Category: purpose

From a Formerly Disillusioned Pakistani

The Sounds of Freedom by PSO

Today is the 75th independence day of Pakistan. This dear little country, so often dwarfed and swept under the rug with her neighbour India, has completed her 74th year as an independent state.

I find myself so often changing my opinions on this matter. Two days ago, when I was reminded that the independence day was near, I felt disinterested. What independence? Have you seen the state of the country? Have you seen the state of the people? Then yesterday, I saw a delivery man riding his bike proudly adorned with small flags of Pakistan on both its handles. And today, the 14th of August, I woke up to wishes of a happy independence day. I thought again, is the country happy? Are its people happy? Does this day deserve celebration? Why did the separation happen at all? Maybe it would’ve been better if it hadn’t. At least these two countries wouldn’t be ceaselessly bickering over every issue. So much blood could’ve been spared. Think of how bloody the events of the partition were…

Then it ocurred to me, would those people whose blood was spilled, want us to treat this day with such disdain? Would this day matter to them? Of course, it would. Why? Because they believed in the purpose behind the partition. They believed they deserved a land to practise Islam with freedom. They believed that they mattered.

So much of this has now been reduced to “What independence? Have you seen the state of the country? Have you seen the state of the people?” And perhaps, intentionally. We have come to believe our country, its purpose, its people don’t really matter much anymore. Where are we on the map? How many awards did we win in the Olympics? How does the world look at us?

Well, is that why we fought for independence anyway?

There are good people. And there are bad people. Neither of these define the country. What defines the country is its founding principle? Why did Iqbal voice his dream? What exactly was his dream? A land of Islam, by Islam, for Islam. Not even Muslims. Islam. Not a land of the people, by the people, for the people. A land where the word of Allah could be propagated and hailed with freedom. A land where people of Allah could worship Him and invite others to worship Him. Where the Azaan could soar high and proud.

So now, when I say, Happy Independence Day to my fellow Pakistanis, I say it with a proud, hopeful heart. Proud that we’re still standing. Hopeful that we will be able to restore our country to its intended glory. I don’t say it from a nationalistic perspective, I say it from a Muslim’s perspective.

This isn’t to say that all is well. This is to say that all can be well. If only we remember why we gained freedom in the first place… If only we remember it was Allah who made this happen the way it did… If only we remember to live in the present, to better the present, to create the present.

Go now, please.

But that is not how things are. That is not how life is. That is not how people are. And that is not how you should be.

Listen to me. Listen now. Stop whining and lend me your ear – the right one. Now listen, once and for all – though I shall not hesitate repeating it for you all life long, whenever you might need to hear it – and I know you will. As will I. Nasiyaan, yes? So listen here.

Childhood is good. Golden, for most. And they later lament growing up. But dear God, if we were not to grow up, what would we do of our childhoods? We absolutely had to grow up so that our childhoods might be of some use.
For some, it is not good. It turns them blue forever. The strong ones turn the blue into a brighter shade. The weak ones let it dim, further dim, into grey. Even weaker ones ink it black.

Childhood is gone. It had to go. It came to go, as all mankind. We come to go. But between coming and going, there is a lot to be learnt and taught, a lot to do, a lot to let happen. So learn. And teach. And let life happen. Then learn more. And teach more. Learn by evolving, teach by being. Do something. The world will not accommodate you by itself. You have to make your own space. Criticize all thoughts, yes. But do it for a purpose, take something from it. Don’t do it for the sake of criticism, don’t do it for the sake of uniqueness, don’t do it for the sake of rebellion. Do it to actually do something.

And please, do something. You cannot let things be. It is in your power to bring a change. Do something as small as voting, or as big as introducing a reformed educational system. Don’t just badmouth the politicians, or politics itself. Do something about it. We write, we think, and we read. But what do we do? Study, if you’re doing that, but think, and plan on what you’ll do when you’re able to. And take my word for it, you can always do something. You’re small, but you make the universe. It is people like you who do great things, things that impact the world.

You cry about people wronging you. And you cry about people being ignorant of your affections, ignorant of the world, ignorant of people. You cry about people coming and going. Rise above that. Hold your heart. Look to those who are with you, and there are always some who are with you. And when no one is, He is. People are people. For others, you are people. It is okay. Rise above that. Life is about so much more.

You cry about messed up circumstances. Take my word for it, circumstances are so much worse in our heads than they really are. So don’t think too much. You’ll only tangle the wool more. Settle on something which gives you peace, and hold on to it. Faith gives you peace. Hold on to it. Circumstances don’t shape what happens to you, how you deal with them does. So deal. All will happen as you want it to, if you can hold on long enough.

And you. Stop crying. Pull on a strong countenance. Move forward. Flashbacks are flashbacks, don’t let them deprive you of the present. Sad thoughts are your own thoughts. Don’t let them dampen your spirits. Don’t indulge them. Do not.

Take that chair, pull it out, set your head down on it and think hard. Only five minutes. And then leave the seat with a plan. They tell you planned lives are boring. Don’t believe them. You can plan blank spots too.

This is how it is. But don’t believe me. Go now.

I wonder, I wander

And then, I wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know. I might have been floating in the sky somewhere above Morocco, or I could be resting on the clouds above the Jamia Masid of New Delhi, I might have been sitting right beside this form of me, but I wasn’t here, this wasn’t me. So I began acting like someone who’s not really here, absently doing things, answering queries unconcernedly. I’m not even here so why bother. Except, to other people, I was here, this was me, and I should have acted like myself. How could I, when this wasn’t me, really? How do I act like myself? Act is what we do, in reality. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, as the bard puts it so eloquently. So here I was, worrying about how I should act when instead, I should have been worrying about where I am, if not here…

Where am I? Morocco, New Delhi, Karachi saahil, my own home, or have I passed away entirely? Is that why I cannot function the way I am supposed to? This “supposed to” creates a myriad of problems for me. I have this stubborn, twisted muscle which makes me want to defy every “supposed to”. And when I do that, I end up defying all accepted forms of being. And then…. well, then I end up existing everywhere but here. What does it mean to not exist? Does it mean being dead in all senses of death? Does it mean being dead in the heart? Does it mean being wiped off the face of this Earth? Or does it mean doing things not apropos to world?

I’m wandering off-topic. But then, there is no topic. I’m not here. Only this world requires  a topic and a label on everything. I’m not here. I need no topic. But I do wonder where I am, and who this “I” is that I keep on referring to. I do wonder.

Thoughts >Identity > Human

Have you ever thought of how some things are everything and nothing at the same time? I find it strange. It is strange, obviously. And have you thought of how almost every statement can be justified in one way or another? And that many opposite things can actually equal each other? If you’ve thought of these things, then have you thought about what purpose this serves? Thinking. What does it do? Especially thinking of such perplexing things.

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And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” {Ar-Ra’ad:3}

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It’s becoming common these days to find people, especially teenagers, thinking about deep matters; coming up with philosophical theories, twisting simple phenomenon into some unfathomable philosophy which might even be very impressive. But what use is it? Does it help us discover the universe? Does it help you get closer to the Creator? Does it help you in this world? Does it do anything but make you a mysterious complex character who others observe in awe? Maybe it does. Maybe. We could even come up with some very profound logics to this. I’m not here to judge that.

I just think there are better things to ponder upon than triangles that could begin from one point or from two. Who created the things we twist into philosophies? Why were they created? What’s the purpose of stars? What’s the wisdom of seasons? Why are humans the way they are? Why isn’t everyone the same? Wouldn’t everything be better if we all had the same capabilities and weaknesses? Wouldn’t the world be fairer if everyone had everything they wanted? Then why not? Why is there any evil at all in this world? Why do infants die? Why does war exist? What is disease for? Why is the universe the way it is? How come everything nature has created is so perfect? Who could’ve thought of such complexities that the world possesses? And then who could’ve created such fine detail? And then who could manage so much in such a balanced way? And then…. Who could destroy every single thing to ever exist in the universe? What are angels? Where did they come from? What is religion? Why do we need it? Why does the world contain proportions of everything? Who could think of all of this? How did it happen? WHY did it happen? The world that we live in, does it actually even really exist? How do you know everything isn’t just a figment of your imagination? What is this time that we so believe in? Why does death come? What comes after? Humans couldn’t just exist once to vanish forever, could they? Nothing that is something can ever really become completely nothing. Or can it?

We’re humans, and there are two things we do subconsciously and constantly. Breathing, thinking. These two things actually affect each other largely. Our breathing rhythms affect our moods. Our emotions influence our breathing rhythms. Point being, we can’t help thinking all sorts of things, but our thoughts do eventually become our words which might become our acts; directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. I remember when we first got a TV in our house, I was afraid of it. I think I was 12 or 13. Then I began watching it, and used to think the shows won’t affect me, after all, I’m only watching them. I’m not doing anything of the sort. But I did watch, those things imbedded in my thoughts, and eventually I was confident enough to just joke about them, and then they seeped into my acts in such an unnoticeable way, I couldn’t even put the blame on the TV.

Hence, thoughts > words > actions
And I might go as far as to say: actions > identity

So then basically your thoughts make up your identity, your personality. You can’t stop thinking, and you mustn’t. But think good then. Think of things that give you something to live for. Think about where you are, and what you’re doing there. Think about why you are where you are. Think about how long you’re there for, and how long you’ll live for. Think about whether you’re ready to die. Think about life, and whether your life is good enough.

Think to find yourself. Think to believe.

~Moniba.

Golden: Tree of Life

The golden leaves, ardent in their sheen and whisper
Their slender stems, crisp in their sway and grain
The long branches, graced by gold, hazed by willowy pulchritude
The trunk, straight, firm and glistening, exalting the golden
The hidden, outreaching roots, left to imagination

Suppose the tree is life, its leaves our time
Each falling in its own momentum.
Suppose the stems are relations, and the branches emotions
Golden, brilliant, each prevailing over the other.
Suppose the trunk is purpose, and the roots your belief
The trunk firm, exalting your life; the roots hidden but obvious to the light.
The golden tree for your golden life.

~Moniba.

Her written revolution

Words flew from her pen. She scribbled furiously on the once blank sheet of paper ; passion visible on her face. Passion for her words, for her writing, for her cause, and for the blank pages she wished she could quickly fill. She wrote of old times, and then of present times, and of how she imagined the future would be. She expressed elation at how it could be, if only she could bring a revolution through her words. She expressed regret, at how much her efforts lacked and at what could happen if there were no revolution. She expressed wonder at how her people used to be, and she expressed desire of being like them-maybe even better. She wrote of all that she wanted the world to be, and of all that she wished it weren’t. She wrote of her confidence in the system that she believed could work. She carefully composed all of her ideas for the world to be a happier, fairer place. She put into words her faith, her strong belief, her determination and her confidence. She made sure every single scribble captured her fire, with all vehemence. She wrote and wrote… With vigor.

No picture, no photograph could capture that scene; the fire she emitted at the time she wrote, and the way her words came alive on those sheets. It was her written revolution; one that she planned to see alive.

Golden and Silver

NEWSMAG-Golden-Silver

That dent upon your brow
And frown upon your lips
That nervous twitch of your fingers
And the habit of angry pacing

I wish it were of use.

That genuine smile of purity
Those eyes when wide with intensity
The glisten of your tears
And your everlasting hope

I wish it weren’t in vain.

Your random endless talents
That silver tongue, the play of words
Your mind so quick, and thoughts so clear
That golden pen, and the wand of vision

I wish… You knew to use them.
Not for you, not for them.
Just for Him, and then for all.

~Moniba.

Tints and Shades: Belief

Tinted Belief
Tinted Belief

 

What we believe is influenced by so many factors… What used to be white turns gray. And after grey it is clouded even more, if the glass isn’t wiped… and eventually it becomes black. For one who wants to keep his belief free of influence, let him be told, it is not possible… But it is up to you, whether the influence is negative or positive, and it is Up to you, to judge the influence, to filter it, and to hold your own.