Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oo, La, La, Expression... Thank God, Thank Google!

Google art, great art!
Here is  a language, English , and here is a forum, well, a place, a world, a universe almost,  where I can express. So can you and so can all of us who have a computer, an internet connection, well a broadband now. I think having an internet connection, a gateway to the world should now be declared a basic human right. Especially for the women and children of the Third World. Just like food and water and vaccines. World will be  a much better place if men and especially violent, and not so violent, macho, especially Muslim men read what the women felt and expressed. If they would read more poetry,  Shakespeare, well any literature, Pablo Neruda, Arundhati Roy!Listen to more music.Or see more Google videos.
So here I am talking, well, expressing in the English language, thanks to Google. Always wanted to be a journalist, writer, truth finder, vocalising the needs and desires of the poor, oppressed and those that cannot express themselves for various reasons, well like, illiteracy, mute handicap etc., etc.
Thanks to Google, I have my own little publishing house, Meher's Publishing House in 2009! on the World Wide Web!  Here right now anyone can read what I write or express in any language. Well, so many languages, like I enjoy reading an Italian surgeon's blog , through Google Translator. Here, me in Karachi and his world in Italy. So enjoyable, with a great sense of humor, so essential in this wide, serious, uneven world.
Here I am listening to music, watching a good dance, blogging, Googling basically, happy early  at Dawn. Upload a video and express, reach out and communicate. So are fellow bloggers from Pakistan, women bloggers at that.
so thank God and thank Google, well my agnostic friends will only thank the latter. So I do believe in freedom of belief, freedom of expression, definitely!
Lucky me I am Pakistani. I can freely express myself. If I were well in China, how much could I? could I write as a free Uighiur? well not with this new 'War Against Terror bit, any expresiion different would become a terrorist behaviour.
here too we are labelled, well women like me, with a bob, speaking English, uncovered head, as foreign agents! But still in this beloved, passionately, beloved Pakistan, we are free to express, our joys, sorrows, anger, at least on Google! Out to the world.
I am a doctor by profession, a carer and activist by heart and  a writer, a poet by expression. thanks to Google I ahve at least five blogs, and I manage and type and upload two of my intellectual hubby's blogs. He writes for his nation. he writes for Pakistan and thanks to Google  that I ahve managed to put his valuable ideas for Pakistan to see. he is a technical person, a reformist, so Ireally thank Google that I have his input expressed on my little publishing house!
Viva la freedom of expression, viva la English and Urdu (and all the languages people can use), viva la Google!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Karachi Burns Again...On Ashura!

The news rolls in ,through text messages,television images, chaos, mayhem and death. The tragedy of Karbala is there to bleed our hearts eternally and then this mortal injury!
Who are these people? Who are the suicide bombers?
Who are the people who burnt immediately 600 vehicles, 300 shops, banks, buildings, other peoples homes at once. Surely it cannot be the azadaran, as the procession went on towards the Shahe Khorasan. The ones injured ,dead left with their God and the nearby people to be taken care of. Who were these people who immediately started firing to create more chaos?
According to a channel news, the police disappeared for a while. There were no arrangements of police of outstanding proportion. This was eveidenced by almost all reporters. There was no real plan by the administration , no coordinated, resdcue plan. Only edhi and Chippa ambulances were visible. As people were rushed to nearby Civil and distant Jinnah hospital, it was seen that the fire continued burning for quite some time.It seems that the administration is taking these kind of threats ona level that was there previously. No new enhanced disaster aversion and management plan are there. The fire department response is slow. The big buildings are not installing any water sprinkling system to extinguish any fire as in all modern buildings abroad. Everyone is relying on some fire tenders to come. The Chief minister of Sindh came on television and said that we had the best arrangements possible. He seemed out of touch with reality. He started saying on Aaj Tv that this seems a conspiracy to destabilise government. He seemed totally out of sync. The interior minister of Sindh has vehemently denied the presence of Taleban in Karachi. This he makes specially vocal  t whenever Mr Altaf Hussain demands that major cities like Karachi and Hyderabad be flushed off Taleban and their supporters.He thinks this is an ethnic issue. Who gains by chaos and destruction in Karachi. Who gains by destroying the peace of the largest city of Pakistan? Not the MQM, neither the PPP or the ANP. Then who does? Obviously it is the terrorists and militants that Pakistan Army is fighting.
Meanwhile the Shia Ulema have shown much patience and are urging the Shia people not to react. They understand the seriousness of this assault on the ethnic tolerance practiced in Karachi. This tolerance if disturbed can take a very, very ugly situation all  over Pakistan.
The Karachi police and provincial administration should have taken extraordinary measures. People are sure that these measures were inadequate and that is why this disaster was  not averted.
It is high time that all religio-political parties including the Jamaate Islami, who pretend to be so peaceful make a serious effort to bring peace and harmony to this city. Merely appearance of lip service and religious pretensions will not help. The PPP should also not play a double role in Karachi and Hyderabad as these cities also belong to all of Sindh and political jealousies will not get us anywhere. The larger motive of taking Pakistan ahead as envisioned by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, will not be achieved by small ethnic division measures.

Our hearts bleed and we condole with those who took Shahadat. May Allah give peace to all the affected and their families. May Allah bring peace back to Pakistan and all it's beautiful people.

Quaid- i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah....Remembered 2009.

Quaid- i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah…Remembered 2009.

I have been reading the Dawn newspaper  since childhood and formed a clear, balanced image of the founder of Pakistan . Thanks to eminent Jinnah scholars like professor Shariful Mujahid and others. This year as I read his article, entitled’ return to Jinnah’s Pakistan’ I saw with dismay and pessimism , a picture so grey and small. Gone were the beautiful bright colours of the people of Sindh, Baluchistan , Frontier and Punjab. Gone were the dreams and promises. The style in which he has addressed the readers shows how hopeless and petty have our issues become. How we as a people and a nation failed completely to govern, guide and prosper. How our ship of nationhood has entered the tossing, destroying, stormy waters of disintegration and destruction. And all thanks to the demons and despots , who only for their petty gains, their bird-brained thoughts, imposed on such a vibrant, tolerant, dynamic people over the last 60 years. No wonder India is still trying to shake our foundations. No wonder we are labeled as a failed state. Through consistent destruction of institutions and syncophant promotion our whole paradigm of healthy progress is destroyed.
Jinnah stood for Faith, Unity and Discipline. We  stand for hatred, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry. He stood for ‘let all people worship freely in churches, masjids and temples.We stand for let not even religious sects, pray peacefully in their mosques. He stood for honesty and hard work, of which he himself was a shining, blazing picture. We stand for sheer parasitic, nepotism, communal promotion, physical and moral corruption.he stood for democracy and say of the masses. We stand for maneuvering, cheating, colluding . He stood for integrity of character.We stand for deluge, trickery, bribery and sheer baseness!
Ah, this very wintery 25th December as I read the articles on the Birth anniversary supplement  of Dawn as I have been doing for the last 45 years, I cry, my heart is in intense pain. I grieve for the lost ideal, I grieve for the lost Truth.
Do not you think it is time for us all to discard the mantle of untruth and bigotry. Do not you think it is time to reread and repledge our vows for a revived Jinnah’s Pakistan, honestly? Otherwise we may lose this beautiful country, the soul of our existence, forever! We may never be able to justify the reason for creation of Pakistan again!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Political Circus! Julius Caesar!

Peshawar Press Club Mourning Salute to Those killed!

" The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars But in ourselves, that we are underlings".
                            Julius Caesar
"Beware the Ides of March"
                            Julius Caesar

The post  NRO debate continues in the Pakistani political scene, almost in Shakesperean proprtions, on television, newspapers and thank God not on streets as yet. As one twitterite tweeted that there was  no violence post judgement although all of Sindh was waiting. Mr Mujeeb Pirzada , an eminent lawyer from Sindh, aired his views on KTN news , a channel in Sindhi language. This session with Mr. Manzoor on KTN News was very eyeopening and insightful. As you will see in my previous post on this topic, I was perplexed by the intentions of Dr Mubashar Hassan, and Mr Hafeez Pirzada, although he was representative lawyer. Mr Mujeeb Pirzada made clear his stance on this judgement especially against Asif Zardari. He was of the view that those responsible for Murtaza Bhutto's murder case went out of  country to escape the wrath of law.He also said that he always sided with the nationalists in Sindh as they were true to the welfare of Sindh. He said that Pakistan Peoples Party politicians did corruption and why was the people of Sindh left to bear the brunt of punishment! Was there an element of truth in this?
Meanwhile Ms. Fouzia Wahab says that we are preparing a list of corrupt businessmen etc and the nation will see of whose bank loans in millions were cleaned.She is defending the president as Mr.Shafi who says this targetted blame game stinks!
Meanwhile Kamran Khan of Geo tv lists the many scandals and scams unfolded by them for the nation to see which they say we will continue to do so in public interest.
The real dilemma is the behaviour of PML -N 2nd teir. they are accusing the NRO beneficiaries of avoiding trial while Mr. Nawaz Sharif is quiet.The 17th amendment is in place and the circus of musical chairs continues.
Who is the real hero but the policeman at the gate of the Peshawar press club, who valiantly gave his life in stopping the suicide bomber at the gate.
The country fights the terrorists, the ordinary folks and security personnel give their lives but this leadership bickering goes on. And who is trying to take the attention of the government away from the fight against the militants? Not the courts?Or is it the guys who did not even fight the elections and have no mandate.
Pakistan has come of age, good.Now there will be healthy discussion, there will be hurdles to gulping down millions of tax payer's money. There will be stopping of scandals. Meanwhile the terrorists will target journalists, thinking that truth can be silenced. Little do they know that the media and press in Pakistan has also faced dictators and come of age.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Poisn'd Chalice ....This NRO!

"Bloody instructions, which, bieng taught return.
to plague the inventor, this even-handed justice
comments the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
to our own lips.
He's here in double trust."  Macbeth, Shakespeare.

We all wait anxiously for the judgement, on the National Reconciliation Ordinance,almost as if our life hangs by a thread , in the hands, nay , the words of the seventeen ,honorable justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. These were the same people who were so unjudiciously confined to a  home , not allowed to attend court by a president , a military dictator, a self centered character, almost the Man, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's amazing characterizing story, looking inside his head, always at himself! he promulgated the NRO, an ordinance of sorts, some say on US insistence whereby a medley of motley individuals, beaurauecrats, politicians, government officials and others gained some advantage by having the cases against them neatly folded and put away. Cases that were some say made up, some say were true, almost eight thousand persons in all four provinces of Pakistan.
The petitioners were also a strange mix, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who after passing and favoring the horrible seventeenth amendment, which legitimized general Musharraf's rule, turned 'verbally' around , clean and innocent, pretending to be  newborn right out of his mother's sterile womb, sterlilised, almost non-sexualized, dettolled! what was his axe to grind with NRO, or Musharraf or mr Zardari? As usual doghla!
. Then there was a former 'Uncle' of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, who could almost appear for a toothpaste ad, after the verdict was announced, gleeful as if in 'revenge'? Sadistic smile on his face!
The best part was the extremely loud and almost obnoxious coverage by Geo tv's Kamran Khan , who made it look like a 'B' grade cinema entry almost  ! Almost everyone, all anchors, all commentrators, all journalists have missed the main point! Intentionally or unintentionally Mr Zardari , is not affected. Both Mr. Zardari and Mr Musharraf have escaped  the 'wrath'.
As the Swiss administration have said that his cases cannot be opened until he has them opened by the government in Pakistan.The excercise of punishing or atleast 'scaring' Mr Malik Qayyum is an excercise in vain as he is not to blame.
So the judiciary has finally said it's say. No call to evidence of the creator and executor of NRO, General Musharraf.
Asma Jehangir is apprehensive. She says that she fears for the powers of the executive and the parliament. This she said in a tv interview with Dunya and also Dawn News tv. She sees the judiciary as almost more powerful than the parliament. She also questioned  as to why there was no Ehtesab of the army generals.Only she can voice this.
This tirade and some sort of 'movement against president Zardari has finally come to a dead end. What was the idea of NRO in Benazir's mind if not reconciliation.She had to come back. She opened the door for Mr Nawaz Sharif's return and participation in politics. The issue of national reconciliation was always there, but of course it was the ordinance which became "the poison'd chalice'!
Mr Zardari always carried the baggage of  disrepute. Asma Jehangir said on her Dunya tv phone in that he should not have become the president in the first place and now he should resign. Many people think so. They say that Mr Zardari should have let the Peoples Party be on it's own. It had enough strength, organisation, passion to survive and find it's leadership. they say that he almost wrested power away from the older and more ingrained guard as a fuedal fight. He made the decision too quicly, almost with vengeance and cunning of Hamlet.
Mr. Shahbaz Sharif almost in shadow of Nawaz Sharif,  wants the power back I guess to run government. If the 17th amendment problem was tackled earlier, this built up would not have happened. There was also a understated pleasure on the face  of Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, who perhaps remebered the mayhem of 18 th May in Karachi, and the dance of horses with dholak in Islamabad, with Punjabi Bhangra, while 58 people were dead in Karachi. A strange joyous celebration in Islamabad, by general Musharraf and his supporters in Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
So the comedy of errors continues in Pakistan, oblivious to the fact that the ordinary citizen is least bothered about 'the Tragedies and Comedies' of Shakespearean proportions  ,it is only concerned with the day to day realities of Oliver Twist's Charles Dickenian  measurements!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What It Takes To Win A Nobel Prize!


Elinor Olstrom

Carol Greider


The best part of bieng a human is to reach greatness and fulfill one's dream facing adversity, standing up to  challenges ,due to nature or man -made and find the stars!
As all ten Nobel Laureates gathered in The Royal Library, Stolkholm for a talk with Zeinab Badawi , of the BBC, I was greatly impressed by how some of them , mostly females, overcame strange and difficult circumstances and  difficulties and found the ultimate in worldly recognition for one's ability, the award of the Nobel Prize.This award is the world's most prestigious award given to people in recognition of their discoveries, work, inventions in the fields of Science such as medicine, physics, physiology, chemistry, genetics and of course peace in the world.
Ada E. Yonath,who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, shared with the viewers how she overcame the poverty , her hurdles of overcrowding in dwelling as a child, her father's illness and her mother's illiteracy, and yet found herself a path, an true calling, her intellectual persuit  to fulfilment.she is the embodiment of the resilience of human biengs , to overcome all hurdles, like, disadvantages in economics , residence, immigration  and achieve the highest acknowledgement in one's field.
Carol W. Greider is a woman of substance and determination who inspite her dyslexia in school found herself a way to learn and achieve her learning objective by 'memorising ' the dyslexically difficult areas. She also through ingenuity, human resilience and innovation, overcame a natural hurdle to achieve the finest, celestial goal of doing what one dreams of!
Elinor Ostrom, the winner of shared prize in economics, showed how the gender discrimination,of not bieng allowed to read maths in college in her times, did not stop her from becoming a Nobel Laureate in Economics.She also did not recieve formal school training and was very poor. Her thougts on how humans have great abilities  and perceptions to solve their own problems also are impressive and a lesson of hope to the teeming millions of the world  who are poor and disadvantaged. Perhaps her economic theory will perhaps one day change the problem solvin approach so fashionable these days about ' Elite' solutions and economic endeavours.
George Smith, the winner of Nobel prize in Physics, for his most revolutionising CCD conductor discovery or invention almost 40 years ago shows the immaculate brilliance of his person and of human innovation.It shows the importance of scientific inquiry, the need to create in experiment, how  a basic research helps revolutionise future scientific frontiers.
Venkaratnam is another example of a complete human bieng, balanced in his persuits and endeavours, achieving the highest award in Chemistry, inspite of the un-levelled field that initially is offered to many Asians at the begining in their home countries. He is the epitome of what truely is fulfilment of modern, lifestyle dream, a great intellectual recognition, music, cycling and his other enjoyable hobbies.
for many young people who want to do something in this world , for others and for the world to be  abetter place for all humans must see the lives and works of these and other Nobel Laureates. (
There is a world, a universe out there and  each should find their own path no matter how small, it may one day be big for the whole mankind.Dream big, you may find a new star!
George Smith

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hope And Change, Obama Wins Peace Prize.

The US president gave a very well phrased acceptance speech in the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony . He recieves a cash prize of $ 1 million along with the prestigious award.
He accepted  many unavoidable truths and swallowed the bitter pill of many ground realities in Afghanistan . As the debate and disappointment in many a liberal US circles over the troop surge in Afghanistan rage, he is smart  and bold enough to face the ugly reality. He had no choice but to heed the advice and commit to more troops by General Stanley Mc Chrystal. Afghanistan is a rocky, rough truth that the US has to stare at!
As Mr Bush's rushed war on terror landed the US people in both Iraq and Afghanistan in quick succession, the American taxpayer was almost not consulted in both the bad decisions. so many years later the questions are still affecting the US taxpayer directly but this time the new US president has no choice to pull out the troops fast. Who ever thinks that they can do that with ease are mistaken. nobody can leave Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taleban as they will again takeover and destroy the remaining vestiges of civilised society left in Kabul. Rebuilding Afghanistan will take a long time , but the presence of US and allied troops will ensure the achievement of this goal.
Wars are never good. they should never be started in the first place. The 'fight and punish them' strategy of Mr. Bush has put the US and rest of the western world in a strange situation. It is now the new US president's job to clean up the mess. As he asked the question' when is violence justified? The answer is never!
Violence is never justified . Mr. Obama should strive for a no war world and leave a legacy of 'Hope ' and 'Change' as the Nobel Prize committee asked him to .  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Practices of Love & Forgiveness

Practices of Love & Forgiveness
Man, heal thyself through Love and Forgiveness!
In this world of death, hatred and destruction, find time to heal your spirit and soul!

Punjab Scared? Talks Of Negotiation Start!

As the gory and heart wrenching details of moon market attack victims are seen by public, a clear move has started amongst politicians to start some sort of negotiation with the ? militants. A programme aired on PTV by Khushnood Ali Khan showed a former law minister asking the concerned authorities to start some sort of informal talks with the other party. He said those who are moderate people. Dr Farzana Raja, a minister of the Pakistan Peoples Party was of the opinion that no dialogue or negotiations can be started with those who are anti- Pakistan, killing innocents and are giving a very bad name to Islam. The anchor asked the former law minister as to who should be called on the talking table. He replied that the moderate people.
The questions that arise are many. Who are the people who bombed the Peshawar market where innocent people were killed. Are they the same group who has bombed the Moon market, Lahore? The coordinated, trained suicide attackers in previous military area mosque in Rawalpindi was accepted by the Tehrike Taleban , Pakistan. Are TTP responsible for the two market attacks where several innocent, including women and children killed? If these are the same people, groups then where is the 'moderate' element in this criminal, non-pardonable , anti Pakistan group? Even if the terrorists of Waziristan, Bajaur and Malakand are waging a war against the army, they should die fighting in battlefield and not attack mosques, funerals and people in non-battle ground. This is forbidden by the prophet of Islam(peace be upon him).Islam came for all the peoples of the world . Nowhere is it written that it is only for Muslims. Nowhere Allah says in his book that He is the God, the Nurturer of Muslims only. Everywhere it is written that He is the Rabb(Nurturer) of all world, Illah(The God) of all mankind. Nowhere is His benovelance confined to Muslims. Everywhere He extends it to all humanity. Whosoever is doing this criminal murders and 'Fasad ' is not doing any service whatsoever to Islam. If the Islamic extremists are doing this then they have gone mad.Why did they kill mothers , sisters and children. These were all non- combatants. In modern day there is a clear cut differentiation between civilians and those in combatant, military uniform. Even retired military personnel come in non-combatant status according to Islam.The use of bombs, any explosives in non-war areas such as cities, fields where crops, and waterways are is strictly forbidden in Islam.The destruction in Buner and Swat and use of the Green Chowk to hang dead people so as to scare the civilians in the area to instill a reign of terror is strictly forbidden in Islam. The prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) made it sure that his behaviour to women including those in his house was kind and caring. Nowhere did he instill any fear and used haterd for the females. His kindness to his daughters and his wives and Bibi Ayesha(God is Happy with her) was an example of his way (Sunnat) for people and especially Muslims to follow.
 How can we negotiate with terrorists who are killing Pakistani women and children? If we do then what are we going to give them in return? What spaces, the same that our valiant army jawans and officers have given their lives to restore to Pakistan?
These are some of the difficult questions we need to confront and answer.
A professor who comes on tv representing the Jamaat e Islami always answers in double meaning way when asked about these attacks and deaths of innocent civilians.He was again justifying these attacks on Dawn News tv Newsnight programme with Saima Mohsin, that if  the US withdraws these attacks will stop. This shows the cheekiness and the raw shamelessness of these people who are almost accepting that the Taleban are doing these attacks and that the Afghan Taleban are in league with TTP as US is present in Afghanistan and not in Pakistan. If Jamaat e Islami knows this and all it's leaders accept this and vocalise this demand then why is the government and all the major political parties including Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) not confronting them? In Sindh the PPP plays a friendly siding up with the Jamaat to oppose and exasperate the MQM with whom it is in coalition in government. I simply am amazed at the bravado and shamelessness of all these parties and rulers.
Mr. Ayaz Amir , an MNA for PML(N) , a reasonable man and respected journalist has also vocalised this negotiation demand today and linked it with leaving the US camp. It seems that the terrorists are achieving their objective in spreading fear and  mayhem . What will be the new paradigm of terror in Pakistan? If we bow down to one form , then what will be the next head of the terror Hydra?
Where does the 'foreign ' element stand on in this. If we negotiate then are we giving into these 'foreign ' forces?
If one 'foreign ' player is India as even the interior minister is  saying now,  then are we giving into India? And what are we giving to India? This is getting out of bounds, incomprehensible, most confusing!
What does the Pakistan army say on this? I heard the army spoksman maj., general Athar Abbas a few days back where he reiterated a strong will to defeat the Taleban , reclaim territory for Pakistan and not allow the terrorists to regroup and rearm. How can this stance be reversed so soon, without completeing the job.
The questions keep on increasing. The hurt and pain increases for the innocent civilians and for the ordinary Pakistani.
 What is this 'Islamic" problem with Pakistan? I keep on asking myself, even after 60 years of existence Pakistan is not at peace with it's idenity, that of an independant Islamic state. Was it meant to be so? I keep on asking myself?
Looking at the 'Pathan" 'Taleban' nexus  I am completely confused..
Looking at Jamaat e Islami , I am reminded of the opposition to the creation of Pakistan by Maulana Maudoodi.I a m thinking as to his concept of the Islamic Caliphate and Ummah ,wasn't it really in effect anti- Pakistan state?
Then why does the establishment use this party for it's own designs? What does the establishment want?Who is the establishment?
Questions,dilemmas, puzzles, meanwhile Pakistan burns and news item of Lahore bombing is flashed on 'Chatpatta' news website of India. What is Man Mohan Singh and his ministers upto, defaecating their constipated bowels in the shining toilets of India?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Moon Market ,Lahore Mayhem!

Yesterday we had not recovered from the gory scenes of death and destruction from Peshawar bomb blasts and Quetta bomb blasts that our tv screens were pasted with the fire and destruction at the twin blasts that killed 43 and injured more than 100 innocent people shocking  us and making our nights nightmarish. The fires were burning in the markets, reaching dangerously close to a petrol pump nearby. There were reports of the fire engulfing the many houses in the vicinity. The sad part was that the fire extinguishing water tankers were insufficient to deal with this kind of tragedy. By the time the meager amount was put on fire, the water would finish and it took time to fill the next bowser. All markets in Pakistan have no fire extinguishing equipment in place. There is no sprinkling system,no fire alarm. There is no evacuation plan in crowded often, fully packed markets. There are no exit points, no exhaust fans and routs for smoke. The market is administered on adhoc basis. For a market that caters to millions of people, only one Chowkidar, or watchman is present in two shifts, night and day. The manager is not designated. Often there is no manager. The owner just  is responsible for the rent collection. In case there are several owners or shops and they do not care about either a disaster management program or fire hazard. there is no sense of responsibility or feel for human life in case of accident or hazard. They are only concerned with their prayer timing, keeping chanda(donation) boxes of some militant or pseudo -religious organisations in their shops. All spaces whether entrances, footpaths,open verandas are encroached with goods and hurdles by the shopkeepers. The parking areas especially in front of shops are hurdled by sticks and boards and stones as resreved car parking. In case of emergency , there would be no space to go out or reach inwards by emergency workers or staff. There are no shutes for evacuation in multistoried buildings. In North Nazimabad, Karachi, there are now massive shopping plazas, with no windows and ventilators. All front is sealed. In case of fire or emergency, most people will die of suffocatoion.The front panels are used for large advertising spaces. When the shoppers will die, who cares for advertising.
This kind of mentality is rampant all over Pakistan. It is so sad that the terrorists bombings are opening our eyes to the need for a proper disaster management plan for large buildings and markets. Even the Margalla Towers tragedy in earthquake did not really make the people of these large markets and buildings aware enough to take these measures seriously.
How the fire engulfed and destroyed the whole area is a tragedy and even the news reporters do not follow this story and it is left behind. All disaster handling is done to avert human tragedy. The newsreportes should follow this aspect so that there is enough information and emphasis on advocacy.

As regards the Punjab govt., I hope they realize that Local government is not just about General Musharraf, but about a good grass root level community participation including firefighting, disaster management, hospitals and clinics, community policing etc.such tragedies can be prevented and their aftermath handled .If Citizen Community Boards are there in place to guide and steer the needs of the citizens on all local issues. Emergency and rescue, firefighting and disaster handling are all such issues which need infrastructure and human resource at the local level. I do hope that the Chief Minister of Punjab realizes that we just cannot do a one man show and every one has to participate in saving the most beautiful city of Punjab, the beautiful, Alive Lahore! A great Heritage City deserves All our Attention, love and care. Commit to Lahore, Commit to Save Lahore. Our sincere condolences to all the people who lost their loved ones and support and Duas to all who are injured.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cultural Identity Of Sindh....History.A Sindh Tv Dialogue Initiated Some Ideas.

A good program was aired today on Sindh Tv about the cultural identity of Sindh. Part two will be aired next monday morning. The question was Is there a clash of civilisations as Sameul Huntington wrote in his book. Dr Chandio an eminent scholar told the audience that the economic and technological advancements will take any nation forward. Any language that has the base in this will move forward too. There was a query by a student as to who will be the next leader in civilisation and this was part answer to that. The idea of different civilisations occuring now and existing in a globally communicating world is debateable. Are we not all not part of one great civilisation now? In the historical sense ther were many civilisations, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greco- Roman, but contemporary world has only one modern civilisation. Cultures, traditions and religions maybe different but there is no clash and no variety. Even the Roman views have amalgated into 'Western' thought and we in East have also absorbed and imbibed it. There is no homogenous 'Eastern ' civilisation.
The debate on Sindh Tv was the kind of knowledgeable programs that should be given to Pakistani public. If translation in both English and Urdu is run with the program , this will be helpful to a wider audience.
The other very important point that the enlightened Dr. Chandio made was that the promotion of Sindhi language should be seen in the context of how much it fulfils the needs to access modern technological and competitive knowledge like mathematics, science and technology in order to develop and make the students or people using Sindhi as a medium of education in order to enter the mainstream.He discouraged the use of demands to make Sindhi as medium of instruction only because it is spoken by a people and said that there is real need to work  to make this language  as a language to build human resource. This point is very valid for any language , however regional , to develop and survive in the modern world. It has been seen that the languages which have more data in technology and other fields of human development are increasingly bieng adopted by any people to gain economic advantage. English is one such language as the UK and US have used this language and they have been in the forefront of education and technology in the modern world.
There is a dire need in Pakistan for educationists , policy planners, other leaders to understand that there is urgent need to develop more information base in all regional languages as the child first learns the mother tongue and his development is based on good , healthy use of language. He will then additionally learn a second language where the needs for his further education will increase.
In present day Pakistan the people are at a disadvantage in that they have no proper educational institutions and their curricula are not geared to cope with the challenges  of modern educational requirements which are becoming highly competitive and specialised day by day.
It is high time that all stakeholders in Pakistan's education took a proactive role and started a strategic approach to develop data and content in regional languages and integrate this with the national education program.All schools should offer matriculation board curricula with any mother tongue and English and Urdu as compulsory other languages. If a large content base is build in regional laanguages, the problem of lack of teachers and illiteracy and school drop out will be squarely addressed and resolved.
Right now the children drop out also because they find it difficult to study non mother tongue languages earlier. We really need this mother tongue language education dvelopment approach for Pakistan.
The 'O' and 'A' level board exams are a burden in our meager educational and economic resources. I have seen that almost all students in these schools are suffering because neither good trained teachers are available, nor the educational system is geared towards this kind of education. It is high time that the government improve the matric educational system and offer students more variety and choice and made government run schools more competitive all over Pakistan. We have done matric and are at par with any foreign college university eduacted person, why? Because our educational syllabus and teachers were good at that time. This was 1972 when I did my matric. My husband is also a leading writer, engineer, scholar. He also did matric from a Karachi school. So only by making matric syllabus more stronger, training more teachers and bringing a uniform, universal education system with strong use of mother tongue and regional languages will we be able to offer a future to the young ones in Pakistan. This kind of approach will also bring the people together as they will feel more  empowered, more recognised, more fulfilled. It will definitely bring more social cohesion and economic prosperity.
A very important point another distinguished speaker made was that  all peoples like Baluch,others from Iran and even Turkey etc., when they came to Sindh, integrated especially in the use of language and all culture but the only peoples who have not are the 'Urdu' speaking from India. He is right to some extent in that these 'Urdu' speaking largely settled in 'Urban'  Sindh . Here they particularly did not feel the need to use Sindhi as medium to communicate. As in those days the burauecracy and other office people were mostly fron India, some English was also used. Over the years due to lack of use of Sindhi as medium in any government department and documentation really lessened the need for it's use by the Urdu speaking population.
Meanwhile as Dr Chandio pointed out  , no development approach to Sindhi language was taken in order for it to become the 'Lingua Franca'. I find that in my 51 years in Sindh, the only learning I had of Sindhi language and culture and literature was becuase of my own interest and fascination with culture and peoples.I bieng born, bred and raised in Karachi of a mother , a lady educationist who is a poet in Urdu but teaches English and a father who because of bieng a Madras/ Bangalore birth combination could speak English and Tamil. The little conversational Urdu he learned was from my mother.I saw my mother recite her Urdu language poems in Karachi with big contemporary poets and masters like Himayet Ali Shaer , Faiz Ahmed Faiz and John Aliya.During years of English teaching at the PACC, she faced and tried to educate the youth especially from Sindh and Baluchistan, who had special 'hatred' for Urdu, to learn and communicate in all languages that one may come accross.This distinguished guest said that it is nationalists sentiments that define and make culture flourish. I do not know , but practically in Sindh and Baluchistan I have seen that the so -called 'Nationalists' have damaged the promotion of their culture and languages due to a kind of 'Ghettoising' their identity and using it as a legitimising tool for the realisation of their demands whether political or even economic. This has damaged the integrity and cohesional existence both in Sindh and Baluchistan to the detriment and cost of development and economic progress also. See what is this 'Urban' /'Rural' divide in Sindh?. In terms of Pakistan Peoples Party perspective it expresses as nationalist sentiment and face.Recently some Sindhi speaking MPAs question vociferously as to why is rest of Sindh other than Karachi bieng called 'Interior'?  The question is valid upto a point. It is high time that the PPP took a clear stand on it;s policy of promoting the Sindhi culture. Just by wearing the Ajrak and Sindhi topi will not solve the problems that I have pointed out in my post. Just by using the Sindh card in times of need will not make anyone a better Sindhi.
It is the need of the times that we integrated all regional languages  in a mainstraem, matriculation based educational board all over Pakistan. Long live the beuatiful, tolerant , sweet Sufi culture of Sindh, Long live our beloved Pakistan and it's multilingual, beautiful people of all faiths and religions!

Allan Faqeer Singing Paan To Paida Kayo - Free videos are just a click away

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shrine of Usman Marvandhi (Lal Shabaz Qalandar)

The Shrine Of Sindh's most reverered Sufi Saint.

The Rawalpindi Mosque Attack,Other Thoughts.

It is a ghastly tragedy that struck the worshippers in Rawalpindi today. We had not recovered from the sad suicide bomb attack on Naval College gates yesterday in which two died and eleven injured, that this massive crazy attack took the precious lives of 17 children, 30 officers and ten civilians. Many were injured. As described by witnesses it was a well planned attack in which the terrorists achieved their targets. I was reminded of the tactics in Mumbai attack. This also used grenades, cold blooded revolver or gun killing , and even suicide bombing although this is not confirmed. What I fail to understand is why  were the Islamic university bombers allowed to come inside the canteen building and a principals' office building. There was a lapse of security there also.Why does not the security includes sharpshooters. These bombers should be killed before they enter or reach the destination. In yesterdays' Naval College bombing , a highest officer was inside. Also where are the surviellance cameras and hurdles?
According to a witness who is trained,  the terrorists enterd the mosque by scaling the peripheral wall and then killed all present inside with guns, hurling hand grenades and even one suicide bomber.Some of them ran outside spraying everyone with bullets and throwing grenades. A  major general and brigadiere each and many other officers were killed. Many parents lost their sons. A grandmother sitting outside wept for her young grandchild.
Some 17 children were killed. The Tehrik e Taleban Pakistan is accepting the responsibility for the attack. The Jamaat e Islami Pakistan is siding up with TTP and asking US to leave . The US is in Afghanistan , not Pakistan. Not one person of the Jamaat has condemned these heinous attacks where not only army but innocent civilians are killed. Whenever a tv anchor asks for their opinion , they start discussing the US presence in Afghanistan and demand withdrawal of foreign troops. It seems they are in league with Afghan terrorists. The Pakistan Peoples Party representatives in Karachi and Sindh behave extra lovingly towards Jamaate Islami people and side up with them against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Here their value of fighting the terrorists is put behind.They are in coalition with MQM but behave in a hostile manner towards them. This politics of duplicity will continue , meanwhile innocent children and civilians will pay the price with their lives in blood.Pakistan has become  a state of foul, double standards. Here people compromise shamelesly to stay in power. Here all sorts of heinous crimes and injustices are allowed to occur and violence is increasing. No need for justice, no need for rule of law. Use any party for any popose as long as you get benefit.

Meanwhile the Zardari ajrak and Sindhi topi controvery continues. The MQM and ANP now becomes  accepting of his attire and endorse his dressing. He is now playing the Sindh card sort of post NRO and let's see if the establishment and the Punjabi factor lets him be. Meanwhile the army is doing a good job in South Waziristan, taking out the strongholds and getting territory back.The Swat bridges that were blown up by the militants are also bieng rebuilt. Let us hope this time the army and other rulers of the state do not let the terrorists return and take hold of our villages and towns, working with the religious parties insidously.

I'm Like A Bird Video by Nelly Furtado - MySpace Video

I'm Like A Bird Video by Nelly Furtado - MySpace Video

Friday, December 4, 2009



Ghulam Rasool is no more with us. He died yesterday and leaves the lovers of Pakistani art and of the landscape art around the whole world in loss and grief. My first encounter with his ‘engulfing’ paintings of the Pakistani Punjab were quite some years ago.. The gallery I forget but I was simply struck by the sheer profoundness of the landscape expression, the real feel of the grass, trees, the humans, the buffalos in his paintings. Bieng a child at that time , I could only feel the novelty of the feeling and could neither categorise or explain the finesse of the painting. This experience is perhaps what gives the uniqueness to the ‘seeing’ of his painting for me.
Marcella Naom Sirhindi, a Ph.D in Asian Art history, writes in her book, Contemporary Painting In Pakistan (Ferozsons ) that Ghulam Rasool is a landscape artist of the Punjab School. ‘ Gulam Rasul’s landscapes firmly rooted in the Punjab landscape school, add dimension of human habitation in nature .In the early eighties, Ghulam Rasool’s landscapes changed from the flat, design oriented abstractions  of neatly divided glowing in the Punjabi sunlight to more detailed realistic visions of the local landscape. His Panorama Of Buffalos  is very much part of the Punjab landscape tradition and a reminder  of his realistic student day landscape under the tutelage of Khalid Iqbal at Punjab University.’ ( Khalid Iqbal , the great landscape painter is considered the founder of  this school).
She says ‘ here again is evidence of a recurring concern for veracity in imagery and colour.’ Ghulam Rasool moved from Lahore to Islamabad in 1974. Perhaps it was here that I saw his paintings first. Dr. Sarhindi says’ Ghulam’s paintings have responded to the particular moods and atmospheres that distinguish these cities.
He was at the Atelier 17 in Paris in 1984 for an year , after which he returned to Islamabad. ‘His style grew more expressive, and he became interested in relationship between man and nature .He began to to concentrate  more on  intimate village scenes, particularly at Saidpur near Islamabad.(Saidpur is a picturesque ancient village in the foothills of Margalla). In his painting ‘ Midday Rest’  ‘his brushstrokes are bolder ,…the focus is on human activity instead of trees , bushes or verdant growth.’ She further asserts that his paintings later show more individuality, freer interpretation of nature, and his human depiction in scenes of villages.
I find his transition into a more individualistic style reminiscint  of the paintings of  Degas in later years, where a play of light and shade, people, flora .foliage creates an almost surreal , eternal quality to the painting. Almost as if passing into Eternity, subtly!
You can have detail information on him at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Swiss Mentality, Oh How Has It Changed?Has Racism Left Europe Really?

My earliest encounter and mentality of the Swiss people was that when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My mother's friend and whose children she used to tutor was a Swiss lady named Mariam married  to a Pakistani.I was always so impressed by the soft spoken, sweet lady, who would make sure that we had cookies whenever I visited her house. She was kind to my mother whom she would give coffee and buiscuits whenever she would reach her home to teach. My mother was teaching privately , would go to many homes to give tuitions, often in Rickshaw , a very noisy transport, when their cars wouldn't come. Marium aunty made it sure that she would be comfortable before starting her lessons. My mother is one of those rare breed who always worked with honesty ,dedication, without any expectation for reward and acknowledgment. She bore adversity with courage and fortitutde, educating her own girls, cultivating solid values of respect for humanity, tolerance and honesty in all aspects of life  and even to those she taught. Throughout her life whether as a powerful public representative, a socio -political worker, or a private or language tutor she lived  a good life in the sense of contribution and character building of those who were her pupils. Till the time she was in Pakistan, I remember her never short of company from kids to musicians, to poets and intellectuals.

So Marium aunty would also visit us girls to give us fruit and chocolates to keep us happy when our mom was in hospital for a short time. She made it sure that we would be happy.I often sifted through her German magazines, although I did not know German.Her parents who were in Switzerland with her brother, Hanzi who played some musical instrument, I can't remember now would send us home made Christmas chocolates, for which both my sister and I would wait. These were often beautiful dolls or figurines whom we would find difficulty to eat as what should we eat first the beautiful head? As the delicious chocolates melted in our mouths we dreamed of the beautiful valleys and grasslands of Switzerland and her parents in their little home, like magic story from th lands of Hansel and Gretel. Our reality till to this day of The Swiss was that, beauty, chocolates and soft spoken, fine and kind people.
As I read about the 'controversial' vote of the Swiss to vote against the building of minarets in mosques in Switzerland, my heart broke..What has happened to the beauty of tolerance. As someone said that we do not want the skyline to be spoiled by minarets , a symbol of power for Muslims, I think the world has become so intolerant that it has permeated and poisoned even the spirit of the Swiss whom I took as one of the most tolerant. where will this polarisation take us the humanity? What are the limits of 'Us' and 'Them'?
What is racism? Has Europe really come out of the 'racist' divisions that were there before World War 2?
What is the 'new' definition of Swiss? Are Muslims in Switzerland second rate citizens, the 'other' people?
What is democracy really in the minds of the Swiss?
Is this the same phenomenon of anti - hijab  in Belgium and anti- burka in France?
There are so many issues that need urgent attention and debate in Europe. So does Europe believes that 'preserving' white race is the priority then what are the values and limits?
Was Hitler wrong in his ideology, minus the violence he used?
Is al Qaeda a reaction, another voice in Europe, the world. I shudder and am in agony at the prospect of  'violent people getting what they want as the only means of communication!

oh ,how sad, minarets are not the symbols of 'power', they are just a beautiful architectural part of a mosque, Alas! 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The State Of 'Dis- Education' In Pakistan, A Devastating Dilemma!

Pakistan enters the new century, illiterate, uneducated, uninformed completely unprepared for the challenges to face the future. In this brave new world of technology, competition, informed choices and decisions ,where the competition for old resources will increase, where the floodgates to new discoveries and resources to humanity will be vastly opened, we are bieng pushed into a rat hole!
As if the assault on the education by the militants and Jaahil  at the primary level, especially for the girls in the frontier regions and now by threats in large urban areas was not enough, a heart breaking picture, a nightmare appears before me. This is ignored by the party that claims to be the representative of the millions of Karachi residents.Who else will give voice to the young people who are residents of this area and who are the future of not only this city but  the whole of Pakistan.
The 'Ostrich like ' attitude of education department and ministry, the MPAs , the MNAs to this massive injustice to the youth in Landhi, Korangi was expressed by a young girl whom I met in a seminar today.
She is studying  in Bcom , a bachelor's degree after which she can take a commerce path.Her desire to read English literature as she liked the goodness expressed  in character building and her need to communicate in English led us to an interesting and a very heart wrenching discussion about the state of education in Karachi.
I was asking her if she read Charles Dickens in matriculation, a board for school education in Pakistan.She could not even say the name properly. then she told me that all good authors are in 'advanced' English option.
I was shocked as I had even read Shakespeare when I was doing my pre-college after matric.
She said that the standard of matriculation which is offered to millions of Karachi youth has fallen down so much that it is unbelievable. The textbooks are very small in content. There are no choices of subjects. There is poor attendance of teachers in govt., schools where only attendance to collect salaries is counted. The same is for colleges. Most of the teachers are doing private tuitions where they are recruiting from govt run institutions. All administration and principals are involved in this racket.
Many students who have to take tuitions give tuitions to smaller students themselves to get financial help. Their problems are multiplied by lack of resources and time to improve.
The colleges attendance is so poor that  in a whole day only one lecture is given, while the teacher does not attend all days in a week. Most students take group tuitions where they pay exhobitant fee to private centers or tuitors.
The standard is so poor that the students just pass in most subjects. They cannot even dream of getting into a good college or university in the city.
All exams are passed by cheating,in which teachers, school , college administration, and political party workers are involved. 
The sad story is that this region of Landhi -Korangi is very thickly populated by a very low middle, and labour population.The citizens either work in factories, or offices in lower grades and as laborers. Most of them even cannot afford any education but send their children to govt., run schools to give some semblance of education. Those who can start from cheapest private schools.  Even who can afford have to go far away to some better schools and colleges.
The private schools and colleges are also a racket all over Karachi. Their fees are exhorbitant and the quality of education they impart is very poor and mediocre. Most of the elite schools are also useless. A good student, one in a million will learn and do his/her own thing anyway. The O , A level education is also a huge burden on our children as the teachers are neither trained nor is the curriculum conducive to learning in this highly deficient environment. A good, substantial. across the board matriculation syllabus is the need of the times. Othewise we are doomed. My sincere advice to the largest political force representing  this area is to completely revamp their attitude of getting it's children passed by sifarish or cheating and really fight to get these children really educated. If the provincial govt, under whom the education department comes is not cooperating, they should find out of the box solutions by  immediately forming think tanks on education  including educationists such as Dr Tariq Rehman and others. This has to be done immediately and on a flood control, disaster management basis. It is high time that the leading political party in these urban areas thinks of the future of these young ones.
I have seen my mother , a selfless teacher, educationist work for Karachi , built schools, colleges, not looking for acknowledgment, but just to do good to it's citizens. My heart cries for these youth who if given the right chance and opportunity in education , will build our nation's future. The Sindh provincial govt., whose education department is the most corrupt in the world should also do it's house right and not put it on fire. For when the fire of illiteracy burns , it engulfs all identities, every nationality, whole country.
It is high time that the youth of Sindh, be it urban or rural, given a good solid education, preparing it for a bright future and employment for

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ah The Political Elite,Misfits In Pakistan...Or Are They?

As the new controversy is started about the National Reconciliation Ordinance, so many things are opened to debate. The issue of corruption is foremost, false allegations and bad judicial conduct over the past several years is hand in glove with the ills that now infest Pakistani politics. Due to the continuous manipulation and culture of corruption, the state is now a joke . The common man has no access to justice. The whole judicial system is corrupt to the core. If a poor ordinary person is held by any form of administrative setup and especially the police, he is doomed. his entire family, his children will be finished forever. They will never get any justice . They will not be even given a charge sheet. The police will simply skin them alive. The police is so corrupt that when the rich ,powerful fuedals and corrupt politicians telephone them ,they spare the murderers even. I have witnessed a servants young son bieng sent to jail and punished with life sentence instead of the rich boy, who killed a fellow friend and the poor boys'  father was blackmailed and threatened with dire consequences if he did not cooperate. The police rapes and loots the poor girls and is in league with corrupt officials and fuedals all over the Punjab and Sindh. Nobody can do anything. The journalists who try to do anything are quietened in other ways, They often lose their lives. When a poor girl comes to a shelter home like Darul Aman, there are cars in line with 'customers' to rape and molest her.
All politicians and so called peoples representatives know this and they are not doing anything. The Fort Wood Psycho should come to Pakistan for his shooting ,he will find justified role here aplenty.
So what is this NRO bit? The real beneficiaries the PML Q members joined the Musharraf government. Mr Altaf Hussain has 31 murder cases registered against him. His main crime is that he is 'Urdu' speaking.
He will never be accepted as  a real leader. They will never accept him, no matter what and how big his votebank is.
Pakistan is racist, ethnically divided, polarised society. They never accept other ethnicity.They believe in biradari, lineage and such farce in this modern age.To Pakistanis, egalitarian justice, giving and safeguarding human rights is a 'foreign gaali' (abuse).Bieng a non-muslim is a license to death!
The politicians are coming from either fuedal backgrounds where landed violence on poor farmers to the extent of rape and beating and physical torture is a sign of 'The Power' of the landlord. Same people and their corrupt females come to sit in assemblies. How can they guard the rights of the poor downtrodden masses.
Then there is the 'religious ellite' .These are represented by their political people also. These are thoroughly corrupt too taking the facade or hiding behind a party or madressah or group with young militant wings. They have really messed up the political scene and are now fighting with the establishment, another clandestine group of persons in power, corrupt, dishonest, ruthless and favoring any bad thing in order to maintain status quo and power.
The army elite is another powerful , fat group of people against whom even whispering a word is equated with blasphemy. Their agencies will know what time you shitted, or slept with your partner and will be most ignorant of the 'suicide bomber' planning. Mr Musharraf had a declared  worth 40 crores even before he became president.None of the DHA or other army affiliate organisation accounts are known.
The few stray politicians who independantly come into power have to side with one group or another in order to maintain their political stature and stay in power.
So it boils down to the grim fact that there is no true representation of people in Pakistan. Whatever little modicum of institutions is there is because of foreign  especially western support. This is bieng so strongly antagonised by the pseudo-religious groups. these are causing permanent damage to the tru eliberation of the people of Pakistan and the semblance of freedom.
Mr Zardari's worth of 1.8 billion on wikipedia is to be questioned. How did he become so rich? From the money of Bambino Cinema tickets, which his father Hakim Ali Zardari owned? Their land was also not so much. Why are people not questioning the historical fact and that too only of  twenty years time?

There are so many other corrupt people all over. In Pakistan if you are honest, hard working, meritorious, even your own family will call you a fool , a 'choo...' expletive deleted. there never will be Bill Gates or Howard Hughes here, no Tatas or any such examples. The business community also thrives on cheating, corruption and shortcuts. Nobody will question you if you have money. Justice is only for the poor. the downtrodden, the ethnically different as in Urdu speaking or such. Why this NRO farce now when Mr Zardari was 'safe' and 'smug' in his presidency and the PPP was in power?Note my past tense.
An ordinary educated person from middle middle class will only get some decent job or any job on recommendation of some rich and powerful, not on merit. The society is now so beaten up and raped and quiet, that it now accepts all injustice as a 'fate'!
There will never be  a revolution in the true sense here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Preservation Of Ethno linguistic Culture,The Kalaash Fascination!


As I look around for answers  in the cultural evolution of the peoples  of Swat valley to the violent ethno religious assault in our modern day Pakistan a fascinating book, Proceedings Of  The Hindukush Cultural Conference by Oxford University Press, gave a fascinating account in so many papers of the Kalaash people. My fascination with this unique ethnic group is such that how in the region where all around there is spread of  Islam and modern ,sociocultural influence, these people managed to preserve their culture uptil now. Since the formation of Pakistan and the inquiry and research into this culture a lot of detail has come out and now as a preserved culture they are cherished. As I read the various papers it became clear that the people of Chitral and Kalaash valley had various shades of religion, shamanistic, ancestoral worship, fire worship etc. They also believed  in One God , which is known as Mahadeo by Kalaash. How is it then that when Islam arrived in this area this belief was not converted and to this day remains as a belief only. There is no place, ritual or written document for one god worship. Ibne Batutta passed this area in 1237 and says that the people of the Chitral were already muslims whereas in the other chronicles the question to  conversion to Islam arises.Another scholar questions in his paper as to how and why the traditions of Khowar culture such as playing the Ibex horn bugle by the shepherd at dawn have disappeared.The slow decline of traditions in song, dance, celebratory festivals and now burials and funerals reflect the loss of culture in Chitral.
The peoples of Swat also became homogenised in the sense of religious practices of uneral and burial and giving up certain practices by the Islamic faith edicts, by the advent of Islam and their initial cultural practices vained.
The Kalaash people are now suffering by illiteracy, disease and looking for opportunity in other areas for economic benefits.They may lose their pristine culture eventually. I can understand this. But my larger question that the assault on the multi ethno-cultural peoples by a small, violent,group now especially dominated by Pakhtuns of a very small ethno religious identity, why and how and by whom is it bieng supported. What is the cultural context?
The question that comes into mind is what is the concept of homogenous religious identity and how does it answer or how does it occur. Is urbanisation one representation? It cannot be !It is not complete in itself. Ethnic, cultural diversity is always opposed to homogenisation in religious beliefs. The Kalaash are a fascinating and unique lot, not only in their preservation of culture but also in the preservation of religious beliefs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shanaakht Festival Karachi ..A must Attend Festival By the Citizen's Archive, Pakistan !

   This is a courageous and much commendable effort to bring in your identity home.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Allama Mohammad Iqbal ...A Great Visionary Poet Of The Subcontinent, South Asia!

Iqbal  was a great poet of the south asian subcontinent. He wrote his philosophy in the form of prose but mainly poetry was his chosen medium, the joy and beauty of whose expression he excelled in his style and rendition. The language of Urdu was used by him in it's pristine,varied expressive,entirety while Persian has been used as a great fluent expression also. V.G. Kiernan has translated some of his works in poetry in a beautiful book printed by Oxford University Press whih every home should have.I qoute   to some pieces  here for readers to enjoy.

Modern Man

Love fled, Mind stung him like a snake; he could not
Force it to vision's will.
He tracked the orbits of the stars ,yet could not
Travel his own's thoughts world;
Entangled in the labyrinth of his science
Lost count of good and ill;
Took captive the sun's rays, and yet no sunrise
On life's thick night unfurled!

Today And Tomorrow

No claims to the future,it's joy or it's sorrow,
Has he in whose soul no hot passion burns now;
Unworthy the tumult and strife of to-morrow
That nation to whose will today does not bow

Iqbal was an idealist. his vast education in Europe made him a thinker. He questioned the 'status qou' of the muslim clergy, intellectuals and poets of his times in India. India was at the time in a stagnant religious, mode in context to Muslims in his times. The muslim way of life had become, routine, stagnant and unlike what a muslim life should be according to him. His whole philosophy seems to revolve around awakening of this stagnant, slumbering Muslim thought and way of life to a more passionate, active, questioning, doing persona. Somehow at that time this coincided with the formation of Pakistan and therefore, he is considered as the person whose ' Takhaeuul' or vision was Pakistan. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pakistans Rich Cultural Heritage ... The Sweet Sounds Of Sindh

the beauty of the rich cultural heritage of Sindh lies in it's serene devotional music. From Sur to Alghoza to bansuri to it's great vocalists the true serene sufi character of this beautiful land and it's people is reflected. transforming the mood of the weary traveller to that of a beautiful lake with peacocks dancing and the red ,yellow sands of the Thar desert providing a shimmering oasis of thoghts to devotional poetry of the great Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit Shah. Listen to the sounds of Sindh and 'sairab' your spirits!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Erum Javed...A Breath Of Fresh Air On Pakistani Paintings Horizon!

I had written about beautiful fine Impressionist painting in my previous post as to how it brings quiet and complete joy to the viewer. Erum Javed's fine paintings are such pieces of art that bring that calm ,good feeling to the viewer, so real and feeling that one is transformed right into the painting, standing by the lamp post, sitting besides the flower bed, smelling the fragrances of the English garden. The impressionist flavor is profound in her paintings, almost real!
She has captured the beauty of the English scenery, whether, garden, wood ,dwellings or street.
Her style is so refreshing in the Pakistani painting scene, much awaited, most welcome!

Tim Sebastian's Doha Debates,Forgiveness In a Christian Heart.

Today the eightth victim a girl student in the International Islamic University, Islamabad died. The tragedy of violence that took place in Islamabad, and which has shaken the whole country, except perhaps a few who claim to be the religious representatives yet side up with the terrorists, clearly brought home to all of us ordinary people, especially Muslim mothers how violence has entered the inner,most cherished cirle of our lives. I remember the Lockerbie bombing tragedy some thirty years ago. In Pakistan many people thought of it that it was an event so far away, to some so remote, unknown people, Scotland, where? It seemed almost unreal to many people here. Then there was a knd of sympathy for the Libyans as there was a friendship between the countries. In Mulim countries there is a quiet comeraderie amongst the elite, especially the ruling classes, almost to the level of ugly conspiracy. The level of sweeping the dirt under the carpet and looking the other way is so common almost a sinister, custom.So we never really felt the pain of the loved ones' loss as they were a different race, colour, religions.Almost nonexistence. Now as we feel the intense pain of loss of our loved ones, and this debate comes on BBC, the universal truth of the tragedy and irreplaceable loss of victims of violence is real and ah,so close! The lancinating pain of grief and sorrow, the simple and profound inability to do anything, becomes a sore.
As the debate If Al Meghrahi was innocent and why was he released, and what is the real justice, raged, a simple admission by Dr. Tim Wire brought tears to my eyes. He said bieng a Christian he found it simple to forgive and that to him was the ultimate tribute to his 20 year old doctor daughter who died in the crash. He believes that Meghrahi maybe innocent as there was not enough evidence for him to believe otherwise. Can we have that courage of conviction of belief in our hearts to forgive like he has done. But then he believes that Meghrahi is not the perpetrator. What if he is and the other families think so and so do the Scottish courts.'?Can you forgive if your daughter is raped, and killed? Can you forgive if an injustice is done to you and the perpetrator is set free? Forgiveness is so difficult.May families of victims of violence find peace.
Maybe the act of forgiveness is the real healer and then we can carry on,move ahead.

What’s Cookin’ – Merlotte’s Red Beans and Rice

What’s Cookin’ – Merlotte’s Red Beans and Rice

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beauty Of Impressionism Lives On In Our Souls,Senses!

(Above are some master's works in Impressionism.Erums works I will put in a later post)
The intensely fine paintings in watercolour,oil on paper ,canvas and leather was a sheer joy and pleasure to watch after the intensely parched and injured senses of these last days in Karachi.
The artist Erum Javed, a fine lady artist who has lived in English and European cities, expresses her sensibility in fine painting. The dynamic and welcoming curator of the ......Gallery in the Arts Council ,made it possible for us to see this fine and I really think a great artist.She is so humble in her persona and yet her paintings reflect a technique an finesse that she has mastered. As I enjoyed from painting to painting, I came to see that she has expressed the serenity of a street in Coventry, a group of houses in Warwick,A lone boat in an English river, so dexterously, transforming and transferring the viewer right inside the painting, right into the landscape. Mesmerised you find yourself standing in that street under the lampshade , right outside the steps leading to the front door of the house. the gardens with their fine coloured display of foliage, flowers beckoning one to sit by them to enjoy the cool natural beauty.I think of Impressionism bordering on realism almost like Manet, Monet and other great Impressionists.

The beauty of Impressionism is clearly apparent in Monet, Manet but other great artists as shown here also show the vast technique pallette. Artists like Paul Cezanne, Auguste Renoir, Berthe Moriset,Ciallebotte and my favorite of all artists, Degas.
Pakistani artscene needs a breath of fresh air like Erum Javed when she is successful in touching that fine sensibility in us which is such a novelty in this fast materialistic approach to art that is prevalent now . Artist like her have given us hope that novelty,ingenuity,spontaneity yet mastery of fine technique and unique style are still the benchmark of good art. The lamp of almost realistic impressionism lives on in Pakistan.