Phoenix “rise from the ashes.”
SZABIST Social Sciences Society Publication : Issue 1
Editorial Dear all It is our greatest honor to be co-Editors-in-chief for the first publication of SZABIST Social Sciences Society, and needless to say, it has been an absolute pleasure.
Reading and writing requires a sort of dedication, which is unsurpassed, but the pleasure that it gives exceeds other pleasures. It plunges you into a world, which assuages your curiosity, and leads you to discover new and exciting things. Furthermore, it opens you up to different perspectives, different viewpoints and new ideas, and above all, it increases your imagination. The sort of dedication that this publication required was nothing different. Papers are not just meant to be graded. They are meant to increase awareness in other individuals, and they are meant to inform others. It is actually a great shame, if they are kept to individuals themselves. They need to be shared, for only sharing can reflect the vast experience that one gains, when they write, and above all, when they research. Research, whether it is primary or secondary is a daunting process, but something that each of us has done while we are studying at SZABIST. Therefore, we embarked on this great mission to collect papers from individuals, which included some intensive networking and marketing. We were pleased to receive 40 submissions, which is quite brilliant considering that the publication is definitely in its early days. In fact, it is the incubator project of the society this year, and we hope that it would be nurtured by the upcoming Executive Body.
ring for the different events that the society organized as a collective unit, as well as working particularly for the publication. It was an absolute delight to recognize that SZABIST has wonderful researchers, and excellent writers. We hope that this platform would give them recognition in some way or the other, and help them in their respective career goals.
However, sadly due to the constraint of financial resources, it was to our regret that we were able to include only 10 works in this particular publication. Readers can of course contact SZABIST Social Sciences Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or at our Facebook Page, if they want to read the full works. It was difficult to cut down the number to 10, because we had received excellent works from highly skilled individuals. It was heart-wrenching when we had to ask the writers to convert their work into an article-form, so that they can be published.
“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”
Nevertheless, it had been an excellent year, whether it was prepa-
And we implore the readers to read these exciting works, and have fun while doing so!
Regards Sualeha Shekhani Zonia Yousuf Baltistani (Co-Editors-In-Chief – SSSS)
Table of Contents Revamping the society—5 Message from the Executive body —6 Highlights of the year—8 Student Contributions Nietzsche’s critique of the Enlightenment —10 Satire in Pakistani Media: Focus on Loose Talk and Modern Satire—12 The only disability in life is a bad attitude—14 Canada’s Lifetime Deferral of Blood Donation from MSM—16 Preservation of Colonial Buildings—17 Man’s Best Friend: The Smartphone –How dependent are we on our phones?—19 The Emergence of LGBTQ Rights—20 EDHI CENTRE: Community Service—22 Preferences of Youth for their Future Partners—24 Temporary Marriage—26 Family Nuclearization and its Impact in Pakistan —28 Redefining of the Normative Code for Women: Can the Society afford it?—30 Child marriages in India—32 Faculty Student Integration—33 Faculty Contributions Life Lessons from Karachi—34 Commodification of Religion—38 The importance of social sciences—42
Revamping the society The academic year 2012-2013 saw the revamping of the SZABIST Social Sciences Society and its constitution, which made it for the better. This tenure saw the creation of three programmatic positions, within the Executive Body. The three branches have been created with the vision, to tap onto each area, which are crucial, when it comes to the academic populace of Social Sciences.
Development Forums A fancy name for “Event Management”, as termed by Mr. President, this particular division within the society has been responsible for the management of events, which were held by the society. An extremely funny story is that there is no ‘permanent’ individual, who is heading this department. However with the combined talents of the social sciences students, the working group of the society (especially the working group for the society play) and the executive body, this division organized events that would be remembered amongst all. Also, at this point, the exceptional efforts of Mr Sarmad Lashari and Ms Shafaq Khalid are to be commended, whose efforts made this division truly unique.
Careers and Scholarships Headed by Ms Ariba Dara, the aim of this particular division was has been to interlink the student populace with different organizations, including corporate and third sector organizations. We are glad to announce that the society has successfully created working relationships with national and international organizations such as Madadgar Suicide Helpline, World Wildlife Fund for Pakistan,
the Aga Khan Education Service Pakistan and the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development Pakistan. This division also in-cooperates the mandate of planning and arranging a yearly Careers’ Conference for students, which shall hopefully be a reality in upcoming months.
Research and Publications Co-headed by Ms Sualeha Shekhani and Ms Zonia Yousuf Baltistani, this division broadly focuses on the academic mandate of the society. The philosophy behind this creation is that, many of the papers that are written by students as their term and research papers , need more recognition than they usually get. Therefore, to ensure that individuals get their work fully recognized and, to demonstrate various skills and talents of the student body, this branch was actualized.
Combined Message from the Executive Body These plans are supposed to be a beacon of light for the upcoming batches, who would have to carry on the work, started by the Executive Body of this year, and who have to make this society better, and to carry the name of the society, and do the work that the Executive Body of this year was unable to do so, either due to financial and time constraints. We fervently hope that the next Executive Body would be able to carry out their tasks in a much better way than we did.
Special thanks should be mentioned to Ms Ravina Anthony and Ms Rahat Asif, who were part of the editorial group for this particular publication, which is definitely in its early days. Special mention for the works of President and Vice-President with their help in the grading and selection of the papers. The division sincerely hopes that the publication would be carried forward by upcoming EB’s. Here we would aslo like to thank Ms Komal Waqqar, Ms Noor Fareed and Mr Rohit Bhudwani for contributing their photographs for this publication.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 5
Message from th Karim Shallwanee: President
We are trekking this journey with a enlightened vision. Come and join us. Invest in the Future. Invest in Knowledge. For yourself and for the world.
Rashid Rehman: General-Secretary
Jaafar Jabbar: Vice President
What an amazing year it has been! On thinking what we have accoplished over the year, I feel humbled and elated. It has been five years since the SSSS was formed – and its has been an absolute adventure to help this organisation create a path for the students of Social Sciences at SZABIST. From planning out events to guiding new students. From creating volunteering and interning oppertunities for students to creating working relationships with third sector organisations. And form bringing all Social Science students onto one platform through the creation of a coordinating function to publishing our first student journal…the journey continues. I feel deeply indebted to the students of SZABIST Social Sciences (not forgetting students from other programs) and my Execultive Body for their ideas, their passion and most importantly their support., that helped us reach where we are at today, to help fulfill the vision for this society. I feel obliged and proud of their commitment throuout the year. 6 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
When I first joined the Social Sciences department, three years ago, I felt a sort of division that existed between the students. Each year had its own closed group and there was very little mixing up of students belonging to the other semesters. Our entire EB strived hard to ensure that by the time we left, that wouldn’t be the case and it’s with a sense of pride I can say we have achieved just that. Not only have all our initiatives such as the Orientation, Bake Sale, Play and Publications done well, but have garnered extremely high feedback from both the students and the faculty. We promised ourselves we would leave the Society better off than how we found it, and I truly believe our team did just that. The new upcoming EB and the social scientists have with them our best wishes
The Social Sciences program provides individuals, routes to explore a multitude of views, ideas that can lead one society to betterment and development. Working with the Szabist Social Sciences Society, I have learnt many significant ways and techniques of managing different tasks and issues. Working for the society’s progress I have developed an understanding not only with the students of the program but also with different faculty members. We did fail on many occasions but as Truman Capote says, “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” We eventually succeeded and now we hope that in the future the upcoming batches will also do the same to try and push forward.
Saddam Hussain: Treasurer I remember when Karim called me up and told me about his vision for the Social Sciences Society. He had an ambitious plan and wanted me to help him with it. Ambitious? Here we are today with the society’s first official publication.
he Executive body Working for this society, I realized that patience and excellence is the key to get my work done and prosper. I have learned that I should do my job to my utmost ability and leave the rest. We need to work for betterment and not acknowledgement, because it eventually follows. Prioritize then commit and donâ€™t forget to enjoy on the way.
My experience wasnâ€™t just unique but different from what one would expect, the society was like a family where everyone had the utmost desire to work not for their accolades but for the improvement and growth of the Social Sciences Society. Everyone in the elected body and working group did a magnificent job during our tenure. I am sure that what we are leaving today will not just motivate the upcoming body but it would encourage them to further improve our vision to brighten the prospect of our Social Sciences program.
Ariba Dar: Head of Career and Scholarships Becoming part of Social Sciences Society was a mesmerizing experience. My time in this society has been quite simple, yet the society itself is an emotional roller coaster. Unlike other societies it did not have a driving force of fame and recognition, yet a team of motivated fellows took initiative and drove the society together to make it live again. I am delighted to be part of that team and contribute towards a significant cause.
Sualeha Shekhani: Head of Research and Publications
I am an avid researcher. I love to write, I love to read. I am curious. I want to know new things. Perhaps, this is what has pulled me into research and what made me absolutely the right person for the job. I wanted to be a journalist, but then research pulled me more
regarding our program. Altering this state of misrepresentation and obliviousness is the one thing I am passionate about, that my team is passionate about and this is what we have worked hard for. Being a part of this program brings with it a set of realizations along with a strange feeling of liberation. Our aim as the EB of the society has always been to promote the understanding of our program. I hope with all my heart that the future members are as sincere in this mission and have much more to add for the benefit and prosperity of not just the society but to the field of Social Sciences as a whole.
Zonia Yousuf Baltistani: Head of Research and Publications Being a part of the Social Sciences Society was one of the best things that happened to me in my three years at SZABIST. I guess the biggest challenge I have had to face as a Social Sciences student is the general lack of recognition that prevails
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 7
Highlights of the year Another year has come and gone, and alas! We wish that we could have kept accomplishing more. However, as far as this academic year is concerned, SZABIST Social Sciences Society is proud that it has surpassed many expectations and organized and arranged a wide variety of events, which were meant to benefit the wider student populace. We have come across a long way through indulging in managerial and marketing skills, as well as seeking to invoke spirits in students. It has definitely been an eventful and enlightening year.
Bake Sale and Photo-booth 2012
Orientation & Workshop
“Baby, will you be my Jalebi”
October 17th 2012
September 6th 2012
The orientation, held at 154 Campus in the Studio mainly targeting the Social Sciences students, this initiative had a brilliant outcome. The purpose for this particular event was to integrate individuals into the Social Sciences community. The younger batches (many thanks to all of you!) were brilliant, present and eager to seek knowledge.
The first formal event for the tenure of 2012 started off with an amazing bake sale and photo-booth, which helped to raise funds for the activities of the society, and of course to raise awareness about the society. It was a completely in-house effort, where people from within the Executive Body, as well as the wonderful BS-Social Sciences graduating batch of 2014 helped in all sorts of ways, even making the wonderful goodies that were sold. These goodies included three-layered chocolate cakes, double layered chocolate cakes, Mac and Cheese, pasta, red velvet cupcakes and what not! Who knew that that people have such wonderful talents, which are extended to baking and cooking? The fact that the bake sale was arranged within a span of two days, the bake sale, needless to say was a huge successful. And everyone absolutely loved the photo-booth idea, because of the presence of two brilliant photographs, Noor Fareed and Komal Waqar and the props made by Fareha Aslam. This event was the first step that helped the Social Sciences Society towards its revival, to produce change.
8 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
This event was not only supposed to introduce everyone to each other, but it also had the aim of helping students in something, which they would be facing for the rest of their life as Social Scientists i.e. writing research papers, how to cite them and how important anti-plagerism policies are. Writing Research Papers, the correct way of Referencing, along with enlightening them about the plagiarism policy. And it was none other than Sir. Faiz Rasool, one of the greatest and most inspiring teachers of Social Sciences, who facilitated this part of the event. Students were thoroughly delighted in being brought to the realities of the ‘academic’ and the ‘scholarly’ worlds, and according to the right people, it has been found that those presentations are still regarded as deeply helpful! (Yay for the entire working group, as well as the Executive Body to think of this). An event, spanning over two hours, began with Ms. Aisha Chapra who through her activities won the heart of every individual sitting in the room. Performing breathing exercises , she taught the students that they should learn to relax so that they
don’t feel burnt-out by the end of their degree programmes, an excellent way of relieving the stresses of life at SZABIST. After the academic part by Sir Faiz Rasool, Sir Saqlain Zaidi provided an illuminating insight into the world of today, and forced the audience to think in different ways. Students left with bemused smiles on their faces because they had been taken on a roller-coaster ride within a span of two hours. An excellent event to kick off the year!
“Kahaaniyan” Social Sciences Play April 9th 2012 2. Toba Tek Singh directed by Komal Waqar Ali, an inspiration from Saadat Hassan Manto’s novel of the same name, showcasing the confusion regarding partition of the sub-continent in mental patient facility The complete ‘cherry on top’ and the perfect way to finish off a brilliant year and tenure was the organization of the Social Sciences Play, headed by the Development Forums of the SZABIST Social Sciences Society. However, it has to be said that the play turned out to be a magnificent effort from each and every section of the Executive Body, the Working Group, as well as the BS-Social Sciences Batch 2014, as well as the wonderful juniors, who all acted and participated in this play. The actors in the play were not strictly limited to Social Sciences. After numerous meetings, it was decided to have four plays, instead of having one long play. The plays were supposed to reawaken the soul, as well as have the right blend of fun and comedy. The four plays included: 1. ‘Mariam’ directed by Shafaq Khalid, focusing on the story of a rape survivor, and tapping on the various taboos and stereotypes in our society
3. Adam directed by Noor Fareed, a comic play, centering on a story of a young man, returning from his studies from England, and finding everything changed, and then falls in love in a different way, through a different medium. A loose adaptation of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie 4. The Plea of a Broken Nation directed by Fareha Aslam, an abstract musical performance, seeking to showcase the current situation of Pakistan, trapped by different forces, which are breaking it down, and invoking change With such brilliant stories, and a huge turnout, with around 200 tickets being sold within a span of three days, the play was a complete success. Actors became celebrities overnight. Now, who wants a “Kahaaniyan 2”
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 9
Nietzsche’s critique of theEnlightenment “Freedom, Morality and Science” Muhammad Saad Lakhani
Introduction; The Enlightenment, Reason and Nietzsche
sought in another world where order, laws, reason and the like make sense.
Freedom and the rational autonomous Self
riedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) offers a powerful critique to the Enlightenment. He saw the Enlightenment as an extension to the Socratic tradition in Philosophy where reason, in contrast to the passions and instincts, was made a tyrant; a criterion of all things. (Call 1996) Reason is presented as a universal entity transcending subjectivity. Nietzsche sees this whole emphasis on reason as problematic. He sees this as a result of negating the Dionysian, representative of passion and tragedy, in favor the Apollonian, which renders life boring and dull. (Ulfers and Cohen 2007. For him, the Apollonian line of thinking was a negation of life for the reason that it doesn’t celebrate it as it actually is-- brutal, unforgiving, changing and imperfect. Instead meaning is
10 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
Freedom Enlightenment thinking has mostly revolved around the conceptions of freedom as the ‘absence of constraints’, or, as to ‘what one ought to do’. In Nietzsche, freedom is understood in the context of ‘what we want to do”. What matters for Nietzsche is freedom ‘to be’, or, more appropriately, freedom ‘to become’. (Sentesy 2002) For him, mere freedom from constraints doesn’t amount to much; given such restricting realities as history, culture and biology. We must incorporate the fact that we are restrained by limits and it is by accepting these limits that we must apt ourselves to the challenge, and discover Creative greatness in ‘freedom
within limits’. For the Enlightenment, the individual is the unit of reason and the unit of society. In Nietzsche, the individual is a creative unit; someone who retains his ability to create. Nietzsche puts the whole question of choice to trial. What appear to be choices aren’t choices at all but are in fact part of products of circumstances and experiences. (Gerhardt 2006) According to Nietzsche, the creativity of an individual is largely the creating of oneself as well. One has to trust his instincts and impulses to achieve self-realization. Nietzsche talks about becoming who you are and not simply be who you are. (Ulfers and Cohen 2007)
Science and Truth
The idea of self is radically different in Nietzsche than that of the Enlightenment. In Nietzsche, the self is a naturalistic and empirical. This is contrary to the idea of a soul, or of mind-body dualism, or any notion of a transcendental rational agent separate from the realm of experience. Enlightenment thinking over-emphasizes agency, freedom and choice. (Nabais 2006)
Nietzsche abhorred Enlightenment morality in its very essence. He disputes its universalistic claims as it is wrongly presumed that one morality could be imposed on all beings across the board. (Wicks 2011)
Nietzsche contested the very idea that science could replace the foundational myth that society held in God as naive. This will only result in a loss of meaning. Additionally, prospects to seek objective truth in science are futile as it too ultimately rests on faith which is based on certain presumptions and presuppositions. (Babich 2006) Neither can it escape the clutches of language within which truth is created. (Nietzsche 1954)
He proposes that instead of thinking in terms of ‘things done by us’, we should start thinking in terms of ‘things done through us’. (Nabais 2006) This is also a rejection of the free will as well, and that it is different from our biological and physical being. The famous philosophical underpinning Cogito Ergo Sum (I think therefore I am) is dismissed by Nietzsche as little more than a “grammatical custom”. (Call 1996) Nietzsche rejects the cogito (I think) as an absolute principle and instead proposes it can only be said to be “a very strong belief”. (Nietzsche 2007) In Nietzsche, thought can very well be something that just happens without the reference to a necessary I-subject. For Nietzsche, the body rather than the soul is the seat of subjectivity.
He argues that values and morals are essentially culture-specific and even speciesspecific, and that the individual and exceptions are compromised in such reasoning. Using the same yardstick, and treating everyone as equal, results in the central problem that it is always advantageous for some and disadvantageous for others. (Wicks 2011) He sees morality as either healthy, if it is life-affirming and enhances the quality of life, or otherwise unhealthy (Nietzsche 1923) The idea that rational principles and rules should govern morality is very other-worldly in nature. Reason itself amounts to relying on a perfect unchanging realm of existence against the actually experienced realm of existence which is full of imperfections, and is fixated with change. Experience as life is then not celebrated but in a way escaped and hidden from.
Nietzsche asks whether truth is more important than untruth, or even appearance. (Nietzsche 1954)It is misleading then to state that there is a world separate from the one we perceive, where supposedly thingsin-themselves exist. (Nietzsche 1954) There is no eternal and absolute Truth and what we call truths are only our descriptions of “things in relation to man”. (Nietzsche 1954)
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 11
Satire in Pakistani Media: Focus on Loose Talk and Modern Satire Nida Noman
atire comes from the word satyr meaning half-man, half-beast giving one the idea of satire being something which is lawless, wild and threatening. (Griffin, 1994) Satire is an effective method in today’s media to make politics easy for all and to cope with the volatile environment. Making it more relevant to Pakistani society, satire in the media through dramas such as Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain aired on Geo TV; helps bring politics into everyone’s homes. Despite strict regulations Loose Talk by Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhter was a satirical talk show which featured a new character every week played by Moin Akhter and written by Anwar Maqsood based on the current political and social issues of that time, a lot of which still exist today. With its subtle and witty style it was never warned by PEMRA’s regulatory authorities and never came close to shutting down. Anwar Maqsood, when interviewed, mentioned that none of his programs personally targeted anyone and the get-ups held no resemblance to any individual. He also believes that an1212SZABIST SZABIST Social Social Sciences Sciences Publication Publication
racha and Ali Aftab Saeed of Beghairat Brigade have taken satire up a notch and their very presence contradicts many of PEMRA’s rules.
yone looking for messages within Loose Talk will find them. Anwar Maqsood also mentioned that humor, especially satire, is like walking on the edge of a sword or crossing a river of fire. One can be cut into pieces or thrown into the river at any time. Call it experience or call it pure genius Anwar Maqsood was able to avoid all censorship and media problems by starting every episode of with a simple phrase, “I don’t know the guest I have called today, and probably neither do you.” Artists like Saad Haroon, Nadeem Pa-
Beyghairat Brigade’s song Aloo Anday got 2 million YouTube views and is loaded with political satire. The satire is heavy and in your face and takes on issues such as conspiracy theories and the hypocrisy of the people who publicly support people like Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the former Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer while ignoring the likes of Pakistan’s only Nobel Laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam because he comes from an outlawed sect of Islam. The video ends with a rebellious note where the lead singer is holding up a placard which reads: if you want a bullet through my head, like this video. (Saleem, 2011) Recently he also appeared at the Karachi Literature Festival for the session titled ‘Satire/Comedy’ where Saeed was quoted as saying that “Comedy is made through contradiction and we as a nation
atire comes from the word satyr meaning half-man, half-beast giving one the idea of satire being something which is lawless, wild and threatening. (Griffin, 1994) Satire is an effective method in today’s media to make politics easy for all and to cope with the volatile environment. Making it more relevant to Pakistani society, satire in the media through dramas such as Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain aired on Geo TV; helps bring politics into everyone’s homes. Despite strict regulations Loose Talk by Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhter was a satirical talk show which featured a new character every week played by Moin Akhter and written by Anwar Maqsood based on the current political and social issues of that time, a lot of which still exist today. With its subtle and witty style it was never warned by PEMRA’s regulatory authorities and never came close to shutting down. Anwar Maqsood, when interviewed, mentioned that none of his programs personally targeted anyone and the get-ups held no resemblance to any individual. He also believes that anyone looking for messages within Loose Talk will find them. Anwar Maqsood also mentioned that humor, especially satire, is like walking on the edge of a sword or crossing a river of fire. One can be cut into pieces or thrown into the river at any time. Call it experience or call it pure genius Anwar Maqsood was able to avoid all cen-
sorship and media problems by starting every episode of with a simple phrase, “I don’t know the guest I have called today, and probably neither do you.” Artists like Saad Haroon, Nadeem Paracha and Ali Aftab Saeed of Beghairat Brigade have taken satire up a notch and their very presence contradicts many of PEMRA’s rules. Beyghairat Brigade’s song Aloo Anday got 2 million YouTube views and is loaded with political satire. The satire is heavy and in your face and takes on issues such as conspiracy theories and the hypocrisy of the people who publicly support people like Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the former Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer while ignoring the likes of Pakistan’s only Nobel Laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam because he comes from an outlawed sect of Islam. The video ends with a rebellious note where the lead singer is holding up a placard which reads: if you want a bullet through my head, like this video. (Saleem, 2011) Recently he also appeared at the Karachi Literature Festival for the session titled ‘Satire/Comedy’ where Saeed was quoted as saying that “Comedy is made through contradiction and we as a nation are full of them.” He also shed light on the dangers of making controversial videos such as Aloo Anday and mentioned that his video
crew left him half way through the making of the video and although he did not get threats as such he did receive quite a lot of “friendly advice.” Saad Haroon, another famous standup comedian was also a part of the panel for this session and he mentioned that Pakistanis feel a sense of guilt when they step outside the line and thus they do not want to be associated with someone who does take that step. He added that, “The whole idea behind satire is to question and push people to come out of their comfort zone and take a look within.” (Taha, 2012) Satire in the Pakistani media is usually humorous but not very daring, targeting the politicians who don’t really have the reins of power in their hands. The real people with the power, the army, are very obviously absent from these shows. Some of Pakistan’s best satirical pieces were produced in the 1970s and the 1980s when official censorship was much more dominant and politicians really did have a lot of power. However now the problem is much more different, the apparent freedom may exist and official laws may be much more relaxed but where previously people would be jailed for a small period of time, now they would be shot in the head, no questions asked. (Khan M. I., 2011) The youthful Bayghairat Brigade released their song on YouTube pointing to the liberating potential of social media, and once again one is reminded of their
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 13
The only disability in life is a bad attitude Ravina Anthony “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
hey explore every means within their purview to make us feel comfortable and encourage us to learn. Out of the smile on their faces when they teach, they illuminate the entire class with delectation. They have the answer to every question and their hard work and precision of knowledge is impressive. If you still come across such teachers in today’s day and age where teaching is more popular owing to its commercial aspect than about the art of teaching itself, consider yourself lucky! One such teacher who fits this criterion is Faiz Rasool. He was acclaimed as the ‘golden boy’ of his class at Karachi University. He is a double gold medallist of his department as well as the entire Faculty of Arts. He is a well-respected part of the faculty at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). He is nearing the completion of his Ph.D in Sociology. He... is blind.
Early Life Born in 1987, Faiz was a highly spirited individual who dreamt of becoming a cricketer someday and fulfil his passion for cricket. Fate, however, may have had a different plan altogether. At the age of four, Faiz was diagnosed with jaundice and measles which required his doctor to prescribe a high dosage of antibiotics. These antibiotics reacted in a way that damaged his optic nerve causing him to gradually lose his vision. “I was very lucky, in this regard, that it happened at an early age, thus I could not really calculate the magnitude of what I was losing out on... when I planned for the future, when I thought about starting a family, when I thought about finding a job, it was all with this knowledge that I am visually
14 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
Faiz Rasool delivering a guest speaker lecture on Research and Citation Styles at a conference held at SZABIST in October 2012
my loved ones.”
Although at a premature age, Faiz realized that nothing would come on a platter for him and he took on life with a goal to “be the best I [he] can be.” Upon completing his education from Shaheed-e-Milat Special Education Centre in 2003, he enrolled into Liaquat College and further went on for a Masters degree from Karachi University and is currently nearing the end of his Ph.D in Sociology.
Whenever there is a job interview, the interviewers are more concerned with questions related to how Faiz lost his vision and how he will cope. When faced with denial of rights, there isn’t much he can do except assure employers that he is capable and deserving for the job. On such occasions one naturally turns towards organizations that advocate the rights of disabled people.
Challenges in everyday life “Whenever you go to a new environment, new people, new workplace, new companions, they tend to focus more on what you have achieved as a blind person or how it plays a role in my life, whereas I am more comfortable to be reacted toward as a normal person... I appreciate people being amazed as they do not know what it is like to live as a blind person but it annoys me when their central focus revolves around it.” Another challenge that the entire blind community does face is the possibility or likelihood of getting married and raising a family. “I think we are far too underestimated in this regard as well and we can be good functional spouses. I have not faced this aspect of life yet, however, this is what I have been told by
When he is denied companionship, he alleviates his own level of awareness by seeing through the eyes of others and realizing that if roles were reversed, he would not have reacted differently. “What people need to realize is the blindness is not an illness or a disease, it is a condition, a condition that pervades every aspect of our lives.” “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
hey explore every means within their purview to make us feel comfortable and encourage us to learn. Out of the smile on their faces when they teach, they illuminate the entire class with delectation. They have the answer to every question and their hard work and precision of knowledge
is impressive. If you still come across such teachers in today’s day and age where teaching is more popular owing to its commercial aspect than about the art of teaching itself, consider yourself lucky! One such teacher who fits this criterion is Faiz Rasool. He was acclaimed as the ‘golden boy’ of his class at Karachi University. He is a double gold medallist of his department as well as the entire Faculty of Arts. He is a well-respected part of the faculty at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). He is nearing the completion of his Ph.D in Sociology. He... is blind.
Early Life Born in 1987, Faiz was a highly spirited individual who dreamt of becoming a cricketer someday and fulfil his passion for cricket. Fate, however, may have had a different plan altogether. At the age of four, Faiz was diagnosed with jaundice and measles which required his doctor to prescribe a high dosage of antibiotics. These antibiotics reacted in a way that damaged his optic nerve causing him to gradually lose his vision. “I was very lucky, in this regard, that it happened at an early age, thus I could not really calculate the magnitude of what I was losing out on... when I planned for the future, when I thought about starting a family, when I thought about finding a job, it was all with this knowledge that I am visually impaired.” Although at a premature age, Faiz realized that nothing would come on a platter for him and he took on life with a goal to “be the best I [he] can be.” Upon completing his education from Shaheed-e-Milat Special Education Centre in 2003, he enrolled into Liaquat College and further went on for a Masters degree from Karachi University and is currently nearing the end of his Ph.D in Sociology.
Challenges in everyday life “Whenever you go to a new environment,
new people, new workplace, new companions, they tend to focus more on what you have achieved as a blind person or how it plays a role in my life, whereas I am more comfortable to be reacted toward as a normal person... I appreciate people being amazed as they do not know what it is like to live as a blind person but it annoys me when their central focus revolves around it.”
ding e-mails as well as navigating on the screen and keyboard.
Another challenge that the entire blind community does face is the possibility or likelihood of getting married and raising a family.
“If I were to die tomorrow, knowing that I have not been an influential scholar of my generation, then I would not have lived a successful life.”
“I think we are far too underestimated in this regard as well and we can be good functional spouses. I have not faced this aspect of life yet, however, this is what I have been told by my loved ones.”
Being a hardcore perfectionist, his inspiration is not Helen Keller or any such widely acclaimed celebrity, but simply anyone who is better than him at doing something as this helps him to reach his optimum potential.
Whenever there is a job interview, the interviewers are more concerned with questions related to how Faiz lost his vision and how he will cope. When faced with denial of rights, there isn’t much he can do except assure employers that he is capable and deserving for the job. On such occasions one naturally turns towards organizations that advocate the rights of disabled people. When he is denied companionship, he alleviates his own level of awareness by seeing through the eyes of others and realizing that if roles were reversed, he would not have reacted differently. “What people need to realize is the blindness is not an illness or a disease, it is a condition, a condition that pervades every aspect of our lives.”
Goals Digital technologies have given blind people an ever-expanding opportunity for professional as well as personal growth. Faiz himself has seen the advent of Power Point, screen access and magnification softwares as a pivotal development that enabled him to pursue teaching. Hence, he is able to perform a variety of tasks independently such as marking attendance, receiving and sen-
Although teaching was a compromise (over cricket) due to his condition, teaching is also something that he derives substantial pleasure from. However Faiz’s ultimate goal is to be a good father and an influential scholar of his time.
As I have observed Faiz teaching for two semesters now, I’ve come to realize that his students have more to learn about life from him than from sighted teachers. When students witness the courage it takes to stand in a classroom full of young adults and teach without being able to see, they develop ways to deal with this ‘difference’ in Faiz and begin to think about and react to blindness in a positive way. Apart from this, another element of Faiz’s classroom is that his condition challenges students to foster a more interactive atmosphere. Moreover, when it comes to young adults, appearance sets the stage as to how people view and develop an image of them; in Faiz’s classroom, it is a refreshing change where you are not judged on the basis of appearance but purely on what you have to say. In spite of his condition, Faiz Rasool recognizes the voices of almost all his students. He likes to read and explore how people make sense of life. It can be thus safely said that in a society where rights of disabled people are hardly recognized, he is on the path to set a powerful example of how hard work, determination and imagination can allow individuals with sense impairments to rise above the ordinary and be treated equally.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 15
Canada’s Lifetime Deferral of Blood Donation from MSM Sheema Khawar
anadian Blood Services has been criticized recently due to its controversial MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) blood donation policy, according to which men who have had sex with other men (even once) since 1977 are banned from donating blood. The policy is seen as discriminatory and homophobic, with no scientific backing. The rationale behind instituting a blanket ban on this category was that these men represent a high risk group for contracting and passing on blood transmitted diseases such as HIV if infected In 2009 statistics revealed that in Canada MSM accounted for the greatest percentage of new HIV infections, 44% (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010). Historically there was insufficient knowledge of the disease and inadequate technology to detect and diagnose HIV/ Aids. Historically the ban was justifiable. However it has no grounding when analyzed scientifically today. In their paper Dr. Wainberg, the head of the McGill University AIDS Centre, argued that the development of effective tests has made it near impossible for the HIV virus to go undetected and that this test is their main defense against detecting the HIV virus in heterosexuals so this courtesy should also be extended to the homosexual community (Wainberg et al, 2010). The tests used previously, the enzyme-linked immunosorption assay and the relatively more accurate Western blot test carried risks of producing a false negative. There was also a crucial “window period” lasting from 3 - 6 months within which the virus itself could go undetected in tests. Comparatively the development of the nucleic acid test has been a milestone in HIV testing. It has reduced the occurrence
16 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
of a false negative. According to the paper the window period within which HIV could escape detection has also been reduced considerably to as low as 12 days (CBC News, 2010). Due to these developments the lifetime ban on MSM and homosexuals seems archaic and based in the stereotype that gay people have an unprotected sex life with alternating partners, and in homophobia. Here the CBS seems to be making a broader statement than just keeping Canadians safe from tainted blood. The ban seems to give the perception of blood impurities being inherent and genetic in a homosexual man when it is important to note that despite being a high risk group, 94% of the homosexual male population living in Canada is HIV free (Wainberg et al., 2010). The ban has also been criticised for being inconsistent in its approach. A gay man, even if he has had sex once since 1977 (onset of AIDS in the developed world), will face a lifetime ban regardless of clearing tests but a heterosexual male who indulges in unprotected sex with multiple partners frequently will be allowed to come back for a blood test six months after diagnosis. The benefits of curbing the lifetime ban and introducing a different period instead are obvious. Discouraged by this discriminatory policy student societies and universities have tended to ban blood donation drives on campuses which has resulted in loss of healthy and much needed blood. Research reveals that an inconsequential risk is involved in reducing the deferral period and that “allowing these
men to donate after a one-year deferral period has been estimated to translate into a risk increment of only one HIV-positive unit escaping detection for every 11 million units of blood donated.” (Wainberg et al., 2010, p. 1323) which is a case that applies equally to both homosexual and heterosexual donors. A good deferral policy would identify and limit harmful sexual behavior irrespective of and not limited to sexual orientation. Therefore a positive change would be to have a sufficiently long deferral time period which considers the window in which HIV escapes detection which is down to 12 days. After this time frame lapses, the likelihood of transfer of a blood disease is equal is straight and gay donors. 5 year long deferrals present an unrealistic time period for both gay and straight people to not have any sexual activity. They may also prove counterproductive because a blood donation policy aimed at healthy individuals would aim at steady monogamous gay couples, a large proportion of which are automatically excluded by such extensively timed deferrals. The MSM blood donation policy which exists in Canada is an archaic one, left behind from a time when lack of scientific proof was a justifiable cause for the ban. However in today’s world, with modern testing facilities and extensive knowledge regarding the HIV/AIDS virus, this ban is just an example of legalized and legitimized discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation.
Preservation of Colonial Buildings Vardah Noor Ahmed Bharuchi
e are recognized by our history. This is true that as the years pass by things change and circumstances change but our history remains same. Our culture, heritage, how our past links us to present times and how we live in societies and perform our social activities can be defined through preservation of architecture. Preservation deals directly with cultural property and the object must be kept in its existing state. A building should only be repaired when it has been damaged by water, chemical agents, micro-organisms or pests. Same is the case with a city like Karachi. The role that old colonial buildings play in understanding our culture and heritage is important. We preserve to seek our physical past and the patrimony can help us understand our history and how we differ from other human species and how this history affects us now. It relates to the past movements, revolutions, era and people that should be honoured for the roles that they played. Buildings are also preserved to admire art.
Karachi was developed to serve as the nearest port to Europe which was a military necessity that was emphasized because of the War of Independence in 1857. The trade had caravan routes and links with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe. At that time this city attracted entrepreneurs from Bombay, Gujarati businessmen of all varieties such as Memon, Parsi and Hindu. Marwari and Marathas took up teaching in schools of Karachi. The port of Karachi plays a significant role in the development of the city as well as the cultural and educational aspects of the city. One of the important schools before partition in Karachi was Sind Madrassah which is at the old Kafila Serai that opened its doors in 1885 and taught Islamic studies as well as English and played a major role in overcoming the prejudices of the Muslim elite in sending their children to English teaching schools. D.J. College was the first of its kind in higher education in Karachi. These edifices give citation of how education was perceived in Karachi. In urban planning, the way the land is plotted and the importance that is given to controlling buildings through the development
of urban space is important. Successive histories depend on the way cities are planned same goes with Karachi. Saddar was the heart of colonial Karachi which was laid out with geometrically straight streets intersecting each other with catholic churches as well as convent schools such as St. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral and St. Josephâ€™s Convent School. The city during the British Era was planned out and was divided, for instance the education sector had its own area, the official buildings in one and the recreational areas such as the civil lines where wealthy Hindu and Parsi businessmen lived. Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta was one such person who played a role in the development of city such as planning for open spaces and gardens. Preservation links the way people behave at present times and commute with that of past. This is an important point as it links us to our past and the buildings play a social role in societies. Recreational areas were divided and different groups socialized in their own ways. An ordinary citizen would take a boat ride to Kimari for pleasure or would go to CafĂŠ Grand where they would
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 17
one of which is The Sindh Building Control Ordinance, November 1979.It states that if the renewal, maintenance, improvement or alteration affects the interior of the structure and not the color or decoration of the exterior, it should be exempted from approval. Another act is The Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994 that aims to protect archeological sites, architecture and culture. The rehabilitation of these buildings will be cheaper than constructing new buildings. Demolition of these buildings is not only the loss of our cultural heritage but also our sociological and economic loss. Pictures in books and documentaries are not enough for us to understand where we come from but living with structures and monuments from the past can help us experience the past.
be served food in silver plated dishes and bone china. Elites would socialize and attend parties in luxurious clubs like Sind Club, Ladies Club and Karachi Club. Non-whites were not allowed in Sind Club and Ladies Club. They would discuss politics and scandals over drinks like vodkas. Musical nights were also very common. These clubs are still considered elite clubs of Karachi. Architectural values are related to the movements in space and sensation giving in sculptural treatments to the building in various forms. Such values have not been pre18 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
served in Karachi because of the increase in migration and environment depletion. The most elite part of the city during British era has now been flooded with warehouses and cargo vehicles. Due to the expansion and the growth of city the elite and middle classes moved to the newly developed suburbs taking with them community activities, social and civic functions in four or five star hotels, or cultural centers of foreign missions. There are different ways of preserving buildings. The government of Pakistan has passed some laws regarding this matter
Man’s Best Friend: The Smartphone – How dependent are we on our phones? Arooba Shahid
he term paper aims to display the existence of a pervasive dependency on smartphones within the youth of this era of technology. It is something that seems to run the world, with increasing usages and developments. It can be observed that for a lot of people, technology is a necessity - from the washing machine to the handheld tablet, technology has pervaded all aspects of our lives. The most commonly and more and more frequently used form of technology these days is the smartphone, which is the point of focus here. All kinds of individuals are making use of the smartphone wherever you look, and has adjusted the rhythm of their lives significantly, given them an environment a far cry from those of their ancestors. These phones have transformed the lives of the youth, as individuals and as a community. The connection between this dependency and the socialization of the youth as well as the formation of their identity is brought into question - is technology so deeply impactful that it is restructuring our lives and shaping our identity accordingly? Joshua Meyrowitz is an author who has displayed the link between the communication technologies and the self and how technologies have transformed the concept of the ‘generalized other’and ‘generalized elsewhere’- something which aids the self in developing. According to him, our ‘generalized other’and ‘generalized elsewhere’ is everywhere around us
19 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
thanks to our smartphones and therefore self has to be constantly in a state of socialization. Similarly, Nyiri has stated that the social world has become a system of networked communities which are held together not by place, but by ‘symbolic processes’ and people who are physically present in a certain place in a certain role, are required to change roles while still in that physical space because of a certain phone call. The self then has to virtually express another role while physically being somewhere else. Therefore, the identity of individuals exist in both a physical space as well as a virtual space. The research was based around the recent communications ban within the city of Karachi, and the feelings invoked in the youth by the inconvenience it presented to them. A survey was conducted, with a questionnaire handed out to 52 people starting from the age of 17 and above, consisting of a total of ten questions. These questions aimed to find out how incorporated smartphones are into the lives of people, and whether a dependency on cell phones is affecting their identity as a collective youth in the 21st century. The questions were based around the frequency of usage throughout the day of the cell phone, the services it is primarily used for, if there was a comfort with the option of not having one, as well as a scale depicting the level of dependency on the phone.
The data revealed that a total of 68% responded in the negative when asked if they could survive without their cell phone and its services, while a majority of 76.9% felt incomplete without their phone. 92% of the selected sample use their cell phones for calling and texting, and 44.2% use them for social networking such as facebook, twitter, or other various forms of communication. 42.3% of the sample rating their cell phone dependence at a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. A majority of 78% claimed to check their phone first thing in their morning after waking up, and coupled with 61.5% using them as alarm clocks, this depicts how cell phones have become such an integrated aspect within their daily routines. Another example of cell phones being a thoroughly integrated part of the youth’s lives is that 59.6% claimed that they could not go even 15 minutes without checking their phone. The results in general depicted a strong leaning towards a constant use and regular dependency on cell phones among the sample people. A sense of discomfort was evident when the network ban was in effect, but was not as high as was expected, perhaps because of other forms of communication available on smart phones.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 19
The Emergence of LGBTQ Rights Bazla Gul
he earliest proof of homosexual activity was found in the depictions of phallic male figures in pairs which are suspected to date back to around 5000 B.C. (Mussi). In attempts to undermine the concept of homosexuality, the parties against homosexuality have put forward several theories and conjectures so as to explain its origin. However, the more efforts put in to eradicate this displeasing notion from society, the more it became visible, taking root inside people’s unconsciousness. Despite growing opposition from the more conservative strata of society such as the orthodox religious class, as well as the right-wing extremists, homosexual subcultures have become a well-known and even accepted concept in some cultures. It is not to say, however, that same-sex relationships have become a norm – in fact, it is only due to the post-modern era of choice that homosexual behavior is not immediately subjected to handcuffs and arrest warrants. Homosexuality remained illegal in most
20 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
countries during the 1940s, though some countries, such as Iceland, Switzerland, and Sweden, had begun to decriminalize the concept (Francoeur). In 1948, idea of a first formal LGBT activist group – ‘The Veterans Benevolent Association’ – was conceived in the United States of America (Miller). At the same time, in other areas of the world, homosexuality was seen as an offense worthy of punishment – in Nazi Germany, homosexual men were allowed to be released from prisons if they underwent castration (Miller). The following decade saw a rise in the LGBT rights activity; homosexuality was decriminalized in Greece and Thailand, and ‘The Homosexual Law Reform Society’ was formed in England, in 1957, solely for the objective of decriminalizing homosexuality. Furthermore, the Wolfenden Report was published in 1957 in England, with the recommendation of decriminalizing private homosexual behavior (Miller). Homosexuality, however, continued to be perceived as a psychiatric illness (American Psychological Association) in
the 1950s. The Lavender Scare marks the height of anti-homosexual behavior in this period. The period of the 1960s was significant in that LGBT rights movements started gaining considerable momentum. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, State of Illinois, Israel, Chad, England, Wales, Bulgaria, and Canada decriminalized homosexuality in this decade. “The Rejected”, the first homosexual made-for-television documentary, was made in the United States (Alwood). In 1972, Sweden became the first country to legally allow sex-change operations for transsexual people and provided free hormone therapy (Bergh). A major advance in favor of homosexual movements happened the next year, when the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders. The seventies also marked a time period where members of the LGBT community started to take political offices and hold public positions. However, SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 20
Robert Grant, a Christian leader, opposed the gay agenda and started what is today known as the Christian Political Movement (Diamond). As the years caught up to late 1970’s, people’s mindsets were much altered due to the widespread gay rights movements carried out. Larry Kramer founded the ‘Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ to attract public attention towards health issues faced by homosexual men (Mass) when a rare form of pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii, was reported in several homosexual men in 1981. The following decades brought forth similar advancements in gays rights. What kick-started the process was a religious body accepting gays and lesbians. When San Francisco allowed civil ceremonies to take place for same-sex couples in 1996 (Paddock), homosexuals got an almost identical status as their heterosexual counterparts. The dawning of the twenty-first century brought with it an apology from the German Bundestag for all the gays and lesbians tortured and persecuted under the infamous Nazi regime up till 1969, a momentous moment for German homosexuals. After years of Unites States’ volatile polices regarding homosexuality and LGBT rights, President Barrack Obama became the first president of United States to publicly support homosexual marriage in 2012 (O’Brien). Despite such vast improvements in gay rights, some countries still harbored an orthodox, conservative approach towards sexuality. For instance, a teenage gay couple was executed in Iran in 2005 for indulging in homosexual activities (IRIN ASIA | IRAN-IRAN: Activists Condemn Execution of Gay Teens). Homosexuality has had a tough time over the years; condemned from the start, the concept encountered numerous hurdles and unparalleled opposition from even the most liberal arenas. Yet, sheer determination and perseverance of the individuals fighting for their rights finally allowed homosexuality to appear in public as an accepted lifestyle. Indeed, attitudes
towards same-sex relationships have evolved drastically over the past seven decades – from being arrested and executed in the 40’s, gays and lesbians are now allowed to lead an almost normal life with their same-sex partners.
should-be-able-to-get-married?lite>. Paddock, Richard C. “S.F. to Allow Civil Ceremonies for Gay Couples.” 30 January 1996. http://articles.latimes.com. <http:// articles.latimes.com/1996-01-30/news/ mn-30326_1_civil-ceremonies>.
Alwood, Edward. Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media. Columbia University Press, 1996. American Psychological Association. “ Gay Is Okay With APA—Forum Honors Landmark 1973 Events.” 1998. Bergh, Frederick Quist. “I feel a bit gay today”. 2001. Diamond, Sara. Spiritual warfare: the politics of the Christian right. South End Press, 1989. Francoeur, Robert T. The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. 1997. Mass, L. “GMC | Pioneeers who Began as Volunteers in the AIDS Epidemic.” 6 February 2011. http://www.gmhc. org. <http://www.gmhc.org/news-andevents/press-releases/pioneers-whobegan-as-volunteers-in-the-aids-epidemic-by-larry-mass-md>. Miller, Neil. Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. —. Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Mussi, Margherita. Earliest Italy: An Overview of the Italian Paleolithic and Mesolithic. Kluwer Academic, 2002. O’Brien, Michael. “Obama: ‘I think same-sex couples should be able to get married’.” 9 May 2012. firstread.nbcnews.com. <http://firstread.nbcnews. com/_news/2012/05/09/11621156obama-i-think-same-sex-couples-
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 21
EDHI CENTRE: Community Service Rahat Asif
e are always complaining 24/7 about the not having the more expensive phone or the new game or the latest designer clothes. We never realize that there might be people who might have never even seen those things in their life, who have to fight even to get the basic necessities of life. The visit to EDHI’s center in Karachi made us realize how materialistic we have become and that we should be thankful to God for all that he has given us. When we entered the place it was filled with young boys, who were all below 15 years of age. These kids had either been dropped off by their parents here or they had run away from home and Police had bought them here. Rizwan bhai, the manager of the place told us that most of the kids had ran away from their homes because either their parents abused them or their employers abused them. These kids would then just get in a train and come to Karachi. The Railway Cantt Police Station bring these kids to the EDHI centre. This centre is situated in Landi, Karachi. All the boys till the age of 15 stay here but if they still haven’t been sent home then they are shifted to the Surabgodh Centre.
22 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
We reached the centre at 4.30 pm and a lot of kids were sleeping. In the rooms there weren’t any proper mattresses. They were sleeping on ledges. They didn’t even have pillows. These children don’t even remember their ages. Families, mothers, fathers they leave their kids here because they can’t afford to take care of them. Faizan is 15 years old. He has been to this centre four times. EDHI people send him home but he keeps coming back here. His father died and after his death it became difficult to take care of her child because of financial issues. His mother herself drops him here. What these kids go through mentally is un-imaginable; they must feel they are unwanted. Faizan was really shy when we talked to him. He didn’t say much, all the information was given by one of the ladies who take care of the children there. These children live in that building and it is also their school. At the time we went the boys were having their Quran class. But the doors to the class were locked from the outside. When I questioned Rizwan bhai about it he said that these kids don’t want to study. They leave the room when the teacher isn’t noticing. So to make them sit in the class room
only they have to take strict measures. The Quran class had about 30 to 40 boys in it and only one teacher was there. I also noticed that the Qaida and the Quran Shareef were torn. The kids don’t even respect the Holy Book. I asked the teacher that the foremost thing we learn is to respect the Quran Shareef and take care of it, then why haven’t you taught them this. She got mad at me for accusing her. She said I teach them everything but they don’t listen. There are few kids who are doing well in this class but others just don’t want to learn. While I was writing all this down, the kids were fascinated by my notebook and pen, although it was a very normal notebook with just plain paper. They all wanted a sheet from it or the pen. Some even wanted to write their names in English and in Urdu. They were proud of the fact that they could write. But while they were all signing I noticed that there was a lot of bullying. The older kids teased the younger ones or the old ones used to tease the new kids. And the children being bullied didn’t fight for themselves. When I was sitting looking all around trying to comprehend the tough life these boys go
through a young boy came and sat next to me. He was just staring at me, waiting for me to ask him something. But he was very shy. He only answered what I asked, didn’t elaborate or talked much. His name was Muhammad Usman, he was 8 years old when he came here and it’s been 2 years since he has been living at the EDHI Centre. As I was writing down all these things in my journal he looked at how I was writing and if he noticed that I was noticing him he would look away. After a few minutes he himself told me about his parents. His mother died when he was very young. His father drives a rickshaw. Despite his father being alive he never visits his son. Usman doesn’t like studying and he doesn’t want to be anything when he grows up. I encouraged him a lot to finish his education properly. But he just didn’t want to. The interesting thing was that he liked reading Urdu books. A few were available here and he wanted me to get more for him. When these kids come in at the Centre the first job of Rizawan bhai is to find out where their parents are. They love keeping children here but their aim and job is to reinstate them in their homes. Since some children run away themselves their families are on the lookout for them. The Centre had a board outside with all the pictures and names of the children who
have been found. They even have billboards all over Karachi and they also spread the message via the newspaper and the radio. Until their families come they stay here. These children follow a schedule that has been made for them.
We shouldn’t take things for granted and give more respect to the things we have.
They are given breakfast, lunch and dinner. Those boys who are a bit older they help in the kitchen. They have two cooks and they each have 12 hour duty. Just like parents punish their children, the maids and RIzwan bhai also punish these kids if they misbehave or don’t study. Most of the time toys are taken away. They don’t hit these children because they don’t want them to run away from here also. There was cleanliness comparatively to the other places in Karachi. It was an eye opener for young adults like us who have been given everything that we ask our parents for. These children don’t have much but still they don’t complain. Shehzad, a child at the centre, said that some days are happy, some are sad. But life is going on. These kids have accepted the fact that their families won’t come for them. They like being here. This may also mean that life in their own house may have been very hard for them. After visiting the centre it made me realize that however much we thank God, isn’t enough. SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 23
Preferences of Youth for their Future Partners Rida Khan
Researchers: Rida Khan, Syeda Anum Shah and Sadia Gondal
arriage is a legal obligation or social institution which binds two people together as husband and wife. It establishes rights and obligations amongst spouses, children and in-laws. It is considered to be a momentous union in every society. It is significant in terms of providing security, emotional support and fulfilling economical, social, cultural and physical needs – which are the natural cravings of young adults that drive them towards marriage. It is a foundation based on personal responsibilities which establish the backbone of civilizations. A study was conducted to investigate differentiations among males and females regarding preferences for future spouses. The selected participants included university undergraduates based in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Dubai. The segment of the study – which was randomly selected - composed of hundred and sixty undergraduates from nine universities. The results of the findings demonstrated substantial differences in preferences of males and females.
24 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
The research instrument employed for data collection was a quantitative questionnaire. The questions were designed in a way that their views on multiple aspects were judged for example the physical attractiveness socio-economic status and personality traits and so on.
Following is a comparative analysis of the preferences of males and females. Majority of the females opted for males that were elder to them – their percentage amounting to 75 percent. Males largely wanted younger partners – the percentage being as high as 68.4 percent.
The population comprised of Pakistani males and females. The sample of the study comprised of seventy eight undergraduates - out of which forty were females and thirty-eight were males. These undergraduates were within the age bracket of eighteen and twenty four. They all belonged to reputed universities including Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Institute of Business Administration, Institute of Business Management, Iqra University, DOW Medical College and Ziauddin University. An online website specifically designed for drawing up gender-based questionnaires was used. Data was attained by distributing questionnaires via Facebook.
In terms of education, majority of the boys and girls wanted post-graduate partners. Females generally desired sporty partners, whereas 68.42 percent of the males and 35.9 percent females did not care about having sporty partners. There were close variations in marriage preferences as well, with 40 percent females and 52.63 percent males favouring love marriages and 17.5 percent females and 18.42 percent males choosing arranged marriage. In terms of complexion, majority of the females fancied partners with wheatish complexions. Males rather favoured fair-skinned partners – with majority going as high as 60.53 percent. On intelligence, 45 percent females and 28.95 percent males desired very smart
partners; 40 percent females and 34.21 percent males wanted spouses who were smart in their fields and to 7.5 percent females and 10.53 percent males, intelligence did not matter. As for status, the highest number of males at 26.32 percent and females at 70 percent wanted their partners to be financially independent. There were surprising variations in the importance of outward appearance. 61.5 percent females and 76.32 percent males responded affirmatively. Facial features were considered to be the most important by 53.6 percent of the females and 70.59 percent males. Height was considered vital only by 32.1 percent females and 5.88 percent males. Weight was also an important factor to 3.6 percent females and 14.71 percent males. Only 8.8 percent males had a liking for their partnerâ€™s hair. Moreover, where dressing was concerned, 31.58 percent males opted for eastern; 21.5 percent for Hijabi, 15.79 percent for casual, 10.53 percent for modern and westernized and only 7.89 percent for a niqaabi person.
In terms of personality, majority of the females and males had a fondness for funny spouses. 4.6 percent females and 14.15 percent males opted for introversive, reserved partners. 8.3 percent females and 5.66 percent males had a liking for somber partners. Outgoing or extroversive partners were ultimate favourites of 26.6 percent females 20.75 percent males. Religious partners were selected by 20.2 percent females and 22 percent males. When asked whether internet was a good opportunity to look for a spouse, only 18.92 percent males responded in the affirmative. Otherwise, it was considered risky and unsafe by 47.5 percent females and 27.63 percent males. It was also considered immature by 52.5 percent females and 54.5 percent males.
44.74 percent males, it was not a concern. The results showed that women underlined on characteristics such as intellect and financial stability. Males, however, accentuated physical appearances. There werenâ€™t any significant differences in personality types they wished to have. Apparently, many of their answers were influenced by the cultural norms of society and the social media.
Last but not the least, participants were questioned whether they would marry males or females who had histories or boyfriends or girlfriends. A positive response was received by 27.5 percent females and 21.5 percent males and disapproving by 20 percent females and 34.21 percent males. For 52.5 percent females and
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 25
Temporary Marriage Saeeda Rizvi
he allowance or not of temporary marriage (Arabic mut’a) is one of the more controversial issues found in modern day Islam.Fixed-Term/Temporary/ Mut’a Marriage is an agreement or a contract between a man and woman, similar to the contract or agreement that takes place in Long-Term/Conventional Marriages in Islam. Identical oaths or vows are exchanged between the to-be spouses or their sanctioned representatives in both thearrangements with the dowry being stated and set as well. Any children conceived during the temporary marriages also, receive the same rights as those conceived under a permanent marriage. (Islam.org, 2004) Historically, Mut’as or temporary marriages were allowed and sanctioned by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and thus date back to his time. It was believed to be recommended for soldiers and those who traveled for long periods of time, so that these individuals can deal with their sexual urges in a legal manner. It was a practice that was not banned (according to Shia scholars) during the prophet’s lifetime but was instead banned during the Caliphate of Umar, who the Shia scholars consider to be illegitimate. The practice of mut’a is till today, heavily frowned upon by the majority Sunni sect but is still allowed (albeit with some reluctance) in the Shia sect of Islam. The minority Shiite populationtakes issue with the initial ban on mut’a, claiming that Umar had no right to change the decision and law approved and put forward by the prophet. Historically, the very practice of mut’a wasused most frequently in Iran by travelers and pilgrims in Shiite shrine cities like Meshed and Qum. Individuals and pilgrims who traveled had sexual needs, the argument went. Mut’a was a legal way to satisfy them.(Brill, 2006)
26 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
Thus logic dictates that one of the two officially Shiite states in the world, will be the only one that actually today, legally allows and (to a minute extent) regulates the process and implementation of themut’a. The practice of Mut’a has been legal in Iran since the post revolution constitution was formed.Iran maybe the only country that allows temporary marriages legally, but it is not the only one in which the practice is carried out. Lebanon is a country where the mut’a holds value in certain specified courts only (Shiite courts) and Iraq and Egypt are examples of two countries where temporary marriages are carried out frequently but
have no legal status. Islam as an arguably practical religion recognizes the bodies need for sex and mut’a is a way of legitimizing the fulfillment of the said need. As for the abuses of mut’a that have occurred in certain times and places, in large measure these can be traced to the refusal of people to observe the letter of the law; perhaps those who established mut’a had too high an opinion of human dignity, self-respect. As for the importance of the mut’a in Iran, anassortment of Iranian feminists, member of the clergy and bureaucrats have begun to discuss the mut’a as a potential solution
to the difficulties of Iran’s youth. An extremely large number of young people (about 65 percent of the population is under 25), pooled with high unemployment rates, means that more couples are putting off marriage because they cannot afford it. Mut’a legally wraps premarital sex in an Islamic cloak.However possibly one of the the strongest motives to endorse mut’a by the Iranian clerics has been to advantage a definitive class of women, which typically include divorcees and widows by means of sexual and financial freedom. A Muslim woman’s identity (defined by both culture and religion) is usually reduced to that of a virgin or a mother/wife. Anything in between or any other status alters the range of her independence and creates a hole in her identity.The status of a widow and divorcee is seen to alienate a woman from her ideal role and hence creates a stigma, which in turn greatly affects her chance of remarriage, with age and socio-economic status acting as cofactors.Thus, if female sexuality evolves in
a hierarchy with culturally innovated barriers and the only means for physical fulfillment for natural desires and psychological needs is via marriage as established earlier, spiritual and psychological well being of widows and divorcees is seriously jeopardized. Mut’a, in such cases is considered by the clerics as an escape. However practical this may sound in terms of Iran’s current socio political fabric and regardless of whether amendments to the current policy are brought forward or not, it is important to recognize the deeper issue of gender inequality here, as well.
can come over night, however this paper is attempting in the end to recognize the deep rooted flaws that cause this gender inequality in the first place. Although mut’a can serve as a genuineassessment of human nature and serve both genders in a sex-segregated society, it is vital that the undercurrents of mut’a are solved from a woman’s standpoint. The real way to make positive and constructive change in a divorced or widowed woman’s or any woman’s life in modern day Iran, lies in recognizing a woman’s sexuality, her needs, and her existence as a whole entity.
In order to really defend or facilitate the well being of the ‘women of status,’ the solution to the stigma attached to women’s altered sexuality needs to be identified. In the shari’a laws, men’s libidinal vitality is accepted and accordingly compensated with the use of appropriate institutions such as themut’a. Women’s sexuality on the other hand, is almost completely ignored. This paper is not claiming that change in the stigma related to women’s sexuality SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 27
Family Nuclearization and its Impact in Pakistan Saman Ahmed
long-standing and generally held view among family sociologists is that the size and complexity of households and residential families decrease as a society industrializes and urbanizes. Correspondingly, urbanization and industrialization are changing mindsets and values of our Pakistani families, and among many other changes in Pakistan today, we witness a trend of ‘Family nuclearization’: the process of movement and shift from joint family system to nuclear family system, where A simple nuclear household consists of parents and their children and no other relatives of the head or nonrelatives. While a joint family with an authoritative patriarch was once a symbol of dignity and prestige in Pakistan, the mob has now seen the wonders offered by education through media, and have discovered their own ways. Thus, nuclear family seems more desirable to people looking forward to a better future life, and to better jobs and business opportunities. Subsequently, the joint family system and the tradition of an ‘adult male head of the 28 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
family (usually the grandfather)’ are now fading out. Due to this, not only the composition or demography, but also the functions of a family in the society are changing. Until now, it was mostly primarily through the family that the ill and the dependent aged were supported, but the ‘family support and care’ for the dependents and aged now seems to be dying out. Several documentaries are being made about parents being abandoned by their ‘adult’ children, and visits to ‘old- homes’ and interviews of abandoned old parents are increasingly becoming a component of many television shows. The modern household today seldom accommodates aged grandparents, uncles or even grown children. This would entail many issues of concern for the social scientists, economists, and most importantly, the government and policymakers. Thus, a primary research was conducted to study the prospective trend of family nuclearization in Karachi, the metropolitan city of Pakistan, so that the
probable socio-economic consequences can be recognized, and suggestions can be made to deal with them. The sample population consisted of 30 Educated Male and female adults (including married, widowed, bachelors, and spinsters) from different areas of Karachi, aged between 18-83 years. The Research instrument was a questionnaire consisting of 10 statements, emailed to the respondents, to which they had to respond with ‘Strong agreement’, ‘agreement’, ‘neutrality’, ‘disagreement’ or ‘strong disagreement’. Out of all 10 statements, there were 3 core questions were: i. Mother, Father, Brother/s, sister/s ─the family seems complete. ii. Rapid inflation is the menace that compels a person to narrow down his responsibilities to his family (wife and children) only.
iii. As a person grows up, he/she needs more freedom and privacy, which is often hindered by unwanted/ superfluous protection and interference by a large family. As the purpose was to project future changes in family pattern, the analysis was based on the population’s views, rather than demographic factors such as number of members in the family. The scoring was such that: higher (overall) the points for a statement, the more it will represent inclination toward nuclear family system.
• The first core question received 77% adherence • The second core question scored 67% agreement. • The third core question scored 73% agreement. • Overall, the respondents showed 61.8% tendency towards nuclear family system. When divided into ‘above 40 years’ and ‘below 40 years’, both groups showed a high tendency toward nuclear family system. So, it is not just the younger generation that shows inclination toward family
nuclearization, but the older generation has also made up its mind for it. After analyzing the results, we can deduce that the large, joint families will be vanishing, and replaced by nuclear families. So, there will be greater need for support and health care for the older people, which will call for a greater and improved provision for old-homes. For this purpose, the government will have to make budget adjustments, and train more nurses. Also the senior citizens who would like to live on their own would require an increase in pensions as well as job-creation.
tention and effort towards the education, upbringing and skill-development of your own offspring, and a greater supply of human resource in fields which actually require more female professionals.
Moreover, with nuclearization, the spending and consumption patterns will change. This may have substantial macro-economic effects and environmental consequences due to increased land use, CO2 emissions, household energy use, transportation and water use. So, the trend of nuclearization is very likely to pose a great challenge to the government, and put strain on relevant social services. This might also call for ‘increased monitoring and possibly new policy thinking’. All in all ,the family nuclearization does not only pose challenges ; it can also bring about positive changes such as more atSZABIST Social Sciences Publication 29
Redefining of the Normative Code for Women: Can the Society afford it? Kifah Qasim Memon & Suha Qasim Memon “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman”, Virginia Woolf. As the above quote so aptly describes, throughout history women have experienced a level of gender inequality that has rendered them anonymous. Gender inequality has been a way of the world since the beginning. What were at first merely different roles of humans in the life cycle went on to become a representation of power and a disparity of rights. In fact, many female authors had to adopt the names of men to be able to publish their works. An example would be the nineteenth century English writer and poet, Charlotte Bronte-famous for her novel, Jane Eyre- who had to adopt the name Currer Bell for this very reason. But with the advent of the twentieth century, certain sociological movements rendered a revolution of kinds. Movements like women liberation, racial equality, 30 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
gender equality, green movement, resulted in a change in the thinking of people; a change that gradually creeped into our minds and manifested itself within our lives. However, the struggle for greater rights for women and their empowerment has resulted in a few raised eye brows as well. One can’t help but wonder if, in this fight for our rights, we have become too aggressive. The question now arises; how are these liberation and emancipation movements for women affecting the Pakistani society? Studying the positive first, what is perhaps the greatest of all advantages is the increase in women’s education in Pakistan. “Official statistics released by the Federal Education Ministry of Pakistan give a desperate picture of education for all, especially for girls. The overall literacy rate is 46 per cent, while only 26 per cent of girls are literate” (Latif, 2011). While the writer sees this situation
in dismay, what is of importance here is that more than half of the literate people are girls. Yes, the literacy rate of Pakistan is an abysmal amount. And yes, Pakistan has a bigger female population than male. But none of it changes the fact that of the 46 percent, 26 percent of the literates are girls. This has lead to several other positive aspects; more women are in politics now and this increased legal representation of Pakistani women in the Parliament has led to laws supporting the eradication of women domestic abuse, et cetera. Studying the negative now, can it be considered that our society is insecure? Do Pakistani women need and/or want an acceptance because they lack a sturdy footing in their own cultural identity, perhaps because of the long sufferings that they have endured over time? Islamic values have indeed been compromised. The declining trend of Hijab wearing women, increase in the dating and social integra-
tion of genders, a decline in street gatherings for Iftar in the month of Ramadan, are denotations of that very fact. A decade ago, wearing a Hijab meant you wore a certain type of clothing with it; loose and traditional clothes. Now, Hijab, at times, is worn as a statement. The statement is that Pakistani women are free. That wearing a Hijab is their choice and no one should dare judge them. While the statement is perfectly correct, the way the women are going about it is, perhaps, not. Islam tells us to wear a Hijab for the sake of modesty, and for our own freedom, not for our egos or as a statement.
Tolstoy wrote, “Desperate clinging of traditions hampers progress” (Tolstoy, 2003). A genius statement by one ov f the most famous authors of literature, what Tolstoy wrote presents the question that has been debated in Pakistan numerous times: do traditions pose a threat to our country’s progress? The answer is yes. However, what we miss here is that while traditions make an important part of our culture, they are not the pillars on which it stands, nor are traditions an aspect of Islam. Islam does not hinder progress, and ergo, our culture should not as well. Bibliography
Bibliography Latif, A. (2011). Grassroot Stories - Alarming Situation of Education in Pakistan. Retrieved from UNESCO: http://www. unesco.org/education/efa/know_sharing/grassroots_stories/pakistan_2.shtml Tolstoy, L. (2003). Anna Karenina. Barnes and Noble Classics.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 31
Child marriages in India Syeda Nanji
Child marriage which is defined as the marriage of a child under the age of 18 is a widespread phenomenon all over the world (Nour, 2009). The Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) is an act found in India which prescribes the minimum marriageable age of 21 to boys and 18 to girls. (Mercier, 2006). Despite having the highest legal marriageable age requirement in comparison to other countries, India still faces a high number of child marriages. (Mercier, 2006). States in India which have a high number of child marriages consist of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan. (Salvi, 2009). Many international agencies as well as the United Nations have declared that child marriages are a violation against children’s rights as well as human rights (Nour, 2009). A number of international laws exist such as the UDRC (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) which stress the importance of consent and legality of age during the time of marriage however despite such international laws, there is an increase in the percentage of child marriages in India. Child marriage is said to be found more in those households and communities which are poor (Shulman, 2008) For families that live in poverty, marrying their daughter reduces the amount of dowry they have to pay to the groom’s family as the custom stands; the younger the daughter, the lesser the dowry payment (Shulman, 2008). Since daughters and young girls are also seen to be an economic burden on the family, getting them married at an early age not only reduces this burden which the family has to suffer, it is a mode of survival which families must make use of (Unicef, 2001).
Another motive behind families marrying off their daughters at a young age is that they believe it is a way of protecting their daughter from premarital sex, unintended/unwanted pregnancies, rape and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV (Nour, 2009). Parents also impose strict controls on their daughters to keep them protected from being the victims of such activities which could reduce their value. The choices which parents take for their sons and daughters in terms of early marriage are done so without taking into account the personal implications their decisions would have on their offspring. Parents believe that if they marry their daughter into a reputable and financially well off family, it would help in further strengthening the social ties and help in improving the family’s social status (Unicef, 2001). The mental, emotional and physical development of a child is hampered by getting married too young (Jenson & Thornton, 2003). The chance of having a normal childhood is taken away as early marriage is a barrier to education as girls are taken out of school at an early age to help with domestic activities and for childbearing/ child care purposes (Jenson & Thornton, 2003). One way in which a social issue can get
32 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
awareness and be rectified is with the help of the media. (Nour, 2009) points out that policies by governmental and nongovernmental authorities aimed at creating awareness amongst the community and educating them about the impacts of child marriage on children, by gathering together political and religious leaders and parents, a difference can be made and child marriage can be stopped. In the past, programs have been successful such as those which involve financially rewarding the parents if they kept their daughters at school, feeding them so that the parents do not have to bear the burden and promising girls employment once they complete their education have been successful in combating child marriage (Nour, 2009). By having laws which prohibit early marriages, not only will it signify the importance of this particular social issue, it would also imply that women’s rights are just as important as a man’s (Jenson & Thornton, 2003) Government officials and religious leaders should be made aware of these issues and the need to enforce child marriage laws which would help in the elimination of early marriage (Jenson & Thornton, 2003).
Faculty Student Integration.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 33
Life Lessons from Karachi
Teaching to transgress in higher education Aisha Chapra M.S.W. & R.Y.T (Registered Yoga Teacher) Adjunct Faculty SZABIST
34 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
“I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions – a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom” (hooks, 1994, p. 12). Living with uncertainty & insecurity – The reflection of our inner selves “We live in a time of spiritual uncertainty and great contradictions…We live with unnamed anxieties and guilt. An undercurrent of shame and unworthiness moves just beneath the surface of our busy lives. We try to find cosmic satisfaction in a lifestyle, a career, a self-image, or a romantic relationship” (Helminski, 2000, p.5).
arachi is the context of the narrative I will share. I choose to not indulge in cold numbers and statistics or the reductive sentencing by political pundits who call Pakistan the nexus of the War on Terror. But simply put, though we all live with uncertainty, Karachi offers unique challenges. The university is frequently suspended because of strikes and bombs, sometimes exploding only a few hundred feet from campus. To enter campus cars go through a funny assortment of barricades, and we walk through metal detectors to enter buildings. In the process of living here, many of us suffer from an almost needed disassociation to survive or maintain a sense of normalcy. The constant insecurity and violence in the city impacts all of us psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Physically it limits our movements and practically our ability to plan for the future. The deep affect of this unstable condition would require much more exploration than this paper allows. Sufis view external reality as existing in opposites (Dehlvi, 2009; Helminski, 2000). And similarly, the context of Karachi reflects this duality. On one hand the volatile conditions can make us ripe and open to a deeper level of Reality (also a central belief in Vedas), which is
an All-knowing, all-pervading Reality, or the One reality behind all reality. On the other hand, the disassociation can easily give rise to hopelessness and despair for lack of change, and ability to affect social change. The various symptoms of this disconnection include an indulgence in drugs, alcohol and empty sexuality or fundamentalism to cope with the inner emptiness, and outward frustrations. Post-modern reality in a paradoxical city like Karachi cannot be fully expressed in words, as it is experience alone that can reveal its immense complexity; its play of the dance between dark and light. And yet, despite its unique configuration, the contradictions, the desperate conditions of living for a majority of the population in Karachi connect us to the entire world, where the oppressed share the same history of subjugation and silence. Of the 20 million or so souls in Karachi, I receive my education from a group of privileged students who have come from all walks of life to receive an ‘education’. They believe they need a degree to secure a future, either for employment or marriage, and then there are those students who do not know why they are studying but have been told it is what they must do. I have found much strength and wisdom in my students, as I have also found despair, hopelessness, and desire to escape to a better world, to a better place than the now that they occupy.
friends would do the trick of ‘self-care’. Nurturing my heart and soul came from the spiritual tradition that I am home in: Islam. Sufism, described by many as a mystical branch of Islam, is in fact not merely a branch but many would argue the essence of Islam. Being an atheist most of my life I was surprised by my sudden attraction to Sufism, beginning with a poem, “The Guesthouse” by Rumi. As I became more accepting and grateful for whatever events transpired in my life, I was able to be more accepting of anything that arose inside the classroom as well. Instead of worrying or labeling what I did not understand as “wrong”, or pushing away negativity, I opened to welcome all the shades of experiences in and outside the classroom. I incorporated a lot of the participatory and egalitarian principles that many teachers in my Social Work program had exemplified. In my years as a social worker I had intellectually developed an “antioppressive” perspective, yet it was only when I learned to not oppress my self, did I truly begin to embody the values of antioppression.
“The practice of a healer, therapist, teacher or any helping professional should be directed toward his or herself first, because if the helper is unhappy, he or she cannot help many people” - Thich nhat hanh.
With yoga and meditation informing and healing the split between mind body and soul, I began to bring into the classroom more than just mental energy. I brought an energy of “being-ness” rooted in my body and heart. I felt my breath when I would get anxious, or if the class was not going according to plan. I was able to let go of my inner dialogue and be in the present moment. It allowed me to have a natural openness, or as hooks called it, “radical openness”, to whatever could arise in any given moment (1994).
I have come to recognize the drastic difference in my own capacity to give due to my spiritual practice. Earlier, I found myself consistently burnt out by the demands of my life: professionally and personally. Previously I was ignorant of my whole being, and believed that the occasional massage and fancy dinner with
As I intended to live in my day-to-day life, I brought those same values into my classroom and shared them with my students, mostly non-verbally. I found myself feeling more creative than I ever had before. And in due time, understood particular teaching practices as tools to unlock the oppressions we all come with.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 35
“When education is the practice of freedom, students are not the only ones who are asked to share, to confess. Engaged pedagogy does not seek simply to empower students. Any classroom that employs a holistic model of learning will also be a place where teachers grow, and are empowered by the process. That empowerment cannot happen if we refuse to be vulnerable while encouraging students to take risks. In my classrooms, I do not expect students to take any risks that I would not take, to share in any way that I would not share. But most professors must practice being vulnerable in the classroom, being wholly present in mind, body and spirit (hooks, 2004, p.21). As a university lecturer, I have taught over 300 students of all ages and backgrounds (not nationality per say but religiously, ethnically and linguistically, ability, gender, sexuality) and found that the teachings that are transmitted through me resonate and are strongly received by a majority of students. In fact, what I found most surprising was my genuine love for my students and vice versa. It is as if we have stumbled upon a little paradise where we could all be ourselves and for the most part accept each other and the voices we brought to the class with respect, love, and dignity. The classroom indeed became a radical space (hooks, 1994). “Engaged pedagogy necessarily values student expressions” (hooks, 1994, p.20). I had been warned about the terrible condition of the student body, but now I realized that the terrible condition had less to do with individuals but more to do with the education system in which we had perpetuated an eternal split between the True Self, and the Ego. The academy was feeding the mind-based ego. As Tisdell examines those “involved with institutions of higher education, have traditionally been taught that it is (only) the rational, scientific thought that is worthy of attention” (2003). There was no nourishment for the heart or for the soul, without which creative capacities and love for one another was 36 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
a mystery, and the concept of balance was skewed in favor of the intellect.
The Classroom as a “radical” learning space: “Students don’t always enjoy studying with me. Often they find my courses challenge them in ways that are deeply unsettling” (hooks, p 206, 1994). In all the courses I have taught, there is a time, somewhere between the fourth week and the tenth week of classes that everything seems to get very intense. It is a combination of the influx of ideas and concepts that challenge deeply held belief systems on what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; approaching the mainstream with alternative perspectives rooted in anticolonial, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive frameworks; along with the radical classroom space which deeply unsettles even those students who are very open to the course and its material. “The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and of our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom” (hooks, p 207 1994). In the gender studies course this is most apparent. A majority of the students arrive with very strong traditional cultural “Pakistani” norms socialized within them. I will not begin to trouble the concept of traditional Pakistani culture in this paper, but it must be noted that no culture is fixed or static. And yet there are mainstream discourses regarding gender and sexuality in which Pakistan has a unique configuration due to its complex history as a nation. Throughout the course we cover material that is considered very taboo, from the inclusion of LGBTQ theories and authors, to the open discussion on the immense violence perpetrated on women.
Most men in my course become quite uncomfortable, immediately feeling as if they are being attacked in the course. They complain that the course is too biased, that the women in the course are becoming “too feminist”, and while other women, run away from the term “feminist”. Gender studies challenges the entire belief system by which most of my students have understood their reality. The other issue I address which deeply unsettles many of my students is the control of female sexuality, and in particular theories related to the sexuality of Muslim women. Students have asked of me questions regarding gender and sexuality, which I have found extremely troubling and difficult. There is rampant homophobia, supported by the mainstream culture, along with institutionalized sexism in ways that perhaps people in other parts of the world are not familiar with any longer. Due to the silence around these topics, it is an incredibly complex process to navigate the terrain of sexuality and gender in Karachi. When I find myself struggling to look for an answer, I remember that I do not always have to have one. In those moments, being with my discomfort, and with silence allows me to answer from a place of truth that is deeper than just my mind, or my reaction. And though not all students overcome their biases through taking my course, I am confident that almost all during the course of the semester question why they have anxiety, fear, and even hatred towards the “other”. There is a way between voice and presence where information flows. In disciplined silence it opens. With wandering talk it closes. - Rumi
List of References Dehlvi, S. (2009). Sufism, the Heart of Islam. India: Harpercollins. Freire, P. (1970, 1993). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. Helminski, K. (2000). The Knowing Heart. London: Shambala hooks, b (1994). Teaching to Transgress, Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge. Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammed Rumi (1207-1273 A.D). Guesthouse (translated by Coleman Barks). Retrieved on 28 July 2012 from http://www.gratefulness.org/ poetry/guest_house.htm.
Wrapping up, reflections and notes. In a true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. – Thith Chit Nnang Even though social work teachings had given me a foundation for an anti-oppressive, anti-racist framework, these frameworks remained ideals. Within me I carried incredible rage, discontent, judgment, and a lot of self-pity. The need for approval and being liked motivated most of my actions. It was only through the relationship with my soul and the divine that I was able to channel love into my being, to heal so that I could be helpful to others in a more authentic and genuine way then I had ever been before. Sincerity in effort is the most important ingredient, as a spiritual teacher of mine says. And upon reflecting on everything that has transpired since my dark night, sincerity has been rewarded with greater awareness and access to truth, however difficult that may be at times. Anchored in a practice that prioritizes the health of my internal state, life has become spiritually meaningful rather than barren and bereft.
The intimate connection between the classrooms I am in, and my life outside of it, has started to become very apparent. Sometimes it is from my personal relationships and observations that my teaching is influenced, and many times what transpires in the classrooms, unveils another layer of illusion I was holding on to. It is when we are present in the classroom, engaging our whole attention, and our whole being, that the teacher and the taught together create the teaching (‘eastern’ saying).
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273 A.D). No title (translated by Coleman Barks). Retrieved on 28 July 2012 from http:// peacefulrivers.homestead.com/rumipoetry1.html
“To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. The learning process comes easiest to those of us who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin”(hooks, 1994, p. 13).
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 37
Commodification of Religion Selling Milk in Ramazan: The Case of Olpers Ramazan Advertising 2006 â€“ 2010 Salman Abedin Assistant Professor SZABIST
38 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
ommodification has been defined in Wikipedia as: Commodification (or commoditization) is the transformation of goods and services, as well as ideas or other entities that normally may not be considered goods. Many items have been commodified in todays world, including tourism, religion, and others. In this context, Fealy (2008), talks about there being a virtuous cycle in Indonesia, where religious products are advertised to a base of consumers who are religious, and these ads when consumed by viewers in general, cause an increase in religiosity. Fealy also highlights the two points of view as related to commodification, ie that it is a good thing to sell things in an Islamic way, as this creates a reflected ideal for the consumers, and on the other hand “shallow commercialization of Islam makes people focus on the outward alone (paraphrased)” There have been attempts at selling religious products through mainstream media, these can be anything from selling a particular religion, to selling Islamic finance. However, there is another category of advertising which attempts to sell a secular mundane product through connection with an obvious linkage to a religious symbol. And what can be more symbolic than Ramzan. From 2006 to 2010 Olper’s branded milk was advertised in Ramzan with a special campaign. This was also supported by special packaging made for the occasion. “The idea for the Ramzan Campaign came from the clients’ (Engro Foods Limited) marketing team who felt that Coca-Cola which is an international brand can do it every Ramzan in multiple territories in the world, then why not Olper’s” says Farahnaz Haider, who was the creative director at JWT, the advertising agency which handles the Olper’s advertising business. Coca-Cola is also held responsible for creating one of the most enduring religious symbols, that of Santa Claus in his Red costume. In 1931, Coca-Cola hired an artist Huddon Sundblom who would create painted images of Santa Claus drinking
Coke in winter, and that is where the red costume came about. In Chidester (1996), Coca-Cola as a beverage is discussed as a set of symbols that have an effect on the viewers, and hence has religious significance. And advertising is the way that these set of symbols are spread. ““That advertising may have become ‘the new religion of modem capitalist society,”’ Marshall W Fishwick has recently observed, “has become one of the cliches of our time””.
hensive book, Temporal (2011) covers the Olper’s campaign under the heading of “Using Islamic Emotional Appeal” and talks about the pan-Islamic approach taken in the 2009 advert.
Analysis of Olpers Ads 2006
The Coca Cola bottle has been developed into a sacred object, the brand has been the hero in a film (The Gods must be crazy), and when new coke was launched, there was an almost fanatic backlash as consumers rejected any change in the taste of the product.
Mawlaya Salli Wassalim da-Iman Abadan
Keeping this “sacred aura” in mind, the brand team at Olper’s decided to take on the promotion of Olper’s milk in Ramzan.
The 2006 Olpers Television Commerical opens to Qaseeda Burda Shareef music. Various Slice of Life shots of Pakistan’s cities are shown. Generally very innocuous shots of sehr and iftaar times, are disrupted by a shot of a boy reading the quran on a red carpet, followed by a red truck delivering Olpers Milk. Almost as if prayers are answered. The company has chosen to use models who don’t necessarily look outwardly religious, in order to avoid overly religious people being represented in the ad.
In Maguire and Weatherby (1998), the conclusion that the authors draw is that “religion.. is rarely used to sell products or services on television. Moreover, even when religion is invoked, the connotation is not always conventional, or for that matter positive”. But that is the US, in Pakistan, when Olper’s team changed a famous naat’s content from “Bhardo Jholee Ya Mohammad” (Fill my lap with your blessings O Mohammad), to “Bhardo Jholee Ya Ilahi” (Fill my lap with your blessings O God), they received threatening calls from people, claiming that they would be taken to court for blaspheming the prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
Ala Habi Bika Khairil Khalqi Kullimi O my Lord send peace and blessings upon your Beloved (PBUH) The best of all creations.
Fealy (2008) gives the example of Indonesia where rapid urbanization and modernisation made reverting to religion easy for the population displaced from their traditional rural setting. Fealy concludes that “an Islamic “register” in public discourse is now taken for granted”. Pakistan is similar to Indonesia, even though Indonesia has developed and evolved further in terms of economic development. In detailed examples given in his compreSZABIST Social Sciences Publication 39
Allah or in the eyes of ALLAH.
Qaseeda Burda Shareef music is overlaid in 2007, with a popular nasheed, “bhardo jholi”, but this has a twist. In the traditional format, bhardo jholi ya mohammad is used (fill my lap O Mohammad), however in the one used in the ad, bhardo jholi ya illahi is used (fill my lap O God). This change is an obvious attempt by the brand to avoid controversy, as there are many muslims who believe that prayers can only be directed to God, and not to the prophet. Another interesting fact, is to disrupt any direct religious link, one slice of life that has been used is a very sexual moment between a husband and wife, in which the husband pours milk very suggestively.
“khair hai jid-o-jehd musalasal inda Allah”
2008 In this commercial, Pan Islamism, is introduced, but with Qissa Burda Shareef still in use. In this and future TVCs, Olpers introduced an angle of politics into the commercials, by referencing imagery that plays into Muslims need to connect with a larger identity. Hence, Jerusalem and Kashmir are shown. Again to disrupt the overt religiosity, a father is shown praying with his children, but they are not in a line. The ending is heavily sufiistic, showing the whirling dervishes as a closing element.
2009 “Hum taa-ba-abad, sayi-o taghayyur ke wali hain” we are ever ready partners of effort and good change. “hum Mustafavi Mustafavi Mustafavi hen” we are the followers of prophet Muhammad( s.a.w)” “Deen humara deen mukamal istemaar hai batil-e- arzal indal Allah” your religion is the complete real and colonialism is the eternal evil according to 40 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
the good is in the continuous hard work according or in the eyes of Allah Olpers in this round, takes Pan Islamism to the next level, by using a poem crafted by Jamiluddin Aali for the 1973 Islamic Summit held in Pakistan. This poem has direct reference to colonialism being bad, and positing Islam against colonialism. To ad to the heady mix of visuals and wordings, Atif Aslam, a popular singer in Pakistan, and David Wharnsby, a convert to Islam are shown singing the song. To give it a twist, the visuals that are shown are based around helping hand and the soft side of Islam.
2010 “Hur Lehza hae Momin”. Iqbals poetry is used as the base line in 2010. Kindness is shown as the central theme to show how Muslims all around the world can work together for a common cause. Malaysian children shown running around, using the picture of the modern state to show how a good muslim should be.
Translation: By Syed Akbar Ali Shah A Muslim true gets grandeur new with moment’s change and every hour By words and deeds he gives a proof Of Mighty God, His reach and power. To rout the foes, to grant them reprieve, Do pious deeds and show great might Are four ingredients that make A Muslim Devout who shuns not fight. With Gabriel trusted and steadfast This clay-born man has kinship close A dwelling in some land or clime For himself Muslim never chose. This secret yet none has grasped That Muslim Scripture reads so sweet Practicing rules by it prescribed, Becomes its pattern quite complete. The Faithful acts on aims and ends That Nature keeps before its sight In world he sifts the good and bad, In future shall judge wrong and right. While dealing with friends and mates, He is dew that thirst of tulip slakes: When engaged with his foes in fight, Like torrent strong makes rivers shake. The charm of Nature’s eternal song In Muslim’s life, no doubt is found Like chapter Rahman of the Koran, Is full of sweet melodious sound. Such thoughts that shine like lustrous stars My brain, like workshop, can provide You can select the star you like, So that your Fate this star may guide
Analysis of Special Packaging that was developed for Ramzan:
The common elements in the packs over the years is the overt religious imagery through the use of arches, and design patterns from tile work. These Limited Edition Packs played well with the concept of ramzan being a special month where special things can happen. Even while retaining the overt Islamic patterns, the red brand colours were never let go.
Discussion on Ethics of Olper’s Ramzan Television: Even though a deft touch is evident in the commercials as a whole, there are issues that crop up when we look at the juxtaposition of strong Muslim lyrics of naat and qawali posited over what are essentially secular or mildly religious imagery. However, no code of advertising has been broken and its actually well within any problem area. In Maguire Weatherby (1998), the authors identify five reasons why advertisers in the US may shy away from using religion in advertising: 1. It could be that advertisers think that religion has become largely irrelevant to everyday life. 2. “separation of church and state.” Segregating the sacred and the secular is an historical practice in American social life. 3. Perhaps advertisers are reluctant to highlight religious content in their
commercials because religion is not considered dramatic enough to capture or hold the attention of viewers.
Bibliography: 1. How Coca-Cola helped shape the modernday Santa, eatocracy, CNN blog, Dec 15th,
4. A marketplace desire to maximize the match between message and audience….Speaking more generally, the television audience most attuned to religious content tends to be older than average (Wuthnow 1989: 138-139).
2011. 2. The Church of Baseball, the Fetish of CocaCola, and the Potlatch of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Theoretical Models for the Study of Religion in American Popular CultureAuthor(s): David Chidester. Journal of the American Academy of Religion,
5. Advertisers might refrain from using religion because they ate worried that the “commodification” of religion might offend viewers. Those who hold positive and strong religious convictions might object to the use of religion as a sales gimmick.
Vol. 64, No. 4, Thematic Issue on”Religion and
Out of these five issues, the first 2 are not relevant to Pakistan. Item 3, is certainly not relevant in the case of Ramzan and Pakistani Muslims who take Ramzan very seriously. Number 4 is not valid because research from JWT shows that youth are also progressive conservatives and have strong beliefs about religion. Point 5 is probably one of the reasons why the ads were pulled after a run of 5 years. Pakistan is a deeply divided society and as was shown by the change in the Bhardo Jholi naat, any religious item can be misconstrued by some segment or another.
4. Consuming Islam: Commodified Religion and
American Popular Culture” (Winter, 1996), pp. 743-765 3. The Secularization of Religion and Television Commercials, Brendan Maguire, Ann Weatherby. Sociology of Religon, I998, 59:2 171-178
Aspirational Pietism in Contemporary Indonesia, Greg Fealy. Chapter 2 from: Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia. Edited by Greg Fealy and Sally White, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 2008 5. Marketing to Muslims: Opportunities Unseen, JWT and AMRB, October 2008 6. Advertisers Seek to Speak to Muslim Consumers, LIZ GOOCH, New York Times, August 11, 2010 7. Islamic Branding and Marketing, Creating a Global Islamic Business, Paul Temporal, John Wiley and Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2011.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 41
The importance of social sciences How students can become good social scientists? Faiz Rasool Faculty SZABIST
42 SZABIST Social Sciences Publication
he social life of individuals living in the 21st century is remarkably different from the lives of individuals who lived before the beginning of industrial revolution. Most of the changes that have occurred in human societies and in the social relationships of individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions in the modern era are a consequence of advances in technology. Widespread access to Internet, cellular phones, and computers, invention of rapid means for transportation, progress in the field of health and medicine, emergence of multinational organizations, are few characteristics of contemporary societies which make them different to societies that existed before the industrial age. A widely accepted opinion is that all the progress in modern societies has been possible because of the advancement in the disciplines of natural and biological sciences. The crucial role of social sciences in progress of societies is often neglected. Social sciences such as Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, play an equally important role in stability and growth of any society. In this short piece, I shall talk about the potential of social sciences to make a significant contribution in the development of Pakistan. I shall also highlight the role that social sciences can play in finding solutions to the major social problems in our society. Terrorism, poverty, food insecurity, climate change, water scarcity, discrimination, high rate of illiteracy, growing mental health problems, and access to good healthcare are few social problems in Pakistan. Clearly, these problems cannot be solved without the due role of social sciences. The global community has been a part of war against terrorism for a decade now, yet the use of military force and modern surveillance methods are not successful in eradicating terrorism. This clearly demonstrates that without understanding the social and cultural roots of any social problem, we cannot hope to solve it. Water scarcity and climate change are two other examples where social sciences have the most important role to play.
Scientists can develop carbon neutral cars and water efficient devices, but they can be only useful if individuals start to use them. What can motivate individuals to adopt environmentally friendly products? Is a question that can only be answered using social sciences. There have been many policies that have failed because the input of social scientists was not taken in designing the policy. Establishing a university for females in an area where the culture does not permit female education can be an example of bad policy decisions. Until steps based on social scientists feedback are not taken to induce an attitude shift, establishing a university will not increase female literacy. It is slightly unfortunate that to date social scientists have not been able to contribute as much as they should and could have in tackling the social issues existing in our society. Lack of monetary aid, an overemphasis on Western textbooks and theoretical models, lack of a strong research culture, and lack of potential employers are some reasons that can explain the disappointing role of social scientists in the contributions made by academia to Pakistani society. The good news is, we all can play our small yet highly significant roles in improving social sciences’ contribution in the progress of our country. Following are some steps that every social sciences’ student can take to play his or her role. Be a part of a strong research culture. Research is the only way for finding answers of the questions posed by social problems. All students should take the research they do at graduate and postgraduate level very seriously. The research report should not be construed as a mean for getting a good grade; rather it should be taken as an opportunity to improve oneself. Be a reader of social science literature. Once my teacher told me, if you want to be a leader, then, become a reader. I cannot thank him enough for this simple yet profound suggestion. Each generation learns from the experiences and errors of the prior generations. Reading about the work of social scientists, about the research ca-
rried out on various topics, we can learn and practice what we have learned in our studies and at our jobs as well. In other words, by being a good reader as a social scientist you are preventing yourself from reinventing the wheel, and you are giving yourself a best chance to use the wheel to your full advantage. You are preventing yourself from making the errors others have made in the past; you are not exploring the answers of questions that have already been answered. Lastly, share research. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is about time that the quality of locally produce research is improved, the number of publications by Pakistani scholar’s increase, the efficacy of Western models for making sense of social world for Pakistani society is assessed, and Pakistani thinkers propose theories and models for solving the problems faced by Pakistan. If you are thinking, who would do this? Well, the answer is simple. You would do this. Yes, as a student of social sciences you are as responsible as others are for making sure that social sickness do what they are capable of doing for our country. Let’s hope, believe, and do what we can do to make Pakistan a country known for its social scientists and not known as a country where problems such as terrorism, poverty, discrimination, injustice are rampant.
SZABIST Social Sciences Publication 43