جنسی تعلیم اور ہمارے دوغلے رویے

sex-educationhttps://www.dawnnews.tv/news/1053191

گزشتہ دنوں کا ذکر ہے، میرا 14 سالہ بیٹا میرے ساتھ بیٹھا ٹی وی دیکھ رہا تھا۔ جب ٹی وی پر خاندانی منصوبہ بندی سے متعلق اشتہار چلا تو میں نے عادتاً چینل تبدیل کر دیا۔ اس نے بھی قصداً یوں ظاہر کیا جیسے کچھ دیکھا نہ ہو۔

کچھ دنوں بعد ایسا ہی ایک واقعہ اس وقت پیش آیا جب میری آٹھ سالہ بیٹی نے خواتین کے سینیٹری پیڈز کا اشتہار دیکھنے کے بعد معصومیت سے پوچھا، “امی یہ کس چیز کا اشتہار ہے۔” ساری لڑکیاں کیوں کلاس میں خوشی سے گا رہی ہیں۔ اس سے پہلے کہ میں کوئی جواب دیتی، میری والدہ نے بات بنائی، “فضول سوال نہیں کرتے، چپ کر کے اپنا پروگرام دیکھو۔”

جس معاشرے کے ہم پروردہ ہیں، وہاں جنس، بلوغت اور اس سے متعلق آگاہی دینا معیوب بات سمجھی جاتی ہے۔ تعلیمی اداروں میں بچوں اور نوجوان نسل کو ان کے جسم میں رونما ہونے والی فطری تبدیلیوں کے بارے میں بتدریج درست معلومات دینا تو کجا، ہم تو اپنے گھر اور خاندان میں بھی ان بنیادی موضوعات پر بات کرنے سے کتراتے ہیں۔

جب بچے بلوغت کی عمر کو پہنچتے ہیں اور ان کے جسم کے اندر مختلف تبدیلیاں رونما ہوتی ہیں تو اس حوالے سے تجسس پیدا ہونا فطری عمل ہے۔ ایسے میں والدین کا دقیانوسی رویہ، روایتی اساتذہ اور نصاب، بچوں کے اس تجسس کو مزید ہوا دیتے ہیں۔

پڑھیے: ‘فحاشی کے خلاف ‘جنگ

ایسے میں زیادہ تر بچے غیر معیاری مواد، عریاں فلموں اور فحش ویڈیوز کی طرف مائل ہوتے ہیں اور مزید ذہنی خلفشار اور جذباتی ہیجان کا شکار ہو جاتے ہیں۔ اس حوالے سے جب نوجوانوں سے بات ہوئی تو دلچسپ انکشافات سامنے آئے۔

30 سالہ ٭صائمہ نے بتایا کہ لڑکپن سے پھوپھی امی نے یہ خوف دل میں بٹھا دیا تھا کہ اچھی لڑکیاں فضول سوال نہیں کرتیں، پس ان کی ہدایت کے مطابق میں ہر لمس، ہر انس سے شاکی رہتی۔ اس فوبیا کی وجہ اماں کی مبہم ہدایت بھی تھی کہ باحیا لڑکیاں کسی کو پاس پھٹکنے نہیں دیتیں ورنہ سزا کے طور پر بچہ پالنا پڑتا ہے۔

اس فوبیا کی شکار صائمہ کی خانگی زندگی بری طرح متاثر ہوئی اور وہ آج تک اپنے شوہر کے ساتھ ایک خوشگوار ازدواجی رشتہ استوار نہ کر سکیں، البتہ وہ اپنے بچوں کو اس حوالے سے بہتر اور حقیقت پسندانہ تعلیم دینے کی خواہاں ہیں تاکہ ان کے بچے ایک نارمل زندگی گزار سکیں۔

28 سالہ ٭سمیر کے اس حوالے سے تجربات مزید تلخ ہیں۔ والد کی بے جا سختی، اور والدہ کی پردہ پوشی نے انہیں باغی اور گھر سے دور کر دیا۔ اوباش دوستوں کی صحبت میں سمیر نے خوشی اور تسکین کی تلاش میں محلوں اور بازاروں کا رخ کیا اور جسمانی طاقت کے لیے مقوی ادویات کا۔ آج ایک مقامی ہسپتال میں ایڈز میں مبتلا وہ اپنی زندگی کی جنگ لڑ رہے ہیں اور اپنے والدین کو اپنی اور اپنے جیسے دیگر نوجوانوں کی تباہی کا ذمہ دار سمجھتے ہیں۔

انٹرنیٹ اور موبائل کے اس دور میں جب ہمارے نوجوان ایک انگلی کی جنبش پر دنیا سے جڑے ہیں اور ہر قسم کے گرے اور بلیو لٹریچر تک بلا امتیاز رسائی رکھتے ہیں، ہم اسی بحث میں الجھے ہوئے ہیں کہ آیا اپنے بچوں کو بلوغت اور جنس سے متعلق تعلیم دی جائے یا نہیں، یا انہیں محض وقت اور زمانے کے رحم و کرم پر چھوڑ دیا جائے۔

گزشتہ دنوں ایک مقامی چینل پر مارننگ شو میں ایک معروف اینکر کی معیت میں دو مولوی حضرات اس بات پر نوحہ کناں تھے کہ چھٹی اور ساتویں جماعتوں کی سائنسی درسی کتب میں نظام تولید، اعضائے تولید اور جنس سے متعلق اسباق شامل ہیں جو سراسر آئین اور نظریہء پاکستان کی توہین اور فحاشی پھیلانے کے مترادف ہے۔

پڑھیے: مدد کی طلب

یہاں بحث یہ تو ہو سکتی ہے کہ یہ تعلیم بچوں اور نوجوانوں کو کس عمر میں، کس زبان میں، کہاں اور کیسے دی جائے، ان میں کن اخلاقی، لغوی اور تہذیبی پیچیدگیوں کا خیال رکھا جائے، لیکن اس بات پر کوئی دو رائے نہیں کہ جنسی صحت اور بلوغت سے متعلق بروقت اور مکمل آگاہی بچوں اور نوجوانوں کو باشعور اور محتاط بناتی ہے اور بے راہ روی سے دور رکھتی ہے۔ اس میں نظریہءِ پاکستان کی خلاف ورزی کہاں ہے؟

جب بھی یہ نکتہ اٹھایا جاتا ہے تو ہمارے ہاں قدامت پسند طبقے کو پرانے زمانے کی ‘اخلاقی اقدار’ یاد آ جاتی ہیں کہ کس طرح گھر میں ان مسائل پر بات چیت کرنا نہایت معیوب سمجھا جاتا تھا۔ مگر قدامت پسند افراد یہ بھول جاتے ہیں کہ اس زمانے میں ان چیزوں پر بات بھلے نہ کی جاتی ہو مگر بارہ تیرہ سال کے بچوں اور بچیوں کی شادی کروا کر انہیں براہِ راست عملی زندگی میں ضرور دھکیل دیا جاتا تھا۔ کیا بچوں سے ان کی بلوغت اور اس سے متعلقہ مسائل و نکات پر بات کرنا نابالغ بچوں کی شادی کروا دینے سے بھی زیادہ غلط کام ہے؟

ستم تو یہ ہے کہ شادی کے موقع پر لاکھوں روپے محض نمود و نمائش اور دکھاوے پر خرچ کیے جاتے ہیں، لیکن اس تمام تر اہتمام میں ازدواجی رشتے میں بندھنے والے جوڑے کی آگاہی اور شعوری تعلیم محض کتابی مفروضوں، فلمی قصوں اور دوستوں کے ناقص مشوروں تک محدود ہوتی ہے۔

نتیجہ یہ نکلتا ہے کہ اکژ شادی شدہ جوڑے ابتدا ہی سے بے جا توقعات کے باعث جذباتی ناآسودگی اور خلفشار کا شکار رہتے ہیں اور ایک دیرپا رشتہ استوار نہیں کر پاتے۔

جن لوگوں کو اس تعلیم و آگہی میں حیا باختگی نظر آتی ہے، کیا وہ انسان نہیں ہیں یا اعضائے تولید و جنسی مسائل سے ان کا کبھی واسطہ نہیں پڑا؟ آخر ایسا کیوں ہے کہ ہم اپنے بچوں کو سگریٹ اور شراب کے نقصانات بیماریوں کے نام لے لے کر گنواتے ہیں تاکہ وہ ان سے باز رہیں، مگر جنسی مسائل کی بات آتے ہی سب کو سانپ سونگھ جاتا ہے۔

پوچھا جانا چاہیے کہ کیا بچوں کو سگریٹ کے نقصانات بتانے سے بچے نشے کی لت میں مبتلا ہوجاتے ہیں یا نہ بتائے جانے سے؟ عقل تو یہ کہتی ہے کہ نہ بتانے سے۔ تو یہی کلیہ جنسی مسائل کی تعلیم پر بھی لاگو ہوتا ہے۔

غرض یہ کہ بحیثیت معاشرہ ہم نے بہت سے دیگر معاملات کی طرح، جنس، بلوغت اور انسانی تخلیق سے متعلق اہم اور فطری موضوعات کو بھی اپنی قدامت پسندی اور لاعلمیت کی وجہ سے شجرِ ممنوعہ قرار دے دیا ہے اور اس حوالے سے مکالمے کو فحش، تعلیم کو غیر ضروری اور جبلی تجسس کو گناہ کا نام دے کر اس کے جملہ حقوق اشتہاری، بازاری اور مذہبی ٹھیکیداروں کو دے دیے۔ نتیجہ ہمارے سامنے ہے۔


*شناخت کے تحفظ کے لیے نام تبدیل کر دیے گئے ہیں۔

ارم حفیظ نجی تعلیمی ادارے میں اسسٹنٹ پروفیسر ہیں۔

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دبئی چلو: پاکستان سے ہجرت انتخاب یا مجبوری ارم حفیظ

ایک زمانہ تھا جب “چلو چلو دبئی چلو!” کے نعرے نے بڑی مقبولیت پائی۔ جسے دیکھو بقچہ اٹھائے، ملک خداداد سے نالاں، قسمت سنوارنے ، زندگی بنانے دبئی، متحدہ عرب امارات اورسعودی عرب کا رخ کرتا تھا۔

وقت کا پہیہ گھوما ،زمانے نے کروٹ لی، انسانی تخیل کی پرواز نے لمبی اڑان بھری اور پاکستانیوں کی ایک بڑی تعداد امریکا، کینیڈا، آسٹریلیا، نیوزی لینڈ اور انگلینڈ، عرفِ عام میں ‘ولایت’ کا رخ کرنے لگی۔

بچپن میں ایک سہیلی تھی، تین بہنوں میں سب سے چھوٹی۔ من موہنی صورت والی۔ اس کے ابا پڑھنے ولایت گئے اور ایسے گئے کہ کبھی واپس نہ پلٹے۔ پر اب تو معاملہ ہی دوسرا ہے۔ ہجرت شوق نہیں مجبوری بن گئی ہے۔ گو دیس کے مقابلے میں پردیس میں زندگی خار زار ہے، نہ نوکریاں آسانیاں سے ملتی ہیں، نہ گھر پر نوکر چاکر کا سکھ نصیب ہوتا ہے، کیسے کیسے وہاں جا کر ایسے ویسے بن جاتے ہیں۔ غرض یہ کہ نئے سرے سے نئے ملک کے رواج کے مطابق تعلیم حاصل کرنا اور ہنر سیکھنا ہر ایک کے بس کی بات نہیں ہے۔

پڑھیے: کیا بنگلہ دیشی پاکستانیوں سے آگے نکل گئے ہیں؟

ان ترقی یافتہ ممالک میں رنگ و نسل اور عمر و ہنر کے حساب سے مقابلہ ہمہ و قت سخت اور وقت کم رہتا ہے۔ یہی معاملہ بینکار رضا اور ان کی اہلیہ کے ساتھ ہوا، جو ایک پرتعیش زندگی گزارنے کے باوجود پاکستان کے سیاسی او ر معاشرتی حالات سے نالاں ہو کر اپنے بچوں سمیت آسٹریلیا منتقل ہوگئے اور دو سال گزرنے کے باوجود اب تک نہ تو اپنے شعبے میں نوکری حاصل کر پائے، نہ وہ پر سکون زندگی جس کے خواب انہوں نے ملک میں دیکھے تھے۔ لیکن اپنی تمام تر قربانیوں اور تکالیف کو وہ اپنے بچوں کے روشن مستقبل کا صدقہ سمجھ کر بخوشی سہہ رہے ہیں۔

35 سالہ ماہر نفسیات عمارہ نے حال ہی میں کینیڈا کے راستے کھلنے پر اپنی زندگی نئے سرے سے شروع کرنے کی ٹھانی اور اس دور دراز برفیلے دیس میں جا کر بس گئیں جہاں انہیں کچھ اور ملے نہ ملے بحیثیت ایک غیر شادی شدہ خاتون، معاشرتی دباؤ اور خاندان کے بے جا طعنوں سے نجات ضرور مل گئی ہے۔

حکومت پاکستان کے جنوری 2016 میں کیے گئے حالیہ سروے کے مطابق، قریباً 7.8 ملین پاکستانی بیرون ملک مقیم ہیں جو کہ ملک کی آبادی کا اوسطاً 4 فیصد بنتا ہے۔ ان بیرون ملک پاکستانیوں میں سے ایک بڑی تعداد مشرق وسطیٰ میں رہائش پذیر ہے۔ ایک محتاط اندازے کے مطابق سال 1971 سے 2015 کے درمیان تقریباً 80 لاکھ پاکستانیوں نے قریباً پچاس کے قریب ممالک میں رخت سفرباندھا جن میں سرِفہرست سعودی عرب، متحدہ عرب عمارات، بحرین، کویت، عمان، قطر، برطانیہ، امریکا اور کینیڈا ہیں۔

نائمہ علی 40 برس کی ہیں۔ ایک ممتاز پاکستانی بینک کی اعلیٰ نوکری چھوڑ کر وہ حال ہی میں اپنے خاندان کے ساتھ امریکا جا بسیں۔ وجہ جاننے پر یوں گویا ہوئیں “امریکہ میںِ زندگی قدرے محفوظ اور بچوں کا مستقبل روشن ہے۔ ان کے پاس کام کرنے اور تعلیم کے ان گنت مواقع موجود ہیں جو کہ میری ہجرت کا اصل مقصد ہے۔”

پڑھیے: تارکینِ وطن کب تک ‘خود غرض’ کہلائیں گے

تاحال نائمہ ایک انڈین ہوٹل میں کام کر رہی ہیں اور اکثر اپنے خاندان، خصوصاً ماسی کو یاد کرکے روتی ہیں۔ تاہم ان کے نزدیک زندگی سے بڑھ کر کچھ نہیں۔ علی جو کہ نائمہ کے شوہر ہیں، ان کے لیے یہ فیصلہ نسبتاً اور بھی مشکل تھا۔ خصوصاً اس تناظر میں کہ وہ پاکستان میں ایک نجی ادارے میں آئی ٹی ہیڈ کی حیثیت سے عمدہ مراعات حاصل کر رہے تھے اور اب امریکا میں سیکورٹی گارڈ کے طور پر روزگار کمانے میں مصروف ہیں۔ عمیر کے بقول ہجرت کی کڑوی گولی اپنے ملک میں فرقہ وارانہ تعصب اور ٹارگٹ کلنگ کی کی وجہ سے نگلنی پڑی جس کا شکار ان کے اپنے بھائی اور کزن ہو چکے ہیں۔

سچ تو یہ ہے کہ کو ئی بھی شخص اپنا گھر، ملک اور خاند ان چھوڑنا نہیں چاہتا لیکن جب وطن میں رہنے کی قیمت عدم تحفظ اور ہمہ وقت خوف کی صورت میں دینی پڑے، جب اپنے ہی دیس میں آپ کو رنگ، نسل، فرقے، مذہب، مسلک اورزبان کے نام پر غیر کر دیا جائے اور مختلف مکتبہ فکر سے تعلق رکھنے کی پاداش میں آپ کو جان کے لالے پڑ جائیں تو ایسے میں اپنے پیاروں کی خاطر رخت سفر باندھنا ہی پڑتا ہے۔

اقوام متحدہ کی رپورٹ کے مطابق، پاکستان تارکین وطن کی تعداد کے اعتبار سے دنیا میں چھٹے نمبر پر ہیں۔ بیرون ملک مقیم پاکستانیوں کی بہبود سے متعلق شعبے کے 2016 کے اعداد و شمار بتاتے ہیں کہ گزشتہ ایک سال میں ملک چھوڑنے والے پاکستانیوں کی تعداد میں 20 فیصد اضافہ دیکھنے میں آیا ہے۔ سال 2015 میں تقریباً دس لاکھ پاکستانیوں نے تلاش معاش کے غرض سے ملک سے ہجرت کی ۔ ان پاکستانیوں میں ایک بڑی تعداد اعلیٰ تعلیم یافتہ، ہنرمند افراد کی تھی جنکی تعدادایک اندازہ کے مطابق سالانہ 40 سے 50 ہزار کے قریب ہے۔

پڑھیے: یورپ کی میٹھی جیل

ماہرین کا کہنا ہے کہ لوگ اکثر بہتر روزگار کے مواقع اور معاشی آسودگی کے لیے دیار غیر کی راہ اختیار کرتے ہیں اوردربدری کی صعوبتیں ایک پرسکون اور روشن مستقبل کی چاہ میں اٹھاتے ہیں۔

اس حوالے سے بحرین میں مقیم ابصار کا کہنا ہے کہ پاکستانی نو جوانوں کی ساری زندگی روٹی، کپڑا اور مکان کی تگ ودومیں گزر جاتی ہے۔ زندگی کی بنیادی ضروریات کی عدم موجودگی میں اعلٰی مقصد حیات کی کو شش خیال خام لگتا ہے۔ جبکہ بیرون ملک معمولی نوکریاں کر کے بھی فرد واحد اپنی اور اپنے اہل خانہ کی باعزت طریقے سے کفالت کر سکتا ہے۔ ان ممالک میں ایک عام آدمی کو علاج معالجے اورتعلیم کی وہ سہولیات حاصل ہیں جو ہمارے یہاں محض امرا ء کے لیے مخصوص ہیں۔

ایسے میں اپنے وطن، اپنے پاکستان میں معاشی اورمعاشرتی انصاف کے ساتھ ایک پر سکون اور آسودہ زندگی کی خواہش ہر تارک وطن کے دل میں بستی ہے اور وہ سوچتا ہے کہ کبھی تو وہ دن آئے گا جب وہ اپنے گھر پورے یقین کے ساتھ لوٹے گا۔

تادم تحریر تو یہ آس دیوانے کا خواب معلوم ہوتا ہے جس کے پورے ہونے کی مو جودہ ملکی پس منظر میں کوئی صورت نظر نہیں آتی۔


ارم حفیظ نجی تعلیمی ادارے میں اسسٹنٹ پروفیسر ہیں۔

RIZ10 گھنٹے پہلے

her watan chor kar janae wala wapsi ke raste khule rakh kar jata hai,, magar wapsi shazo nadir hi hoti hai.. bahar ka lifestyle wapis apne mulk main adjust hone nahi deta,, taleemyafta log merit aur opportunities ka na hone ki wajah se bahar ka rukh karte hain,,

ذوالفقار9 گھنٹے پہلے

آپ افریقہ بھول گئی ہیں یہاں یورپ سے زیادہ لوگ بستے ہیں

AZMI BILGRAMI8 گھنٹے پہلے

Bilkul baja farmaya apny jab apny dais mn app ko kabhi zaban ki aur kabhi mazhab ki bunyaad p mardia jai to eisi condition mn pardais hi acha lagta hy

RIZWAN SABRI6 گھنٹے پہلے

yehi log hein jo watan ki badnami ka sabab bantay hain khatray to sab logon ko hein ,in ko pata nahi kia marz hay , ab pakistani wapis aarahay hein aur yeh parhay likhay befaqoof bacho k future k naam pey bahir jarahay hein pakisatn aur europe mein koi elaida khuda to nahi jo pakistan mein kuchh nahi kar saktay wo bahir kia karain gaay

KHAN5 گھنٹے پہلے

السلام علیکم: اللہ ہمارے وطن کو گل وگلزار کردے تاکہ ہمارے پیارے اس کو چھوڑ کر پردیس میں دربدر نہ ہوں، آمین۔ خیرخواہ

AMJAD IQBAL5 گھنٹے پہلے

Dear Ms. Aram, i like your blog but me khod Oman me ik achi compney me job karta ho, me 2012 me graduate howa ta, or 2015 tak menay bohot jaga per apply keya pakistan me laken koi response nai mela, har jaga per Pakistan me serf sefaresh ki zaroorat hoti hai, warna kon apna mulk chor k jata hai, apna family apna dost apni jaga, pora ka pora bachban jaha guzara ho waha sa agar koi khoshi sa jana chahta hai tu os insan ko agar bahadur kaha jai tu ghalat nai ho ga, mane yaha bohot sa log dake hai, jis k sat zeyate tu hoti hai na wo apna gar ja sakhta hai na yaha per sokoon sa hotay hai, 40 sa 50 degree me kam karta hai, or salary milna par gar baj detay hai, tu labour ko kuch be nai milta. me samjta ho k ye sare ghalti hamree khod hai ham na apna oper jo hukumran musalat keya hai tu hamara sat hona be yahe chaheya, ye kuch family hai jo sare pakistan pe hukumrani karta hai, pher be log vote de rahe hai, or na to army wale kuch kahta hai na koi Intelgence wale, sab dokay me hai pakistan me

Expo Center, Ideas 2014 and the Plight of Karachiites

Traffic-Jam-in-Karachi-due-to-Ideas-2014-Watch-this-Video-3729

Prime minister Nawaz Sharif inauguarated the Exhibition, IDEAS 2014 in Karachi


We were six faculty members in our coaster, all stuck in the traffic jam at the University road for more than three hours amidst the sea of vehicles before we finally reached our destination, too late and exhausted to teach our students and decided to reschedule all morning classes for the week. In fact we were not the only ones who suffered, there were hundreds and thousands of Karachiites including students, professionals, businessmen and commoners; all men and women, young and old, healthy and sick, residents and tourists; who were unable to reach their workplaces, educational institutions and businesses from Dec 1 to 4, thanks to IDEAS 2014, the 8th biennial International Defence Exhibition and Seminar held at the Karachi Expo Center under strict security and VIP protocol.

Karachi-traffic-police

Karachiites suffered from worst traffic jams on the weekdays throughout the first week of December due to IDEAs 2014 and blockage of University Road for fool-proof security

Being a resident of Karachi, I have no status to say anything against the high-profile international conference branded with the baffling catchphrase `Arms for Peace’, and attracted as many as 88 delegations of 47 countries from across the world. Considering the serious security concerns and the sensitivity of the exhibits, organizers expectedly blocked the main university road, stadium road and other adjacent routes with containers throughout the four weekdays for the smooth execution of the event.
But what I can voice about is the plight of Karachiites. I am just wondering if our authorities; traffic police, local government and IDEAs’ organizers ever realized and concerned about how they contributed to make our lives more miserable. For the entire week, studies in universities, schools and colleges were badly affected so much so that we had to arrange make-up classes and exams. People were unable to catch their flights, reach their appointments and hospitals, fulfill their commitments and do their businesses and work in routine due to worst traffic jam and closure of commercial areas opposite to expo center and nearby localities because of the VVIP movement related to the event.

Though the alternative routes were identified for public convenience in some newspapers and one could also witness an increasing presence of traffic police on the roads of Karachi, nothing worked to manage the nilofer of the City Traffic in peak hours. Public anguish and anxiety were no one’s concern, but if Ideas 2014 is aiming to project Pakistan as a powerful, progressive state to the outside world, we must equally ensure in-house peace and solidarity.

As commoners, we have no choice but to give a humble suggestion to the concerned authorities and organizers since we can’t sue them for the damage they made to our lives. May we request next time, when arranged IDEAS 2015, kindly consider the safe havens such as headquarters of armed forces. Or else shift the Expo Center to a relatively remote location outside the city in order to avoid another traffic jam during such exhibitions which do no good to Karachiite but aggravate their plight

Once bitten, twice bold…DO WE LOVE ONLY ONCE IN LIFE?

Dinner

Dinner (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

 

 

 

 A bud bloomed in spring. Fresh breeze caressed it softly and each stroke flourished it naturally. It was tender and pure just like a teenager who feels love for the first time and takes every praising eye and flattering remark as a gesture of affection. This feeling never lasts for long and a gust of circumstances withers away childhood dreams very roughly. Time passes by but leaves its marks behind and a teenager turns into a promising youth who wants to adore and be adored ideally. Now he/she combats with reality. The ideal of an unconditional love is knocked out by worldly considerations and social constraints. Looks, money, status, and background suddenly become more important and lover is chosen like a car or an outfit that must suit and reflect your class.By the time a youngster reaches the age of marriage, he/she is expected to forget all past `mistakes’ and fall in love with his/her soul mate. While men in the east often feel free talking about their previous love cum hunts with pride, women are likely to bury it deep inside as it’s considered a stigma for them.  In marital life too, responsibilities soon replace love and turn it into a routine.It seems that throughout our lives, we desperately seek for true love and develop many relations; material, human and spiritual to satisfy the urge. But very few of us hardly ever get it.

It happens at least once in everyone’s life. You meet someone somewhere who causes your heart miss a beat and makes the person more important for you than rest of the universe. People call it LOVE. Ideologists explain it as a strong feeling of caring about someone that gives you an immense pleasure. Cynics identify it as a folly of mind while for lovers it is the power that makes the world go, not round but wild.

The conviction that we are loved is perhaps the supreme happiness in our lives, which often turns into a tragedy afterwards. But do we experience this feeling only once in lifetime?” Is it true that we fall in love only once; rest is just our deliberate attempts to forget the first love? Or, on the contrary, cupid can cast its spell over an individual more than once. If it is not the case, how anarkali’s deewana sheikhu could replace the memories of his beloved courtesan with the company of petite Noorjehan.How come more than ninety-five percent people could happily tie a knot, after being knocked out in romantic quest. And how so many heartbroken youngsters find an excuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fresh zeal every year.

First love, no doubt, is the most beautiful thing that happens to anyone. Just recall your first fall, you might not remember anything but pure madness that keeps you above from all worldly considerations. Purity and perplexity are the real beauty of first affair. Initially an aficionado creates hundred of excuses for having a glimpse of his sweetheart, then become completely dumb or in some cases turns into a chatterbox in front of his beloved. Whether it’s a first sight love or a fore sight incidence, it arises such tender sentiments that transform an ordinary person into a poet, writer, singer or an artist at some point of life.

However, first love is often destined to die before it flourishes and leaves its victims in the world of despair and gloom where they shed tears on sad filmy songs and ghazals while save the memories of their beloved in diaries with faded flowers. But it doesn’t take them long to come out of this trauma and meet other nice people around them. So life goes on like this. If first love is irreplaceable, second is almost a reflex action — a desperate attempt to fill the gap created by the first one. Dejected souls badly need a companion to share their feelings and raise their shattered self-esteem with acceptance and emotional support.

So in matters of heart, once beaten often becomes twice bold.

Despite the fact that in real life stories, there is no director to help the hero and heroine against zalimsamaj and mischief-makers, most lovebirds like to take their chances on their own. Quite often, neglecting the fact that they neither have Hirthik and Shahrukh’s charm, nor Sonali’s and Aishwaria’s charisma.

Besides, they also have to face the bitter reality that in modern metallic age of romance, no one is fool enough to kick away its fortune just for three hollow words. Nowadays even to qualify the first round of love; girls have to meet the standards of bold and beautiful while boys need to join a gym to appear tall, dark and handsome. Even if they don’t have killer looks, they can apply their credit cards, cars and contacts to cost the hearts that are no more priceless.

Today’s cable crazy generation has seen and heard so much rubbish about media generated romance that its thoughts are fully contaminated by bigger than life images. They are unable to differentiate between lust and love. Those who can afford change their sweethearts with fashion, mood and season. They idealise their favourite movie and sport stars and imitate filmy style in their love lives. Most of them truly reflect the saying: ‘tu nahi aur sahi, aur nahi aur sahi’ (if not thou, someone else, if not him/her anyone else)

In their desperation, they frequently have crushes, flings, infatuations and romances. Sometimes deliberately confuse them in hunt of the right person. These pastimes continue until they tie a nuptial knot and some of them like to pursue the practice even after that.

Saima is a career girl in her late twenties. She had several crashes in her teens. She says “I remember only a few in which I was a bit serious. But I realized the actual difference between infatuation and true love the day I met my soul mate. It is total submission to someone you love unconditionally and wants to spend your entire life with.”

Anees, a computer engineer, had a bitter experience in matters of heart. Two girls came in his life and both deserted him subsequently. One for an American based cousin, another for the sake of her family pride.  He believes that there is no regard for love in this materialistic age. Modern generation takes it as a fashion. They flirt around pretty faces, rich and handsome guys just for fun and walk out when they get bored.

However, it doesn’t mean that true love has completely vanished away from the earth. Even today, Majnoos become mad after their Lailas, Farhads dig around to get money for their Shireens. Queens leave thrones and Zubeidaas crashed to death for eternal union.

However, no one can exactly define true love, as everyone perceives it through its own spectacles of experience. But one thing is sure; we can learn to love and be loved only by loving. Whether you call it a hearty matter or a brainy affair, it can affect us anytime in our lives, not necessarily once. There might be several pictures in the heart gallery of a person, some clear, some vague, some sweet, and some bitter but each leaves its impression on us and that is the beauty of love.

Author: Bagande

Author: Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDUCATION IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS; MISSION OR BUSINESS

Quality education is the key concern of most parents who seek a bright future for their children. But is it easy to find the right kind of school and enlighten your child with quality learning facilities in the current commercialized educational scenario…the answer is simple straight NO.

Dr Anisa has two little children. Both are studying in junior classes in a reputable private school. She pays twenty thousands in terms of their school fees every alternative month.

The expenses of course books, uniform and other accessories in the beginning of the term are additional which range from five to seven thousand per child. She and her husband both are working to give their children the best possible education, but they are of opinion that private schools are not giving due facilities such as proper play grounds, libraries, computer labs etc., in return to high fees.

The admission fee in private school is exorbitant. Mrs.Rakshina, a housewife, enunciates. “I have three children and I had to pay sixty to ninety thousands for the admission of every child. My husband is working at an executive post in a bank and every month half of his salary goes in the school fees.  I wonder how a middle class family can afford to educate its children in a reputable school. She pondered.”

What is concerning is despite providing high class schooling, tuition, transportation and other facilities, parents are generally dissatisfied with the overall educational standard.  Students, too, are uncertain about their aptitudes and potentials. On the other hand, educational authorities are also failed to ensure that they are giving the best breed which can meet the challenges of the modern time.

Most of the parents share that they opt for expensive locality schools due to commuting problems. Considering the uncertain law and order situation in the country and strict admission criteria, many children can’t get admission in convent and missionary schools which are still considered the best. So the only option left is of costly private schools which usually support a network of branches in thickly populated areas.

In any case, these little bungalow schools are considered much better than the Urdu medium nationalized schools working under the government sector. Their core area of superiority is English and so-called `English Medium Environment.’ In country like Pakistan where most white collar jobs demand fluency in English and where majority people can’t speak and write the language correctly, parents willingly pay a high price just for proficiency in the language for better career prospects for their children.

English no more remains only a medium of communication. It has rather become a symbol of education and status in our society. Most parents judge the academic progress of their child by the number of English words he/she speaks in his conversation. I still remember request of a Master’s degree holder father to the English teacher of his son. He pleaded “Please do anything to make my son fluent in English. I don’t want him to suffer the way I suffered due to language barrier.” In fact, the same weakness is exploited in most of the private schools.

However, despite high sounding claims, very few schools are actually providing the environment where a child can learn the language for practical purposes. What is mainly lacking is trained teaching staff, standardized curriculum, extinct reading habits and a favourable environment in schools and at home to practice the language without any hesitation.

Teachers are the backbone of any educational institutions and are considered the barometer of its standard. However, in many private schools there is no criteria for their appointment and placement except financial considerations. The system usually works on the law of supply and demand. Whenever any place is vacant, it is filled with the first available teacher, quite often irrespective of one’s knowledge and aptitude to the relevant subject.  So in private schools one can find that Masters in Science are teaching Geography and History. Graduates in Political Science and Sociology are taking English literature. Even Intermediate students, who are waiting for their results, are hired in private schools on temporary basis since they are willing to work at low/nominal salaries.

Teaching in a private school is regarded as a profession for those who don’t have any other career options. The boys who are looking for respectable white collar jobs, the girls who are waiting for suitable proposals, the spinsters, divorcees and widows who want to earn their living independently and the married women who want to pursue part time careers alongside their household responsibilities, usually opt for teaching in private schools.

However, once they enter into the field, they are tested with all kinds of administrative pressures and tactics. Perhaps the idea is to shatter their enthusiasm for teaching profession. In majority private schools, quantity is considered more important than quality. Usually, workload on teachers is immense and they are assigned a number of subjects and classes at a time. Besides they are expected to assess piles of copies, do planning, perform extra duties and jobs given to them by administration.

In such an environment, there are very few teachers who work by choice. A large majority continues since they have no other alternative. There are many who work just for the sake of their own children since some private schools offer free education for teachers’ children. Nevertheless, an unmotivated, exhausted and inexperienced teacher without proper qualification and training are often unable to do justice with their students – ones who suffer the most.

On the contrary, the teachers of the private schools have a different opinion. They believe that parents and children are equally responsible for the declining standard of education in our society. Mostly parents consider that by admitting their child in an expensive school, they have fulfilled all their responsibilities. They neither have time nor will to check the academic progress of their children. If they have excess of money, they might hire a tutor as well. But in absence of parental attention, it hardly works.

The students in private schools are usually overburdened. They carry huge, heavy bags with numerous books and copies. An excessive knowledge, too many subjects and exam-oriented studies mostly suppress their natural potential and aptitudes.

They have become increasingly lazy and careless too. A large majority of private schools’ students represent the over-pampered lost class that considers teachers their paid employees who can be fired in response to a phone call or complaint by their parents. The sincerity and devotion, respect and love which were once the essence of the student-teacher relationship are missing nowadays.

The commercial aspect and money matters have overshadowed all other values in the educational world. Merit is no more a criterion of success. If you have money, you can get admission in any school, college and university; you can pass the exam and be promoted in next grade regardless of your performance. You can buy even a degree.

 Almost all private schools are working on commercial basis and for them students are the customers who have to be pleased at any cost. They increase fees every year on the pretext of inflation and to justify it, money is spent lavishly on countless useless activities and programmes rather than on real education of children.

Unfortunately, intellect and talent are not sold in any market. So the loopholes of the existing educational system become more obvious when the product of these schools enters into practical field and faces actual competition.

It’s high time for parents, teachers, educationalists and authorities to accept their responsibilities and decide on the type of education they want for their children.

Do they want to produce a money conscious and confused generation with plenty of knowledge, less intellect and reasoning? Or they wish to generate an intelligent race with a clear sense of direction, human values and sheer understanding of the modern world. Accordingly, there is a need for substantial steps to set and implement uniform standards and medium of education all over the country and replace the money making private and pathetic government schools with better educational institutions. The authorities and educated class must take initiatives before education will become a luxury for the common man and the dual educational set up of the country will ultimately collapse. 

  According to an important official in the department of higher secondary private schools the Ordinance of 1962 and Act of 1974, which are applied to private educational institutions, have to be revised and updated. The laws are too weak and vague. There is no legal limitation on the amount of fees.

Any school with more than fifty students has to be officially registered. However, thousands of private schools, including some of the reputable ones, are working in Karachi without any approval . The authorities said that legally they can seal such unofficial schools. But they have neither enough money nor contacts to fight against the private school owners – the big fishes.

In 1989, the directorate took an action against a well-known private school regarding its high fees. The administration was asked to set up a board of directors including the representation of parents and authorities. However, the school took the stay order and ultimately won the case.Today, that  school has one of the biggest set up, running more than 30 branches with around 25,000 students only in Karachi. Such schools that are not even officially registered have their turn over in millions (approx. more than 50 million per month).

The officials agree that the contribution and importance of private schools can’t be denied. They fill the gap created due to the nationalization of many schools in the seventies and the resultant decline in their standard under government sector. They do spend a little money on its students, follow the foreign books and pay good salaries to their teachers.However, due to absence of proper check and balance, many private schools exploit the situation. They are looting millions of rupees in the name of English medium and Cambridge system.

A veteran teacher expresses that a better alternative can be provided to the middle class by preserving and denationalizing some of the good schools of the past. There are schools such as Khatoon-e-Pakistan, Delhi School, Junior Model, Frare Road to name a few., which were once considered the model institutions. They have been completely ruined with the nationalization and free education fever. Now, they attract only children of labourers,  thalay wallas and lower working class. The good teachers of the past have either be retired or lost their interest due to the rotten set up.  And the better educated youth rather prefer private schools due to attractive salaries and environment.

So the gulf between private and government schools is increasing day by day, making attainment of standard education almost impossible for the salaried middle class. There is a grave need for complete educational institutions, which aims at imparting knowledge rather than making money.

Society: Dubai chalo, again?

dubai-chaloThey say nobody leaves homes unless home is the mouth of a shark. But for many Pakistanis, living in the country is still tantamount to living among sharks. Around 8.7 million Pakistanis live abroad, a large majority of them in the Middle East, according to statistics released in 2016 by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis. Clearly, the ghosts of militancy and terrorism continue to haunt millions of Pakistanis despite the gains made during Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Eilya is a 45-year-old woman who used to be an accountant working for a leading Pakistani bank. She moved to the United States last year after tragedy hit their family. “My youngest brother and two cousins were killed in a bomb blast at an imambargah in Karachi during Muharram. [The incident] changed our lives for good and we decided to move.”

Today, Eilya works at an Indian-American restaurant, doing everything from serving customers to dishwashing and cooking. She often misses her comfortable life in Pakistan but consoles herself with the thought that at least she doesn’t have to live in perpetual fear. “There is no threat to my safety or that of my loved ones. I feel far more secure in America than in Pakistan,” she laments.

Despite a nationwide crackdown against militancy, security and economic concerns continue to compel citizens to seek newer pastures
Software engineer Syed Absar, 30, has been settled in the UAE for the past six years. His reasons for migrating are similar: the mental cost of living in Pakistan was becoming unbearable. “I hated living in constant fear in Pakistan. Now when I am out for work, at least my family is not worried that I might get killed over a mobile phone or a car.”

Experts confirm that people usually migrate for better opportunities and economic conditions, even if they have to live in miserable conditions as second class citizens. For Pakistan, this is certainly the case, although of late it is buffeted by security concerns.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimated that Pakistan has the sixth largest diaspora in the world. According to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, “there is an evident increase of 20 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the number of Pakistani migrants to the Middle East and other countries. Approximately one million Pakistanis migrated in 2015 alone for better employment as compared to 752,466 migrants in 2014.” Earlier, in 2012, the Pew Research Center’s survey revealed that Pakistani-Americans have become the second-fastest- growing and seventh-largest group in the US. According to the Norwegian government, around 32,000 Pakistanis migrated to Norway in 2011 alone.

These figures point to the painful reality that a large number of qualified and technical professional continue to leave Pakistan even in this day and age. Although brain drain from Pakistan is commonly associated with the Dubai Chalo (Let’s go to Dubai) phenomenon of the late 1960s and 1970s, the slow trickle of professionals moving away from Pakistan continues almost 50 years later. And while industry in Pakistan was nascent back in the 1960s, a sustained outflow of professionals means that the country’s employment market fails to utilise skilled and unskilled labour.

From 1971 to 2015, approximately 8,771,567 people migrated to at least 50 countries for employment opportunities. The maximum number of Pakistanis went to Saudi Arabia (2,885,295) in search of gainful employment. This was followed by the United Arab Emirates (4,429,510) and the United Kingdom (1,174, 983). Other popular destinations included Oman (652,743), US (363, 699), Kuwait (181,455), Canada (155,301), Bahrain (143,625) and Qatar (125,386).

There are about 8.7 million migrants living abroad but the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis claims that around 3.5 million citizens moved abroad in search of jobs over the past five years alone.
Here’s the kicker: there are about 8.7 million migrants living abroad but the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis claims that around 3.5 million Pakistanis moved abroad in search of jobs over the past five years alone. On a yearly average, this figure includes 40,000 to 50,000 professional and technical workers. These young and middle-aged professionals are willing to go any country, where they can live a peaceful and respectable life with equal opportunities. For a majority, it is no more a choice but a quest for survival.

A nationwide poll in 2015 indicated that “around 47 percent Pakistanis are eager to leave the country due to deteriorating socio-economic conditions and uncertain political situation.” Quite often, the lure of a foreign passport and a fascinating life in distant lands entices migrants to reach their destination by hook or by crook. Besides security concerns, the presence of civilized systems and processes, easy access to basic necessities, a better quality of life, peace of mind and chances for equal opportunities and growth are some of the key factors that attract youth to the idea of immigration.

“Common people struggle throughout their lives for roti, kapra and makaan in Pakistan,” argues Absar. “My son was born in a government hospital in the UAE and the standard of healthcare services here is equal to the best private hospitals in Pakistan.”

“We opted to leave Pakistan despite our well-paid jobs and a circle of close friends and family back home in pursuit of a secure and prosperous future for our children,” says Tariq, who moved to Australia with his family about two years ago.

Like most immigrants, Tariq knew he’d have to pay a heavy price for this decision in terms of his career and comfort zone. “It is not easy to start from scratch in an alien country specially when someone has crossed their teens and 20s and has acquired a certain position in native lands.” And yet, he has no regrets: “It’s worth it because the greatest reward is a blue [Australian] passport and a dual nationality.”

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, January 8th, 2017

Psychological Impact of News Coverage Related to Terrorism: Implications for Pakistan

my recent research article about the impact of news media on viewers published in the American Psychology Association journal, 2015 issue

THE AMPLIFIER MAGAZINE

Erum Hafeez Erum Hafeez

Erum Hafeez, PhD
Institute of Business Management, Karachi, Pakistan
erum.hafeez@iobm.edu.pk

Considering Pakistan’s strategic position as a leading ally in the “War Against Terrorism” the country has been subjected to frequent terrorist attacks and suicide bombings for over a decade.  An increase in the intensity of these attacks since September 11, 2011 has caused millions of Pakistanis to lose their lives, families and homes.

With the advent of 24/7 news television channels in 2002, following the media privatization policy of General Musharaf’s government, it is currently possible for the electronic media in Pakistan to cover terrorism incidents live with powerful visuals.  Advancements in technology have also improved the coverage of news via other media interfaces (printed and electronic); now news reaches the masses as it happens, giving them the feeling of being present at the incident.

During the last decade, terrorism related news has been extensively covered by Pakistani news…

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Thirty-something and still single…! The Dilemma of a Single Woman in Pakistan

12193456_919961874720163_85618113653447462_nIt is Uzma’s 35th birthday. Sitting in front of a mirror, apparently, she is looking at her reflection; but her mind is voyaging through the various phases of her life. Life has been kind to her. She has a loving family and good friends’ circle. Bright and bold, Uzma wants to live an independent and happy life.
However, in her mid-thirties, she feels as an old spinster with recurring depression spells. Most of her friends have got married, busy in their lives, with children. Some even pursue their careers after marriage. However. Uzma is still single with a challenging career path.
There are many educated girls like Uzma who have become the victims of double standards in Pakistani society. While modern age advocates equal rights to education, work, and life for women; learned and career-oriented females are usually labeled as being difficult, mean and strong-headed when it comes to the selection of life partner.
Mostly “domestically trained (salikamand) beauties” with Bachelor’s degree and sound background are “in high demand” in the marriage market, said Mrs. Azmat, a seasoned matchmaker based in Karachi. The ideal marriage age for girls is defined between 18 and 25. Obviously, many girls cross the age bar while pursuing higher education and professional path. “For them, finding a suitable match is a challenge if they opt for arranged marriages, “she added.

Besides, the rigid standards of beauty defined by boys and their families such as a fair damsel (Gori Chitti Larki) with big eyes, roman features, slender figure and long hair, are simply unrealistic.
Mrs. Tariq, a renowned matchmaker said, “Beauty is the primary criterion for the acceptance of a girl. They are mostly rejected on the ground of appearance and looks”.
When girls reach the marital age, they have to go through frequent “drawing room tests’ to pageant themselves. In the name of matchmaking or `bur dekhawwa’, they are ruthlessly displayed and regularly rejected unless chosen by appropriate suitors and their families. Demands of boys’ families increase in the direct proportion to their financial status and degrees. Especially if a boy is having a foreign degree, job or nationality, he and his family is looking for a highly qualified ‘hoor paree’, exceptionally created for him.
No one, except a girl, can understand how this painful parade shatters her personality and shakes her confidence. Regardless of the socio-economic background, most of the girls have to go through this humiliating phase.
It seems that the sole purpose of a girl’s life is to get married and bear children. So those who get a good match ‘rishta’ at an appropriate age are considered blessed. While others consider a liability, no matter how independent and talented they are.
The hypocritical standards related to family honour and women’s modesty affect every aspect of women’s lives. From the childhood, daughters are trained to behave, hide their emotions and avoid interaction with men. There is a constant surveillance and stricter rules for girls as compared to boys in general.
“We are brought up with the fairy tales, propagating ideals such as “good girls never express their feelings” and they must wait for their “prince charming to come and salvage them”, Sana (30+ single) commented scornfully. However, many-a-times, their dreams are never realized, especially if they are average-looking with a modest background.
As a girl gets older and chances of her arranged marriage are being diminished, same parents encourage their daughter to give her guards and choose a life partner of her choice. Many single girls in their thirties are often inquired about their potential colleagues, old class fellows and distant cousins. But their guardians often don’t realize the fact that by that time it’s very hard for their daughters to change their deep-rooted notions and find a prince charming on their own.
Amira, a psychiatrist, said that many unmarried girls experience “self-pity, depression and anxiety” as they cross 30 due to undue family pressure and social expectations
Career is crucial for girls since it provides them social security and financial independence. So many educated girls give priority to their profession. However, there are still many families where girls are discouraged to work as it is believed that it makes them less eligible for marriage.
It is a bitter reality that educated, career-oriented women are never considered a good match in our society. Even highly qualified boys prefer modern, qualified housewives. Those, who can accompany them in social gatherings, bear and rear their children and look after their homes, with no personal ambitions.
So many talented, qualified and ambitious girls in our society end up as spinsters. They are often made to choose between marriage and career. As Uzma commented bitterly, “I have reached the age where I don’t wish to marry anymore. I just want to be independent, adopt a child and live life to its fullest. Is our society ready to let me live my life on my own terms?”

A man who dares to live his dream

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Entering the cool environs of Tofiq Pasha Mooraj’s home provided much needed respite from the sweltering heat. Built on his 6.5 acres farm, an oasis in Malir, about 45-minute drive from Karachi’s city centre, every nook and corner and the various artifacts strewn carelessly about the living room seem to tell a story and describe the owner.

At times one had to crane one’s head to hear the pony-tailed Mooraj over Bob Dylan music coming from an inner room. Dressed in blue jeans and white T-shirt with (Mohammad Ali) Jinnah’s sketch and a catchy tagline, “Bring Jinnah Home” the bearded, slender fifty-something Mooraj appears every bit a non-conformist.

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Zohare Ali has known Mooraj for over two decades and describes him a “classic bohemian,” who cares little about “money, status or power.” It is this rare quality that distinguishes Mooraj from others although people have often taken undue advantage of his generosity,” Ali said. After his early education at the Habib Public School, Mooraj studied horticulture at the Sindh Agricultural University, Tando Jam, and learned about cultivation and processing of tea, coconut and rubber in Sri Lanka.

“You can’t take the boy out of the farm or the farm out of the boy,” he said. His farm was more like a soul in a body which he inherited from his father. Mahboob Mooraj and Serene Mooraj, his parents, had bought this 200-year-old farm back in 1970s. His friends believe that living on the farm and closer to nature has made Mooraj the kind of man he is today.

Naheed Moini, his wife of 30 years, a candle-maker, calls him “an idealist,” who loves to farm and garden. “It’s a tough lifestyle. You have to make many sacrifices and must have a passion to live this way,” said Moini. She recalls the long commutes they made for their three kids, growing up and studying in schools in Karachi.

Mooraj’s parents moved from London to Karachi in 60s. They traveled home by road via a London cab, later settled at the farm. Mooraj choose to live and look after the farm as a teenager. Likewise, he let his children pursue the lifestyle they like. “I don’t expect any of them to retain the farm after me,” he said.

Mooraj is a man of action who believes one can do anything one wants to do. With around 35 years’ experience in horticulture, floriculture, and landscaping, he claims to be a pioneer in transplanting full-grown trees. In addition, he has introduced varieties of cash crops that need very little water in different parts of Sindh, particularly in the Indus delta.

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Saleha Atif, who works at the Hisaar Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working on water, food and livelihood issues, of which Mooraj is a founding member, speaks highly of him. “He is a very simple, down-to-earth and a friendly person,” said Atif, who has known him for almost a decade.

Mooraj has conducted several training programmes across Pakistan for growing vegetable as a source of food and income generation benefiting over 250,000 people, specifically women from the low-income segments of the society. “There was a time in the past when it was a challenge to invite Pasha to the city,” Zohare recalled, term him a “farm boy” who preferred to invite his friends over to his farm. However, things started changing when he received recognition for hosting gardening programmes on various channels, including the Pakistan Television, Hum TV and Masala television. Now he is interacting more with urban dwellers through his TV shows.

Mooraj has not only improved the lives of scores of urban dwellers, but small farmers in Pakistan’s villages to become food secure through practicing kitchen gardening and conserving water. As for climate protection initiatives, Mooraj thinks recycling needs to be emphasised if we want this world to be restored for the coming generation. For example, he said water draining from an air conditioner can be collected and used for watering the plants. Placing a brick in the tank of a WC flush can displace water so that less quantity of water is used to flush.

Mooraj believes he was destined to do what he is doing and feels blessed “to have the exposure and opportunities in life which many talented people might dream but never get.” He is a true son of the soil with bare minimum needs. “One can live a much contented life if one learns to live within resources at the cost of little adjustments,” he said. Mooraj’s dream is to see the day when hundreds and thousands of Pakistani expatriates return home. “That would be the day when Jinnah’s vision would come true and he will be brought back to his home,” he said earnestly.

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http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/blogs/18-Oct-2015/a-man-who-dares-to-live-his-dream

Facebook Usage Patterns and Its Implications on youth in Pakistan  

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Social bakers (2013) estimated, “Face book attracts the majority of native netizens whereas other social media interfaces are also growing gradually. The population of native netizens is growing at a rapid pace because of its fast-paced, time-saving, convenient and cost-effective nature.”Another public survey, titled as Internet Population in South Asia (2012), discovered that social media is more popular among the local male population (i.e.70%) than female population (i.e. 30%). These statistics, however, are debatable since many female users create accounts on social media as males in order to hide their identity for privacy reasons.

Facebook – with over 800 million users around the globe – is one of the leading social networking sites today and continues to grow. According to Ricardo (2011), “When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004, he had no idea how big it would actually become, and how big a debate the pros and cons of Facebook would spark. Along with a few of his friends at Harvard University, Zuckerberg created Facebook to fulfill the purpose of a college yearbook. Within a few months, more and more people joined the community, and today Facebook has more than 750 million users all over the world.”

The rising popularity of Facebook can be attributed to its numerous ‘fun’ elements and as a result, many of its negative side effects are often overlooked. For example, be it  issues such as Facebook Depression and Addiction or the cyberspace problems like security breaches viz., hacking and stalking, Facebook users – whether intentionally or unintentionally are often unaware of some of the more adverse effects of Facebook. .

It is therefore the more harmful aspects of Facebook that form the basis of this study. In the contemporary digital age, most people with an internet connection have a virtual presence on at least one of the popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+ and others. Perhaps it is such common usage that the problems associated specifically with Facebook go unnoticed. Pertinent issues like Facebook addiction and depression often seem so subtle that people hardly recognize the symptoms. However, scientific studies and resulting public awareness are important in order to ensure users can safely and securely make the most of this technological revolution.

While prior research has arbitrarily assumed that any individual could become subjected to Internet addiction, there are few studies that have been carried out precisely for the purposes of evaluating usage patterns and social and psychological impacts of online social networking, particularly in Pakistan.

Speaking in particular about Facebook, Farhan Malik (2011), a practitioner from telecom industry, said, “Facebook is an addiction. Teens instead of spending their time in studies and other physical activities are just wasting their valuable time in face booking.”

Thus the aim of this paper is to explore the patterns of Face book usage among Pakistani youth and by extension, the possible symptoms or criteria that could help determine whether a user exhibits highly obsessive or addictive attitudes towards online social networking.
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Researchers such as Raacke and Bonds (2008) define social networking sites as “virtual places that cater to a specific population”, hence forming a network impossible to be established offline, since they transcend physical boundaries. According to Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) social networking sites cater to a diversity of interests ranging from sites for professional networking, dating, friend-networking to commercial sites promoting bands, brands, celebrities and politicians.

Considering the dominant presence and unbelievable growth of social networking sites in recent years, researchers are applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&G) to understand and elaborate the reasons leading to the mass switchover of users to the medium. (Ancu and Cozma, 2009)

Park, Kee, and Valenzuela (2009) discovered that the key uses and gratification factors of social networking sites are socializing, entertainment, self-status seeking and information. Larose and Easton (2004) concur and identify similar motives such as information-seeking, entertainment and social needs as the most driving factors behind the usage of such sites.

Socializing is the leading and the most significant component in the Gratification Model related to social networks. People who are engaged with social media to satisfy socializing needs mostly want to find new people, withstand offline connections and develop a sense of community. Raacke (2008) learned that 96.0 percent of netizens used social networking sites to stay connected with old friends, 91.1 percent to sustain current associations and 56.4 percent to meet new friends. He further assumed that “the more a user frequents a social networking site, the greater the likelihood his or her social well-being”.

Focusing specifically on the patterns of Facebook usage, an extensive survey of 800 undergraduate students of Michigan State University (MSU) conducted by Ellison et al. (2007) concluded that “the average student had between 150 to 200 friends. Out of these friends, 97 percent were former high school colleagues, 90 percent were classmates, and 80 percent were complete strangers. This indicated that a majority of Facebook users acquired satisfaction from maintaining social links with existing offline relationships as opposed to finding new friends. “

Park et al. (2009) on the other hand, maintained that entertainment gratification among SNS users is related only to leisure and amusement desires. They further concluded that most youngsters used Facebook platform in order to display themselves as cool and often to develop their career.

Tufekci (2008) specifies that Facebook, like other social networking sites, permits users to manage their social network through links between their profile page and other profiles called Friends. Besides the sharing of profile details containing multiple fields covering favorite books and movies to political and religious views and relationship status, people develop a virtual image through photographs, statuses and sharing.

Ellison believed that self-disclosure is another prospective gratification that is closely associated with one’s real life image. Tufecki (2008) suggests diverse factors of self-projection shared through social network profiles such as friendly online image, friendships and social ties, demographics and location, privacy, and social grooming which he considered are the most important elements considering how the Users and Gratification model is applied in relation to self-representation on social networking sites.

Walther, Van Der Heide, Kim, Westerman, and Tong (2008) also studied how self-representation is provided through a user’s friendships. They discovered that postings and comments on a user’s profiles or pictures by friends and acquaintances reflect mainly how they perceive the user to be in real life. A large majority of social networking users attain fulfillment through the volume of material and responses addressed to them through SNSs. According to Park et al. (2008), Facebook users often look for updates about campus events and political, cultural and civic issues.

In his review of  ‘Applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory’, Gallion (2008) found that the researcher Ruggiero anticipated in as early as 2000 that the Internet would revolutionize media users and their preferences which would eventually influence the habits of individuals and their roles in society.

Ruggiero’s prediction seems to hold true today since highly popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and the blogosphere have transformed personal, professional and social connections, transporting them from the real world to the virtual environment.

Facebook in particular is unanimously recognized as the most popular social networking site attracting a large chunk of the online population that continues to grow every day.

Gallion pointed out that the Uses and Gratification Model has been criticized due to its individualistic nature, which “makes it difficult to explain or predict beyond the people studied or to consider the societal implications of media use.”

Research Questions:

As there is apparently little in terms of scientific research to analyze social networking sites and their influence on youth (college or university students) – especially in Pakistan – the current study aims to identify:

1.      Why young people utilize Facebook and other social networking sites so extensively?       

2.      What are the characteristics of a typical university/college Facebook user and the tell-tale signs of a Facebook addiction        

3.      The functions and satisfactions that are achieved through the personal, emotional or psychological connections to the site (if any)

It is arbitrarily assumed that Facebook as a prominent part of modern everyday life does not  come alone, but rather brings along with it a fair share of problems. The core objective of this study is therefore to understand the patterns of Facebook usage, while highlighting related hazards such as Facebook addiction, depression, stalking, hacking and the creation of fake profiles.

Literature Review:

In the modern world, people often find themselves overpowered by modern technology, sometimes around the clock.  According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (2010-11), “children and teens from the ages of 8 to 18 engage in more than seven hours of electronic activity daily.”

Young (1998), using Pathological Gambling as a model, mentions that “addictive Internet use can be defined as an impulse-control disorder that does not involve an intoxicant”.  She reviewed case studies of 396 dependent Internet users and 100 non dependent Internet users to investigate major behavioral and functional differences between the two groups such as the types of applications utilized, degree of difficulty controlling weekly usage, and severity of problems noted.

According to a web post, ‘Are You a Facebook Addict?’ (2009), there are several mature professionals who candidly admit that they could not imagine spending a day –  and sometimes even less than a day – without social networking on Facebook. The writer established, “Facebook-enabled ‘addicts’ seem to fall prey to the endless availability of ‘apps’, whether self-oriented quizzes or game-playing or being at the hub of nonstop social opportunity.”

Fenichel (2011) maintains that Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) is an embedded and a self-motivated phenomenon. It is often stimulated by factors such as the need for proximity, acknowledgement, appreciation, familiarity, shared experience and exchanges of creativity. Above all, there is a need for an ultimate authority to be the sole ‘captain of the ship of one’s Facebook home page.’ However, while some people find Facebook applications so engaging that they spend hours upon hours perusing through it, others use it as a means of emailing and chatting to connect with their network of friends for fun, exchange of ideas and information in real-time.

Unfortunately, Facebook has become such a sensation that few realize when it has turned into an addiction that competes with homework, office assignments; relationships and other activities that demand our attention and time. Researchers and Facebook addicts alike seem ignorant of the obsession, since they are often preoccupied with the aesthetics, entertainment, upgrades, innovative uses, new apps, uses and the wider reach of this popular social networking site. 

Facebook is understandably engaging and useful for most netizens in the native environment who use other online platforms such as blogs, discussion groups, and photo sharing sites or personal home pages. Facebook therefore provides such users an ideal interface for multiple purposes. It is, therefore, hardly surprising if their behavior is akin to a child in a candy store—succumbing to excessive usage of Facebook, with an irresistible desire to stay logged in constantly, sometimes eventually developing  into a psychological disorder that is often impossible to cure and or even detect.

As Fenichel (2011) aptly summarizes, “When is a friend a friend? When is constant behavior an addiction? Is there such a thing as too much or too little social networking? Who decides? Who asks? “

Evidently every Internet user and Facebook member is not equally addicted. Thus, anyone who can get rid of their computer or smart phone without feeling empty or purposeless is still considered to be free from online addictions

Rosen (2011) conducted a survey of 3000 teenagers while studying and evaluating the effects of Facebook overdose survey on young people. The results revealed that “over 19.8 per cent of respondents said that they send over 120 text messages each day, whereas around 11.5 per cent of respondents said that they spend over three hours every day on social networking sites.”Furthermore, approximately, “22.5 percent of respondents said that they do not send text messages at all, while 22 percent do not use any online social networking site. It is further revealed that such teenagers were far healthier, probably because they were more involved in outdoor sports and spent less time on their computers.”

Sherman’s (2011) studies link personality types to patterns of Facebook usage, and show that “neuroticists, females and those who are procrastinating are more likely to be addicted to Facebook.” The study further reveals that “women are more likely to develop Facebook addiction, probably due to the nature of the social network.” Findings exhibit that Facebook addiction is closely linked to extraversion. “People with high scores on the new scale tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm.”

Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a doctor of Psychology, supervised a research study (2012) ‘Facebook Addiction’ in order to explain why some people are more likely to be addicted to Facebook than others. Her findings showed that the younger generation is more easily affected than older users. She also discovered that restless and socially detached people tend to use Facebook more often than others, perhaps because they perceive it as a relatively safe medium to facilitate social interaction as compared to real face-to-face communication.

The symptoms of Facebook addiction, it is said, “resemble those of drug, alcohol and chemical substance addiction and that the excessive use of Facebook and text messaging can lead teens into drug abuse, drinking, sex and psychological health problems,” as endorsed by a survey conducted by the American Public Health Association in 2012.

Andreassen (2012) points out that “people who are organized and more ambitious tend to be less at risk of Facebook addiction. They will often use social media as an integral part of work and networking.”The study further reveals that “women are more likely to develop Facebook addiction, probably due to the nature of the social network.” Findings exhibit that Facebook addiction is closely linked to extraversion. “People with high scores on the new scale tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm.”

In another study of young people, Daria, Griffiths and Binder (2013) found that around 3.2 % of UK students are addicted to the Internet, which is identified by the researchers as a major mental health concern. It is further observed that it is likely to be raised in users who are prone to online gaming and openness to experience.

However, Griffiths (2013) criticizes Facebook addiction studies especially the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale introduced by Andreaessen and colleagues. He claimed that “Facebook addiction” like Internet addiction has already been an outdated concern since an internet user is now engaged in multiple activities even on networking websites like Facebook, such as messaging friends, playing games, gambling and other activities, He thus recommends another psychometric scale for investigating possible obsession to individual online application (i.e., social networking) instead of addiction to one website like Facebook.

Methodology:

A detailed Literature Review was done to analyze scholarly work and relevant research studies that focused on personality types and Internet addiction. Thereby a theoretical outline was framed to sketch the leading elements that would be evaluated through the study regarding facebook usage and its effects on youth.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was tested following the two-step approach.  The primary aim of the qualitative literature review was to identify the dynamics, values and concepts that would form the basis of this study. Based on the results from the qualitative study, a quantitative questionnaire was developed, which included likert scale-style statements that helped determine, values, opinions, preferences, habits and usage patterns. The use of close-ended questions allowed for specific answers to help determine patterns (as the survey is quite extensive and resources were limited, close-ended questions were easier to quantify and allowed for definitive results and analysis).

Furthermore, based on a sample of undergraduate students, the survey was designed such that it may prove or challenge the Uses and Gratification Model that associates Facebook usage with the relevant factors that directly affect and influence the usage patterns of Facebook among the youth and the related possible social and psychological implications.

Sources of Data:

  • Primary Data was collected through firsthand responses of the youth surveyed via a carefully designed questionnaire and focus group
  • Secondary Data was collected through the journal articles, websites, research articles and other scholarly publications from around the world, which formed the basis of the literature review.

Sampling

  • Convenient random sampling was used as the sampling procedure
  • The sample size was of 300
  • The sample consisted of both males and females (45 percent males vs. 53 percent females respectively while 2% didnot share their gender)
  • Undergrad university students aged between 19 and 23 in various undergraduate programs
  • Relatively Representative sample from University of Karachi, IBA and Bahria University

Results and Analysis of Results

Total 300 people were surveyed; out of which 297 people actually responded:

  • One (1) student answered in the negative (i.e. he’s not a Facebook user)
  • One (1) student answered that she only logs in once every 3-6 months and that she is quite dormant on Facebook.
  • Around seven (7) students did not disclose one or more aspects of their demographics (i.e. age, gender, area of study)

Gender: In total population surveyed, 53.2% of respondents were female, 44.8% were male and 2% did not disclose their gender.

Age range

In the sample surveyed

  • Majority of students (95%) are between the ages of 18 and 23
  • They are undergraduate Business students)
  • 4% did not disclose their age while
  • Outliers include the ages of 17 and below, and 26 and above

Hours spent on Facebook:

       While studying time spent on Facebook by the youth, we learned that:

  • Only 33.9% of students spend an hour or less (i.e. for cursory glance) on Facebook per day
  • Around 48.8% between 2 hours and 12 hours while 16.8% have 24-hour connectivity so we can say that the majority of students (i.e. around 68%) use face book for less than 3 hours while it’s only 31% students who apparently overuse the medium.

How long can you go without Facebook?

As we were trying to evaluate the possible addictive nature of Facebook, we learn through the responses of the youth that

  • On one side these percentages reflect the fact that majority of Facebook users (75%)in our sample are not addictive to Facebook despite hours of connectivity and excessive usage of the medium.
  • While 25% feel the need to sign in at least once a day (they can last only 5-10 hours without Facebook)
  • Around 74.9% can go a day or more without signing into Facebook and checking their account

Most students use Facebook for multiple purposes:

As the graph shows:

  • Around 31% use Facebook for professional purposes
  • 78% use Facebook for staying in touch and updated with friends, family, colleagues and classmates—which seems to be the most popular use of Facebook
  • Approximately 40.1% use Facebook for timely news updates and pursuing pages of interest
  • 8% use Facebook just to pass the time? It seems to be a negative trend i.e. Instead of physical activity, reading, real life socializing, a large majority of youth prefer to ‘pass time’ on Facebook. The trend must have negative implications on youth’s physical and mental health
  • 4% use Facebook for other purposes, such as ‘stalking’, ‘group projects or group assignments classes/courses’, ‘chatting’

Nature of Status updates:

Of the 192 students who disclosed the number of friends that they have on Facebook, we can see that the range is quite large with one person having the maximum (5,000) number of allowed friends, while another has only 63. These are the exceptional cases, or outliers; some students have friends in the thousands while some have only a few hundred. Besides, the average number of friends in the survey sample is 454 while 300 is the most recurring number of friends that the surveyed sample of students have.

In order to understand the usage of Facebook, we also asked and analyzed the nature of Statuses.

The responses revealed that around:

  • 7% of students say that they do not update their status on Facebook
  • Whereas 15.8% of students tend to share a variety of updates
  • Most popular type of update seems to be the sharing of links, news and events (19.2 %) followed by expression of mood, thoughts, feelings and opinions (17.2%)
  • Minimum ratio of FB users like to share their whereabouts (3%) while there is relatively higher proportion of users who prefer sharing general interest content (8.8%) such as quotes, jokes and lyrics.

What does youth Like about Facebook?

When asked what are the features that turn Facebook youth’s favorite platform. They responded with more than one answers:

  • A large number of respondents (62%) said that they like Facebook for allowing them a means to keep in touch with old friends, colleagues and classmates. This preference can be linked to another trend in the survey which evidently shows that around 78% use Facebook for staying in touch and updated with friends, family, colleagues and classmates.
  • The Second most popular aspect of Facebook is the pursuing of general interests that can be subsequently related to 40.1% of students who responded that they use Facebook for timely news updates and pursuing pages of interest.
  • Around 10.4% respondents said they liked playing games on Facebook. Pursuing general interests and playing games; the two trends combined, linked to the 43.8% users who said that they use Facebook to help pass the time.
  • Others (6.4%) include people who said that they  ‘like nothing about Facebook’, ‘stalk others’, ‘Facebook has ruined my life’ and ‘everything’

What do they dislike about Facebook?

There are many aspects of Facebook that students do not particularly like. The least popular of which is when they receive messages, friend requests and pokes from people they do not know (51.9%). Students also do not like it when their friends post items on religion and/or politics (23.6%). Students who responded with ‘Other’ said that they don’t like the fact that there is no privacy on Facebook, that ‘everyone can see everything’. Responses also included: ‘emotional statuses’, ‘posting problems’, ‘game requests’, ‘sharing of profound or philosophical quotes’, ‘over sharing (such as what people had for lunch’, ‘people ask to like pages’ and ‘people ask to change cover photos to promote events’.

Major Findings         

On the basis of the research done our hypothesis is proved, which was:

”Facebook now a prominent part of our life, doesn’t come alone but brings along it share of problems.”

Analyzing the research conducted we may easily conclude that the discussed issues are existent and a case for many. Also analyzing the responses it can be concluded that many are fed up of unwanted random friend requests also the amount of time they spend on Facebook rather than doing their work is a sign of its addiction.

Results indicated that the vast majority of college students are using these social networking sites for a significant portion of their day for reasons such as making new friends and locating old friends. Additionally, both men and women of traditional college age are equally engaging in this form of online communication. Finally, results showed that many uses and gratifications are met by users (e.g., “keeping in touch with friends”).

Limitations: Since the use of Facebook is quite common among youth the sample consists of students aged between 19 and 23, all of whom are university students. Therefore the focus of the problems Facebook brings will be in the light of a very specific demographic of youth rather than a more general population of Facebook users.

Recommendations:

As the present study is limited in scope, further research can focus on a number of ensuing issues, including:

  • a wider demographic of respondents (level of education, ethnic background, social strata, religious moderation, family background);
  • issues surrounding cyber-bullying; the psyche behind trolling, stalking, hacking, the creation of fake profiles and the sending of random friend requests, messages and pokes to unknown people (to either the same or the opposite gender);
  • understanding personality traits and correlating them to Facebook usage
  • wider research to include other social networking sites as well, such as Twitter, MySpace, Google+
  • safety and security concerns regarding the extensive sharing of personal data on such sites, including location, photos, friends and other details that can help identify and locate users, making them accessible and identifiable offline as well (whether by specific individuals or organizations/marketers)

The understanding of the above could eventually lead to public awareness campaigns of the negative implications of the extensive uses of Facebook. This could lead to easy identification of those suffering from the more adverse effects of the uses of social networking sites, making it easier to help, or even protect them. Perhaps further studies could help individuals understand the nature of their own activities and preempt negative psychological impacts before they manifest, thus ensuring safe, secure and healthy networking that allows maximized uses of such revolutionary technology. 
Addicted to Facebook
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Main tu abbu ki Beti Hoon– In memory of my beloved Abbu on his 5th Barsi

merai bachpan kai din, kitnai acchai thai din

merai bachpan kai din, kitnai acchai thai din

Mai tu abbu ki beti hoon,
apnai abbu ki beti hoon…
woh abbu jin kai dam sai zindagi abad rehti thee
woh abbu jin ki cahat jugnoaun ka saat lagti thee

Meri sari hee rahain aik unhi kai dum sai roshan theen
Meri saari panahain aik unhi kai zaat ka ghar theen
Woh jo saarai zamanai kai liya ghaizo-ghazab ka paikar thai
aur merai saamnai goya mehaz aik maum ka bot thai

Meri aik muskurahat un ki zeest ka hasil tha
meri chalki nigahain un kai dil ko cheer detein theen
Woh jin kai haath ki hiddat mai ab tuk apnai shano per mehsoos karti hoon
woh jin kai piyar ka lams merai mathai ka jhumar tha

Woh jub bhi ghar ko atai saath apnai bazar laata thai
Merai hur zaiqai hur shoq ki taskeen ka saman laatai thai
Unhai sub yaad tha jo kuch merai dil ko lubhata tha
So merai hur dukh hur tishnaqi ka madawa un ka eman tha

Woh Tera March ka din tha haftai ki subhu thee
Jub meri zindagi mera maan merai abu hamashai kai liya hum sai juda huai
Woh abu jin ki batai hur dum hamain rulati aur hasanti thee
Dabai paon aisa rukhsat hua kai meri zindagi kai hur warq pur sannatai ka pehra hai

Na koi aahat, na dastak, na sada, na siski, na dharka
Na ab woh cahatai na lams, na woh nigahain hain
Kai jin ki garmiyon sai merai sub ehsaas zinda thai
aur jin ki khusboun sai merai bachpan kai din mehaktai thai

Na jatai hua unhon nai kuch kaha na hi mera dil dharka
Bhala koi apni jaan sai piyari beti ko yun bhi chor jaata hai
Woh abu jin kai dum sai zindagi kuch bafiqar si thi
Woh lub jin ki duai hamaisha merai saath chalti theen

Meri her kamyabi main unhi ka aik sahara tha
Meri her nakami main unhi ka dum gawara tha
Na ab woh dua, na lab, na dum, na saya na baifiqri
Mehaz aik yaad baki hai fakat ehsaas baqi hai

abu with me at my wedding

Kitna pyar kitna dular us aik nigha main abbu with me at my valima

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY… !

should we celebrate valentine or not…?

erumsuchistan

               

   To love and be loved is an innate human instinct. Since inception of the universe and creation of the human race, love exists and might survive till eternity. Mankind witnessed numerous immortal stories of love and sacrifice.

It is natural that every couple on this path assumes themselves Laila Majnoo, ready to face stoning of Zalim Samaj in yearning of each other. Every enthusiast is swearing to dig out a lake of love from the barren mountains of worldly differences for his Shireen, though he might fail to provide her a glass of clean water in the modern world.

The sage of love is universal, however, it’s changing with the fast-paced world. So Shakespeare’s lovable Juliet and gentleman Romeo seem characters from ancient classics nowadays. In the modern practical age, love birds are not so naïve to waste their entire life in the wish of one kind look or…

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