Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 ends for better or worse

What have we earned what have we lost during 2012?

To make a list of problems in Pakistan, one needs an encyclopaedia. As wishes and prayers start pouring in for the new calendar, I have only images and flashes of what transpired this year - Pictures of Vijanti, Rinkle and countless others like them; video of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi beheading Shia men in Quetta; images of Shia men killed in Parachinar, Chilas, Mastung, Quetta, Karachi, of limbs scattered around bomb blast sites, desecrated graves of Ahmedi Muslims in Lahore, burned and looted churches and temples in the name of religion, mass migration of Hindus from Sindh; Shahzeb Khan, who gave the urbanites a chance to unite; and of Bashir Bilour.


We have everything to offer, from terrorism to sexual harassment; feudalism to malnourished children; corruption to religious extremism; and yellow journalism to public vigilantism. Everything one needs to qualify!


Among all this, there is one big happy family. Yes! Hard to believe, but true. It is the most prosperous family we have had for decades. They've lost some members over the years. But still they stand tall. For them the new year will bring many exciting things.... Like letting go of terrorists, getting new cars, pampering spoilt brats. Do not ask them to reassure that the court would punish terrorists like Malik Ishaq from Lashker-e-Jhangvi, and rapists/rape-supporters (yes we have those too) like Sharjeel Memon and not let them free for lack of evidence. Not that we would have peace and not be counting dead bodies and relating bomb-blasts. 
Who cares if Rinkle, Vijanti, Kasturi, Asha, Koshalia, Hakeema and countless others get justice next year in this land of pure. It is still a Happy New Year!

Note: If there will be no rapes, no target killings, no bomb-blasts, no deaths due to hunger and lack of shelter, wish me a new year. Otherwise it’s an extension of the misery we live in, nothing good about prolonging misery, I support euthanasia.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pakistanis struggle understanding sexual violence!

As the Delhi rape victim dies in Singapore, Pakistanis continue to struggle with understanding that sexual violence is one of the major tools of oppression against women in general and minorities in particular. Especially some of the pseudo-liberals, for whom accepting the ruling elite as a culprit is too much of a big deal.

In the Sindh province particularly two dargahs/shrines are famous for forced conversions of young Hindu girls. Bharchundi Sharif, in Mirpur Mathelo, Ghotki District, Taluka Daharki and Pir Sarhandi, Umerkot District, Taluka Samaro. The 'gaddi nasheen' (or keeper of the seat) of both these shrines are supported and backed by Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

In case the reader is suffering from amnesia, the following are recorded cases of rape and forced conversions. There probably are hundreds which never came into the limelight. The girls were abducted, married off to Muslim men after forcefully converting to Islam. Their ages are anywhere from 13 to 18 years.

January 4, 2005: 18-year-old Marvi and 16-year-old Hemi from Kunri village in Umerkot District

March 3, 2005: 14-year-old Raji from Aslam Town Jhuddo, Mirpurkhas

September 2005: 17-year-old Kochlia, kidnapped and gangraped in Jacobabad

December 22, 2005: 13-year-old Mashu from Jhaluree, 20 km from Mirpur Khas

December 30, 2005: Qosheela's abducted from Ghotki

January 24, 2010: 14-year-old Kasturi Kohli from Mokrio village, Nagarparkar, who was gang raped by

Sharjeel Memon's goons. Yet another PPP leader. 

September 11, 2011: 29-year-old Dr Lata Kumari, Jacobabad

February 24, 2012: 17-year-old Rinkle Kumari's is a high profile case, where her abductor, turned husband Naveed Shah is given support and provided immunity from the law by Mian Abdul Haq aka Mian Mithu, PPP MNA from Ghotki.


The recent case of two minor-girls, age six and 14, who were raped in a PPP constituency, Umerkot is not a rare occurrence. Sexual violence is often used as a system to harass, intimidate and force conversion to Islam in Pakistan. There are countless cases in Sindh where children belonging to the oppressed Hindu minority have been sexually assaulted, raped and then refused justice. And in order to further humiliate them and their community, if they are of marriageable age, and unluckily survive the brutality, they are married off to the criminals who perpetrated the crime.

December 4, 2012: A 6 year-old minor, daughter of Munwar Meghwar, a labourer from Ghulam Nabi Shah, Umerkot District was abducted from the street in front of her house and sexually assaulted. The child stayed at the Mirpurkhas Civil Hospital till December 11, from where she was later shifted to Karachi for better treatment.

December 23, 2012: 14-year-old schedule caste (Bheel) Hindu girl from Chachro (FIR no 61/12 u/s 354 Pakistan Penal Code. Complainant Bheel against three accused)

This is only the tip of the ice-berg. Rape and forced conversions both are interlinked in case of women who are of marriageable age. As per the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) around 20 to 25 Hindu girls are being forcibly converted to Islam every month in the southern Sindh province on average. How many are being raped and disposed off due to lack of usability in marriage is another topic. The role in all this of the feudal-rulers is absolutely obscured intentionally by the ruling elite and their henchmen in media and judiciary. While the common public continues to perpetuate rape culture and apologia in the name of religion, there is a dire need to spread awareness and bring these issues out in the open.

Please raise your voice against sexual violence. Join a protest in your city for the cause, or if you cannot, at least take out 2 minutes of your time and sign an online petition. Remember change cannot be brought by merely talking about it. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Umerkot rape cases: Where's the outrage Pakistanis?

While the Indian public is up and about regarding the Delhi rape case, Pakistanis are busy questioning the 'authenticity' and 'intent' of people who are bringing the Umerkot rape case in the public eye. In Pakistan rapists getting support from the ruling elite and their liberal mouthpieces, is a very common occurrence. Rather this is one of the feudal legacies of our country, to rape and watch. And while we are talking of legacies, let’s not forget another, oppressing minorities. 

The recent rape cases from Umerkot, a Pakistan People’s Party constituency, are the perfect examples of both our feudal legacies, sexual violence against minor-Hindu-girls. It is one of the worst weapons to silence and oppress people, be those women, children or religious and ethnic minorities. In Umerkot, a 6-year-old girl-child was raped by a Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) worker and a 14-year-old minor raped by influential men from the ruling PPP. (Read more details here)

Interestingly, the issue is hardly getting much attention since there is too much important stuff going on. First being the death anniversary of Benazir and second, continuing the Bhutto dynasty politics via Bilawal Zardari. Among all this are certain pseudo-liberals, for whom talking about the rape case is a method to malign the PPP.


Perhaps for them the case of Shahzeb Khan is also just to malign feudalism? After all, the feudal Bhuttos are the saviours of Pakistan. And with feudalism comes the ‘responsibility’ to oppress people, and help the ones who oppress (yes the oppressors and not the oppressed are protected where feudal-politicians-with military support run so-called-democracies). What do you plan now? Twist the story and claim it was a love match? (Rinkle Kumari) Or go the Sharjeel Memon way? Or simply make the lives of the families of victims hell, so they actually end up self immolating themselves. While you sit in your drawing room and spew shit on social media? Being in office does not make PPP exempt from criticism. The ruling PPP seems to enjoy perpetuating, supporting and even breeding rape culture.

And last but not the least. A question for all the 'staunch' patriotic anti-Indian Pakistani-Muslims and 'liberals', where is the outrage that you pretended at the Delhi rape case? Or is the rape by Indians more of a rape compared to rape by ‘Muslim / Pakistani men’? 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Did you see the smile?

Smiling,
Shining bright and radiant,
Glistening,
Like dew drops in the morning,
Do you notice?
The sheen,
Fragility and brittleness?
Nay,
Its fear,
Yes, for what makes one smile in pain?
Make a brave face appear,
Don't show the truth,
Fake it,
For who cares for real?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Honorary Guy Syndrome!

I used to identify myself as one of the guys. Or let’s say I suffered from the ‘honorary guy syndrome’. My failure to fit in with the girls around me without makeup and relevant information about latest accessories pushed me to hang out more with the boys around me. Reminds me of an incidence at school when a friend of mine asked how I had no makeup on, and how it made me less feminine. It resulted in a feeling of inadequacy and a brief complex.

Also, I was tired of listening to comments like; you need to stop being so tom-boyish; stop playing cricket on the streets; start taking interest in cooking and baking; what? You fly kites with the guys? So on and so forth. Not to forget the evilness associated with women, especially from the religious point of view.
Hadith 1:28
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you."
As a teenager, it seemed that being a woman was a curse and everything associated with it meant I would be treated badly. Moreover, the guys I hung out with treated me better when I was not all ‘girly’ as they said. I would be privy to all their indiscretions, dirty street language, newest trends in ‘poondi’, crank calling, and name calling girls. Sigh!

There are things I am ashamed of. Times when the guys talked mean about the ‘girly girls’ and I never stopped them. Or they would indulge in ogling and instead of admonishing them I would be a part of the group, even agreeing that if ‘they’ dressed or acted a certain way, it was to get attention from the guys. It was a perfect case of women being ‘they’ for me.

Statements like, bad driver, duh! Of course, a woman; cranky like a typical woman; my boss is so mean, if only there was a man in her place; or telling some guy who is very emotional, fussy, or loves gossip, stop being a woman all came out without a thought. I’m sure others can add up thousands of such comments we hear in our daily lives. I guess I had a bad case of HGS!

It would probably have continued if I had not met with men who actually did not treat me like one of them, and wanted me to be the woman our patriarchal society dictates. These men wanted me to, be their pet, look pretty, learn to cook, be docile, have less opinions or in some cases no opinions and still understand the male psyche of using women like tissue papers, because hey, this is what women are made for. Remember, women dressed pretty and acted a certain way for the entertainment of the men.

This shift in my circumstances, from considering women as the other, to being a ‘woman’ myself played a huge role in my understanding of how our society literally forces us into a mould. And how great a role men play in maintaining the status quo. Now, when I hear some young women go on and on about how they are not girls because they don’t wear makeup, or don’t wear high heels, or don’t watch dramas or indulge in gossip etc etc, I let them know that they are not alone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Feminazis make you look sex-ist!

The rape apologists rear their head again. They show their ignorance and bias towards feminists, who think outside the male definition of what constitutes feminism by using American Republican, anti-abortionist nut Rush Limbaugh's vocabulary. How unimaginative and lazy. Yes, feminazi, you got it right bitch. If your feminism makes you question the status quo, and you call a sexist a sexist, you are a feminazi. Wanting to exterminate the bulls of the human species. Calling some holy men misogynists. Considering men who give rape threats future rapists, you are an uptight, ugly, fat cunt. Possibly even a lesbian. Man hating, crazy cat lady. Here's the cliche response from an average callous, religio-fascist excuse for a human being.

For this person, making jokes about rape, threatening women on the internet with rape, talking in a sexually derogatory manner are all good fun. His morals and ethics remain pure and undoubtedly chaste, since all he did was laughingly ask a woman why she is being so uptight about someone who asked her to spread her legs. I guess he often jokes like that at home too. After all, in his minuscule brain his aim is spreading laughter, and if what he is saying and doing is perfectly harmless humour, he practices what he preaches.

Here's the masterpiece by the very il-literally inclined Tayyab Tanvir, the Mango People fame guy. Enjoy the touch of his genius. ;)


Strawman galore. The man talks in innuendoes, starts asking for sexual favours. Women responds with a no. Man starts getting more sleazy and loud. Women screams no, stop it. Man goes, come on let me f*** you. This is how the logic works here. 

1- This man is sexist.
Response: You are not a feminist, but a man-hater.

2- This man supports men who gave me rape threats. This is how rape culture works. He is sexist.
Response: You are close minded because I only joke about rape and that is why support these men because they were joking too. 

3- This man supports rape threats.
Response: Fuck you stupid bitch. Come on, give me a BJ.

4- This man is harassing me sexually and is a future rapist.
Response: You are frustrated and ugly, and think every man is out there to rape you. FEMINAZI!

We have not yet even talked about how one becomes a feminazi by merely not supporting the heteronormative discourse of sexuality and gender. Probably on some other post. Here's a few more of the delusional jokers aka 'sexists'. Who chose to visit the petition page demanding PTA to unblock youtube. Wonder if they would continue upholding humour over morals if someone jokes about their religion. Ah well!



For the post on the group of intellectuals, follow https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=445339138863178&set=a.247177028679391.59192.247122628684831&type=3&theater



Friday, December 14, 2012

Sammich joke suckerpunch!

Here we go again. As if it wasn’t enough to deal with rape threats and rape apologia, the women who dared to question the divine rights of moozlim menz, now have to deal with their ad hominem and strawman arguments. Sprinkled with stupid sammich jokes, these mentally depraved men are hollering out to their partners in crime.

By the way, occasionally, their fake accounts with some stolen pictures of an adolescent girl might appear out of nowhere to lend support too. Trying to legitimize their claims by making it look like, ohhh… look whiminz are supporting us. Doesn’t work! Even if you bring in some doormat, that swoons at your lack of intelligence, and considers you a macho genius, it’s thin ice you are walking on.


Statistical data in Pakistan is highly unreliable. Women here often do not report rape due to the biased hudood laws, social stigma and family pressure. Luckily, US has a slightly better system when it comes to supporting women, therefore, more women ‘report’ rape, although the numbers might still not be accurate. Moreover, looking at the reactions to a mere blog, the way the literate men are shouting women down, calling names, recounting rape jokes, no wonder a lot of women are afraid to even mention getting raped.


Death threat? An interesting fact here is that none of the lousy, intellectually decapitated individuals attack other men. It clearly reveals their psychology, where they are incapable, or perhaps totally clueless as to having any intellectual debate with fellow specimens of their own sex. Their sole power lies in giving rape threats and in some cases death threats, as well as character assassination. Also, even if they argue with a man, they cannot argue with him on the same level. The man has to be ‘otherized’ to be dealt with. He cannot be argued with on the same level as menz. He has to be referred to as a woman in order to make him eligible for their intelligent diatribes.


More proof of the mental calibre and friction between the very few brain cells that have somehow survived. Enjoy the enlightening posts, very beautifully said and delivered I say.


There were also references to bestiality by the moozlem men, cause, hey, they didn’t learn how to have a civilized conversation with a woman who works for animal rescue. How educated of them, and decent... and er.. Moozlem. Why give trouble to your brain cells? Just give threats and mission accomplished.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make me sammich whim-in!


Stop being a feminazi bitch and make me a sammich you whim-in! Well if that wasn't enough get ready for rape threats if you dare to question and challenge child sexual abuse, paedophilia  rape threats, rape apologia, violence against women etc. 


This is not the opinion of some person stuck between home, food and shelter problems. But the privileged bunch. Attending private universities like COMSATS. Though the Ahmedi girl's rustication incident does not leave much hope for us when it comes to the said institute. Typical response from the lot for whom feminist women are man-hating-uptight-cunts. Their only desire is make me a sammich and spread your legs. These poor ‘layndi dogs’ are clueless how to interact respectfully with the wimminz. 

Now if you think this was the worse, wait till you see the number of likes this future rapist received.


Not to forget the condescending menz for whom, oh this is so not 1856 where you talk about 'feminism and girl power'. 


And just when you think that this is the end of it. Up come the ones who enjoy certain celebrity status and make statements like, “The only reason they're sending you offensive comments is because you've made it too obvious that you'll get pissed off. These people are just messing around with you for the luls. That's why I was messing around with you because your first impression was a Male-hating-delusional-feminazi. Trust me you've never seen real sexists, go to Comics by Arslan and you'll be surprised," by Tayyab Tanvir of the Mango People fame. 

Great! So basically 'The Man Tayyab' is stating, 'My sexism is nothing compared to another guy. So it proves I am not a sexist or a rape apologist'. Since when did rape threats become mere ‘offensive comments’? 

Another brilliant comment by another brilliant dick, err man?

Wimminz are not supposed to question menz for menz know bestest. If not, then menz want BJs without PJs, for their dick, err.. brain is the most important organ in their body pliss. Even if they use it to force others.




Saturday, December 8, 2012

Morose

A land,
Fertile with graves,
Where they stand,
Cloaked figures,
Swords, spades or shovels?
What are those?
Digging the earth,
Bodies of the past,
Stacking them,
Those dead piles of dirt,
From which no plant grows,
No life flows,
Eternally dull,
And null shall they be,
Infertile never meeting star dust!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Standing in the rain

Standing in the rain,
Sins washing away,
Trickling, drifting in the water,
I watch them,
Going farther,
Colourful they are,
Much more than a rainbow,
Drenched and cold outside,
But burning hot within,
I watch them,
Pass me by,
Staring they are,
Remorse in their eyes,
Myriad heads in a crowd,
Things in my mind,
I watch them,
Clouds clearing away,
Chasing each other,
Till the sun is out,
Shining bright in my face!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dudgeons

I want to be a dead pile of dirt,
From which no plant grows,
No life flows,
It's eternally dull,
And null shall it be,
Infertile never meeting star dust!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Powerpuff Girls, not damsels in distress

This picture was taken before one of the older men asked me to stand right next to the crowd for clearer images
Imagine passing through a huge crowd of men without getting harassed. I squeezed past through hundreds of men today at the Ashura procession, which I attended after 10 years. Not a single problem. Nobody tried to grab my breasts, nobody touched my thigh, nobody pushed me intentionally, neither was I ogled at in a lecherous manner, I heard no cat calls accompanying those stares. I wish men can behave in this manner every day in Pakistan.

On a regular given day in the biggest metropolitan of Pakistan, I cannot go on the streets without being apprehensive of what I will face today, and before people start commenting about hijab, niqab etc. Been there, done that, makes no difference at all.

During my university days I used to wear a huge dopatta, making sure my whole body was just a wisp of cloth and nothing else. Still fingers were poked at me in G17, W30, Shiraz Coach, Khan Coach etc. Cat calls were made while I crossed the road. Men flashed their d**** at the girls standing on bus stops. And before the elitist jump up to say, those must be the uneducated, poor people, who have had no exposure, sorry to disappoint you. On the streets, a lot of these educated and uneducated are the same. Savages, for lack of a better word! There was hardly a day which passed without a single incidence of sexual harassment. Er, despite the huge dopatta. Result? I stopped denying myself the right to move about freely and comfortably because some men cannot control their hormones.

Being a shia I never used a niqab, except while traveling in the desert. However, the recent influence of the theocratic Iranian regime, some shia women have started covering their faces in Pakistan too. (I protest – this was one of the things I appreciated in Shiaism) A lady who received a gift of a niqab from Iran experimented with the idea and decided to come back from her teaching job at 3pm in the niqab. Not to be forgotten here is her black full-length abaya. While she was walking home from the bus stop, a man on a motorcycle stopped ahead of her, and invited her to sit behind him. She entered the shop nearby to avoid her assailant. Result? No more niqab, at least during day time.

At this stage, we might have to deal with the argument that it is still better in Pakistan, and on one complaint all the guys, who earlier were sitting chewing paan and enjoying a lady’s discomfort, stand up and become the caretakers of the woman’s honor. Hogwash! It doesn't happen as often as it might have happened during your mother’s days. How I know this? Because I still use public transport.

Although I have no problems if some women do ask men for help, in my opinion we need to be trained in self defence, and realize that ‘men’ cannot be relied on all the time to come to our aid. The whole damsel in distress idea is not only clichéd, but out of fashion now. You show vulnerability, there will be 10 more lechers to take care of.

PS Just to set the record straight, same sex harassment is also increasing in public transport. It is not very common among women yet, or I haven’t heard of more than 3 or 4 cases, but among the men it already should be a cause of concern.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cesspool of humanity

You can support Imran Khan, Altaf Hussain, Shehbaz Sharif, Obama, Romney, Bal Thackery, Ahmadinejad or whoever else we have available from the concentrated gene-pool or cesspool of humanity, I don't care. But do not lose your humanity in your 'support for these genetically stunted creatures'. Do not on one hand be anti-drone and on the other hail army operations in other parts of the world. Do not say you are a human rights supporter if you think that giving capital punishment is justified. Do not be aggressive against other beliefs, killing them, maiming them and rendering them clueless as to what hit them, and then hold the non-believer responsible for being aggressive towards you visually, virtually or graphically.

Supporting political or religious ideologies beyond humanity is nothing to be proud of. Killing to wipe the 'other' off the face of this earth is nothing short of a genocide. Perhaps the evo-psychologist would love to say this is genetic and that this is the exact gene responsible for wiping out the Neanderthals 30,000 years ago.

Oh and please do not say if it wasn't for the boob-baring women, there would be no earthquakes or genocides. For otherwise your house should be in a quake every time someone took a shower at home, especially if that someone was a woman. Or you would be taking baths in your own relatives blood. Spare me your shenanigans on how depraved modern society is when it comes to teen pregnancy and sexual orientation, for even baboons have better understanding then that. And if you think I will be impressed about your knowledge on Gaza and the Iron Dome, or even how infowars has clarified Osama's death which took place eight years ago, let me be absolutely rude here, I don't give a fuck!

Violence is not the answer. Not in any form. Be it from organized military, or from the 'extremists' against the innocent. Resistance does not mean violence. Need of the day is not to sit in your drawing room asking what would become of this world while sipping chilled pepsi, beer, vodka whichever you prefer, but that you move your bum and get to work.

You ask me when will it end? I say, when instead of asking 'when will it end' you are on the streets, next to me, fighting to make it end.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recreating creativity is one hellova task!




Will be available on sale soon. For details check: https://www.facebook.com/needlecrafts.products

Brain defrost: Thoughts that run


My brain,
A horse,
An untamed one at that,
A stallion, let lose in a field,
Not the elysian fields,
Just not yet,
There is time love,
He said, as he turned his head,
To gaze at the glistening blade,
Blade or shard?
What was it?
A shard trampled in the hooves,
Yes, its gone,
No longer does it haunt,

Be free he tells,
Free of what?
Humans,
Anything but them,
Just not yet,
He smiles again,
That kind one,
Its still too far to go,
Let them be,
Ones who can't wait,
Let them go,
Mere hindrances,
Nothing else,
Step on, ahead,
Beautiful horse!



Friday, November 16, 2012

Reversing patriarchy unhealthy?

It is sad when someone who identifies himself as a feminist, tries to validate patriarchy and heteronormativity, justifying it via evolutionary psychology. The person not only sounds like a rape apologist, but by virtue of limiting gender roles to evolutionary psychology, he even gives fodder to the pro-burka/hijab bandwagon. 

Quote from Loneliberal's blog: "Some behaviours  however, are so deeply ingrained within the male psyche that fixing them could be a pathological change."



Perhaps our resident evo-psychologist is more comfortable to believe that the injustices are perpetrated due to nature and not learned behaviour. Therefore, patriarchy being natural, men have no responsibility when it comes to not being misogynists. Moreover, trying to reverse patriarchy will actually be unhealthy. Since it is healthy and natural.



Here’s another quote from the comments, “Drooling at the sight of naked women is not a learned response. I cannot imagine an adolescent male being “taught” to have an erection at the sight of a sexually-appealing female. Or a female “taught” to be turned on at the sight of a handsome man. These are instinctive behaviors. Regardless of how much he is educated, a heterosexual male would still retain his preference for tighter skin; firm, reasonably large breasts; and large, gynecoid hips (though he may deny being titillated by them, due to social restraints).”



The guy is not only stereotyping what must and does excite an individual sexually, but is also stating that one who does not fit in this box, is actually doing so due to social pressure. Basically, whatever doesn't fit in the dominant heteronormative paradigm, defined by evolutionary psychology is learned behaviour. What I would advise the author of this blog, is to first get a better understanding of what feminism is and isn't. 

PS: Perhaps, it would be so much better to cover women up in a shuttlecock burka, since men cannot help but get erect at their sight. Forget about lesbians, gays, trans-sexuals. Hell with LGBT people!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bali an architectural delight!




Streets littered with symbols of devotion, no locked doors, rustic environment and a place where you neither feel threatened nor have a desire to be aggressive. This is how I would sum Bali in a sentence. It is a beautiful island, and humans have fortunately instead of only exploiting nature, let it grow in harmony. Be it the protected mangroves along busy roads; banyan trees protruding around expensive resort walls; intricately designed, devotional pedestals where old ladies burn incense and offer flowers to their god or a friendly stray dog sitting next to you at the beach.




The spirit of Bali has a lot to do with the cultural richness and indigenous construction language. Bali has retained its traditional essence despite the demon of globalization, which appears in the shape of McDonalds or KFC here and there. Nevertheless, the Balinese have not let globalization be their defining characteristic.

A speaker at the ARCASIA 2012 event quoted, "In 1970, a rule was introduced that if you want to build a hotel in Bali, it should not be taller then the coconut tree." It is such rules and regulations as well as the dedication of the people that makes Bali an architectural delight in its truest sense.

A delegation of 28 Pakistani architecture students from 5 universities participated in Bali ARCASIA 2012, numbering the highest among all visiting countries. Out of 28, eight students of Visual Studies Department, University of Karachi participated in the event, making it the first group of students to represent the department after it was regularized by the KU last month. Other visiting delegates include Bangladesh 15, Phillipines 13, Sri Lanka 10, Malaysia eight, Thailand five and two each from India, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Laos and Mongolia. A total of 15 countries participated in the Student Jamboree and 18 in the ARCASIA conference for professional architects. Again Pakistan topped the list with the highest number of architects, all members of the Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP). Chairperson IAP Shahab Ghani

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kill or get killed is not the question

Humans are funny creatures. Specially the supposedly civilized ones. Due to the elections in US and near future, Pakistan, the drone debate has been gaining momentum. Incidentally, Malala's case has also provided an opportunity to legitimize drones and perhaps a military operation. While the politicians might have a totally different interest in such 'for' and 'against' debates, the discussions and dialogues regarding the current socio-political conditions in Af-Pak among the 'privileged gentry' is getting more complicated and heated.

If one wants, the drone debate can be broadly divided among three factions. First being the ones who do not support drones; second, who support drones and dump civilian casualties as 'collateral damage' and the last [hopefully] are the ones who support drones, "because there is no other 'immediate' solution". Key word here is immediate, and if you are not proposing an immediate solution, be prepared for ad hominem questions, "Are you proposing we have a round-table conference with the Taliban? How many Malala's do you want shot or murdered before you support drones?" or... "If not drones, what else? A military operation by the Pakistan Army? Do you know how many casualties that would cause?" Once you respond negatively to these questions, next come hyperbolic statements like, "So you mean there should be no 'action' against the Taliban, and we should let them continue in the same manner." Apparently the only course of 'action' is killing, even if it means civilian deaths, which of course are mere statistics when compared with the 'militant deaths'.

For someone who neither supports the Taliban, nor the War on Terror, there are stark similarities between the 'pro-drone-club' and the 'terrorists'. Both support killing people in the name of their cause. Both are imperialistic in nature. It has become a never ending vicious cycle. The need is not to kill but to reverse the radical mentality on both ends of the spectrum. More than a change of faces, there should be a demand for changing the system. A system that does not lead to oppression resulting in the formation of interest groups - where my children don't have leverage over yours because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, class or religious affiliation. Where human rights activists do not support stealth mode targeted killings, death penalty and wars. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Who is the savage?


Who are savages? And no I am not talking about the Taliban. Let's start with what is the meaning of 'savage'? Here's what Google has to say:

Everyone is a savage. We are getting closer to being 'savages' or the 'savage idea' and the 'vigilante' mentality. Hence for us deaths are mere statistics, collateral damage or just necessary wrongs. We live in a world where people get killed on being 'alleged terrorists'; where 3 million people can be displaced on the basis of a video; and a country could be ravaged with a war, killing and maiming thousands on an 'allegation of owning Weapons of Mass Destruction'.

What really is the difference between the Taliban and the imperialists or the people who send jobs to poorer countries to have greater profits, while their own people survive on social security? How can we justify one act of oppression in the name of profit, and term the other brutal? Basically rendering thousands jobless is as brutal as killing thousands. Difference is that one use the Muslim or Jewish way of slaughtering (slow painful death) and the others slaughter a bit humanely.

End of rant!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fighting 'Taliban' ideology

Apparently this whole Malala thing has created a schism. If you support her, you have to pick between drones or an operation in North Waziristan, if you don't you are being a conspiracy theorist and a Taliban Apologist or better still an ImmyK supporter. Really, it’s quite annoying! It is as if questioning anything with an element of ‘individual’ human tragedy is equivalent to blasphemy among liberals. I have to be very defensive. So here is my defence. Questioning the incident, does not translate to doubting she was shot, but that there is something dodgy in the whole incident.

Let me spell it out. I am skeptical of the interest our army and media are showing in the whole incident. It is becoming obvious that the Pakistan army with the help of the media is interested in launching an offensive in North Waziristan, and that is why a lot of hype is being created. Malala has become just a weapon for twisting the public opinion in favour of a re-run of ‘Operation Rah-e-Nijat’.

Have we forgotten that since 2005, we have not yet recovered from any of the natural or man-made disasters? Pakistan has not completely recovered from the October 8, 2005 Earthquake which left 70000 dead and displaced 2 million people; April 26, 2009 Operation Black Thunderstorm that displaced another 2 million people; July 2010 flood that displaced 3 million people and this does not include the current year. This year alone as per the National Disaster Management Authority [NDMA] heavy monsoon rains beginning late August have triggered flooding in Pakistan, resulting in 430 deaths, affecting nearly 4.8 million people, and damaging or destroying more than 402,000 houses as of September 28.

While these are the major events from the past few years, we have those ongoing events, namely, Shia, Hazara, Ahmedi, Christian Genocide; desecration of churches, temples; karo-kari; vani, sawara; child molestations in madarsas; target killings of Pakhtun, Urdu speaking, none of which are happening in ‘North Waziristan’ alone. Rather these incidents occur all over Pakistan, from Gilgit-Baltistan to Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi.

And here we are with people who are lobbying for yet another man-made disaster to exacerbate the already dilapidated state of Pakistan. One must not at this stage forget the ‘pro-drone’ lobbyists, with whom I beg to differ too. Drones are not a solution either. For this monster there are no quick solutions, and the sooner we accepted that, the better it would be for us. Because once we have realized there are no quick-fix solutions, we can actually get involved in a long term procedure to sort ourselves out.

The Taliban are not the only bogeymen here. It is the mindset - legacy of Mard-e-Momin Ziaul Haq and our imperialist allies in ‘War on Terror’ - that we have to fight. And mindsets cannot be fought with stealth technology, bombs and imposed conflicts.

PS Oh and just for the record. Malala was shot in Swat, where the Pakistan Army already conducted Operation Black Thunder to get rid of the militants. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Petition: Unblock Youtube

With freedom of expression comes responsibility. Governments and states that indulge in censorship not only are going against fundamental civic rights, but also by virtue of their action declaring people (viewers, readers) incapable of being responsible. The banning of youtube because of a badly made film trailer 'Innocence of Muslims' by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has declared Pakistanis as an irresponsible bunch across the world. A people who have lost their right to decide what to watch and what not to. Along with 'Innocence of Muslims', we have also been deprived of watching old documentaries on religion, science, history, private vlogs by activists from Gaza Strip or revolutionary speeches by religious scholars and politicians.

http://www.change.org/petitions/pakistan-telecommunication-authority-unblock-youtube?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ethereal flute

Sometimes music leaves us spellbound and lost in another dimension. Disconnected from the present. These lines just started flowing of their own accord while I was listening to Raga Bhimpalasi by Hariprasad Chaurasia. An Indian classical instrumentalist from Allahabad. 

Shivers run down my spine,
As I sit mesmerized by the music
Emanating from this piece of wood,
Which at some point,
On a given day,
Must have been a part of some tree,
A tree that might have given shade to some school children,
Or may be lovers who were never meant to be!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Be one, not more

Twitter fights,
Silly rights,
Cyber farts and dummy brights,
Open your eyes,
Look around,
World is outside virtual bounds,
Round and round,
In this circular town,
Where there is hunger,
And death roams around,
You talk of stupid Tinseltown,
Wake up,
Look,
Some are dead, or dying tonight,
Rest are frightened of the light,
Knock at their doors,
Make them bold,
Bring them out of their moulds,
Make them fight,
Strive for right,
Shoot prejudice,
Clear the divide,
Wipe out the boundaries,
Be merry or contrite,
Bring a change,
Murder vain,
Make it happen,
Till all is ordained!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Worker

Hungry eyes,
Barren soul,
Lost within times untold,
Toiling the earth,
Breaking stones,
Making food for ones who store,
Oh please share,
Not charity, alms or wares,
But what I made for you and I,
The woven cloth,
And gilded book,
A roof of peace,
Hammer and sickle!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mürvet ya Ali - generous one

Hüseyin & Ali Rıza Albayrak ( Aynur Doğan) - Alemin Nuru

I do not understand Turkish, but this is one of my most favourite Sufi kalam by Şah İsmail Hatayi, or as known in Persian Abū l-Muzaffar bin Haydar as-Safavī. Founder of the Safavid Dynasty. I discovered this poetry by accident while searching for Alevi, Bektashi music. The following version is by Hüseyin & Ali Rıza Albayrak, who you can follow on Facebook.



After several attempts at searching for an English translation and trying Google Translate many times. I decided to try and translate it myself. Using several different Turkish to English dictionaries, as well as, of course Google, I was able to come up with something that might be considered close.

Hasretinden yandı bağrım hiç görür müyüm seni
My yearning to hold you to my bosom,

Umarım Hak divanında yad eyleyesin beni 
Is as great as wanting the Elysian Fields,

Sana cömert gani derler mürvet ey keremkânı 
Your generosity is renowned,

Alemin nuru Muhammed.. Mürvet ya Ali mürvet 
Muhammad’s light of the universe, Ali the generous one,

Sana benzer bulamadım şu cihan-ı vahdette 
There is none as great as you to follow in the whole world,

Göster mah-ı cemalini kalmayayım hasrette 
Reveal to me the beauty and not let the yearning wither away,

İsmini zikreden kullar mahrum kalmaz ahrette 
Name me among your slaves, do not leave me destitute in afterlife

Alemin nuru Muhammed.. Mürvet ya Ali mürvet 
Muhammad’s light of the universe, Ali the generous one!

Bağışla bu günahkarı yüz sürdüm dergâhına 
Bestow forgiveness on me for peace, for I am a sinner,

Ruhum küfr içinde kaldı kalma bu günahıma
Essentially a selfish soul within,

Sığınıp gelmişem ben bu risalet penahına 
You are my only logical refuge,

Alemin nuru Muhammed.. Mürvet ya Ali mürvet
Muhammad’s light of the universe, Ali the generous one!

Hatayi der ki; "Ya Ali dolu günahla tenim"
Hatayi say, "O Ali you are within me",

Alemin nuru Muhammed.. Mürvet ya Ali mürvet 
Muhammad’s light of the universe, Ali the generous one!

By Şah İsmail Hatayi

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pain

Turn me to stone,
My heart to ice,
Eyes to glass,
And mind to rock,
For I live in pain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pakistani ‘inquisition’ aka blasphemy law

The chapter about witch-hunting and the inquisition in Christianity is not looked upon in a favourable light, and currently Pakistan is going through the same because of the blasphemy law. Around 1400 years after Christianity's inception, Christians established the Roman Inquisition, which was responsible for persecuting individuals for a variety of crimes related to heresy, witchcraft, sorcery, immorality, sodomy, blasphemy as well as censorship of printed literature systematically. They indulged in witch-hunts on a grand scale, punishing, even killing thousands of individuals, especially women until the late 1700s. Several other such tribunals, like the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition was also established to maintain and ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Christianity. These measures were undertaken to promote only one brand of Christianity, which ensured a bigger clientele for the Catholic Church while maintaining a constant flow of funds. If one compares that era with current day Islam, there is not much of a difference.

Since the ancient Greco-Romans to the Roman Catholic Church, inquisitions have been used by the State and people themselves to sort out personal vendettas, settle property feuds, and for censorship. Countless people have settled their scores under these laws and practices. The blasphemy law in Pakistan is just like a witch-hunt on many levels, starting with vigilantes, moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching. In more than 90 percent cases, the true reason for persecution under all of these allegations has hardly ever been religion itself. The easiest excuse is religion, since instigating blind rage and hatred is easy when religion is involved. Therefore, mob reactions can be ignited by merely pointing a finger at someone who owns a prime piece of land, has intentions to marry your daughter, has had one better over you or simply because you do not like them.

The inquisition gave the Church limitless power to expand its jurisdiction and to control and confiscate property at will. Decrees were announced accusing a person of heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft or whatever took their fancy, automatically allowing ownership of property to the Church. It seems the military dictator Ziaul Haq was inspired by the expansionism of the Catholic Church and therefore added Article 295-c and b which further marginalised the minorities in the country. This also gave the state a right to purge any and every thing, written or otherwise, which was deemed dangerous or perhaps in reality too enlightening for the masses.

For the past 34 years the Pakistani society has evolved within the parameters set by Zia’s regime. At least two generations were brainwashed into accepting the mutilated laws as the final words of God himself. The brutal murder of the unarmed governor of Punjab Salman Taseer for speaking out against the victimisation of a Christian Woman, imprisonment of a 17 year old student, lynching of a woman by a mob, implicating a child with downs syndrome in a 'false blasphemy' case and countless other such acts are a testament to Zia’s legacy embalmed in writing within the laws of Pakistan.

People commit horrific crimes and disrespect laws created for their protection just because of the frenzied way they have been made to understand religion. It is time to educate and spread awareness among the charged and constantly bifurcating society. The people together need to delve down into the history of blasphemy collectively and decide for themselves whether the laws should stay or not. For this, they need to be more open minded and clearly differentiate religious practice from suppressing human rights, to purging intellectual or economic growth. Otherwise 1400 AH will remain filled with tragedy, death and disease, just as the 14th century was for the Europeans.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Society backlash against working women

I returned to Pakistan after a two year gap and  noticed a lot more women working in different sectors. From customer service, waitresses, to corporate sector and even taxi drivers. Moreover, in Karachi there appear to be a lot more women drivers comparatively. If not mistaken, every fifth car seems to be driven by a woman in certain areas of the city. Also, despite the increase in religiosity where one observes a lot of 'abayas' and 'burkas', the number of women on the streets is constantly increasing. Women are also showing up more at protests, even if clad in layers of cloth.

However, there is a backlash to this surge in numbers of working women, or at least women who are becoming more active members of the society. According to a report in Express Tribune, the number of crimes against women have increased by 31 percent over the past two years. Although the report did not ascertain if this increase was due to occurrence of more crimes or an enhanced reportage in certain parts of the country, or both. It appears to be directly proportional to the rising number of working women. The more women come out of homes, the more society is reacting and trying to resist this change.

There is not only an increase in conventional crimes against women, but even online forums and social media is full of 'male bullies' who give rape threats, or resort to character assassination when some women dare to take a stand. Recently several such incidents have taken place on twitter. One such victim of online harassment is Marvi Sirmed, who was being threatened and defamed via fake accounts on twitter. A TV host Sana Bucha (one of the few journalists who condemned Salman Taseer's murder) was also referred to as a 'bitch', 'slut' etc for an episode of 'Laikin' by supporters of PTI. Several other women, including myself have faced such online persecution, at the hands of even so-called liberal, secular and atheist men. Let's not even get into offline persecution. From being touched inappropriately, to cat calls and obscene gestures. 

All in all, it seems men in Pakistan are having a really tough time getting used to the idea of sharing the public sphere with women.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking for peace

Hide under a rock,
Dive in a stream,
Stop to talk,
Run far away in your dream,
Grasp the wisp of dawn,
Catch the sheen,
As its feather light,
Bright and serene,
Ring, let it ring,
And wait for the echo,
It might bring,
What you were waiting for!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Zulekha wore a Burka



"Burka" - The lie that shrouding oneself in layers of clothes will not make people stare at you and wonder and guess about your natural 'assets'. (oil on canvas) 

Walking briskly on the dusty road Zulekha passed the man who sold sweets to children on a pushcart every day. Moving fast she wanted to be away from the scorching eyes, even though she was covered head to toe in a black burka.

“Why are you in such a rush little woman? No time to speak to your poor Chacha?” asked Mohammad Ali. Zulekha was as old as his youngest daughter Mariam. He had two wives and 12 children. Mariam was born to him by his second wife who herself was only 23 years old at the time.

Ignoring the call she continued making her way towards home. This was now a daily routine. She would get out of the Madressa attached with the Green Mosque and hurry towards home. The Madressa, a place where they taught everyone how to read the holy Quran, was a fascinating place for all girls her age. For this was where all the guys went and learnt how to be men. Or at least this is what her envious friends thought, who could not be far from the truth.

Being the only girl allowed to go there by her family, and that too alone, was an amazing feat for her friends, who could not even step a foot outside their homes let alone go and study among boys their age. Chuckling, she thought, only I know the price I have to pay for this freedom.

It was a very hot day, the temperature reaching 45 degrees Celsius, and the black burka a constant cause of pain and misery. She had to be home faster or she would die. Extreme heat mixed with the unsettled dust in the unpaved street was suffocating. The Niqab covering her face got wet as she gasped for breath and she could feel beads of perspiration running down her spine and on her forehead. The symbol of virtue was clinging to her sultry body, turning heads.

It is embarrassing how they all preach about the safety and security provided by this piece of garment. They say the other girls who refuse to comply with the tradition have no shame and concern for their virtue, but little do they know about mine. As the mind was indulging in self loathing, she opened the wooden door of her house and entered the confines of her home. At least now I can get rid of the filth, she thought as she moved straight to her bedroom.

She noticed her mother’s keen eyes as they searched her for some signs of agitation. It was not new though, any girl who went out was looked at in this manner as soon as she returned. Signs of some newfound knowledge were frowned upon in this society.

“Zulekha, you are early today, did you get a beating by Molvi Sahab?” asked her mother Zarina from across the courtyard.

“No, it is just that I had a headache. I left early.” She lied. Yesterday she had said that Molvi Sahab’s son came to see him, so she left earlier than usual. I am wise beyond my years. I am 14 and I can lie just like my father. Thoughts rushed through her head again as she folded the despicable garment. It was a gift from her brother when she was hardly 13.

“Do not take a shower today, there is no water and electricity is out as well. We have to save as much as we can so your brother and father can take a shower when they are home,” said Zarina.

“But I just came back home and I have to wear this black thing which makes the weather three times more scorching than it already is,” she complained. I have to take a shower, I cannot continue with the filth inside and around my body any more. How can God be so unfair? A question she dare not ask anybody popped up in her head.

“I told you how things are done in this house, you have to accept it since you are a woman,” replied her mother, bringing her back to reality and the hateful thought of having to comply with everything, just because.

She sat in the corner, on the floor, hugging her knees to her small chest, thinking of the privileges her father and brother got, despite that they beat mother every other day. Life is unfair Zulekha, better get used to it, she remembered a tiny sobbing voice in her head. As the voice reverberated in her head, she started crying, her whole body was shaking and trembling, and when she could not take it anymore, she started wailing loudly.

“What is wrong my child? It is only a shower; you can take it as soon as we have electricity. But if I let you have it right now, and your father or brother come back the same time. Both of us will be in trouble. I don’t want them to hit you for every tiny thing. Stop crying my child. Oh I wish to god I was born to somebody else,” cried Zarina, hugging her daughter.

Power failures were a norm here, and the heat was suffocating everybody, she understood her daughter’s pain. Was she not the same age when they forced her to wear this black monstrosity? She remembered how she was taken out of school when she was only 9 years old and was sent to a Madressa for learning the Quran. She was stopped from going there too as soon as she started menstruating. She inhaled the hot air circulating in the courtyard and looked at Zulekha beseechingly, “This is just the beginning, and you have to face many hardships still. Life is never easy for a woman. It is the will of god, so when we bear children, we do not feel the pain too much. Just think if we had an easy life like men, how will we bear children?”

She had a weird logic, her mother. Zulekha hid her face between her mother’s breasts and felt a strange calm take over her. Her whole body was hurting today and she could feel some wetness between her legs. She started crying louder and louder, till her mother shook her and asked in an angry voice what was wrong. “Nothing,” she lied again.

Getting up and leaving the loving circle of her mother’s arms, Zulekha drifted towards the bathroom. She had to clean or she would go mad. This was not the time to worry about a beating; she had to take the risk. After the shower, I would pray to God for electricity, and to make everything fine. She thought innocently.

As she walked in the candle lit darkness of the bathroom, her adolescent body quivering with anticipation of what she may find. She peered down and saw a little blood oozing out of her little thing that she still did not know a name for. Tired and exhausted, she washed every inch of her body with soap and water, dried herself up and donned her clothes before stepping out.

Is all this my fault? Do I have something in my behavior which prompts the old Molvi to do the things he does? She asked herself again and again. But she had no answers, and she was too scared to ask anybody else. It was wrong her instincts told her. I should runaway from all this, there is no escape otherwise.

But running away was too much work, was it not? Where will I live? Also, if I leave this house the guys who just follow me with their eyes for now, will follow my footsteps. Shrugging all these worries aside for now, she went to ask her mother if she can bring Mariam over.

_______________________________

“Mashallah! Your daughter is very pretty and intelligent. She finished reading the Quran now. But I suggest you keep sending her so she can practice,” said Molvi Sahab to Zulekha’s father Gul Tabraiz. She looked at her father as if willing him to refuse the suggestion and to take her home as soon as possible. But Gul Tabraiz was a simple religious man. He had taken huge pains to get his daughter in to the Madarsa for learning the Quran, and any praise from the Molvi Sahab will make him stand tall among his peers.

“As you wish Molvi Sahab, as you wish,” he sealed his daughter’s fate with the simple sentence. Zulekha felt she is falling into an abyss of darkness from which she will never get out, while Molvi sahib with his kohl eyes smacked his lips in anticipation. The day for him could not have ended in a better way.

Dejected and disappointed she walked home with her father, who was chattering away in his happiness. “You made me so proud,” he said, “Now I can look in Mohammad Ali’s eyes and tell him my daughter is educated. May be it will make him send Mariam to learn the Quran too?” he speculated.

Panicked and frightened Zulekha did not know what to say. If Mariam goes to the Madarsa, she will find out my dirty secret, she thought. Things could not get worse than someone finding out.

Mariam was her best friend, but even she did not know the dirty secret between Molvi Sahab and Zulekha. Though little did she know what Mariam suffered at her own father’s hands. Life in this small neighbourhood of crisscrossed narrow lanes was not good, at least not for the girls. Their life started within the four walls of their fathers’ homes and ended in the walls of the biggest bidder at the marriage market. Anybody who tried to break away from this norm was dispensable. Like Palwashay, who fell in love with the ice-cream man and was taken to the ancestral village, never to be seen again.

For Zulekha it was a nightmare with the Molvi’s slimy hands on her body and the growing dread that someone would find out about it any day. It had been going on for a year now and she had started feeling sick every day she woke up. With these thoughts in mind she hurried out to the courtyard so she would throw up in the open sewer that ran along the west wall. Zarina who was in the kitchen came running to her aid. Putting her arm on her back she gave her daughter support, only as a mother can when a child is in need. She forgot everything else, even the scarce ‘chappati’ on the stove.

Her mind was a riot of thoughts one after another. Zulekha had never been sick, but since she started going to the Madarsa she had been eating less and less, but gaining more and more weight. “O’ my Allah! Keep my daughter safe,” she prayed.

Drained and exhausted, Zulekha walked to her bedroom on her mother’s arm. Her face held no feelings or colour. She could not look in Zarina’s eyes, but kept staring at the rafters in the ceiling where the bird had her tiny nest. How free the birds were, she thought, when Zarina jerked her back to reality by asking sharply if everything was all right. With a vacant expression Zulekha looked at her mother’s worried face and said, “Yes. What could possibly be wrong? I am just sick; I guess it is because of the ‘chaat’ I ate with Mariam.”

Not satisfied with the answer, Zarina started checking her daughter’s body with someone who had considerable experience as a midwife. Men in their society did not allow women to go to the hospital mostly, so the women learnt basic skills in helping each other in delivering babies.

As she continued her search she felt as if a noose was being tightened around her neck every passing second. From the back to the sides and then to the stomach, she went further down as a last hope that her daughter may be safe and she would not lose her, but God was not merciful. Not only was Zulekha not a virgin any more, she was pregnant for at least 5 months.

“Who?” asked Zarina.
“Molvi sahib,” Zulekha replied.
“When?”
“Every day.”
Shaking with rage and anger Zarina said, “Even in the Madarsa?”
“Even in the mosque,” she said.
“Oh my daughter, what will I do now, how will I save you from these men?” wailed Zarina, hugging her daughter to her chest with tears streaming down her weathered cheeks that were getting absorbed in her dirty ‘kameez’. Zulekha had no tears; she sat like a stone trying to comprehend the situation, when the smell of the burning ‘chapati’ shook the mother and daughter out of their thoughts. Leaving her, Zarina went to the kitchen to prepare food for the male members of her meagre household. Her mind raced to find a solution out of the current predicament but she could not think of anything to do. Neither did she have a family of her own whom she could ask for help. Even if she did, they would certainly not help her and instead kill Zulekha she realized. Nobody will point a finger at the Molvi, people would rather kill a girl than a religious man. Girls were dispensable at times like these. Especially if they were of no use to a man any more.

Note: This story has been inspired by a lot of real life incidents related by friends and acquaintances.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Being

Set me free,
Let me be me!
A particle of dust,
A drop of water,
Burnt coal, ash or fire,
Airborne,
Or nothing,
Like all,
Like none!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Facebook privacy changed yet again

Just when I was comfortable with my privacy settings on Facebook. I read a weird status update saying their pictures are available for anybody to see, who is friends with one of the person who liked or commented on their picture. I kept ignoring the update for a day, till it started mushrooming on other people's profiles and I received notifications of people from my 'limited' lists liking my restricted pictures.

This lead me to check my privacy settings which seemed to be the same as before. But as I checked my photos, I discovered that since after August 12, Facebook allows me to change the privacy of each photo individually on my 'profile pictures', 'mobile uploads' and 'wall photos'. This is a step by step breakdown of how to fix this problem. Pictures uploaded till August 12 have the same old privacy settings. [Earlier we were able to manage the visibility as an an album]

STEP 1

STEP 2

STEP 3

STEP 4
Not only are pictures available, but also images, links, statuses sent from a mobile device are public. I had to go through my timeline till the mid of August to fix this problem as well, earlier ones were customized and were still on the same settings. The rest of the procedure I'm sure can easily be managed. Happy fixing your privacy settings again. I guess for people who are as narcissistic as I am, it would be a hell of a task. 

Rain

The smell of earth,
Drenched with droplets,
Liquid bliss for the parched land,
As sheets of water,
Falling from the sky,
Cleanse dirt, air and flight,
Dancing in rain,
Getting purer by the drop,
Come the rays of light,
Trying to catch the rainbow!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Trippy?

I have this weird feeling, which I haven't been able to totally grasp yet. But.... if you just love to love, it wouldn't matter who is in front. Happiness, you, things, others. Can you think of everything as you and you as everything? It has nothing to do with any god or having a meaning. Until I give meaning to things, they have no meaning, and when they have no meaning, they don't exist. So as long as I exist and give meanings to things, they are a part of me, are a part of my existence, and therefore are me. And as I define things and give meaning to them, I have the power to change their meanings too. You would think it makes me god. If I want what you think to be true, I can call it the truth; giving meaning to your otherwise pitiful non-existence and understanding.

Wandering in the desert

Serenity of the desert,
Embrace me,
Turn me to dust,
Hide those mirages, illusions,
I run after,
Make me one,
Ethereal like you,
So I can look,
And feel the silk of light,
Flowing, flapping in the breeze,
Twisting, turning,
Peeping at the oasis,
Where he hides!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Awakening of the Sufi

Now the sound turns to color,
And objects in skeletal form,
I glance in circles,
With swirlers everywhere!

December 4, 2011

The first time my brain could think in layers. All detached from each other. All one but separate. All individual groups of individuals. 

Condemn 'magar pyar se'

Came across an interesting post recently made by a lady who had a problem with criticizing the Salafi mindset. The point of contention was the use of the word 'fuck' for people who have no compulsion killing, beating, lynching someone from another sect, religion, faith etc. Apparently, murdering people under 'Takfir' is condemnable but condemning that mindset directly can hurt the sentiments of the murderers therefore one must be very cautious. Here's a 'screenshot' of the screenshot which was taken from my twitter account:

Caption reads: This is who we are? So full of hate? None of us are better than the other... How can we say that the people who murder Shias are wrong, when we ourselves never seem to show respect for the other sect! The people who kill shias are from among us... and all of us seem to have these prejudices..


It seems that the 'Salafi mindset' is being equated to a general comment on the 'Salafis'. Also, condemning a mindset is equivalent to murdering people. I guess lack of education and awareness can definitely be blamed for this unreasonable reverence and misplaced sense of morality. The same excuse has been used by many Muslims all around the world when it comes to drawing cartoons of religious personalities or boldly criticizing some practices of the religion of peace. 

As a friend of mine said, "Let's kill all the bastards they say. Hitler was great they say. Let's praise God they say. He who sent us to this world. To tamper with the sexuality of little children they say. To tamper with their brains they say. To conceive heaven and the virgins therein. To love thy neighbour but only if it not be a jew, a christian, a shia, an ahmedi, an atheist....."

I say, "Condemn, magar pyar se..." ;)



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let justice be served

The bell clangs,
Bring the culprits,
Summon the jury,
It is time for justice,
Jury be damned sire,
We killed the jurors,
But,
What about justice,
It is in a stone sire,
It only hits the guilty,
Watch,
Aims to hit a child,
Allah-o-Akbar,
The stone hits the child,
Let justice be served now,
The stone was guided by Allah,
The child is guilty,
Guilty? Of what?
Something sire, something,
The stone cannot be wrong,
It is god!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vultures

Cut all the chains,
Rush out on the streets,
Burn the ropes,
The night is serene,
Dance around the fire,
It will be a feast,
Carved out of corpses for you,
Course after course of meat,
Fear not,
Be the vulture you are and eat.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kill the cyborg

Kill the cyborg,
For it does not let you live,
A resistant parasite,
Gorging on your life,
Bit by bit,
As a caterpillar does on a leaf,
It grays and strays,
Till you are left alone,
And all you have is a clone,
Sitting in front of another machine.
In another time zone.

Interesting debate on Hijab








Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sanity Where Art Thou?

You ask me to know worldliness,
When all I desire is eternal bliss?
How can you be so blind, insensitive; selfish?
Open up your heart please,
Look beyond the mirror,
Find and stare at the glass,
Its not you, nor I,
Its a ghost,
An empty shell
Walking on the cliff edge, as it rains,
Dripping, soaked, insane,
Laced with malice,
Sadness laden, clanking like chains,
As days of yore, stop and restrain,
A prisoner within the brain,
Just let go, do not strain,
Or it might snap,
And end up deranged.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

To be a human'ail or human'oise?

I thought being a snail was enough,
Till I realized it isn't,
Better be a tortoise,
Not fragile and vulnerable,
But an armored omnivore,
For I have to fight with beasts,
Who wear masks and veils,
Carry weapons and stakes,
Crush everything that wails.
Not monsters of the dark,
Dismissed for being unreal,
But sophisticated with knives and spears,
That hack, cut, drag and shear,
Beware o mortals for they crave to be our fear.

Graveyards

Slumping down in an abyss,
Plummeting to the bottomless pit,
There comes a moment of silence,
Of being at peace,
Not caring or withstanding,
Any desires or needs,
Just sinking deep,
Within the knowledge of being one,
And the warmth of being received,
Received where,

Collected skulls and bones are resting in eternal silence,
Rattling in boxes, rusting, being eaten away by moths and spiders,
This is where my heart dwells,
Without any gaps getting wider;
Step on one, step on five, scatter,
What does it matter?
It is my home, or will be when I desire.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Butterflies

It happens again;
The need to curl up and die,
Seek for silence,
Or serenity that satisfies,
Come hither death,
Take me to the skies,
Higher, where there are no lies,
Love needs no sacrifice,
Wings don't shatter,
And time never flies!

Friday, August 17, 2012

ظلم کا راج

,جب مزہب کے نام پر توپیں، تلواریں چلتی ہیں
ان ایوانوں ان گلیوں میں جب لاشیں گرتی پڑتی ہیں؛
تم سوتے ہو یا جاگتے ہو؟ کچھ کرتے ہو یا کانپتے ہو؟
سب چھوڑ کے اپنی تکلیفیں اور دولت کی یہ زنجیریں،
تم اپنا خون بہاتے ہو؟ یا جاں اپنی بچاتے ہو؟
گر تم کچھ نہیں کرتے ہو، بس بھاگ کر چھپ جاتے ہو
اور خاموشی کی آڑھ میں مظلوم بنتے جاتے ہو
تم منکر ہو مکار بھی ہو، اور ظلم و ستم کے ہامی ہو 
تم قاتل ہو 
تم چل تو لو 
یا رینگ ہی لو
اس خاموشی کو توڑ ہی دو
یا چلا کر، پوچھ ہی لو
کیاا یہ عدل و انصاف ہے؟ جو جائز اور پاک ہے؟
اس غربت اور یاس میں بس ظالم کا ہی راج ہے۔