Posts Tagged ‘Pakistani society’

Death and Silence

I want to cry today.  Cry my heart out right now. Another voice has been silenced, that dared to speak out against irrationalities. In the capital of my dear country, another brutal killing has been witnessed. I will not delve into criticising the security forces today. Nor waste words in trying to identify the real killers. Right now, I mourn yet again. As I did on the 4th of January, I feel helplessness and grief.

One by one, all the brave voices will be silenced. And we will only be left amidst cowards, who are too afraid to speak their minds. The real issues will be swept under a carpet of indifference, and society will cease to improve. A stagnant pond of dirt accumulated over time that we have all caused through ignorance and our silence. And when the silence overpowers the few voices that do speak out, the silence will cause a destruction so vast that it would be irreparable.

Shahbaz Bhatti was just another minister. Another will take his place tomorrow. Salman Taseer was just one governor. Another has already taken his place. Yet in these two men, were voices of courage. People with a will to eliminate the irrational attitudes widespread in our society, and courage to match that will. So we have not just lost two government officials, we have lost two right-minded men whose absence will be greatly felt. The hole of their presence will not be filled by any of the presently serving government officials. No one is willing to take a stand. Rather I would go so far as to say that some are going all out in condemning the country to a violent and pathetic end.

Have they managed to silence all those who dare to speak courageously? Or are there any left to condemn this rigid and violent mindset? I cannot speak about the high-powered officials, but I can speak for you and me. I will continue to speak my mind and raise my voice wherever I get the opportunity. Are you willing to do the same?

Today, at this moment, I will cry for the helplessness I feel. I will mourn for the vision of our Quaid we have failed to uphold. I will shed tears for the Pakistani flag we are dishonouring today, by not acknowledging non-Muslims as even Pakistanis today. The word Pakistani has now been made synonymous with being a Muslim, and minorities suffer everywhere. Today we killed their representation in the government. Today we have wiped the ‘white portion’ off our flag. At least, in the mindset we have made the transition. Today was just the graduating ceremony to further cement that mindset. So I cry today, for some ideals lost. The Quaid must be squirming in his grave right now. His nation has failed him miserably. The silence prevails, with death lurking right around the corner for those who dare to break it.

Presumed innocent…

A 12-year old boy, along with his friends, abducted and then raped an 8-year old girl. This bit of news originated from Sheikhupura yesterday. We see tales of rape cases everyday on our television sets. Gang-rapes on orders of panchayats, doctors raping nurses, teachers raping students, some just plain old cases of kidnapping and rape. It is a four-letter word that has lost its meaning by being in the news so frequently. A few would contradict me, but I tell the truth here and nothing else. If its meaning had not been lost, then these cases would not go unnoticed as just another piece of news. We would not simply utter a “tsk, tsk” at the sight of the grieving girl and her parents, and the next minute proceed to change the channel. Our reaction would be quite different, if the despicable nature of the word’s meaning was not lost on us.
What makes this case from Sheikhupura different from others is this: Can I look at a 12-year boy from now on and presume him to be just an innocent kid? The perpetrator of the heinous crime this time was not a grown man. He is a child, a sixth-grade student, who has admitted to committing this sin. Standing behind bars and asking for forgiveness, what would you say to him? This is what our society has come to! We should no longer just expect a 12-year boy to be ‘the innocent kid who is still ignorant of societal sins”. He could always snatch up an 8-year old and wreak havoc with her life.
I do not intend to generalise this seemingly isolated incident. It was just one 12-year old who faltered, you would say. The thing that is troubling me is that the mind of a 12-year old could sink to these depths in our society, that is what is alarming.

Preach the goodness, ‘Maulana Sahib’!

I live today in a land, split up into two, in all manners of speaking and acting. The line dividing the two is getting stronger by the day, as differences in beliefs, ideologies, opinions and sentiments, gain momentum by the hour. Yet, the strongest currents causing the tide of differences to mount, is the take on human life. The value of human life, is seemingly not worth a penny to these hate-mongers littering our streets. The rift will only grow from here. There is no way back for either side. One upholds the sanctity of human life. While the other is hell-bent upon destroying all humanity. At this point, one has to wonder. Which religion would entice such hatred? Which God would instruct to kill? And we all come to the straight-forward answer. Why would the Creator teach to destroy! Yet, out comes a brand of the religion that makes you want to question your own beliefs. Preaching on appearances alone, with the swirling beards, shalwars above the ankles, and a glowing sense of greatness that they are the ultimate finality on religious issues. Preaching their own brand of the religion, hand-picking only those dictates that serve their purpose, they are brain-washing the vast majority. Rather, have been doing so for the past many years now!

So, how do we clean up that mess? More pertinent is how do we even start? Where do we start? Charity begins at home, and that is where we all need to begin. Put yourself in the witness stand and be your own judge. We all are guilty, since none of us thought to take action when it was due. We failed to truly comprehend the gravity of the situation. As a result, we have left our religion in the hands of those who only know hatred and violence. So, contemplate today and ask yourself the questions that you have buried away in some faraway corners of your minds. Create an understanding yourself, and jump off the bandwagon dragging you to destruction. Stop following blindly the proclaimed-custodians of faith. Take a moment. A moment is all you need. Does Allah want you to love or hate? Would He condone violence? Are His creations of no value that we can kill them in the name of our faith? Does causing death and destruction in His name, not violate His magnificence? Does the Quran instruct Muslims to wage jihad only? And that too, only one kind of jihad that justifies our violent ideas? Why not turn our attention to all the other Quranic teachings that have been sidelined very expertly! Let us talk about the things we have forgotten our religion stands for. Talk about peace and co-existence, honesty and justice, brotherhood and forgiveness, humility and tolerance, kindness and compassion, sharing and caring. Let us talk about Muslims being human again, instead of the violent and destructive race we are depicting ourselves to be. Wake up, and smell the threat! Too much damage has been caused already. Let the next sermon be about tolerance rather than irrational hatred. Breed a culture of humanity, not of destruction. Instil the true aspect of Islam, not the violated one. If we ever hope to salvage the ‘real Islam’, openly condemn and denounce the ‘mullah-Islam’. It has gotten us nowhere. There is still time. Preach the goodness, ‘Maulana Sahib’!

Going to school…

Just a few minutes ago, I came across this story about a 25-year-old mother of two, who has enrolled in school last December. In the present times, when everything that makes news in my country is painful to say the least, this bit of news is sure to make all smile. We read and hear about the Pakistani society of today, tales of non-tolerance, injustices, gender disparities, class differences, and what not! Yet, a story emerges, bringing a hopeful and positive message. Rukhsana, the woman making the news, says she was denied an education by her parents when she was little. This again makes a case for the narrow mindset of our society, one that denies basic rights to girls, but that is another discussion for another day. Today we only read about Rukhsana’s story, and take the positives out of it.

Here is an adult woman, married and with children, who has taken a pretty bold step. Just goes to show, there is no shame in wanting an education whatever your age. The husband is quite a good fellow for not discouraging her. I say this, because in our society, men do seem to be holding onto a leash of narrow mentality. We witness cases all around us where young college-going girls are married off and then never get a chance to complete their degrees. In this tale, Rukhsana lays down an example for all of us. Wanting and getting an education, at any age, is the right thing to do. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is only making up blind lies!