Tag Archives: values

Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

KU organises seminar on secular values

By: Waqas Safder

SINDH – Karachi: University of Karachi on Friday organised a seminar on “Secular Values in South Asia: Are there Lessons from the European Experience?” at the Area Study Centre for Europe.

Prof. Ram Puniyani, General Secretary, Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, was the guest speaker at the occasion.

In his presentation, Prof. Puniyani talked in detail about the concept of secularism in South Asia and the failure of regional countries to prevent the forces of intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism from gaining ground.

Continue reading Prof. Ram Puniyani in University of Karachi, Sindh – intolerance, militancy, radicalization and extremism

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Pakistan’s National College of Art’s editorial board dissolved over blasphemy row

Pak college’s editorial board dissolved over blasphemy row

Pakistan’s first arts college’s editorial board has been dissolved and two other departments have been closed, weeks after the institution’s annual journal was accused of publishing material that supported homosexuality and ridiculed Islamic values.

The architecture and research and publication departments of the National College of Arts in Lahore have been closed while the director for research and publication, Sarosh Irfani, has been suspended.

Following complaints about the inclusion of some paintings and a feature in the annual journal Sohbat, the college’s editorial board too has been dissolved.

The principal of the NCA, Sajjad Kausar, and some other staff are facing charges of blasphemy, official sources told PTI.

With extremist and hardline religious parties, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, calling for stringent action against those responsible for publishing “blasphemous materials” in the journal, the college’s administration, including the Principal, are feeling insecure, the sources said.

“I have dissolved the editorial board, closed down the research and publication and architecture wings and suspended the director for research and publication,” Kausar told reporters.

He said a ban had been imposed on the publication of Sohbat for an indefinite period. ….

Read more » http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Pak-college-s-editorial-board-dissolved-over-blasphemy-row/Article1-881693.aspx

Beyond Borders, a journey of friendship between India and Pakistan by Shariq Ali

The village was small and the entire community was tied together like a family, with common cultural values and traditions evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years. They were farmers and knew very well as to how to work in the fields and love and sing together, but had poor understanding of the political realities of their times.

One day, they saw the sunset as one community but at the dawn, realized that the village is divided by an invisible line created not by Hindus and Muslims, but by few British advisors called Radcliffe commission. And so was the territory of 88 million people of the subcontinent. ….

Read more » ValueVersity

It’s not a Recession, it’s a corporate Robbery – New spirit across the world

– Laurie Penny: Across the world, a new spirit took hold – power was taken back by the people

More than city squares are being occupied. What is being reoccupied is a sense of collective possibility

Something enormous happened on Saturday night. In over a thousand towns and cities around the world, people from all walks of life took to the streets and occupied the squares in an international “day of action” against austerity and corporate greed. In Madrid, I watched 60,000 stamp and cheer in Puerta del Sol as protesters took over a nearby building and dropped a banner reading “Somos El 99%” (“we are the 99 per cent”), a slogan from the Occupy Wall Street movement which has become a mantra for new global resistance.

As thousands streamed into the main square of the Spanish capital, a projector was showing hundreds facing down police to camp outside the London Stock Exchange. Protest, like profit, has become globalised.

The fact that politicians and pundits are asking what all these people want can be considered a victory for the “occupy everywhere” movement. It’s not a question many in public life have seemed much concerned with in the past decade.

What commentators fail to understand is that occupation is itself a demand. It’s a new, practical politics for those disillusioned with representative democracy, which demonstrators claim is a private club run by the rich, for the rich.

The recolonisation of public space, the forming of alternative communities based on direct democracy where people can meet and realise a common struggle, is an act of defiance with its own solution to the alienation and frustrations of life under capitalism. Those who attend occupations with individual grievances stay because they want to belong to a community built on mutual aid and shared values.

As political ambitions go, “occupy everywhere” is hardly modest. It is fitting that the most notable showdown of Saturday night took place in New York’s Times Square, where thousands of peaceful protesters clashed with mounted police under the glow of giant electric billboards in this temple to corporate power.

What is being occupied is far more than a few public squares for a few weeks. What’s being reoccupied is the collective political imagination, and a sense of collective possibility – beyond nationalism, beyond left and right – as millions of people lose faith in mainstream politics.

Power is not being petitioned here – it’s being reinvented. That’s what makes “occupy everywhere” so fascinating and also so exciting.

Courtesy » independent.co.uk

Pakistan’s military and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban

– In the midst of bad and worsening relations with Washington, Pakistan considers new round of peace talks with Pakistan-based Taliban, arguing that ‘military solutions’ are making things worse.

By Owais Tohid

Excerpt;

……. But analysts believe that striking negotiations with Islamic militants will pose serious challenges. “We struck peace accords with militant commanders during the past and those blew up on our face,” says Peshawar-based defense analyst, retired Brig. Mohammad Saad. “Once you enter into negotiations, they [the militants] grow bigger than their size and start believing themselves as equal. The more the state talks to them, they will become a bigger problem in Pakistan.”

“Their agenda is different,” Brigadier Saad adds. “Their ideology is in clash with the norms and values of any modern civilized society.” …..

To read complete article → csmonitor

We are living in a Taliban state – by Nayyer Khan

The ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate

Recently, a police SHO barged into Nairang Gallery located on Jail Road, Lahore, which is an art gallery-cum-rendezvous spot for the city’s social and cultural elite, intelligentsia and artistic and bohemian classes, and harassed the staff as well as visitors and customers present for violating the ‘holiness’ of Ramzan. According to him, food and beverages were being served there during fasting hours. He also objected to the attire of the female staff and customers there, calling it revealing and thus un-Islamic, and against the sacredness of Ramzan. He did not like both genders mixing freely either. He misbehaved with and even manhandled the female curator of the gallery. This incident has stirred a wave of condemnation and protest from civil society and the cultured classes.

This kind of forced ‘sanctification’ of Ramzan is a routine matter in small cities and towns in Pakistan. Such highhandedness by the authorities in small places is seldom reported in the media. For instance, the following incident, which, somehow, did get reported in a leading daily may give a faint idea as to what kind of thrusting of one’s values on others is prevalent in our society.

On September 16, 2009, during the month of Ramzan, about two dozen people were made to parade semi-naked in a market place in Mianwali, with their hands tied by the clothes stripped off their bodies, on the orders of a deputy district officer before they were put into the lockup. The guilt of those subjected to this humiliation was that they were caught sipping tea at some tea stalls at the railway station and bus stands during fasting timings.

This act of disgracing human beings reminds one of the black days of General Zia when ‘Ramzan violators’ were given similar treatment by the authorities, by painting their faces black or shaving their heads in public. But the irony of the matter is that this practice continues even during the government of a supposedly secular and moderate political party. However, with events like the one that took place in Mianwali, one fails to find the difference between the present regime and that of Zia.

According to the present laws, the administration grants special permission to some eateries to serve food and tea to patients, travellers, etc, during the fast. The above action against alleged Ramzan violators by the local administration of Mianwali raises two questions. First, how did the police establish that the alleged Ramzan violators were not patients or travellers? Second, how would a patient or a traveller know that the eatery serving food and beverages during fasting timings does not have such permission from the administration? Obviously, a customer would presume that such an eatery has permission. He would not demand to see the license first before ordering any eatables. The customer could be an uneducated person who may not even be able to read such a paper issued by the administration to the eatery. Then why were those citizens of Pakistan punished by the authorities?

Before the black year of 1977 — when Zia took over Pakistan — all restaurants here served food and beverages during fasting hours in Ramzan. The only difference was that during Ramzan, the doors and windows of the eateries were covered with thick curtains so that those who were fasting and passing by the restaurant were not tempted by the eating and drinking activities going on inside the eatery.

Since the inception of Pakistan till the government of the PPP before Zia’s coup, the above-mentioned norm remained in practice. After the PPP’s regaining of power in 1988, many draconian laws and practices from Zia’s regime were undone. Unfortunately, however, the ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate.

In any civilised society, it is considered an individual’s prerogative to follow a certain religious practice or not. Many people in the cities of Pakistan live forced bachelor lives away from their native towns. Even living in their home towns, many people have their work places situated far away from their homes. The only source of food and beverage for such people is the eateries. Many from amongst them suffer various medical conditions that force them to eat and drink regularly. For instance, a diabetic person has to eat at regular intervals to maintain his blood sugar level. A kidney patient has to take a lot of liquids to flush his kidneys. A person suffering from low blood pressure can faint without sufficient salt intake. There are so many other instances where the old, sick and weak have to indulge in a normal food and beverage intake to live. Where would such people go if they are not even allowed to drink water outside their homes? Thirst and hunger can be felt at any time whether one is in the concealment of a house or moving out in the open.

If fasting is a religious duty then so is offering prayers. In the ‘model’ police state of Saudi Arabia, clergymen called mutawas go about the streets and market places with sticks in their hands during prayer times and harass and even beat up people to join prayer offerings in the nearby mosque. Why is Pakistan this one step behind Saudi Arabia? If laws here force people to follow one religious duty, why do they not make them follow the other one too?

What is a Taliban mindset? It is to impose one’s religious values on others. The laws of Pakistan overlap with Taliban laws. Let us admit that we are living in a semi-Taliban state, which may become a full Taliban state one day.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Chetti Chand, Sindhi Nain Saal Joon Mubarkun Jai Jhulelal

CHETTI CHAND, SINDHI NEW YEAR!

It is a time of Sindhi New Year again when many of us to stop to take time out from our busy life and join in Chetti Chand celebrations. As we reunite with family and friends to honour the traditions of Chetti Chand and the memories, let’s: Remember the diversity of our Sufi secular values and beliefs at the time of Chetti Chand celebration. Let’s pledge to change the world to one that shares opportunities with everyone through fairness and justice. Let’s dare to create the peaceful world we want. Let’s make the world around us practice, access, equality and inclusion for all. This is just a small message of Sindhyat, peace, love, happiness and hope of Chetti Chand. Sindhi Nain Saal Joon Mubarkun/ Wadhayoon and Jai Jhulelal to those who want to make Sindhi Boli ain Sahit Sabha an inclusive reality of our World.

As Pakistan battles extremism, it needs allies’ patience and help

By Asif Ali Zardari, The writer is president of Pakistan.

Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”

Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.

A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.

We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.

Read more : The Washington Post

Ram Jethmalani, the former Law Minister & Chairman of Bar Associations of India is proud on the Secular Sufi values of Sindh

Ram Jethmalani, was born September 14, 1923, in Shikharpur, Sindh (now in Pakistan)) is an eminent Indian lawyer and politician. He spoke about Sindh & Jinnah. He said that “When Jinnah qualified for the Bar, he came to Karachi to practice. Jinnah belonged to the community of Khojas who were rich merchants and he expected to have a ready-made clientele in Karachi, Sindh. He (Jinnah) went to a firm of Hindu lawyers in Hyderabad called Harichandra and Co., Old Harichandra had interviewed him and once he said that he was perfectly qualified to practice, they had to settle the terms. Jinnah wanted hundred rupees, but the old Hindu miser was unwilling to go above seventy-five. I have always said, even in public, that Jinnah was not the cause of India’s partition, but that old Hindu miser.”

Ram Jethmalani also spoke about Sindh being the cradle of Sufism, the gentlest and finest of the fine form of Islam. He said that it was synonymous with the Kashmiriyat of Kashmir. Shah Abdul Latif, one of the greatest poets, was a product of Sindh. “We had developed a great synthesis between the two communities, that as a Hindu youngster, I would get my new clothes on Eid (a Muslim festival) and Muslin youngsters would get their clothes on Deepavali ( a Hindu festival). Even when Partition had happened, and hundreds of thousands of people were getting killed in Punjab, but the Sindhi Muslim never killed a single Hindu.”

“Speaking for myself, for the sake of safety, I had brought my family to Bombay, but I had gone back to Sindh and continued my practice in the hope that things would become normal. I stayed till February 1948 and by that time a large influx of Muslims had came from Bihar and other places from India to Sindh and that was the cause of great tension because they wanted Hindu properties.

“In February, when I was arguing a case in the Magistrate’s court, my Pathan driver came in and said that the locality where I was living was in danger. I found on the way back that nobody was being hurt physically, but preparations had been made to rob all the property by new comers from India, to create fear and force Hindus to migrate. That is exactly what happened.”

He said his partner during his practice in Karachi was a secular Sindhi Muslim gentleman and a great scholar – A. K. Brohi, who later piloted the first Constitution of Pakistan. “Seeing the incidents of February 1948, Ram Jethmalani said that he could no longer bear the responsibility of my safety. Then I left and settled down in Bombay and started practice.”

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Sindh cultural unity

Sindhi cultural unity days —Nizamuddin Nizamani

Sindh volunteered to be the part of Pakistan and the Sindh Assembly took the first initiative to pass a resolution in favour of Pakistan. The incoming ruling elite of newly established Pakistan behaved contrary to the commitments and instead deprived the province of the privileges enjoyed even before independence

Sindh is celebrating culture days on December 4 and 5, 2010 to revitalise and revamp the Sindhi cultural symbols and way of life presumed to be under threat from the so-called external encroachment and the risk of extinction.

According to anthropologists, culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

Sindh and the Sindhi language have a rich cultural heritage and have acquired many symbols from other cultures, eastern and western simultaneously, without compromising their basic formation. Historically, the Sindhi language was among the few recognised official languages in undivided India under British rule. The Sindhi vernacular has rich expressional potential catering to all aspects of socio-economic and administration systems, has written and oral capacity, symbols and phonics about all tangible and intangible things, emotions, feelings, norms, has a versatile and comprehensive vocabulary with many words for the same items in varying degrees and having multiple meanings for the same words.

The content and quality of the dialect, according to Tariq Rehman, impressed the British government. The Bombay government adopted Sindhi as the official language at the local level and in September 1851 made it mandatory for British officials to pass a Sindhi language exam as a prerequisite to qualify for a job in the administrative system of Sindh. The administration also took supportive steps to modify, simplify and enhance the Sindhi language by redesigning Sindhi letters into Arabic letters and increased the number of alphabets to 52 to cover all the sounds.

Tariq Rehman also provides that Sindhi remained a major language of basic schooling in the province. Sindhi intellectuals, researchers and critics argue that though Sindh volunteered to be a part of Pakistan and the Sindh Assembly took the first initiative to pass a resolution in favour of Pakistan, the incoming ruling elite of newly established Pakistan behaved contrary to the commitments and instead deprived the province of the privileges enjoyed even before independence.

In such a backdrop since partition, Sindhi culture has been on the defensive. Sindhi nationalists observe that since independence the state has been imposing Mughal and Arabic culture in the name of a single Pakistani identity at the cost of other cultures. ….

Read more : Daily Times