Archive for the ‘women’ Category

the reading

November 26, 2016

the essence of piousness

his beard flowing in the wind

all white with few strands

of black to show

he was once young

and the ustani aunty

piousness epitomized

who took pains with the girls

as much as the bearded one did

with the boys

even the aunties would ask them

to correct their reading

of the book revealed

so long ago

read duly corrected

unfollowed except to the classes

where the show was about

of who had the more expensive one

lucky were the kids they said

whose house the maulana came to

to teach them that which

between bismillah and aamin

was all that would matter

to be forgotten the next day.

and how great the ustani was

to agree to take the girl to teach

and in her own home too.

little did the kids know

these visits by the exalted molvi

always corrected by an elder to

say moulana sahib

as if this made any difference in the

impish minds of the kids.

or the going to the ustani

the elders always adding “gee”

when she would find it convenient

to teach the girl alone

and then one day while

reading the text divine

the teachers reached across

and kissed the cheek

by way of a shahbash

and benignly smiled

or patted the back of the neck

caressing slowly as the boy faltered

in his reading, to the touch

while with the other hand

they made it a point

to openly scratch between the legs

or brazenly expose the top to scratch

and this became the ritual

daily repeated daily forgotten

and then the scratch became harder

and needed the kids hand

to scratch so the teacher

would feel relieved

and then slowly

the itch became a daily matter

and the kiss moved from

the cheek to the lips

and the hands became

demandingly exploring

one day the kid told his sibling

but was hushed and told

that was the way it was

and the kid next door endorsed it

so the next step was but natural

and so it went along

till one day sooner than later

the itch demanded

that the kids hand

go inside not over the dress

do i need to tell you the rest

another conquest and another

childhood lost to the depravity

of what the kid associated

with the reading of the book

now despised and not revered

and since that time

the hatred for the teacher bearded

deep seated within to this day endures

and when the time

for the kids kid came to read

the kid ensured their kid

were not left alone with the teacher

thus four ustanis and many more months

than the two hundred days or so

is what it took

for the reading to be finished

of the great holy words

that if left to their devices

the teachers would have taken

with half of that time

spent on their lecherousness

leaving the kids scarred for life

but then life goes on

not ready to accept that

the teachers of the book can be bad

we end up repeating

the reading and the rituals

not really bothered

how the kid is scarred

how the life is marred.

and life goes on

as it has gone on

for us and for ours before us

not ready to accept

not ready to stand

not willing to say

things can be wrong

for after all

life goes on!

 

*****

read out at Lahore in a session on childhood abuse

written between March 14-16, 2016

A Bad Pakistani Musalman

March 8, 2014

On the Fifth of October 2009, I joined the ranks of the ordinary Pakistani on the street.

The Pakistani lost between debates of Islam, the rationale for Pakistan’s existence, two nation or diverse nationalities, deciding who is a Muslim who not; wondering why people in the power corridors are unconcerned about the blood on the streets.

Gone was the pampered Army brat, a crust of upper society, one rubbing shoulders with gentry. All lost in one all leveling bomb blast.

On this day, at about 12:15 PM, a soldier of the Frontier Constabulary walked into the well secured Country Office of the UN World Food Program in Islamabad. He was a suicide bomber dressed in FC uniform and he blew himself up.

Gul Rukh Tahir, Farzana Barkat, Abid Rehman, Muhammad Wahab, and Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi lost their life in this attack.

Today, four and a half years on, as Pakistan debates the how and why of the F 8 Courts attack with the usual cacophony of apologetic arguments heard again. A feeling of disquiet, a foreboding, a sense of deja vu for the survivors of this attack, and the families who survive those who fell victim to this act surfaces.

I feel revival and flashbacks to the scene outside the WFP premises when I reached there, looking for my wife. Not knowing that Gul Rukh Tahir was a victim of the suicide attack!

Today, as the acts of terrorism continue unabated, and toll of Suicide Bombing Victims reaches 6,053 dead, 15,880 Injured, and continues to rise, I have a sense of despair. Questions arise in my mind for anyone listening. Questions that I have asked on many forums since 10/5, getting blank stares and incredulous looks in response!

Why us?

What have we done to deserve this fate at the hands of self-professed reformers and torch bearers of a faith twisted to suit their concept of a Caliphate over the world?

What have we done to see our rulers vacillate at the altar of expediency for continuation of their rule?

What is the deep dark secret that keeps us from taking steps that will eliminate this menace from amidst us?

Why is Islam being bandied about as the decider in the battle against terrorism?

With thousands dead or wounded, and more thousands surviving the loss of a loved one, can we not see our people – my wife, your son, father, daughter, brother, sister, friend, relative, colleague, Pakistani all, losing their life? Not the American or NATO country populations. So how can we still brazenly ask, “Whose war are we fighting?”

As the uncertainty deepens talk of Good Taliban, and Bad Taliban surfaces. Is it to justify the stand that talks solve all issues, even if the other side has one sided dogmatic stance?

That begs the question, are Taliban justified to differentiate between good musalman, and bad musalman, and kill accordingly?

With strong undercurrents of the sixty five year old debate, was Pakistan created for Islam, or for Musalman’s? Are we Muslim Pakistani’s, or are we Pakistani Muslims? What do we stand for? Or are we destined to be shot wherever someone thinks there is a need to have a religious cleansing?

I grew up with a strong sense of Pakistan, my father being an Army man, we never had any doubt that Pakistan was where muslamans lived, not that Muslims make Pakistan. Then as a soldier defending the country pre and post 1971, there never was a question of identity. So why now?

Where did we go wrong?

Why is 1979 touted as the turning point for us, while Afghanistan stood the acid test, and the USSR lost? Why does Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Syria over 2600 km away impact what we do in Pakistan? And why is the US considered the mother of all evils in Pakistan?

So do these musings make thinking Pakistanis bad Musalmans?

If yes, then we should not ask for whom the bell tolls, for surely it tolls for us!

March 08, 2014
5:15 pm

written on the wall

February 14, 2014

0As the much hyped government Taliban negotiations, make headline news, allegations, counter allegations, conditions and counter conditions, go on, the people are left in a state of disbelief, for talks and bombing, killing, goes on in parallel.

Do the dead and wounded and those who survive care for the outcome, or want as decisive an action as the extremists undertake?

 take a breath

deep if you can

or even shallow

as you always do,

feel the pain

the scathing burning

acrid taste of burning

tearing down your throat

smell of flesh, clothes and wood

tinged with explosives

even as you look away

and cover your nose

the throat tells you, you have

just been exposed to

a bomb blast.

and as you run

you stumble and fall

shocked to see

beneath your feet

shattered humanity

bleeding, torn, incinerated

and you stand in shock

and one thought

why us? rises

above all in your mind

and you wonder if the

negotiations touted as the

mother of all talks

will have any effect?

and even if they do

will the result of these

bring back the humanity

you just stepped on

back to life

forgetting

forgiving

reliving life

being able to love

once again?

and you can see the

writing on the wall

seen by all

but those who matter

confused and unsure between

containment,

elimination,

conciliation,

oblivious to the pain,

loss, suffering and feelings

for they have not suffered

hiding behind their high walls

long convoys in duplicates

moving along different routes

jammers, rerouting traffic

and all spent on the

alter of expediency, the

dead, maimed and wounded

unseen, unsung, unheard.

change, for the sake of your people

your mindset, and realize

and eye for an eye

was written for such as these!

February 13, 2014

8:16 pm

malala

October 26, 2013

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

without opposition

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

11:53 hours

Peshawar 22.09.2013

September 23, 2013

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My friends were there

Praying to God

My people all bowed

Asking for His blessings

For them and theirs

And for Pakistan

Everyone there was mine

Children mine

Girls mine

Boys mine

Youth mine

Mothers mine

Fathers mine

Old aged mine

All on their knees

Singing hymns

And saying ‘aamin’

Sunday best

Dresses and mood

Happiness and mirth

All of this earth.

And a deafening sound

Heat, pain, fire around

Disbelief, flying metal

Sky rending cries

And another sound

Adding to the din

Limbs and clothes

Shoes and sandals

Sobs and groans

Silence and moans

My people all

Shattered and torn

Asking where if the God

They had just invoked

Another story,

Another lament,

More photo-ops and

Media to comment

Three days to mourn

Then back to work

The usual drudge.

The night falls

Silence reigns

An occasional sob to show

Life exists in deathly throes

To cry the names of one

Who will never return,

Home, left torn.

The question again

Raises its head

Where is the will

To stop this bloodshed

Or do we wait

With bleeding hearts

The dawn of another day

And dread the next news

Of man’s hatred?

 

Sunday 22nd September 2013

09.45 pm

dawn

December 18, 2012

a deep troubled slumber full of

tossing and turning in the night

dreams disjointed and flitting

unconnected and rushing

unremembered shadows of darkness

peeking from behind unknown slats

chasing each other till it was dawn.

and the cacophony to challenge

the faithful to a lot better than sleep

erupted from loudspeakers all round

vying to drown the call of the other

intruding blissfully on the state

in which the night had passed

finally spent and tired of the fitfulness

i turned in bed and slept,

oblivious.

17-Dec-12 6:45 PM

National Women’s Assembly

December 13, 2012

13/12/12 thursday – a very well spent day

participated in the women’s national assembly, jointly organized by insan foundation trust (http://www.insanfoundationtrust.org/object.htm), aurat foundation (http://www.af.org.pk/index.htm), and UN women.

the first session included talks by women survivors from all five provinces of Pakistan, and AJK, the narrations moved the audience to tears on more than one occasion. security concerns led to some of the narratives being made by the women from behind a wall, further highlighting the of threat scenario to some of the religious sects and minority populations in Pakistan.

in the second session, women parliamentarians from all provinces talked about their experiences, hopes, and aspirations about the future of women in Pakistan,

the third session was for the launch of the CEDAW shadow report on Pakistan.

over all the day was very well spent and a learning experience.

PakTSN Update: A good Interaction with senior students

December 7, 2012

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.

3rd Anniversary, Parade Lane Rawalpindi attack

December 4, 2012

shuhdas today December 04, 2012 is the third anniversary of 2009 friday prayers attack on the mosque in rawalpindi, next to islamabad, pakistan.
a group of extremists attacked the worshipers with grenades, rifles and suicide bombers.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2009_Rawalpindi_attack

School of International Law – Follow up interaction

December 2, 2012

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”

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