Sunday, December 4, 2016

The rise of the conservative right

Have you ever wondered the reason for the recent Trump phenomenon? It is not just the United State that is witnessing arise of far-right nationalism, rather similar sentiments can be observed all around the world. Take Europe for example, in Hungary, the government of Viktor Orban is publicly speaking against immigration and refugees. He has gone on to say that Islam has no place in the Hungarian society. In France, the right wing Marine Le Pen of the Front National speaks with similar undertones. In Greece and Italy, the xenophobic tendencies are on rise that in effect is give rise to conservatism. The historical event of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union is also a win for the conservatives. The head on the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, called Brexit the day when "UK got its independence". Even in countries like Slovakia are joining this trend. The prime minister of Slovakia recently said that Islam has no place his country. In Germany, Alternativ für Deutschland(AFD) has seen a rise in the polls, and strongly criticise Markel for her pro-immigrant policies. 

If we move from Europe to Asia, a similar phenomenon can be observed in the world's largest democracy, India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes from a right wing Hindu-Nationalist party BJP (so-called Indian Peoples' Party). Although he doesn't an explicit undertone for hating Muslims or other cultural and linguistic minorities in the country, a rise in far-right Hindu populism has seen a rise. With the recent killing of intellectuals and strike again people who doesn't agree with his definition of 'nationalism' only solidifies this idea. 

In Australia, the ruling party publicly speaks against taking foreign refugees event who are really in need of help. Racism and xenophobia is also on the rise in the once peaceful country. 

How can we understand this situation? What is the reason for this rampant failure of the Left? Are people scared of a more integrate world? Is globalisation causing people to lose their identity, and hence they are against all ideas and people that are from the outside? Is it because of the media that 'programs' people to think is a specific direction? 

This rise of the Right can be seen as a failure of the capitalist doctrine. The great promises of the free market, the idea of infinite progress, the American dream of becoming whatever you want to be, the idea of absolute freedom, etc. etc., all these ideas seem to dwindle in our times. The monetary crisis of 2008 left millions of people around the world without a shelter for their families. The affects were most devastating in Iceland. Once the most peaceful country of the world, with no crime and poverty, came to a total stand halt. The currency dwindled as the country declared bankruptcy. Similar were the affect on Greece as the euro-crisis sent the whole country to go on a 'for-sale' advertisement. Mothers couldn't afford milk for their babies, Banks were closed, and people were not able to pay for their health insurance. This was a European country! not some third-world economic outlier. 

With such a scale of economic disorder, people search for an alternative. SO what's their alternative? The Left has collapsed, as the philosopher Zizek points out that even if Left comes into power they don't have a viable economic to solve these mammoth problems. Even the leftist are implementing the capitalistic doctrines. Take a look at China. Once a powerful communist country has completely opened itself for the capitalist ideals. The country now has a list of billionaires, a phenomenon impossible to witness in a communist government. Hence, the people look for alternative, without thinking whether it is good in the long run or not. 

Secondly, although the Right doesn't have a viable economic manifesto of their own, they are really good at winning the heart of the people. Recently, the governor of Alaska said that the victory of Donald Trump is send by God. Such rhetoric means a lot for many people. They are in need of a saviour, whoever s/he is, and wherever the saviour comes from.

But everything is not that bad too. Humans have achieved a lot in the forgoing centuries. The right of vote, the separation of religion from the state, human rights,  etc. all have been achieved through a very long struggle between the common people against the military, religious, or political establishment. The German philosopher Hume pointed out that a state only exists because the people give a consent to a minority political class to make laws for them. Whenever we have seen a change in human history, it is through the revolt of the common people to stand up against injustice and bigotry.  Although this is an long struggle for rights, but it is worth fighting it. 

JFK said that if peaceful revolutions are sabotaged and prohibited, violent revolutions become inevitable. We can hope that the present crisis doesn't turn itself in a violent movement.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

An Orwellian Analysis of Imran Khan

Imran Khan in the animal farms

Whether it is Fatalism or a curse of history, Imran Khan can be characterised either as the simple-hearted animal or as their leader.

George Orwell in his well-known book, Animal Farms, writes about a farm owned by humans that was overtaken by animals. The leaders of the animals were the pigs. Their polemic against the human owners made the simple-hearted animals believe that humans are the source of their suffering. The polemic was highly effective, and the animals were able to arrange a successful coup d'etat against their masters. Hence the eulogized Kingdom of Heaven, where all animals will have a equal share of work and equal standard of living started to take shape. Unfortunately, the end was as tragic as the beginning. The pigs - who initially were the harbingers of peace and prosperity - later on became the new kings, while the simple-hearted animals still suffered. The cycle of suffering perpetuated. 

Whether it is Fatalism or a curse of history, Imran Khan can be characterised either as the simple-hearted animal or as their leader. For the middle class, he still rings in their hearts. His ferocious stance against corruption even make his arch-enemies support him. His idea of justice being at the heart of a progressive society appeals to the common sense. Similar to the "first birth" of the animal leaders, he believes that the system is rotten to its core and has to be changed immediately. 

The same Khan, acts like the simple-hearted animal when it comes to international and domestic issues. He preaches the wrath of dictatorship, on his infamous "Dharna Truck", standing besides people like Sheikh Rasheed, Khurshid Kusuri, Javeed Hashmi, and Shah Mehmood. Similar to the simple-hearted Orwellian animal, Khan continues to hearken to them, although they represent the same Orwellian humans that he is fighting against.

Hashmi's betrayal can not be erased from the annals of Pakistani politics. Imran in his dream, like Julius Ceaser, would had have said "You too Brutus!?". I hope he doesn't have to repeat it again.

When is comes to terrorism, Mr. Imran Khan seems to be chained in the classical paradox of tolerance, i.e. should one tolerate intolerance if intolerance would destroy the possibility of tolerance? Without any doubt, this is a difficult problem for everyone including him. The simple-hearted Imran Khan tried to become the modern day Gandhi and preached dialogue as the key to peace. Taliban even nominated him as their spokesperson, when the government started the dialogue process. 

The terrorist kept on destroying our cities, and he remained disillusioned and kept on presenting that war on terror is not our war. It was not until the horrendous attack on the army public school in Peshawar, that he finally made up his mind, or maybe forced to make up his mind, as the military started a massive operation to eradicate this evil from our soil.

The final metamorphosis has happened lately. Imran Khan kept on blaming a private television station and news group for orchestrating electoral rigging and announced its boycott. He developed the story of 35 punctures, that has become an idiom in itself. Then, he said that it was all a mistake and apologised for it. Later on, he said it wasn't 35 punctures, rather 70 punctures. God knows, what's to follow. Just like the "second birth" of the animal leader, Imran khan has deviated from his idea of justice.

Justice in its very essence its defined as truth. A person who can not keep his words, might also fall short on creating a just society. Like the animal leader, he plays with words and fools the simple-hearted animals.

Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, "A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise." The "second birth" of Imran Khan can be characterised precisely what Machiavelli wrote a century ago. I would say, "A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his word".

I hope that we do not see an Orwellian end to our political story, where the simple-hearted animals get ruled by pigs who are at par with their human counter-parts.

Monday, June 8, 2015

جرمنی میں دو سال، حصہ دوم

جرمنی میں سب زبردست چیز مجھے وقت کی پابندی لگی۔ اگر کسی ٹرین کو 7 بج کر 10 منٹ پر آنا ہوتا ہے تو وہ اس ہی وقت پر آتی ہے، اور مجھے کبھی یاد نہیں کہ کوئی ٹرین 30 سکینڈ بھی دیر سے آئی ہو۔ ایک بار عجیب واقعہ ہو۔ میں دوسری بار ٹرین میں سفر کر رہا تھا۔ میں نے ٹرین کا وقت اسٹیشن پر پڑھا جو کہ نو بج کر تیس منٹ تھا۔ میں سمجھا کہ یہ ٹرین آنے کا وقت ہوگا۔ لیکن اصل میں وہ ٹرین چلنے کا وقت تھا۔ تو ہوا یہ کے وہ ٹرین مجھ سے چھٹ گئی۔

میرے خیال میں اس کے علاوہ ٹرین کا کوئی اور ذاتی واقعہ مجھے یاد نہیں پڑھتا۔ البتہ یہاں پر ٹرین کی ہرتال بھی دیکھنے کو ملی۔ ہرتال کرنے والوں کا مقصد تنخواہ میں اضافہ کی اپیل تھی۔ ہرتال اس دلچسپ انداز میں ہوئی کہ ہرتال کرنے والوں نے پہلے ہی بتا دیا کہ کے وہ کن اوقات میں ٹرین چلائین گے اور کن پر نہیں۔ مجھے یہ دلچسپ لگا کیونکہ ہرتال کا اصل تو کمپنی والوں سے اپنی بات منوانہ ہوتا ہے، نہ کہ عوام کو زبردستی تنگ کیا جائے۔ کچھ ٹرینیں بند کرنے سے عوام کو یقینا تکلیف تو ہوئی لیکن ٹرین کمپنی کو مالی نقصان زیادہ ہوا، اس لئے بیس دنوں میں ہی ورکز کی بات مان لی گئی۔ اور ٹرین سروس پھر سے پوری تاب سے شروع ہوگئی۔ 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

جرمنی میں دو سال، حصہ اول

پچھلے ہفتہ جرمنی میں دو سال مکمل ہوگئے۔ ایک بری عادت جس کا مجھے افسوس ہے وہ یہ ہے کہ میں نے لکھنا چھوڑ دیا۔ اس کی ایک وجہ میری کاہلی ہے اور دوسری وجہ عنوانات کی کمی۔ کافکے نے وہ کہا ہے نہ کہ لکھاری درد کی گہرہیوں میں لکھتا ہے۔ اب نہ یہاں کوئی درد اور نہ ہی کوئی گہرائی کا احساس۔ ہاہاہاہا۔۔۔۔ اس کا مطلب یہ نہیں کہ یہاں کوئی مسئلہ نہیں، بلکہ مجھے ان لوگوں کے مسئلوں میں کوئی دلچسپی ہیں نہیں۔ ان کے مسائل پیچدگی کی جس منزل پر ہیں، اتنی میری سمجھ نہیں ہے۔ اس لیے اس پر لکھنا بلکل ایسا ہی ہے جیسے ہمارے میں عربی زبان یا قدیم آفریقی ثقافت پر کچھ لکھ رہا ہوں۔

جرمنی میں دو سال مکمل ہونے پر میں نے سوچا کہ کچھ لکھوں اس سے پہلے کے جرمنی میری یاد سے اُجھل ہو جائے۔ یہ صرف ایک یاد داشت کو سنبھالنے کی کوشش ہے۔

جرمنی میں پہلے دن سے ہی کچھ نیا سیکھنے کو مل رہا ہے۔ پہلے دن جب میں اپنے شہر کے ریلوے اسٹیشن پہنچا تو بلکل ایسا لگا کہ الگ دنیا میں آگیا ہوں۔ الگ زبان، رنگ، اور طور کے لوگ نظر آئے۔ بدقسمتی رہی کہ میری آمد دیر سے ہوئی اس لیے جامعہ کے لوگ مجھے لینے نہ آسکے اور کیونکہ میرا یہاں پر پاکستانی لوگوں سے رابطہ نہیں ہوسکا اس لیے وہ بھی غیر حاضر تھے۔ اب میں تنہاہ یہ سوچ رہا تھا کہ کیا کروں۔ جیب میں کچھ سکے تھے، سوچا گھر کال کر کے بتا دوں کے زندہ سلامت پہنچ گیا ہوں۔ تو اس واسطے قریب ترین فون بوت پرگیا اور فون استعمال کرنے کی کوشش کی۔ اب پہلا حادثہ یہی پر ہوا۔ پوری کو پوری مشین جرمن زبان میں تھی۔ کبھی پاکستان میں اس طرح کی مشین استعمال کرنے کا اتفاق نہیں ہوا، اس لیے اور مشکل ہو رہی تھی۔ میں نے سوچا کے پیسے ڈالتا ہوں اور پھر دیکھتا ہوں کہ کیا ہوتا ہے۔ یہی سوچ کر دو یورو اس میں ڈال دیے۔ پیسے ڈالے ہی تھے کے مشین کی اسکرین پر پھر کچھ جرمن میں لکھا آگیا۔ میں نے دل میں سوچا کہ مجھے تو صرف کال کرنی ہے، اتنی ڈرامہ بازی یہ مشین کیوں کر رہی ہے۔ خیر میں مشین پر ہی کھڑا تھا اور جرمن سمجھنے کی کوشش کرہا تھا کہ اب کون سا بٹن دبایا جائے۔ میں پڑھ ہی رہا تھا کہ اتنے میں میرا دو یورو کا سکا مشین سے باہر آگیا۔

میں نے پھر سکا ڈالا، اور اس بار یہ ٹھانی کہ کچھ بھی لکھا آئے میں سکا ڈالتے ہیں کال ملانا شروع کردوں گا۔ میں نے ایسا ہی کیا۔ میں نے لمبا سا نمبر ڈالا اور کال ملنے کا انتظار کیا۔ کال پھر مل کر نہ دی۔ میں پاکستان سے اچھی خاسی جرمن سیکھ کر آیا تھا لیکن شاید پاکستان سے دبئ ، پھر فراینکفرت، اور پھر کیسسرلوٹرن تک کے سفر نے مجھے بہت تھکا دیا تھا۔

قریب کوئی آدمی بھی نہ تھا جس سے میں پوچھ کر مشین استعمال کرتا، اور فرض کیا کوئی ہوتا بھی تو معلوم نہیں اسکو کیا بولتا۔ زبان من ترکی و تو ترکی نمی دانم! سردی بھی تھی، اور تھکن الگ، اس لیے میں نے فون کرنے کی کاوش کو ترک کردیا۔

مجھے اب دو سال بعد سمجھ آیا کہ وہ مشین اتنی مشکل نہیں تھی۔ بات صرف یہ تھی کہ ہر جگہ لوگ مختلف طریقوں سے سوچتے ہیں۔ ہم لوگ صرف کام نکالنے کا سوچ رہے ہوتے ہیں، جبکہ یہاں کوگوں کو سسٹم کے اندر رہتے ہوئے کام کرنے کا شوق ہے۔ اب اگر سسٹم کی دس لوازمات ہیں تو یہ لوگ دس کہ دس پوری کریں گے۔ ڈنڈی مارنے کا ایک اتفاق بھی مجھے نہیں ہوا۔

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Writers' Disillusionment

The delusion of  writing is self-created.
Picture ref: Sewickley Public Library

Write for the sake of writing. No need to be logical. No need to be coherent. No need to make sense. No need to put in energy. No need to disguise thought behind archaic linguistic symbolism.

When I started blogging some years back, I made a resolution to myself. The resolution was to write five hundred words everyday. It went on for a long time, it was like an exercise for me. Everyday sitting in front of my computer, I used to think what I write about. The words came intuitively, and I wrote as the stream of thoughts dictated me to write. Writing, just like any other activity, requires consistency. Consistency is the keyword here. Psychological research conducted in the field of habits tell us that if an activity is continued for sixty-six days, then it becomes a habit.

There is a rhythm in a habit. The body started to ache, if the normal routine is not followed. But then what happen with me? Why couldn't I continue with my old habit? I guess the answer is that writing didn't become my habit. It was more a way to exhaust my feeling in words. The text I wrote was just a polemic that I couldn't speak out normally. It was more like shouting in a million march. No matter how high you speak, the voice only echos back to you. The louder the shout, the greater the disillusionment that my words are working magic. I don't care what people think about whatever I said in the last years. I don't want them to be heard or taken heed of.

During the process of writing , I forget that the important activity was NOT to make sense of the world around me. The big annals of history and philosophy are full of crazy ideas. It is upon the person, to make sense of them. But the writer misses the point, these annals of history are not made to make sense at all. It is just a disillusionment that we find connection in the process of understanding. The universe is not forced to subscribe to our laws. It doesn't make sense that weird human logic is able to comprehend a tiny part of the universe and then assumes that everything everywhere else is forced to pertain the same laws.

So now I think that, I would just write. Write for the sake of writing. No need to be logical. No need to be coherent. No need to make sense. No need to put in energy. No need to disguise thought behind archaic linguistic symbolism. No need to rethink or reword. It should the pure flow that matters. This will my logic of writing from now on.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Deconstructing Procrastination

It has been a long time I updated my blog. Procrastination is said to be the most destructive habit of a writer. Da Vince suffered from it a lot, and so do I. This disease has been associated with many great writers, but with different reasons. The Urdu humorous writer Mustaq Yosufi says that he only writes when he has something to write. German author Kafka says that a writer writes from the abyss of depression.

I guess that both of them make a valid argument. Back in Pakistan, I used to think that rather then author tens of books like Stephen King, it is much better to write just a single book like "Gone with the wind" by Margret Mitchell.

Mitchell stopped writing after she publish her first book. The reason seems either to be procrastination or maybe -- as Kafka puts it -- she didn't has any thought to express. In this case, procrastination is the greatest bliss as it stops a person from authoring nonsense.

There are other reasons too for this disease. A drought of ideas or a mess of ideas also leads to a lazy behaviour. A person starts her/his day with learning something new, then goes on for reading the headlines, takes a break and then reads some stuff on 9gag, afterwards s/he jumps into university work and then finally ends his internet life on facebook, twitter, or any other social network.

Moreover, I forgot to mention the nuisance of smartphone culture, It is utterly ridiculous to see people messaging and chatting for hours without a shred of logic. Sometime I feel that they suffer from Anthropophobia. These "smart phone mammals" are a weird sort of human breed that doesn't know that there is a world outside waiting to be discovered. The smart phone mammals are suffering from the worst sort of procrastination as they have nothing to share. The outside world seems non-existent to them.

Procrastination in the above sense is neither a bliss nor a disease. It becomes a habit, or rather a necessity of life. Commonly, such people delay jobs as long as the deadline allows things to be delayed. Jobs are scheduled as late as possible, so that the smart phone can be get the longest usable time possible. The demigod, i.e. smartphone, gets the biggest time share as there is no other purpose of life.

I think that procrastination should only be enjoyed it if lets a person live like a human. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

کچھ اور خیال۔۔۔

میں منٹو تو نہیں پر مجھے بھی جلدی ہے۔ اس لیے 'کا' 'کے' کی اغلاط کو خود صحیح کرلینا!!

کہا جاتا ہے کہ منٹو صاحب نے اپنے آخری افسانے صرف اس لیے لکھے تاکہ وہ کچھ بادہ و مے خرید سکیں۔ جب وہ لاہور میں مال روڈ پر اپنے افسانوں کی تصنیف کیلئے جاتے، تو اُس کو یہ ضرور کہتے کہ "بھئی! میں نے یہ افسانے بہت جلدی میں لکھے ہیں، اس لیے 'کا' 'کے' کی اغلاط کو خود صحیح کرلینا".

میں منٹو تو نہیں پر مجھے بھی جلدی ہے۔ اس لیے 'کا' 'کے' کی اغلاط کو خود صحیح کرلینا!!

تو بات شروع کہا سے ہو؟ سفر نامہ لکھنا تو دو وجوہات کی بنا پر بکار ہے، اول تو یہ کہ میرا ۸۰ فیصد سفر جامعہ سے کمرے اور کمرے سے جامعہ تک کا ہے۔ باقی بچا ۲۰ فیصد تو اس میں ۱۵ فیصد بستر سے بیت الخلاء اور بیت الخلاء سے باورچی خانہ اور پھر وہاں سے واپس بستر۔ باقی ۵ فیصد جرمنی کے کچھ شہروں کا سفر ہے۔ وہ پڑھنے والے ویکی پیڈیا پر خود پڑھ سکتے ہیں۔ دوسری وجہ نہ لکھنے کہ یہ ہے کہ سفر نامہ البیرونی سے لے کر مستنصر حسین تاڑر تک بہت لکھے جاچکے ہیں۔ ایک اخباری سفر نامہ تو اوریا مقبول صاحب نے بھی لکھا تھا جس میں انھوں نے یہ ثابت کرنے کہ کوشش کی تھی کہ جاپان میں جس طرح مساجد بن رہی ہیں اس سے اسلام اور "پاکستان" کا نام بہت روشن ہورہا ہے۔ خدا بہتر جانے۔۔۔۔

اب دوسرا موضوع ہے سیاست، اس پر کچھ اظہارِ خیال ضروری ہے۔ یہاں پر میں الیکشن کے زمانے میں آیا تھا۔ تین حیرت انگیر چیزیں دیکھنے کو ملیں:

۱) کوئی گولی نہیں چلی اور کوئی پیا جام نہیں ہوا۔ سننے میں یہ بھی آیا کہ ایک جرمن شہری ڈاک سے بھی ووٹ دے سکتا ہے۔
۲) سیاسی مجالس بلکل انگریزی گانوں کے کانسرت جیسی تھیں۔ لوگ صرف مزے کیلئے جاتے۔
۳) الیکشن ختم بھی ہوگیا اور جامعہ کی ایک چھٹی تک نہ ہوئی۔

ابھی کوئی اور بات کرنے کو نہیں ہے۔۔۔ تمام شود۔۔۔ ہاہاہا