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 :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Election and Identity Cards

It is election season in Pakistan and being most persecuted community in Pakistan, the fate of  Hazara community is one of the big questions for upcoming government, and media (1, 2, 3) have already started asking questions, if there is any hope for Hazaras in upcoming election. Being a member of the community, I wanted to express my thoughts on the issue,

On January 14th of this year, after 3 days of sit-in protest on Alamdar road of Quetta city, the Hazaras forced federal government to impose governor rule in Baluchistan.  Of course, governor rule was not solution for this vulnerable community and within a month, there was a second massive truck-bomb attack on Hazaras and forced them to stage similar sit-in protest but it was the first time that both Hazaras and rest of Pakistan learned the power of peaceful and consistent protest. Certainly, it was a turning point in the perception of Hazara community about their collective-will as well as perceptions of rest of Pakistan about Hazaras. Although, Hazara community is still vulnerable and threats against them still serious but the evolution in awareness and social activism was an achievement worth carrying on.

Usually at times of agitations, there are a lot of noises on the streets and on media and there might have some immediate effects but the real changes are the changes that survive among people, once the agitations subside. It might not make a lot of sense but those who are familiar with K-T boundary event in earth's history know very well that earth before K-T boundary was dominated by Dinosaurs, and mammals were small and living in fringes but after K-T mass-extinction, mammals evolved to become dominant living forms on earth. Mammals had evolved a set of characteristics that had enabled them to survive impact-event and diversify in a changed-post-impact earth. Coming back to my basic point, although governor rule, the demand for targeted operations against terrorists and elections were the immediate needs however, they aren't  the factors to decide the fate of Hazaras but changes in their perceptions and visions are.  Governments come and go, policies, politics and relations change but the perceptions and visions of a nation need "revolutions" to change and as I said before, the changes that do not survive to carry on is not "revolutionary".

So after two massive sit-in protests, the current election is not a matter of who get elected from Hazara community but how the election campaigns are conducted and how people, particularly Hazara youths respond to them. It is the test for this community to see if those sit-in protests had some real fruits. Traditionally, the Hazara vote in Quetta was based on identity and was divided into two camps of nationalist-identity and religious-identity and I am not that naive to expect that this traditional divide would go after two historical sit-in protests but I had hopes that at least intellectuals and activists will break the ice and go beyond the traditional divides. I had hopes that candidates will show some creativity and campaign in a way that people would feel the change and present their cases to people in a way that their cases would make sense to people and give them hope. After all leaders are visionary individuals that transfer their visions to their followers and their followers start seeing their worlds in more meaningful way and find ways out. Frankly, so far I haven't seen any big change but some sporadic voices that I  have heard and read from some activists and youths that were demanding candidates to not use identity-cards but rather present clear policies/ road-maps to people they were really pleasing. These demands are "revolutionary" and need to survive and grow. I am hoping that our activists use their pens and voice in cultivating a new political culture that is necessary for survival of this community. 

1. BBC Radio 4; Hazaras, Hatred and Pakistan

2. BBC Urdu; The Future of Hazara community in Quetta 

3. Aaj TV; Whom Hazara community will vote?  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quetta's changing sense of humor

It is always amusing to read and listen what others write or say about your city. Their narratives give fresh eyes to look at things that are so familiar that we usually ignore. While reading Mahim Mahir's article, "My Great Quetta Adventure", I felt really sad that she started Quetta's description with a "dark joke". She writes, 

"At the Quetta Press Club's cavernous general secretary's room a relaxed senior reporter SZ explains how they actually like to kill people there:

"You see, we have a counter at the airport arrivals lounge," he says with a twinkle in his eye. "And as soon as you enter we check out if you LOOK Punjabi, pull the gun out of the drawer and... " He cocks his thumb and fires his index finger.

"No... no... wait!" interjects another senior reporter SS. "We don't wait till they come into the arrival lounge, we pick them off as soon as they get OFF the plane."

A round of guffaws circles the room."...

"Dark City", where newspapers report the terrorists as "unidentified persons", intelligence agencies most often fail, courts don't find "enough evidences" and people live in terror and confusion, and sense of humor is darkened...
I can't blame her as blasts, target killings and exodus have become the dominant topics and what is more tragic that even jokes of the city have darkened. The reason that I couldn't resist sharing it is my surprise in finding that one thing has not changed for as long as I know it and that is the emotions and expressions of  its people which is still raw and unprocessed. Their feelings are so original that they not only don't mind joking on themselves but also enjoy sharing them with others. I still remember that in a mixed gathering, one of my Baloch friends shared some political jokes that were amusing for all,

"Balochistan National Movement and Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party were part of Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM). Mahmood Khan Achakzai was organizing large rallies in Pashtoon areas and had invited Sardar Attaullah Mengal to deliver speeches in his rallies. People were zealously responding to speeches of their beloved leaders by whistling, throwing their turbans, shoes and caps in air, and waving their shawls. On his return from PkMAP's rallies, it was the turn of Sardar Attaullah to organize rallies and invite Mehmood Khan to deliver speeches but it was hard for him to gather comparable huge crowds as Baloch populations were scattered. So he calls for meeting of tribes, tells the details of his tours and inform the tribes that their honor is at stake so the crowd must be huge and response to the speeches of leaders must be accompanied with loud cheers. Everyone's efforts payoff when, on the day of rally a huge crowd turns out. People were really excited and as per tradition, the first person who goes on  the stage is a Qari. As Qari starts reciting , the crowds starts whistling, throwing their shoes, caps and turbans in the air... "

And he continued,

"A Mir sahib wins election and becomes minister. He shifts to the provincial assembly hostel. Next morning, peon knocks the door and brings in a plate having shaving cream, toothpaste and tissue paper. An hour later he knocks again and asks, "What do you like for breakfast, Sir?" asks peon... "I have already taken my breakfast. By the way, I liked them. They were delicious and had charming aroma..."

Hazaras had the same kinds of jokes that were elaborating their sense of oppression. Usually you would hear,

" A Pashtoon sees a lonely Hazara and stops him, "O Brother, where are you going?"... The Hazara-man replies in fear, "I am just a traveler"... The Pashtoon acts as he is searching his pockets for something, "Wait here for me, I have forgotten my knife. I am going home to bring it and behead you"... A couple hours later, the Pashtoon passes the same spot and sees the Hazara is still sitting there. "You didn't escape?" asks the Pashtoon... "No, I was waiting for you"....replies Hazara...."I was just kidding man"... 

Quetta has changed a lot. As the city blackened by smokes of blasts, the jokes have also blackened and old jokes might even appear offending but my intention was not offending anyone but to feel sorry for changing senses of humor :(

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Talking Philosophy



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Please do mind, economics is not science and it behaves as people behave. There are "real" people involved in economics and people's intentions are unpredictable. No, no, we are rational beings and can't accept anything without some numbers attached to it, right? BUT there happen a lot of OOPS along with AHA even to the "best" rational minds. Don't believe it? Have a look,


Don't like You Tube videos? OK, here is the link to BBC report 
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Modern Conversations

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Don't you think, my Facebook Profile is cool? By the way, I don't care what you think...





Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Y-egg


Misreading the history

Changing impressions of those who claim to be Amirs
The name Afghanistan is synonym with wars, brutality, terrorism, migration, poverty and misery and there might be few very optimistic people who hope for peace in this "country". But, it is not even a news that neither Soviet Union, despite of spending billions and sacrificing hundreds of thousands of lives couldn't bring peace nor US and her allies, after more than a decade of efforts and trying every possible means could bring peace to this "country". It is an image that world has of Afghanistan. If you read what the most prominent Amir in Afghan history wants the world remember as his legacy, it gives a clue that why hoping for peace in Afghanistan has very little chances of survival.

Abdur Rahman Khan, one of the Amirs of Afghanistan has written a book about his life in Farsi and was translated and published in English by name of "The life of Abdur Rahman, amir of Afghanistan; By ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Khān (Amir of Afghanistan)". On the page of 284, when he is taking pride about putting down the wars with Hazaras, he writes,

"....Some of the Hazaras asked to be reappointed in their own country, but I think that the words of the poem appropriately describe the relations between the Hazaras and myself:—

"As long as you remember your son and I remember my tail,

To think of our friendship is an impossible tale."'

It may be said that the Hazara war which has just been described was the last civil war that occurred in Afghanistan, and I earnestly hope that there will be no more danger of civil war in this country, as I believe."....

The Amirs of Afghanistan were believing and still believe that, the only way to restore peace is through terror and subjugation. This has been proved wrong again and again but in words of Abdur Rahman, "As long you remember your son and I remember my tail," to think of peace by co-existence is an impossible tale. I am getting this impression because I don't see any change in the thinking when I read a book of more than a century old and what I read and hear of them now.  If you read the whole book, the sole purpose of the Amir was to wipe all the rivals and opposition to the throne of Kabul and the tactics appear still the same, despite that all other communities of Afghanistan want decentralized democratic government in the "country". And that is why the hope of Amir was a false hope. The Hazara war was not the last civil war. After a century past the Hazara war there is still no peace in Afghanistan and there is no hope for it in near future unless you stop misreading history. 

Star Dust


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Amorphous Penoptes

 My first sculpture; Amorphous Penoptes (Amorphous; without any shape/form, without any clear identity and Penoptes; all-seeing, have access to all sorts of information, immersed in information, well-ill-informed)

Amorphous Penoptes; side-view

Amorphous Penoptes; Back-view 

Amorphous Penoptes; Front-view 
The sculpture is open to interpretation. I see two trends are gaining ground: a. the efforts to explain everything with evolutionary theory, something that appears to be emerging as a modern age religion. The fossil symbolizes evolutionary theory and eyes of different sizes and patterns symbolizes the trend of seeing everything through evolutionary eyes. b. With meltdown of traditional forms of communication and ease in availability and increase in usage of smart means of communication, identity crises are deepening and I feel that even leading cultural institutions have become victims of identity crises. May be I am not a good observer but frankly, I feel like I haven't met yet a true scientist, a true artist, a true philosopher, not even a true nationalist, a true religious person, ...etc. All I have seen are self-contradicting people who aren't even aware of their contradictions and I have accepted it as human condition, something that is hard to escape from. One may say that you may have an idealistic perspective of scientists, artists and philosophers. That might be true to some extent but current stasis in these fields and the conflict between traditional means of doing things and the external pressure by social media for for new ways of communications have pushed these fields into identity crises. In short, Amorphous Penoptes is the symbolic expression of current human condition and both cultural leaders and people in general are represented in it. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool


Buddhistein


Buddhistein is the current human condition
Although change is inevitable but it appears that Nature has some frames that embody all changes. Duality is one of the frames. We hear a lot about ability of humans to mold Nature to their needs by manipulating laws of Nature but just like change, humans manipulations are also bound in these frames. For thousands of years religions had institutionalized human thinking and then the success of scientific methodologies in uncovering Natural Laws and giving  men the ability to change their certain conditions  gave hopes that humans  are now free to choose the conditions they want for themselves; Nietzsche expressed the hope by claiming that, "God is dead" and Sartre expressed the hope by saying, "We are left alone, without excuse. That is what I mean when I say man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does" ...

But if  we look around and see the modern-men, though they want to be free of any institution but we see duality in their actions and thoughts are evident. For instance, for their physical and psychological well-being, they practice yoga and meditation and for life in general, they follow Science (if not scientific methodologies as Scientists do). Although knowledge frees man from Man-made institutions or human constructed conditions but it also make them realize that there are Natural frames that bound human knowledge and progress (Humans walk from condition to condition and that is how I see human progression).