Losing Language – Losing Identity


I always thought English is our official language, until I read. from the Pakistan Constitution:

251. National language.
“(2) Subject to clause (1), the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.”

So, this means, it was meant to be changed with our national language, but I guess everyone was busy copying foreign laws, culture, morals, values, and language, since 1973 and never got the time to even read the constitution again ?  Indeed, when you copy blindly, you lose self-reliance, you develop a tendency to look to others for every wisdom, and that’s how the dependency is created, which eventually results into, what we call modern-day slavery (if we look at it from broader perspective). Do you know as per recent ‘The Economist’ article, Pakistan stood at world number 3, (in slavery) as per the survey report on Global Slavery. We have and we are fast losing our identity.

No nation has progressed really, while totally depending on the wealth, skills, knowledge and the resources of others. Even if you progress temporarily, you would not become competitive globally, and specially in this era of cut-throat competition, you can easily be suppressed. What have we achieved in the past 60 years, copying others ? By imitating the values of others, while inheriting some of our own values in bits and pieces, left us in a confused state. Same is true about our language. Here’s a popular joke about our language:

“The difficulties of being Pakistani: 1) Speak Punjabi in the home; 2) Speak Urdu in school; 3) Answer exam papers in British English; 4) Speak American English in office; and 5) After death, present your account in Arabic. So consider, what can a person do but fail!”

With the worldwide propaganda and bad news associated with Pakistan, many naive Pakistanis, also feel bad about speaking or writing in Urdu, as that psychologically attaches them with Pakistan, which is looked down upon and they want to disassociate with. Another factor for the promotion of English, is the double standard of education we have in the country, and lack of Government control and policy over it. Most of the government schools have lately taught all subjects in Urdu (English though was a separate subject), while most, if not all, of the private schools have taught all subjects in English. So, effectively we’ve created a class difference. Further, due to incompetency of the government, government schools (which caters to the majority of the population), does not uphold quality of education and thus, very much looked down upon by the parents who can afford to pay high-cost of private schools, which provides a lot better education. So, now the class is further classified as haves and havenots. And this is so widespread phenomena now, (since we reared it for more than 30-40 years), many term ‘government schools’ as ‘Peela school’ (like yellow school, as most of government school building are painted in orange-cum-yellow color) or they call it ‘Khada school’, both terms used derogatorily, to demean students who graduated from there. Thus, unknowingly we have created a divide in the society – government school and private school. Learning multiple languages is great, but discriminating on the basis of language  would not help us in any way.

Indeed, those who learned English language well, gained a lot, in terms of knowledge from the developed english speaking countries. But the problem I am highlighting here, is the divide in the society created on the basis of people who know English well, versus who don’t. Let me point out another misconception, prevalent in our society. It’s very much viewed today, not just today, it has it’s roots in pre-partition time (during the creation of Pakistan), people speaking English are synonymous to individuals with wisdom. Indeed, people who knew English well, were able to read and understand a lot more from developed societies. But this overrated regard for English speakers/writers, is bit overblown. So, much so, if people meet any native English speaker in Pakistan, they automatically think that person is so much knowledgeable, having so much wisdom. May be one of the reason, foreigner/tourists are taken high with regard. I don’t mean to say, however, Pakistanis treat their hosts very well. So, a person’s IQ is misconstrued with his ability to speak or read english. If a person doesn’t speak something in English or write in English, the society doesn’t take him/her seriously. Probably, if this article was written in Urdu, it might not have that many audience. This becomes evident, when you go abroad in any English speaking country and realize that, English is just a language of communication and good command over it, does not necessarily mean, a key to success, but good communication skills is. You also realize that there are so many native English speakers, who either don’t write or speak english well, but are ahead in their knowledge and wisdom.

Coming back to the main point, there shouldn’t be discrimination regarding language study. If English had to be official, it should be official for all. If both (English and Urdu) had to be official, it should be for all. Not like, English for haves and Urdu for havenots. Further, don’t get me wrong, I am not promoting Urdu language particularly, neither I am encouraging nationalism/chauvinism, but the point is to cherish your language, which is a key source of most of our cultural heritage. We shouldn’t let the globalization bombard on our values and overwhelm it completely. However, we can adopt good things from anyone (no specific harm in it either), but we must hold on to our language and core values. Example would be, to make mandatory use of urdu scripts on computer usage at Schools, during labs and so on.

Urdu example.svg

Word ‘Urdu’ written in Urdu script

Before I conclude, let me share another fact. Both Urdu (spoken in Pakistan) and Hindi (spoken in India), are similar, when spoken. So, that’s the reason most of Pakistanis watch Indian movies (Bollywood) and have no problem conversing with each other (Indian and a Pakistani). But in terms of writing, they’re totally different. Urdu script is very much like Arabic, while Hindi script is, something like chinese (just to give some idea, otherwise, chinese is way different).

Important point is, to keep ties with your language and not let that die, in honor of any tertiary language. I would be happy to hear your views on importance of language or any other feedback.

Child adoption in Islam – Kafala


This post is in reply to the following article I read today in The Guardian:

Iran lawmakers pass bill allowing men to marry adopted daughters

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/iran-lawmakers-men-wed-adopted-daughters

Summary:

Adoption, or legal adoption per se, is not allowed in Islam. I remember hearing this during a Friday Sermon: Adopted child does not become your (legal) son or daughter, so there’s no legal rights in inheritance or any marital laws etc. apply. Similarly, once the child grow up, he/she will become ‘na-mahram’s (marriageable) for the adopting family. Adopted children, unless they have been breast-fed by the adoptive mother, have historically been considered marriageable (‘na-mahram’) to the adopted family. Though, you’re highly encouraged to support orphans.

Kafala (like Fostering):

Most Muslim-majority states do not currently permit legal adoption. Instead, laws permit a system of guardianship (‘kafala’), which resembles foster-parenting, but is more stable. Kafala is defined as “the commitment to voluntarily take care of the maintenance, of the education and of the protection of a minor, in the same way a parent would do for a child.

Ruling on Adopted Child:

The people in jahiliyyah used to treat an adopted child as the real one in all respects. Just like the way we call ‘mun boli behan (sister), or ‘mun bola bata’ (son), etc. The Holy Qur’an condemned this practice and the following verses were revealed:

“And Allah did not make your adopted children your sons. That is only your words coming out from your tongues. And Allah says the truth and He guides you to the right path. Call them with reference to their (real) fathers. It is more just in the sight of Allah.” (Quran 33:V4)

This shows that the declaration of adoption does not change realities, alter facts, or make a stranger a relative, or an adopted child a son or daughter. A mere verbal expression or figure of speech cannot make the blood of a man run through the veins of the adopted child, produce natural feelings of affection found in normal parent-child relationships, or transfer the genetic characteristics, or physical, mental, or psychological traits. Islam believes in justice, the rights of adopted child, adopter and so on.

Rights of Orphan:

In Islam, the right of inheritance is based on biological relationship:

“Those related by blood are more entitled to (inherit from) each other in the Book of Allah.” (Quran 8:75) 

In case of the rights of the orphan children, Allâh is very severe; for example, He says:

“Those who `swallow’ the property of the orphans unjustly, are actually devouring fire into their bellies and they shall enter the burning fire.” (Quran 4:10) 

General Conditions for Marriage:

It is well-known that the Quran specifies those relatives who are forbidden in marriage (4:23). In Islamic law, those that one is prohibited to marry are known as unmarriageable kin. The status of unmarriageable kin occurs by one of three means: marriage, kinship, or milk-foster relationship (having been breast-fed). Adopted children, unless they have been breast-fed by the adoptive mother, have historically been considered marriageable (non-mahram) to the adopted family. Therefore marriage between a child reared through kafala and biological children of the family is legal under Islamic law.

Raising Orphans a Pious Deed:

Having said this, however, taking care of orphan is a noble act in Islam, and the man who does it will be rewarded by being admitted to Paradise. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said:

“I and the one who raises an orphan, will be like these two in Paradise (and he pointed his middle and index fingers)”

 Logical reasoning:

Some of the wisdom in this law, that I could think of:

1. Haven’t we heard about the gangs who smuggle/sell newborns from Russia and other countries to rich parents, albeit legally, turning it into a big business ? Just like the organ transplant need, turning into a evil practice of organ selling. 
2. People adopting child, just to gain legal advantage in their own legal proceedings (eg inheritance cases etc.).
3. Receiving wealth of adopted child, if somehow that arises. 
4. To protect the (inheritance) rights of biological children of the adopter

Response to the news:

I wonder, why the western MSM have to teach the world, and waste time trying to find problem in Islamic rulings, through their short sighted (human) wisdom, when they themselves are struggling to manage marital life. Shouldn’t they ponder and accept the result of their man-made rules, which resulted in breaking records of rapes, divorces, adultery, incests, unmarried females, lack of interest in marriages, and so on, in their societies. Why can’t they omit an opportunity, that reinforces their Islamophobia agenda or Iranophobia agenda?

Conclusion:

There is an infinite wisdom in each and every teachings of Islam, sometimes beyond human’s apprehension. There are rulings which prescribes a person’s minimum age for  (eg puberty, etc.). It’s abnormal for a parent to marry their adopted child, but there’s no restriction. There are defined criteria and rights for both the adopters and the adoptee. Similarly, no marriage is valid unless both parties (husband and wife) agree, along with the witness and guardian.

 

Sources and further readings:

http://www.muftitaqiusmani.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23:adoption-of-a-child-in-islam&catid=9:miscellaneous&Itemid=18

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=135420

Banning gay socialization website in Pakistan


This post in response to the following news:

http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-blocks-un-islamic-gay-website-111013254.html

Again an exceptional/sensational news, but before people concur something incorrect, I thought I should clarify. The site claims to promote interaction (socialization) among homosexuals. How does that promote Information, Freedom, Equal Rights, is mind boggling.  An extreme example would be, to allow serial killers or pedophiles, to act as per their natural desire and let them socialize with people of similar mental tendencies, so they can plan together such crime 🙂 There are so many lustful desires, and practices we’re prohibited from, for our own good eg gambling, alcohol, adultery, sodomy, fortune-telling, etc. Shouldn’t we be treating the homosexuals’ condition, solace them, and tell them to abstain from same-sex acts (instead have patience), which is prohibited by God and termed as extremely abhorrent/disgusting? We know for a fact, its implication to the society and marital life in particular, if left open to everyone’s desire is fatal.

Sodom and Gomorrah and the Prophet Lut (pbuh) and Pompeii city

Have we forgot Islamic teachings of Prophet Lot (pbuh) and the story of cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is similar to the story as shared in the Old Testament of the Bible. We learn of an entire nation which was destroyed by God due to their obscene behavior, which included rampant homosexuality. The disaster that befell Sodom and Gomorrah is very similar to the disaster that destroyed Pompeii, in Naples, Italy. Yet, our ignorant society named a high-class restaurants as Pompeii and takes a pride eating there, forgetting that the destruction of Pompeii came by means of the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius, which is a symbol of Italy, primarily the city of Naples. Remaining silent for the last two millennia, Vesuvias is named the ‘mount of warning’. It is not without cause that Vesuvias is known as such. The lava and ash of a huge volcanic eruption, that happened two millennia ago, caught the inhabitants of that city so suddenly that everything in the town was caught in the middle of everyday life and remains today exactly as it was two millennia ago. The historical records show that the city was exactly a center of dissipation and perversity. The most interesting aspect of the event is that nobody escaped despite the terrible violence of the eruption of Vesuvias. It is almost like they did not even notice the catastrophe, as if they were charmed.  Numerous petrified couples were found in the act of intercourse. The most interesting thing is that there were couples of the same sex and couples of young boys and young girls. The faces of some of the petrified human corpses unearthed from Pompeii were unharmed. The general expression on those faces was bewilderment.

Every Religion Abhors Homosexuality

We must also not forget that homosexual relations, acts or behaviour are illegal in almost every muslim country (with varying punishments), including Pakistan, Saudi, UAE, Iran, etc. Almost every western country does not allow such relationship officially. All the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions—from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam—condemn and forbid homosexuality. The great majority of rabbis hold the same position, as do the Pope and the DalaĂŻ Lama, who condemns homosexuality. For these traditions, homosexuality is considered to be “against nature,” an “expression of disequilibrium” in the growth of a person. The moral condemnation of homosexuality remains the majority opinion of all religions, and Islam is no exception. It would be senseless to wish to deny the facts, to contradict the textual sources and to force believers to perform intellectual contortions so that they can prove they are in tune with the times.

Quran: 

Homosexuality is not allowed in Islam. There are various verses in Quran where Allah clearly says about Homosexuality.

“We also (sent) Lut: he said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? “For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” – Holy Quran 7:80-81

“Of all the creatures in the world will ye approach males”. “And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!” – Holy Quran 26:165-166

The end result for not giving up homosexuality was the destruction of entire cities

“When Our decree issued We turned (the cities) upside down and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay spread layer on layer Marked as from thy Lord: nor are they ever far from those who do wrong!”- Holy Quran 11:82-83

Further reading & sources:

Short: http://kaheel7.com/eng/index.php/unseen-miracles/410-scientific-signs-in-the-story-of-prophet-qlutq

Detailed: http://harunyahya.com/en/Books/3038/the-prophet-abraham-(pbuh)-and/chapter/3514

wikiislam.net/wiki/Islam_and_Homosexuality

Don’t Ignore These 5 Virtual Communication Rules


Quite useful tips for our virtual conversations.

Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

miscommunicationsMiscommunications is still one of the main problems in the workplace.  Heck, it might be one of the main problems in life.  Add the inability to see a person’s reactions and expressions first hand, and you have an even larger potential for misunderstanding of what the other person is trying to tell you.  Email, texting, phone calls and teleconferences all miss the visual cues that we are used to and that help us understand what someone is ‘really’ saying to us.

The New Media Consortium, in a white paper titled “Social Networking, The “Third Place,” and The Evolution of Communications,” (2007) said that the lack of the “visual component” in virtual communications has created both challenges and opportunities when it comes to the new environments of communications. I agree with that. Though we may lose body cues when we are not face to face with someone (seeing someone’s ‘body’ helps us understand whether the other person is listening…

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AIR FILTERS: Houseplants that clean your air


politicalconnection

  1. Hedera_helix_Leaves_3008pxPeace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii). Removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Native to the rainforests of central and south American, this plant needs a shady spot.
  2. Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures). Removes formaldehyde. A very tough vine that grows to massive proportions in its native habitat. In the home it prefers bright, indirect light and moist soil.
  3. Snake_plantEnglish ivy (Hedera helix). Removes formaldehyde. This pretty vine is a bit more difficult to grow, preferring cool, moist and humid conditions which are not typical of a home.
  4. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium). Removes benzene and formaldehyde. Can produce colorful flowers when placed in direct sunlight.
  5. Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii). Removes benzene and trichloroethylene. Like the chrysanthemum, it needs direct sunlight to produce its pretty flowers.
  6. Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’). Removes formaldehyde. A striking, low-maintenance plants that thrives in low light and more humid conditions.
  7. Rhododendron_simsii_Bamboo…

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India Pakistan war hysteria


AMART177.pvw-India_Pk

I don’t like the way media terms India as enemy (‘dushman’) and Pakistan likewise (by the Indian media).  Let’s find where did this enmity started and who wants to keep it that way.

Origin: 

If I try to simplify the history, the enmity began with the struggle for freedom in Hindustan, by Muslims and Hindus separately. Many incidents of fighting among the passionate freedom movements happened, which eventually resulted in large scale communal riots and killings (mostly because of misunderstanding and emotional sentiments). During partition, it was further aggravated by a large scale injustice in the division of land and resources among the two countries, while India and Pakistan were created. Many Muslims were left behind in India, while many Hindus got stuck in Pakistan.  Both countries accepted to such division eventually, except Kashmir, which remained disputed. That was later followed by full-scale wars till 2-3 decades to follow. Kashmir became the catalyst to keep the war hysteria active till today.

Current State: 

You’d ask:

If we had to fight on like this, why was the need in the first place, to make India and Pakistan as separate countries?

The idea to have a separate country, was coined under the aegis of two-nation theory, because Hindus and Muslims have different faiths and lifestyles and it was not easy for ordinary Muslim and hindu residents of Hindustan, to live together while practicing their faith with freedom. But this enmity which has followed after 60 years of separation of borders, does not make any sense.

Psychological Reasons:

Both of the countries’ leaders made it as their ego and into a national pride, to compete with each other in almost every front. With the advent of cold-war era, our fighting also transformed into secret battles and conspiracies against each other. Take an example of Kashmir issue. None of us, dared to solve it, as it could mean compromising on national pride, if somehow one forgo something to the other country. Nobody cares about the people’s plight against the oppression, in Kashmir. We fight just like kids, as we do tit-for-tat. One side finds a hearsay that one of their soldier is killed by the enemy at the border, the other side next day kills two of their soldiers and it has continued on, till 60 plus years. Yes, it is as simple as that, if you think about it.

Financial & Geo-Political Reasons:

There are some who directly or indirectly benefit from this hate/fighting between us. Obvious one is the Armed Forces in both countries, they enjoy elitist position in both countries. Of course, there are external parties as well, who are benefiting from this infighting in the sub-continent. US, UK, France, Russia, China and Israel are some of the major contributors of arms sale to India and Pakistan respectively, where our governments spend most of our fortune (hard earned money of the people) on armed forces, which is in billions of dollars. Both India and Pakistan fall within top 15 highest importer of defence equipments in the world.

What! I thought we are the poor nations ? Yes, but Pakistan spends $7 billion (2012) and India $46 billion (2012) in defense yearly. Compare that with their poverty level, where 33% of Indians live under $2 a day, that’s a whopping 363 million (363,000,000) people, while 22% in Pakistan, that’s again 39 million (39, 000, 000) people.

Country

Defense Spending (2012)

People dying of Hunger (Living on $2 a day)

India

$46,000,000,000

363,000,000

Pakistan

$7,000,000,000

39,000,000

Also note what other countries are spending in defense:  US $711 billion, China $143 billion, Russia $71 billion, UK $63 billion and France $62 billion per year (2012). So, it’s not just us, the hysteria is worldwide phenomena as well. Then there are countries with vested geopolitical interest in South Asian region, so they provide aid, equipment or make sanctions etc. to promote their interests.

Solution:

Did we not learn anything from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who forgave the person who has killed Hamzah (RA), who was his beloved uncle. After killing him, she opened his chest and torn his liver and heart into pieces, but when she came to Muhammad (pbuh) to embrace Islam, he did not say anything but forgave her.

Did we forget how he forgave people, to end centuries old blood feuds and animosity.

Both of our religions (Islam and Hinduism) does not have any provision to kill the people of other faith. So, all this hate, fighting, murders and conspiracies are against the teachings of our respective religions. We are not supposed to have a malign thought about others in our mind. We are not supposed to harm anyone, hurt their feelings. There’s no concept of nationalism or countries in Islam or pride for that matter, is highly discouraged. There’s only one nation as Muslim ummah and one identify as Muslim.

Because of our ignorance about all these teachings, it’s so easy for us, to fall prey to the external forces, who fuel us to hate each other for the slightest misunderstanding. Remember the recent incidents at our borders and how the media and thus the people got enraged against each other. Such language and hate would only strengthened the need for defence on both sides of the border. India is far more bigger and mightier in scale and they are much more smart in many respects than Pakistan, but when it comes to this fighting, it’s no different than Pakistan or Pakistan’s government and its leaders. The world is laughing at us, when in this age, we fight for trivial reasons.

Conclusion:

Both are wasting their energies in hate in futile – destruction. Time to accept our differences and our realities. There is no point in fighting, well, that’s not a rocket science. Any one side can be smart and take the precedence in making a goodwill gesture and forgive all previous acts of other (no matter if proven or not) and embrace with clear heart. It’s time to move on cordially.

Sources:

http://www.artizans.com/images/previews/AMART177.pvw.jpg