You would never know you are in a flux unless you are in one. More like falling in love, I’d say.

And I know now that I am. In a flux. I pick up the newspapers, see the news and ‘read’ the opinion pages and I find myself dumbfounded.

How removed from reality can I be? Do I really not understand the implications of the Nishtar Park tragedy? Do I really give a damn about the dams the Government is planning to put up? Is there nothing in it for me if the agriculture of our agri-based economy is still pre-modern at best? So what if the local governments are functioning at half-capacity even or not? So what is the big deal if our ‘parha likha Punjab’ is just that, a tag line? And seriously, see if I care if more than seven thousand chicken ‘mysteriously’ die in a single poultry farm within a time frame of ten days… why should I? What difference will my difference make? Can I seriously be OK with such a flawed mindset?

Have I, unconciously or conciously, trained myself to be indifferent to anything that is even slightly outside the domain of my direct circle?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the biggest disease to hit our nation EVER. Not Aids, definitely not Bird Flu. I give you Indifference.

No one cares anymore. Not enough anyways. Give a damn about a dying soul 3000 miles away, and dont bother enough for the one dying in your own street. Worry about the US poking Iran into submission, and be oblivious to your poverty-ridden 80 percent of the Pakistani populace. Complain about the ‘Western’ and Zionist conspiracies, and turn that big, round beautiful BLIND eye towards your own moral and spiritual standing. Burn a couple of effigies of foreign presidents and go home and mix poison into your own milk so that your children can grow up to be not only mentally and morally weak, but physically mundane as well!

Take out a Mercedes with bullet-proofing, let people die in the traffic in your wake and then announce another dam. While let me lease out another one of those German cars, sit with my friends in air-conditioned restaurants and complain about the traffic just so that I can feed the clinically-dead activist in me; that yes, today I made a difference, today I set the society right, today I beat up a poor ol’ ‘cycle-waala’ for swaying in front of my mean-machine, or perhaps today I complained about the Western attitude towards Iran and hey, I didn’t even stutter at naming the Iranian President. Yes, I am one of you, yes, I seek comfort in little things. Yes, those little things are usually too little and too meek. And no, I am not a bad person. So what am I?

I am, like all of us, in a flux. A surge here, a screaming high-voltage shock there will do the trick. But when? But how? What better place than here, what better time than now…

Note: The above is a typical blog-entry, where the thoughts keep thinkin’ and the keyboard keeps keyin’! :) If anyone’s sensibilities have been offended by the above, then thank you, that is exactly what this train was supposed to wreck.
I am sure we need to wake up and smell the coffee. I presume we all are up, but somebody has stolen our coffee. Or we yet have to find our drink and make it.
And yea, the exact replica of the above post can be found in my personal blog as well here, which I wouldn’t mind if ye kind folks will read once in a while, punctuating your visit with a comment or two.
Peace on ye all…ahaan!

12 Comments so far

  1. Original-Anon (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 9:51 am

    Momekh – the disease may be worse than indifference. It is apathy at its worst and disdain for the lives of less fortunate,poorer people.
    You know what else bothers me about Lahore? The total lack of social graces, politeness and civic sense in the people here.

  2. Detox (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

    All in the name of ENLIGHTENED MODERATION?

  3. Yasir (unregistered) on May 1st, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    I’m here to register my indifference. I’m but a typical Pakistani!

  4. Dr. Afaq A. Q. (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    Momekh, you are right. Irony is that this attitude of endorsing the ‘rights’ have not materialized into anything like a character over the past six decades. Countless theories and reasons will always be put forwarded for our insensitivity and indifference but what would be the outcome of this excercise. Another indiffernce. So I totally agree with you about what has struck us the most. Recently while visiting desitorrent.com I was envious of the discussions some of the Indians were having: A guy (Indian engineer) from USA wanted to know ..”we and USA are similar, large, democratic, educated..and yet there are differences in the attitudes when it comes to business ethics…” and very serious discussion ensued. I have not seen a single site where we can rise above calling names, labelling ‘ghaddars’ and ‘kafirs’ or jokingly brushing off the whole idea if at all someone dared to present one. There is no think tanks (we have been ruled by iron tanks) and no vision in the corridors of power to foresee the social-ethical aspects of national characters. Since 1971 we have transformed ourselves into a chaotic individualistic mob who ‘loves'(i’m sorry to use the word in this context) to enjoy the tamasha everywhere and runs back to the safety of one’s own empire. And we feel secured. Lamentations have not proved useful. Resignation from the whole idea and dream of being a part of civil society is the only choice left for few who care to think that if people are killed in Nishter Park then my son/father/brother can be the next victim. I wanted to write more, but its 3:45 a.m and the nearby muezzin has shattered everything with his pre azaan shreiks. Loudspeakers we have not been able to get rid of. With more mosques and lots of them very ornate and shouts and screams of khutbas (mention is made because this is the commonest scenario whereever we live),not a single imam has ever asked the gathering to:
    1. From now onwards make sure all of you will work hard in whatever you are doing and cease to enjoy the haram ki kamaee.
    2. We the congregation from today will make sure that in our locality every child is being sent to school and Dr. abc and Prof. xyz will start free voluntary teaching/ health care in this mosque.
    3. That the congregation will make sure that they will be tolerant towards criticism and develop an attitude of patience and humble listening.
    4. That we as a small gathering agree that at fixed time loudspeakers will be used to announce the times of prayers so that children, sick, elderly and students may not be disturbed.
    who is going to bell the cat? cat is getting fatter by chaudris and army and ethics has escaped from our social milieu leaving us beastly which is evident from the rapidly multiplying number of eateries and non-existent bookshops. After eating we can only resort to other beastly activities. Zindabad the zinda dallans of my pure and pious country. My regrets are there when I refused to accept jobs and residences while in civlized countries where rule of law is the same for everyone. No nazim escapes the law if he or his nephew (reference a nazim’s nephew raped a 13 year old girl in viccinity of Lahore and she died during abortion: Daily Jang, May the 4th 2006) are the culprits. Lawlessness flourished when on the highest level constitution was termed as ‘fazool booklet of few pages’ and in Indonesia (also an Islamic country) the MLA’s and army chiefs take oath on the copy of the constitution. No, we are no where.
    P.S. No offence to any one.

  5. Dr. Afaq A. Q. (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

    P.P.S. oh I forgot to ask the thing I most wanted to know, where are these “our moral and spiritual standings”? please do let me know, I have tired myself locating them. I have prayed and wished to find even the ‘sittings’ in these areas, stooped low with wishful thinking of finding any ‘lyiny ones’ even. I failed. I am bitter about it. I’m also very bitter when a graduate of military academy become vice chancellor of a university or a chairman of a national organization about science or arts. It hurts my pride and makes me agitated. What should I do? any suggestions? And is it … posted by…. AT may….? really:)

  6. momekh (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

    Dr. saab, salaams.
    your comment, is not only long, it is highly, highly comforting. Inspiring even. Let me explain why.
    What you have voiced is a pat on the back, a pat on the back on all of us that there are still people out there who ‘want’ to see change brought about. A change not in our parliament, not in our foreign policy and not in some other drawn out, far fetched cause. But a change at the ‘grassroots’ (a highly politicised word in itself, unfortunately). THAT is what is required, as always. And that can only be brought about by YOU and by me. Not by our Nazim. Not by our Judge. Not by our journalist or policeman. When our Nazim will ‘come down’ to our level, only then he can think in these ‘grassroots’ lines. And that is when the magic of change will happen. I feel happy that there is hope. A lot of it.
    Like you pointed out Dr Afaq, we are all guilty of casually passing off everything. We can have that discussion. We can talk about REAL problems to find solutions. We try to do that here. I know I do. I try to do that on my Blog as well. There are also some like minded individuals around who want to change themselves, and bring about change along the way. Be guided. And then perhaps guide. That again, is the stuff of discussion. Of tweaking our opinions. Of keeping an open head and ensuring that an open head doesnt end up leaving holes in our head. Hmph.
    Thank you. If you remember cartoons, like we all religiously should :), Captain Planet was not only being corny and an idealist even, but was also DARN RIGHT when he said, “The power is yours”.
    PEace and God Bless.

  7. Just an illiterate black from Africa! (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    Dear Mr Momekh

    Well well well. What to say, where to start How….! I really don’t know what to say.But since I would have to start somewhere I think I will just start by saying(This is going to take a while!!!) that your comments are warmly welcome.
    I have recently migrated from Zimbabwe and am settled in Lahore. I have basically arrived from a country that is also a part of modern history in that it was an african country that was being run(illegally) by the whites. It has in recent years been turned into one of the most corrupt countries in the world and it is going through trmendous social upheavals.
    But with my background I have come to Pakistan and having had the sound education that I had and been confronted with what has literally been the demolition of a country in front of my own eyes, i believe I come with a fair amount of wisdom to try and make comments that are perhaps ‘foreign’ to the general public in Pakistan.
    It is extremely interesting to note that these types of comments are finally being voiced by those that are a product of this society.
    I would like to point out at this stage that India i not our Number 1 enemy. We have managed to do that to ourselves. We are our worst enemy.
    Ironically when I was living in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe I always complained about the many bye laws that were put in place for the city(Harare). Coming here, I can now understand the reasons for those laws.
    What frustrates me here is that I can see so much potential in this population. It is lacking a leader in the true sense of the word. A visionary. But what we need to understand is that if we sitr ion the net and writre as we do…the minute we go out of this world and face reality…are we happy to be having to just pay the guy to get the job done? Are we prepared to say that when we don’t stop at the red light we should be fined Rs 5000 and that this is not negotiable?
    That if we need to purchase land we should expect that these things take time to be transferred and we would have to wait our turn?

    Are we prepared to wait in line for our turn? When we want a British visa.we are prepared to accept that we have to have a token.Is that not acceptabvle to us? Whoever came first should be allowed to be dealt with first? Will we wait our turn?
    Why do soccer players lose their cool in soccer games? Because they believe that in certain instances the referee is not treating all the fouls in the same manner.
    If there is a queue and we see that the queue is moving and we should join at the rear. Will we? Even if we are Doctors or own a Pajero?…Are you sure?
    I see minor deficiencies in our everyday life all the time and wonder and marvel at the total lack of interest in the national interest. I used to visit Pakistan often prior to moving here and I was impresssed with the seemingly endless national pride that existed here. My mind has changed dramatically on that point. We have nno respect for this country and the ideals for which it was foundered.None whatsoever. Why? I have seen the national flag with Mickey Mouse standing next to the Quaid e Azam!(In fact I was so disgusted…I took a picture of this…and on a government building!)
    I have tried to analyse this and other issues and have come to the conclusion that its about EDUCATION.
    We need to properly educate our population. I do not expect a politician to be too interested in this because the benefits of this policy are long term. But we have to do this and we have to do it now. It is never too late to start anything and I believe that if we get enough support and I am encouraged by thjose that have made comments here, that the people that can do this are here amongst us.We can do it.
    What difference will it make, you may ask?(I hope you will…!) Let me tell you about a story that Bono(of U2 fame said when he was asked about what difference he thought he coud make to asking developed countries to forgive 3rd world debt….and we all know what transpired from that plea!!)
    He said that once he was walking on the beach and he saw an 8 year old girl

    I believe that1

  8. Just an illiterate black from Africa! (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

    He saw an 8 year old girl throwing star fish back into the sea.The beach was just covered with the star fish. He asked her…what are you doing? Whats the point?…There are so many of them…what difference will it make? And she replied…It will make a difference to the ones that get back in the water.
    Well, I have a son and daughter of school going age and they are at schools in Lahore. I have to say that this concept of schools having ‘branches’…is absolutely amazing!!!The fact that they recruit housewives looking to make some pocket money to teach my children…because they have half a brain and can speak English…is not on. have you seen the traffic chaos outside the schools? What do we expect our children to grow up knowing…that thats the way school traffic is? I’m sorry.I cannot subscribe to that type of conditioning.
    Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference.Stop at the red light. Dont blow your horn unnecessarily…tell those that are near and dear to you to follow the same attitude.We can make a difference. We have to just stand up and make it clear that we will start unilaterally.This is not goingh to happen by ‘elected’ individuals.
    I am proposing here that we consider the formation of a school.A proper school. And with onl;y legitimately qualified teachers. If that means that we should get them from overseas…then so be it. We should have sports available to our kids at the school and we should have music taught in the school as well as other culturally important issues encouraged. I believe that our teachers should be teaching our children more than the basic academics but should also teach them about being decent law abiding citizens and how to show respect to elders and to be helpful to members of our society.
    I totally disagree with this notion that a child has to be given extra tuition. The child should be taught adequately at the institution. Children need to play as much as they need to do their homework. I draw your attention to a wonderful song by Cat Stevens(now Yusuf Islam) called “Where do the children play?” The name says it all.
    I am confident that with the encouragement and assistance of those that understand that necessity for a well rounded education, that we can achive this. I believe that we are able to machieve whatever we want to achieve…provided we give it the respect that it deserves.
    We have many problems in Pakistan.But they are not insurmountable.lets get moving!

    I had an absolutely brilliant schooling in Zimbabwe. I went to the top schools there and I was boarding for all of my school life. I want that for the children of any school that I would want to be involved with.

  9. momekh (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

    Well well well…
    what JAIBFA (my love of acronyms and the unprovided name:))has mentioned is so true. The education is not an education anymore. It is a business. And run like one. Whereas the concentration should be on the ‘service’, and the profits treated as secondary. A lot of people would probably think that this kind of a ‘nobel’ attitude is just that, ‘too nobel to implement’. But that thinking is all bull. Why? Because this is happening… not in the first world countries, but right here, in Pakistan, in Lahore. LUMS has been going in deficit to ensure proper education to the students. And we all relate to the LUMS graduate’s repute. It is possible. But who, how, where? People with such passion, people with such commitment and focus, and unfortunately and most importantly, people with that sort of money… who , how, where?

  10. Dr. Afaq A. Q. (unregistered) on May 6th, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

    JAIBFA (well coined, Momekh). Not only education but the ‘noble’ profession of health has gone to abysmal depths of pillage, criminal negligence,greed, lust and …. is there an area where cribbing would help? I didnt find one. True the similie of Captian Planet warms the heart but at the grassroot levels who/where/ what (the same three big question marks you have correctly raised)is going to do something to change this monstrous mess called ‘us’. LUMS’s example is befitting. But then money? What is the source?
    The consolation of being understood is immense. From there where to?
    I personally did few things to change myself thinking that others might observe and find that its not impossible to keep a straight path. Results: Total rejection by the society and higher ups at the workplace and a freqeuent observation “please avoid speaking too much of truth”. I have not become silent (my ramblings found your page) but I don’t see a ray of hope unless a large group emerges and starts to show the rest of the ‘nation’ that selflessness is something we all need and in the absence of social justice, rule of law and strong ethical values there is no way we can win the race for existence merely by catwalks or lingerie or for that matter changing the syllabi of Islamiyat (the very recent ‘creative outburst’ by Gen. Pervez Musharraf). I totally agree with your views and honor the fact that you expressed yourself.
    For anything if I am needed, you guys have a volunteer. I agree that mess is too huge and ramifications have gone too deep in our social strutcture but keep the light on. Somebody might get fed up of darkness and endavour to join in.

    Dr. Afaq A. Q.

    PS: JAIBFA dear, branching of schools and protection they enjoy from the power corridors is all ugly, deplorable and I assure you that I hate it. I refuse to accept these tycoons who run the educational organisation. They are filth of the society, any society.

  11. momekh (unregistered) on May 6th, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

    you know what people, it’s happened too often that you get to meet someone who believe in some sort of social change. And then they just get lost in the crowd like each and everyone of us.
    In a veryyy humble attempt to stop that from happening that often, please register over at the http://momekh.com/life-etc/
    IT is a basic forum that I have just setup and is in no way completed or even properly laid out. All sorts of comments and suggestions on any type are not only welcome’d, but definitely required.
    Peace be on all of us.

  12. Afaq (unregistered) on May 9th, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

    ‘people’ over the years, have been held hostage to a series of massive law(and constitution)breaking by the very persons who took oath under a constitution. They not only have lost direction but there is hardly any will to change. Grumbling and cribbing has become our pastime, favourite one. We rant and ramble but are not ready to part from out own vested interests. “meri car to mera ghar” and soap operas flooding the minds of more than 80% have-nots with the images of opulent lifestyles and bikini clad babes have left their marks on the collective psyche of the citizens of this country and the demise of the civil society has gone unnoticed. The paid columnists take advantage of this supressed state of mind and create a storm in a ‘pyala of daal’ (tea has recently become too expensive for a storm even) by sensationalisation of an incidence. People look towards them as ‘policy makers’ and they claim themselves to be the ones. See the http://www.jang.com for a column on editorial page in which the writer has claimed it. Its not only at grass roots but the highest buds are all infested with petty interests. Otherwise in six decades China could have become a super power and we have come to rank only 9th as a failed state (yeah the hindu-jew-west saazish) but let’s not spare us the blame. Forums, sites, seminars were a favourite of Zia’s regimen. He was so fond of them that for skinning the goats he would call a conference of the ‘intellectuals’. So where do ‘people’ go? They like hen and other sub human creatures burried themselves in a severely guarded individualistic lifestyle. Tolerance left from the back door when everyone with cousins in powers started to ‘own’ the traffic to land and nobody could touch him. Mafias have sprouted and gained strength to the tune of running parallet state within the state, and it suits the agencies who want status quo.
    I wish you success and pray that your website become very popular among the people.

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