Archive for the ‘Institution’ Category
i thought i had posted this here when i wrote it, and only today found i have not:
at fourteen she has
so much to live for
but surely not
a bullet in her head
to show the cowardice
of those who can not
stand up and face
a girl of fourteen
because her stand
in their face
makes them afraid
of an idea that she represents
and which may
cast doubts among
the professed guardians
of a religion to which belonged
aisha the wife, all of malala’s age
nasibah steadfast at ohad
fatima the daughter of muhammad (pbuh)
mother to hassan and hussain, wife of ali
zainab bint ali too among the names
umm e kulsum wife of usman
and a list of brave
learned, revered women
negated due to their deliberate desire
of ignoring history and narrative
of fourteen hundred years and more
taught, recounted and remembered
but they in their narrow interpretations
seeking to create a cult militant
ignorant, short on truth
long on hate of things that
go against their desire of leading
neither ijmah nor questioning
where the khalifa got the cloth
to make a full shirt
or having two lamp with oil
from the state and self
for work and leisure.
and all this threatened
by a girl of fourteen
wanting to be like
the women of Islam
taught to her by her teachers
ingrained in her mind by parents
practiced by her daily
seen happening in life
and a bullet to the head
to end the life at fourteen
hanging to life in a hospital
by a tenuous thread
are the perpetrators
so afraid now
that a fourteen year old
that too a girl
becomes a threat to their edifice
made like a house of cards
one voice of a girl
against all odds
October 10, 2012
Monday, 06 September 1965, was a special day for me, the first day of first year in Edwardes College, Peshawar. Ready to be made first year fools of, I cycled to college in a smart and fresh college uniform of white shirt and militia trousers. Apprehensive, a bit fearful, and dreaming of a future that only boys of 17 stepping into college can dream!
We were given a few jumps in the ground and a run round the quadrangle of the hostel, and then herded in to the hall for the principal’s address. Dr. Phil Edmonds strode on stage followed by the faculty, and Titch (his white poodle, that went everywhere he or his wife went); we were awestruck to see he was wearing the same college uniform that we were all wearing. We never saw him wearing any other dress during college hours throughout the four years we studied there.
Regular classes with orientation in each class then started, and at 12 we were let off.
Cycling back, I was surprised that there was no traffic on the roads, an eerie silence as if a calamity was waiting to happen with bated breath!
I reached home, and contrary to the hope that my mother would be standing on the door to receive me, I saw my younger brother rush out of the house and shouted, bhai, come quick, India has attacked Pakistan, President Ayub is about to address the nation. I almost threw the cycle down and ran into the room, surprised to see my father there also. He had come from the office to watch the address and reassure us that things were well, and Pakistan would be safe!
Later that afternoon a ‘fatigue’ party from the unit came to the house, and dug an air raid shelter in the walled compound on the side (the compound was bigger in size than most plots on which we make houses today!). For the next 17 days, every time the sirens went off to warn of an air raid, we would go down into the shelter and wait for the clear siren before coming out again. We even had two big shrapnel’s from bombs on two different occasions fall in our compound (I wonder where these would be now in fathers store, till mother was alive things like these, and other mementos were kept carefully!).
Edwardes College remained open for all the 17 days of the war in September 1965, and after and it was studies as usual!
Some of us friends then decided to become part of the war effort, and our contribution was to go to the Peshawar railway station, just across the road from Edwardes College, and help load stuff, like Jerry cans of petrol, eggs, and etc., in trains which were then taken down country for supplies.
Heady days, the few of us army brats, had a special place in the hearts of all, because our dads were fighting the enemy!
Today, when I see the fragmented and disheveled state of things in Pakistan, I feel sad – not only for the times when the people stood united as a nation, but for the loss, disintegration, insurgency, extremism and what have you, that has divided us into factions, with a loss of Pakistani nationality.
I met Ms. Uzma Yasmeen a student of the National Defense University, Islamabad at the public talk on the subject of “Security architecture for South Asia” by Mr. Farooq Sobhan, Former Foreign Secretary, People’s Republic of Bangladesh organized at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) distinguished lecture series on November 1, 2012.
In the last one month Ms. Yasmeen has become active in promoting PakTSN and she arranged my meeting with other students on December 06, 2012.
It was a wonderful interactive session, which lasted for longer than I had anticipated, but it was worth each minute of it. At the peak there were 6 students (some students were detained by the faculty for other work) round the table while few sitting close by had their ears on our discussion. We talked of terrorism, reason for my becoming an anti-terrorism activist; why I speak for survivors; about PTSD; steps that can be taken to create awareness about the ‘human cost of terrorism; rational for reaching out to youth; role of youth; how we can pool our resources to reach out to other educational institutions in Islamabad / Rawalpindi, and surrounding areas; and generally about issues facing Pakistan.
I cannot appreciate enough the interest and desire of Ms. Uzma Yasmeen to work with us on this important aspect of human interactions post passing away of a loved one in an act of terrorism. May Allah help and guide us in this endeavor. Aamin
I look forward to the participants’ inputs on broadening this undertaking of creating awareness of the human cost of terrorism particularly among the youth of Pakistan, and to our meeting with more people in the future.
we had a follow up on 29 Nov, to the 04 Oct, interaction with students at SIL.
well attended, and great interaction session, the students came prepared with the questions i had sent, and their search was in the right direction.
the questions answer session was intense and informative, and i found this group of youth to be fully aware of the ill’s of extremism, and active in “Saying No to Terrorism”