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, December 4, 2015

Conversations With An "Afghan" Teacher


Although, the conversation is more than a decade old, it is still relevant today:

As I neared Barma Road (Hussain Abad, Hazara Town, Quetta), I heard the loud sounds of noha and matam. I thought a procession was approaching, so I braked my bicycle and waited for the procession to pass. After a minute or two, Abdullah’s pas-sari’s cart showed up. It wasn’t a Muharram procession but Abdullah’s tape-recorder that played loud noha. It was embarrassing and amusing. If people could read my mind, there would a burst of laughter. I was about to mount on my bicycle, when I spotted the “Afghan” teacher. I identified him easily as most of the time he wore khaki overcoat over white shalwar kameez and hold a couple of books in his right hand and walked slow with his head down as if he was looking for something on the asphalt. He was a short, bony and bespectacled man, with brown curly hairs. Although, I had no acquaintance with him but I had seen him many times on the road and from his appearance, I had developed the perception of a thoughtful person and it was my chance to found out. I walked fast and soon, I was walking along the teacher.

“Salam Ustad.”

“Walaikum Salam!” the teacher replied while he looked at me in puzzlement. 

“I guess, you are a teacher.” I asked.

He nodded.

“I have a few questions from you, if you don’t mind.” I continued.

“Befurma (ask please)” he answered politely.

In those days, I was reading an American textbook on politics, I had borrowed from provincial library. It was my first introduction to the Aristotle’s cycle of political change, individualism, social rights movement and libertarianism. I wanted to dig deeper and was looking for more resources on the subjects. Inspired by Socrates, I was also trying to “mind-map” my own concepts.

“How do you define politics?” I asked the teacher.

“You look a reasonable person.” he smiled.

“I don’t know, how much reasonable am I, but I like reasoning and respect people with reasoning.” I replied.

He took out a toffee from his pocket and asked, “How much is the toffee?”

“Char-anna (a quarter of a rupee)”

“Do you like toffees?”

“Yes!”

“Do you often buy toffees?”

“Yes.”

“Do you buy particular toffee brands or you buy any toffee when you go to stores?”

“I am very picky when it comes to toffees!”

“That’s politics.”

“How?” I was puzzled.

“Money is power and when you choose to buy one brand over another, you are actually empowering the company that produces that brand.”

“I never thought it that way.”

“That’s the problem. Even our most literate ones aren’t aware of the power of their actions.” He smiled.

I was embarrassed, and wanted to change the topic.

“There is a renewed interest and also disagreements on Hazaragi culture. How do you define a culture?” I asked.


Continued….

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