Friday, 21 September 2012

"Wings of Truth" - by Roman Ahsan


By Roman Ahsan – [February 20, 2010]

I set out very late in the dark,
Seems as if I am left with ample spark

Mirrors just crash in my path,
Still I carry on with a laugh

The moon shines brightly up there,
The wolves run around everywhere

The pond offers little joy,
The bats appear to annoy

The air has a peculiar chill,
I think I have to go for the kill

All of a sudden, I hear a cry,
Perhaps it could be a spy

My sword hangs down my side,
While I try to nurse my pride

I see a light in front of me,
It goes beyond that mango tree

I walk with all my might,
The night doesn’t give me any fright

The journey might never end,
This festival I must attend

Heroes or villains, life is not just about them
Spirits could be carried by just ordinary men!

"Blasphemy & the Continuing War" by Roman Ahsan


by Roman Ahsan (August 25, 2012)

Rimsha, an 11 year old Christian was arrested over blasphemy issue recently in a low-income area of Islamabad on Thursday. Neighbours said Rimsha had burned papers collected from a garbage pile for cooking in her family home and someone alerted the local cleric after spotting the remains being thrown out as rubbish.
There can be different approaches to this incident but no sane person could support the treatment given to the child. Though it is true that the spirit of religiosity could mislead many people but illiteracy is the basic problem of our country. People who lack education, whether they are religious or irreligious, always behave in a different way compared to those who have education. So we have to identify the roots first. Rimsha’s case is of course a matter of shame where a 11-year old girl has been arrested for burning pages of Qur’an when in God's eyes a minor till the age of 15 years (needs to be verified and researched) or so is not considered sinful if he/she falls for misdeeds. We need to find better ways to educate our masses instead of flaring up on such issues. Punishing a child for blasphemy is an occurrence which could be equated to assault of women in rural areas by parading them without clothes. In the former case, it is the misguided and uneducated religious elements that are committing excess while in the latter it is the people devoid of any compassion and religious spirit that do not feel any shame. In both cases, the entities have little or no quality education. LET’S GET THIS CLEAR IN OUR MINDS FIRST.

It is sad that certain groups amongst us become most vocal and hyper on issues but they lack a broader vision. Why are our eyes closed when we see 60-70 TV cable channels operating in a poor country like Pakistan most of whom are imparting all the wrong lessons to the audience? About 10-15 channels are sufficient for this nation which is suffering enormous economic collapse since the last few years. The funds should be diverted instead towards optimum educational measures, especially in the rural areas but this is obviously the job of the government officials to apply ‘checks’ where they are needed instead of proceeding like asses. When you turn on TV in these times, all you see is a single host standing in the middle of an expensive set. Even a phony like Dr. Amir Liaquat still being promoted by GEO TV is seen in front of high-priced sets that speak of glamour.

Superstores in Pakistan are another story. We do not say anything about hundred brands of Shampoo (and other products) being displayed in the shelves in a superstore. And then we start blaming the country. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

A hundred brands of a product are there in the shelves of a superstore in a very poor country like Pakistan because you like to see them there, because you are mad about shopping even though you are loyal to just one brand. Wouldn’t it be better for us if the government had limited the number of brands per product to a strict number in our country? Or if the government is not loyal to our country, then at least its people need to stand up and be vocal about different issues instead of choosing selected themes just because they ‘seem’ to threaten their freedom.

What is happening in our country is this. There is a continuous war going on between the liberals (both literate and illiterate) and the religious elements (both literate and illiterate) especially after 9/11. The liberals want freedom for homosexuality and want to make Pakistan a country like Dubai without feeling having empathy for the poor. If they had any feeling for the poor then they would speak on such issues also which have been pointed above. We are copying the trends of economically sound countries without using our own minds. There should be concern for the people of whole country and not just focus on individual success and priorities. But a businessman would just like to make money without carrying any concern for the masses. And so he would like to set up a chain of superstores that import branded products from abroad to fool the people into believing that this is vital for our survival. The fact is that we are neglecting our recently discovered natural resources and agriculture sector which are most vital for our country and where there are ample opportunities for businessmen to invest also.

The religious elements on the other hand are divided between good and bad also. Though there are some very refined people in this category who are full of compassion but there are religious people also who are full of pride because they think ‘just’ keeping a long beard and having religious knowledge (which is in fact their own version and is rather complicated) makes them superior to others. Again quality education or lack of it makes the difference here. Ironically, some people who want to embrace religious way of life fall into wrong hands and leave Western philosophies altogether (even the positive ones that are not in contradiction to our religion) making their outlook on life rather rigid and myopic.

Let’s pray to God to grant us the right sense to distinguish between right and wrong in this country, and to adopt a way of life which paves way for national progress and not just our own individual growth – aameen!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An informal health-guide - by Roman Ahsan

Healthcare is very important in life and especially an understanding of how to proceed with regards to our own surroundings…
An informal health-guide:

by Roman Ahsan

'Sunday Plus', The Nation, Lahore. [Sunday, April 26, 2009]

He had just entered the reception area of a large building where his friend had a corporate office. As he proceeded to the staircase, a peon called, ‘Sir, there’s an elevator here’. The man replied, ‘No thanks, I will take the stairs’, and then he continued up the stairs to reach the office on fifth floor.

The elevator was launched in the West long ago, but even now health conscious people there sometimes use the stairs instead as an excuse for a small workout. The people in the East however still cling to Western ideals not bothering how they can optimize their health. To be really healthy, one needs to shun false ideals and adopt a lifestyle that can boost one’s health in the long run. For example, people in Pakistan blindly follow the media trends without using their own mind. The media ad campaigns capitalize on people’s imaginations promoting intake of soft drinks with BBQ meals. The viewer sitting in front of television sets does not even bother to seek a second opinion whether it is good for him to have cold drinks with Shish Kebobs for the poor fellow has been brainwashed. No doubt, cold drinks with spicy meals taste great since they provide temporary respite from the chilly flavour yet we ignore the risks to health involved. Research shows that having cold water or drinks during meals slows down digestion since it is a heat consuming process. Furthermore, the intestines secrete a fluid during digestion which gets diluted when we drink cold water.

Modern times offer a passive lifestyle. Driving a vehicle is everybody’s dream and nobody thinks of balancing it out with physical workouts. There are very few people who are cautious of maintaining good health that take up brisk walking or jogging to burn body fats and in this way lend some exercise to the heart muscles. Leading sedentary life styles makes us fall victim to heart diseases, diabetes, depressions and what not! Regular workouts lasting even 20-30 minutes, at least four to five times a week can rescue us and make us fit. Normally, executives who have hectic work schedules find themselves working late in the evenings, and then only wish to return home after wrapping up their routine duties. Such individuals could buy an affordable treadmill to keep at home, which could be used in the morning for 25-30 minutes or in the evening according to their convenience. This is also a way to keep your blood pressure under control and to remain active and youthful. Apart from treadmills, some free hand exercises like push-ups and pull-ups could also be undertaken. Many natural activities in your domestic settings can also contribute to your health. For instance, instead of always relying on your gardener, you can give him a leave once a week and pull the lawn mower for trimming your lawn or cutting the hedges in your lawn with garden-scissors yourself even if it requires sweating.

Our thought patterns play a very significant role in determining our health. Many of us lack a higher purpose in life. Our goals just revolve around getting university degrees, getting an executive job, aspiring for progress in careers even at the cost of the rights of our colleagues, having a car after just one year of job experience by unnecessarily burdening ourselves with auto-loans, wanting to be socially accepted in even those circles where we do not belong, getting married, looking after our children and then preparing ourselves for the retirement phase in terms of financial security. These targets are somewhat necessary to nurture but depending on our resources, our Creator demands something more from us. We have to reach out to those who are in distress, be they in our neighbourhood or wherever we spend most of our time. The feeling that you are doing something for others not just as a charity measure but as goodwill gesture raises your spirits and strengthens your mind over the years. Goodwill acts may involve contributing to the plight of the people in your area, giving free tuitions to youth imparting them with your wisdom and experience, and carrying out small steps that might be seemingly mundane like helping out around your own house instead of leaving everything to the servants.

Cable TV viewing has now taken a large share of our time in the evenings. The favourite pastime for many is channel surfing where they keep switching between 60-70 channels. The term ‘couch potato’ was never so relevant as today. Internet surfing and social media have added to this dilemma. Obesity is the hallmark of the second millennium and also because of our food consuming habits. Many people here prefer eating out in restaurants and consume snacks or processed foods preferring them to fresh vegetables and fruits that guard the body against illnesses. Liquid consumption trends need to be monitored also. Green tea intake two to three times a day is very beneficial to tone up your body and helps in fighting scores of illnesses including cancer, while imparting vitality to your moods. In addition to that, 10-12 glasses of water-intake daily is much necessary as it flushes your inner system, energizes you up and keeps your skin youthful.

We live in a poor country yet we aspire for the lifestyles of the inhabitants of the first world as conveyed through their media messages that have grown deep in our minds. The thing to be wary here is that many Westerners are simple folk who shun the media trends and adopt healthy outlooks on life with focus on natural foods. Good health is above all, and there should be no compromise on it.

'Sunday Plus', The Nation, Lahore. [Sunday, April 26, 2009]

Mohammad Iqbal - by Dr. Ali Shariati

Mohammad Iqbal

A Manifestation of Self-reconstruction and Reformation

A worth reading article...please visit the link below:

By Dr. Ali Shariati