Understanding Indo-Pak politics is a matter that does not and cannot sink into a common man’s head. Entwine the irrationality of the Mad Hatter with a dash of the absolute stupidity of tweedle dee and tweedle dum, pour your torrid mixture into a smoldering vat of boiled frog’s liver and then too, will you not arrive at a plausible equivalent. They are beyond human understanding. They run in concentric circles, moving on and on and on – reaching no conclusion.
In the summer, I was stationed in India’s busiest city, the hub of all activity, Mumbai. And as usual, as a holder of the Green Passport, I found numerous hindrances popping up in my path – but that’s a different story.
During the course of the three weeks spent here, I found myself, no doubt, overcome by the constant flurry of activity that surrounded me. True, the city never sleeps and the honking of cars and whirring of auto rickshaws is incessant, nerve wracking. However, to an outsider striking a superficial comparison between the two neighbouring countries, apart from differences of religion and language, Pakistanis are simply a chip off the old block.
But this article or blogpost or whatever is not highlighting the importance of ‘cordial relations between India and Pakistan.’ Geo TV and Aman Ki Aasha have already done that.
Rather, this writer wishes to bring to you knowledge, the fact that the socio-economic status of Indians and Pakistanis is more or less the same. And incase you haven’t forgotten already, sixty-three years ago, Pakistan was part of India.
This writer also wishes to inform all bitter, stereotypical Indians that all Pakistanis are neither illiterate nor clones of Ajmal Kasab. Infact, we mourn the events that took place in Mumbai on 26/11. Dozens of people die in Pakistan every month and each day, a portion of our country is shaken by bomb blasts. We know what it’s like to have our sovereignty infringed upon and innocent people – men, women, children – brutally murdered on our soil.
And lastly, this writer wishes to inform all such Pakistanis that India is not ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. Just because they won the World Cup and you didn’t doesn’t mean you should hate them. By the way, if you really think they’re that horrid, how come Salman Khan’s latest flick is in your DVD player?
No matter what the situation is, hypocrisy is NOT cool K
Beneath the Shadows
We’re tired of watching streams of wailing police vehicles zooming alongside a car belonging to a senator or a member of parliament. We’re tired of witnessing our President ensnare the land around his residence, turning his house into a fortress. We’re tired of strikes and protests and riots, of target killings and showers of bullets. We’re tired of lawlessness which has become the order of the day, of bribery, which has become standard-bearer of our society. We’re tired of witnessing increasing poverty, of lack of water, natural gas, electricity. We’re tired of the indifference and colossal extent of lavishness displayed by the upper crust of our social hierarchy who argue for Human Rights and Education For All only to step inside their mansions at the end of the day where they’ve carelessly employed underage servants living in a tiny shack, snatched away from their parents, existing in dire poverty with no access to education, leading wretched, miserable lives which their flamboyant employees have absolutely no sympathy for.
We’re tired of blatant hypocrisy, of lies, of double-standards, of living in pretense.
And we need change.
It’s about time someone arose from the shadows to guide us towards salvation.
The Times, They Are A-Changin’
Billions of years ago, when the earth was born, when the first golden rays of sunshine shone upon its lush plains, when nature thrived in undisputable harmony, when mere existence was drenched in purity, Gaia – Mother Earth – couldn’t have possibly foreseen the disastrous course of events that were to wear her down, tear her apart, shatter her completely.
We talk about milestones and progress and covering leaps and bounds. We talk about sustainability and diversity and interdependence. Each day, we take new steps; uncover the secrets of life that have been mystifying the inhabitants of earth since the beginning of time. We are living in an age where we have proven that nothing is impossible for the human race.
Speaking of discoveries, let us step back into the weathered and worn pages of history, into the life of a little boy thrown out of school at the tender age of nine for being ‘retarded’. We’re talking about Einstein here, incase you’re feeling lost.
Einstein, with his theory of relativity, Swedish braniacs Marie and Pierre Curie and her discovery of radium and polonium and further developments carried out by Lise Meitner and Neils Bohr, took the world by storm; gave birth to an idea that was to change the face of the earth as we see it today – harnessing nuclear energy – and, in turn, paved away for the deadly nuclear bomb.
We have delved into discoveries, making our lives simpler, easier and more manageable. Progression has caused the human race to accomplish feats that seemed impossible just a few generations ago. Coal, oil and today, nuclear energy poses to take the position of the fuel of the future. Less than five kilograms of Uranium possess the ability to produce energy equivalent to several thousand tones of coal. As we sit in our bedrooms, rattling off facts and figures at the tips of our fingers, we ignore a possibility that may, very soon, turn into reality. Nuclear destruction.
1945. World War Two. Total loss of lives: 50 to 70 million
6th and 9th of August of 1945; two atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Within these few minutes, the lives of hundreds of people plunged into chaos. Utter misery.
The severe effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki.
200,000 had died by 1950, due to cancer and other long-term effects.
Indeed, life has become a lot simpler.
On April 26th, 1986 the fourth reactor of a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, exploded at 1:23 AM local time, resulting in the expulsion of radioactive material and consequently, the evacuation of about 135,000 people. Radioactive particles settled on trees, killing approximately 400 hectares of pine forest.
On the 28th of Match 1979, the US of A experienced its worst nuclear accident – a partial meltdown of the reactor core at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. A recent study concluded that the death rates for infants, children and the elderly soared in the two years that followed after this incident, in Dauphin and surrounding counties.
Turning back to Mother Earth here, as she withers with pain, threatens to crack under the pressure and strain inflicted upon her – do we stop to think? Do we bother disengaging ourselves from our entirely self-absorbed, self-centered lifestyles to pause, stop and think? Think about the colossal consequences of our seemingly harmless actions. And most importantly, do we realize where we’re headed?
By Zuha Siddiqui