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Archive for September, 2010

Every morning, when I sit on my computer to read the newspaper, I went through a deep grief and anger which always leave me with numerous stinging questions about myself and my homeland. I usually open the newspapers of two countries: Pakistan as it is my homeland and South Korea where I currently live for my studies.

When I compare the headlines of Pakistani and Korean newspapers, I came across the feelings of whether I should be optimistic or realistic and what does it mean to be optimistic or realistic?

The Korean newspapers read the news of latest technology, the spikes of their booming economy and their action-based will to become the Asian Tigers whilst the newspapers of Pakistan are full of news about the huge scale killings of innocent human beings through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, drone attacks and other inhuman activities ; people crying of the extreme hunger with no drinking water, clothes, shelter, jobs and basic human needs; unreachable rise in the prices of everyday commodities; politicians at their throat of one another to grab more and more opportunities for corruption; violation of basic human rights; mismanagement and chaos at each and every level across the board.

Whenever our politicians, political analysts and scholars are asked for their comments, they ended the discussion either by blaming others or give us the future fantasies that everything would become better in future.

The intellectuals in their debates always emphasis the bright side of the picture and give us the lessons of optimism. It is beyond the shadows of doubt that optimism acts as a backbone in the progress of a nation but only that optimism which is based on reality.

We, the Pakistani, as a nation do nothing and hope for a broad level change to be happened automatically. If someone tries to point out our weaknesses, we stop him by exaggerating our qualities and ask him to be optimistic.  Now my question arises from this point, should this general behavior be named optimism or we as a nation have addicted to day dreaming so that we could close our eyes to the ground realities.

If one checks the performance of the current government, it is not different from the previous civil as well military eras: The scale of corruption is growing by leaps and bounds; the judiciary itself fights for the justice so the justice for a common man is out of question; the highly soaring prices of everyday commodities are out of reach even of a middle class family; in political arena the ever-red blame game continues; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; there is no planning to cope with the future whether it’s the in the form of war against terror or devastation of natural disasters; the media is banned if it dares to show the real image of the government in the same way as was done by the dictators: Pervaiz Musharraf and Zia ul Haq; there is no one to follow the Quid’s philosophy of faith, unity, and discipline.The story is the same; only the characters are changing.

Being an individual, the behavior of most of the people is not much different from the government: There is no unity, discipline, and political awareness amongst the people. Most of the people living in Pakistan don’t know their basic human rights. We talk a lot about the change and when it comes to practical grounds, by and large we just sit on our hands. For the most part, the educated people in Pakistan don’t cast their vote at first or otherwise go with the flow of religion, creep, family or cultural waves.

We do not believe in the power of individual. We hesitate to believe in truth, honesty, cleanliness, and basic moral deeds both at individual as well as collective levels. We are trained from the very childhood to think as Suni, Shia, or Ahmedi; Pukhtoon, Punjabi, Sindhi or Baloch. Where from the thinking of Pakistani would arise then? Why we have forgotten the struggles of our forefathers for making Pakistan?

Today, Pakistan is under the clouds of troubles and we are facing enormous challenges….

Now is the time to rethink our thoughts and actions. We have to accept that we are not on the road that will lead us to the prosperous Pakistan which Allama Muhammad Iqbal dreamed of and Quad-e-Azam struggled for. We have to change our behaviors as well our actions. We have to come out of the day dreaming of fantasy-based optimism and rethink our thoughts and deeds in accordance with the demands of ground realities. As a bottom line, we should first be realistic and then optimistic.

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It was 8:00 p.m. or  9:00 p.m. I don’t exactly remember the time but it was the start of a night – the nights would start this time for me back then – neither i remember the day and the date but perhaps it was a normal  and comfortable night in the winter of late 80’s or early 90’s.  I was lying on a combined bed with my younger brother in the oldest and biggest room of my grandfather. The walls of the room were  made entirely of mud and its roof was made of wood and grass; the roof had  turned black due to the continuous smokes of  fireplace in the room over the years.The old dusty lantern was spreading its small, dusty, calm and fading light around the corner where it was hanging against the wall near the fireplace; the rest of the room was almost dark.  My grandfather and my parents, sitting around the fireplace in a corner, were taking green tea. They were drawling very slowly with a  long and a bit loud sounds of  sips of the green tea. It was raining outside. The soothing sound of the rain drops, against the roof, was dominating the drowsy talks and the long and loud sips in the room. I can never forget that sound of rain. It still echoes in my mind.

It is 8:00 p.m , the 10th of September in 2010. I am sitting in my room of dormitory. It’s raining outside and the rain drops are making a sweet sound against the outside shade of my window. I am taking a cup of green tea. I am intentionally making long and loud sips. My computer is playing a melodious song ,very slowly.

Today is our thanksgiving, the Eid. I am far away from my siblings and my parents. My grandfather is no more in this world. Right this moment, i am all around with my childhood memories………

I am thinking of the present rain and then the rain before this rain and then the rain before that and so on….

I am tracking back and back in the past to figure out how many rains do I remember…..

I am going back and back , and the earliest rain that echoes in my mind is……….It was 8:00 p.m. or  9:00 p.m. I don’t exactly remember the time but it was the start of a night – the nights would start this time for me back then – neither i remember the day and the date but perhaps it was a normal and comfortable night in the winter of late 80’s or early 90’s……

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We were one, the three people were sharing the same feelings. When the two representatives of the Hanyang university’s weekly newspaper asked me, “Why did you set up this camp?”; I said, “To help those people who are poor, weak and helpless“; i saw into the eyes of the two representatives (a guy and a girl) one by one and  it was the moment when we three people were sharing the same feelings of grief and sympathy for all those unlucky people affected very badly by the worst ever floods in Pakistan.It was Friday, the last day of a 3-day donation collecting camp which we set up at the Hanyang university in South Korea to collect donations for the flood victims in Pakistan. I was one of the volunteers working for this great cause.

Though it was not easy at start to set up such a camp but when the intentions are sincere and strong, nothing can hinder  your way; so we set up the camp with the coordination of the university administration, the students union and the volunteers (Korean and Pakistani students). We collected enough money for the flood victims.

It was a wonderful experience for me. During these three days, dozens of students and professors shared their oneness with me. I felt connected with every one who came to the camp, donated money and wrote messages to the flood affected people. The students would come and would offer their volunteer intentions to help in collecting the donations. It was then when we all would feel as one – tightly connected with one another and with all those flood victims whom we don’t know, but whose sorrows and troubles do we share.

It was the first time in my life when everyone would appreciate me and my friends. I felt so good. People who passed by our camp would throw a smiley look – full of appreciation and the shared feelings of being connected.

I was convinced in these three days that the world, we live in, is not that bad as we often talk of it. There are still lot of people who want to feel the troubles of others and help them in heeling their sorrows. By and large, everyone wants to be connected with all human beings on our small planet. But  sometimes we are very wrong in making our minds about all  collective people based on our tiny bad experiences- with few people- occur at some unlucky moments of time.

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