Friday, August 26, 2011

Lets Revive the Ideology of Pakistan

Pakistan is a great nation with a rich history of bravery, tolerance and hospitality. Now facing one of the most difficult periods ever experienced. The insecurity of our people and inability of our rulers to handle that, is, in fact, giving rise to the notion of making Pakistan a SECULAR country. Our youth are now being puzzled in solving the basic ideology given by its founders, instead of looking forward to the progress and prosperity here. No doubt, the extreme flow of information is also working towards our confusion about religion and the ways to live.
We have seen religious, ethnic, sectarian, including many other types of conflicts and the end to this is not in sight.  Someone has to stand against all this, tell the nation, where is it all going wrong and what are the remedies.

Did we have a Vision?

The leaders who dreamt and fought for this separate homeland, had a clear vision for this country. All of them respected each other's views and never belittled any one.
Sadly, after, they were gone, the country fell in the lap of a whole new generation, who had not been any close to the founders of Pakistan, had no clear vision about it, leave aside the ability to guide or lead the masses.

As a result, this led to a confusing mix of points-of-view , pro-western, Islamic as well as leftist.

Its not only about religion..

What we need to think is, the building of a nation is not based on the beliefs only, it also depends on the culture and the examples set by its leaders. The lack of good sincere leadership was the real reason behind the dilemma we have been facing since long.

I would like to mention just one example from the life of my grand father, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, who was a fierce freedom fighter, fearless speaker and well respected by leaders from all spheres.

Very few people know that Maulana Hasrat Mohani had suggested ARABIC to be made the national language of Pakistan in a Muslim League meeting, in the presence of Quaid e Azam and many other leaders. The reasons given by him were that with Arabic as a national language, the new country could have closer ties with Arab/Islamic block of countries. Also, it would be accepted by people from all corners of the country as a single language of Muslims. He also said that it could be waited for 10 or 20 years to make Arabic a national language, so all people could learn it, to be implemented completely everywhere.
As expected, this suggestion was not supported by many, including Quaid e Azam, as there were administrative and communicative  problems to be faced. Hasrat, being  a supporter of democracy, always accepted the decisions of majority so  he did not insist on this point any further.

Our Lost Path

Today, its a matter of sheer  grievance that people speaking the same unanimously accepted national language of Pakistan, including many others too, are being discriminated, targetted, mocked upon and even killed in the Land of the Pure.
This shows how we have lost our path by not conducting  democratic dialogue, becoming increasingly intolerant and  not looking ahead with even a little confidence in ourselves.

Above all, we have divided  our choice of leaders with respect to either religion, political or influential background.  Hence we have forgotten the concept of a true leader, who has to be inspirational and forward looking.  

DIVERSITY is the key

Here again , we can take the example of Hasrat Mohani, a multi-faceted personality, known as Maulana, a religious scholar, a staunch practising Muslim, who never missed a single prayer in his life and performed 11 pilgrimages to Makkah.
On the other hand, he was an open-minded and always fought for the freedom of expression in literature and speech. He had supporters and fans from all walks of life, beliefs and  sects. He saw communism as a tool for correcting economic inequality in the society. ( "Sufi momin hoon Ishtraki Muslim"). He is said to have actually founded The Communist Party of India first in 1921.
He strongly believed in sufism and always visited the shrines of various Sufis. Even, he went to  Hindu places of worship and wrote a few poems in praise of Krishan and on other sacred themes.  
His wife always accompanied him and actively participated in all the campaigns without having her face covered traditionally.  Surprisingly, no one ever doubted on his belief in Islam or could label him as a kaafir.  
He was incomparable in simplicity and honesty. In the words of Allama Iqbal, one could see the living example of Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (RA), a companion of Holy Prophet (SAWS),  in the form of Hasrat Mohani in 20th century.

Today we need to revive this spirit of diversity, combining religion and practical life. Religious tolerance is supposed to be the hallmark of any developed society in today's world.

This is the dilemma, of such a great nation, that we dont know, who to accept as a leader.

We have religious leaders /politicians / liberals /landlords /industrialists /scholars...but there is clear lack of capability of inspiring and gathering the masses on one platform, as one nation.

Lets pray together, may Allah give us guidance and vision to become good humans and to find and follow good leaders, who could take us to the road of peace and prosperity.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who is Killing? Think Again

I am short of words today… the madness continues and no one knows who is carrying out the brutal killings in almost every part of the Pakistan especially in big urban centres.

Everybody is in the state of shock to see the scale and the methods of murders all over the cities and rural areas.. Firing, burning, bombing, mutilated dead bodies is what would be unfathomable in a country created in the name of peace (Islam).

Its a long debatable topic that who is killing whom and why? There may be many answers to this question just as many stakeholders and political parties in this scenario, each having their own interpretation of the incidents being taken place.

At this moment, what I could do only was, to look back into something someone shared with me long ago.

This was about 10 years ago. One of my senior Indian colleagues Mr. Abdullah ( lecturer/Hafiz e Quran, about 80 years old, not alive anymore, the name is changed for privacy concerns) told me an incident which gave me some answers to common questions like :” Is this Islam? What kind of Muslims are these killing each other, even in the Holy month of Ramadan? “

Mr. Abdullah told us about his visit to Karachi, Pakistan 10 years ago, during his summer vacations to meet his relatives here. He used to visit a mosque near his residence at PECHS , Karachi regularly. He, just like many others, used to discuss the same issues as what kind of Muslims would kill other Muslims.

Once during a Jumah prayer, he saw a familiar face praying just next to him. It suddenly flashed in his mind that the man was actually his neighbour in Delhi, two years ago,and surprisingly, he was not a Muslim. This guy was offering prayer in the normal way as all other worshippers.

Mr. Abdullah could not wait and as soon as the prayer ended, called his name (R, imaginary name) asking how come he was in Karachi and praying in a mosque. He first thought may be R had converted to Islam and had come to visit friends in Karachi. But to his shock , R, looked at him in horror, got up and hurried to escape in the crowd. Mr. Abdullah was an old man, could not follow him so quickly. He tried to tell other people that he had seen a non-Muslim praying in the same mosque, but people did not take it seriously, as in Pakistan, there are very few non-Muslims, and it made no sense why one would come to pray in a mosque with Muslims.

In our cities, there is no check and every one is allowed in mosques. Do we really know how many foreign elements have penetrated in our society living just like us and killing our fellow beings? We only keep hating and cursing ourselves, but never think beyond that.

But till when? Should we allow them to completely wipe us from the face of the land? Or identify them.

Be alert. Be aware. Be Safe.
May Allah help us. Amen

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Karachi Riots = London Riots ?


We may be absolute fools when comparing the two of these... as Karachi has been through much more than what Londoners have seen...Yet it would rather be wise to recall the initial days of riots in Karachi, especially in 1986, which changed the city and its future forever.

Karachi : pre-1986:

Before this year, I remember my friends in other cities, jokingly called Karachi youth lazy, dumb, only interested in fashion, VCRs, movies and entertainment.

These riots/ burning/ looting which erupted in Karachi in 1986, left us all with no choice but to come out and defend our streets and communities. ( Note: Nobody knew about MQM then. Later people found it as a saviour. Many of our neighours joined it too..)

How it all started?

Anybody who was there in 1986, can never forget the incident of the death of Bushra Zaidi (a student who died in a road accident by a van), which, later, led the most of Karachi towards chaos. Students from nearby colleges and offices came out to protest for her killing.

It was almost the same time, when the police decided to raid Sohrab Goth, a market famous for drug sales. Ultimately, the drug dealers/ mafia, as previously announced by them, punished the whole city by spilling out from there, torching whatever came in their way.

That very day is still fresh in my memory, when I reached home with my friends after walking several kilometers, as there was no traffic on the roads. After a few hours I heard firing and sirens of ambulances.

I went up to the roof of my house, and all I could see was the smoke rising from various places in my vicinity. It was unbelievably horrible scene for someone who grew up in such a lively city playing and enjoying childhood in the open parks and grounds. First time, I heard many people reciting Holy verses of Quran and Azan loudly from their roof tops. They were shouting and telling everyone to be alert as the danger was near just in the next block.

How the rioters looked like and what stopped them ?

As it was expected, the rioters came in two trucks, having lathis/ batons in their hands, shouting as they were going for a battle. The people in our neighbouhood had instructed their ladies to stay indoors or on roofs. We were told to collect stones on our roofs in case they raided our houses. These attackers were believed to have been jumping inside the houses and creating mayhem.

Many of us tried calling police, even with the help of some influential officials/ministers. Police had nothing to say except that they were helpless, as there were many areas being attacked at the same time.

I remember, in my block of FB Area, only one retired army officer had a pistol. He immediately fired at the rioters, as they entered our locality which made them to step back. This one shot stopped them and they started running back to their trucks.

The Outcome:

Since then, many of us learnt a lesson that we had to defend ourselves. No wonder, after this nightmare, people started contributing to buy more bullets/ (or any thing which could serve as a small weapon) for future security.

One thing is for sure... after this incident, the lazy, dumb image of Karachiites was changed forever...

Still that VCR / relaxing / peaceful pre-1986 period seems like a dream now.

Still I miss that Karachi.


Are there any lessons for us in history? Can we learn something from it?