Freedom

Freedom? What is freedom? What is freedom of expression? Are these terms relative? Do they have different meaning for some people, and different for others? How do you define terms that men have made soo complicated just so that they can get whatever they want? Which definition would you want to adapt yourself to? The classic version? The modern or the Post modern version? Soo many versions of just a simple question or is it just a simple question?

Anyway, so what is obscenity? The definition again would come under heavy discussion as to what really is obscenity. The trouble with our media and our so-called liberals is that they have become so much delusional and are suffering from such critical identity crisis that they have forgotten that we do not have to exhaust ourselves into the debate of what is allowed and what is not.

Whatever that is happening today around the world and in Pakistan, it just breaks my heart. We see people around us who would talk about how we shouldn’t have law of blasphemy in Pakistan and how it is cruel and everything and it is sad that the very people would not open their lips about the cartoonists and the movie makers who think they have every right to do whatever they are doing. Such hypocrisy. Do these people think that we should remove this very law and put those blasphemous cartoons and movies on a show for the people of Pakistan( in the name of freedom of expression, of course). Instead we should have a law to put people on trial who say a word against the Holocaust, Europe has it, why not us.

It is ironic that though we live in the Post modern world, the boundaries have become more distinct when we put people into categories, specially Muslims. The fundamentalists, or the liberals and the middle section that was there some decades back, has become extinct. Whatever that is happening around us, either good or bad or in that grey area, is what is shaping us inside out. If we feel for Muslims around us,or if we don’t care what’s happening, every moment, every day, every event, everything is effecting us in so many different ways that we are either ending up becoming “the liberals” or the “fundamentalists”.

It’s been 11 years since 9/11 and since then thousands of innocent civilians, women and children have lost their lives in the name of the freedom that the US deludes itself in practicing. What kind of freedom have they provided to the people of Afghanistan, or Iraq? Freedom from this world perhaps.

 

Advertisements

Defence Day!

Everyone around Pakistan have been celebrating Defence Day! Friends posting messages on Facebook, and sending smses that we fought like lions and tigers and won the war with a few tanks and fewer fighter jets! True! No one can deny the bravery and the imaan of those soldiers in those days. Today, I don’t know.

The recent reports of blackwater army driving through Iraq and is reported to have been involved in smuggling of weapons, child abuse and all sorts of crimes and since the “underground terrorist US army” is not over the ground, so the crimes go unregistered, unpunished! Not only that now the Blackwater army has deeply set it’s foot inside the boundaries of our own dear homeland for “security reasons”. There are reports in the newspapers that these terrorist army men assault local people in Peshawar and there is NO ONE there who can actually stop them. They move around in their big Chevy cars without number plates. Here’s one of the reports.  If you google it, a number of links would appear… go check for yourselves! I’m serious this is DISTURBING!

Mussolini’s secret police, Hitler (the abominable, the tyrant, the most racist dictator) had a secret police. So, what’s the difference between Hitler or Bush or Obama or Zardari. Don’t they seem like synonyms?! hai na? What say you?! OMG! No, they have been elected and have something to do with democracy! DEMOCRACY! MY FOOT! ( Oh Shoot! I’m losing my temper). What Democracy? The common people of Pakistan don’t know about these things, would they agree to it. No they don’t. But then we have a right to vote, we have a right to change things, but democracy is an illusion far  greater than dictatorship. Atleast one knows that dictatorship is dictatorship. Democracy is actually hypocrisy at it’s best. Anyway, Is no one concerned?! These people have western interests, some reports even call them “crusaders”. They roam around, holding guns, are not accountable for anything, any crime, any lawlessness. They are here for “security” reasons which US doesn’t want to disclose!

So are we going to sit down and watch it from the illusion of safety that we enjoy, but we don’t actually have?! Peshawar… then Islamabad, and who knows they probably are working in Karachi, Lahore and other parts of our country. Are we a country on the edge of ruin… Allah na kare. But the situation is worst than Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. They atleast know their enemies. We, on the other hand, know less and the very fact that the democracy is doing it’s “duty” is highly disturbing. To what limit would they take us? And today if we don’t want to come out of this illusion, I don’t think we have a right to call ourselves educated. The degrees we have now, we should burn them if we believe that whatever that is happening in Swat and the drone missiles won’t visit our homes. Because all of it is happening in our homes!

I’m just too disturbed right now! May Allah show us things as they are in themselves. Ameen. And save Pakistan from these anarchists that are roaming around and killing innocent people. Ameen. And may Allah save Pakistan from going towards these ruins. Ameen. It’s high time mothers of this nation wake up and do the duties that the mothers of the Muslim Ummah are assigned with. May Allah give us mothers like the mother of Mahmud Ghaznavi, Salahuddin Ayyubi. Ameen.

Friends?!

Pakistanis have recently started showing overwhelming interest in forming bonds of friendship with India. They have been struggling in every possible way to be a part of their circles. We have seen co-productions of movies and soaps as a gesture to confirm my above statement. Not only that, the recent event of setting Iqbal Singh free when he’d been acquitted to be the spy from India is a huge leap in that affair. Ansar Burney was in the media spot light for setting him free. (It’s another thing that he posed before media a lot to show I don’t know what.)

But what about the Indian side?! Have they forgotten that Pakistan and Bangladesh have been the part of their “motherland” which Muslims brutally amputated?! Have their prejudices against Muslims died?! Have they extended their hand of friendship as well?! These questions are far from being responded to lately. Whenever the Pakistani media talks about the whole India-Pakistan relationship, it ends up showing that we are being so great as to forget all the past differences and are making progress in forming a bond. But is it true?!

The Gujrat pogrom has been exposed and the minister has been caught on tape as to ordering the holocaust of Muslims. He’s still in the ministry and I wonder where are the international Human Rights’ activists?! Where is U.S. Army who has taken the job of “liberating” Muslims from the atrocities of the not just the “religion” but also from the “oppressive” leaders?! The recent news of Khalid Mehmood, who went to watch a match in India was torutred to death in an Indian cell is overwhelmingly inhumane. Oh! but doesn’t it remind of us Muslims being torutred in Abu Ghraib prison or Gauntanamo Bay. So, where is Ansar Burney, the human rights’ activists or U.S. again. One might wonder why I bring in U.S. so much. It’s because they have taken up the responsibilty of making this world a better place, for liberating Muslims or other people from oppression and inhumane laws and practices.

Back to square one. How many of the Pakistanis have been corrupted by the Indian media whereas, India has boycotted all the Pakistani channels. Why are Muslims dying to be near them one still wonders. The fantasy of India shown on T.V. might be all charming but how can one turn a blind eye to all the atrocities committed by their government delibrately. There’s a saying by the Prophet (S.A.W) that a Momin is never bitten by the same hole again. And we have to look into ourselves and be conscious of every step we take, every nation we befriend and every deed we commit not just as  a nation but also as individuals.

Hypocricy of the West unleased.

For the last couple of days the words of Mohammad Asad from his book The Road to Makkahare ringing in my ears. There is an incident mentioned in this book where the author and a fellow non-muslim traveller asks a beduin (trying to conrner him) that why is that a Muslim man is allowed to marry into a Jewish/Christian family but a Muslim woman is not? And the beduin replies to these educated men that if a Jewish/Christian woman is married into a Muslim family, she will never hear a word every said against the Prophets of her faith whereas, if a Muslim woman marries into a Jewish/Christian family, she’d definitely hear words against the last Prophet (Peace be upon him).

The so-called civilised world unleashes it’s brutality, it’s grotesque-ness and sickness of their minds with hurling insults at our Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) by drawing the caricatures of our beloved Prophet just in the name of Freedom of Speech. They’d go on and on about it but paradoxically they’d persecute anyone who denies holocaust.

Confused…

Cheema is hilarious. I’m talking about the press conference that he had saying that Benazir Bhutto was killed by the lever of the sun roof of her Land Cruiser. Either he himself has gone mad or thinks that we are crazy to believe him.

Another press conference that was entertaining was the one held by PPP. Asif Zardari was the key spokesperson there. Benazir Bhutto, who claimed to be the protector and a fighter for democracy, named her son as the successor and her husband to be the co-chair person of PPP. Is that the true spirit of democracy?! No party elections, she just named her son in her will to be the heir to the throne of PPP! Interesting, isn’t it?!

Today, near my brother’s workplace in North Karachi Industrial Area, things went bad again. One of the factories which resumed the normal working routine was set ablaze with one of the petrol pumps. The rangers which my brother saw in the morning vansihed when they were needed! And the news channels didn’t report this nor did the city mayors confirmed any such reports.

In other words, the common man and his property is not safe. People now are afraid to go out after dark, and even under the naked sun they walk with caution. Life is paralized! Pakistan’s economy is paralyzed! And now when every nationalist is talking about further dividing the land, I’m reminded of the map of Pakistan that CIA released. The map which is moth eaten. And I wonder if all it’s been planned ahead by international agencies…

And I’m still thinking…

Religion, Culture and Literature…

I smsed my brother asking if he has “The Prince” and he replied in affirmation. I texted back saying,”I’ll be highly obliged if you can bring it”. He later commented that my “highly obliged” reflected the mentality of a slave. And I replied, “As if taking a degree in English is not a reflection enough !”

A few weeks back, a cousin of mine was asking about some symbol on orkut and her brother tried to show that he doesn’t know. And as I was standing nearby I shouted out that word loud and clear. And her brother looked at me, shocked, and then told her sister, ” that’s why I didn’t say it!” The word is commonly used but has vulgar connotations. And with this the realisation dawned upon me that I’m getting accustomed to all those words which are not a part of my culture. In the book Doing English, the author has clearly stated that with every word of a foreign language comes the whole cultural package. And with this the fear took over me. Am I falling through the bottomless pit of a foreign culture?! From then onwards I became conscious of every word that I use and am trying still to shun every word that does not reflect decency.

But how many of us actually realise that?! Last year while attending one of the presentations of the research group in our department, the professor said that not every word can be translated. In Arabic we use words which have no direct one word in English or any other language. It’s true for Urdu and other languages. And this is true for English as well. The words become terminologies! Once attending the lecture of philosophy, a professor said that we should avoid using words like “enlightenment” and “modern” because these are not words with simple meanings, for Occidentals these are terminologies that have derived from their history and culture. These words date back from the 16th and 17th Centuries, the age that Europe called The Age of Enlightenment. The shift from homo-centric to the ego-centric culture, when man became more important. And these all are not part of our culture.

In Notes Towards the definition of Culture, T.S. Eliot says that Europe’s culture is deeply seated in the religious history of Europe. The literature of Europe has it’s roots so deep in Christianity that even now when some of them reject every religion, their every action is Christian. And Muhammad Asad in his book The Road to Makkah says that he has come to the theory that the European prejudice and hatred towards Islam and Muslims is dated as back as the first Crusades! So it’s deep rooted in their hearts, and is instilled in their genes and they cannot detach it from themselves. It has become part of their culture. And it was T.S.Eliot who said that Culture is derived from religion and faith (with it or the lack of it). And as writers cannot write in a vacuum, and they incorporate their genes into the whole experience of writing, we see the reflection of their beliefs, culture and thoughts. So, when I am reading Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Dickens, Bronte or James, I am actually exposing myself to their culture and beliefs. I remember a friend saying that it seems as if we know more than the average European about their sects and religion and history. It’s incorporated in their literature.

Now the effect of literature upon our lives: The first ever department of English was established in the colony of Subcontinent. The English believed that literature would incorporate certain values in the Indians without them realising it. And this would help them make better slaves. And they would not realise the religious moulding through literature. So, literature became a tool of making us more “civilized” in the eyes of West to serve their own purposes. Literature, if read passively, works subtely yet moves your insides violently. Your mind may accept things subconsciously or unconciously and may effect your whole way of thinking. And I realised that you need to be active when reading literature, alert all the time, in order to keep their beliefs and metaphysics at bay.

The recent writers of Pakistan, who chose English to be their medium of communicating their ideas, do not reflect the embedded culture of the East. And when I’m talking about Muslim writers, I’m talking about the culture of Islam. The writers have not only chosen English but they have incorporated the ideas of Europe, their culture in those writings reflecting their own “slave-ish mentality”.  The embedded idea in our minds that doing English, eating with forks and spoons and sitting on a dining table reflects the marks of civilization, without realising that in our culture, eating with your hands and sitting on the floor are the marks of being “civilized”.

It’s high time for us to realise that our culture, literature and everything else have a center, and that center is Islam. And the unification in things come from that one center. We may be able to intitutionalise every “branch” of knowledge, but the cente would allow a Muslim to see things in totality and not in fractions. And we see all that in the works of Muslim poets from Rumi to Iqbal. So, even if we are to read the Western authors, we need to counter that effect by reading our own literature in the languages of the East, mainly Urdu, Arabic or Persian. It’s high time to stand facing the current and yet not loose our grounds. And we can only do that by standing in our own cultural grounds and not borrowed ones. We have far more better examples than those of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates.

Maintaining the Standards

I stopped reading the papers after huge incidences that happened after Eid-ul-Fitr and the great Emergency. I guess I was trying to shut out the ramblings of the politicians and the army-men. Anyway, during my exams while I was having breakfast one fine Monday morning and was not in the mood of studying, I took up the newspaper wondering if something “interesting” was there. And to my surprise the whole newspaper had changed.

I took up Dawn’s Sunday Magazine because it was supposed to be the best part about the newspaper. But articles by Farid Paracha, the Swot articles and not to mention Aunty Agni thing shoved me to an early grave. I was appalled, flabbergasted and highly offended. What are these articles trying to imply?! OR better… What are these articles trying to propagate?!

I remember reading F.R. Leavis’ essay for the exam. The essay suggested that the literature and newspapers have sub-standardised in order to meet the mass civilisation’s demands rather keeping it’s standards for the few who actually have a good taste and higher intellect. So, the so-called elite or rather the western-ised minds of Pakistan has taken its lead in the same thing. Now they’re writing what they think is “light”,”interesting” and “funny” not realising that they are giving the youth a direction that would lead this country into chaos. We don’t want writers who can lull us to sleep. We don’t want writers who think “enjoying” life should be everything. We need writers like Naseem Hijazi, who can shake us up, who can wake us up from the deep slumber.

The English Speaking Class of Pakistan, which believes in the superiority of the Western Civilization and thought, have forgotten their own roots. English might be the need of time, but to rip ourselves from our own language, culture and roots have driven us into the labyrinth without a sense of direction. It’s a life where you follow the shadows, where you run after the crowd who are in the same state of hopelessness.

So, back to where I was. The Dawn newspaper has lost its vigour, life and decency. I’m not saying that I’ve a better taste. All I’m trying to say is we are a better nation. And we can do so much more than immitating the West in the most degraded things. We have better examples like Iqbal and Faiz. We need to set our standards high and help our mass civilisation to come upto that standard not the otherway round. The writers have a huge responsibilty and they should take the lead of guiding people in a better direction. This is the need of our times.

1984 and the Contemporary World

We did 1984 by George Orwell this Semester. And since exams are around the corner, me and my friends were trying to discuss some of it’s aspects. And since we have it in our Literature and Society Course, the teacher gave us the whole historical perspective of World Wars and the Communist Russia, Lenin, Stalin, Italy’s Mussolini and the Nazi Germany.

The whole Idea of the secret police,”Cheka” in Russia when Lenin was there, and then the spy police in Germany of SS and SD. The same allusions are made by George Orwell in his book when he mentions the Thought Police. How there are spies everywhere.

Then the Trade Unions were abolished in Germany and “Nazi Labour Front” was formed. And they had to give certain percentage of their wages to The Party. The whole idea of the Nazi Youth movements were formed where the kids were trained to spy on their family members. The kids were trained to be the ardent supporters of Hitler’s Germany, “working for the German Superior Race”. And we see the reflection of all this in the book. How The Party works in 1984. The Inner Party members, then the Outer Party Members, the Anti-Sex League and the kids who are spying around their parents turning them in.

And there were other allusions as well.

The Writer, George Orwell himself said the book is about the Future. And if we are to look at it from that perspective that how well was he able to give the picture of the future, we have to draw connections of 1984 with the contemporary world. And we were shocked that how well and how far was Orwell able to see beyond his times. How he was able to write such a masterpiece three years after the second world war which gave such insight to the future world.

So, drawing allusions from the contemporary world; First, The Thought Police. And the whole Idea of “big brother is watching you”. If we look at the contemporary world, it’s SO OBVIOUS that our movements are watched really closely. The satellites are there to track you down with your mobile devices or otherwise. The “Google Earth” thing was scary as we could actually locate our own home, the city and everything from there. And something like that is on Internet, just imagine how sophisticated their devices would be which are “not for the public” use. And not just that, the phone lines being tapped, the emails intercepted, and I strongly think that this post is going to be read and I’ll be watched rather more closely and if I get “vaporized”, it won’t come as a surprise!  Anyway, not only that the new things on Internet to tag you, for example, orkut, facebook, blogs and your e-mail accounts. Everything is under scrutiny. Everything’s being watched over. And the thought is pretty scary. Thought Police is more like CIA, ISI, or others.

Secondly, The Propaganda. How in 1984, there’s a whole propaganda, that we’re at war and we’ve prospered this year. We are in better conditions then the last years. And this brings us back to the whole idea of how in Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz and President Musharraf always brag about the fact that the GNP and GDP are going up. We have more foreign assets now, and people are prospering day by day! The newspapers and the media seems to be “FREE” but they are under restrictions. The media follows govt’s policies or whoever-is-in-power’s policies. Not only that, the text books in Pakistan were recently changed with the intervention of US. One of the teachers, in an interview, were heard to say that from old text books you got the impression the Pakistan was made on the ideology of Islam! And the new text books donot hold the same ideas. Not only that the picture CNN and BBC and the FOX NEWS present is not objective. They are presenting a very biased, subjective point of view to the world (Don’t feel agitated! it’s True!).

Then the allusion of the Room 101. The whole idea of people  being vaporized and tortured to their bones. And Musharraf has mentioned in his book that he has sold people to CIA. People were vaporized by our very government. Plus the horrifying discovery of the AbuGhriab prison in Iraq and Gauntanamo Bay and others that we don’t know of.

Well… though the list goes on and on, I’d like everyone to read the book and see for themselves how the “totalitarianism” of the West is killing the “proles” of the world.