Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Poetry Meray Leader (Our Impotent Government) - Teen Talwar Dharna Day 2

A poetry on the impotence of the Government and the ignorance of all those Pakistanis not  willing to take part in the Protest actively on the streets. Recited on Day 2 of the Dharna  against Shia/Hazara Genocide.

Meray Leader: (Full Version)

Kia yeh hai tera laho? Ya yeh hai mera laho?
Galiyon main jo ajj beh raha, hai yeh kis ka laho?

Har simt ek cheekho pukaar hai, har gali main bo-qaate ka shor
Kay qaatilon kay haath lag gayi apni zindagi ki dor

Woh jo raat gaye se tak rahi hai raasta apnay chiragh ka
Dar kay bethi hai kay kuch pata nahi halaat ka
Himmat hai toh meray Leader ja kay us maa ko bata
Booriyon say tapak raha hai us kay laal ka laho

Khabie tasveer dekh ker woh hasti hai khabie roti hai
Maa! Baba kab ayen gey subah tak poochti rehti hai
Toh Us kam sin ko yeh kaisay samjhaye ga meray leader
Kay toh Khamosh tha jab zaya hoa us kay baap ka laho

Us Bhuray kay Kaandhay ajj, janaza utha utha kar thak gaye
Jo reh gaye hain zindagi kay chand saal, woh matam kay liye bach gaye
Woh pagal teri galiyon main mara mara phir raha hai meray Leader
Kahin dhoondh na le teri aasteen pay woh apni ulaad ka laho

Abhi kuch hi dino ki baat hai, hum ek general ko bhaga rahay thay
tumharay waadon par takia kar, jhamoriat kay geet ga rahay thay
Hum kam zarfon ko kahan tha itna hosh itni khaber
kay jhamoriat main mehenga hota hai sirf sahib-e-iqtedaar ka laho

Tum bus Committeeyan bana rahay thay, woh lashain gira rahay thay
Tum mushawrat aur mufahmat kay naam pay bahanay bana rahay thay
yeh sirf ghaflat hai teri ya asal majra kuch aur hai
yahan fironiyat bhi jhamori hai, yeh bara jadeed dur hai

Woh Karachi, Quetta, Gilgit main intezaar kertay reh gaye
Socha kay meray Leader kay tum bus ab madad ko aa rahay ho
Muaf kerna woh badnaseeb bawaquf bhool gaye
kay tum vote lay ker 5 saal kay liye araam farma rahay ho

Tum toh Leader bannay kay liye ajab tamashay bhi lagatay ho
ek dojay kay firqon ko gali de ker nafrat ki aag bharkatay ho
Ajeeb tassub main jee raha hai mera Awami Numainda
Awam ko awam say lar waha raha hai khud mera Awami Numainda

Taliban, Sippa-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi aur Taiba
Haye, meray Leader tum kis kis say laro gey?
Tum toh aam say admi ho, hum tumhay yun hi dalair samajh bethay
Yeh awaam kon si sagi hai jo is kay liye maro gey

Yahan fauj bhi majboor hai, kay abhi upar say order nahi ayen hain
Toh phir General tu hi bata kia sach yeh afwaayain hain
Kay in Saapoloon ko tunay  toh hi nahi paal rakha
Shayad isi liye pila raha hai tu inhay awaam ka laho

zulm-o-jabr aur haiwaniyat ka ajeeb mahool bana dia
tum bhi kam yazeed nahi, roshni kay shehar ko qarbala bana dia
jab inhay mehangai, berozgari aur bemari na maar saki
tum nay un kay ghar main ghus kay khud unhay maar dia

Tumhay sadarat mubarak ho, tumhay wazarat mubarak ho
Hakumti mehloon main rehnay walon, tumhay tamgha-e-jisarat mubarak ho
Bus ab hum per itna reham karo, hum per itna karam karo
In janazon per apnay jhanday na lehrao, bus ab thori toh sharam karo

Hum awam khud bhi kuch kar saktay thay, magar andar say bahut dartay hain
shayad isi liye haq ki larai, sirf facebook aur twitter pay lartay hain
jesay humnay bhi apnay zameer ko ek lambi neend sula dia hai
Muharram ajj bhi hai mutabbir, mager Ahl-e-Bayt ka sabak bhula dia hai

Kia Ibn-e-Ali, Ibn-e-Hussain ki shahadat ka yeh nahi mafhoom
Kay jo haq ki rah main na beh sakay to beqaar hai laho

Tu ajj meray Leader hum bhi kuch kuch tum say ho gaye hain
Matlabi, nasal parast, firqon main bat gaye hain
yun hi khama khua nahi khulatay apna yeh laho
Poochtay hain pehlay kay baha Shia, Sunni ya Ahmadi ka laho

Hamaray liye yahi ghum kaafi kion nahi raha
Kay qaatilon nay giraya akhir meri maa, Pakistan, tera lahoo
kia yeh hai tera laho, ya yeh hai mera laho?
galiyon main jo ajj beh raha, hai yeh kis ka laho?

Poetry on Hussainyat - Teen Talwar Dharna Day 1

A poetry I wrote about Hussainyat and the menace of Sectarianism and recited on Day 1 of the Teen Talwar Dharna against Shia/Hazara Genocide.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Dharna is not Shia!

Yesterday I spent 12 hours at the Dharna at Teen Talwar, Clifton, against the Shia genocide. At the time of writing, the Dharna is still underway and it has been over 24 hours since its start now.

When I joined the Dharna at Bilawal House last month, I had arrived 10 hours after the proceedings had started. The place was already packed with thousands of Shia protesters and being a Sunni I was intimidated. The repeated chants of “Labaik Ya Hussian” and “Ya Ali” were deafening and frightening. I was confused whether I should join in as I actually pondered if these chants were blasphemous.

I felt alienated listening to various references to the Imams who aren’t discussed in our mainstream curriculum.  Speaker after speaker made references to how the Shia population was a target, how they were the oppressed, how they were the victims. I felt frustrated thinking that the Quetta bombing was first and foremost a human tragedy, a national tragedy so why wasn’t it being treated as one.

I looked around and found the answer. If the protest was not a national protest, then why should I expect the victims to be identified as Pakistanis. If the organizers were Shia and the vast majority of protesters were Shia then why shouldn’t they have the right to highlight their victimization at a sectarian level.

Belonging to the majority sect of Pakistan, it was embarrassing to find myself in the minority in this protest.

At that time I realized that I was not intimidated because the Shias were hostile or unfriendly upon learning about my sect. In fact every Shia who learnt about my identity, came forward, shook my hand and thanked me for coming. The fear crept from inside from my deep rooted bias which is instilled in most Sunni children as how Shias secretly hate Sunnis. Sadly, the opposite appeared to be true.

Hence, this time I had made a point to be at the Dharna from the very start and encouraged all my Sunni friends to do the same. When I arrived along with my friends, there were just three people standing on Teen Talwar looking in all directions trying to spot co-protesters. We walked up and joined in. People drove by paying no attention. 10 more people joined in, but the bystanders appeared unbothered. Suddenly, I heard someone scream at the top of their voice “Naray-e-Haideri!”. The cars slowed down, the traffic Police took notice. I turned around to find that the voice was not of a Shia protestor, but of my friend, Nadir, a Sunni. I couldn’t hold back the smile on my face. What started with 3, reached the strength of close to 3000 in a few hours.

This lot of protestors appeared more mature and well aware than that at Bilawal House. This time slogans were not chanted against America but against Taliban. Western Powers were not blamed for sectarian violence, but Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba were bluntly blamed. This Dharna was not in denial. They were willing to accept that terrorism is a home grown problem.

Protesters stopped chanting “tum kitnay shia maro gey?” and asked “tum kitnay insaan maro gey?”

The goods things from the Bilawal House Dharna were also carried forward here and one had to be there to note those finer details. Teenage boys who were risking their lives by volunteering as security guards (unarmed), then there were volunteers who had made a makeshift kitchen and were serving tea, then there were those who were distributing juices, biscuits and biryanis, then there volunteers as young as 5 and as old as 70 carrying out trash bags collecting used paper cups and wrappers. No public or private property was allowed to be damaged. In all of those volunteers there were lessons to be learnt; the lesson of selflessness, the lesson of civic responsibility, the lesson of unconditional patriotism and the lesson of community.

Unfortunately, one sad fact also remained common between both Dharnas. Sunnis were again a minority. And now I want to ask the Sunni readers why? Why is Hazara killings not our concern? Why is Shia genocide not our concern? If it is then where were the Sunni Protesters? Why did we let this Dharna be reduced to a Shia protest too? Does only the death of a Sunni boy or girl has the exclusive privilege of being reported as a Pakistani death?

For those Sunni readers who really aren’t bothered about a Shia death, they should know that not all Hazaras who died in the bomb blasts were Shia.  

Every single time such a tragedy takes place the ignorance of the Sunnis results in only more ridicule for Pakistan at the international level as we expose to the world how polarized and inhumane we are that we cannot even condemn terrorism and loss of innocent lives as one united nation. But at home, the damage is worse. We make our Shia countrymen realize that they are alone. We tell them that we will celebrate 14th August together, that we will dance on the streets upon our cricketing victories together, that in the good times we will be there, but that’s where the brotherhood stops. In the time of mourning and against threat you are alone. At most, we will extend our sympathies on social networking websites.

Attending the protest as a Sunni did not make me a better Pakistani, but what did sitting at home and just updating your facebook status against the genocide made you?

There were thousands of Pakistani students who took part in the “Occupy University” Campaign in England in 2008 in protest against Israeli occupation of Gaza. Sadly, most of them choose to sit at home now because apparently Palestinians are more Pakistani than Hazaras.

Step up and step out. Be a part of something. Make the protest Pakistani. Make this tragedy Pakistani. Make the demands Pakistani. Make yourself Pakistani.

I end with the poetry I recited at the Dharna highlighting not just the impotence of the Government against these atrocities but also the ignorance of the majority of Pakistanis not willing to come out on the streets for active protests.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Why I am celebrating Valentine's Day as a Pakistani Muslim

Jamat-e-Islami is observing Youm-e-Sharm-o-Haya day today. If you ask Pakistani women they would like Pakistani men or Taaro Maroons to observe this day every day.

Sadly there is a difference in perspective for observing the day. The Jamat wants to observe it to prevent young singles from indulging in public display of affection on account of Valentine’s day whereas Pakistani women in general would just like to keep uninvited stares and advances at bay and like the real Muslim men to respect their privacy.

However, Pakistani women being the more graceful and patient group of the two will sadly have to wait for their turn, again. The Jamat needs to be addressed first. After all they have given me a guilty conscience for celebrating Valentine’s day by quoting Hadiths and Quranic verses on billboards all over the city. These religious commandments are to be interpreted as declaring Valentine’s day haram.

Bravo! Now I just cannot wait for the Jamat to post Hadiths and Quranic verses advocating minority rights and women rights. I mean that campaign is next right? The Jamat being the just, credible and honest flag bearers of Islam should not be impartial in preaching Islam right?

Clearly, the campaign against Valentines days has little to do with Islam and more to do with the anti-American sentiment. Ironically except for F-16 every single import from America or the West in general is looked at with contempt and hate even if it is a love filled day like Valentine’s day. Apparently, it was also Haram to wish Christians Merry Christmas this past year.

As a Pakistani Muslim there are two ways of looking at Valentine’s day; the first in my religious perspective and the second in my cultural perspective. Not so surprisingly, I found Valentines Days to be NOT un-Islamic and as Pakistani as it is American.

And it was then when I realized that perhaps the Jamat confused the ‘American’ Valentine’s day with the American ‘Prom Night’ from the American Pie Movies. The general idea today is to express your feelings towards your loved ones, not to impregnate teens outside wedlock.

To analyze Valentine’s day from a strict religious perspective one cannot just base their premise on how Valentine’s day is observed in pop culture. One has to look at its historical account. Now all those people who think I am qualifying my analysis to justify my beliefs I would like them to consider for one moment how would Islam look like if we analyzed it in terms of how it is practiced by our Mullahs as opposed to what Islam really is in terms of the Quran and Sunnah.

Saint Valentines in whose memory this day is observed is popularly believed to have been imprisoned for performing marriages of those soldiers who were forbidden to marry by the then Roman Empire. He eventually died in jail. If I were to celebrate his memory how can the same act be deemed un-Islamic? Marriage is encouraged under all school of thoughts of Islam and no group of Individuals belonging to any profession be it the army or be it muftis or mullahs are forbidden from getting married under Islam. Now, I am sorry if Saint Valentine did not use to read the Nikah Khutba, since Islam was introduced much after he passed away.

Now coming to the cultural perspective, one has to admit that this day is not entirely kosher. Valentines is also an excuse for unmarried couples to give each other gifts, make cheesy promises of love, have candle light dinners and other stuffs your parents asked you not to do.

But the more you think about love between unmarried couples the more one is reminded of our folklore. Romance is perhaps the most celebrated theme in Indo-Aryan literature where we are amazed by the sacrifices given my two lovers just to be together. Sahiban eloped with Mirza against her brothers' wishes, Ranjha denounced wordly pleasures and became a jogi, Sohni used to meet Mahiwal secretly even after her marriage and Mumal set herself on fire to convince Rano.

These tales and many others like them are still being taught in our curriculums and still being celebrated and adapted in our Dramas and theatres.

Perhaps we should rebrand Valentine’s day as Waris Shah day or Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai day to make it more acceptable.

At the end, if for one day we are socially obliged to make a special gesture of love towards our parents, siblings, better halves, children or girl/boy friends then so be it. I took my mom on a date to a musical last Valentine’s day and she loved it. There was nothing un-Islamic or anti-Pakistan about how special she felt.