Ahmadi. He doubted it and pointed out Qazi Aslam too was an Ahmadi and later become Principal of Collage.” A well-known scientist after the death of Abdus Salam commented whom K.K told him his sad tale of disappointed when nobody would sanction a scholarship in name of Salam. “You say the Ahmadis have not done anything to salute Salam. Yes, they haven’t. But aren’t they Pakistani’s too?”  So we are people who are jealous of other people who are better and brighter than us, this jealousy goes deeper, than any religious or cultural bonds what a tragedy.

This book is filled with old Lahore and lives of writers, poets, artists, photographers, lawyers. People who with exception of few were poor but rich in culture. I would completely recommend this book. It is a very personal account of lives, might be one-sided in many cases. But this book is highly underrated and unknown. I mean a book about book lover 100s of them who got together on daily basis to have meaningful conversations. Is not that every book readers dream?

This book is filled with old Lahore and lives of writers, poets, artists, photographers, lawyers. People who with exception of few were poor but rich in culture. I would completely recommend this book. It is a very personal account of lives, might be one-sided in many cases. But this book is highly underrated and unknown. I mean a book about book lover 100s of them who got together on daily basis to have meaningful conversations. Is not that every book readers dream?

Somedays

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The day is ending and i just had “mug” of tea. Few days ago someone told me that always observe everything from people to places. One of the thing that I these days most think about, how quickly time passes, even when it seem like to long. Its not time which is ever too long its the distance which can be.  So today.

It was just another hike and just another Sunday, same people and same trail, we have practically learned by heart, now.

But today we went a little further then we usually do, which is we pat ourselves for actually coming to a hike and go back half way through.

Some how today we decided not go back but actually make it to top. well it was worth it.

Islamabad was covered in Haze, i wondered for a long time why a city with pretty much ideal traffic situation, no industry and whose wake up time is only 12 hours would be quilted in it?

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The feeling one gets while standing on a big rock at side of mountain it feel s good. Today i think destination was way better than path itself. Also nothing is as cool as writing one’s initials with coals and chalks like when we were kids. okay more like when i was a kid, so what if i am still doing it..

Margella hills people for all of these who have never been there have trails, which go “uphill” and because these trails have been cut in “hills” there are obviously rocky and even. So if you will come wearing heel s of any sort you probably will get applauded for that and if you come wearing a dress coat and people look at

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When hiking alone, well more like some of your companions speed up and other fall back and trail is not you think about things. As much one’s enjoy company there are moments when just walking alone is fun. Its nearly like childhood summer’s when you go out to play, when parents are sleep. When you don’t care how much hot it is it. I think children don’t feel the same way like adults do.

i felt like that, when you fall hard and bruise your knee and nobody is there to watch you quickly get up dust off, and pretend the it was tone’s fault and you laugh at yourself and it is fun because nobody else does.

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i think i know where Neverland idea came from, its all what you like to believe, the sun shining through branches, when you come across path which divides in two. 20160214_125805.jpg

We always choose archways and easy, over rocks and uncertainty. We do try to further our little fantasy not that we always achieve it. But it dos make smiling a lot more easy.

So i think i discovered why some people smile more than others. they can see all the little things which make walking down heaps of stones and while ones own shies are the cause of pain, and not always some one is there to help you down and that’s alright because serenity between bouts of life is worth it even if it cause few scrapes.