Monday, 28 November 2011

Rights and Double Standards!

Watching this video made me wonder what has been crossing my thoughts frequently for a while. Where are we headed with this attitude? What do we wish to prove by finding faults in others? This trend of telling others how lowly they really are has now gained substance. Whenever someone tries to show us the mirror, or an incident forces us to reflect on what we are and have been doing, we revert to abusing the 'western world of all evil'. I don't doubt the statistics provided by the scholar in the video above. But I do wish to ask him: should we continue to be evil just because there are others who are worse than us? As a scholar, isn't it your job to correct the misconceptions and wrong doings of other Muslims who don't know as much as you do? Why defend their actions by telling them that they don't equal the west in killing and raping women? Does lying behind the west makes their actions tolerable?

Our problem, it seems, is our feeling of self-righteousness and self-importance which has led us to have double standards. As people who believe in one God, we should be the humble ones who respect everyone's rights and do not justify anyone's crime by baseless accusations and defenses. But noo, we consider ourselves superior in every right so much so that we dig out our own rules and regulations and definitions of freedom and rights in religion and outside it. We don't want to see or accept that fault lies with us even if the facts lie glaring in our face. And in our arrogance we go on to practise our self-defined rights and rules and justify them to the world. 

The young lady mentioned in the article shared is the most relevant example of what I said above. Only she represents the other side, i.e, all those who believe in God are root of all evil, the scholar's opposite. The difference is: one case it's the scholar who derails non-Muslims, western non-Muslims to be more specific, while insisting that Muslims are the purest of all and in the second case the young lady deems all Muslims as animals by implying how they challenge everyone's right to freedom of speech. What I don't understand is that why has the definition of freedom become so limited? Why have we restricted our freedom to the way we dress (or don't)? And just because our freedom is limited why do we try to restrict others' freedom to match ours? Why don't we let the others stay the way they want to? If some people mind when others criticise them then maybe they should just let other people be and spare them of the behaviour they so detest when it comes their way. The main root of most of the problems we are facing as a community today is not the absence or presence of religion or faith; its bigotry and hypocrisy. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Changing Lives

There was a time when Pakistan was a pro in making sports equipment, surgical instruments, carpets etc. They made a considerable part of Pakistan's exports. But then, all of a sudden, the world realised that children contribute in making these goods as well and decided to ban them to protest against child labour. The footballs and carpets which once provided for thousands of families were boycotted, leaving many families hungry and jobless. The world thought these kids should be in school instead of helping their parents out and pulled away the money which brought them food. In short, to provide these kids education and a better life, they snatched away the meals that these families earned after their hard work.

My question is: why do these super champions of human rights interfere in everyone's lives without knowing their actual situation? People who live in rural areas of Pakistan usually have large families. Due to lack of education and awareness, they impose certain limitations upon themselves, one of which is the refusal to go for family planning. Everyone who has a rational head in this world will surely realise that it's hard for one person to provide for a large family. Everyone's contribution is required in order to earn three good meals a day. Help of wives and children make it easier for the family to survive in harmony. If these kids are pulled away from work they'll become a burden and would have to go through starvation or malnutrition and might even have to face physical abuse as their parents find no other way to vent their frustration than to beat their kids up.

Education is extremely important and it's everyone's right to receive it. But before throwing out suggestions one should consider the circumstances of the people whose lifestyles are being criticised. Either they arrange charity programs so the children can go to school for free instead of working, not realising that by doing so they are completely crushing the self-respect of these little angels, or they boycott their hard work and lead them to starvation. If they are so concerned about the welfare of children maybe they should consider more practical solutions like....I don't know...increasing their wages so they can save enough to send their children to school? Or maybe, since they are so charitable, they can build up schools which can provide employment to children by honing their skills along with providing them basic education? By stopping the children from working altogether, they are wasting their skills as well as their income. Kids in rural areas are not interested in education unless they are provided with oppurtunities  to earn for their family. Banning them from work is not the solution. Their lives can be changed by providing them oppurtunities to specialise in their skills, so they can adopt it as a proper career and their children won't have to work to support them in future. Change comes gradually. Sudden change is always destructive and short termed. Patience and hard work is the only key when it comes to changing lives.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Who is my next Leader?

Imran Khan's rally on Sunday was a big success. Its success seems more magnified because of its unpredictability; few people (the political fortune-tellers), expected PTI to attract this many people and gather so much support. The fact that Imran Khan has always had youth's support is well-known but no one expected these potential voters to actually come out to show their acknowledgement and support so clearly. The enthusiasm of the crowd was unnerving and revitalising at the same time. The time has come, it seems, for Imran Khan to reap the fruits of his 16 years' struggle. He is finally being recognised as a political entity. But does this recognition really make him a politician? This question is constantly being raised by many people.

True, Imran Khan has many thinking minds as his supporters. That is, undoubtedly, his strength. But how long will he be able to hold them in? He has many goals, but few political ways to achieve them. Imran Khan's personality answers many questions about his strategies in future. He is an honest person who is inexcusably blunt and straightforward. This attribute alone ensures that he has a lot of public interest. But how much political support will he gather in order to satisfy the needs of his voters and work in the interest simultaneously? His blunt criticism is capable of warding off many important political supporters who are already itching to join him. It's an open reality that Imran Khan needs all this support that is being offered to him since he has no experienced candidates who can represent his party on different forums and team work is rarely seen. One can only hope for Imran Khan to be diplomatic.

Most of the policies, which he discussed in his rally, were too simplified. This implies that Imran Khan has not yet been successful in carving out more focused, centralised goals out of his vague ideologies which he has discussed countless times on different occasions. His take on America, his counter-terrorism policy, his anti-corruption movements, criticism on present government etc. have been heard several times with little editions in his speech and no changes in his tone. This, by no means, imply that the man is devoid of a vision. He can see his future clearly, but the measures he'll take to get there are still vague. His determination and abilities, however, prove him to be trustworthy. He has achieved goals which were thought to be impossible, like winning the cricket world cup, building Shaukat Khanum Hospital etc. Running a country is different from building a hospital or playing cricket, of course, but these achievements potray him as a determined, ambitious man who can give up anything to get what he has set his eyes on, in this case the welfare of Pakistan. I haven't seen any political leader playing Pakistan's national anthem in their rally, or addressing the whole nation while discussing their strategy instead of one province or ethnicity. No political party ever puts up images of Jinnah or Iqbal while they declare themselves leaders of Pakistan. Imran Khan is the first in a long time to take care of these subtleties. His plans are for Pakistan, not Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, KP or FATA. He is not trying to divide the country while dividing his policies for every sector of the population. Instead, he is formulating his strategies such that they lead to the unity of all provinces. This is what most of the masses have been waiting for: a leader who recognises them as Pakistanis instead of associating their identities with their religion, province or ethical background.

There have been more criticism on Imran Khan, he has faced more accusations and all has been done to defame him. Still, I think he should be supported for the sake of this country. We have tried trusting the polished, experienced politicians. What have we got? Crisis on every level of every sector. I don't think there can be any harm in trying to trust a well-proven administrator who is educated unlike most of our politicians, clean of corruption charges and is determined and devoted to his cause. Who knows, we might even gain something. A person who has pulled the middle-class thinking minds out of their houses can be expected to 'do more' in the sole interest of this country. Whether he is a politician or not, Imran Khan is, without a doubt, a charismatic leader who have the power to make people follow him unconditionally.

(These opinions are solely those of the writer which she has formulated after listening and reading different analysis etc. These opinions, therefore, might be derived but are surely not copied. Thank you.)