Monthly Archives: February 2012

Make love not war – Why Pakistan needs to celebrate Valentine’s Day

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From the title alone you can conclude that this blog will be little more than a slobber of clichés. However bear with me a little.

February is a very crucial time in Pakistan.  Not because of the grim reminder of brutalities taking place in Kashmir.  Neither due to the nearly frozen northern areas of the country.

This is the time of the year when single, and some married ‘jealous of the single’ people launch a tirade of fatwas and declaration against Valentine’s Day.

While history shows no possible link between the Christian Saint Valentine and the emotion that wrecks billion of lives not to mention wallets everywhere, Saint Valentine’s Day is all about professing love for one another.

However in Pakistan the land of the pure, this holiday is shunned with such vehemence it would seem as if it represented the very birth of Lucifer himself. In a country plagued with violence, people killing their loved ones without a flicker of reluctance, is setting aside a day to love madness?

Contrary to popular belief, Valentine is not just about loving people for whom you secretly harbour ulterior motives.  It is simply about love. If online facts are to be believed, and why shouldn’t they be, the highest selling Valentine cards are meant for teachers, parents or children.

In Pakistan, where people don’t think a second before stealing a child’s innocence, or beating up a teacher, is taking a day to gratify and honour a teacher for his time or a parent for his sacrifices haraam?

I came across tons of pictures on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter going with the idea ‘I don’t believe in Valentine Because I am  Muslim’. But tell me this, does Islam believe killing one another in cold blood? isn’t Islam a religion of peace and tolerance. Teaching us to be kind and respectful. Isn’t that what love is all about?

Even though for the other 364 days we can get away with being such savages to each other, taking just one day to celebrate life, the gift of Almighty Himself, appreciating His creation, is the idea really so appalling. For all those who think that Valentine spreads unlawful mingling of young men and women, and must be banned against, please read my clichéd blog once again.

It is just a day. Like any other. A day to give you an opportunity to appreciate the important people in your life whom you take for granted every day. A day to truly express how much these people mean to you. Even though you should be grateful a lot more often, you have your excuses. But Valentine’s Day is the one time in the year when these excuses need a break.

The world today is on an airplane ride to Armageddon. If one day allows you to stop being so hateful, does being a Muslim really justify boycotting it?

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A Letter to Ashraful Makhlokaat!

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The team

My department at the university is blessed with some of the most gregarious and social people on the planet. In 2008 some of them laid the foundation of an organization known as KUMAK. Headed by a group of seven people known as the ‘Majlis -e- Shoora’  KUMAK has nearly 40 members. From organizing trips to clean up a neighborhood in old Karachi, to brightening up the day of the elderly living in an old people’s home KUMAK has done it all. Very recently they held an event ‘Khuwab Martay Nahe’  dedicated to the dreams the youth of the world carries in its minds. The main feature of this event was a letter writing competition with no age restrictions. Finding the topic very interesting, I too sent in an entry, and very surprisingly came in first.The judge happened to be one of the most respectable teachers in my department! Without gloating too much, I am attaching the ‘award winning’ letter below. Comments will be appreciated.

The Event

To Ashraful Makhlokaat.

It sounds as if I am addressing a Bangladeshi cricketer rather than humanity at large. However my dear Ashraful Makhlokaat, this letter is solely for you. Ever since I can remember, I heard how mankind is the best creation of the Lord Almighty. How with its extra power to think, it holds superiority over every other living creature in the world. But with the fast degrading societies, I am starting to question do you really deserve to be called Ashraful Makhlokaat?

The ability to think, distinguish right from wrong, choose the best possible options, etc has today given rise to a world where technological advancement has managed to break free from most limitations. However in the quest for greatness, you have left behind the most important thing, compassion for your fellow Ashrafuls. No still not the cricketer.

Your human instincts have proved worthy of battling the most challenging adversities. You have survived nightmarish calamities like floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. You have found a way of adapting to unbearable situations, like prolonged load shedding and street crimes. You have managed to master the art of inventing things in the wake of need. Such as the torch enabled Nokia 1150, a smart solution to address both the problems mentioned above. But you still lack concern for one another.

While murdering an Ashraful in cold blood hardly raises goose-bumps anymore, you have now started consuming one another too. Cannibalism was never fun, not for the one being eaten anyway, but to imagine an Ashraful doing it? Isn’t that a bit too low even for you? With the blatant killings in the name of honor, gang rapes of children, blowing up innocent people for practicing their religion, just when I thought you cannot stoop any lower you surprised me by pulling off this stunt. A group of men digging up graves to make human karhai, a woman taking the phrase ‘serve your husband’ too literally.

My dear Ashraful Makhlokaat, what went wrong? And where? Clearly the message of you being superior to all living things became corrupt along the way. When it was stated that you are superior, The Lord used ‘you’ in a collective way, as in the entire mankind. That includes you and you and that homeless guy whom you shun in disgust as well a model who chooses to bare all for a magazine cover.

The award

The sad part is that your life has become a constant battle to put each other down. Your societies carry a death wish that is expressed through the choices every individual Ashraful makes. Where you were once the best of every creation, you are now becoming the worst. Even the existence of dinosaurs is said to have been erased by a meteor, you however have decided to wipe out your own race by killing each other over the most trivial excuses.

Isn’t it time for you to sit back and finally put to use that extra large brain that the Lord blessed you with. Use it for other than plotting evil schemes and coming up with ways to outsmart each other. Use it to co-exist peacefully. Already your selfish practices are bringing Armageddon closer, with the pollution and oil spills and nuclear bombs. And if science is to be believed, only us cockroaches will make it to the end of time. You all will to die soon. Might as well make it worthwhile for everyone.

Your Sincerely

A cock roach.