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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

As we strive to alter our National Identity yet again ...

I have been sent the following modified National Anthem by a well-wisher who thinks that, by adopting this, we will at least take one positive step forward - that of shunning Hypocrisy.

Khayt, Ghar, Zameen - Shaad Baad;
Car behtareen - Shaad Baad;

Pag∂iyaañ, Vizaaratayñ, Makaan,

Koathiyaañ, Imaaratayñ, Dükaan,

Loot-maar, Chheen - Shaad Baad!

Bayvaqoof loag haeñ Avaam;

Rah gaé Ghulaam kay Ghulaam.

Kürsi, Ohdah, Saltanat,

Paaéndah Taabindah Baad ...

Leadaroañ ki Manzilé Muraad!

Har taraf Sifaarishoañ ka Jaal;

Sarnegooñ Taraqqi-o-Kamaal.

Paak Sarzameen mayñ Halaal

Rishvat aur Dhaandhli ka Maal?

Laa'naté Khudaé Zuljalaal!

There's no point in merely being critical of our country, though. For we are it. I am often reminded of a legend that my father told me when I was 8 (just a year after Partition):
King Akbar once proclaimed that all his Subjects were honest and sincere. Beerbal, the wise one, said, "Your Majesty, do not rely on assumptions. Let us test this hypothesis." ... The test Beerbal proposed was that everyone be asked to bring a tumbler full of milk in the dark of night and pour it into the large royal bathing pool. The King was puzzled, but had great faith in Beerbal's wondrous ways; so the order was issued. The next morning the pool was found to be full of water. Everyone had assumed that the others were going to bring milk ... so if he saved his portion - and poured in water, instead - no one would be able to notice.
And my father wrote in my little scrapbook:

Doosray gar laaéñ paani, ünn ko bhee samjhaao tüm;
Ünn ko samjhaanay se pahlay doodh khüd to lao tüm!
[BTW, a few weeks later he wrote a longer poem of which the above story became part. While no poetical masterpiece - my own emotional attachment aside - reading it, today, I am amazed to note that strains of ethnicity and dishonesty were visible among our people even then. Anyone who wanted to face the truth saw coming whatever is happening today.]

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Another Day, Another Shrapnel

Shall we do something other than sit in our drawing rooms, sipping illegally purchased booze, while the nation spirals slowly into history's cesspool?

A friend and untiring warrior (you can get to his blog from the links on mine) has sent this:
A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian, equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ?

For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College, but was beaten on the list
by 20 marks, by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz-e-Qur'an. So, this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that "this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan."

The petition, admitted by the Lahore High Court, demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or declare that a parallel policy be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge.

Fifty-eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic
and hopeful.
If YOU know someone in the growing network of TV and FM channels, please request them to hold a public debate or a panel discussion on how to combat such idiocy. Even if we accept that the President means well, it is not only his reposibility to put things right and turn the country around into the livable place it once hoped to be.

Move your ass, guys. Before yours gets kicked.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Does no one really care?


What do these words mean to you? Or are you as puzzled as I think you ought to be? Well, here's a big hint: They have all been all 'cut and pasted' from the same site that displays this phrase: tarraqio ka mal

Huh? Still no clue? Then here's a whole line that's bound to be a dead giveaway: Painda ta binda bad shad, bad man zele murad.

OK, fellow Pakistanis. By this time you've surely recognized the distorted and criminally mauled words as belonging to our National Anthem. (That comma before 'bad man' really threw me off!)

I grant that, when transcribed by someone totally unfamiliar with our National Language, the words could be written in this horrendous fashion. But this crap is not on a Zambian or Greek school website! It's on The Official Website of the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C., with the charming address of

dotORG? I'd expected dotGOV. Surprised, I checked out another of our embassies that came randomly to mind. Australia. It, too, was also registered similarly (

"Well," I thought, "never mind the slight change in nomenclature; at least we are consistent when it comes to Domains" ... only to discover that, in Poland, we are a dotCOM, for crying out loud: takes you there, as does in the Nederlands.

The Nederlands site, by the way, has a link titled Constitution, which took me to the aptly named, where, apologising "for any inconvinience [sic]", the page informed me that the links were currently being updated. That's OK. I'm willing to live with it. After all, this happens to the Constitution, itself, fairly frequently.

While on the subject of links, I must inform you that none of the content or links on any of the sites were the same as those on the others. I am sure that if people really scoured all the pages on all our embassy sites (how's that as a form of torture for political prisoners?), they'd even unearth glaring contradictions.

Some suggestions for the powers that be:
  • The Government of Pakistan Foreign Office, or whoever is in charge of smearing our image abroad, should have a full set of standardized links and basic content developed for re-use on every embassy site, with variations for locally relevant sections. This approach would save time and money, make updating of centrally issued information easy and timely, and ensure that all facts and figures were current everywhere.
  • The style of each site could be similar, while respecting the sensitivities of the country in which it is based.
  • Translations in Urdu (for many travelling or expat Pakistanis unfamiliar with English) would be useful in a special section that displays new rules or laws that may have changed while they were away.
  • Even more important, if not in all countries, then at least in those from which we receive most traffic, pages in the local language of that country should be considered essential.
  • If possible, all sites could have links to useful information pages, such as those containing Addresseses/contacts of our Embassies/Consulates around the world and addresses/contacts of other embassies/consulates in Pakistan; Immigration and Visa requirements, with downloadable forms.
We are a hospitable nation; let's start by making life easy for others from the first point of contact.

Oh, and placing a correctly transcribed and translated National Anthem would gladden all our hearts, as would an image of our National Flag in the right proportions! This is serious stuff, guys! Even Corporations don't allow screwing around with their logos. The proportions are as sacrosanct as the flag!

I quote:
Resolution Passed by Constituent Assembly

"That this assembly resolves that the national flag of the federation of Pakistan be of the following description.

"A dark green rectangular flag in the proportion of length and width 3:2 with a white vertical bar at the mast, the green portion bearing a white crescent in the centre and a five-pointed white heraldic star. The size of the white portion being one-fourth the size of the flag, nearest the mast, the remainder three-fourths being dark green.

The dimensions of the crescent and star are obtained as follows:
"Draw the diagonal from the top right hand corner to the bottom left corner of the green portion. On this diagonal establish two points 'A' and 'B'. Point 'A' at a distance equidistant from top right and bottom left hand corners of the green portion, i.e. the centre of the green portion. Point 'B' at a distance from the top right hand corner equal to 13/20th the width of the flag. With centre point 'A' and radius 1.1/4th the width of the flag describe a second arc. The enclosures made by these two arcs form the crescent. The dimensions of the five-pointed white heraldic star are determined by drawing a circle 1/10th the width of the flag. The circle surrounds the five points of the heraldic star. The star lies with one point on the diagonal at a point where the larger arc of the crescent, if completed, cuts the diagonal."
Source: Letter to Dawn Editor, Monday Sept 21, 1998, by A.R. Thalpawala
While we are at it, can we get to the bottom of who really designed the flag? The current stance is that it was designed by the Quaid-e-Azam, himself, although many websites, including (which, like many others, uses the popular Wikipedia as source), stick to a long-forgotten version - one that I only recall because I found it amusing that the surname seemed to be a Hyderabad Dakkani variant of my own.

But, back to our D.C. site, and a link named "Job Opportunity in Pakistan", where we are told that this singular opportunity exists for the following: "Chairpersons (One ach [sic] for Sciences and Humanities subjects)". Details, we are told can be had from the Ministry of Education, and a hot-link is very kindly provided to, except that clicking it does not take you there, but opens up your mail software with "" as recipient.

Can't we get anything right?

One bit of information that may be useful for younger Pakistanis in the USA is that our embassy in Washington accepts interns.The site informs potential victims --- er-sorry, candidates --- that "Applications for the spring are being accepted on a rolling basis" - and that they are looking for "individuals with ... SUPERIOR writing skills, (this is the single most important requirement)".

After going through several pages of the site, I heartily second the importance of this requirement, and would like to suggest: Please get an intern who not just proof-reads the site pages but also knows some mathematics. A Grade 4 level student will do: Rainfall figures like "1,484 mm (164cm)" just do not make sense. Unless 1484mm translates to 164 cm after taxes).

Until then, maybe, we should just call these foreign office outposts Pakistan Embarrassies.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I thank my friend and R&D Junkie, Dr. Isa Daudpota, whose Research has resulted mainly in his own Development, for bringing this to my notice:

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of a Sexually Transmitted Disease. The disease, contracted through dangerous and high-risk behavior, is more likely to affect those with certain genetic weaknesses.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim and pronounced "gonna re-elect him."

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed for the past four years. Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include:
  • anti-social personality disorders
  • delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones
  • extreme cognitive dissonance
  • inability to incorporate new information
  • acute xenophobia and paranoia
  • inability to accept responsibility for own actions
  • cowardice masked by misplaced bravado
  • uncontrolled facial smirking
  • ignorance of geography and history
  • tendencies towards evangelical theocracy
  • categorical all-or-nothing behavior
Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this destructive disease has evolved, having originated only a few years ago from a bush found in Texas.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Pappu, yaar .... buss kar!

This hilariously idiotic message has been doing the Muslim rounds lately. I have removed the sender's name as I believe the identity of the insane must be protected at all times. The full version contains supporting quotes from religious texts.
From: x
To: mail_list2

Subject: Interesting phenomena.

Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 19:04:37 -0800 (PST)

Sun Will Rise From The West One Day..!!! (Scientific Proof)

As the strong belief of we muslims is that when the sun will rise from west rather than east, that time will be the biggest identity of The Day Of Judgement (Qayamah). And the door of Forgiveness will be closed on that day.

The science of astronomy states that the speed of planet Mars has been decreasing in its course towards the eastern direction in the few past weeks to the level we notice the "waver" between the east and the west..and on Wednesday the 30th of July the planet movement stopped going toward the eastern direction..!!!

Then in the months of August and September...Mars changed its course in the opposite direction to the West- and that until the end of September..which means the sun will rise now from the west on Mars!!

And this weird phenomena of the opposite movement called "Retyrograde Motion" Most scientist state that all the planets will go through the same once at least and our planet Earth is one of them.

Planet Earth will move in the opposite direction some day and the sun will rise from the west!!
This might occur soon and we are unaware when it'll happen.
Real Retrograde Motion has obviously not been understood by the author of this piece of nonsense. The only other retrograde motion is the one that is, sadly, taking place in the minds of the Muslims of today. Is there no way we can stop these rectoids from having an entire community become an object of ridicule?

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Another MMA in the making?

If you are among those extraordinary Indians and Pakistanis who can still remember what you learnt in school (and, specially, about the Khilaafat Movement) you may remember Bee Amma.

For those who can't: She was the mother of Maulana Muhammad Ali, a revered name among Muslims in India and Pakistan. I can still recall the opening lines of a poem: Boleeñ amma Muhammad Ali kee: Jaan, bayta, Khilaafat peh day do!

This BBC Story brought her back to my mind.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Disgusting, na?

Qaéd ki sab bay∂iaañ toot chüki haeñ .... magar,
Zahn hae ab tak ghulaam, daykhiay kab tak rahay!

Hamd, Naat, Manqebat. This is traditional order: God, Prophet, Hazrat Ali or one of the Sufi Saints, at Qavvaalis and Sama'a mehfils. To this list sycophants added Qaseedahs, to please kings, governors, local officials, and whosoever's boots needed licking.

And now we have the ultimate bit of bootlicking!

I can't believe that this was done at the Government's behest (grant them some sense, guys!) but think this was, more than likely, put in only to put the President into an embarrassing position. Either the guy who edited the book is the culprit - or some other chappie swung it past a dimwit Editor who missed the hidden message. Whichever way this happened, we quickly need to get this shit out of the books or it'll hit the fan.

Originally posted on Dec 4 [7.17 PM] ... but ... THIS JUST IN!

Veiled ode to George Bush deleted from Pakistani textbooks
Alex Kumi
Monday December 05 2005
The Guardian

At first sight it is little more than a poetic polemic about the virtues of an effective leader. But a poem has been removed from school textbooks in Pakistan after it became clear that the first letter of each line spelt out "President George W Bush".

Penned by an anonymous writer, The Leader embarrassed education officials in the country after it found its way into an English textbook for 16-year-olds.

The revelation is likely to embarrass Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf, who has been criticised at home for taking what has been perceived to be a pro-American stance in supporting the Bush administration's so-called war on terror.

An official working with the Pakistan Education ministry told the Times of India: "We have decided to delete the poem from the book, published by the National Book Foundation, and prescribed for federal board students.

"It will be stretching the matter too far to assert that the poem was inserted in the book deliberately to enumerate the qualities of President Bush."

An investigation has been launched to find out how the work was not spotted by the committees which censor the content of textbooks. It was first printed in A Textbook of English last year after the Pakistani government took the decision to deregulate the publication of textbooks.

So, I guess the shit did hit the fan!

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Phew ... !

The School of Tomorrow Conference in Lahore finished on the 2nd ... and I stayed back for a day to say goodbye to all those who, during the past month, made it possible for me to survive Lahore.

Th SOTC had its ups and downs. The highs included a memorable and riotous debate between an 'old radical' and a 'young conservative'. The lows were so low that they had the squeazy excitement of a roller-coaster taking its big downward plunge. Will write on numerous aspects. Watch this space.

Learnt a great deal more about human nature, obstinacy, mediocrity, hypocrisy, power, sycophancy, chaudhraahat, and intellectual dishonesty than I did about Education.

All in all, I am thrilled to have been part of it ... and, in fact, am now in a state of Post-Natal Depression. [Note to World Bank types: This has nothing to do with South Africa; it's a human condition and, therefore, may not appear in your internally published glossaries.]

I got home last night. There's much to look forward to. A workplace that will bring sanity back. There's the KaraFilm Festival, now a truly full-fledged international event, being run at 3 separate venues to screen the 150 entries this year. There's Kababs and Paraathaas at Bundu Khan. And my favourite Sheermaals and Rab∂i at Bunce (a 'corruption' of Burns) Road. And loads more. Two friends, Vickram Crishna and Arun Mehta are here from India (they were attending the SOTC and will be doing their thing in Karachi all week).

But, most important of all, I shall now get some much-needed rest.


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