Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Letters from Pakistan: "I" The grown up "Misfit Modern Muslim" woman : HUKM-E-HAKIM... the order of the almighty ruler

Letters from Pakistan: "I" The grown up "Misfit Modern Muslim" woman : HUKM-E-HAKIM... the order of the almighty ruler: torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world...this makes it hard to plan the day... E.B. White its intere...

HUKM-E-HAKIM... the order of the almighty ruler

torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world...this makes it hard to plan the day... E.B. White
its interesting once you get focused on something , the whole universe seems to be helping you to find the clues... Amber. H. Hammad
no no, this is not about sayings by others and me but its about changing weathers today. its all about FALL. autumn has stepped in, and finally the days of worrying over electricity load shedding are over. now we'll worry about the gas and cooking and heating our cold homes. i came home the other day to find no electricity, no water and no gas supply. if you get used to a luxury, it becomes a necessity and the constant dependency on the providers pulls you away from the ability to provide for it yourself. now i cannot imagine going to a well or canal to fetch water for my household chores, and i don't think it is possible that i can consume that water (particularly Lahori underground water) and survive, as my digestive system has forgotten how to fight all those live bacteria. just like i have gotten used to a life where i have a mobile phone, internet and cable TV service, car, fast food, medicine and now tab and i pod etc. up to a few years back i was pretty much used to celebrating Basant every coming of spring, just like i am used to celebrating Eid twice every year. somehow Basant was my favorite indigenous festival, as it involved fun and frolic as well as food and family. but the establishment could not contain the joy of people and the few black sheep made the whole flock of these dumb sheep suffer. instead of controlling the chemicals used on the kite strings, they simply banned the whole festival. Intizar Hussain writes in Bandagi Nama about this whole situation, and his title can tear those apart who feel; its called "HUKM-E-HAKIM, MARG-E-BASANT"  which means "the order of the ruler, the death of Basant" . the intensity of this phrase is literally lost here in translation though. 
so reverting to the begining , in a country like ours, being in a position like this where you are delerious that you might be able to bring a change in the society and perhaps try to make some efforts, and at the same time understand that your time on this earth is short so you must take life as it presents it to you each day.... it does get hard. when i plan to visit a sick relative with a homemade bowl of soup , and leave home with a feeling that it might make somebody a little happy , and spill some soup on the pit in the road that wasnt there the day before, and get stuck in a trafic for an hour because a new bridge is being constructed, i can only curse the Hakim-e-Ala under the mask of Khadim-e-Ala, that he gets to drive on the roads which are alreay built and not maintained, so he realizes that there is not much point in constructing new ones with bridges , as they might all just spill soup after a few months. 
this fall , i cant help but worry about the fall of this nation, into the abys of  numbness.i recieved an SMS recently which was forwarded as a joke. somehow it gave me goosebumps , and i m sharing it here:
A Raja once decided to check the limits of patience of his people. so he asked his Vizirs to put tax on the bridge that the people used everyday to go to work. noone protested. the raja double the tax and triplled in the following weeks. noone uttered a word. the raja added a condition that they had to pay tax daily for using the bridge as well as bring wheat to pay. people still obeyed silently. pushing his own limits, the Raja asked his ministers to also give a beating to the people at the entrance of the bridge. the very next day ther were people outside the palace demanding to protest to the Raja. so he summoned them, feeling kind of relieved that finally somone has made the effort to stand up. when he asked those people what bothered them they requested the raja to increase the number of the people who gave them the beating on the bridge because there were too many people and only 2 men to beat them , and they had to wait in long queues waiting to cross the bridge.
i feel like part of that kind of a flock, getting ready for the new elections, waiting to support our torturers...being so comfortably numb.
"mujhay dar yeh nahi keh yeh mulk kaisay chalay ga? mujhay fikar yeh hay kay yeh kahin aisay hi na chalta rahay" Shahzad Roy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

OMG = Oh My Allah

OMG (Oh My God) is a new Indian film being shown at various cinemas across Pakistan. we downloaded a pirated version and watched it the other night. very interesting and entertaining flick. like most successful Indian movies its ending is audience friendly. but what hit me really hard was not its take on religious practices, but the fact that IT IS BEING SHOWN IN CINEMAS ALL OVER PAKISTAN. that too right after the whole incident of the making of a blasphemous movie about our Prophet, and the globe wide protests and riots against it!
I will just brief you about the movie.
Oh My God is a recent 2012 Bollywood comedy movie satirical towards organized religions. It is based on a Gujrati play( Kanji Virudh) and apparently also is quite similar to the Australian film called The Man Who Sued God. It is the story of a middle-class Hindu athiest shop keeper named "Kanji", who sells Hindu Idols and statues and encounters misfortunes coninciding with his blasphemous behavior. one thing leads to another and he ends up filing a case againts God in the high court. and somehow God appears personified as a handsome man and helps him out in friendly yet abstract ways.while Kanji is busy fighting the case againts Acts of God,God tells Kanji to read the Hindu Gita, Muslim Quran and Christian Bible. in the movie God also implies that He created man, and man created religions, and of those religious customs He seems not too happy about.

anyways, tons of books have been written, movies have been made and talks have taken place ( Small Gods, Sophie's World, Matrix, are few) regarding the subject of God, Man and Creation. but the interesting thing for me about them all is their place in the current religio- political environment of Pakistan. we as a nation are showing the world that if they try to hurt our religious pride , we have the ability to completly destory ourselves. self destructive behaviour.. is it? now if (God forbid) the main content of this film was about our religion, i really dont think that they would have allowed the Pakistani cinemas to play it here. but why then are they ok with it , if its about some other religion? If we demand respect for our religion , is the respect of other religions not our concern? is it not about coexistance and harmony , but only about i am right and you are wrong?
Or is that i am reading into it incorrectly. maybe, perhaps, possibly,in some weird way, the acceptance of this particular film signifies our slowly increasing tolerance?

just a thought .... when you say Oh My God, what do you really mean?

(P:S; now i don't want this movie to be banned here!! instead i want the prevalence of coexistence and tolerance. )

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The phenomenon of your birth was not your choice?

how strange is the phenomenon of birth. we don't have a say in it. where and when we are born is the most important step of our whole existence, and we don't get to make a choice. it shapes us, makes us and eventually breaks us. all the while we are alive, we torture ourselves over petty choices ; what to eat, what to wear, where to study, who to marry, how many kids to have, bla bla. and we don't remember that the most important decision of our lives was totally inconsiderate of our desire and choice. what if i could choose the time and place of my birth. would i choose the royal bedrooms of the Mughal era? hmm.. well i am not sure. there was too much sickness, no TV, no internet, no airplanes, and no pizzas.there weren't too many books either. on top of that there were lots of wars and royalty often died for just being royalty. Ok so perhaps i sould have liked to be born in Venice during the renaissance period. maybe i had a chance to meet Da Vinci and all those mega minds... No i would have like to be there perhaps during Ice Age, or the time of Prophets... Nah. the more i think about it the more i realize that in the whole of this amazing history of mankind, now is the best time to be an human being. we have ruinced the environment, sucked on earth's resources, teared the Ozone, killed millions of humans and other species, but to be born in any time of human history, this is the best. well what is there not to like? Readily available food without hunting? being vaccinated in childhood to be protected against horrible diseases? education of all sorts available? communication with people far far away instantly?a blast of knowledge, entertainment and choices? to sum up all that mankind has been working towards through last million years or so, has almost come true. with of course its pros and cons.
now imagine if you had another choice. To be born at all! now i dont know what that would mean. i read somewhere that "you dont have a soul. you are one". so perhaps i could go on living as a soul? floating in the universe (or MULTIVERSE as Michio Kaku puts it.). or in heaven? none of us have a memory from the times when we were not born. we dont know if we existed in any kind of form before that ( are you also thinking about post death existance now?) well, there are lost of way to think about this phenomenon, religiously, spiritually, scientifically etc. but how i want to see it , is as a blessing. i see the world created for me. i see myself having a special place in it and i feel that i have a right to enjoy it, feel it, live it. the beuty and significance of life is beyond words , only if you see it . yet the hum drum of daily existence, survival and intellectual masterbation fogs our vision to "look beyond what you see" (as Rafiqi puts it in Lion King).
"Before my birth there was infinite time, and after my death, inexhaustible time. i never thought of it before: i'd been living luminously between two eternities of darkness."  from the first chapter ("I Am A Corpse" ) of the book My Name Is Red, by Orhan Pamuk.

so live and let live :)