Pakistan: I rant and I wait

imageWatching events last few weeks…I just want to rant in an unstructured, what comes to mind first, manner. At the end of this note I may have said enough, that I shall lose friends. Especially the logical and most educated kind. But truth be told, I just want to put down my random genuine thoughts and hope it resonates with the people who read it. Also this is generalised, SD 1, under the Bell Curve people. We still have many who are very genuine Pakistanis, giving their all.

We are a people fortunately, of that I am sure. Thats is the only thing one can guarantee, as it comes to the surface when we play sports at a National Level. Other than that…

We pass accidents showing curiosity, but are not willing to stop and help. People are killed willy nilly and we do not care. Significant portions of our population are illiterate; we are uninterested in this and mostly the victims do not care either. Most people are unable to put one square meal on the table. We dont follow road signs, going the wrong way on a one way. When this is pointed out to the so called educated perpetrators, they fight and abuse one.

We are Muslims mainly, but lie habitually, not realising that this is the definition of a munafiq. This particular behaviour seems to be our raison d’etre, its that prevalent.

Our leaders are not really elected. We run a sham of a democracy. Votes are cast mainly via thumbprints. Most votes are not free or are counterfeit. In rural areas the Thana forces voting for particular candidates. In urban areas candidates use muscle to counterfeit votes, also paying off the local authority.

Our courts are zero protection. There is no justice. Lets not fool ourselves.

Our free media blackmails its way through and most significant media personalities are biased because they are now bought off.

The bureaucracy is corrupt. They take bribe on anything where they have leverage. Where there is money to be made out of budget disbursements, they will also grab large portions of this budget too.

The elite are so called educated. Actually they are more elite in relative terms than most elites in the world. They party at home, imbibing all the expensive smuggled spirits. Their clothes alone are worth a few years house budget for the poor. Weddings and events are celebrated lavishly. Foreign trips and shopping in Dubai…NY…London. They take foriegn nationalities…Canada..Australia etc. Despise all others than themselves. Everyone is a fool to them…they are superior and above everyone. Unfortunately, I am as much a part of them as anyone else.

Our politicians; from landlords who think its their right to be elected, to former army people who have collected huge sums, to business men who take office for the sole reason to make wealth and transfer it abroad, are all in it for themselves. Even our technocrat has not got enough political wisdom to be able to rule. Where is our seasoned politician who thinks country first and rules accordingly? These politicians can and have sold our country to foreign powers before. We have plenty of Mir Jaffers sitting around.

Our religious leaders…yaani, what can you say. Most are under the pay and tutelage of foreign powers. Others are simply not educated and so can only think one tone. They guide a vociferous and charged following who can go to insane lengths. Fortunely, their percentage following is still low in numbers.

Our institutions…where are they. Army treats itself above this country, rather than vice versa. So they protect themselves first. The Supreme Court. Well really if anyone thinks they are effective then they are wearing rose tinted glasses. But I suspect its worse. Its not just capability….our people don’t trust them and challenge the equitability and intent of what they do.

Our characteristics…envious..dog in the manger..lack of teamwork…uncontrollable emotions…lack of patience and perseverance…selfishness.

Compare the above characteristics to what they were in the 1940s..led by that one person who gave us a grand vision. Those people who were giants of their time, must cringe to see what we have become.

Despite all the above one is hopeful. In the darkest and lowest period are leaders found and followers made, who rise to the occasion. There are a whole lot of potential followers and now we wait for the direction from some leaders. But please, stop thinking party politics. Otherwise you will never get Pakistan proper.

If you read history, and our own Islamic literature, you know it is not too far off. But it also comes with huge amounts of pain. Not a time for the uncommitted.

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Independence Day Revisited

Juggoo, as was his wont, woke early and went down. Prayers and the initial cup of tea done, he had washed and changed. Out came the expensive, white shalwar qameez. Now he was sitting  on the bench outside the halwa shop.image

The road, rather gali, was quiet. He had not opened the shop. Normally by now, they would have been stirring. But today was August 14th and not much was going to open today. And in the quiet of the morning Juggoo’s thoughts traveled back these intervening decades to the early days of time. Time as he had measured it, all his life. Back to Ramadhan 1947, the month of August. A time of hope!

Juggoo had woken early and had cleaned the shop front and footpath. He placed the various trays in their place and then rushed off to clean up and get ready. It was an exciting day. His father would be coming down soon and will want him ready. There could be no excuses for delay, as punctuality was part of his upbringing.

When Juggoo came down, dressed in a kurta and pyjama, his father was ready and sitting on the bench. Without a word or much ado he got up and both of them set off purposefully. They were to reach Bunder Road well in time, so that they could see the parade. It was expected that the Quaid will be visible from an easy vantage point. Juggoo understood the enormity of the occasion, even though he was twelve years old. Today 27th Ramadhan, Allah had blessed his struggling people with a homeland. Where they could be safe, belong and do all the goodness they wanted.

In the end it had been awe inspiring. As the car came down the road, the murmur grew. It converted to cries of Allah u Akbar and Pakistan Zindabad, when the Quaid was near. One could see him waving and Liaquat Ali sitting besides him also smiling and waving. The love felt for this extraordinary Quaid was so visible. Juggoo himself had shed some tears when he saw the Quaid waving. He could die for this person and also die for what we had made today. This was his home, his identity and his Pakistan.

Juggoo’s thoughts rocked back to 2014, the present. His grandson was there in front of him. Smiling, smart and and also understanding what the occasion was. Juggoo, satisfied that Sheheryar was ready, leaned over and kissed his forehead. Sixty-seven years had gone by; He was now at the end of his time and this boy of thirteen was beginning his. They were going off together with some others and were to do a march down to the Quaids Mazaar and honour the one man in this land who should be honoured without any reservation by anyone. Because his gift to us was so great and so stunningly beautiful.

Against all odds Juggoo was hopeful today. This boy was so different from his father. He cared. He cared for this place and because he cared, so he believed and he wanted it to be right and sustained. He thought in centuries and not in moments. The father had not treated or valued the Quaids gift and squandered it, in frivolousness and pettiness. This one is so different. Large hearted and understanding the larger purpose of this land. It was a land for righteousness, freedom and happiness. Sheheryars generation will take it back to its rightful place. Today at the Quaids Mazaar, Sheheryar will pray to Allah and promise that he and his friends will deliver the Quaids dream. Bring peace to this land and its long suffering and searching people. There might be pain and darkness along the way, but InShallah this will happen. Our paths are set on this vision.

My montage

imageThey say that life flashes by in seconds, when Malik-ul-maut comes calling. Shudder! We will all find out at the end of our time. The mercy of Allah prevail on us all.

In this case, for five decades I have watched this world. My montage flits by too and one sees existence (‘just life’) flash by. Its been like no other half century period in mankind’s written history. We have gone from manual to nano in a few decades. For some seven millennia before that, there was little change, then the wheel accelerated from 1750 plus and now bang, we are in warp speed.

Stepping out on a road in 1964, one sees wheels. Powered by basic engines, and simultaneously by camels, donkeys and horses. The roads are not crowded but there are no metros or flyovers, Simplicity prevails and yet there is some order.

Office technology is non existent. Brain, pen and paper and our own human engine drives work. Work is hard, but we do add columns and compile numbers. And when you go home, the old box like radio plays out music and news. Rarely one sees a flash of television, it is black and white, and what is presented is also simple and real, yet imaginative. Just hear the quality of music. Beatles, Rafi, Mehdi Hasan.

Similarly, step in an office and there are registers, pens, paper, pencils and workers pouring over these. What a strange place, no computers, no mobile phones, or calculators even. Not even a photo copier. But soft, there is the telex machine. It is the basis of our communication and we see telexes being flashed out to various places in the world.

Images of humans. They are not Shias, Sunnis or Punjabis or Muhajirs. Nor Ahmedis or Christians. Actually, the montage does not make clear who they are. Just humans! I can see the Brezhnev Doctrine, Johnson and Mao and Vietnam; USA; Communism, USSR and China. Fear and money. Lots of fear! In the background is de Gaulle and he is railing at the British, keeping them out of the European Common Market. And you also see Nasser from Egypt….smug and not knowing what will happen to him soon. But there is Shah Faisal and the Shah of Iran and they are leaning towards and listening with respect to Ayub, who towers over them. Pakistan stands respected in this comity of nations, the Muslim power of the world and people listen to us. In Washington they only think of the nuclear conflagration. They are not bothered about us at all. We are small fry. The Commies could take over and destroy the world while Muslims are backwards and minuscule.

The montage starts rolling quicker. It cascades by. Early computers, then digitalisation, see Walesa in Poland and then the Berlin Wall falling, Afghanistan, Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev, Shah of Iran lonely on Mexican beaches, carrying cancer inside. Sabra and Shatila and Israeli cruelty. Even then, no one cares. Bosnia, as evil and torturing as Gaza today. Oil and wealth. Lots of wealth!

Then 9/11. See the world change…we are now evil and hunted. Maybe dogs are better. Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, CIA, Mossad and cruelty. Lots of cruelty! Lots of treason! Our own rulers, mistreating their own, deserting them. Snakes! Israelis bomb Gaza hospitals, shelters and schools and no one says its wrong.

The world has changed these 50 years. We are advanced. Technology brings comfort. Automation and power. The human race can now rise to a level where it can spend time self actualising. Instead, our societies and families break up, drugs and spirits are overused, malnutrition for over a billion people, bombs galore, resident evil walks in and out of our homes and we do not recognise it. Decency is for imagery on Twitter and FB. Public imagery and media are dinosaurs and reality hides in blankets. We have everything material, but we have no substance. No wonder they talk of greater Israel, the Dajjal and the Mehdi. Lord help us. They know not what an evil period of bloodletting it will be. Wish we would slow down, where slow is preferred, less is preferred and happiness is supreme.

Bob Dylan “the times they are a’changing”

The picture is from dreamstime.com, a free picture site.

Bob Moorehead on us

image

I could not put the jumble in my head better than Bob Moorehead. So I have copied his rant down for you to read.
+++

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but

shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more,

but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and

smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees

but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more

problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
+++

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,

drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too

little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our

possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and

hate too often.

 

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to

life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but

have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer

space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

 

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom,

but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but

accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more

computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we

communicate less and less.

 

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small

character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

 

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but

broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway

morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything

from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the

showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can

bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share

this insight, or to just hit delete…

 

Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not

going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks

up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave

your side.

 

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the

only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

 

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most

of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from

deep inside of you.

 

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might

not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak!

And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.”

― Bob Moorehead

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