The Real Life Horcruxes

I am sure many of you have read Harry Potter or at least seen its movie. If none of the above then surely you have heard his name and his genius creator, J.K Rowling’s name.

For those of you who have read or seen Harry Potter do know about the story of “Horcruxes” and how Voldemort transfer’s part of his soul in each one of them so that he can achieve immortality.

Now consider this, what if I tell you that we are all a shadow of Voldemort in real life to some extent.

You disagree? Okay. Pick a pen and paper and list down the things you can’t live without (Including the name of your beloved gf/bf, just kidding).

In this world, where we talk less and text more, we are all slave of certain horcruxes. An ipad, xbox, car, smart apps (not to forget), Wifi, makeup, trendy clothes, and the list is huge.

We spend an ample amount of time creating stories on snapchat, rather than creating memories with family or friends. We post our daily updates on Facebook, rather than updating our parents about our lives or even taking updates from them. The Wikipedia is more reliable than the years of knowledge of our grandparents or parents. The tweets we receive are the real response we believe rather than the feedback of our friends or companions. Exploring Instagram feed is more fun than stepping out of our own comfort zone and explore the world around us by our own.

Oh no, don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing you all (including myself) of being a nerd. I’m simply saying, we are more artificial now like that ugly looking back-from-dead wizard Voldemort, and we are all have a part of our soul in each of these horcruxes for sure. What if I don’t check my Facebook today, OMG! I will get a heart attack, or what if I am not getting wifi signals/4G on my smart phone, a simple catastrophe that is.

When I was in college, I use to chat with my college friends 24/7, via internet, landline or whatever way possible (ofcourse we didn’t had this wifi virus at that time or else I’d have been mutilated by it :p). My dad use to say, “If you take internet and phone lines away for couple of days from this girl (me), she will die for sure.” And that was the case to be honest. But with time, I overcame this slavery habit of mine, well, to some extent 😉

But on a serious note, why do things rather than people matters to us most? When we know that in trouble time, things might not be there but if we invest time in people, they will definitely come to our rescue. Even Voldemort had a part of his soul in a person, although that happened by mistake but still, Harry was the most powerful horcrux he ever created. So, why can’t we create our own horcruxes in other people’s soul, rather than some uncertain things?

Let’s all think about it before we end up getting dead along with our delusive horcruxes.

 

 

Sharing annotations from “Stranger to the History” by Aatish Taseer

After reading a book, a person is left with many thoughts, some of which are quite subjective but some can be quite unsettling. My reading experience with this book is in middle of both. I don’t know how many of you have read it but I’m sure those who did will agree with me on the “unsettling” part.

This blog post is not a review of the book but more or less, noting down the phases where this book left me speechless. In a way it answered so many questions which were travelling in my mind for quite a long time. But also, left me with many new ones.

Before I write down some excerpts from the book which are quite engaging to me, here is a short intro about the book. This book is a travelogue written by the son born to a Pakistani Muslim father and an Indian Sikh mother, in a quest to know his father, his culture and religion. In journey to get to know his father, he travels across the Islamic states to first know the religion his father belongs to and then his country. During his journey he comes across many thought provoking ideologies about the politics, religion and culture of some popular Islamic states.

[While in Turkey]

The modern republic of Turkey aspired to be part of the European Union. Turkey had been among the most open Muslim countries, but its secularism was dogmatic, almost like a separate religion. The state didn’t stay out of religion, it co-opted religion; it wrote Friday sermons, appointed priests and hounded people it thought to be religious out of the establishment. It was the army, along with Istanbul’s educated elite, who had enforced Ataturk’s aggressive secularism since the founding of the republic in the 1920s.

[While in Syria]

The country had been closed for decades. The regime, for most of its existence, had been socialist, intolerant of religious politics, and the people had only received propaganda. With their role in the world suddenly internationalized, the city was plastered with these cryptic, high-pitched messages. It was the government’s response to trouble in the world beyond. President Bashar al-Asad and the Syrian people were not kneeling before anyone but God. And so, in the absence of a free press, an intellectual life and a political culture, and under the watch of a fierce secret police, the mosque became the only place for people to congregate and discuss politics.

[While in Saudi Arabia]

And, just as it was possible to imagine Islam as organic in Arabia, it was possible to imagine it as alien in places where the faith went. Hybrids would have formed between Arabian Islam and the cultures of the places to which the faith spread. Cultural Islam was the result of these mixtures and it was this, rather than the letter of the Book, that was followed. This Islam, with its mysticism, its tolerance, its song and poetry, its veneration of local saints, often common to Muslim and Hindu in India, was the religion that gave me the string I wore round my wrist. But in modern Saudi Arabia, this type of worship felt like a religion apart from the literalism that was followed.

[While in Iran, talking to a former activist]

“Cyrus, 2500 years ago, had laws that today are displayed in the United Nations. He set out human rights and said that no human being has the right to enslave other beings. This was 2500 years ago! And these mullahs try and tell us that if the Arabs hadn’t come and saved us we’d be eating ants now.”

[Author’s thought] The awareness Iranian Muslims had of the time before Islam, and their conversion, didn’t exist among the subcontinent’s Muslims, most of whom believed they came with the Muslim invader.

…What I had discovered in Iran, and had sensed in Syria, was how violent and self-wounding the faith could become when it was converted from being a negative idea, a political and historical grievance against the modern world, into a positive one.

[In Pakistan]

And here there was a deeper irony. It was thought that the faith, as the basis of Pakistan, would trump all other identities. It didn’t matter what kind of Muslim you were, what language you spoke or even if you lived at the other end of India. As long as you were Muslim, Islam would bridge the differences.

I met a person in Istanbul, who said “To be Muslim is to be above history”. But here history did matter, not just the faith’s encased and symbolic history, but history as realized in language and culture. It was a distortion of faith that all this didn’t matter, and in Pakistan people seemed to fall back on regional, linguistic and denominational differences.

-The Mango King said that things wouldn’t change and that feudalism would go on. He also spoke of the importance of the Hindu middle class who left in 1947 and in doing so identified the key component in the change that came to feudal India but not to Pakistan: the middle class.

The power of the middle class in India dismantled the old feudal structures. In Sind, the cost if realizing the purity of the Indian Muslim state was the necessary departure of Sind’s Hindu middle class. The muhajjir population that arrived in its place had not been able to replace its social function; the bonds that had held together the diverse society of Muslims and Hindus had not arisen among the co-religionists.

My mother’s family were the equivalent of muhajjirs in India- they had come as refugees from the Pakistani side, just as the people here had come from the Indian side- but in India there was no equivalent grouping: the concept didn’t exist.

My journey to seek out my father, and through him, his country, was a way for me to make my peace with that history. And it had not been without its rewards. My deep connection to the land that is Pakistan had been renewed. I felt lucky to have both countries; I felt that I’d been given what partition had denied many. For me it meant the possibilities of a different education, of embracing the three-tier history if India whole, perhaps an intellectual troika of Sanskrit, Urdu and English.

The world is richer in its hybrids.

Love and Peace,

REMEMBERING T2F-KARACHI

It’s a place where everyone is welcome. No matter from where you come from, you’ll always find friends here at T2F. It’s a place for all; art lovers, literature gurus, philosophers, poets, musicians, social activists, every single one of us. The only place in Karachi where your opinion matters.

I never met Sabeen Mehmud who started this great place. I’ve heard so much about her, about her work and how determined she was. Eventually, after spending a single afternoon at T2F, I realized that if her idea is as great at this place is, then she must be hell amazing and wonderful, full of life person.

But you don’t really know when the bad news hits you. Few days back, somebody shot down that amazing lady. She was killed…ruthlessly.

I never got a chance to meet her in person but like many others, I find myself again n again asking the same question…Why?

But why they killed her? Who killed her? I know that while some of us are wondering and mourning her death, there ARE those people who do know the answers but they are just sitting and watching this City turning into a pile of dust. But, really, from where do we think that courage to speak can come?

When our kids are growing up, we teach them to be fair and speak only truth, to be just and be brave. We pass on the words but without the true essence. For better understanding, the lessons that we teach our kids should be demonstrated or practiced.

They lie because they see us lying; they don’t play fair because they observe us doing the same. And then at some point we wonder why and what went wrong with the society, our homes and lives.

The only thing which is wrong is that we’ve failed to pass on the true essence of life to our next generation. We’ve forgotten to speak from our hearts.

Sabeen Mehmud was brave to her core because that’s what she learnt from her mother. She grew up witnessing that bravery and courage, that very same courage which you and I lack.

Now the only question that I keep asking is, what will WE pass on? The voice or the silence….