One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Non-Aligned Movement; A perspective

History and philosophy go hand in hand, and the most current proof is the claims and counter claims,  expressions of confidences and frustrations  over Non-Aligned Movement conference in Tehran. With the come back of cold war scenario (Cold War 2.0), the Non-Aligned Movement's philosophy became relevant again and in a sense became revitalized. This event also supports the belief of the people who believe that "history repeats itself". Anyone with a philosophical tendency can't ignore important historical events. Almost all analysts accept that, the current NAM conference is a historical event. It is historical not just because it is happening in a time that, the fate of the "Arab Spring" has become evident OR it is the high time for Iran-West tension OR the Security Council of UN is divided and have been stalled over Syrian civil war but instead, because it is a movement of nations following a philosophy; dividing the world into blocks are dangerous to world peace with highest costs for smaller nations.

Founding Fathers of Non-Aligned Movement
While some call the Non-Aligned Movement as a "sac of potatoes" and it might have some truth in it as the movement have not been able to take some solid steps but in fact, their inactivity have done much good to the world than their actions would have done. Simply, the voicing of 2/3rd of world's nations against the politics of "us versus them" and their passive roles in the world affairs had stopped the prolongation of cold war 1.0 and possibility of large scale escalations. Now, that the world is apparently moving towards neo-polarization (this time, it is going to be multi-polarized), the strong come back of Non-Alignment Movement is a source of hope and hopefully, it would slow the cold war 2.0 and the save the world from repetition of WWI and WWII scenario.

Ever since, I became familiar with Allama Muhammad Iqbal's poetry (The ideological father of Pakistan), this line from his poetry made me really puzzled, Translation; "If only Tehran could take the place of Geneva for the Oriental world; Then hopefully the fortune of this good earth might turn for the better". Whenever I hear it or read it, it only refreshes my puzzlement. Why Iqbal did say that? What is special about Tehran, especially that, at the time Iqbal wrote these lines, Tehran was not in good shape and there were struggles between traditionalists and modernists with no clear direction for the nation? The only explanation, that I can give is that, Iranians are most civilized, resilient and self-aware nation in the Muslims world and Iqbal was well aware of the impact that Iran had on Islamic civilizations. Muslims had conquered both Persian and Byzantine empires almost in same time but the Iranian imprints can be seen on every aspects of Islamic civilizations. Now that, Tehran has taken the leadership of NAM, the hope is that she behaves more responsibly and helps reducing the tensions that surrounds her. Iqbal was a visionary philosopher with a deep knowledge of history, so lets hope that the revitalized NAM and Tehran with a new role help in not letting Cold War 2.0 grow into a big disaster. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eid and Movies

Tomorrow morning, I am not expecting to see wrinkled finger tips and tonight, I am going to sleep well without waking up several times during the night to check the time. That is a big change in the tradition. The night before Eid was used to be a restless night. Our fists were wrapped up in a piece of cloth while holding henna paste. It was really hard to wait till morning to wash our hands and see the richness of colors, compare it with others and see ourselves totally anew in our new dresses, shoes and haircut and ready to go for collecting our Eidi. Nobody talks about it anymore as if there weren't a time like that. The crowd of tidy boys and girls were going up and down and the first place to check out was the "circus" to ride a camel, a donkey cart, a  pickup car, enjoy a wave swinger with wooden horses, egg tapping, shooting air guns at balloons, eat something from food carts, to buy plastic toys there or if totally run out of money then you could just walk to cantonment area that was well maintained and had some small road side parks. But most important thing was to back at home at 1 pm  or 3 pm for movie. For three consecutive days, there were Pakistani movie shows on each day of Eid at noon. That was not something to miss at all (At least for me). But then, there came a change in me. By time, I was big enough to ride a bicycle, I started to go and watch movies on big screen at Eid days however, there was a big danger and it was to be discovered by others. It was definitely a punishable crime and what is a bigger punishment than falling from grace. It was really hard to sneak out and go to watch a movie and someone does not see you. One day, someone living a few street down of our house saw us and for a few days, I had really uneasy days fearing that he might inform my father but thankfully nothing happened :)

How could I miss egg tapping on Eid? I boiled to color them for Eid :)
Here Eid comes again, and I can have all those movies and games on my screen within minutes but it doesn't match at all with the excitements of those three movies, that we were watching on Eid days. I am ready to trade my whole week for one of those days.

Even in normal days, the TV transmission was ending by 12 pm  . The national anthem at 12 pm was the last  thing to watch on TV. One of my favorite TV series was "Combat" that was starting at 11 pm and ending at 12 pm. That was really late at those days. One of our guests, once commented, "You guys watch TV till the national anthem". That was really offensive but was true for "combat" nights.

Amid the sad news of on going killings, on this Eid, I just wanted to have a break from usual topics, so I dedicated this page to the time, when Quetta was peaceful and elegantly simple. Wish you all a very happy Eid :)

A short supplementary note;

                            Media saturation and sometimes super-saturation takes a toll on human imagination and human psyche. The abundance of the energetic food spread obesity and associated mishaps as human biology was slow to catch up with human discoveries and inventions. It is still too early to tell that, whether human psyche is going to catch up with the rate at which media saturation and super-saturation happening or it will also cause a problem similar to obesity and associated mishaps. Most of theories on the evolution of human psyche come from distant and selective environments of past (from pre-historic hunters-gatherers social groups) that weren't connected well. Here comes a modern phenomenon that is directly observable and posing practical challenges to human's psyche. I think, most the studies are focused on hard science of the brain instead of observing directly the adaptations of the human psyche to rapid saturation of media  that are creating new cultural environments by rapid development of the technology. Just in my life time, I have seen a rapid shift from Radio to TV and to internet, with each had created its own specific cultural environments.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Human Nature and Pakistan's Birthday

When we talk about "Justice", "Liberty", "curiosity", "equality" and "compassion", we do not consider race, ethnicity and geographical boundaries as we assume that, they are part of "human nature". This very basic assumption provides the foundation, based on which all philosophies and religions are based. Today, we don't see "Official Slavery" anywhere in the world while, slavery was an accepted practice, in almost all known civilizations throughout human history. The assumption that, all humans are born equal was provided a foundation for abolition of slavery. Having encouraged by "complete abolition of slavery", some thinkers  dare to foresee abolition of war and poverty likewise. Judith Hand, an ethologist thinks that, humankind will abolish war in the future and Muhammad Yonus, an economist thinks that, humankind will abolish poverty in the future.

Judith Hand
Muhammad Yunus
Although, both of these ideas are very Utopian, but they are originated from  same assumptions that ended slavery.  If these ideas are still Utopian then, why I am bringing them here?

Well, today is Pakistan's birthday (Some may call it, "Independence Day", but I am not going to call it independence day because we are not yet independent. In fact, we are dependent on Foreign Aid to run our economy, on Foreign Oil to run our power plants and rapid expansion of extremism is the biggest question mark on the very "Idea of Pakistan", are things that force us to consider Pakistan not independent yet and it is our saddest reality) and the news that make headlines about Pakistan is that, while population of Pakistan has swelled since her birthday, the population of the minorities have declined multiple times. The recent migration of Pakistani Hindus to India is just one of the several exoduses. And it is not just religious minorities that is leaving Pakistan but the ethno-religious minorities like Hazaras are taking great risks to find a place of safety outside of Pakistan.    

If there are people who dare to think and campaign about abolition of poverty and war from face of earth then, why not Pakistanis can think about abolition of extremism, that are dissolving the social fabric and identity of Pakistan? Have extremism mutated "our nature" to an extent that, we can't even dare to assume about Justice, equality, liberty and compassion?  If not then, why minorities are forced to leave their places of birth and find it very difficult to connect with their Pakistani identities?

Having said all that, loving the place of birth is also part of human nature especially that, she had made me able to be "free-spirited" and express myself openly. Were I born in a different country, I might have not been able to express myself. I am thankful for that to Pakistan and wish her "Happy Birthday" heartily, and pray for her Independence and a day when no Pakistani feel discriminated in Pakistan.