Sunday, June 28, 2009

Micheal Jackson, Iconic Pop Singer, His Life An Epic Drama! Death Reveals All!

The dramatic death of Micheal Jackson epitomises the fragility of life, human existence, fraility of the human bieng to fight against the demons of destruction such as child abuse,drugs and search for love. The pain of Micheal Jackson's soul ,if stemmed from abuse in childhood(the doctor's in abuse case in his trial said his development had arrested at 10 years of age ), very fast ,demanding ,materialistic life, which started at 9 years of age was very real for him all his life. As is evident from Deepak Chopra interview on Msnbc which I have posted, he was clearly unable to find help on his own as so often happens in children who are left to fend for themselves. Ironically as is evident from drug use in slum area poor children and street children in Pakistan this is the case.
He was left as as a singer to achieve on his own.He had no real support, help or real love in his life. As Deepak Chopra says he would stop seeing him for weeks whenever Deepak asked him or tried to discuss the reason for taking so much pain killer medicines or tried to help. This is typical avoidance behaviour which becomes a habit with addicts. Micheal Jackson had a musical genius inside his body and to reach out and connect he used music. he was endlessly talented in his form of entertainment, maybe the only one at the crossroads of poular music at the juncture of musical change and appealed to an audience young and old,modern and conventional. He brought a simple recorded video to the epic level of a star though solo studded opera performance. His "thriller" is a representative of his ultimate mastery of entertainment.

Sadly, his life is a picture of the false values and plasticity and fakeness of materialism and so called modern living. His child abuse allegations, Deepak Chopra's revelations that he himself may have been abused, his continuous push as in Western society to maintain status no matter at what cost( remember Nicole?),his complete failure to find peace and health( his vitiligo,heart pain, plastic surgery obsessions are the symbols) are there for every one to see. Amazingly when he was alive no one really brought any real life issues to the fore. This reflects the fakenes of our most modern ,materialistic and especially to blame now Western society. The journalistic and media fakeness is so complex a phenonmenon that the real issues especially facing celebrities are never addressed. The celebrities become like barbies and their lives, soap operas in episodes. No complete picture, no real life compassion.
In real life we need to stop see and think. In real life we need to see, feel and connect. We may find solace in helping .Some poor children, some lost soul!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Drug Abuse In Pakistan...Challenges and Solutions.

Today was a day to commemorate the evil of drug abuse in the world. Ironically Micheal Jackson, ( / )an iconic singer for youth died today probably due to overdose of the pain killers medication he was taking on prescription. (See prescription drug abuse on ).Micheal Jackson ruled the hearts of teenagers and ironically at 50 he died a death the reason for which so many parents dread and so many youth suffer. In Pakistan the statistics of all drug use, abuse, substance abuse are unknown. The UNO gives some figures based on some incomplete data provided by government structures but all is unreliable. The facts are such that;
As I used to drive down Hazara and often, Islamabad -Peshawar highway (in 1990) , I would see young people sitting in remote areas outside their villages using drugs. The city of Karachi is thriving in areas and places where drugs are openly sold, addicts live and die in these areas. The police does neither control supply of drugs nor face the mafia. In affluent areas the supply is also free by vendors in small shops and cycle riding cheap goods sellers and near the Seaview , Karachi pretending to be camera operators and chai wallas.
When I was a child my mother then the member of Karachi Divisional Council, education committee often fought and got a few school vendors especially in Lyari areas , which the administration removed for temporary times. They would inevitably return. This was some 40 years ago. After Zia ul Haq regime and Afghan war, this menace has come out of Lyari and is all over Karachi and Pakistan.
The various NGO's are mostly working with adults and a few with street children . Some are doing a fine job albiet a miniscule one while others who are working with HIV AIDs are making a lot of money.The amount of job at hand is enormous whereas the capacity is miniscule.
As was bieng debated on media what are the causes of drug use in youth, they are the same all over the world.
Poverty, lack of parental attention, stress, anxiety, depression, peer pressure,easy access to drugs, satisfaction,sense of achievement all count.In places likse USA drug use is decreasing due to interventions both at the state level and at the societal level. In Pakistan this problem is increasing because of the following factors;
Close proximity of areas of production(poppy in Afghanistan)
Smuggling and illegal drug trade into Pakistan.
Pakistan is inthe route of world drug trade(poppy and it's derivatives )
Poverty in Pakistan.
Corruption and lack of state control in narcotics.
Lack of control on sale of drugs(both prescription and over the counter)
Children are often sent to the quacks/doctors/chemists to fetch medicine(jake dawai le ao meaning go get medicine)(not even qualified as most chemist shops are run by non chemist although a legal clause and binding is there).
Lack of education and easy social access to drug dealers and providers.
Males especially of illiterate , slum areas are least likely to be governed or asked about their daily behaviuor.
Many children in slum area are going to school and in the process take drugs.
Many poor children have to start work early( in age) and are away from home for a long period of daily routine and are unsupervised when they are returning from work.
Often these children are hungry for normal food and bieng children are vulnerable to influences and friendship induced influence.
Youth of relatively affluent areas especially from landed or politically powerful families is encouraged as a sign of affluence to smoke and substance abuse(including alcohol, heroin and cocaine).
Lack of awareness of drug abuse amongst middle class and upper middle class parents.

The following actions are urgently needed to fight this menace;
The anti narcotic strategy has to be revisited and its force prepared almost like an army.
The smuggling routes and it's entry into cities has to be blocked.
The police has to be taken to task on this corruption. Some new accountability laws have to be made and implemented.
The supply line has to be broken. Very tough measures should be taken by the government. I think they should catch a few big fish and make them an example.
The government should launch massive awareness campaigns in all schools including private schools. Drug abuse education should be made a part of curriculum.
The government should dedicate helplines for youth and parents with information and diversion to rehabilitation centers or hospitals. There should be dedicated drug rehabilitation centers in all major cities in tertiary care hospitals.This can be done like in Jinnah hospital in Karachi.
Public awareness campaigns should be run every day on television and radio.
Stars including of music and cricket should volunteer for fighting this menace.
All internet and mobile companies should give some free messages everyday.

If we seriuosly get down to fight against drugs then ther is no way the drug mafia can eat our children away.
We must avoid this attitude which I noticed in most government functionaries and even the UNO representative, of just doing a fixed job,making his salary money and letting the monster grow.
We must urge and motivate the youth itself to fight this menace as a jihad and not let it strike in the first place.
I was so touched by the two boys,one 18 and the other 20 who came on CNBC -Pakistan Awam Ki Awaz with Nadia Naqi and said that when we can fight it inspite of poverty, illiteracy, no help and even after contracting a disease as lethal as HIV-AID. These guys are the real icons , the real hope for Pakistan in our fight against DRUGS!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sarkozy's Burka Blaspheme,Oh these French Men, English Men!

Mr Stuart Jefferies writes about the non- Hegelian views of Mr. Sarkozy ( pg 10 world news.Another human rights activist ,surprisingly English appeared on tv interview also thought that his statement was infringemnet on personal freedom and did nothing to help the human and particularly women's rights in France. Mr. Mark Parton,( ) a famous radio -journalist and blogger from Canberra, Australia also took my views last week on the burka issue. This issue ironically appears to be the vanguard now in adressing secularism,muslim societies, freedom of expression and the plight of the muslim women in the world.
Mr Jeffries defends the Hegelian view that reason alone defines personal freedom and not just societal conditioning and implies it in the context of what Mr. Sarkozy said.He said that"We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life,deprived of identity" and "the burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience""It will not be welcome on the territory of France".He says that the French president is treading on the path of destroying right to choose in matters of freedom of expression , in this case, outer garment, Burka.The other English human rights worker said that in his experience such edicts did not help the victims and did nothing to improve human, particularly women's rights situations.
I believe and here comes the blasphemous words from muslim, Pakistani woman that Mr Sarkozy is Right in his thoughts but maybe the correct words are not chosen and perhaps the timing of such a staement reeks of political advantage gaining.As I answered to the radio journalist, Mr. Parton that the edict of appearing modestly in public in Islam, two ayats or verses in the Koran,to be exact came in the context of the conduct of muslim women in Mecca in those times.Both these verses exhort women to cover the heads and pull up the edge of the head cover slightly over the face so that she maybe distinguished as a muslim woman different from other non-muslims. This is done by thousands of muslim women as hijab.In those days there was a tradition that there were women slaves by arab men(non-muslim), who made them do prostitution and earn money. These slave women were publically taken as un- chastised and one way of distinguishing from them in public was the order of the hijab.The other edict is regarding taking the scarf like (Dopatta, in the subcontinent) cloth in front to cover the breasts in order to appear modest. This is not in context of public appearance but is practiced by muslim women in India, Pakistan and many other countries.When Pakistan came into bieng, the burka was taken by a few immigrant women from India and the rest as in Punjab, Baluchistan, Sindh were only wearing dopatta, the long scarf. The tradition of the face covering burka started much later on , more so after the Ziaul Haq so called Islamisation campaign, hudood ordinances, Afghan Jihad, all thanks to the tune of the fiddle of the so called liberal Americans. ( I would love Mr Jeffrey's comments on Zia ul Haq's views on Hegel and the at that time US administrations' views on that.)
It is interesting to note that Hindu women in their "Lajja" modesty also take the palloo or edge of the sari over their face and express shyness and modesty. hhTis is considered a very sweet womanly "style" expression and has nothing to do with suppression or oppression as such. ( See star plus dramas ,made in India).
Punjabis and other muslims in Pakistan were living happily in the sense that there was sectarian tolerance and women worked in fields and as teachers, nurses, doctors in the cities also. There was no problem of the burka.
Post Zia era when religious so called extremist thrust increased, the burka became more fashionable in some regions in Pakistan. Earlier it was only a few women fron religious parties like Jamat e Islami( Maulana Maudoodi's party) who were wearing burka with face covering hijab. A few other maulana's people also covered their faces.We were neither exhorted by these people to wear the burka or cover our faces.Now over the years, the extremism, intolerance, failure to respect other people's view point and respect their culture has increased and now we are seeing open threats to violence even by female activists of the jamaat to women who do not wear the burka. I am a personal witness to this where I always had avery friendly and positive interaction with even the male leaders o f the Jammat in the early 80's now I am afraid to talk to their minor female activists.
In Saudi Arabia, burka was worn almost evrywhere, many other arab countries, the burka was popular in villages mostly and the urban women were less inclined towards it.The wide gap between women wearing burka was not really one of perception as all muslim societies were tolerant towards women who were not wearing it.three things happened which almost changed the whole perception of burka. The iranian revolution, almost directly rejected the western look of a female , thanks to the US siding up with Shah and throwing away Mossadaq and the religious leadership's populrity in Iran.Now over the years , thanks to the Basij, it is again symbolising what Mr. Jeffreys would call non_Hegelian, suppression of individual freedoms.
The Saudiazation of the islamic religious scholars 'view of the Pakistani woman, which mostly spread in the Pathan population initially. These religious scholars were running seminaries and madressahs which was bieng funded by saudi money. The women in these populations were first to take this burka elment. You would be surprised that the blue colour burka worn in afghanistan is considered more islamic by many fundamentalist Pathans , naturally as they have more influence and interaction with Afghan pathans. Many of these people describe the black burka as fashionable and westernised and therefore rejected and ordered to abstain from. A particular area in Frontier was ordered by Taleban, not to wear the black un Islamic burka. The same black burka is worn by Pathan religious student population in Karachi.
The Afghan Jehad where the Islamist Mujaheddin became more popular and later were taken over by Taleban again enforced the burka as means of implementing so called Islamic edicts on a helpless women population which was aghast with poverty, death of loved ones(more than 25000 widows in Kabul alone).This enforcement of chastity on a populace who is protected by the prophet of Islam (orphans and widows) and the Koran more than anything else in the world.
The third and most important symbol of suppression of human rights and I would really like an unbiased take of a westerner on this is Israel's thrust on rejecting the muslim Palestinian identity. As the Palestinians were more suppressed in their rights , they became more expressive in their religious symbolism and as happened in post Shah Iran, women expressed by taking up the burka.
Now my input as to why I said Mr. Sarkozy was right in his ideas. I did not say he was right in his expression or articulation. I have no love for the French President, though he does epitomise a kind of high achiever. But, nevertheless,the burka in a muslim society now symbolises, subjugation of women, as most muslim countries are very bad in women 's rights obligations and justice.It does refect subjugation as the extremist movements are focussing on keeping women invisible and as recently see in Buner, a man was shot by taleban for not giving his daughter to a taleban.
It does reflect subjugation in Saudi Arabia where women are treated as second class citizens,where men and rich men at that can get away with rape and murder.Where liqour is drunk routinely but a woman is beheaded for doubt of sexual act.
It does reflect subjugation in Iran, where more than half the people on death row are children, and a sizable number are girls.Where you are muslim but if you do not side with a particular establishment or religious elitist view you are doomed.
It does reflect subjugation in Pakistan where women have only recently been given some refuge from the Draconian hudood ordinances, in which the victim of rape was put in jaila d the rapist set free for want of evidence.This country even today a woman who is raped is considered unchaste. (I will post the photo of a child who wasraped when 3 years and even her eyes were gouged out.She comes to us for rehablitation and is a living witness to this crime against humanity.)
The choice to wear a burka or not, should be upto the individual and in free societies like France, they should not express themselves as if they are subjugated. Freedom to wear Hijab is an expression of islam but burka surely not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Out Of Sync Pakistanis! Bad Reporting On Iran!

The Iran Election and post election events reveal the lack of objective reporting by our senior journalists. A senior journalist was crying hoarse on a tv phone in that he had been invited by Iranians to see the elections and he said that I want to tell millions of Pakistanis that Ahmedinijad was overwhelmingly winning in rural areas. This in pre election rallies. Little does he know that 70 % of population now lives in cities and Teheran always reflects the tide of intellectual Iran and is representative of the political scene. Just like Karachi !Their visit and excitement does not prove a thing about Ahmedinijad winning the election. The real fight is now between Mousavi and Khamenei as shown in an article by Simon Tinsdall in editorial page of Dawn newspaper. Mousavi is also now accidental leader. If he was not there it would be another. All the four candidates were chosen out of more than 300 by the guqardian council. All have been approved by the establishment and clergy. Why do our journalists give such stupid and small statements siding up with the incumbent as if siding up with the other would be anti "Islamic"? They have to give unbiased coverage. How can siding up with incumbent be more appropriate in journalistic freedoms and rights of information. If you are trying to protect the principles of "Revolution" then it becomes more appropriate to recognise that "Revolution " is dynamic. Iran itself is not doing any good by blocking BBC etc.,as if the whole world does not watch BBC.We all wait and watch their news no matter what the time and circumstances. When I was a kid in 1965 India Pakistan war, then 1970,all the time.People know the difference and can sense biased and racist reporting. Free press and free expression is everything in the world. Stupid reporting and curbing free expression will never hide the truth.

So out of sync we have been that in the Suez dilemma we were ,that to this day our relations with Egypt are not good. Indian muslims were Khilafat supporters when Ataturk was coming into power. As recent as the American forces were invading Iraq our Tv anchors, I specifically remember one on Geo was saying that Saddam will be victorious and within half an hour the American forces were inside Iraq. I am not justifying the invasion but reporting has to be factual.
The iranian people are fighting for their rights . There are horrible practices such as Rijm still bieng practised. There are more than 70 children including girls on death row. The crime or such reporting is not free. The Basij force are just like Taleban maybe more brutal.They are given a free hand in torture and murder All this is bieng done in the name of revolution. I am sure that Imam Khomeni never visualised such an autocratic way of ruling. Mousavi was more close to Imam Khomeni so he knows what he is talking about. The anti Americanism slogan may not be so appealing for many younger Iranians now . What is so un Islamic about it? All revolutions have to maintain dynamism. 30 years is a long period for maintaining this kind of stance. Iran is a great nation. It has to move forward. Anti Americanism and stagnation in political dynamism and compromise will not help. In this they are helping their own "enemies',the neo cons and Israel.
Pakistani media persons need to do more unbiased reporting and not bring their half baked, psuedo religious ideas in reporting.The human rights violations especially against women and children are to be addressed in Iran just like, Karo Kari, honour killings,and other violent acts against women and children in Pakistan.

Just by saying that we are more muslims and America and Israel are doing this and that and putting the Iran post election problem in the same context will not solve anything. These same journalists hailed the Afghan war and the Mujehiddin in that era and look what it is doing to Pakistan today. We are fighting for our existence. Had these journalists and media people done responsible journalism then w e would not have been in this state. I hope that some senior people take this matter seriously and report on Iran in a more responsible way so that Pakistan has a good relation with whoever comes into power.We have to be with Iranian peoples not the only ruling elite or incumbent president.

Very Insightful interview Dr Brezinski with Joe, Pat Buchanan And His own Daughter Mika

What USA needs to do. Very insightful interview .


Obama loves Pakistan, can cook daal, Qeema which he learnt from his Pakistani friends' moms during his college years on his Pakistan visits. He seemed relaxed and smiled often during this interview to Dawn TV News.He seemed more relaxed than on a Sunday holiday. I always was struck by his pronunciation of the word Pakistan more clear than Fareed Zakaria's almost like a Pakistani .Now I understand. There is a need now for moderate ,intellegent Pakistanis to take his extended hand in friendship and build on this.We desperately need to project Pakistan as a moderate, peaceful country. The militant and terrorist image needs to be changed. The people who are chanting anti America slogans are infact doing damage to the Muslims in USA and Europe . The Pakistani diaspora in USA was mentioned in friendly terms by Obama.We also need to acknowledge this. See his interview on Dawn News Tv.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran,Where Is It Going?Time Magazine New Article,Joe Klien's new Interview.

And the protests turned deadly continued on the fourth day. nine people dead. The crowds were mostly young people and university students. Both men and women. as I looked at their faces I asked my husband about the Mousavi crowd looking like educated upper middle class outh. Yes he said. He has a rich experience of Iran,pre-revolution and has followed it's politics post revolution for intellectual interest.Only those will rule whom the religious elite will allow!So this is the reality. The crowds that Ahmedinijad pulled were also substantial. So why was the western media making so much noise. Well for one they want people who are more open to west to come, and two they want the religious dominance status qou to be broken. But then as is happening all over the world religious dominant groups more in government and appearing powerful. Is that changing? In USA itself exit Bush and in with Obama. Pakistan's military taking on it's own militants. Is Iran mini -revolt (Rafsanjani,Mousavi) an indication of Iran's peoples ending of romance with dogmatic,fanatic,religiosity and entering or ushering of a new modern albiet not so westernised Iran?
Meanwhile watch this Time correspondent interview for insight into this quasi -revolution setup or change. He describes it as upper middle class revolt which will fizzle out soon. I disagree but watch this fascinating piece.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where Is Iran Going? See Brezinski Interview On MSNBC By His Daughter MIKA

The Brezenski advice is good and cautous. The following interview with Mc Cain shows the rash and prejudiced mindset of the neo cons and thank God he is not the President.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Racism,Obama,Pakistani Youth!

Mr Obama's speech has invoked various reactions from many people .The American right neo cons like Hannity gave crazy remarks and made Obama appear like a devil complete with the horns just because he carries black, muslim,genes and also because he has lived in muslim countries like Indonesia and Pakistan. This kind of prejudiced mindset which has brought so much death , destruction, and made USA the most unpopular country in the Muslim world is understandable. It reeks of racism and almost a fascist ignorance amongst many white Americans. This kind of mindset is criticised by Americans themselves, as they are a free coutry and have good education.What I am more concerned and worried about is the mindset and prejudice which the Pakistani youth is facing and failing to understand as a very dangerous trend. The idea of educating oneself in order to find the answer is is so remote amongst our youth. Maybe this is to be blamed on the how kind of education offered and the materialism of the Western education system. Somehow the elitist school system does not cater to free thinking process and freedom of expression.Also the poor have no access to education of any kind at all.
I keep reading many blogs by young Pakistanis and have noticed the trend of glorifying expressions against Americans as something of a religious duty or a heroic expression.They usually make trite anti -American statements not realising that in the process they are doing a disservice to the millions of American muslims who are trying so hard to stabilise their existence in the post 9/11 American society. They have to live there as Americans, justify their immigrant status, maintain their religious and cultural muslim identity. They have to live peacefully and productively. In the process they will be contributing to the larger human existence and also the muslim entity. The American muslims are of varying identity,Syrians,Kuwaitis, Indian,Pakistanis etc.Their cultural and religious traditions are so rich contributers to American society. If the american neocons do not cherish diversity and plurality then it is their lack of vision , but what about the Pakistani youth? When will they understand the meaning of the word social responsibility.
They think that by just remarking in words about Americans doing this and this and this against muslims encompasses all the aspects and complex dynamics of sociopolitical existence of Muslims and Americans? The muslim people of America are they not American? Who has given Pakistanis with their half baked ideas of Islamic dominance the license to make life of muslims in places like India and America difficult by giving and identifying with a dogmatic , almost fascist ,militant Pakistani image?If Pakisani youth has reached this level of representation then UK will deport and arrest Pakistani students even without solid evidence. How do these people intend to solve or address this problem ?By appearing more holier than thou, like an Ostrich? or by just saying we are muslims and we are muslims and we are muslims?
If the world was to be homogenous then God would not have created the tribes and for the mulim youth there is an ayat in the Quran which does say that We divide you in tribes so that you may know each other. This in itself is an edict to understand , respect and cherish diversity and cultural differences.
The long answer or rather questions raised by a young female blogger about the injustices done to muslims by USA in reply to Obama speech(UNIAZA .sniggers and sniffles of a moron)do represent a lot of gieviences but we have to see Mr. Obama 's speech in the following context.
If Mr. Obama did not have the genetic makeup and exposure to muslim cultural background,; if he was like Mr. George bush,what choice would we have to solve these problems? and if at this stage when muslims ,especially Pakistani are so mistrusted,how will we improve the relations between the west and Pakistani muslims?
What is their solution to this problem of furthering the cause of Pakistani muslims,by repeatedly blamig Americans, especially when Mr. Obama is representing the part which will be more open and helpful to muslims.
Do the youth plan to reject his extended hand which is representative of all the Americans which will be friendly to muslim world and indirectly help the neo cons and racist groups in America by rejecting this extended hand?
We have to see the world in the perspective of peaceful coexistence now. We have to reject both the destructive Al Qaeda mentality and the Racist neo con mentality. Both these mentalities have brought enough destruction in the world. And my words to Pakistani youth;
Do not become like the people of Noah's tribe who rejected the Word and God brought the storm.
Do not become like the People of Jesus' who rejected the kingdom of God and were perished into anonimity!
If you are proud to be muslim then be like the followers of Muhammad(peace be upon him) who cherished peace, love, live andlet live and ultimate Faqr as the lifestyle.
Shun and condemn violence, cherish and respect diversity and love all humanity like your Aqa and prophet(peace be upon him) told you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hindukush Culture (Pakistan)-Khowar Music And Songs.

The Khowar music and songs are representative of these people.There is melody(hang) and rythm(ahang).Old songs are bieng replaced by newer ones and words from Urdu and Persian are bieng taken in them. Two main categories are dani and sauz.Dani style is older than sauz.Each singer presents his unique rendition of a song. The background of most songs is known to the people.The singers were people who composed th music and wrotetheir own songs. Many songs are ancient and passed fromgeneration to generation.
The musical instruments are:
Sitar;these are the most popular, made in Chitral and used in almost all songs.
belu; flute,two types are used,wood and bark flutes.
yarba; looks like sitar ,smaller and is used for sad occassions such as funeral songs or songs in praise of Ali and Imam Hasan, religious figures in Muslim Shias. the poetic form associated is marsia.
surnai; it resembles belu but has a mouth piece.
chang; ancient musical instrument of Chitral.
damdama; drum.
daf; with a rim of wood covered in center by replaced with jerikan.
cal dik; clapping of hands is essential in Khowar music.
asurjaan;oldest style of songs;dani music;like free verse in English.It expresses deepest feelings and highest of emotions..Usually passed from generation to generation.usually lines are very long.
luk zuur; folk song also. Tune is not very popular but song is popular.
lan dosi;similar story to luk zuur.
dak yaxdiz;Again a famous folk song with a love story.
hasim begim;Historic song tragic story.This song has not survived but the tune is played.
Yorman hamin; Mirza Mohamaad Siyar was the composer and in dani . This is the most popular folk song.This is genuinely mystic poetry in Khowar.
ser-e-mulko dani;Sher-e -mulk was afamous poet and lover of Nogram.dani and favourite of musicians.
nano begal;dani,tragic.
In fact the Khowar music can be played in all forms of ceremonies and occassions.
The richness of poetic and musical expression can be seen in this form of music.

The Chitral and Hunza culture is unique and forms a fascinating exploration by tourists both local and international.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

iran... where is it going?

kuja raftam? nami danam?

Real time;Holbrooke,Army operation,Swat valley, Bannu!

The tv anchors loaded, guided or mis- questions with various personalities usually reek of un read, biased and often misleading discussions and often targetting people such as Richard Holbrooke .For example the line"a third ranking or lowly ranking person of the US administration met with our President or Prime minister " or "why do our high ranking government people give in to a lowly ranking guy such as richard Holbrook?".
Here I fail to understand that these anchors who are watched by millions in Pakistan and also abroad, do not the media bosses have any mechanism to at least see what kind of un- informed, opinionated questions are they asking? I think the media bosses even themselves do not understand the meaning of informed,educated opinion.
Mr Holbrook, as it appeared from his press conference , appeared a highly experienced, skillful man who appears to have vast experience in dealing with areas and populations with conflict. Areas of muslim conflict such as Bosnia and Iraq seem to have given him a skilfull insight into the mechanics and finding solutions for resolutions of such conflicts.
Another popular sentence giving a deliberate impression of the weakness and somehow complacency of our elected government is "he is coming again and again with some messages or a program to influence our president with a hidden agenda". This kind of sentence throwing is despicable.It creates doubts and despondency in the minds of the common man. It hurts the confidence of the people in their elected representative government. I think this is a deliberate attempt to destabilise the government and these people put up a show that they are talking against USA as if this is somekind of religious duty. The irony is that the USA has often supported dictators and justified destabilisation of some elected politicians albiet clandestinely. My purpose of posting this is that the popularity graph of USA politcal representatives in context to Pakistan has fallen sorely for the purpose of their following small, adhoc, quick fix policies. They somehow never followed any objectives to win the hearts and minds of the people. A lot of damage has been done by these policies or lack of them in the region that Pakistan and Afghanistan occupies.Even today there is no attempt by the USA government to persue a policy of engaging Pakistani citizens in active dialogue and addressing their complaints and grieviences. No active people to people contact in dialogue and cultural activities is bieng persued. This has given too much space for other anti- America lobbyists to take over. Ironically, these same people were bieng given money, weapons , all sorts of facilities by Americans to facilitate the Afghan Jehad. Many books have been published on this but amazingly ,the USA still is not persuing an engagingly understanding line of action. I do hope Mr . Obama sees the need for such a policy urgently.Meanwhile , Mr Holbrooke's statement that the Pakistan government and all the parties have found new lease on the offensive against the terrorists in frontier is encouraging. The army's resolve to find and finish the militants , no matter how difficult the challenge and it's successful and caring operation shows the determination of the army and it's elected government.I feel sorry for the people who talk against elected people just for the sake of opposition and do not respect the mandate of the people. I ask them this question, if not democracy, then will they let the mulla or the taleban or some such militants or criminals declare their mother's or sister's Nikaah fisk(annulled) just because he wants them and does not appear bound by constitution or law of Pakistan?

Bannu: the news that army is carrying out a very deep operation in Bannu in which 100militants were killed shows how deeply this problem had penetrated. This is not related to the Swat problem and did not happen in a day or two.As pointed out by Mr. Haji Adeel of ANP in assembly yesterday the cover given by the MMA government in the last five years that it ruled in Frontier should be investigated. I think this is a very pertinent question. Not only for the present government but for the people of Pakistan as a whole.This will not only uncover the treacherous Mir Jaffers amongst us but also bring the entire plan of the religious revolution to take over Pakistan and its nuclear capabilities by the so called Islamic parties, Jehadis and ultimately Al Qaeda. the Pakistani people want a free, moderate, modern state as envisioned by Quaid E Azam, or is it so? Are we giving up to these anti Pakistan forces? Or are we giving up to so called "Indians"?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Love Steffi Graf,You Love Sabitini,Eh?

This was London,1991, my niece was two and a half years old.I was watching the match between Steffi Graf and Sabitini.As we both snuggled into the sofa she was watching intently the screen. I noticed her watching my face also.After a little while into the game she started bucking up Steffi Graf and would quickly look at me for response. What was she doing?then came the "You like Sabitini,I love Steffi Graf"!
I was so amazed, I did not expect a child of this age to have such strong opinion.
Does this reflect exposure? Do children absorb what we discuss? How does a child understand good game and players?All these are for researchers to see but I know sport is best for health, both mental and physical. Children learn to adjust to real situations in life by bieng a good sport.Their intellegence level maybe also increased by sport also.There is no substitute to sport in relaxation,lifestyle ,and simply living.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Job Pakistan Army!Thanks to our Jawans and Their Families!

The new pictures roll in over television of areas and towns cleared by Pakistani army, I get the new insight into the operational capabilities of the Pakistani army.The towns like Pir Baba, Mingora and other areas show precise target strikes and minimal damage to buildings as in Mingora town and Shrine of Pir baba. these areas were still occupied by many residents. The most damage appears to be to mosques and buildings where militants had stayed and offered stiff resistance from. Collateral damage appears minimal. As reported by media ,one family which was cut off due to lack of communication and did not know that the curfew was imposed and ventured out. This came under fire and lost ten members and suffered injuries. This incidence was very sad and is regretted. the army ha taken great pains to fight in these areas so as to avoid civilian casualties and suffering. As the ministers and administration toured Buner and Pir Baba areas it was clear that the operation in these areas was done with great expertise and precision.Mingora hospital is also now open to public. Food ,water and medicines are bieng supplied to the town.The new strategy is to take local residents, tribal elders and administration on board and form groups for community policing .The army will make areas safe and functional for people to return.
There are clear signs that the army was successsful in destroying militants hold and if a few have escaped ,they seem very few. It is sure that the militants are defeated although the army says they will not declare victory till first line leaders are dead or arrested.
The jawans who gave their lives to defend our country and us are heroes. We salute them. The interviews shown by media of medium ranking officers, young men also showed talent and strength of purpose and knowledge of strategy.These guys knew what they were talking about and high morale.They were not scared of enemy combatants and seem very well trained. We salute the families of the soldiers especially who died as they are true patriots and showed high morale and courage. They said that they will also give more of their sons to defend Pakistan. This is in contrast to the Taleban militants who forcefully and cheatingly recruited young boys and used the name of religion. They have recently kidnapped 45 boys and some staff of a cadet college in Waziristan area .These people will loose their support. All the parties who are supporting the militants and were shouting to stop the operation should see how the army has successfully taken areas back . These parties should now declare their allegiance to taleban and indirectly Al Qaeda and let Pakistani people handle their fate.They call other people cheats ,it is they themselves who are cheating in the name of religion. Pakistani people are patriotic,the villager, the farmer, the common man!

Obama, Mr. Gordon Brown,and other newsmakers!

So finally Mr Brown is bracing himself to face the music. The spending crises of MPs and other issues seem to have taken its toll on the electoral politics of Britain.Pre election I followed the speeches of the conservative candidates closely especially the leader.It seemed that conservatives were like labour only appearing or trying to appear more modern or say upto the times and business friendly? As the spices of Personal expenses scandals added Chutney chutzpah to the bland UK political scene and the vulnerability of Human biengs whether British or poor third worlders came to light I thought about the previous crises of Labour politics.

Mr. Obama starts his tour of the middle East and Europe:Things I noticed In his pre tour interviews and statements were; America is of the largest muslim nations.Here I would like to mention that back in Pakistan we tend to ignore the ideas, thinking, aspirations of American muslims. We think only we exist and that is all. This is particularly true of the religious parties. Whenever they spit out the ugly, ignorant venom against USA and India ,they forget the damage they are doing to the millions of Muslims in these countries, who have to live and participate in civic life.The Obama statement shows how aware he is of the American muslims and their aspirations.He will be the real bridger of the gap in his country.
As he extends a hand of friendship towards the muslims of middle east in particular and all the world in general I see a new iconic leader of the world emerging. he stands not only to reach out to the millions of muslims around the world but also be a direct ideological threat to Al Qaeda single handedly. He negates their image of the Ugly American.He has gained the sympathies of muslims the world over before he was even elected. The intense fear of him and his future success in decimating the Al Qaeda ideology is recently expressed by Aiman Al Zuwahiry (Ghost).He says that the American president is cheating the world and that he is anti-muslim and that he will attack the muslims. All these statements show that they understand what Obama will do to them.
I have hope that Mr Obama will bring peace to the much troubled Muslim world. His future policies will bring stability in the Middle East and the larger world. Without peace and stability in the Middle East nothing will work. Too much water has flown under the bridge. The peace and stability in Middle East is of utmost importance. The existential threat to Israel both ideologically and physically will not go away if this peace is not achieved.
the other important thing he said was about the Iran nuclear road.He has clearly given Iran the chance to persue its nuclear plan if for peaceful porpuse by opening it to open diplomacy and soon too. In this way he forestalls them persuing a weapons programme. if Iran is not persuing a weapons programme ,it will take this offer. What do you think ? Is Iran persuing a non-weapons programme?
Clearly an extension for handshake to Iran is good policy for the long term strategic interests and for world peace.
Tiannemen square Anniversary:Is china free now?Looking back at the horror of Tianneman Square I see the duality of Chinese political system. Bieng a Pakistani and having the experience of living under so many dictatorial regimes(Ayub Khan,Zia,Musharraf)Ironically all are sanctioned by USA.The freedom of speech is always an issue and will remain so. gradually the concept of freedom to think and express will go and away. this is happeneing in pakistan too as the ideas which one group does not like are shunned and now violently countered by the other groups.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sociocultural history of Swat .

I came across a book Proceedings of the Second International Hindukush Cultural Conference in my library.Some very interesting papers were presented.Few things I am presenting. The Swat valley and mountaineous area are inhabitated by people who came across as a cultural and ethnic mix.The people are mainly of three ethnic mix.They are mainly surviving on agriculture and now on tourism.The people are generally peaceful .The settlements are generally shrinking and so is the forest reserves as unhindered logging is taking place.
The profile of the Chitrali people was presented in many papers. The Chitrali cultural practices appear quite distinct from many others.These people use music,poetry,sufism,more productively in their everyday lives. There is no glorification of fighting and war in their social intercourses. The birth of woman is celebrated as much as the man.I am qouting a few things from various papers for readers.
The paper by Mr Usman Ali showed the various settlements patterns of the Swat area . The Swat Kohistan is an area populated by The Torwals which inhabit the narrow gorge of the Swat river from Bahrain to Asrit Khwar.The Kohistani clans live in Kalam tehsil in the valleys of the Utror and Ushu rivers,which are the two principle tributaries of the Swat river. The third ethnic group of Gujjars reside along the hill and mountain slopes.
Kohistani people;speak Torwali language,which is Dardic,while those in northern Kalam district speak Kohistani.These people have fair complexion,reddish hair and greenish eyes.They are agriculturists,sunni muslims in faith.Due to strong ethnic cohesion and equitable distribution of land,there is little social stratification and polarization in their societies.
The Gujjars: They speak Pushto,Punjabi, Hindko,and Urdu.They live on moutaineous slopes and are muslims.They were initially grazers and nomads and were pushed to slopes by invaders.Their main occupation are raising cattle and grazing goats and sheep as well as cultivation of small pieces of land which they lease from local landlords.
Other small groups are Jalban and Gahil village residents. They are like Pathans.
The origin of settlements in Swat Kohistan goes back to protohistoric times. archeologists have discovered four settlements along Kalam -Utror route.The Chitral valley was near and its connection with Hindukush,Pamir,Karakorum,Oxus valley and the whole of the subcontinent.Due to abundant supply of pasturage,water and building materials,settlements appeared along this route between Swat and Kohistan.
After the pasage of time, Iranians, Greeks,Scytho-Parthians,Kushanas,and Shahis came to Swat valley and constructed their settlements along the banks of river Swat and its tributaries.At the end of Maurya period Buddhism was the dominant religion and Swat beacame the center.Mahmood of Ghazni invaded in 1023 AD and forcibly converted the people to Islam. dissenters were either crushed or sought refuge in northern Kohistan which provided them refuge.These people were called Red Kafirs.They embraced Islam later on.These are believed to be the present day Torwals and Kohistani people.Another Pathan dynasty invaded Swat and started living there due to fertile land . This was the Yusufzai tribe from Afghanistan.
The Value of Love as expressed by Khwar culture;Mr Mir Baiz Khan writes in his paper:
Chitralis are bright,cheery,impervious to fatigue,splendid mountaineers,fond of laghter and song,and devoted to polo and dancing.By nature they are soft and have no war like instinct.They are peaceful,no dash or love of war. No tradition of severe fighting amongst tribes and nearly no murders.They have been termed "laissez aller" but Khwar culture is human oriented.A concern about destroying these cultural values was shown in 1895 when british military officers were busy in their campaign in the ergion. GW Leitner,a learned British linguist and anthropologist writes;
"It is duty to raise one's voice on behalf of races that I have learnt to love and of languages,now threatened by degeneration and extinction,which contain the key to the first history of human thought as developed in our own, the Aryan group of speech. It is not for England to be the destroyer of the remnants of prehistoric culture and thus inflict a loss on civilization by allowing the ambitions of a few and ignorance of the many,to bring about the perpetration of an act of vandalism that will forever attach to us the councils of the learned and in the annals of mankind
"The laughter and song loving Chitrali will be completely cowed till our civilization teaches him a treachery is his only weapon against those who have despoiled his paradise home for no reason he can possibly discover" As I was reading this very informative book I was thinking the mass ignorant movement in our present day context, to plough down the plurality and cultural rich,diversity in the name of religion and impose a thinking or prejudice as a dogmatic licensed practice so devastatingly injurious to our existence in the context of history.