Tag Archives: traits of successful nations

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.

 

 

 

 

Reign in the red monster

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 By Farkhanda Qaiser

As the fasting month progressively moves to hotter weather over the years, one’s patience is tested to the maximum. Reigning in your anger at the traffic jam especially when your car AC is out of order; cursing the university authorities for not giving you vacations in Ramzan and further deteriorating matters by keeping half a dozen tests in just two weeks and last but not the least fasting in this intense heat with cruel load shedding hours proves to be the last nail in the coffin for any sane person.

In such a scenario, it becomes pretty easy to get into arguments even with the tamest of people you come across. After having had my share of arguments in this month, I decided to find a remedy. Luckily my father happens to be reading a self-help type of book these days called, ‘The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie. So I just flipped through its pages until I found what I was looking for.

In a chapter titled ‘Get a Yes-Response,’ Mr. Carnegie explains how to win an argument. He says ‘It is much more advantageous to begin by stressing something that you and all of your hearers believe, and then to raise some pertinent question that everyone would like to have answered. Then take your audience with you in an earnest search for the answer. While on that search, present the facts as you see them so clearly that they be led to accept your conclusions as their own. They will have much more faith in some truth that they have discovered for themselves. The best argument is that which seems merely an explanation.’

Even though the context of this paragraph is different because the author is illustrating how an orator can mesmerize his audience into believing what he wants but the essence remains the same. This essence is that of finding a common ground of agreement with those who differ with you. Mr. Carnegie further goes on to demonstrate with an example:

On February 3, 1960, the prime minister of Great Britain, Harold Macmillan, addressed both houses of Parliament of the Union of South Africa. He had to present the United Kingdom’s non-racial viewpoint before the legislature body at a time when apartheid was the prevailing policy. Did he begin his talk with this essential difference in outlook? No. He began by stressing the great economic progress made by South Africa, the significant contributions made by South Africa to the world. Then, with skill and tact he brought up the questions of differing viewpoints. Even here, he indicated he was well aware that these differences were based on sincere conviction. His whole talk was a masterly statement reminding one of Lincoln’s gentle but firm utterances in the years before Fort Sunter. “As a fellow member of the Commonwealth,” said the Prime Minister, “it is our earnest desire to give South Africa our support and encouragement, but I hope you won’t mind my saying frankly that there are some aspects of your policies which make it impossible for us to do this without being false to our deep convictions about the political destinies of free men to which in our own territories we are trying to give effect. I think we ought as friends to face together, without seeking to apportion credit or blame, the fact that in the world of today this difference of outlook lies between us”

No matter how determined one was to differ with a speaker, a statement like that would tend to convince you of the speaker’s fair mindedness.

So you see how you can put across your conflicting perspective in such a way that it doesn’t seem conflicting anymore. Let’s see an example closer to home to understand this concept better. These days we see many people who either don’t fast or fast but don’t offer prayers regularly due to a multitude of reasons. Topping the list is the simmering heat. How would you reason with these people? One common way is by reminding them of the burning heat of the Hellfire – manifold in intensity to this worldly heat. While this tactic may achieve the desired result in some cases but could worsen matters in others. So what manner of speaking should you adopt then?

Well how about beginning with the blessings of the Holy month of Ramzan?  The fact that all prayers and good deeds are rewarded much more than in any other time of the year. Compounded with this the huge bonus that Satan has been chained behind bars so cannot mislead us to do wrong.  Thus we have been facilitated to proceed in the right direction. Why should we not avail this opportunity to the fullest? This is our opportunity to train ourselves to exercise self-control whether it is by restraining the urge to eat and drink despite those hunger pangs or by softening our words when we feel like yelling at our subordinates or colleagues.Most importantly, we must learn to reign in that red monster of anger because doing so would save a lot of trouble. Therefore Ramzan is the time for rewards and training in mock battleground without the actual enemy (Satan) marching against us.  Fasting in this month will help us in our training while offering prayers will discipline us for our future life as well.

When you present the explanation in such a manner, your listener will definitely be forced to re-think his approach to the concept of fasting. He’d realize that fasting is not just about starving rather it’s a complete institution meant for schooling the deluded Nafs. And he’d even be compelled to benefit from this bounty.

Moreover, this blessed month is also the prime time to offer repentance for the past sins and vow to correct the wrong doings. Particularly in the last ashra and specifically on the Laila tul Qadr (The Night of Blessing – when the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him).

If we are able to collect even an iota of the blessings of this month then we are indeed successful. But remember RTR – Rewards, training and repentance…! Make sure you don’t miss out on any of them. And remember me in your prayers as well.

Happy Ramzan to Everyone…!

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Motivational session – Project Report

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Background:

Society of Academic and Research Development (SARD) took an initiative to educate the young kemcolians about the importance of social responsibility by organizing an interactive motivational session, ‘Magic with Medicine.’ This event was held in collaboration with the School of Leadership (SoL) – established on July 1st, 2002 in Karachi but with an outreach all over Pakistan. SoL aims to stimulate conscious endeavor for people to discover and utilize their unquestionable ability to elevate their lives.

Objectives:

The purpose was to motivate the youth to become responsible citizens. If every individual starts doing his own duty then a conscientious society is formed where the rights of all are protected. The name ‘magic with medicine’ was chosen because the case study was taken as medical profession. The young doctors would be encouraged to spread the magic of love and humanity through their medical practice. Moreover, they would be taught the tools to become responsible, skilful and better doctors.

Speaker:

The Senior Associate of School of Leadership, Mr. Umair Jaliawala was especially flown in from Karachi for this motivational session. Mr. Jaliawala has trained over 30, 000 individuals from corporate, education, and development and public sectors. He immediately relaxes his audience, guards down, receptive to learning, before he shakes their paradigms again. His sessions are a roller-coaster journey of change, exercises/games, questions, quotes, challenges and realizations.

Staff president:

The Staff president of SARD, Professor Dr. Riaz Ahmad Warraich provided his moral support in organizing this mega event.

President SARD:

Ahsan Jahangir (4th Year)

Project director:

Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year)

Project team:

The project managers, Rabia Zia, Shafaq Tabassum, Iqra Ahmad, Haris bin Akhter and M. Ijaz worked very hard in holding this event.

The project assistants, Hajira Iftikhar, Rameez Irshad, Isna Batool, Humaira Sarfraz, Mohammad Bilal, Namra Tauqir, Nimrah Siddique and Anum Asad helped in announcements and promotion.

The project organizers, Shahbano, Laiba Khalid, Iqra Saeed, Seemab Touqir, Saman Goraya, Mahym Mansoor, Saira Afzal, Aushna Rasool, Mirrah Mushtaq, Maimoona Mohsin, Reema Anjum, Noor Tariq and Zara Naveed carried out hall management.

Sponsors:

This event was sponsored by Qavi Engineers and Dynamic Packaging. The major expenses were the air ticket of the speaker, banners, refreshments and certificates.

Advertisement:

This event was a huge success largely due to the immense publicity that had been carried out by the entire project team. Word was spread through sms, social media (facebook, twitter, linked in, google plus, danka.pk – Pakistan’s events guide), chart papers, flyers all over university and hospital and last but not the least announcements in all classes.Notices were pasted in all wards of Mayo Hospital to publicize this session:

 4 surgical units

 4 medical units

 Urology

 Dermatology

 Psychiatry

 Orthopedics

 OPD

Date: Monday, 1st August 2011

Venue: KEMU auditorium

Chief guests:

Staff President, Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Warraich and Event Sponsor, Dynamic Packaging represented by Mr. Waqas Ashraf.

Event proceedings:

The event started at 10:30 AM. The auditorium was overflowing with students, majority of whom were kemcolians however around 40 students from other schools, colleges and universities were also present. (Superior College, Beaconhouse School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore School of Economics, Kinnaird College and many others) The programme was inaugurated by the recitation of the Holy Quran by Muhammad Fahad (2nd year). Then the event host, Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year) shed some light on the past achievements of SARD and also the objectives of this session. After that, the speaker, Mr. Umair Jaliawala was called on stage to begin his talk. He used audio-visual content, discussion and exercises to grab the attention of the over 350 audience jam packed in the small auditorium of KE. There were 3 stages of this session.

Stage 1: Getting Involved:

In this, Mr. Jaliawala captured the attention of everyone through exercises and examples. He explained the strength of determination and will in achieving one’s goals by citing the examples of Abdus Sattar Edhi, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jahangir Khan. These legends started small but their thinking was not small. Their goals were huge and so was their dedication. However there is no gain without pain. This concept was elaborated by comparing with the long duration of time and pain that body builders undergo to make strong, muscular bodies. Then an activity was carried out that surprised and puzzled everyone. The speaker told all the participants to get up from their chairs and TRY to pick them up. All of them picked up the chairs. However, Mr. Jaliawala kept on insisting that do not actually pick up the chairs, rather try to pick up the chairs. And so some of the people started to pretend as if the chairs were really heavy and they were trying to pick them up. But still they were unable to please Mr. Jaliawala who finally explained that there is no such thing as trying. Either you do something or you don’t. And you can’t blame anyone else for how your life is because you yourself are capable of making all the decisions.

Stage 2: Benchmarks

After the audience had become involved and were now actually hanging on to every word, then Mr. Jaliawala moved onto the case study of Japan. In March 2011, there was a Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami which wrecked havoc in the entire country. However, the exceptional calm and dignity that the Japanese displayed in this time of crisis was remarkable. The characteristics that make nations successful were then elaborated upon in detail. Some of them were ability, grace, order, sacrifice, tenderness, training, responsible media and conscience.

Stage 3: Be responsible

Once the basic requirements had sunk in then the point was driven home by motivational videos from Dr. Patch Adams and Tedtalks. Throughout the session, there was a lot of interaction with the students which maintained their interest and piqued their curiosity. Never once did anyone leave the auditorium rather more people kept pouring in despite the fact that no more chairs were unoccupied. They were content to even sit on the floor to listen to this great motivational session and get motivated. Their enthusiasm was evident from the oft-repeated applause that punctuated the talk of Mr. Jaliawala.

At the end of this session, a shield-presenting ceremony was held. The Staff President presented a shield of appreciation to the speaker, Mr. Umair Jaliawala and the representative of the Event Sponsor – Dynamic Packaging – Mr. Waqas Ashraf. Then the SARD president gave the shield to Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Warraich who’d been the chief guest and had attended the entire session.

After this ceremony, all the participants were given refreshments. The certificates were given one week later. This event was also given media coverage by waqt news, shama tv and ARY news.

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.