Monday, December 31, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
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(English trans by me from Urdu)
Laazt e sair ast maqsood e safar.
Gar nigah bar aashiyan dari mapar.
Purpose of journey is to get the pleasure of it.
If you aim at your destination/home, don't fly.
Zindagi juz lazzat e parwaz neest
Ashiyan ba fitrat e Oo saaz neest
Life is nothing but to taste flight.
Ashiyana (home) is not nourishing for his nature
Whats your recipe?
Have the screen play writers ever wondered what they are producing? How would people perceive the writers?
They do mention here and there the odds a hero is up against. But. Take into (some level of) free will of so many people and things surrounding the heroes. That hardly seems to count. Occasionally, one or two things won't go according to the plan and that's it. That's just not enough to even remotely satisfy or honor randomness at work in the world of chaos in which the plots are set.
Do they have anything else but "escapism" as an excuse for fooling themselves and their audience? Probably not. Maybe that's the point that even if the possibility of doing a feat is 1 in a million times - it's doable. However, the process of getting there is brutally by passed in the name of Greece's self-delusional fantasies..
We mistake high definition graphics and few moments of breathtaking actions as a recipe for stretching beyond the limits. Not even a chance. Censorship is required by those with deep introspection into these matters.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
How about maximizing GDP?
In England there was commons land. Common people depended on this land for their livelihood and shelter. They were poor people who didn't even have modest incomes, who only survived on what they could find in the forests, lakes, etc., for themselves and/or for their cattle. Similarly, it provided them housing and shelter. The land,as a public good, made life liveable and gave a sense of security against economic upheavals and lack of basic goods - things too inevitable in today's civilized market economies in war-ridden scenarios.
The rich people had their eyes on it, maybe for long. In 1066, after the Norman's Conquest, things changed drastically. Rich and powerful lords invoked the god of greed and free markets, and approached the king for its 'privatization'. "Your lordship, your pro-poor policies are making these people sluggish and dormant. Inefficiency reigns. Producivity suffers. And the idol of progress is angry upon us. End protectionism. End this injustice that blocks pur way to [indefinite] Progress." And they told many other stories their PhD economists wrote. King nodded in yes. He had to give in for the sake of (indefinite) progress. Let the game begin.
All the poor people were banished from the commons land, which became not so common by then. And was sold to the fittest, ie the wealthy, the powerful. Can't make any compromise on competition, ye see. Their houses (read: fragile huts) were destroyed, and the rest was just part of the package which was to be theirs no more. Survival became difficult, if not impossible. Previously, they could graze their sheep and drink its milk or eat fresh fish from flowing lakes or rivers and survive, but now the conditions became worse. You can imagine that. Where did the desperate souls go? Fuel industrial revolution for insanely meagre pays, in insanely inhuman conditions? Well that's what scholars are betting their guesses on.
During the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), there was commons land on which poor people used to graze their cattle and perhaps drink water from. Rich and powerful people approached him (PBUH) to allow their cattle to enter it for grazing; to end this economic corruption of Inefficiency and low Producivity; to let free markets reign.
Holy Prophet's Judgement: "rich are forbidden from their entrance into commons land and are instructed to find some other pasture or land for their big flocks, lest they overgraze the rightful share of poor people's pasture."
The judgement given by Prophet (PBUH) is totally opposite to the one given by anti-poor forces and shows the basis of Islamic economics to be welfare of the people and especially the poor.
Adapted from a lecture by economist Dr Asad Zaman, www.asadzaman.net
Sunday, December 23, 2012
One Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission told the following tale to a group of young Pakistani researchers going abroad:
Friday, December 21, 2012
Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Although the primary subject of the book - distillation of a life-long personal, academic and professional inquiry - may sound technical being related to finance and econometrics, the book interests all. Its not just that the application of the subject is universal, it's also that the cross-disciplinary approach and wealth of examples makes it a much more interesting book. Too enjoyable for escapists and hedonists. Psychology and philosophy have this aspect being accessible and relate-able to many, if not all, as their interests revolve around humans and their various problems, theoretical and practical.
It's 1970s. Lebanon (or the old Levant) enjoyed centuires of societal harmony despite as a hub of diverse cultures, ethnicity, religions, and sects of all sorts; as a meeting place of East and West, although more European than Eastern. (Fact that Europe exlcuded it from itself just gives a clue about their "openness" and the yearning to be in there by those relegated to East points to their "authenticity" and "independence".) Any prediction of a sudden, unnoticable, rare and catastrophic breakdown and dissolution of this harmony was beyond "imagination." It was not to be.
It was to be. Sudden. Unpredictable by conventional thinking, which was based on empirical data of centuries that only predicted more cohesion and unity in diversity than a bloody, long civil war between Muslims and Christians. The prime minister, relative of Taleb, had as reliable a clue about the situation as PM's car driver.
This is what Taleb calls a Black Swan. "All swans are white," was a belief paraded as a scientific truth by many who did not get dose of humility in school. It only took sighting of 1 black swan in Australia (perhaps) to demolish this "fact." Hence the idiom: as rare as a Black Swan.
The book is a decent dose for those who're too cocky about their expert-ness, especially of financial and mathematical models. At another level, it is also a critique of those obsessed with trying to fit things into neat and clean forms, types and categories, ignoring nuances and not-so-apparent distinguishing elements. At another level, it also questions our temptations to "explain things away" and find causes and motives to every fact or happening as immature babbling of an untrained mind.
Author belongs to the large pool of profane minded thinkers, intellectuals and writers, i must add. They are skeptic about everything else, but not about their value-judgments and exclusivist mechanistic view of the world and creation, and their rejection of transcendence and fate. They believe in accidents as if accident is god or gods? They don't explain that. They're not skeptic about dogmas of modernity, and very unequivocal about their rejection of any "chance" of transcendence.
Overall, interesting book to read before sleeping.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
(A very old piece. Just sharing to honour my early teenage alma mater.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's been quite a while since I've written anything on this blog. Studies, assignments and friends; The usual excuses for not having enough time for writing. That's very strange as reading and writing is the only thing I really enjoy doing but I end up doing things which I have to do, not what I want to do.
Like Mirza Ghalib says,
'The steed of life is galloping on, who knows where it stops.
Our hands don't control the reins, our feet are not stirrupped fast'
From our daily lives to our eductional system, everything is controlled. We are not masters of our own destinies, our own lives. Let us take our eductional system into consideration; What are we receiving in our schools, colleges and universities?
Knowledge or information? Are we getting educated or just becoming 'informed'?
My generation knows what is gravity and who discovered it. They know that Facebook is a social networking site and was made by Mark Zuckerberg. They have information about everything. But do they have the knowledge? Are they educated?
No. They aren't. The current system of eduction is just preparing the students to be good, skilled slaves for the cooperations. That's all. There are no Einsteins, Newtons or Ibn-e-Sinas in my generation. There aren't any thinkers like Rumi, Iqbal or Socrates either.
This not a post about how stupid we are. Nor am I pessimist. I'm just stating that we are not utilizing our time properly. We are not thinking out of the box. We are not asking those big, unanswered questions anymore. Where did we come from? Where will we go? Why are we here?
In this era of information when you can access to anything in seconds, we have stopped wondering. And that's sad. Not good at all.
As Rumi said:
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
Every other person you meet knows everything about everything. Remember when Moses thought he had aqquired the knowledge about everything? He met Khizer and realized that he was wrong.
I got a distintion in my Ordinary level Islamiyat paper but I don't even know the i of Islamiyat. How can these examinations judge our knowledge?
Who set these standards for us? Why did we limit ourselves? Why do we crawl through life when you were born with wings?
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
-Mad World By Tears for Fears (1982)
I love this song. It inspires me, urges me to question the rules, the norms of the society. I do not want to join the crowd and be a slave of the cooperations. I want to wander around the world and seek. Seek the undiscovered.
Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. -Rumi
We need to start wondering once again. Stop reading those stories about how the apple fell on Newton's head. We need to go out and wander. Maybe there's an apple waiting to fall on our head too. Maybe there are more secrets, more mysteries to be solved. Don't cage yourself.
There's so much I want to write. But I'm afraid I'd be too incoherent for people to understand. And I don't want that to happen. I want you to read, enjoy and leave comments on this post. Because I'm just an errant soul, a young man. I do everything for reward. Wish I could be like Ghalib;
I do not hanker after praise, nor seek reward,
If my verses make no sense, I do not care a jot.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Secondly. We should ask our children to solve our daily problems. If the gate cannot be locked from inside, ask them for a solution. Encourage them. Even if you know solution, make them to think, so that they can become problem solvers.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
When Islamic ummah encountered modernity in 19th-20th century, it 'fragmented into disunited pieces', with profound and far-reaching consequences for their relation with Islam as a world-view, affecting all aspects of traditional Islamic societies, from education to politics, from governance to family systems. According to Burhan Ahmed Farooqi , this created two classes of mind-sets with distinct world-views: a Traditional Islamic mindset that traced its roots to divine revelation of Islam; and, a modernized mindset, trained in modern educational systems, which felt more at home with all things with Western. Modernized Muslims ascended to the ranks of power and rule Muslims masses with aspirations to westernize their countries in totality. Traditional Islam, and its political elite, lost its sway with the replacement of Shariah Law with Roman or English or French law; although cultural aspects of Muslim societies continued to survive, albeit with constant losing battles with the monoculture of West.
Leadership was transferred to modernized-Muslims who were completely hopeless of Quran as a source of minhaaj, a way of solving problems both at individual and societal levels . With their utter hopelessness in Qur’anic worldview, modernized Muslims looked up to knowledge produced by human capacity as a way of solving all of their problems. The root cause of this hopelessness may be explained as a result of trauma that Muslims went through after their political subjugation at the hands of West that resulted in disbelief in the power of their own Tradition. During this process, Muslims developed deep sense of inferiority complex, which according to many scholars is the root problem of Muslims which stops them from realizing potential of being a Muslim and final revelation from Allah.
What led to this state of affairs? Syed Abu Hassan Nadvi (r.a.) argues  that following were main reasons that led to Westernization of many Muslim countries, especially India, Egypt and Turkey:
- Western educational system which indoctrinated in a more subtle way superiority of Western civilization as a poison that led to death of authentic worldview of Islam
- Orientalism modernized Muslim scholars relied a lot upon research and analysis done by Orientalists to understand Islam and its history – those eyeglasses were also contaminated that blurred the vision of Muslims
- Decline of Muslim Intellectuality Muslims, largely, failed to respond proactively to the change in their surroundings and could not respond to challenge of modernity.
We can understand that these factors are pertinent and relevant today, since these at work creating more hopelessness in Muslims from Qur’an, as being a way of solving our problems. We only need to reverse this process through a (maybe unending) intellectual struggle, and to take Qur’an as a minhaaj to solve our individual and societal diseases and challenges of modernity.
 See, Minhaaj-ul-Quran, by Dr. Burhan Ahmed Farooqi
 Nadvi, Syed Abu Hassan. Muslim Mumalik mein Islamiat aur Maghribiat ki Kashmakash (1980) – "The struggle between Islamization and Westernization in Muslim Countries." Karachi: Majlis-e-Nashriyate Islam
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The miracle we (also) need to believe in today is that of "... Islamic view of a universe created by God, where the trees and the stars worship their Creator, and the sun and the moon follow exquisitely designed laws." And the only time when veils were removed from the people, as public, was the time of Prophets, when trees and stone would talk to Prophet. It was a sensory, observable experience and experiment against the mechanistic, godless/godforsaken universe.
"Sometimes, the evidence is so strong that it breaks through the barriers of unbelief. For example, one of the discoverers of the genetic basis of human life, Crick was quoted as saying, ‘An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” Very unwillingly, against his atheistic beliefs, Crick gave testimony to what the Quran (Surah Al-Waqi’ah 57-58) asserts as challenge: In the creation of man and the seed from which man is created are signs which cannot be denied by those who reflect. Just like many nations mentioned in the Quran, Crick continued to deny God even after witnessing the miracles of creation."
Friday, December 14, 2012
(This post is only in regard to Pakistan.)
Social sciences (SS) include as you know from pure philosophy, literature to techno-economics. I've not given any time trying to understand what differentiates it from physical sciences, after all psychology today take great pains to present itself as scientific, i can't pass a judgement over it having no working knowledge of it even.
The concern of this post is not to reflect on the definition of it, of which all of us considerable intuitive understanding. The concern is concerning the lack of concern about it in Pakistan. And given the fact that nobody reads this blog (except few special nobles), i face a dead end: i've to talk to myself. Talk to Pakistan's faux-liberal-elitists in academia and newspapers and they'd lament over Pakistanis not getting themselves trained in Western social sciences. Its not that concern i'm concerned about here, rather what Dr Asad Zaman, primarily a math-stats-economist from Ivy Leagues, argued in his paper Improving Social Sciences in Pakistan that in a post-positivist world Muslims have a great opportunity to offer world a perspective in nearly all major SS fields from economics to education. The reason for this is that we've not committed and invested in building SS based on rationalism and logical positivism, and that our religious tradition is still intact which is the fountain of all sciences concerning humanity, man, society, law and afterlife.
i just reiterated his position without adding anything to it, simply because this viewpoint is least heard in academic circles, and certainly doesn't resonate well with those trained in Western thought who cannot see anything beyond it. The second-hand commitment to falsehood of slaves can be more enduring than those of the leaders. This is exactly why Muslims have to be at the fore-fronts of all supposedly "secular/profane" fields of knowledge. (It's only the perspective and the methodology perhaps that makes it profane. For more clarification i should read S Hossein Nasr's Need for a Sacred Sciences, and chapter, "Profane and Sacred Science," in ReneGguenon's Crisis of the Modern World, download PDF)
On low perceptions about SS in Pakistan. Those who don't see anything more worthy than fruits of modern technology deny the importance of less or non-productive fields of knowledge like philosophy, literature, etc. They do not know that they themselves are the very product of some world-view and a combination (perhaps) of various SS ideas, ideologies, etc., of which they've no khabar (news). This is not to deny what Hamza Yusuf said that these modern universities are teaching many programs that are just fluff and cut from the cheapest cloth. This is a misery too. Nonetheless, one should not comment on something one has not understood, let alone mastered. I cannot express how often times i've been shook by power of SS world-view or even, an idea or a set of ideas that shape and carve whole societies in a given direction, when adaptation of a different world-view or set of ideas could have driven them somewhere else. Where are you going? We must invoke this Qur'anic verse every time we do something, or even think.
And as for the greatest myth that hard social sciences (as opposed to some time-pass programs, if any) require less exertion and utilization of brain cells and hardship of soul: it's just plain wrong! Give them a 100 page scholarly book and see how they sweat...
What i need to be doing is to articulate in laymen terms the importance of major fields of SS of which i've little acquaintance...
And Allah knows best.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
(Lahore Canal. Source.)
Saturday, December 8, 2012
It’s also extremely disappointing that some political leaders are using tough tone uttering threats on the life of Pakistan, they say, “Choose between KB dam and Pakistan.” That’s nonsense, indeed.
Most disturbing is the fact that a number of "visionless pigeons" (parliamentarians) ride the band-wagon to support the ill-designers; thus remain conveniently blindfolded only waiting for their own turn to be eaten by the silent killer cat. Maybe, these pigeons are naive, yet there is criminal negligence on their part for endangering the whole country.
The LHC has simply ordered the Federal government to implement 1991 decision of Council of Common Interest (CCI). In fact, when all the four Chief Ministers agreed in September 1991 to construct the Kalabagh Dam, the CCI prepared documentation for the projects in May 1998.
Moreover, the feasibility of the project was also agreed to by all four provinces in 2004, yet the Sindh assembly is only interested in re-igniting the settled issue of KBD project and has managed to divert the attention of general public away from the terrible law and order situation. But, there is no second opinion on the sincerity of the seasoned politicians and technocrats for national matters
Truth is dams are needed for proper management of river waters to improve economic viability and preserve ecosystem. Completing the KBD Project without delay is in the best interest of the country, as it would ensure affordable electricity for agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors. A fair share of irrigation water to all provinces, effective flood control system and production of cheaper electricity are possible with an unbreakable unity among the people as just Pakistanis with no other label.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
When someone whose near you…a friend (might be) leave you without any hint that WHY s/he is leaving….time transfer you from a state of shock to a state of solitude.
You get rid or try to avoid other relationships and suddenly you become like a monk…you like to live alone…you require no one to listen to you…you need no extra pair of shoes…you seldom visit relatives…the only gesture on your plain face is solitude.
You live...you maintain discipline. You live like a ‘Dervaish’ of some heathen worldly order.
But it’s easy for a real dervaish because he has his belief. And solitude without a belief is a curse.
Solitude has its own adventures.
Solitude is very strange too…and sometimes as filled with dangers and surprises as a forest.
I know all its ways…solitude has its secrets.
Solitude is as full of secrets as the jungle…
The boredom against which you mount a hopeless struggle by means of an ordered life.
You live a perfectly ordered existence; you have a title and a rank....and a way of life that is painfully exact.
And comes the sudden moments of revolt…one day you run away from it all with a weapon in your hand...or not – which may be even more dangerous.
You run out into the world...wild-eyed...and your old friends and comrades get out of your way.
You go to a city...everything around you turns to chaos...you look for fights everywhere and you find them.
And...as I said....that is by no means the worst of it.
May be you are struck down as you run like a mangy...rabid dog.
May be you run full-tilt into a wall...against all life’s obstacles....and break every bone in your body.
What’s even worse is if you take this upsurge of feeling...which has accumulated in your heart over so many lonely years...and you push it back inside…because…you are waiting.
So I am waiting….waiting for us to meet….
I will tell you what I went through, alone in this forest of solitude while you were out in the world achieving worldly fame...hmmmm....
And let me remind you that I never ever went amok….I never run neither killed anyone.
What I do instead?
I prepare myself for the moment…we will meet….I have been preparing myself for a duel.
I bring all my affairs into order in case I die in the duel.
And I practices everyday...as professional duellist do.
And what weapon do I practice with?
With my memories...my words…hmm...so that I will not allow solitude and time to cloud my sight and weaken my heart and my soul.
There is one duel in life....fought without guns or any kind of arms…and that one duel is very important in our life and that one duel is worth preparing for with all your life’s solitude.