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.