So the citizens of Lahore were extremely happy and excited yesterday, that is, 26th February 2011. Not just because Pakistan won the cricket match against Sri Lanka, but because of all this as well:
NO. These have not been stolen from Dawn or whatever. These are very much personal. Although, dawn has got some really awesome ones too in their Media Gallery.
So, the folks got really excited. I'm guilty of sharing the excitement too. It was absolutely amazing.
Generally known as the 'Heart of Pakistan', as it's situated in the middle of the country, and 'Green city' because of its lush greenery, the city of Lahore can, indeed, be full of surprises. Last I remember, it was listed amongst the 'most polluted cities' in the world, basically in terms of air pollution. It is situated very close to Kasur, which again is actually 'The Most Polluted City in the Whole World' since it's an industrial city.
Lahorites went all crazy during and after this hailstorm. I am sure (infact, I know) that many people partied much and as it was Saturday night, the hype was doubled. I had fun too, yes. But this episode, was not exactly a good sign. It's a sign of Climate Change. And Climate Change is not good, people. It means disaster. Major disaster. The world might just end. Like in a couple years. (Worry lines, anyone?) Call me a cynic but don't. If the world really ends, well then, good. It has to end SOME day, anyway.
As an environmentalist, I'd usually be seen or heard debating and relating things like ‘Public Transport’ and ‘Clean Air’ to ‘Equality and Human Rights’ in our country. Yes, there is a strong relation over there which could be discussed sometime later. I dream about an 'Environmental Revolution' that could ever take place. That's rather a funny dream but hey, it could happen. We all have our perspectives to the way of life we'd like to live. They say extreme environmentalists tend to overlook the bigger picture while hissing away and sometimes shouting out to their respective government's lack of attention on earthly matters. I do not agree with this as 'WE' are actually the ones, most of the times, pointing at the bigger picture along with solid evidence in hands. We're pretty great in outlining a matter of life and death like that. And here I would say that we are only shushed under a scenario such as presented in the video above. (Got more important things to deal with than your happy-green-solar-powered-nerdy grimaces)
This is extremely inspirational: "We will not be silenced. Whether you're a Christian, whether you're a Muslim,whether you're an atheist, you will demand your goddamn rights. And we will have our rights, one way or theother! We will never be silenced!"
As citizens of Pakistan, do we have a lesson to learn from this? Or do we have an advice to give somewhat like ‘maybe you should try blowing yourself up one by one?’ If that doesn't help, ‘dudes, let it go’? Maybe we’ve got comments like ‘we’re an impotent society, it’s cool to see you guys are potent enough to indicate a revolution, because fighting for rights is pretty awesome in itself. Our governors get shot if they talk about rights or try to use any of them. We’re kinda creepy like that.’ On the other hand, I asked a friend if she thinks any lessons wait to be derived from such an incident. She had a good point. If our government is toppled right now, the ‘Mullahs’ would get voted in by our population!
I read an interesting question from an individual the other day that was asked one of my favorite writers. We don't have choices in the circumstances that we are born under. True, but if in case, all of us are born under 'equal' circumstances, then would that account for the best system to live in? As far as the person questioning could think, along with his set of arguments, he would not be so happy to be ‘like’ everyone else, and to be on the same level as everyone else. He would like to be better off. Now, that is pretty ‘human’ of him to think in such a way. It’s true, we could be born under the best of circumstances, without having to choose, but when the time comes when we have to choose, we may still like to be better off than the rest. At the same time, equality is important and has its due weight in the system. The missing link is that not everyone decides to or gets to ace. Not everyone decides to strive for something better. And not everyone succeeds either in achieving something better. The point is was he given the opportunity? The ‘right’? Levels are automatically sorted out and defined. But the opportunity of an equal right is to be provided ‘in the system’ to avail. The rest is on the people. Fail or succeed. It all then depends upon who is trying and who isn’t.
I had an almost 'rough' conversation, or rather a rough debate, for more than an hour with my brother last night after the news about the assassination of Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer had been declared. Before this incident, I had no knowledge about his views on Aasiya Bibi's case. What has happened is extremely horrible and unjust and that the man, Taseer, died an unfair death.
Not that my brother a) supports the Zia regime, b) supports the murder of Salman Taseer c) supports any Mullah regime either (I added this just to make it clear enough) and d)'wholly'supports Aasiya Bibi's case.
Sure, if I call out names or point out bad things or faults about XYZ' s relation or friend, he/she would get defensive and would have the desire to slap me hard or something. I, myself, would want to hurl a stone at someone or say out my share of abuses to them if they would say or do something offensive about any of my relations. Keeping this aspect under the limelight, religion, religious practices and personalities like Prophets/Imams/etc associated with religion, account for a similar situation. It is understandable when your blood boils at someone abusing anything or anyone regarding your faith. No offence to atheists or agnostics, but personally I believe that without the shelter of any kind of religion or faith, a person is leading a rather confused life. There has to be a path of principles for one to follow. Whether one is consistent enough on that path is another question. Or probably no question at all as that would be between him/her and his/her god. So, religion generally is important.
Getting back to the relevance of the subject, as Muslims, we do know that till today, the rule of chopping off of hands in Saudi Arabia (one of the hard-core Islamic States in the world) is still implemented. The people are allowed to go and watch executions that take place for those who commit a crime under the Shariah. Women whether they are Muslims or Non-Muslims cannot go out without covering themselves, properly. So, such things are there and the death penalty for crimes such as the kind Aasiya Bibi is said to have committed is there too.
Living in the worst times of all ages, it is no surprise that the case as above seems to be an entangled one. And in order to disentangle, prioritizing things in your religion is what should be done. In particular for this one, the aspects of Tolerance and Humanity should have taken priority over announcing punishment for the crime and that they should have been observed as they are most undoubtedly taught in Islam. Especially considering the fact that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is already a Muslim-majority country. No actual harm can come about from the minorities' end actually. Why? Because common sense: they are the 'Minorities'. So technically, shouldn't tolerance be easy enough to observe? Taking this forward, it is also important that the present, more modern times, should be brought under the focus. To implement laws in accordance to what religion preaches and in accordance to modernized ways of living may be a complicated task, but it has to be done in order to get a peaceful nation out of a crappy one. Since this is not being done, it's probably the reason why my brother is not 'wholly' in favour of Aasiya Bibi.
I just heard that a majority of the students from LUMS, one of the top institutes in Pakistan, have made a group in support of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the guard who shot Salman Taseer. I always doubted our education system in Pakistan. Somehow, this news brings forth a clearer picture. I mean that if people from the modern age, our so-called youth who are supposed to carry an enlightened vision, are ready to act in this manner, then I'm very sorry to say that maybe we do deserve the image that we have currently on the international scale as a nation of terrorists. Today, it's a security guard, probably a brain-washed one; tomorrow it could be one of our kind with a top-class education. Taking the law in your own hands might just become a culture here. (Or has it already?) More Faisal Shahzad's in the making... eh.