Posts

Showing posts from 2005

Rape: is the victim at fault?

A recent poll conducted by Amnesty International revealed that more than a third of Britons blame flirting women for being raped. A quarter of the population think that a woman wearing revealing clothing is completely or partially responsible when she is sexually assaulted. About one in twelve believe that a promiscuous woman is wholly responsible for being raped.

These polls were conducted in a western country. The west is considered to be a sexually liberated society and if these are the views held by people coming from a 'liberated' society, then why wonder about the archaic views of an eastern society.

Rape is basically defined as “intentional unlawful sex with a woman without her consent” but the views held by the majority of people disregard the phrase “without consent” and lay the blame entirely or partially on the victim herself.

One cannot give complete amnesty to a rape victim if she wears revealing clothes in a culture where it is completely out of place. In the West, …

Medical negligence

Many people have died, or suffered various ailments due to medical negligence committed by doctors as well as nurses. An error caused by medical staff can be fatal, yet medical negligence cases have become common and are occurring in Pakistan on a regular basis.
A family friend’s newborn baby died because the gynaecologist insisted on performing a C-section without any medical reason, when the mother was only eight months pregnant. This led to the death of their only baby boy.
A relative was diagnosed for having an ulcer and was given medication accordingly. After some time the doctor discovered that she was pregnant but by that time those medicines had caused severe poisoning inside her body and she came extremely close to dying. Her only course of survival was to get an abortion.
An uncle had a liver ailment but was diagnosed for a cardiac arrest. Can we even imagine what kind of side effects he still might be facing due to the wrong treatment?
A girl suffering from migraine was taken t…

Kite flying

On October 25, a four-member bench of the Supreme Court had imposed a one-month ban on kite flying, manufacturing, buying and selling. The bench had directed the IGP Punjab to implement the ban in its true spirit. But, despite the Supreme Court’s imposition of a ban on kite flying, it is clearly evident from numerous incidents that there has been no proper implementation of the ban.

Kite flying has been a favourite sport amongst many in Pakistan and this ban has raised many a few eyebrows. The protesters argue that it is a recreational sport and a means of light, fun entertainment. Government officials claim that the potential hazards of kite flying should not be taken lightly as irresponsible indulgence may cause injury or death. Hence the ban was motivated by concerns for safety.

Kite flying in Pakistan is frequently made more into a competition than a hobby. The flyers pit their kites against each other in skilled attempts to cut their rival’s strings. In order to gain advantage, mos…

Unpunished savagery??!?!

The gruesome incident of a husband chopping off his wife’s leg and then having the audacity to flaunt it for everyone to see is not only appalling but renders one incapable of putting the shock and outrage into proper words. Sadiq Bhatti carried out this barbaric act at his home and then accused her of having illicit relationships with other men. The wife has said that the accusations are totally baseless and she had only ever visited her parent’s home when her husband was in jail. The neighbours called the police when they heard violent screams coming from the house, but the police arrived at the scene two hours later. Although the man was taken into custody, it is the height of injustice that the Assistant Sub Inspector has already let the culprit off the hook by stating that no case could be registered against Sadiq because nobody was willing to be a complainant. What law is the Sub Inspector talking about? If he is talking about Section 154, Act V of Criminal Procedure Code 1898, …

Fate of the vulnerable

The devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan on October 8 has caused unprecedented damage to life, property, communication links and infrastructure, but that is not all. There are some who are left more vulnerable than the rest – women and children. Thousands of women and children have been left homeless by the annihilating earthquake, and are at risk of dying from exposure and malnutrition in the coming months. Unicef has warned that 10,000 more children could die from hunger, cold and disease in the coming weeks because aid has still not reached some parts of the quake-hit areas, and has called for immediate steps to push through more supplies, saying that children would be the first victims in a possible “second wave of deaths” as winter approaches. The aftershocks which are being felt countrywide are adding to the risks to the victims in the Azad Kashmir and NWFP region.

The government and the people of Pakistan are doing everything in their power to help the victims but our effort…

Victims of the dreadful tragedy

“Life is just a dream on the way to death.” –Mia Kirshner

The word ‘earthquake’ is defined as: shaking and vibration at the surface of the earth resulting from underground movement along a fault plane or from volcanic activity.

This definition can only give the literal meaning of the word, but it cannot define the devastation that an earthquake can cause, not only to the region but also to the people – the individuals -- who have lost their homes, members of their families or their friends!

The worst earthquake in the last 100 years has hit South Asia, and the devastation is horrendous! The extent of this natural catastrophe was on such a large scale that it has overshadowed the huge loss of lives, which now appear as mere statistical data. The death toll is rising day by day, and the pictures of misery that one sees in the newspapers or TV are extremely distressing. The large number of fatalities tend to shift our focus from the disastrous event itself without really giving an accurate …

Exploiting the poor during Ramazan

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” –Yeats

The majority of population in Pakistan is below the poverty line. Go down any roadside and one would find young children selling newspapers, cleaning the cars when they stop at a signal, working at shoe-polishing stalls etc. These young children are the victims of poverty and that is the reason why child labour is rampant in our society. Not only do young children have to work, but due to extreme poverty, many old people have to keep working at an age when they should actually be resting. Poverty is the worst form of deprivation and the sadness that is visible in the eyes of these people is heartbreaking. These are the people who suffer the most in life, and for a crime that they have not committed – the crime of being born poor!

The holy month of Ramadan has started and one can feel it in the air – from the siren that blares in the early morning at the…

Noise – the Menace

Silence – the way to inner peace. A human being’s mind needs to be free of fatigue in order to function properly; therefore, silence is imminent for the peace and tranquillity of a mind. People have their own set of problems and worries in their lives, and this plagues the minds. Deep thinking and meditation is a prerequisite for finding proper solutions to a problem, and one needs silence for such circumstances. Silence is also essential for studies, relaxation, sleep and various other situations. Sound breaks the silence … but it is not a menace unless it violates certain limits and metamorphoses into something disturbing, called Noise.

Noise is a menace for society and is one of the numerous forms of pollution. There are many sources of noise, and one of them is a horn.

A horn is defined as an alarm device that makes a loud warning sound. These days, one can find various kinds of musical horns in the market. Such horns are used by cars, buses, trucks, lorries, coaches, motorcycles, b…

Food for thought ...

And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
“Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
- Kahlil Gibran

Food – something without which a human being cannot survive. It can be defined as ‘any solid substance (as opposed to liquid) that is used as a source of nourishment’. There is no denying its importance in our lives but to go overboard about food makes it a different issue.

Lahore has always been known for its cuisine and is rightly called the ‘food centre’ of Pakistan. A variety of cuisines can be found in any part of Lahore. The people of Lahore are referred to as ‘zinda-dilaan-e-Lahore’ since they are known for their liveliness and openheartedness. Their love for food is a well-known fact, and they certainly do justice to the words of George Bernard Shaw who said, "There is no sincerer love than the love of food.&qu…

Marriage extravaganza

Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. The relationship of these two human beings is elevated from one form to another, and the metamorphosis is of an immensely important nature. Nowadays we see that this sacred institution is being commercialised due to the changing trends in weddings.

Wedding seasons are in boom during the months of December/January. Everywhere you go, one can witness special wedding tents all over the city. Wedding halls are booked several months before the actual wedding takes place. The price of flowers (which are used for decorations and garlands etc), chicken and other assortment of food that is used for wedding ceremonies, reaches its peak. These business-minded people are exploiting the institution of marriage.

Lavish weddings are the ‘in’ thing these days, spending millions of rupees on wedding functions is not much of an issue anymore. Nonetheless, a wedding these days has become a major hassle for everyone involved. There is a social pressure t…

The silent sufferer ...

Rape is one of the worst instances of violence against women. We cannot even imagine the immense pain the woman has to go through; here I am not only talking about the physical pain but also the pain that comes later – the agony. How badly bruised a victim’s mind will be when she has faced such a bestial act.

Can we even fathom the plight of these women who have gone through such an intense physical trauma which later on leads to emotional upheaval? Can there be a more savage and barbarous act that a woman has to go through? Rape victims are haunted by this monstrous experience forever. A survey said that 82 percent of the rape victims said that the experience has permanently changed them.

Rape is an issue that has not been dealt with frankness in countries like Pakistan, where the society refuses to discuss it on the pretext of it being a social stigma. A rape victim in our society would be afraid of the infamy and disgrace that she would be causing to herself and her family if she we…

Chained by gender

Since the beginning of this world, women have had to face numerous problems and have undergone immense struggle. It is the general upbringing of a female in comparison to a male, which hampers her progress and development. Their faculties are directed from their birth to be something that they were never given a right to choose by themselves. The general consensus of our society is that a woman’s metier is to marry and procreate. Breaking these chains of society lie within the domain of feminism.

Feminism is the basic ideology behind ‘women’s rights’ but the ignorant people generally perceive it to be something shallow. According to a renowned feminist, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

There are restrictions on women, of a general nature, which are never faced by the male species. A female’s morality would be questioned if she does the same things that men take for granted. In a society like ours if a man smokes in public, that’s acceptable but if a woma…

Cell phone explosion

Pakistan is gripped by cell phone mania these days. The mobile connections are excessively easy to get. Pre-paid connections are free, and you only have to buy a pre-paid card to activate. The post-paid packages are also pretty cheap; thus almost everyone ends up with a cell-phone.

Now, the need to get a mobile set comes and that leads to the mania! Initially these mobile sets were a necessity; today these are also used as a showoff accessory. This craze for cell-phones has increased so much that people are spending thousands of rupees on new sets.

If you visit Hafeez Centre, you will see an innumerable number of cell-phone shops. These shops display various models of cell phones from all renowned companies such as Nokia, Sony -Ericsson, Samsung, and Motorolla. The price ranges from 3000 rupees to 60,000 rupees, depending on the features and model of the set.

Cell-phone manufacturers were giving out new models each year, with modified features as a marketing gimmick, but not much importa…

The lost ideology

14th August – Pakistan’s Independence Day! What a momentous day it must’ve been for the Muslims of the subcontinent, back in 1947. Today, it has just become a day to go crazy.

If you’ve had the misfortune to venture out on 14th August, at any time (especially in the evening or night), you would know what I am talking about. Boys ranging from the age of 12 to mature men who must be in their forty’s, are to be found roaming around in cars or motorcycles (without the silencers), creating chaos all over the city. Traffic jams are prevalent all around.

We got stuck near the traffic signal of the Defence gates, because the traffic lights were switched off so that the Traffic Police could manoeuvre it. What one witnessed were three traffic police constables chatting, maybe enjoying the rowdy crowd. They were not doing anything about traffic control; instead the cars were just passing at the will of the driver, creating a jam.

One could see people sitting on the window ledges of their cars, or …

Indo-Pak: The missing link

14th August 1947 – a new day in the history of the world, as a country named Pakistan was put on the world map. This is also the day that the hatred between Pakistan and India became official.

Muslims, who moved from India to Pakistan, were the same people who had lived all their lives with the Hindus and Sikhs before the partition of the subcontinent. They lived together peacefully; with a lot of love and respect towards each other as neighbours, as a community. What happened in the course of a few years that these same Muslims, Hindus/Sikhs were after each other's blood?

The answer to this complex query is – Politics!

Politics changed the whole scenario; it tore apart the harmony and created disillusionment. Leadership of both countries did not do much to bridge the gap; instead they somehow helped this seed of mistrust between the two nations grow.

I have always had this certain image of an Indian (Hindu) – a cunning, shrewd, Muslim-hater (even though the Muslim population of India…

Masks

Many of us wear masks to hide our real face from others; some do it unintentionally while others are motivated by selfish designs.

A mask may not necessarily be used to hide our nature but to show a different face that is deemed socially more agreeable, amicable and acceptable. These masks may well merge with the outward image along with the internal self to make our personalities more dynamic.

Our true nature is not just made up of a singular component but is divided multifariously. Masks vary in their range of sophistication - it could just be an angry person’s mask, an excited person’s mask, a worried person’s mask or a happy person’s mask. Various aspects in a person’s personality might be revealed as circumstances tend to instigate people to behave in a different manner. In each mode, a person’s behaviour would be altered accordingly. If someone sees them in one mode, he would only have witnessed one side of that person and until he sees that person in some other mode he would ne…

Humour: My real Saviour

Life has its ups & downs and every one of us has had some tragedy in the past or might face one in the future. Sadness creeps in the life of every human being and when there is a big mishap, one feels as if the walls are clamping down upon him and there might not be a way out. Those who do not find a way out turn bitter, cynical, anti-social etc and those who brave the world and find a way out are the survivors. Every survivor has a way out; mine is humour.

I have always believed that humour is the best shield for every attack and recently Joan Rivers echoed the same thoughts on the talk show 'Parkinson'. I came along these interesting words by her while browsing through her site.

"The first rule of survival is: Make your own rules. The hell with what anyone thinks about the way you're acting; listen only to yourself. And while listening, remember the words of Nietzsche: 'Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger.'"

--from Bouncing Back [source: h…

The Play

An interesting excerpt from "Dr. Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe

The endless praises of the choirs of angels had begun to grow wearisome; for, after all, did he not deserve their praise? Had he not given them endless joy? Would it not be more amusing to obtain undeserved praise, to be worshipped by beings whom he tortured? He smiled inwardly, and resolved that the great drama should be performed.

For countless ages the hot nebula whirled aimlessly through space. At length it began to take shape, the central mass threw off planets, the planets cooled, boiling seas and burning mountains heaved and tossed, from black masses of cloud hot sheets of rain deluged the barely solid crust.

And now the first germ of life grew in the depths of the ocean, and developed rapidly in the fructifying warmth into vast forest trees, huge ferns springing from the damp mould, sea monsters breeding, fighting, devouring, and passing away. And from the monsters, as the play unfolded itself, Man was bor…

Happy Birthday to me ...

aah, yet another year passes...
but i am frozen
... stuck in a time warp
glued to the past

i try to move ahead
yet something hinders the path
i find myself all alone
sinking deeper and deeper

i scream and shout
and writhe in pain
this struggle must end
or doom shall prevail

somewhere in the darkness
a faint light appears
i move towards the twilight
leaving the shadows behind

Religion...

...some sayings that touched me deeply :)

Baba Bulleh Shah:

masjid dhaa dei, mandir dhaa dei, dhaa dei jo kucch dhainda
par kissi da dil naa dhaain, Rab dilaan vich rehnda...

Baba Guru Nanak:

"Let God's grace be the mosque, and devotion the prayer mat. Let the Quran be the good conduct. Let modesty be compassion, good manners fasting, you should be a Muslim the like of this. Let good deeds be your Kaaba and truth be your mentor. Your Kalma be your creed and prayer, God would then vindicate your honour." (Majh)

Steve Weinberg:

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

reflections ...

i sit in my little corner
my tears drenched in sweet sorrow
surrounded by a gloomy silence
reflecting on the bleak past

sadness fills the mind
grief envelops the soul
memories still haunt me
i wonder if they will ever go away

i cut myself deeply
but no blood oozed
it wasn't my wrists that i slashed
...but my mind & my heart

the silent screams agonize me
the scars are etched forever
would death be a penalty
...or would it be the answer?!?