Dawood Public School and the “controversial “course

The recent matter that has been made into a ridiculous controversy by the media is the case of Dawood Public School, Karachi.

The issue was created due to the syllabus that is being taught at the School, which contains material about human body and how it works, or to be more specific, “knowledge” about how the human reproductive system works. This has gotten a lot of criticism by 2 families, due to which their children were then expelled from the school, only to be taken later on. The name of the students include Alina Salman, Maheen Salman, Rabia Merchant and Aisha Merchant.

The more so called labeled secular media has played his part in simply ignoring the issue, while the more fundamentalist one has had a field day with it. They have only bothered showing one side of the “controversy”.

The blogs are also busy simply showing one side of the story and not much has been said about what the other side is.

An eye-witness who is also a teacher at the School had this to say about what happened, and how the parents, that have been made out to be the victims by the print media,  so far reacted.

The parents actually attacked the teachers and the students. They bought a maulvi with them and he was constantly giving fatwas. They even snatched the scarfs off the staff members, screaming that if you are teaching such sort of course then you should not be pretending to be so righteous. The mother and the female member of the families attacked the female staff and even the kids.

This is what was done by the so called righteous parents at the school and to the teacjers. Apparently all Islamic values and teachings went out of the window when they were attacking the female staff of the school.

Now to balance out the argument and tell you the other side too. Lets suppose that the school is wrong, that what they are teaching is preposterous and should be banned immediately. Okay sure. But what if tomorrow they decide to become doctors, what then? For to see things in the near-future, what if they decide to take biology as their subject in O-Levels. Now you cant expect that University of Cambridge would be changing their course for 2 families right?This is what their course includes Continue reading

The consequences of the War Technology

In my philosophy course, there was once a discussion about how the recent developments in the War technologies has made war more easy and horrendous.. not only from a technology point of view but also from a Psychological point of view.My teacher argued that now since we don’t get to see the impact of our action, the impact of killing a person is dramatically less than it might have been, lets say in the Crusades.

Last night during watching Vantage point there was a scene when the terrorist Mastermind is able to shoot at the President, make a bomb go away all while simply sitting somewhere and it makes one realize that war and attacks simply have become too easy now to make happen. They don’t require a guilt factor and they don’t make you suffer over killing someone since you are so far away that you are able to disassociate yourself with the reality of the ground.

The argument against this can always be that the media is now there to provide us with the visual link to what is happening far away and that we can see the impact literally unfolding before our eyes. That is true. It was much clear during the recent Palestine Conflict and it was therefore that there was such a huge support for the Palestine Cause and such a pressure to stop the attacks and they did work in making the conflict stop.

Btu then it is also the choice of the media what it chooses to show or not. Such a case in point is the drone attacks that have been happening in the North of our country, Pakistan for almost an year now. The drone attacks have killed more innocent people then thy have the terrorist and thus now brewing the new threat of a new wave of terrorist as a reaction to this.

The media however has not given much attention to this and thus although the headlines with a Google map showing the area of attack is visible to us but not the actual scene of the disaster is ever transmitted to us. Maybe that is why the cause “STOP THE DRONE ATTACKS” hasn’t been able to catch much dynamics. Continue reading

KARACHI: Park, road named after Rehman ‘Dakait’

KARACHI, Aug 21: The Lyari Town Council on Friday passed two resolutions with a majority vote to name Gabol Park and Tannery Road after Sardar Abdul Rehman Baloch, popularly known as ‘Rehman Dakait’ who was recently killed in mysterious circumstances.

The council met under the chairmanship of its convener Naib Nazim Jamal Hyder and paid tribute to Sardar Rehman’s efforts towards restoration of peace and elimination of crime in Lyari.

Town Nazim Mahmood Hashim said Sardar Rehman Baloch was punished for helping the authorities maintain law and order and eliminating the drug menace and crime in Lyari. “He was a Baloch who had set up peace committees in the town,” he said, attributing a sharp decline in the crime rate in the town to the committees called the people’s peace committees.

The nazim demanded an impartial inquiry into the controversial “police encounter” that resulted in the death of Rehman.—APP

The orignal post can be read at http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/local/karachi-park%2C-road-named-after-rehman-dakait-289)

Chitti Hatia

I got the chance to watch the film “Chitti Hatia” or White Shops by Sharad Sharma, as it was being screened today at the Audio Visual Department, organized by Department of Visual Studies.

The Poster of the film "Chitti Hattia"

The Poster of the film "Chitti Hattia"

The film was simply an effort of Bitto Shah to find the ancestral pre-partition  home of his family in the area of Chitti Hatia, in Rawalpindi. The film can at best be described as the emotional search of a man. As from the point of view of story, it doesn’t contribute anything concrete, or anything new that people haven’t heard or seen before. At best, rather than being called a film it should have been called a page from some one’s diary.

The techniques of the film are nothing unique. The film has simply been shot at a handycam. And it should be acknowledged that they used every mean that they had with them to tell of their experience.

The film in itself has nothing new to offer, except maybe the emotions of a man determined to fulfill his fathers last wish, and the desperate search of that house in a country which has changed drastically since 1947. It gives an insight about how an artifical partition destroyed the homes and families of so many people.. yet nothing new.

I think the only powerful thing about the movie is the raw emotions that reaches out of the screen to touch you and make you realize that the pain of the partition has been felt by both sides for a much more longer time than we like to acknowledge.

Or maybe it is just about finding your roots. I guess that is the most important thing in the end.. finding out where are you coming from and wher are you going.. And it is a search that we are all a part of!

Independence in Perspective!

Since the last few days, I had been after my parents that this year we are going to put up a flag, since Independence Day is right around the corner. This was something that I had long stopped doing for reasons that I just couldn’t remember at that moment, but some how I really wanted to do it a lot.

Today, the 13th of August 2009, in the university the spirits of patriotism were high and everyone was in full swing. There were flags, and songs and people dancing and parades coming to the main event from every department. It seemed like everyone was immersed in this pride that they had in their country… oh, and it worked wonders on  my guilt that I still don’t have a flag!!

But then I started looking around. And I realized that there was  a separate celebration being conducted by the Jamiat crowd, the student wing of Jamat-i-Islami, and a separate one by PSF, student wing of People Party. I guess they got the honor this year to conduct the big event since their party is in government.

How was this in anyway true to the spirit of Independence or what our founding fathers said? Every where you would banners marketing the message of “Unity, Faith, and Discipline” but where is it to be found? If it is not even present in our universities, the very place where we are taught this message, before we enter in to the professional world of vultures and cut-throats, then where else will it be displayed?

In our own department of Visual Studies, in the name of Independence Program, we sang the national anthem and then we put up a flag that had been made by our very own department. I appreciate the effort and it was very nice to have a huge flag hanging that had been made by our own students, but after the program all that they had in the name of celebration was dancing, and singing and then finally deciding to head out to Arena.

Is this all that is there to the spirit of a nation? Is this all that we can do in the name of Independence Day? Dance, Sing and then head out for bowling? It was at this point that I finally remembered that why is it that I had stopped. The reason was simple! It didn’t matter to me to be a part of the one day program for Independence Day, instead I thought that I would stay back and work for this country. That is what the spirit of the nation should be and this is how we should emphasis on it as well. It’s not something that should be put on display just because it is the 14th of August..yet again… !

I know I sound like a cynic, and many of you are right in asking me then what else is there that we can do? For starters, ask yourself this question that are you really free? Ask your government, fight for your rights! Independence doesn’t mean that we celebrate the day, instead it should be about the essence of it, which is a country where Muslims, besides all the other religion groups can pray and live peacefully? And are we that? NO! which means that there is a long road ahead before we actually can be free.. not just in theory, but also in reality. Continue reading

The word of mouth about Rehman Dacoit

After anyone’s death there are a bunch of rumor/word-of-mouth/gossips/stories that you would hear circulating around. The recent person to have this honor is the Late Rehman Dacoit aka Robin hood of Lyari aka the Notorious Rehman Dacoit.

The word of mouth that I am sharing here includes the information that I got from a resident of the area. This would maybe able to give a glimpse about how he really was and how is it that people of the area who had to deal with him and live with him thought about him really. The conversation with that resident went something like this:-

What has Lyari been like after his death?

For the first time I have seen that the rest of the city is working while Lyari is closed down completely, otherwise it always used to be the other way round.

Is it true that he used to help the local people out there in any way he can?

Well he used to do whatever he can. But more than often you would find that he would help a poor man and give that person money to get this daughter married. Or buy food for some one else’s household. He would help people get job and he would use his influence for that.

In that lane, there was never any robbery conducted or any crime done, so the people of the area were very happy with hime being there. He was a hero for them despite what people might say.

Did he use to roam around the area openly or was it secret or a big security scene when he used to be there?

Well in the area where he used to work and his office was, no one outside of the are could get there especially after dark, but they still used to consider for the families that were living their and they never for once tried to hurt them. Instead they always considered for them in any way they can.

But the area where he and his family lived that was very secured. No one could get in there. During the last Police Operation that was conducted in that area, they also found underground channels in that entire area that were connected from every house, so it was easy for them to deceive the police. It was so astonishing to find that long a channel underground, especially when the city government isn’t able to make one underpass water proof.

What do you think, how did he die really? How have people reacted over there on his death?

Right now people over there think that he was killed by Nabeel Gabool, (a politician of the area) becasue he was planning to stand for the elections and he was trying to establish himself in the area in that regard. He was now being called Sardar Rehman Baloch. I mean people already had a lot of respect for him.

After the news came that he has been killed people were crying and mourning like their own family member has passed away. And it looked like he has been dead for a few days. His body was really rotten. Considering the fact that he has died only twelve hours ago, his body looked very unfresh.

It is said that he was on pretty good terms with Asif Ali Zardari, and after he came in politics it was considered that now things would be easy for Rehman Dacoit in Lyari.

Well maybe he started demanding a lot, or maybe it was simply that a lot of people were worried about what would happen if he came into politics. What is astonishing is that this is the second person that has been killed who was present on 18th October. Continue reading

Rehman Dacoit Dead!

The recent piece of news that is no doubt going to shock many people is that the famous Rehman Dacoit was killed in the late hours of  Sunday night during a Police encounter in the Steel Town area.

Rehman Baloch or famously known as Rehman dacoit, and sometime even dubbed as the robinhood of Lyari. He was a local baloch and was wanted by the police on various allegations which varied from drug charges to murder and gang war crimes in Lyari, but still the images of his funeral that are coming to us slowly and steadily give an image that its not a dacoit that has died but a great public figure has passed away.

Rehman Dacoit

Rehman Dacoit

It has been said that he was in jail at the same time that Asif Ali Zardari was in prison, and that is how the two of them got to become friends. This was the reason that after Zardari coming into politics a lot of people didnt hesitate in claiming that now Rehman Dacoit would have a free hand in the Lyari area and in the city.

Rumors also had it that he was the one driving the truck of Benazir Bhutto on her return home on the 18th of October and that he also drove her back to safety after the bomb blast.

It is hard for many, that would include me, that how is it that a guy like him who is involved in so many crimes would be made into a hero figure by the people. Googling Rehman Dacoit opened up a lot of pages and one of them had the following to say about him,

“Rehman Dacoit is a legend in Lyari anywhere you go and is titled, “Robinhood of Lyari”, probably because he’s the sole bread provider to thousands of jobless families …….I am standing at “Jhatpat Market” at the office of the so-called, Robinhood of the Area – Rehman Dacoit. The name of the office, “Rehman Enterprise” with a battalion of heavily armed men guarding the place. I did see a “Mohafiz” 4×4, the new Sindh Police Force established to counter, dacoits by Waseem Akhter – the former, MQM Interior Minister of Sindh.”

(excerpt from http://akchishti.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html)

In a country where more than 50% of the people live under the poverty line, it is not surprising that people would find their heros and saviors in people like Rehman Dacoit. He might have had a lot of charges against him, but I am sure that he might have done some good some where…. thus the crowds at the funerals.

Isn’t it ironic how the lines of good and bad, of morality and ethics blurring away more and more every day ?