Category Archives: musings

Meet Nadir Khan, the Cobbler from Bajaur

by Aasem Bakhshi

Nadir Khan, the cobbler from Bajaur who sits at the corner of my street, carries the kind of iconic baggage usually associated with cobblers from Sufi folklore and mystic literature. His character inspires me, his sensibilities vex me and his paradoxes keep me engaged with mine.


Being well aware of each second he lives, Nadir Khan spends a quarter of the year with his family in village, another quarter busy earning on a footpath in this metropolis, and another in the way of Allah, as he finds it to be. My self proclaimed wisdom and religious pragmatism is forced to zilch in front of his embodied response to time. Continue reading

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Filed under musings, Pakistan, Religion, Society

A Soldier’s Soliloquy: Can a Person Refuse to Fight?

by Aasem Bakhshi

…if called upon by the government to do so. Thomas Hobbes would concede this right with some limitations and John Locke would probably deny. And even though Lockean tradition is superior in terms of social contract theory, I tend to take refuge behind Hobbes, considering the Leviathan I am subjected to in my part of the world. But I am still not sure how to tackle this question, which albeit still at some distance, is moving towards me while staring ceaselessly on my face.

While the angst is becoming unbearable and the masochist within me is yet again alive after so many years, I ramble inveterately in search of judgment. Continue reading

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Filed under musings, Philosophy, Religion, war

What Constitutes a Stable Society?

By Adnan Syed

Pakistan is passing through a vicious negative feedback loop that is beginning to gather momentum. The vicious circle is a result of country’s inability to provide for the basic individual rights of its citizens. Combine that with a burgeoning population, and the rampant nationalist tensions within the society that have been suppressed in the name of religious identity, Pakistan is staring at a nightmarish scenario in the coming decade. Pakistan needs to realize that the existential threat is coming from the failure of its society and not due to the external influences that consume majority of the resources of our nation. Unless we start spending on providing for the four basic rights to our citizens, the chaos will just feed on itself in the years to come.

This is the second part of the two part writeup that should be treated as a loud musing. I have stayed largely away from the religious vs. secularism debate as the immediate concern is to establish the rule of law and the secularism debate takes us away from the immediate objectives; provide for the protection of life, property and honour of each and every of the individuals. Needless to say that the demographic outlook for Pakistan, widening fault lines across the sub-nationalities and the vagueness about the role of religion in the affairs of the state is presenting a dire outlook for the state of Pakistan.

(AZW)

What Constitutes a Stable Society?

The ingredients of a stable society are not that complicated. Over the past century Europe, North America, East Asia, and Australia have managed to stabilize their societies by taking care of rather simple processes. Europe built its war shattered economy in a period of less than a decade, showing that good things beget good things, on a rather quick basis. The negative vicious circle can be replaced with a positive feedback loop. But the key is to avoid falling off the cliff. The key is to work with the present infrastructure and strengthen it to an extent that it becomes self sustaining. In that respect Pakistan is not starting from ground zero. It has a reasonably educated middle class that is finding it hard to channel its resources towards a prosperous society since it has to fend for its very survival on a daily basis. Pakistan has a semblance of democracy and the rule of law. Pakistan has the freedom of speech. The building blocks of a successful society are still there, though in a rapid state of neglect and decay.

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Filed under Democracy, human rights, Identity, India, Islamabad, Islamism, musings, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, violence

A Vicious Circle

By Adnan Syed

Pakistan is passing through a vicious negative feedback loop that is beginning to gather momentum. The vicious circle is a result of country’s inability to provide for the basic individual rights of its citizens. Combine that with a burgeoning population, and the rampant nationalist tensions within the society that have been suppressed in the name of religious identity, Pakistan is staring at a nightmarish scenario in the coming decade. Pakistan needs to realize that the existential threat is coming from the failure of its society and not due to the external influences that consume majority of the resources of our nation. Unless we start spending on providing for the four basic rights to our citizens, the chaos will just feed on itself in the years to come.

Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Constitution, human rights, Identity, Islam, Islamabad, musings, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Rights, state

Civilizations (Mirrors of Our Existence)

From years of our travel
We look back
Upon these civilizations,
From years of adventure
We look back
Upon these civilizations
From days of our inheritance
The lands and its cultures
The old forms of languages
The mystery of Universe
The old journey taken
By humans and nature together
As they traverse
From place one to another,
In harmony and disarray
As we born and die
From on to another,
As we love and hate
The old circumstances
And situation, intertwined
Through languages and its art,
The trails, lost and visible
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As transference takes place
From one culture to another,
The old social composition, in view
The old need to survive and preserve
Through the feathers of time, curious!
All what we do, all what we gain
There is past, it carries the stains
Of our existence, into the future
To the people and the times they lived
Of lasting impressions and moments
The old intrinsic nature remains,
To pursue, through intellect and reason
The nature’s gift, to exercise
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As we evolve, as we discover
Ourselves, in paint and paper
Through fields of literature and art,
In science and technology
Owe we all portion of our success
To this past, to these trials of humanity
Lie there in the wilderness,
The old landmarks, hidden
To what we lost, and how we lost
As with each fleeting moments
Remains this search to refine
Our history and times we live in;
Those episodes of mankind
Of their gains and losses
In display, throughout the pages of time
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

Remain the search, remains in place
The old journey to discover
To seek answers to these questions
The very fuel and catalyst
Driving us forward,
Of languages and cultures
The journey is one,
For truth and purpose,
Some seek it through art,
Some with hands of science
And some through spirituality
To reunite with ourselves
To discover purpose of our creation
Through the landscapes of time
As they learn to strive in their endeavor
Through the old blocks to the new
As we find ourselves on these trails
Of humanity dispersed in wars
And through famine and disease
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence
Not the landmarks or the time
The old metaphors of this correlation
But the humans and the journey
Through pain and despair
Through elation of whispered butterflies
To find what is theirs, to discover
What lies, as the hands turn to gold
From the old manuscripts to new
As the earth shifts its burden
As the old clocks go backwards
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence!

Kashkin

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Filed under ancient civilisations, Architecture, Art, culture, Dance, drama, dynasties, Heritage, History, Identity, Languages, Law, Literature, movements, Music, musings, Nature, Philosophy, Physics, poetry, Politics, psychology

On the Task of Writing Meaningful Words

By Zia Ahmad

Writer’s block is fiction, doesn’t happen, an excuse for pure dumb laziness and a supremely narcissistic and vain labored way to remind oneself of his/her pretentious talented bearings. Just as anyone can sing, cook and laugh, writing is a vocation any one can take up. Nothing to it, easiest thing in the world. Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, journalism, musings, New Writers, Uncategorized, Writers

Another Interview

By Zia Ahmad

 

Making eye contact with words ending with a Y does not make you chinky. Making eye contact with a prospective employer in this pure land of ours doesn’t do you any favors.  At best it only makes the tongue of your mind go flat for some brief period of time. Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, men, musings, Uncategorized, urban