Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Valentine Phenomenon

Every year, the 14 February brings a heated debate about whether or not we should celebrate this day like the western world does. The increasing polarisation of our nation into conservatives and liberals has forced me to proclaim that this post is neither in favor of nor against the celebration itself. I believe celebration is on because it is selling. Everything that sells finds sellers and buyers. For me, those social dynamics are worth discussing that add fuel to the fire. I want to examine our social contradictions and hypocrisy that makes our arguments hollow.

Definitely Valentine and his legacy has nothing to do with our civilization as well as culture. Not only with Muslims but conservatives in India have also been visibly furious this time, burning effigies and doing manifestations. Agreed that it is against eastern culture but there remains some issues to be discussed, especially on our side of the border, which I will focus upon.

First of all, the strictest criticism comes from a those corners of the society who have issues with their interpretation of religion. Instead of addressing issues pertinent to the functioning of state and provision of social justice to its people which should be the spirit, they have stuck to a primitive understanding of the religious fundamentals with obvious dents and contradictions in their approaches. The biggest problem being faced by Pakistan is an economic and political crisis, precipitated by military establishment's handling with state institutions. It includes the war on terror, missing persons and mutilated bodies in Baluchistan as well as growing militancy in the country. All of these problems have their roots with the military engagements in the country. In one way or the other, the religio-political parties have been part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. Their defiance of reason and use of religion for political benefits has contributed sufficiently to the current state of affaires. So, a word of opposition coming from the said camp based on their personal interpretation of religion loses weight even before it propagates.
Second is disorder prevailing inside our own house. We use religion as long as it helps, and when it doesn't, we use family traditions and tribal customs whatever whenever and wherever it suits. Take the example of vani and karokari, the honor killing and more so. Our preachers very well know that without independent will of the couple, the marriage knot is not possible to tie. Yet the practice goes on because it doesn't hurt anyone's macho, and it doesn't undermines their supremacy. When it comes to child-abuse, daughter-in-law abuse or any other form of brutality not infrequent in this country, their guns remain silent. A society with such dualities teaches nothing to its children but duality and unfaithfulness. The cancer of dowry, the materialism and dissatisfaction is the result of the same worn out customs that plague the society. If the institution of marriage will become more and more unreachable in terms of its economic and emotional cost, the symptoms like valentine's day will continue to emerge.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A state of conspiracies

Conspiracy is an act to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to gain an unfair advantage of a situation. Different people at different times of their lives experience such challenges. Some of them come clean of such stuff; others pay for their deeds. While incidence and prevalence of conspiracies may be different for rest of the world, we seem to be in excess of this blessing.

I remember as a young boy when I first time heard that Pakistan was made out of a conspiracy and people in forefront of the movement were somehow playing in the hands of enemies. I couldn’t believe my senses. Later I was told that it is a conspiracy to weaken the idea of Pakistan and one shouldn’t pay heed to such absurd ideas. Conspiracy has now become a frequently used word in our daily routine. We have developed a habit to blame others for our own failure. While logical thinking may suggest some solution for our problems, the paranoid thinking has led us to nowhere.

Pakistan prime minister says conspiracies are
being hatched against democracy.
Hussain Haqqani says memogate is a conspiracy against him.
Zardari says conspiracies against PPPP government continue.
Shehbaz Sharif says bad drugs a conspiracy against people of Punjab.
Pfizer says polluted drug a conspiracy against company.
Veena Malik says FHM December cover photos conspiracy against her.
Army says Kerry-Luger bill a conspiracy against military.
Terrorism in the name of Islam a conspiracy against Islam.
Mansoor Ejaz says stupidisco is a conspiracy to malign him.
Making new provinces is a conspiracy against Punjab, or against Sindh or KP etc.
Dish TV Internet mobile is conspiracy against Islam.
MFN status to India is a conspiracy against Kashmiris.
Jinnah pur/operation cleanup was a conspiracy against MQM.

In addition to the above mentioned ones, Spot fixing conspiracy, sugar shortage conspiracy, power shortage conspiracy, CNG conspiracy, NRO hearing conspiracy, Swiss cases conspiracy, NATO conspiracy, Imran Khan conspiracy, wikileaks conspiracy, contempt of court notice conspiracy, MNAs disqualification conspiracy, long march conspiracy, dengue fever/mosquito conspiracy and so on and so forth. There is an endless list of people blaming others for hatching conspiracies against them. All the failures of governments, whether factual or mismanaged, are stated to be conspiracy against democracy and system.

Being aware, or for that matter conscious of enemies’ advances is one thing while being paranoid to an extreme is totally another thing. The obsession of imagining conspiracies in every problem we face is a symptom of disease that we as a nation suffer from. We have delusions and ideas of persecution that render us incapable of reasonable thinking, hence we fail to find solution for the very problems faced and solved by humans living on this very planet. What we need is logical interpretation of our problems, which should and would lead to their solutions. It is no rocket science to accept that contamination happened with a batch of medicine, by someone’s mistake. The responsible should present himself before the law of the land and justice be served. Looking for conspiracies in such stuff will only take us astray. If, God forbid, dengue fever returns to Lahore again with the return of mosquitoes in spring or monsoon, would that be a conspiracy too?