Tag Archives: parents

Horror, Horror! Who is the cruelest person in the world?

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

I cannot describe the gut-wrenching massacre at the Army Public School, Peshawar nor can I make a politically or historically correct analysis about the losses suffered by Pakistan in the war against terror. I can only express my feelings as a common Pakistani citizen. In the past few days, I have gone from shock to horror to grief and then again to shock (as more pictures of the gruesome inhumane act were released on the electronic media).

Peace is the ONLY way forward

Peace is the ONLY way forward

All around me, I see people losing composure. Whether it is news reporters covering the ghastly incident or anchors on Television programs; little school going children or their parents, everyone is in tears! Ever since 2001, there have been above 14000 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in which almost 50,000 innocent people lost their lives but why has this reaction not come earlier? Why did we not shed tears on the merciless killings of Hazara Shias or those of Ahmadis or Christians? Or even of mosque-going Muslims? Or of Pakistani army and military forces? Why did we not realize at that point that we were dealing with monsters and not humans? I know why. Because we are a nation whose conscious is fast asleep and we need loud drum beating to wake up. Simple alarm bells are not enough for us. When the first terrorist attack was justified on the basis of sectarianism or superior knowledge of ‘Islam,’ that is when alarm bells should have gone off in our minds that something is not right. That is when we should have tried to put a stop to this senseless mindset. But we didn’t. We kept on waiting because the ‘terror’ had not yet reached our doorstep. We waited and that is why we have been brought to this black day of 16th December 2014.

When even schools are not safe

When even schools are not safe

That day teenage school going students lost their carefree attitude forever. Their school became a shooting spot where they were the hunted ones. However that is not why all of us are in mourning. No, we are too selfish for that. The reason our parents cry is because they feel that it could have been their ‘own’ kids. The reason why you and I cry is because we feel that it could easily have been ‘us’ instead of ‘them’. It could have been my friends whose dead bodies piled up on me would act as a shield for me. It could have been my favorite teacher who was burnt alive in front of me. It could have been your principal who preferred to die rather than save her own self. It could have been you hid under a bench and fearing the approaching black boots. Yes that is why we all bemoan. Because now we feel the ‘terror’ has truly reached our threshold.

We are terrified and we feel helpless. There is nothing we can do, our politicians are too corrupt and self-centered, we lament. Our borders are too porous to contain the foreign terrorists, we grumble. This is not our war, it has been enforced on us, we protest. We lament and grumble and protest. We point the accusatory finger at others. But did we realize that the remaining four fingers were pointing at our own selves? Oh, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. How are we to blame, you ask.

We are to blame because we have failed to identify our enemy and even if identified, have taken too soft a stance on him. ‘He’ is the cruelest person in the world. He can finish nations like a rot eats wood. And if we fail to stop him now, then indeed he will finish us too. Every last one of us! Well, I know that Pakistan was created on 27th Ramazan and that it is only the second state after Madina that was acquired in the name of Islam. But even this ‘holy’ background will not save us. Because remember that

Khuda nay aaj tak us qoum ki haalat nahin badli jo qoum khud apni haalat na badlay

(God has never changed the fortunes of a nation that failed to turn the tide itself.)

This is one fact that we need to accept with all our hearts and minds. We will definitely and surely perish if we don’t stop this deadly enemy! So WAKE UP Pakistanis! This is the time for immediate action. We don’t have ‘7 days’ for an action plan.

No more Intolerance

No more Intolerance

   Our enemy is within us. He is the ‘mindset’ who believes that only he is practicing the right brand of Islam and the remaining people are infidels. He doesn’t stop here. He justifies killing people because they were not following his version of ‘Shariah.’ However we need to realize that this mindset did not occur over night. It evolved slowly. It started from the time when we became intolerant of people who were different from us whether in political or religious views. I see it every day when youngsters like me indulge in meaningless arguments on social media viciously attacking the opponents. I see it when every minor, harmless act is brutally subjected to scrutiny and questioned whether it’s Islamic or not. People ask what use is burning candles or keeping vigils when hundreds have died. Oh please, stop being so narrow minded! If you express your feelings about a tragedy by keeping a Facebook status or by turning your profile picture black, then so be it. If I express myself through a blog then why can’t I? If someone else tries to remember the innocent martyrs by lighting candles then what’s wrong with it? Islam is a religion for all times and all regions of the world. Do not limit it with your boxed thinking. And the best way to serve Islam is to learn about it so that you don’t besmirch it with your ignorance. So if you really want to do something to end terrorism in Pakistan then start by increasing knowledge about Islam. Read Quran and Hadith. Learn about the life events of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Only then would you realize the true values of our religion.

Another dimension of our defective thinking which has made us an intolerant nation is being judgmental about others. We are constantly judging people around us and passing our ‘expert’ opinion about whether they’d end up in paradise or hellfire. Please change this attitude now before it brings more destruction for us. Only Allah knows our ultimate resting place. There have been many incidences mentioned in Ahadith where extremely pious men were sent to hellfire because of some bad habit or other. Or apparently devious people were sent to paradise due to some hidden good attribute. Know this that we are not ‘all-knowing.’ We don’t know the intentions and all the life circumstances of ANY person (even if it’s someone very close to us). So if we don’t know this then we can’t pass the right judgment about anyone. Besides, it would be so much better to spend this energy and time trying to make ourselves better humans. Trust me; there is so much that needs to be done in this aspect that we would not have any time left for scrutinizing others’ actions!

Say no to hate speech

Say no to hate speech

While we change our mindset, we also need to be mindful of suspicious activities taking place around us. This was explained quite eloquently by the Interior Minister today. Finally our government has acknowledged that we are in a state of war. And no war can be won without the support of its citizens. If we become the eyes and ears of our law enforcement forces then no terrorist stands a chance against us. We should discourage and report hate speech wherever it’s being preached. We should monitor our neighborhoods and most importantly we should ask our leaders to openly condemn the enemy. There is no space left for soft mouthing. All terrorists need to be dealt with force. Enough is enough! Accountability is the best way to ensure justice in a society. Every individual must be held accountable for his deeds especially these monsters who claim to be righteous!

enough

However, even if the overall situation of the country appears dismal and hopeless, don’t lose hope. We have the best example from the young victims of the Peshawar attack. One such young boy with bullet wounds on his face said,

“Is umar me goli kha li hai. Ab kabhi goli se nahin darun ga.”

(I have been shot with bullets at this age. Now I will never be afraid of bullets!)

Other boys showed the determination to join Pakistan army and rid their country of all terrorists. If these traumatized adolescents have not lost hope then we have no excuse to be hopeless. Hard times befall all nations but only strong nations rise out of the ashes. Are we a strong nation?

 The author is a medical student.

 

 

 

 

What goes around, comes around!

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With changing times, values are changing as well. Sometimes, for the better, at others, for the worse. Here is a fictional story depicting the stark realities of the 21st century in which old parents are being increasingly abandoned by their children. Now it depends on us whether we follow the herd or decide for ourselves what is right and what is not.

P.S. This short story was published in the annual Magazine of King Edward Medical University: KEMCOL 2011.

“They can not run away will all my gold and money…! I will not let them! After all I’m the daughter of Major Pasha and the wife of Justice Mahmood…! Do they think me weak? Do they?” Mrs Mahmood was now getting highly agitated while she explained her situation to a renowned neurologist of the country.

No, she wasn’t mentally challenged. Her only problem was that she still lived in the past. Her father had died 10 years ago and her husband was now a retired justice. So she was as weak as a person next door who had a simple salaried job and had no ‘contacts’ with higher ups to get their menial jobs done in a blink of the eye. She had to stand in a line like all others for her passport to be made. She couldn’t threaten the traffic police with job dismissals on giving her a chalaan. The ‘kitty party’ aunties didn’t come to her house as often as they did before perhaps because they felt it was better to spend time with some influential people rather than an ‘old’ useless couple who had been deserted even by their very own children.

Aaah children! This was still a very sore topic for Mrs. Mahmood. She couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her own ‘Hammad’ and ‘Abdullah’ were no more hers. They had married of their own choices and then settled abroad. It had been five years since she had seen the face of her youngest one. She had heard that he had a son and a daughter…! Her grandchildren! How she longed to touch them! To get a glimpse of them! Perhaps they resembled her or her husband! She often dreamt that they had come to visit her but her dream always remained that…a dream!

Dreaming to see her grandchildren! Who would’ve thought it would come to this? That wasn’t how she had brought up her children! She had always taught them to respect their elders and never hurt anyone’s feelings. And not just by words but also by actions. Mr. Mahmood’s parents had always stayed at their house and she had gone to all pains to make them comfortable and happy. They had died content with their daughter in law. Hadn’t Hammad and Abdullah seen this? Then how could they even think of cutting off completely from their parents? At this old age, when all they wanted was to see the happy faces of their children and grandchildren! The cruel sons had deprived them even of this small happiness.

Why? What had gone wrong? She could never get this answer. She had pondered on it for years. First, blaming her job for being the reason that she hadn’t been able to give quality time to her kids. Then, accusing her husband for sending them off to the States at a very young age. And lastly, the Western values of polarized families that were being taken up by the new generation.

But she had never been able to blame her sons! After all, they were her blood. She firmly believed that they would come back. Her love would bring them back. She didn’t want to believe anything else. Weeks turned into months and months into years without any sign of them. Thus she was forced to believe that she really had been abandoned. Life became listless and purposeless.

This harsh fact was too hard to digest for Mrs. Mahmood. Her moods started changing. Sometimes she talked so much and so irrelevantly that the servants were bored to death listening to her. She was always irritable. Even her husband was unable to pacify her.

When matters became worse, he decided to take her to a neurologist. And there she was now. “Mrs. Mahmood! No one will run away with your gold. And ofcourse you’re not weak. Just try to relax yourself.” The doctor addressed his patient gently. “Relax? These servants are such a pain! They never listen to me even if I beat them up.” The doctor raised his eyebrows at the mention of physical aggression. This case was more complicated than he’d thought. “Doctor sahab! My wife also shows this unbridled passion for shopping. I can understand it is common for women but this is something more! Last week she bought a dozen unstitched dresses of the same design saying that she was buying them for her niece’s wedding. That niece is only 4 years old!” Mr. Mahmood explained. After much discussion, the end result was the same as is after every visit to a doctor. The doctor prescribed a bunch of medicines, told the patient to take some rest and re visit after 2 weeks.

For the next 2 weeks, giving medicines to Mrs. Mahmood became a huge ritual for the entire household i.e. half a dozen servants and Mr. Mahmood. At first, she’d refuse point blank from taking the medicines at all. If she were coerced, she’d become highly violent. Then after much pleading and persistent pestering, she’d give in. Sometimes, her will power proved too strong for all of them and she’d succeed in not taking the medicines.

And with this, the 2 weeks were over and they were back at the doctor’s. This time the doctor prescribed heavy dosage of sedatives to calm her down. She was then too sleepy all the time not even getting up to take meals. She’d dose off even when she was made to sit. Mr. Mahmood was greatly worried.

After consultation with some of his friends, he decided to change the doctor. Then during the course of treatment, it was discovered that neurological disorders ran in Mrs. Mahmood’s family. Her father had had a nervous breakdown after his son’s death. Her distant aunt had also faced a similar fate. And now it seemed like she was headed the same way. But there was a difference. She had the means to live but no meaning to live for. And so her health status continued to decline.

When no medicines could cure her, the doctor decided to hospitalize her. That is when Mr. Mahmood tried to get in touch with his sons but could find no trace of them. What a pity it was!

World indeed had become too fast paced. Children no longer had time for their parents; the same parents whose entire lives had revolved around their children. He still remembered the day when his eldest son was born. He and his wife had been so ecstatic. They distributed sweets in the entire neighborhood. Their newborn was the apple of their eyes. They could never let him out of their sights. Mr. Mahmood worked day and night to ensure a bright future for him. They had so many plans for him. All of which were shattered one by one.

And now the last straw, their mother was on her deathbed, and there was no sign of either Hammad or Abdullah! And so Mrs. Mahmood died quietly one day. Her last wish had been to see her sons for one last time. Unfortunately, that wish remained unfulfilled. Her sons were too busy with their own lives.

50 YEARS LATER

He was thirsty. He wanted to ask someone for water but there was no one around. Well, no one who could get him water. All the people were too old like him. They were all dependent on others for their petty needs. Yes, he was living in an old home. He had been abandoned by his wife and kids when they felt he was no longer of any use to them. Much like he had once done with his parents.

aaah! His parents! These days he remembered his mom a lot. She often came in his dreams, saying, “Hammad! My dear son! Where are you? Come to me…” He wished he could turn back the wheels of life. Just to get a glimpse of his parents. Just to talk to them once. Just to say once, “MA, I’m sorry…!” But alas, it was too late. Too late!

The Traits of a Successful Nation Episode 2: Conscience

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

On this blessed night – Laila tul Qadar – the 27th of Ramazan, I sit down in front of my laptop and endeavor to spread whatever little I’ve learnt from life’s lessons.

Allah says in the Holy Quran (I tried looking for the exact verse but couldn’t find it so if any of you know which Surah and Ayah it is, you’re welcome to share it) and here is the gist of it:

They have eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear because their hearts have been sealed off.

So however much I might blog or cry myself hoarse about the traits of successful nations, if you do not wish to learn and change yourselves, then it’s all in vain. So the point remains, it’s YOU who can decide whether you want to change or not. You are guarding your gate of change and only you have the key to it. No motivational speaker, no scholar, no teacher, no parents and no friends can make you take that step. It’s solely in your power.

 

                                            THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘I’

Here is a joke that you might have heard but probably missed out the lesson in it.

Two friends, Santa and Bunta went to give a job interview. Santa was the genius one who was pretty much confident about himself. Bunta was the average slacker who was too scared of the unknown so he asked Santa to tell him all answers after his interview. Santa, being the kind friend, agreed.

Santa’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When was your country born?

Santa: The struggle started in 1857 and was completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your Prime Minister?

Santa: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no 3:  What is the reason for high birth rate inIndia?

Santa: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Perfect interview ends and Santa comes out, tells all answers to Bunta as promised.

Bunta’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When were you born?

Bunta: The struggle started in 1857 and completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your father?

Bunta: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no. 3: Are you insane? What are you saying?

Bunta: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Disastrous interview ends.

So why did Bunta fail to pass the interview? He tried to copy somebody else’s answers to his life. But that’s not how it goes. No one has your life answers. No one can tell you what to do that’ll make your life perfect. You are the only one who knows that!

It’s said that when Allah was making this earth, he asked the angels that where I should hide the life secrets. Angels said, either high up in the skies or deep down in the oceans. To that, Allah replied, no the human being is really clever, he’ll dig out the answers from these far off places. So instead the Almighty hid the life secrets in a person’s heart. Just as Iqbal says,

Apney mann main dub kay pa ja suragh-e-zindagi

Tu agar mera nahi banta, na ban, apna tou bann

 

And then there’s the whole concept of ‘khudi’ that Iqbal explains but lets leave that for another time.

So the importance of I is evident from the fact that even in the aero plane, when they’re giving the security instructions about wearing the oxygen mask in case of low atmospheric pressure, they emphasize upon the fact that first you should wear the mask yourself and only then move on to helping others.

Moreover, even in the most selfless statement that you can make, in which you’re laying down your heart for someone in which you say,I Love You to someone, you say I first!

So once you’ve learnt the great significance that you have in deciding the course that your life takes and once you have mustered up the will and courage to take your life to greater heights and once your eyes and ears are open then you start learning.

As it’s said, ‘When the student is ready, then the master appears.’

CONSCIENCE:

In this second of series of blogs where we’re trying to learn the traits of successful nations from countries like Japan which survived the nuclear blasts and emerged to become one of the biggest economies of the world, we’ll talk about the conscience of a nation!

Following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 11 this year, there was an accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that led to power failure in some part of the country. This power failure had occurred inJapanafter 40 years. (Well yes, the last power failure inPakistanwas probably just a few minutes ago) However the way that people reacted to this failure was simply remarkable. People who were shopping in malls and had picked up stuff from the shelves, kept the stuff back and silently moved out of the shops. This is called ‘conscience’ of a nation.

We sure are lacking in it. We have grown so used to doing illegal stuff that it no longer seems wrong.

We cheat in exams. So what? Everyone does it.

We break traffic rules. So what? I’m getting late for office

We litter around in public places. So what? The sweeper will pick up the stuff anyway.

We are hardly ever punctual for our meetings. So what? No one is on time.

We don’t use environment friendly fuels in automobiles. So what? Am I responsible for the entire planet?

We raise prices during Ramazan and Eid. So what? This is the best time for earning profits.

We sell poor stuff for higher prices. So what? The customer must know the difference himself.

We accept not-properly-titled receipts from shopkeepers. So what? The government must keep a check on all retailers not paying taxes, why do I bother?

We pick up random stuff from the shelves in shop and don’t return them on their proper places. So what? The shopkeepers can sort them out, I don’t have time.

We steal electricity. So what? Electricity is a national resource and public property, I’m not stealing it.

Why do we not bother about all these issues?

Oh, as if one person doing his responsibility will make a difference.

If I tell a shopkeeper to give me a proper receipt or else I won’t purchase from his shop and even if he does so, what difference would that have made? The government will get only a small amount of tax from my receipt. All other thousands of customers who come and go daily and don’t ask for titled receipts, theirs was a larger amount that didn’t go into tax. Hah! There you go! No use doing this activity and besides our government is corrupt anyway. Whatever tax we give them to be spent on the country, they use it to buy expensive sports cars and import huge pets from abroad. So we’d rather not give any tax at all.

Well, we should be doing our part of the deal and be satisfied that we are listening to our conscience and doing the right thing. Such behavior may impress others and you never know how many followers you might have. Moreover, you have NO right to blame the government when you yourself are not fulfilling your responsibility!

So it all boils down to the fact that you must take a step in the right direction not caring whether it’s enough or not. You must listen to the call of your conscience and be content that you’re doing the right thing. After all a society is made of individuals and if every individual starts doing this then we sure will have a revolution in Pakistan!

Signing off,

Remember me in your prayers especially that I and all my fellow medical students pass in our Profs. Ameen!

P.S. The major content of the blog is taken from the motivational session ‘Magic with Medicine‘ by Umair Jaliawala held on 1st August 2011 in KEMU Auditorium, Lahore.