It is not patriotism, dummy

If you’ve followed the tit-for-tat escalation of India and Pakistan recently, resulting from growing public protest in Kashmir territory, further aggravated by the media, patriotism on both sides of the border got reinvigorated. Thanks to the hate-mongering leadership of India, equally reciprocated by the ultra-nationalists of Pakistan.

If patriotism is genuine, here are simple litmus test questions to prove that:

  1. 1. Would you throw garbage outside the perceived boundary of your own property (house) or a car or shop or office? Meaning, as if outside your property is enemy territory (not your country). Keep it littered, dusty and insanitary, it doesn’t matter me but my country folks.
  2. Given a chance, would you flee out of country for good? Majority of the population would probably. Because we aren’t ready for sacrificing our personal or family life, at the expense of correcting issues of the country.
  3. You cheat everyone everyday, as if they’re your enemy and not Pakistani. You hike prices during Ramazan (holy month), for your fellow nationals, that you boast to die for. Because actually you don’t give a damn about the people.
  4. You ignore open gutters daily, step on newly carpeted or cemented road, steal street lights and don’t care a bit about public property (which is Pakistan’s property), because it does not belong to you or any other person but Pakistan. And Pakistan mean nothing to you, you let it be.
  5. You can check our true patriotism, by looking at the condition of government buildings and everything that they use. Their punctuality at work, sense of public service and not doing your job are typical behavior. You consider government job as a free money without doing any work, because you think there’s no one at loss except the country paying you the salary or the damage done is only to Pakistan. Pakistan’s property or money means free property, because we don’t give a damn about Pakistan.
  6. You vote your feudal lords, in fear of poverty, prosecution and hunger, or you vote based on racism to support your community, disregarding the fact how much that helped the politicians destroy the country. So, without education, we’ve lost our patriotism as well.

I know there are some good, educated and patriotic people left in Pakistan, but majority seems a sad case. So, when majority chants jingoistic slogans in favor of Pakistan and against India, that doesn’t make me feel any happier but scared. Because I know, it’s not driven by the love of your country, but the hate and revenge against others. The most patriotic people would be our army-men, because they can’t survive without it.

That’s why I’m not moved by any such empty rhetoric on either side of the border, trying to rally public hate in the guise of patriotism. It’s same old tactic of hate and fear to garner public support for wars on both sides of the borders. Read my other post (India and Pakistan – War Hysteria), how poor these two countries are and how much they spend on defense for the past 6 decades instead.

Probably, it’s just as they say: ‘Dash bakhth ka nasha’?  (from hindi movie)

Education! Education, first, not even patriotism.

Warm bed in winters

It has started to be colder here. I’m lying in the comfort of my bed, under warm blanket, writing this. I just recalled a night, while in picnic long time back, at some farmhouse and I remember there were too many people and during sleep time, there were less bed to accomodate. So, everyone sought whatever space they can get – corner of a bed or cushion or sofa or carpet. I ended up on carpet as well. The unusual part was that, it was winter and we didn’t have enough sheets or blankets to cover us during sleep. It didn’t feel that cold during talking or activities together, we were fine without using overcoats or covers. But I remember, while sleeping, I had really hard time sleeping. As by nature we need to be on warm before we can sleep. As you know, our body temperature drops during sleep, so that we relax easily and rest. And only then, I could relate to the fact, how poor people would sleep daily, many under the open sky. Always cherish what you have and always be thankful and try helping others with whatever resources you’re blessed with. Be comfy! Happy winter!

The sound of falling left or right

Find if you’re left brain or right brain mostly:


“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” ~ Albert Einstein

pedalpower65 / 22 hours ago

Daniel H. Pink, author of several bestselling books about the changing work world, drew on international research regarding left brainers vs. right brainers and compiled it in his book A Whole New Mind.

“The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, is sequential, specializes in text, and analyzes the details,” writes Pink. “The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, is simultaneous, specializes in context, and synthesizes the big picture.”

Lead Life Institute’s founder and author of Right Brain/Left Brain Leadership and Right Brain/Left Brain President Dr. Mary Lou Décosterd further describes the differences between right and left brainers: “You could say that left brainers are more focused on the here and now.They are more verbal, tangible (need to see it to…

View original post 525 more words

Hate > Divide > Fight > Enslave > Rule – Simple ?

Hatred leads to Division, which leads to Fighting, that makes you weaker, which leads to your Enslavement and then finally, you are Ruled. This is a fairly simple strategy, known as “Divide & Rule” (said to be used by Philip II, King of Macedon (back in 382-336 BC), but I guess it is part of human nature, that humans fall for it rather easily. As the conspirators started to use the strategy, some 1000 years ago, and unfortunately, it still works in the 21st century. It’s human nature, that people tend to get emotional and angry with the differing views. Everyone wants to convince others, he/she is right. I think, the biggest challenge we face today, is the authenticity of information (thanks to – Disinformation). That is the root cause of all the arguments, fights and wars. Every party believes in the opposite, to be true. But the problem arises, when everyone tries to convince its version to others and specially use force later on. If we accept the fact that it is fairly difficult to get to the absolute truth, even if you do, others might not necessarily believe you, so why can’t you live together peacefully while still having different opinions ? Instead of arguing and fighting ?

divide and rule

Never underestimate the power of hate and divide & conquer conspirators. It specially works when people are ignorant about their fundamentals and go with the flow. Read the history – Jews vs Christians, vs Muslims, Israeli vs. Palestinians, Democrats vs. Republicans, South vs. North Korea, East vs. West Germany, Shia vs. Sunni, white vs. black, Arab vs. Non-arabs, India vs. Pakistan and so on. If you read history, you know very well, what was the outcome of that division and hate. And many of these divisions exists today, which makes me wonder, we still fall for it naively. We are same human being, created by the same God (we call by different names). It is very simple, as long as you know, you are hating, you are at a loss.

If I apply it to Pakistan, Establishment couldn’t misuse ruling powers, if the nation (us) live together in peace (without hate). I won’t name here, but there are so many examples, like TV hosts, Singers, Politicians, Cricket players, sects, being hated so ruthlessly, that actually compelled me to write this blog post. We were taught to follow the straight path, as prescribed by Quran and Hadith, but instead of reading that, we make difference out of our free will, judgement and desires and end up being stupidly enslaved eventually, at the hands of few people on earth. It has become almost popular culture to hate certain people here. Indeed one stark difference, between West and us, we fall rather easily for hate. Let’s try to hate less, as a starter, shall we…

love hate

Love and hate has complete different directions. Lets stop hate and start loving people. Even if you think, someone is bad, let’s stop hating them, instead love their good characteristics and instead appreciate good people more. Find common terms among yourself and ignore the differences. Rest assured, you will see the change yourself, where you will have peace and unity and nobody would be able to fool you around or subdue you, when you are one and stand for each other.

Love more and hate less!

Iftar buffet dinners in Ramazan – Extravagance ?

June 2010: I thought that over the years, with so much awareness through media (including social media), people would be avoiding lavish ‘iftars’ (breaking fast at sunset) dinners during ramazan. 

I was invited by a friend to meet in the evening and have iftaar cum dinner together, at a hotel. I reached there around an hour early, but there was a long queue of cars to enter, some of which were worth 10 times my car and full of people, took me 15 minutes in the queue. Gave the car to the valet and entered to see my friend. While I was waiting at the lobby, I saw many people around. It turned out, there is some corporate invitation and one restaurant was completely booked for it. Here comes my friend, excited, greeted and hugged, since we met after quite some time. It was very nice seeing him. He took me inside one restaurant downstairs, but we were stopped at the entrance, asking for a booking. It was a fairly large restaurant, but was fully booked. Then, my friend used his selling skills and somehow managed to convince the manager and we got the table for 2 at the corner, btw he was staying at this hotel as well. Minutes later, the whole restaurants was filled with families and children and it became so noisy. We grabbed some food, I started off with my favourite starter for ‘iftaar’ – Pakora (anyways most favourite dish for iftaar). Then added some ‘channa chaat’ (chickpeas mix), fruit chaat and ‘dahi baray‘ and returned to our table, where ‘Rooh Afza – sharbat (common drink from flowers) and other drinks were already placed for us.

Here’s a how a typical home-made ifar dishes looks like. I have labeled each item. They are the most common dishes used in Iftar in Pakistan.

typical iftar dishes karachi

I hardly saw people saying duwa (prayers), as it was actually high time for prayers getting accepted. Instead everyone was running, to grab his/her favourite food in time to bring on the table 🙂  Some, were running to enter the restaurants, as they must have got late in the traffic. I saw many people sitting alone on the table, as if their dates have ditched them 🙂 , but actually they were waiting for others to join (who might be stuck in the traffic). ‘Azaan’ (call for prayer) said, at the time of sunset, and we break fast, start eating dates and then the food we had brought. Many people entered the restaurant as late as 20 minutes, past the time of iftar. I thought, there would be many people from companies, but they were mostly families.

Obviously, it is an amazing feeling of having the luxury of eating anything you want (buffet of 50+ dishes), after 16 hours of fasting (not eating). Everyone, including myself wanted to eat as much as possible, or at least taste everything. However, soon everyone realizes that after eating 5-6 items, you feel completely full. And then you overeat, when you want to eat, while your stomach is full. Additionally, everyone wants to make the most of the occasion and make the most of their money spent.

The per head cost of the buffet dinner was Rs 1700 and we were discussing, there are around 1000 people, which means Rs. 1.7 million is spent in just two hours, in one restaurant and we were astounded ourselves at the figure.

While driving back home, I started to reflect back on the event. Fasting (one of the obligatory ritual in Islam) is supposed to instill a desire to help those who are less fortunate, by sharing food and wealth with them.  I thought, we learn to sacrifice our hunger for the will of God,  learn patience, learn to abstain from all evil acts and control our desires, and specially learn, how it feels like to be hungry and better relate to the poor, who can only eat one or two times a day. This way we would appreciate the blessing of God, who has provided us with food and resources sufficiently or abundantly. It’s a month for us to be humble and give charity. Then, I compared my friend paid Rs 1700 per person for that meal (yeah he insisted on treating me:). Imagine, there are around 200 such restaurants in Karachi and almost all would be full in the same way. So, 200 restaurants times say 200 average capacity, times Rs1000 average cost, which means we spend Rs. 40 million in just one day in Karachi, in fact one meal and that is on a lower side estimate.

Imagine, if I multiply it with 30 days of Ramazan – Rs.1,200,000,000 (1.2 billion), money we spent in eating one meal in Ramazan in Karachi ??

I had started food charity drive with friends, for the past 5 months, where we provide poor people with dinner for Rs. 5, while it cost us Rs. 30. So, for Rs. 1.7m a day, I can feed around 1.3 million poor a day. We could virtually eliminate hunger in the country, in a month. Now compare this, the charity food is healthy, and filling and cost Rs 30, while we ate at a lavish restaurant by spending Rs 1700 (we spent 5600% more). Do you still think, it is not extravagance and you will not be questioned by God, how you spent the money, that ‘He’ provided. Everyone is tested in this world, different test for rich and different for the poor. Rich naturally, are accountable more, as they are given more, more power, money, resources, children etc, another reason, I tend not to have more.

Let’s look at some of the crazy facts of Ramazan:

  • Almost everyone say, we gain weight during ramazan ? What,Gain! After staying away from food for 15 hours out of 24 hours daily, you gain weight ? Fasting month 😳
  • Price for food items increases, during the month of ramazan ? I thought, we are supposed to fast whole day, ie not eat and there would be less demand for food overall. Then, how come the price increases ?
  • People make quarrels in the market while buying food items and specially while driving close to the hour of iftaar, in order to reach on time st home. What quarrel ? Isn’t the basic idea of ramazan was patience in the first place? 

Money spent by rich vs money available to the poor. And then we wonder, why there is so much poverty, why there is so much hunger, why there is so much unrest in the society, why there is so much inequality and why there is so much hate? Aren’t we inflicting injustice in the society ourselves, this way. Spending wastefully in food is just one example. How do we spend on clothing, cars, homes, furniture and the list is never ending. First we accumulate money and stash it, to accumulate it. Then, we spend it wastefully. Aren’t we told to keep the money in circulation. Aren’t we told to distribute the money among poor, aren’t we told to pay zakat (2.5% of our savings) and aren’t we told to spend wisely from the wealth, God has entrusted us ? Then, these facts must not be surprising, when we follow all social customs of iftar, while ignoring the teachings and principles of Ramazan and Fasting, how could we possibly get the benefit of Fasting  – both spiritual and worldly.

Here are some background quotes, supporting these points, from Quran:

“Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. ” Quran 17:21

Meaning in this world, so that some are rich and some are poor, and others are in between. Poor will be tested for their patience, while rich will be tested for how they use God’s bounties.

“Truly, your Lord expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills).” Quran 17:30 

This verse is telling us that God is the One Who provides or withholds, the Bestower Who is running the affairs of His creation as He wills. He makes rich whomever He wills, and He makes poor whomever He wills, by the wisdom that is His.

“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying and going round the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifin (those who waste by extravagance).” (Quran 7:31, Surah Al-A’raf)  

Explanation: There were people who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked, and Allah ordered them to take adornment, meaning, wear clean, proper clothes that cover the private parts. people were commanded to wear their best clothes when performing every prayer. Hadith: “Eat what you wish and wear what you wish, as long as you avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance.” Prophet said: “The Son of Adam will not fill a pot worse for himself than his stomach. It is enough for the Son of Adam to eat a few bites that strengthens his spine. If he likes to have more, then let him fill a third with food, a third with drink and leave a third for his breathing.”

“And give to the kinsman (relatives) his due & to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer (traveller).”  

According to Prophet Muhammad (saw): “Your mother and your father, then your closest relatives and the next closest.”

But spend not wastefully in the manner of a spendthrift (extravagance). Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.”

(17:26 , 27 & 28 Surah Al-Isra’, Qur’an)

So, these are some points I was thinking about and wanted to share. Btw, I wrote a blog earlier, if you want to read as well, on similar topic: Extravagance or ‘Israaf’ something we need to be careful about

Want to learn more about Fasting or Ramadan:

Extravagance or ‘Israaf’ something we need to be careful about

I remember, someone gave me Rs. 10,000 (=$100) for food charity (food distribution to the poor, I run with my friends). Some 300 poor people satisfied their hunger for one time, with that much money. Imagine, how many had their meals with Rs. 26,000 (=$260) and so on. But the point is, we can easily spend Rs.10,000 in a group of 8 people, for one meal at any buffet (eg iftaar, lunch or dinner), so compare that with a meal for 300 people.

Extravagance – is to exceed the limits of what is required or what is customary. We should not spend wastefully in the manner of the spendthrift. Eat and drink but not waste by extravagance. As you know, extravagants are considered the brother of evil. And we should also not be miser, in fact when we spend, we should neither be extravagant nor niggardly (scrimy), but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes). It does not relate to food or eating, instead we should avoid being extravagant in all matters, eg in drinking, clothing, conversation, spending, sleeping, hygiene, laughing, joking, praising, criticism, prayers (ibadat), in fact we should choose the path of moderation in virtually every part of our life. The method of determining whether or not an action is extravagant is to consider whether it exceeds what is needed or exceeds what is customarily regarded by the people to be within acceptable limits or common in the society or people with your same stature.

If we (blessed to be rich) observe these practices in our life, there would not be this much of a poverty in our neighbourhood, cities, countries and planet earth, that we see today,  the extreme economic disparity in our society. If everyone abstains from excesses or lavish lifestyle and instead share extra money to the less privileged and thus does his/her part in charity, according to his/her capacity, we would have removed poverty and hunger from the world and it would be a lot happier place. Bless you all!

Some quotes on this:

In everything the middle course is best: All things in excess bring trouble to men.
Titus Maccius Plautus

The passion of acquiring riches in order to support a vain expense, corrupts the purest souls.
Francis De S.Fenelon

A bedroom requires a bed. Everything else was extravagance. Well, he had a bed all right.
Audrey Meadows

If extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods.

An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.
Bern Williams

He who buys what he needs not, sells what he needs.
Japanese Proverb
Prodigality is indeed the vice of a weak nature, as avarice is of a strong one; it comes of a weak craving for those blandishments of the world which are easily to be had for money.
Sir Henry Taylor

Appreciate more and discourage less

It’d be better if appreciate more and hate less. One of the reasons we produce less heroes because, we do the opposite. We take heroes for granted, while they dwindle in the rat race, and instead we rebuke underperformers so immensely, that many do not dare to try, out of possible backlash into stone age. I’m not just talking about musicians here..

Experience being old, before being old


You wonder how life would be like when you’re old. Observe when you’re ill, eg fever, how do you feel:

  • You feel weak, loss of strength to take any initiative
  • You get a break from worldly affairs, and finally get time for yourself, but you lack energy to do things to pass time now.
  • You try to sleep, sleep and sleep, to overcome this condition or to pass time, but that too leaves you on your own
  • You don’t want a delicious food, as it all tastes the same and you eat just because it’s time to eat
  • You take medicines to make your body do normal things, which used to work just fine that you never cared about and now you need it to – normalize body temperature, normalize breathing pattern and normalize digestion process.
  • You get upset for no reason, you try to be angry, but you lack energy.
  • You cherish your loved ones more and well wishers
  • You tend to spend more time with your loved ones
  • You lose interest in worldly affairs and the hustle-bustle and you want calm and serenity.
  • You have to take help from others, which otherwise you do yourself
  • You do not have energy to control everything happening around you and agree to go with everything (that you previously disliked)
  • You realise how powerless you are that you can’t even control your body temperature, if that just increases 3-4 degrees
  • You think about life as a whole, what you did and what you should have done or shouldn’t have
  • and finally you wait getting out of this condition…

Now, you can read these points again, thinking as if you are old (and not ill) and you will realize that, it’s what you’ll feel when you get old, except the last point, where you would not want to get out of this condition, since the next stage is death, which again is also a big reality every human would taste, yet we tend to forget, while being strong, healthy and powerful.  Think!

Image sources:–could-be-hangover-or-illness.jpg

Pricing in today’s market – Seller is the King

While reading today’s newspaper, I noticed two ads, which resulted in an inspiration for this blog.

I saw following ad of Samsung Galaxy S4, considered top of the line smartphone, at a price of Rs. 72,000.


Then I noticed following, the offer of new Sony LCD 46′ TV, which is considered top of the line TV, for Rs. 59,899. 


Now, compare the price of a 46 inches TV for 60,000 versus a 4 inches Smartphone for 72,000. I am not sure about the exact cost of manufacturing each of these items, but from it’s size, it certainly tells,  that cost is the not the driving factor for selling price, but it’s largely dependant on demand & supply relation. In fact it is that invisible ‘value’ (what we call as brand image), that becomes the driving force. It is not as bad, at this stage.

But, if you take into account the underlying facts, that in today’s largely oligopoly market, only few large players govern the market, while the consumers have a weak say, or you can say, we have a disruption of free-market economy today. Smartphones market today is in fact a duopoly market, controlled by Apple and Samsung, with 98% market share of smart and feature phones. They are able to survive, as they leverage their broad penetration in the horizontal smartphones supply chain, which allows them greater profitability against their competitors, who are only assembling. It becomes fairly hard, if not impossible, for other players to compete with equal opportunity, in such a situation.

Although, Islam promotes free-market economy and does not allow price control, so that both seller’s and buyers interest is protected, and there’s no injustice. But to ensure that skilled market operators do not take any advantage of an unsuspecting customer’s ignorance and naivety, for example, in situations like that of duopoly, where consumer interest is hurt, price control becomes important.  But such price control again is allowed, when we are talking about commodities which are necessities, and I am sure, smartphones are far from it.

So, we have to live with TV for Rs. 60, 000 and Smartphone for Rs.70,000, while we know that chipsets and display screens are the most expensive items.

Seller is always right ! 🙂


Women exploitation in a Islamic republic

Why is the majority of women from rural side of Pakistan  (a major portion), migrate to the urban cities to earn their living and to sustain their family and their male counterparts (husbands), who mostly sit idle at home ? The concept of ‘maasi’ (literal meaning – maternal aunt, but actually referred to as domestic servant), is pretty common in all cities of Pakistan, where women are exploited as cheap labor (in the informal domestic labor industry), ignoring ethical, civil and islamic rights of women and working-women. Many of such girls are minor as well, who should not be doing such physical labor in the first place and is unlawful, by civil or islamic standards.

Rural to urban migration is an established phenomenon, and growing number of women are joining in the flow of labour to the cities. Although, it is a major issue around the world, but more so in developing countries, where women lack awareness about their rights and there’s acute poverty in the country. According to the HDI, 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, which is like 100 million people. There are so many such evils cropping up in the society, because of poverty and division between haves and have-nots. Karachi had the most migrant women workers (40%) among those surveyed. (Siddiqui et al 2006a: 47). According to the available data, there are 20 million home-based workers in the country of which 12 million are women. There are no laws for home-based workers in Pakistan.

When Islam obligates men to be the breadwinner and women to take care of family and house affairs, staying indoors, and each doing work according to their respective natural capacities, it’s simply lack of education, which cause the society to act exactly opposite, to both nature and Islam.

Even if women earns, they’re not obliged to spend a single penny on the family, if she chooses not to, other than on herself.  Islam upholds several times higher respect to women, in comparison to man.

Which religion are these people following ? Is that the religion of ignorance !

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was once asked who amongst all the people was the most worthy of his respect and compassion . He replied “your mother”; the man wanted to know who should be next, he said “your mother”. The man enquired, who next?, he replied for the third time “your mother”, again the man asked who next? He replied “your father”.

Dr. Zakir Naik says on the topic “Women in Islam“: iii. If a woman earns any income from investments or works or engages in business during her marital life, the income is entirely hers and she is not entitled to spend a single penny on the household. She can spend it in any legitimate manner as she may desire.”

Poverty and lack of awareness (education) are the main causes that compel women to go out of their homes and look for jobs like domestic servants (house maids). Though, they’re being exploited back in the rural areas as well, where many work under the feudal lords, in return for no money, but just a land to live in. Of course there are various other factors for women migrating to cities and stories how they’re eventually treated in the cities, but I’ll keep this post to one point, that is their exploitation, as house maids (‘maasis’) in the cities.

Sources & Further Readings: