Malala vs Nabila; And the Hypocrisy that surrounds


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On October 22, 2013, Amnesty International released its report “Will I be Next?” (US Drone Strikes in Pakistan). The report, first of its kind, lashed out at the United States for alleged civilian deaths caused by its drones in Pakistan. The report according to Amnesty International “is a detailed research of 9 out of 45 drone strikes that occurred in North Wazirstan agency between January 2012 and August 2013.” Mustufa Qadri, the Amnesty International researcher in Pakistan who wrote the report told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now that “United States could stand trial for War crimes as there group found almost 19 civilian killed in only 2 of those drone attacks”. The United States, sidelining the findings and facts of the  Amnesty International report, went on to defend the drone strikes with Jay Carney, the White House Spokesperson, reiterating that ” US drones are precise, accurate and lawful”.

The report brought to focus one particular case wherein a 67 years old grandmother named Mamana Bibi was killed and 7 of her grand-children injured by a US drone Strike on 24th of October 2012. The family of Mamana Bibi had been collecting okra in their farm land when a US drone shot hell-fire missiles at them. Nabila Rehman, the 9 year old grand-daughter of Mamana Bibi said that “we were collecting okra for Eid preparations when a drone hovered over us and shot at us directly. It left my grandmother into pieces and many of us injured”.  Nabila Rehman with her father Rafiq ur Rehman and brother Zubair ur Rehman came to Washington DC to seek answers from the United States authorities for the killing of her grandmother.  While testifying to Congress on 30th of October, Mr Rehman said that ‘ his mother was the string that holds the pearls together and since her death our family has fallen apart’. The testimony was such emotional that the translator broke down to tears in between.

Nabila stands opposite to Malala in the western media and the political circles. Malala yousufzai, the adorable young Pakistani girl who out of her bravery and idealism stood firm on her resolve for the education of girls to the extent she was almost killed by Pakistani Taliban. Her bravery is an example and inspiration for the entire world. However, unfortunately, the West saw in her a tool for their reductionist propaganda; of “we and they” or “Good guys Vs Bad guys”.  They grabbed hold of her and took her to their side of the line of the political divide and with few brushes of make-over; everything that West does seemed to be right. It drones, its wars gave the impression of liberating girls like Malala from the fundamentalist clutches to the liberal world. She was used to send that “cozy” feeling that “everything is fine and what we do is write.” The West made this one girl into a celebrity to over-look upon thousands of girls like Nabila whose lives were shattered by its Wars and drones. Malala became a name that everybody knew. She was nominated for a Noble Prize. It seemed that entire world wanted to adopt Malala and in fact Jon Stewart while interviewing her on “The Daily Show” offered to adopt her.

Malala and Nabila actually stand together in idealistic rationale. Both survived the bid on their lives, Malala survived the Taliban attack while Nabila survived the drone attack. The hypocrisy of the west however remains exposed with their exploitation of Malala affair while at the same time ignoring Nabila and thousands of such children who have been the targets of brutal US policy. In fact when Nabila and her family came to give their testimony to the Congress in Capitol, out of 430 members only 5 appeared to listen to her. There are no mainstream television studios welcoming her on their shows to so she could tell her story.  The reasons are evident as she demands answers from the west for the killing of her grandmother.

Nabila seeks answers to the questions which would put the West’s claims in a shaky position. She provides the other part of the story which says that “all is not actually well”. Her questions remove the cozy blanket that west likes to have on. And that is the reason nobody knows her name. Her question “What did my grandmother do wrong?” ridicule Jay Carney’s claims; because either her grandmother was killed deliberately and if so, then US drone operatives have committed war crimes and should stand trial as per the Geneva Conventions or the drones are not precise in target!

Published by Rising Kashmir on November 20, 2013

Musical Phenomenon


downloadMusic being a combination of pitch, rhythm and dynamics breaks into different types of tones upon alternative synchronization of its components. Some of these alternative chords produce timbre that sooth your ears and calm the mind while other combinations wake you up on a dull day. Other combinations may sometimes put you to sleep as well, such is the nature of music. With this dynamic nature of music, different people develop different sensory perceptions or taste toward a particular type of music. Some develop liking for hard rock music with a lot of Base involved. I personally don’t like hard rock because I feel it incomprehensible to pick the lyrics against too loud music. So my cup of tea is soft rock where I can make-out the lyrics and have its alleviating effects on my mind, but as the saying goes “to each his own”. There are genres for almost every one, for love ridden youth, for lonely broken hearts, for travelers, hippies, gypsies and what not,

Music plays many roles in our lives. In a way, it can be said that music inspires people and thus draws them toward their ambitions.  It is a very strong mode of communication with our own selves as well as with others. It is a medium of passing messages, teachings, commands and updates. Music somehow reflects the socio-political and economic conditions of a society. And that is the reason music, apart from its role in the entertainment, has been used in political avenues.  Music has drawn revolutions, inspired people to topple despots and change their fortunes. Claude Joseph’s “chant de guerre pour I’Amree du Rhin” (War Song for the Army of Rhine) became an instant hit and inspired millions during French Revolution after first being sung in the streets of Marseille. It drew such an inspiration that it was later adopted as the National anthem of France in 1795.  Another revolutionary song written by Eugene Pottier in 1871 was “The Internationale” which became a leftist anthem and is sung as a leftist slogan almost everywhere in the world. Its Chorus “This is the final Struggle, let us group together, and tomorrow The Internationale will be the Human Race”  became the most memorable elements of the song.

Anyways, what I want to emphasize here is that people develop a taste of music depending upon their conditions which might be socio-political, economical, psychological or otherwise. And in the same pretext, I believe, knowingly or inadvertently, I or we (Kashmiris) too have developed a taste to a certain genre of music. I became acquainted with this fact quite recently. Working in a Research Center, let me tell you, the most boring job is imaging, sitting with your eyes glued to the eye-pieces of a Microscope for hours together and trying to picture your results from every possible angle, it freaks you out sometimes. So to maintain my calm I prefer listening to some music. I was recently rejoicing my favorite playlist. Rubaab maestro, Subhan Rather with his artistic charisma was creating ripples in the air as his fingers would tremble on the strings. His euphonious voice, dancing each word of the song (Wallo ha Bhaagvaano nav baharuk shaan paida kar) on the chords he struck with his Rubaab. For sometime “Mehjoor” had come alive and was talking to me in the wilderness of a dream, I was the “Bhaagvan” (Gardner) of our world and he was reminding me of my dilapidated garden, asserting that together we could get back to life and bloom our crumpled flowers.

The song had created an aura of inspiration around me when a friend intervened and innocently requested me to explain the meaning of the lyrics. As expected, my explanations didn’t go well down in her stomach and she began retching  questions about Kashmir and the writer’s motives and influences. She summed it in one line ” so Mehjoor was motivating you people to revolt, isn’t it?”  The song ended while I was still trying to make her understand the Kashmir situation and the reasons why we still find afflatus in Mehjoor’s songs. The swinging nods of her head, which seemed to go both vertical as well as horizontal left me in doubt of my diction and oratory skills. I couldn’t understand whether I was able to make any difference to her stiff and  rigid understanding of the Kashmir, thanks to Indian media. Soon MC Kash (Roushan Illahi) made it easier for me with his songListen, My Brother“. She got the sense that our socio-political situation reflects in our songs. This vibrant and spirited artist’s song gave her the impression that our youth are up for it. “Time might have passed from Mehjoor to MC Kash but the message remains the same, only the presentation has changed, MC Kash is blunt and loud“, I said. In his deep and strong voice, Muhammad Muneem featuring in the song commiserates, ” waqt jab ayay ga wo, ublay ga khoon tera bhi, Zehniyat bai raham ho jayay gee, fir shayad tujay sharam ayay gi“.  These lines were self explanatory. “They are provoking you people for freedom, music is for entertainment but you Kashmiris have made something else out of it” she said with a smirk on her face.

Unease and anger evident on her face and in her expressions, she stood up and started leaving. In the meantime my favorite playlist started on its last song, “Mujay Azaad Karo” from Junoon’s all time hit album “Azadi”. Before she stormed out of the door, she yelled at me saying ” your choice of music in sick“!

Published By Rising Kashmir on Nov 06, 2013

Kashmir in Ramzan


 

bd5ff485-2a69-4777-958c-07c10381e392HiResRuben, an Australian christian/athetist became Abu Bakr after he converted to Islam. Whilst researching about different religions what struck his mind and heart when he first visited a Mosque was a huge congregation of people of different races and colors, praying in unison to One God, hearts and bodies in oblivion to the differences that exist. Such Grand is the Religion of Islam, he thought and converted to Islam. Later he came to know that it was the first night of Ramzan. Ramzan, a holy month in the Islamic calender witnesses a huge rush of people to Mosques, praying for the forgiveness for the sins they commit through-out the year gone by and for the sins they are going to commit in future.

Kashmir is not different to the scene around the world. We begin our preparations days before for the Holy month in our own grand fashion keeping in-view our appetite, the eggs, babr’e buil, butter, fruits and even cigarettes for smokers get stocked up in our store rooms. The fervor of Eid at the end of Ramzan sets the children all excited about fasting with a meal in the afternoon called particularly in Kashmiri as “Tap’e Sahar”.

The day begins with “Sahr Khan” beating his drum in the streets and singing hymns and chants to wake people up. This is a particular custom in Kashmir and people hold “Sahr Khans very dear and noble. At a time when Kashmir is loosing many of its traditions and custom, we still hold this tradition in fervor, even though “Sahr khans'” role is played by alarm clocks.. For most of the people waking up for this meal becomes a war between sleep and Sahr and eventually if Sahr wins, it would be in the last frame of time. From then on it is just a job of filling up your stomach- as much as you can, gulping every bit of the bread and stuffing the mouth with an egg while the “mu-azzin” calls for Azan, which means no more eating and drinking for the rest of the day till he again calls Azan at dusk.

Owing to the excitement and chaining of the Satan, the first few days see a phenomenal attendance at all the five times of prayer and all of a sudden the people become pious and complete followers of Islam, some shunning cigarettes while others refrain from watching movies. At the evening prayer people sometimes take out sweets and other dishes into the mosques for people to break the fast which of course drives more attention and even duhl khaavs (those who don’t fast), pretending to be fasting come to mosques to break their beguiled fast with all the pabulums available.  After almost half of the month it seems the Satans loosen out of the chains and escape to delude people from their religious ardor. Skipping few days of fast on one pretension or the other and omitting the four prayers, one prayer at the time of breaking the fast never looses the flow of people because of the free confectioneries available at Mosques.

The Satan by now seems to regain its strong hold – divide and rule policy. The prayers in the night called “Taraweh” become his point of division which culminates into people abusing each other and, if Ramzan is in winter, it sees fire-pots (Kangrees) flaring from one group who believe that “Taraweh” involves 8 “rakats” of prayers to another who believe that they are not less than 20 Rakats. However, as the Ramzan reaches the end, the faith and piety again take a leap during the night of “Shab-e-Qadr”. The brotherly between all the sects behavior gets restored and the numbers in the mosques surge, all in unison, praying to One God, seeking His forgiveness for the sins committed in the Ramzan and asking for good health till next Ramzan so as to rectify our misdeeds during the current Ramzan.

Ramzan finally ends with the chanting of “Alvida ai Mah’e Ramzan” and preparations for Eid-ul-Fitr. The children get all the options to choose and buy new dresses and toys which they showoff at the Eidgah during the special prayers of Eid. The sermons during the eid include a lot of greetings and wishes and advises- advises against burning fire crackers. As soon as the Imam finishes the Eid prayers children run away to their hideout filled with stocks of fire crackers. The loud bursting crackers by children announce the commencement of Eid. After the advises of Imams subside the adults join the children and the Kashmir air smells of War.

 

Published By The Kashmir Walla on August 20, 2013

Liberalism, is this where we are heading?


Mises_Liberalism_cloud800Time, as is known, changes the perspectives of people, taking them out of caliginous dark into the illuminating light, driven by the wisdom of knowledge. Time, however, also changes an opulent and prosperous society into a corrupt and despicable slum if the values of morality and conscientiousness are relinquished, leaving that society in the perils of nothingness and I fear that our society, the society of Grand Saints is following the later order of time. With a sudden influx of money and with it, the technology, our society, particularly our youth, seem to have failed in the judicial use of this technology and thus have lost the distinction between morality and lewdness; the Halal and Haraam.

More than often our young generation, which is, by each day, growing more and more obdurate with the “western definition of  Liberalism”, loosing their moral sense of distinction between right and wrong.  It appears, from the growing instances of felony, that our youth  hold no regard for the values and principles that have been guiding our society for centuries. Instead, the malignant crop of “self-proclaimed liberalism” is occupying our young minds at a very dangerous pace. This is evident from the liberal rants growing across almost all the social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Some weeks back I was stunned to see posts on a Facebook Community called “18+ confessions-J&K” and within just a couple of days our Kashmiri youth were prowling the page so much so that it received more than ten thousand likes within a week. The question or the objection is surely not toward the popularity of the page, however, toward the adult content that our youth are posting. Instead of concealing their sins according to the Islamic jurisprudence, some people follow the Christian discourse of “Confession” and go onto confess their sexual endeavors while others cry for their broken relations. Of course there is no proof that accounts towards the credibility of these confessions and can be to some extent fake, however, what is alarming is the support that these youth provide to each other, consoling somebody on his broken relationship, encouraging somebody on confessing his/her sexual encounters and exhorting others with their advice towards dalliance. This shows that our youth are getting more and more receptive to such alien culture under the guise of liberal behavior and being liberal.

While doing so they are ignoring what Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “My entire nation is safe, except Al-Mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an evil act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says, “O so and so! Last night I did this and that.” He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sins) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah had kept a secret” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

Liberalism is sprawling into our society at a serious pace. Today our youth consider inter-mingling of sexes as a liberal behavior and a part of inter-personal development, the illicit relationships have become very common among the college youth,  and those who obviate from such behavior are bullied anti-social, anti-liberal and conservatives. The effects of liberalism are evident in language as well, these days, Kashmiri boys and girls, without any hesitation and openly use slang, even the “F word” is getting prominence in the so-called liberal talk. When I wrote against the cultural aggression in our society “Schools First, Greater Kashmir, Nov 7, 2012” I received a considerable amount of feedback in my mail from the liberals in our society who denounced me as narrow-minded and fundamentalist. Most of them were presumably youth.

When I contemplated on this growing menace and immoral behavior of our teenage youth I found something missing in our young population and that is “Darazgah”. When we were young, the Darazgah or Madrassa formed a very important part of our education which helped us in the distinction between Halaal and Haraam. These days, particularly, in colonies, there is no Darazgah culture and hence our youth are missing out on very important sources of moral and character building, thereby, they are becoming susceptible to the foreign ideologies that contradict with the teachings of Islam. The blame thus lies among adult population equally. The parents should make it a point to have their children enrolled in the Darazgahs so that they be able to differentiate an Islamic act from an un-Islamic one. If  the growing immorality in the name of Liberalism is ignored, I wander where we are  heading toward and what our future generations would be like!

Published By The Kashmir Walla on July 26, 2013

Mother’s Call


Disappeared
Disappeared

The night’s ghosts came prowling down 

All geared in a khaki gown

Wielded upon by a ghost with a frown

 

walloped and whacked my door that midnight

O horrible! My heart drubbed in fear

at the ghost’s monstrous eyes

 

Fear I had, for my family that was.

My only son- the crown of my head,

the moon in my dreams!

 

The khaki ghost saw its prize

Pushing, pulling and dragging

while I kept trying, begging and beseeching.

 

Whilst I, a hole in my heart now

Days to months; and months to years

Nothing sufficed the khaki ghost.

 

Days and nights have lost distinction,

Nothing is true anymore

My whole being only a facade.

 

As my heart whimpers and my eyes wail

I turn left and I turn Right,

Only your Image is my past.

 

Here and there, everywhere

I tried to inquest the events of that night

As all Khaki ghosts look alike.

 

Without a news of him

How will you rest O my bleeding heart?

 

Only the Angels of Death 

would cut us apart-

me, your thoughts and this despair

 

In thy Kingdom O my Lord !

Disgrace not my Faith in Thy Lordship

Re-join a mother to her disappeared son.

Dedicated to the Mothers of Disappeared People around the World

Published By The Kashmir Walla on August 31, 2013

Freedom of Expression, A Paradox


freedom_of_expression_by_chadzkii-d3bgfxt

Social sense, a sense of community defines the basic tenet of the well-being of a community and a population. It is this sense of realization of the presence of another person, though, usually only in thought rather than the material presence, that  brings a sort of togetherness in a society. And that is the reason we as children in the schools are necessarily enrolled for Social Sciences subject to make us understand the priorities of a society for its felicity and functioning. This subject of behavior with other humans deals in depth with our day to day connections with the rest of the humans in our society in particular, and the entire mankind in general. Hence, the social sense is supposed to make us aware of the sentiments and sensibilities of a population. When we understand our responsibilities of being socially sensed and charactered we are supposed to behave and act responsibly keeping in mind the sensitivities and beliefs of other people. This social awareness makes people tolerant towards others and at the same time inculcates into us the realization of acting such that it does not hurt the feelings or sentiments of others in the population and thus acts as kinaesthetic sensory perceptions for the alleviation of different parts of a society, a prosperous and convivial society, with a feeling of brotherhood and chumminess.

In the present world with easy access to internet and a reach far beyond boundaries and borders, we sometimes tend to ignore the lessons of social sense, and sometimes out of acerbity act in a way that violates the basic paradigm of the social stability, culminating into  widespread truculence and incendiary leading to fissures and divide into the population we are a part of and often hiding behind the armament of “Freedom of Expression”. Take for instance the recent incidents like “a movie denigrating the Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) leading to protests worldwide and even the death of a diplomat or a movie named Vishwaroopam by Kamal Hassan, which saw the angers flaring in Southern India as Muslims protested against certain derogatory comments against Islam in the movie, or the Danish cartoon works”. In all of these incidents the liberals have come in apt support of the “lets for some time call them-offenders” with the shield of freedom of expression fluttering in newspapers and on internet servers . Apart from protests and inferno as its immediate effects such incidents as part of their delayed effects have caused a communal divide and a sense of bullying, Muslims or rather Islam often at the receiving end. This hence has lead to further the conflict of ideologies that divides Muslim world with rest often transcending into violence.

Now my point of view is not against the freedom of expression but its ambiguous application. For example, a man in UK was arrested for posting a derogatory comment about the British soldiers killed in Afghanistan(who believed that British soldiers killed in Afghanistan should go to hell as they invaded a sovereign country), another was arrested for posting a picture that depicted a burning paper poppy (considered a symbol of  honor and remembrance of dead in war) and like wise some other cases. However, the liberal media and liberals this time did not consider the fact that even such people have their own right to say or express what they perceive of a particular situation, and hence are entitled to their “Freedom of Expression”, and there was no debate on the arrests of these people. Hence, freedom of expression does not suffice explicitly in the world and that it pops up usually when the Muslims are offended. Having said that, it seems to me that offending Islam which of course antagonizes Muslims serves different purposes and prodigiously shoots the offender to fame or his business (in case of Vishwaroopam) and thus serves as a newly found marketing tactic.

However, all of such reprobate actions or actions-out-of bad Judgement calcitrate the concept of responsible society and citizenry. And, those lessons of oratory or behavior that our elders would teach us-“to be good to people, not to talk incessant to people etc.” would loose to the concept of Freedom of Expression and hence the concept of “being good mannered” will fail at the behest of total Freedom of Expression. Now, the question is, how would the society survive then? And the answer lies in judgmental use of  our rights and at the same time upholding and recognizing those of others. Hence, it is this self restrain imposed by adjudication and the sense of distinction between right and wrong that will let the societal norms prevail, or else, a person or a population takes dig at other and the other retaliates with the same (each exercising their right to expression) and the world becomes a bad place to live in.

Published by Kashmir Reader on March 27, 2013

My Valley


I belong to a Valley so grandiose…Kashmir-zitilites

Guarded by the Young fold Himalayas, And

estranged by the mighty Pir Panchal

mystified by the tranquility of Jehlum, and

Restlessness of the great Lidr…

 

I belong to a Valley so exquisite.

She mothered the mystic Nund resh…..And

blew breath in the eloquent Lal Ded..

Whose shrukhs and waakhs petrify the generations after them..

 

I belong to a Valley so forlorn…

By the imperialistic want of the modern world…

Torn into parts and ruptured into the Prowess, for helm of theirs

Turned into a Stalingrad…And,

Commuted into Red Square but without a Kremlin Wall.

 

I belong to a Valley so Dreary…

Where Khazr is still in thoughts next to Walur

Pondering over the fate of his being a century old now.

Where posts are still perplexed without a post office…And,

Aga is no more seeing it in Midnight from Delhi..

 

I belong to a Valley so Bereft….

Where traitors enjoy the throne of  res publica..

Where Jibran’s words still hold good

for a nation to Pity.

 

But, I belong to a Valley so Clued-up..

Where Inayats bleed for the cause of Khazr

Where Young fall for the pride of their old…

Where masses congregate for intifada…

Where Roushans holds stones in the breath. And,

 

Where I contemplate

I belong to a Valley so Bonnie

Still called the Paradise on Earth

Stupefying a Persian King. And,

Still revered to bring back into life, a cooked rooster.

With my roots here , I still belong here

to a Valley so Ravishing.

 

Glossary-

1)       Pir Panchal- Mountainous Range that surrounds Kahmir on one part.

2)      Jehlum– A river that flows slow and smooth, in peace, right through the heart of Kashmir, Srinagar.

3)      Lidr- A river  that flows fast and hard through Pahalgham

4)      Nund Resh- A 13th century saint

5)      Lal Ded- A 13th Century  poetess and saint.

6)      Shruks- Noble sayings of Nund Resh

7)      Wakhs-Noble sayings of Lal Ded

8)      Khazr-Metaphor for common Kashmiri

9)      Walur- A Lake in Kashmir

 

Publishedby The Kashmir Walla on Dec 07, 2012