Sunday, 19 January 2014

Do we really need NGOs in Pakistan?

The acronym NGOs (Non Government Organisations) also called NPOs (Non Profit Organisations) has become a household word in our lives. Everyone is absolutely convinced that NGOs are working for our betterment. Just like hand sanitizers, diapers and poultry chicken, life without NGOs was not only possible but was even better. Few questions remained unanswered for a long time like how does the business of NGOs work? Why are these NGOs so concerned about the betterment of our poor? Are there any ulterior motives behind their ostensibly noble agenda? Try researching anything against NGOs and you will be surprised that there is nothing to be found on the internet, even if you are just looking for something to start an academic discussion on NGOs. Are these NGOs so impeccable and flawless? Is role of media and Govt acceptable towards projection of NGOs? Did it occur to anyone that do we really need so many NGOs in Pakistan? Just look at the unreal number of recognized organizations working in Pakistan. . There must be equal or greater number waiting to be recognized and sweating hard to earn some aid grants. These are few questions for which there are no exact answers.  However, an effort has been made to touch upon this issue to answer few unanswered questions.

            Firsthand experience should come handy explaining their way of working based on personal interaction with NGOs and donors. The work of an NGO begins with little “social work” in a community and if the proprietors of NGOs convince the “Donors” by showing enough zeal and fulfilling pre-requisites of structural framework, they are given non-refundable grants to increase their circle of influence in the garb of good community work. As the work base increases, so does the nuisance of that NGO. Just like the principles of demand and supply, a proprietor with greater consumer base starts calling the shots on his own terms.

            Why donors are so compassionate towards poor and deprived of Pakistan? We live in times where correct information is of real value. All those who are literate and have access to internet are registered on the internet through emails and social websites like facebook, twitter, myspace etc. Google, facebook and many other organizations have inked contracts with FBI, CIA and other US govt agencies for providing access to profiles of their subscribers on required basis. This way, the agencies do not have to plant agents on ground to spy on a suspect living at the other end of globe. Just get access to his social website activities and his personality profiling will become a piece of cake. Whereas those living in rural parts of the third world countries are not so easily accessible. For political, economic and security reasons, exact information on these people can act as a valuable asset. For instance, skilled manpower working in Pasroor (Sialkot) making quality footballs and surgery instruments, are mostly underage children. Adidas (sports ware company) and Alispo International (Surgical instrument company) would like that manpower to make football/ surgical instruments for their franchises working in Pakistan or they would raise the issue of child or bonded labour. For this they require services of their loyal subjects, the local NGOs. First these local companies are blackmailed and then black listed for good. Similarly, US govt has conditioned a huge amount of aid to Pakistan to the release of Dr Shakeel Afridi who assisted them in capture of Osama Bin Laden under the garb of polio vaccination which is yet another facet of NGOs.  

Government of Pakistan does not provide guidelines or directly monitor NGO activities, NGOs just register under "Societies Registration Act of 1860" or "Voluntary social welfare agencies ordinance 1961". The guidelines for NGO operations and activities are generally provided by the donors or funding agencies just like IMF and World Bank dictating terms to govt of Pakistan because “Beggars are not choosers”. Foreign organizations e.g. United Nations have their offshoots like Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Highly paid executives of this sub organization are the noble face of these donors in the country. These executives are locals who hail from lower middle class of the society and they are paid lucrative pay packages. They get addicted to executive way of life and begin to live and move about like royalties. Quality control audits are also performed by these local representatives of the donors. The field trips for audits etc are organized like those of ministers or high govt officials in our country. Warm hospitalities intercede the audits.

The funds are transferred to NGOs by donor agencies through banking or other channels. A third party or external audit is also conducted to have a check and balance on the utilization of funds. There are relaxations in tax procedures for NGOs under Income Tax ordinance of Pakistan; however, international NGOs are exempted from tax laws of Pakistan. These NGOs are bound to be insured and insurance companies make hay under the relaxed rules and regulations on the subject. So it is evident that govt is doing all it can to allow the business of these NGOs to flourish and committing the crime of inaction.

            Just like East India Company, the NGOs approach us with an innocent motto of     “ Rural Reforms and Social Development”. These NGOs mainly target poor and deprived segments of our society particularly minorities. Their vulnerabilities and social conditions offer a perfect hunting ground for NGOs. They hire young, educated and needy girls for field work. These girls walk in to rural households and offer very basic utility items like soaps, dry milk, biscuits and everyday medicine and poor village women take it as gift from Divine. Having developed a rapport with native people, collecting required information does not remain a real botheration. Another ploy is the promise of a good future so that they could switch from menial jobs to other jobs, which is only a fallacy. In a functional society, those who deserve get the opportunities to make their mark.

            Role of international media is understandable because of the huge sums of money poured in by the companies sponsoring the donors. They would make sufficient hue and cry on issues of aid worker not being allowed in Syria but would not talk about those who brought that war to the Syrian people. Most deplorable is the role of local media. They are the real champions of the dirty work. Twenty soldiers died in Bannu bomb blast today (19 January 2014) and it is treated like another news item, however, if couple of polio workers are not allowed access to an area, all media groups unanimously create sufficient fuss to be heard home and abroad. Now you can connect the dots by relating it to the good services of Dr Shakeel Afridi for US as polio campaigner and the role of our media in this dirty matrix. Can someone imagine any media group going out to expose the real face of these NGOs? They are all brethren just like a buffalo is sister to another buffalo. Sinister role of media to effectively exercise perception control of the people needs to be understood and checked.

            Government’s inability/ unwillingness, media’s hypocrisy and ignorance of people has allowed these NGOs to gain a foothold in our society. Although ‘Maulvis’ and extremists discredit the very existence of NGOs yet their own credibility is questionable because they oppose NGOs primarily due to fear of losing their hegemony in the rural settings. Secondly because of their sweet wish of imposing their own brand of Islam upon the people. Balanced religious voices show concern on the ingress of these NGOs in our society but they have been found inarticulate and mostly go unnoticed. Unfortunately, anything preceded by the word ‘religion’ in this country has become a social taboo. In a methodical way, the effectiveness of religious segment in society has been brought to ‘Naught’. On the other hand, most interesting fact about our society is that people are religious to the core. Our society is among the most giving societies of the world in terms of our capacities to earn versus the amount of Sadqahs we give away.

            The purpose of the scribe is not to discourage philanthropy. Rather good social work is inbuilt in our society. System of family, bradri, community, jirga, dera, baithak etc has always been there. Nonprofit social welfare organizations like Edhi and Chhipa etc are already in place but no foreign donor would give them a dime in charity except Pakistani expatriates which is again the strength of our society. Mosques, madrassas and system of Zakat, sadqaat, usher etc is part of our religious mechanism of social welfare. If we have become incompetent to optimally utilize these mechanisms we must not blame anyone else but ourselves.

            As long as the aid of any kind keeps pouring into a country, nothing will change. The mental inertia is the greatest barrier to break the status quo. Aids, grants, loans will only create more beggars and would do greater damage to the society and economy of the country. We need to look around where have we reached in the journey of last 66 years. We have done all we could to break away from our roots and adopt a selected part of western way of thinking and a lifestyle which is not ours. It is time we do some soul-searching. Distancing ourselves from our original way of life has done so much damage why should we not make an effort to reconnect with our roots and make use of those fine inbuilt mechanisms in our society and religion which can relieve us from all the stress that is upon us. We have been indoctrinated so badly that the issues like that of NGOs puts our sense of judgment in a difficult situation. The fancy face of NGOs is very deceptive. Impressive stats, organized infrastructure, flow of cash from abroad, educated and intelligent local representatives, is the ware-withal that can create doubt in any mind but we still have a right to ask the question, do we really need NGOs in Pakistan? Please comment. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Impersonation بہروپ

It was a rainy night. It was raining hard and I felt as if it was raining inside my heart, just like the rain outside in the town. I was hurting a little but had no remedy for it except walking up to the Dera and express my feelings to the Baba. In fact, my dear friend, who was a fiction writer and a columnist, gave me harsh treatment in his recent columns. And when a columnist chases someone down, the other person might not have forum like newspaper for the rebuttal. In which case, he glumly sits back at his place. I had been served with the same treatment after a barrage of three / four serious attacks by him.

            To vent my grief, I went to Dera and said to Baba Jee,” I am grieved and this thing has pained me a lot. This person, who is, ostensibly, my friend, shows warmth on meeting and we support each other on issues at tea house, and people would not even fathom that he could do this to me, then what is all this?”

            He said, “Son, you did not understand him. Now listen to this carefully as this will give a little insight of the matter. There were two Sufis (Saints). The elder sufi was seasoned and the younger sufi was under training. The elder sufi took along the younger sufi and wondered in streets and bazaars. Hitchhiking like this, they reached a jungle, as I have mentioned earlier, it had rained hard, jungle was soaking and there were scattered heaps of wood in the jungle. Leaves and branches were aplenty. The elder sufi noticed that amid heaps of branches and leaves, a snake had buckled up and was lying there semi-conscious. He was injured due to heat of fire but then rain healed him to life. Sufi felt pity on him and picked him up. Younger sufi said, “Sir, what are you doing? Snake is a pest, it should not be picked up like this.” He said, “No, poor thing is helpless, injured, injury stricken and is Allah’s creature. We should nurse him.” He took the snake in his hand and started walking. They continued talking and went places. When cold wind touched the snake, he swayed and gained consciousness. Having gained consciousness, he regained his strength. Having gained strength, he bit the elder sufi. Having been bitten, he placed the snake next to the roots of strong tree, with great affection and love, because now the snake had reached a safe place. From here he could slowly revive himself. He will go wherever he might wish to go. Trainee sufi said,” See sir, I told you it’s a pest and might bite you, then why were you taking him along? You are a wise man, deputed to train me.” He replied, “He has not bitten me but that is his way of returning favours. Snakes pay gratitude like this.” “The one who writes against you, he only knows to thank this way, don’t be bothered.”

            I was heavy hearted but then I began to feel feather light. So ladies and gentlemen, these Deras( Hujra, Bhetak, Autaq) or Khanqahs are meant for this purpose that burden you could not carry, take it to them and these Babas will ease you off by making you understand the riddles of life. Imagine if there was a Dera in this modern world where a psychiatrist practices but does not charge any fee. He might not have that bench on which they lay you down for analysis but a simple floor mat where you sit and talk face to face. Such Deras, Baithaks are called Zavia in Tunis (Algeria) in North Africa. Some are called “Ribat” but Zavia is a common term there. Amazingly, though Zavia is a common word in North Africa, but in times of Andalusia, there were no Zavias in the land of Andalusia. There were Ribat in Tunis, Algeria. There Sufis will sit and offer a place to travelers and visitors to hang around, avail lodging and food. People would sit there for a while. Aggrieved, would state their grievances, get relief through dialogue. Just like the kind of services psychologists provide, we are following suit and named this program Zavia. In this context, I am a little embarrassed admitting that this forum is not a real Zavia. Though it’s more like a true copy, yet the spirit remains the same. The endeavour would be that such things are discussed here and the burden on your heart which has not been relieved through other programs, columns and books, is somehow eased off.

            Whenever, you will visit a Dera, you would have gone there with pre-determined mindset in your subconscious to test that person (The Baba) sitting there. You often return from there saying that there was nothing. Because we gauge with self defined parameters of our perceptions. But when you go with real urge, like with an ardent desire to pass the exam, only then, you will find pearls in those unassuming settings. Though it would cause serious discomfort if you decide to go to interior Sindh, go to desert of Tharparkar or Rohi, still you will find some sagacity, which is only found in meeting such people and not found in books.

            So, I was submitting that the Zavia, despite the fact that its not a real Zavia but we will try and maintain its spirit and character like the real one.

            Oh the spirit reminds me that an impersonator came to the court of Aurangzeb Alamgir and said,” Notwithstanding the fact you don’t admire the music and festivity, singing and playing but I am an artist, and Your Highness, I have entered your court as an artist and I am an impersonator. My name is Kundan the Impersonator. I will change my guise in a way, O Respected Emperor, that you, who is proud of his knowledge, can be tricked without knowing.”

            Aurangzeb Alamgir said,” This appears to be a waste of time, I even consider hunting a useless activity and whatever you have brought to me, I don’t associate any importance to it.”

            He said,” Your Majesty, self evident needs no proof, you are a great king and keep no match in wisdom, I will impersonate and I dare you to recognize me.”

            Then the king said ,”Agreed .”

            He said,” Your Highness, you are the king of the time, if you recognize me I will be indebted to you. But if you could not recognize me in my adopted guise, then I shall receive five hundred rupees from you.” Obviously, in those times five hundred must be a big thing. The Emperor said,” Ok agreed, five hundred is nothing for me, you go now.” So he left after fixing the wager and began thinking on reaching home that he had boasted a bid, now which guise he might adopt to deceive the King. So he went about exploring and investigating probable options to win the bet. He found out that Aurangzeb Alamgir used to attack the Marathas and Brahman kingdoms in South India. People told him that Aurangzeb will attack again a year after the current year. This was told to him by the historians who assured him of the correctness of information. So he took a foot journey from his present location to the Kingdom of Brahmans. There he disguised into a saint, grew beard, dressed in green and wore saintly beads around his neck and immersed himself in remembrance of Allah in such a way that for a long time, people came from distances and were mesmerized by him. Locals were charmed in to the love of Baba Pir. People began flocking and offered gratifications, like the way it is a norm at ours. His name was heard in far off places but he maintained extremely focused on his work, just like our saints.

             After a year, when Aurangzeb Alamgir’s Army camped in South India, the King was unsettled in his heart. He attacked the leader of Marhatas who had taken up strong defenses at a fort and Aurangzeb’s army failed to break the defenses. It was disturbing and there was a strong feeling that his army might have to return without success, which would have not been a good omen for his throne. Thereupon, people told him to pay visit to a Saint, a Wali Ullah who lived under a tree, discuss the matter with him and seek his prayer of approval before attacking the enemy. The Emperor was already caught in a quandary, so he went running to the Saint, offered salam and stated his problem. The Saint said,” We are poor people and what do we have to do with such things”. The King said,” No, these are difficult times for Islamic World (just as we make excuses in such situations), you should help us. I want to attack this fort tomorrow”. The Saint said,” Don’t attack tomorrow, attack day after, after Zohar Prayers”. Orangzeb said, ”Ok, I will”. So, he attacked after Zohar with such ferocity and fervor that the fort fell. The conquered were subjugated. The Emperor went straight to the Saint after subduing the leader of Marhatas. Although, Aurangzeb earned his living by making caps and writing Quran, yet he wore an enormous green turban laden with emerald and jewels. He removed the turban and stood in front of the Saint saying, “Your Highness, it was possible only because of you”.

            He said,” No, whatever happened, Allah has made it possible”. The Emperor wished to reward the Saint. The Saint said,” No, we are poor people”. The Emperor awarded him amnesty for seven generations and two big towns of the size of Okara and Pattoki.

            He said,” These things are of no use for us, we are poor people, thank you”. Aurangzeb insisted a lot, but he did not agree and the king had to return without paying reward for the service of this saint. On his return to the palace, the Emperor desired to issue a directive. As he was issuing the directive, Kundan the impersonator appeared in his court in his saintly attire and beads around his neck. The Emperor said,” Sir, why have you taken the pain to come here? You should have ordered me to pay you the visit”. Kundan said,” No, O’ great Emperor! Now it was my duty to visit your court. So, your highness, I am Kundan the impersonator. Kindly pay my wager of five hundred rupees”.

            He said,” Is it you?” Kundan acknowledged it was him who fixed a wager with him year and a half ago.

            Aurangzeb said,” I do not have any issue with paying you five hundred rupees. I want to know that when I granted you and your seven generations, amnesty and land equaling two towns, that you and your descendents could live anywhere in my kingdom as they pleased. Why did you refuse to accept the offer? In comparison, the amount of five hundred rupees is nothing”.

            He said,” Your highness, I had to guard the image and honour of those whom I was impersonating. They were the truthful. We are liars. I could not be dishonest after guising like the truthful”.
            So ladies and gentlemen, I was saying that even though our sitting is not the real Zavia and no doubt, it is an impersonation. Please pray that these sittings help remove some ambiguities, solve some problems, resolve some issues and untie some knots which, otherwise, were not being worked out.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Parda- A Conscious Choice

Wisdom spoken by Muhammad Ali about the virtue of hijab and why a muslim woman should wear it, has been narrated by his daughter in her book.

Though I had never before worn revealing clothing while in my father’s presence but once, claimed Hana, daughter of great Muhammad Ali. As young girls, we went to see our father in hotel, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then, he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

And this is how exactly Allah describes women in Surah Al Rehman. The women in Jannah will be chaste with lower gaze, covered and accommodated in tents and not a man or jinn would have touched them like pearls and rubies. Read the following verses :-

فِيهِنَّ خَيْرَاتٌ حِسَانٌ ﴿55:70﴾

(55:70) In the midst of these will be maidens, good and comely.

حُورٌ مَقْصُورَاتٌ فِي الْخِيَامِ ﴿55:72﴾

(55:72) There shall be maidens sheltered in tents.  

فِيهِنَّ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنْسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ ﴿55:56﴾

(55:56) In the midst of these shall be maidens with modest, restrained glances; maidens whom no man or jinn has ever touched before.

كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ ﴿55:58﴾
(55:58) Lovely as rubies and pearls. 

This is how Allah is enticing man with the best of women. Even the atmosphere in Jannah would not be a beach party. But all the measures of decency will be observed. Obviously, it makes all the more sense because those who will finally make it to Jannah must have observed the limits of decency in their day. Their hearts must be attuned to the Divine frequency. Nothing should come as a surprise to them. The chosen. The Lucky.

Now lets turn our attention to this the survey conducted in different Muslim countries.

Most heartening to see that the numbers on both extremes ie woman 1 and 6 are the lowest and towards centre they increase and the highest recognition is given to woman 4 and 5. Simple conclusion is that majority of Muslims have opted for a balanced approach to parda precisely in line with the dictates of the religion which advocates balance in every aspect of life.

Parda is not an imposition. It has to be a conscious logical choice. Humanity has evolved from nothing to intellectual heights and observance of parda is pinnacle of human intellect. We cannot really afford to start reducing clothes on our bodies and go back to dark ages. Wearing skimpy obscene clothing in the garb of fashion is regressive not progressive. It is against the spirit of human intellectual evolution. Parda does not take anything away from a woman; it only adds value to her appearance. Observing parda has inbuilt advantages of protection and respect.

Atheist, secular, non-Muslims and Christian Judaists will continue to mock this finest attribute of Muslim identity. They will always cast aspersions by throwing cards like why women should be wrapped like candies. Like covered women commit more felonies than uncovered. Like its all about intent and not appearance. But these are all tools of distraction. They are unfortunate that they do not accept and follow the 'Manual' for code of conduct that we follow. You have to listen to the Creator, women are precious like pearls if they observe parda and keep their gaze low. May Allah be our Guide.  

“The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman.” (Sahih Muslm)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Fear The One & Respect Everyone

During first week of basic military training, two gentlemen approached and broke conversation with one eulogising the other, yelled:

Shut your eyes Oey shut your eyes

Don’t you know Sir Bala (Iqbal) is here, he is the man eater, the ball crusher

Oey feel the presence, Oey

Shiver Oey Kaka, shiver

One of those lines which cling in your head. Though, that day, I pretended shivering but could not help laughing on silliness of the idea. And guess what, more punishment came my way. I could never understand the ”logic” behind that ‘on demand shivering’ since those early days. The problem continued. Along the way, I discontinued laughing but could not hide feelings of discomfort on illogical things and was easily marginalized by a “Mindset”. Yet, umpteen years down the road and the idea has started sinking in that if only I could have shivered and not laughed. No wonder they found me fit for military because if it takes someone so many years to understand a basic work ethic, he deserves to be in uniform and nowhere else. Truth is that I did not want to understand. Have you noticed the word ‘logic’ in double quotes? Normally it takes two opposite words put together to make an oxymoron, but logic, in certain environments turns into a singular oxymoron. Mock logic if you can escape it. Because it is like that sack of unwanted goods which you throw off the window, take a sigh of relief, look back and it is smiling right at your face.

Probably the message in that shivering gimmick was to instill respect and fear of a senior. The idea was noble but the method was debatable. For example we respect our elders but we do not shiver in front of them. If someone does shiver, then it would be sheer pretense. Respect is a value which is taught at home and it matures at an early age and does not change much in later years, whereas, fear is a psychological/ ideological issue. Everyone has fears and the most common is that of God; people have other fears as well which are all self-imposed and do not exist anywhere except human mind. So if you respect everyone, you ought to respect your seniors, colleagues and even juniors. However, with some people the element of respect grows to the level of reverence which still cannot be rated as fear. Anyway, the title of the blog “Fear The One and Respect Everyone” has always been the guiding principle.
            End of the day, institutions and systems are devised by men of flesh and bone. There are always certain loose ends warranting tidying up. Institutions are like rivers, seasons come and they go but the rivers continue to flow. Just like that brilliant or thick people like me appear and disappear like footprints on the sands of time. I must appeal to every reader to please stop short of thinking this piece of work as a satire. Its not same old “Attitude Problem”, its payback to the institution which mothered me for so many years. We need to break from the norm and move ahead. We need to earn and command respect of others by virtue of our character strength. We need to stop shivering and start thinking.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Amir Liaqat Hussain :)

Mr Amir Liaqat Hussain has been included among the 500 Influential Muslims of the world. No one has a right to judge anyone. Having professed this philosophy all my life, I was caught at the horns of dilemma as how to react to this news. Then came the way out, the search engines at the internet, our sources of information these days. So first lets see what internet has to say about the “influential religious scholar”. Few extracts from Wikipedia page to set the tone:-

Fake degrees[edit]

He(Amir Liaqat) claimed to hold a Masters degree and a PhD, however, in 2005 the University of Karachi declared his degree not recognised.[13] In 13 June 2006, the Higher Education Commission, also revealed that the degree of Aamir Liaquat Hussain was not recognised.[14]

Accusations of inciting violence[edit]

On 7 September 2008 Hussain dedicated an entire show to Ahmadis.[15] The show was critical of the sect's founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and the guest scholars declared anyone associated with Ahmadi sect "Wajib-ul-qatl" (deserving of murder due to blasphemy).[16][17] Within two days, two prominent Ahmadis were killed, one of them being a physician and another being a community leader.[18]

Claim that Green Shoe soles caused defeat in a Cricket Match[edit]

On the episode aired on 29 January 2010, Hussain claimed that the recent losses in Cricket matches of Pakistani team were due to the fact that their new shoe soles were green. With green being the color of Pakistani flag and the dome of Mohammed's(PBUH)  tomb, the green soles were supposedly disrespectful towards Islam, and apparently the team was being divinely punished.[20][21][22]  One satirist, Nadeem Paracha, jokingly asked, "Marvelous. This should also mean that the Pakistan team should stop playing on grass, and the hockey team should stop dribbling and running across green AstroTurf as well?"[20]

Expulsion from Muttahida Qaumi Movement[edit]

On 10 September 2010 He was officially expelled from Muttahida Qaumi Movement for misusing the party platform to advance his agenda even if it conflicted with the party's philosophy.[4]

Leaked behind the scenes footage[edit]

On 14 August 2011, a compilation of videos was leaked online, showing Hussain using various profanities on the set of his show. In the same video, he is also shown taking a rape related question lightly, mocking his religious guests, spontaneously singing Indian tunes, and using lewd hand gestures while referring to Bollywood rape scenes.[23][24][25]  In a New York Times profile, Aamir Liaquat confirmed the authenticity of the video and said "It was my lighter side".[30]

Babies given away in show[edit]

Aamir Liaquat Hussain has given abandoned infants from Chhipa Welfare Association to parents who wanted to adopt babies in Amaan Ramazan show[31][32] as if those babies were goods.
The captions on the picture may be harsh because it cannot be claimed with certainty whether he is a hypocrite, sitting with 'Freinds', taking drugs in Sheeshabut or not, but the whole setting does not go well with the stature of a religious scholar.

These are just the glimpses. The highlight would be MQM getting rid of him because no one has been weeded out of MQM in known history. Either people left or got killed in the line of duty. But imagine he got to the nerves of MQM as well who can tolerate any size and stature of clown but not him.

Now, lets see why this individual has been declared among the most influential Muslims of the world. Very simple. Have you noticed which books become bestsellers in today’s world. For example, Paulo Coelho with his profanities will get ultimate projection and will be ensured to become a bestseller but Harun Yahya will not even be heard of. Likewise, those who are rendering real service to Islam are seen as a threat and will always be pushed under the carpet. Real soldiers of Islam like Dr Israr Ahmed, Nouman Ali Khan and so many other will remain unsung heroes. Irony is that they have dedicated all their lives for our benefit but we do not even know their names what to talk of their works. Similarly, pseudo religious scholar can only distract people and mar the actual spirit of Islam. Has anyone ever bothered to know who declares these people influential? Those who are not our friends. Those who need people like Amir Liaqat Hussain at the forefront entertaining and diverting people from the right course.

Success and TV :)

One liner success quotes are so attractive. Someone said that to be successful, a person needs to work 14 to 16 hours a day. Like any other exuberant ambitious youth, the line appeared as a recipe of success; an address of goldmine where only little digging would fetch easy gold. So, I gird up my loins and never looked back because I had to succeed. To add fuel to the fire of ambition, I was growing up in front of a television box, a stimulus of desire, we learnt very early that all those things they show on TV and present those attractive products in an attractive way, were all made for us and we had to strive hard to earn each one of those. Thus the conditioning of mind continued. In adolescent years, TV taught us to express ourselves and even coached us to deal with our hormonal changes. What a good friend was this 21” box which was initially black and white, then it started showing colours of life and then it got slimmer and smarter, like it was growing up with us. Like it was trying to keep pace with times, changing technologies and with the changing times and to say the least, it was keeping pace with us.  A loyal friend who was always there, wherever we went. And we never lost step with each other. Generation before us spent huge sums to buy and spent loads of time couched in front of TV. And our generation went an extra yard by putting a TV set in every single room of the house. If someone said they do not watch TV in the house they were considered outdated, out of line, totally pandoos and even worst things were said about them.

In the process of what my friend TV was showing and conditioning my mind, I had developed a long wish list of things to do in life like ownership of a mansion at Emirates Hills, European football club, Visiting  Monaco Grand Prix, few cars like Ferrari, Cadillac and so much more. And I am sure you were not as greedy as I am. But desires of material possessions like a house, car, comfortable family life and other things must have been triggered in your heart with lesser or stronger degree of intensity.

So life was totally uncomplicated, I had my potion of success and my friend TV had taught me what I needed to have once I gain all those gains.

As it turns out, things were not so uncomplicated. Success is not a one liner attractive quote. At the same time, definition of success was among one of those things which if not correctly understood could put you off course. A small mistake of few degrees in the beginning of the journey will lead you off target by miles laterally. Yes, we must work 16 hours a day but it should have a balanced proportion of work, family, sport, reading, praying, contemplating and any other thing you like. It is time to apply mid course correction because farther we travel farther we get from our real destination. De-conflict and de-stress our minds. Success is inbuilt in balanced life. Likewise, my friend TV was just a machine incapable of presenting anything on its own. We watched from among the limited range of what we were allowed to see at home. And sometimes watched what was not allowed to see at homes. None of which was TV’s fault.

Our generation has seen immense chaos and confusion which is likely to grow with influx of so much information. Material pursuits have created a neck breaking competition among families, friends and colleagues. However, first we need to realize how far have we come from the main course? Values must find a definite space in our lives. Redefine our definition of success. And finally, next generations has every right to be protected against media or this box called TV, conditioning their lives. We must draw lines. Today we watch objectionable movies with our kids, sing and dance on the beats of indecent songs. But tomorrow these kids will live that ideal life as he or she had seen in those movies which his/ her parents did not disapprove. Very last thing, how much a family would remain intact in times to come will be directly proportional to the value system that family follows.

Stay blessed and comment please.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Parental Love and Over-Spending

          Our society is visibly divided into classes. Number of lower middle class has grown rapidly in recent times. Being a majority and relatively newer class, people from lower middle class are hit by the storm of confusion. Relentless pursuit of material gains and injudicious spending makes the matters worse. Succeeding paragraphs have been inspired from first and last Ayat Mubarikahs of Surah Al Takasur (102), but only the sub-theme of transgression while spending on children out of love has been discussed in succeeding paragraphs.

أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ﴿102:1﴾

Different translations of the same Ayat (102:1):

1.   The craving for ever-greater worldly gains and to excel others in that regard keeps you occupied                                     (Moududi)

2.   Rivalry in worldly increase distracteth you (Pickthall)

3.   The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things)  (Yousaf)

4.   Abundance (of bounties) has distracted you.

Takathur is from kathrat (Abundance), which has three meanings:

(1) That man should strive to gain more and more of everything;

(2) That the people should vie with one another for gaining more and more; and

(3) That they should brag and boast of possessing greater abundance of things than others including children.

Do we love our Children or we just love Spending to satisfy our egos/ deprivations? Love and affection of parents for their offspring is natural, yet it is a TEST. Likewise, wealth, more or less, is a TEST. In a bizarre way, both these tests coincide when we completely immersed in love of our children spend money on un-necessaries. A child is born purely on nature; hence nature of a child is pure. As long as they don’t attain age of maturity and be able to make decisions at their own, children live a life perceived by their parents. One year old child is not really aware of the brand of clothes his parents have arranged for him and same is the case with pricey toys. Children up to 5/ 6 years of age do not even have memories of how things have been in their lives. Even if children grow we tend to buy them gadgets, widgets, automobiles etc which do not correspond to their age requirements. Similarly, over-spending on marriages is a custom even if parents go in debt. In fact, parents, when it comes to spending on their children, have two distinct categories. Firstly, those who grow up in want of certain luxuries of life and never grow out of this mental state of deprivation. Secondly, those who did not have deprivation but affluence, these are the people who serve their egos. It is the subservience of ego that forces them to over-spend on their children because “My child should get the best of everything”,” My child should stand out” etc etc. Either way, parental affection remains the guiding principle and no one should doubt the genuineness of intent. But, as we are being TESTED and by overspending on our children, are we passing the test? In fact, coping up with the simmering affection for our children and harmonizing our spending, is in actual a real test. It is necessary to understand that issue under scrutiny is over-spending out of affection. It is not to discourage the amount and effort that goes in good education, grooming and sadqa etc for well being of the children.

          Parents with deprivation syndrome may still not be able to afford the luxuries of life they want to provide their children. If they persist with this attitude, naturally, they will feel the heat of financial burden as well. In effort to coping with their own deprivations, they add to their financial woes. At the same time, inadvertently, they are creating an air of competition among parents of same social status like their own siblings with children, relatives, neighbors or community in general. For affluent ego loving parents who translate parental affection by going on spending spree, they fail to realize that when their children go out to schools, gatherings and in community life, wearing classy dresses and carrying expensive toys, they amplify sense of deprivation among other children. This attitude only fattens the ego of parents and greater damage is done to their children, as they at the outset become ego slaves when they look down upon children of lesser status. So much for lessons of human equality. One more important aspect to remember is that eventually children will grow in to their parents, as the adage goes,” Child is man’s father’. They may be momentarily shunned by rebukes and advises of their parents but children only copy actions of their parents. Those struggling with finances and yearning for luxuries of life will breed a generation facing same issues and those unable to tame their egos will produce ego loving monsters. Hence, not spending but spending quality time with children will make difference in lives of next generation.

Quran has repeatedly mentioned children and wealth as blessings but these, at the same time come as TESTs, whether held in plenty, held modestly or not held at all. Those who have plenty of it, have to exercise caution with moderation and avoid stamping their plentiful on others. Those who have modest means of life, have to balance their act. Those at the lowest end of this spectrum, have to understand the nature of their test in its own rite. There are those who have means of life but disabled, disobedient or mortally ill children. Or those whose infants are taken away or those who have lost grown up children. And there are those who do not have children at all. On the contrary, there are those who have children but no means of provision. We all fit in to these schemes of things one way or the other. Bottom line remains the same, whether you belong to house of Haves or Haves not, life is an ongoing test. All of us from all these categories have to thank Allah for giving us life and other blessings of life and the blessings that we have, should be a source of relief to others around us. We have not earned these blessings. If blessings were to be dished out on merit of our intents and actions, then merit list would definitely be read in a different order. Hence, mere possessions or blessings in any form do not guarantee that we are Lord’s loved ones. Rather, it is how we go about dispensing these blessings, will decide the order of merit on the Day of Reckoning. 

ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿102:8﴾                                                   
(102:8) Then, on that Day, you will be called to account for all the bounties you enjoyed.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Why Thoughts?

Having been encouraged by family and friends to write, I could never really convince myself that I would be able to put together words that could have rational appeal. Besides, writing has its own demons and worst of all is self conceit that "I Know" because reality is " I Know Not". Secondly, the bitterest enemy of man, his ego, when inflated, can lead him astray and just like that, the good intention of spreading the good thought is taken over by ever so deceiving ego. To human is to err, we get carried away by our ego that good word will not spread if I did not write. Whereas, truth of the matter is that the Good word will spread even if no one in the world writes. With these hunches, I set out to share thoughts through this blog. Hoping and praying that the obligation and intention of spreading the good word is well served.
One more thing, our thoughts, especially the good ones, are not our own. We have not invented thoughts. Thoughts just come to us from somewhere Divine. The divine element of thought makes it all the more necessary to excercise extreme caution in observing quality of thought. Spreading good thought is not a quality but an obligation. 
Lastly, everyone is writing these days and everyone wants to look different from others. A distinguished way to approach an issue is desireable due to gains associated with it like increased reader base, sponsorship, accolades, recognition and what not. So first thing that needs clarity is that this blog is not based on a desire to look different from others. It will contain ordinary things that affect our lives. Small things that can make our lives better. At the same time, The blog is not intended for any of the aforementioned gains. This is just an endeavour to share thoughts. Thoughts should spread across the spectrum. People should benefit from these thoughts. Good thoughts can help relieve a fellow human being from distress or clear fog of uncertainty from important issues in our lives. If only a single person is relieved of stress after reading this blog, the whole effort would be worthwhile.
Your thoughts will add colour to this blog. Share your thoughts. Disagree alot because this will bring in new thought and educate our thoughts.