Tag Archives: Nigaar Nazar

The Traits of a Successful Nation Episode 1: Grace

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 By Farkhanda Qaiser

After almost 2 weeks, I’m finally able to bring to you the essence of “Magic with Medicine” – the motivational session by Umair Jaliawala. Well yes, that’s the drawback of medical studies; you don’t always get time to pursue your passion, which in my case is writing.

The session which was held on 1st August 2011 in the King Edward Medical University Auditorium had been a great success MashaAllah. A huge turn out of over 350 people ensured that it was so. Just a few days back, I was watching the video recording of this session and I noticed a few things. Sadly, the cream of the nation i.e. the students of KEMU, those who are the toppers of almost all Education Boards in Punjab, are not made for motivational training. And ofcourse this applies to only the ‘Chus group’ who had just come to make a mockery out of the session and have a few guffaws at their self-made juggats…! However hats off to Mr. Umair Jaliawala for the brilliant handling of these ruffians. He laughed with them at their stupid jokes and gave them downright answers to their rude queries which literally shut them off for good. I know I’m using very harsh words for these people but the fact is that their behavior is representative of the core of our national values. We don’t let anyone speak who can’t make himself heard. We’d make fun of those who don’t know how to retaliate the jibes being thrown at them. We’d indulge in leg pulling of someone who’s trying to do a positive and unique thing for his nation. Why?

Because we’ve had no training to respect people for what they do not for who they are! What does our comedy revolve around? During a speech or a lecture, what is it that instantly calls for our applause? Want to know what that is? My heart bleeds at admitting that it is the bistifying of someone that makes us laugh and makes us so happy that we start clapping loudly.

And all of these are not simple statements that I’m quoting from somewhere. These are my observations from attending a few youth conferences in the past. The most recent being YLC 2011. I still remember the way the crowd treated Dr. Awab Alvi and Nigaar Nazar during the breakout sessions. True they weren’t trainers like Mr. Jaliawala who’d know how to tackle any type of crowd but they were experts in their own respective fields where they’d excelled and done marvelous deeds for their country. Wasn’t this enough to demand our respect for them? Well, apparently no, it wasn’t!

Dr. Awab Alvi is a blogger and an activist. During the session, Street Power, he explained to us how he’d mobilized thousands of people around the globe to donate for the flood victims and the earthquake victims before that, through his active blogging and media campaign. For me, this was a huge service that anyone could have done. Let alone a practicing dentist, who had taken out time from his busy routine, from his family life for a cause that wasn’t even his own…and for a cause that wasn’t even apparently rewarding. In the material sense, I mean. Though ofcourse the spiritual reward is always there.

However the audience thought otherwise. They started mocking him for his way of doing things. According to them, buying food items and clothing for the sufferers was not enough. Why wasn’t something done for the longer term rehabilitation like making job opportunities, reconstruction of buildings etc. Then they started laughing at everything that was said by the worthy speaker which obviously threw him off. Some of the girls really got pissed off at this. And then an active debate started with arguments and counter arguments from both sides. The girls believed that for a private entity like the team of Dr. Awab Alvi who were just working as volunteers, it wasn’t really possible to uptake such huge projects as were required for rehabilitation. These projects require ample time and a humongous budget too. And let’s just say that even if it is possible, we can’t belittle the importance of the short term donation campaign in any way. People, who have been severely injured, both mentally and physically, do need that immediate assistance until their life comes back to normal.

Nevertheless there is a stronger lesson for us from this discussion here. We need to be mindful of the feelings of others. Here is a person who spent his day and night to actively serve his people, in comparison to people like us who just sat at our homes or at the most contributed funds to various donation campaigns. He was in the field sweating his blood out while we enjoyed the lazy comfort of our lazy lives and yet we have the audacity to laugh at him! How shameful that is! And how discouraging our attitude must have been to someone who was doing something for his country! Well yes, definitely a food for thought for all of us who have at various times laughed off at people who are the real heroes!

The second name that I mentioned was Nigaar Nazar – the first female muslim cartoonist. Her session was on Environmental Leadership. This lady had devised a unique way to spread awareness about various social issues like the staring phenomenon common in our society; using plastic bags; wasting water; young, brainwashed suicide bombers and countless other similar problems. Her way was through cartoon strips in newspapers and electronic media. Her main characters are ‘Gogi’ and a talkative parrot who elaborate upon these topics in a light, humorous way. The target audience is the children and the mass public. She’s written many cartoon books for this purpose too. All of which she’s compiled in a school bag that she distributes among the underprivileged students for free. However these same bags are sold for a specific price to well-off students of private schools. Educating our new generation about these core problems is very important because they are neither given this education at homes nor at their schools. And Nigaar Nazar, an elegant and artistic woman is doing just that.

Do you have the heart to know what our response was to her?

To no one’s surprise, it was again those guffaws and mindless comments…! Perhaps, watching those childish cartoon strips didn’t appeal to the cool teenagers and early 20’s who were sitting in that hall.

Seriously, why couldn’t they understand the message behind this activity! Those cartoons were not for their entertainment but for the awareness of a sensitive age group who can only be approached through such means. And the purpose of telling them about this activity was so that one of us could help out Nigaar Nazar in her awareness campaign and do something good for the society in which we live…! (Maybe even as part of our post-YLC projects.) But sadly, our cerebrum could not comprehend that!

And now I’ll finally move on to the trait of a successful nation that was explained to us by Mr. Umair Jaliawala and the one that made me narrate all these incidents.

GRACE:

Mr. Jaliawala explained a few traits of a successful nation like Japan and how those traits helped Japan rise from ashes after the nuclear bombings and the frequent earthquakes that shake this little but strong country. One such trait was, grace. When the government distributed food items among the victims of the earthquake, they only bought what they needed and nothing more just so the others could get their share as well.

In contrast, how did the victims of Pakistani flood and earthquake behave? Or for that matter, how do the beggars at various Darbars behave, when free food is being given away? They take as much as they can! And even more than that is required for them! They’d rather waste away extra food instead of letting a deserving person have it.

Why? Because, we are selfish and don’t have either the mind or the time to think about others or how our actions could affect the society at large…! This is where social responsibility comes in…! Here, Mr. Jaliawala narrated the incident of a German restaurant where a few Pakistani friends dined in and left some food in their plates. An old woman who was observing all this reprimanded them on this behavior but Pakistanis as they were, they didn’t think leaving food in their plates was something bad and punishable. When they remained persistent in not cleaning up their leftovers, the lady called up the police. Those Pakistanis were fined and were told,

‘The money may be yours but the resources are not yours.’ The farmers who planted those rice; the ladies who bent down for hours to pick off the ripe wheat; the chefs who cooked that food…all of these people toiled to give you a plate of rice and they used the resources of the country in doing so and you have NO right to waste these resources! If you have more money than you can spend, then you can buy fresh food for the poor rather than leaving them leftovers which reach them through garbage heaps…! This is the thinking of successful nations!

And what do we do when there is shortage of wheat or sugar? The prices hike up. People start stocking these necessities of life to be released only at munh-boli prices. They are heartless about the sufferings of millions due to this action of theirs.

So what are the messages from this piece that I’ve written?

1) No belittling of our national heroes (every person who does something for his country without expecting a reward is a hero, in my eyes)

2) No wasting of food whether in restaurants or at homes.

3) Thinking about the greater good before you do anything. (e.g. Raising prices, stocking food items during crisis is not the way forward at all)

All of us should try to incorporate these traits in our lives. We need to approach the bottom-up approach in which every individual of a society plays his own role. A time will come when everyone will be playing his role and then our leaders would also be from within that society. Then we’d get our Pakistan back, the way it was dreamed of by our founders.

Happy Independence Day and BE the change that you want to see in your country! Till next time, Allah Hafiz!

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YLC Saga – Khamoshi ka Boycott – Day 2 (PART 2)

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This post was published in KELLOGS on 13/7/2011.

By Farkhanda Qaiser
We were still bubbling with the excitement of our success when breakout sessions on the many causes and implications of environmental degradation, were announced. I chose the session by Nigaar Nazar – the first Muslim woman cartoonist. Her central character is Gogi which she uses to create awareness among general public on various social and environmental issues. For this reason she has been placed on top of a list prepared by USA’s Cartoonist Rights Network. She has also done comic strips for many journals and television channels. However her work doesn’t stop here. Now, she has started an outreach programme which involves distributing the Gogi school bag among underprivileged students. This bag contains a collection of storybooks and comic strips with morals, made by her and targeting the young ones. One of her books is titled, ‘Kooray ka jin’ which emphasizes upon the importance of cleanliness. Another one deals with the threat of extremism and terrorism. Oh we should keep our children away from this nonsense, you may exclaim. But the fact of the matter is that we’re doing them more harm than good by keeping them unaware of the ground realities. They already see news of bomb blasts and suicide attacks on their idiot box everyday. Infact some of them have been direct affectees of these terror attacks too. So their education is necessary to ensure that they are not brainwashed too some day.
This was the session during which I realized the difference between a trainer and an expert. Mrs. Nigaar Nazar was an expert in her field but she was no speaker who’d know how to control the rowdy group of teenagers sitting before her. She was taking pains to explain her project while some people were simply mocking her and her work. This is our general attitude to change. We resist change and people who talk about change unless they are accomplished speakers like Umair Jaliawala and Kamran Rizvi who know how to tackle the crowd. However this must change too. We must learn to respect people for their work irrespective of the fact whether they can speak about it too. No doubt public speaking is an art which all should master. But we have no right to deride one who can not do so.
Next up was a session by Dr. Nadeem Abidi, an anesthetist and a Success Coach. He was speaking on different levels of leadership. From the dependent stage to the blame game and finally to the ‘Main hoon na’ level – where you take responsibility for everything you do and people depend on you to get a work done. Mr. Abidi then explained us a Cash flow quadrant which since then, I’ve explained to a lot of people because I found it highly helpful. Here it is:
E
Employee
B
Business Owner
S
Self employed
I
Investor
Most people never come out of the left side of the quadrant. Either they don’t take direct control of their lives or they never utilize their maximum potential, and thus the unemployment that we decry. For this we may even blame our education system which encourages people to Ace in order to land a good job. But we have to ascend to a higher level of leadership. Being anemployee means you have a job. Being self employed means you own a job. You have not more than 500 people working for you. You are a perfectionist and so are in direct contact with every single employee of yours even if it be a chowkidaar. Your employees are always less capable than you and you instruct them about each and every thing they do. This takes up a lot of time and so reduces the efficiency of the system. Moreover you are also working till late hours and so have less time for your family too. It involves 90 % people and earns 10 % money. On the other hand, the right side of the quadrant is for the people who are empowered. Business owners are people hunters. They choose the best talent to work under them. An excellent example is Bill Gates who dropped out of graduate school and now the best of the best work for his company, Microsoft. However freedom is achieved when a person becomes an investor, which involves a high degree of risk but at the same time, has great rewards too. The investor has assets which are earning money without requiring his presence. Now its 10 % manpower and 90 % money. So the choice is yours.
Mr. Nadeem Abidi has introduced a “Millionaire Mentorship Programme” for the people who wish to move to the right side of the quadrant. He was kind enough to offer this programme for free to the YLCians 2011. We really hope that more people can avail this opportunity and improve their lives for the better.
After that Mr. Abidi gave us all a power nap, while he talked to our hearts. Sleepy we were already so didn’t need much compulsion to go to sleep. Surprisingly, when he gave us all a wake up call a few minutes later, we awoke with a new vigor and without any signs of fatigue at all. I’d really like to know what he did to us. He was just talking slowly and without making much sense but we sure were refreshed after that. Then comes the best part of the session – the part that gave me conviction that I can do anything once I set my mind to it. This is what we said,
Ø Now I am the voice
Ø I will lead not follow
Ø I will believe not doubt
Ø I will create not destroy
Ø I am a force for Good
Ø I am a leader
Ø Defy the odds
Ø Set up a new standard
STEP UP…!
And say it we did. We kept saying it out louder and louder till we were convinced that we could do it. Mr. Abidi demonstrated the power of the mind and words by a simple activity. He called up a person on stage and asked him to say, “I will try to obey my parents,” while raising his one arm against force. His force was certainly lesser than when he said, “I will obey my parents.” So just by a play of words, our mind is convinced that we can or we can not do something. This is the power of the mind!
And so a great session ended. I emerged from it a completely different person and thirsting for more.
After that there was yet another activity planned by djuice. I call it the ‘Zipped up’ activity. As 2 members from every team were taken aside and their mouths were taped up. Then we teased them endlessly and tested their patience while they could not say a word about it. This enabled us to understand the helplessness that people feel when they are unable to voice their words.
However the Green day had not yet ended. We were in for still more surprises when we were told that we’d be setting up our dinner ourselves. Every team was given its own task. Some had to set up tables and dishes in thelawn. Others had to clean up after the dinner. Still others had to go around giving massages to people. But the dinner itself was very unique. It was the manifestation of a langar. There were neither any chairs or plates nor many varieties of food that we normally got at Sheraton. We were given spare newspapers in which we kept our rotis and spread daal on top of it and so ate like our poor brethren who are given free langar at darbars. It was a very spiritual experience and provoked us all to ponder over our extravagant lives and those of the less fortunate.
As djuice is a major sponsor of YLC so we performed yet another activity for Khamoshi ka boycott. Each team made 3-4 minutes plays highlighting any social aspect which needs to be corrected like traffic jams, the menace of dowry, smoking etc.
And finally we moved to the last session of the day which was by Sohail Zandani – another famous name in the training world. He had a unique style in which he asked questions and incited people to speak up. He believed in love for all and respect and appreciation for others. Further he advised us to stay hungry and stay foolish, which meant that always be eager to learn. He has established a Learning mind group for people who want to groom their personalities.

Thus the second day of YLC came to an end. Keep tuned in for more updates.