منگل, اکتوبر 24, 2006

Tsunami

Every disaster occurs in any part of the country. Its waves, sooner or later reach to the other citizens too. The war, earthquake, or any other natural calamity make target to a particular area, but after a very short period, people living in other regions have to share it, either it may be a lions share or of an ant.

All such occasions are very important for particular people. Most of them are of political brand, which come forward with helping hands to collect funds. Here we may recall a famous Hindi proverb Dant Bhi Apne, Hont Bhi Apne and you may change it to, Hath Bhi Apna, Pet Bhi Apna. There are a lot of people who are not greedy of money. They have only a thirst of fame. Though their own monetary share has a very small bit, but the procedure provides them an opportunity to collect money for needy people and name or fame for their own account. No doubt our society has a large number of people, who feel others sorrow with depth of their heart and always ready to support others, at the same time there are another type of people who use these opportunities for there own benefit.

Apart from these particular group of people, there are many other agencies prove themselves to be very helpful and beneficial for the victims of such atrocities and the students are one of them. Last week, when I was on the way to my home, on different squares, I saw many groups of students belonging to different schools, collecting funds for the victims of Tsunami. My first impression on seeing this effort was that It was not only helpful for the victims but useful for these students also, as it will arouse a feeling of sympathy among the students and enable them to share the atrocities which had affected a large number of human beings. When we help others, it provides us with a natural ecstasy. This is a unique experiment and our students have to go through it. The people who have never extended a helping hand to others are unaware of this feeling.

The next day when I was about to leave the classroom, the class captain, Guzman approached me. She wanted my permission for collecting money to help a fellow student, Cabaña’s a class teacher I knew that Cabaña belonged to a poor family; She was even unable to pay her school fees also. Her father who was a patient of cancer, after a prolonged treatment, died last month. Guzman informed me about the hardship of her family which was passing through a huge burden of debt. There was no earning hand in her family after the death of her father. Now they are in an unbearable plight. Guzman told me that the students of her class collected some money to help Shabana’s family. After the permission of the principal, I allowed them to do so .It happen with us that we always fell the troubles of the people far away from us and fail to under stand the problems of our kith and kin. I was happy that my students not only acknowledged the agony of Tsunami victims but they also felt the Tsunami waves under their feet.

The sympathy and humanity is indeed a part of our teaching. These human values are at the stake in our society. If the educational institutes succeed to inculcate these ideals among the students, it will be indeed a great achievement.

Tulsi

Last week as I returned from office my wife informed me about some neighboring ladies, just came on a casual meet. While they were wandering in our mini garden, they stopped near a Tulsi plant (besil) and murmured Kaise Musalman Hain Yeh Log, Apne Ghar main Hinduoon Ka Paodha Tulsi Laga Rakha Hai? (How surprising, being Muslim, these people have grown Tulsi a plant associated with Hindus.)

The fact is that I was some how hesitant at the time of it’s planting, thinking; how people will react on it .I had never thought about things in terms of cast and religion. Things have no religion. These disputes are only enjoyed in human being. The most important example is the water provided on railway plate forms, before partition, had been served as Hindu Pani and Muslim Pani. It was only because the water touched by a particular community was not usable for others, so they had their own water named according to their religions

I had planted Tulsi in my garden only for it’s medicinal advantages. It has nothing to do with any religion, but the comment passed by that lady surprised me, though it was not unexpected. All things are merely creature of God .If particular things are associated to a religion, it doesn’t meant that such things have been prohibited for others like dates, having religious importance among Muslims but a number of Hindu families use it for it’s enriched nourishment qualities. I know a fellow who used to wear a dress not according to the customs of the religion he belonged to. Once, someone said him your appearance doesn’t match your religion so he replied my religion is not in my dress, it is in my heart and character.

This is the tragedy of our so called religious minded people that they always have an eye on the apparent shape of religion, whereas a true religion concerns with the inner world of a man which translates into action. Nowadays people are doing much more against the spirit of their religion; it shows that they have failed to absorb the spirit of their religion. Poet Iqbal says that, religion doesn’t teach to make differences and enemity. Mazhab Nahin Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna.
Isn’t it a paradox that people spread hatred and fight on the name of the religion? Coincidently, yesterday I went through an article about Tulsi written by the famous expert of medicine. Hakim Abdul Hannan .He writes in this article, that Tulsi is called Raihan, in Arabic and there are many references of Raihan in the Holy Quran, particularly in the context of luxuries of paradise. Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H.) has also liked it and said ‘whenever someone offers you Raihan; don’t refuse it and this plant has come from paradise. I remember somewhere, in a religious book, it was written that when a righteous person breathes its last, the angels come to greet him, and they have shrubs of Raihan in their hands.

These details are sufficient to mark the importance of Raihan or Tulsi, and there is no reason for a Muslim to be refrain from it. Majority of Muslims don’t have plants of Tulsi in their homes, however, Tulsi has been entered if not in their gardens but in their drawing rooms, on a silver screen, through the idiot box, as many of them watch Kyunki Sas Bhi Kabhi Bahoo Thi, what about it?

ہفتہ, اکتوبر 21, 2006

Teachers Day

As usual Teachers Day came with greeting cards and flowers in the hands of students, a brightness of respect on their faces and love in the hearts. These students, wanted to celebrate a function dedicated to their teachers.

It may be a common scene in our schools on fifth September, which is the birthday of our former president of India, Dr.Radhakishnan, a highly learned personality, a genuine thinker and an educationist .He had expressed his desire that his birth day to be celebrated as a Teachers Day, his intention was to elevate the status of teachers which was at stake in the society he belonged to. It is sure that at that time commercialization had not enveloped every thing, as today we are observing and the field of education is not an exception.

Like the celebration of other days, the Teachers Day has it’s own commercial advantages and social disadvantage too. No doubt its main object is to inculcate a sense of reverence towards their teachers. Since like other institutions educational centers have also become commercial one. The celebrations of such Days have lost their real value. I know Mr.S., a friend of mine and a teachers always take leave on Teachers Day .The reason behind it is the happenings in his School. He is a simple language Teachers and the students mostly piled up flowers either on English, Mathematics Teachers or present it to their class teachers. Mr.S. takes it, as a bribe .One of the main objectives of Teachers Day’s celebration is to make them happy, as most of the teachers are found irritating on the part of school management or the government. They feel that their services to the society are not appreciated, as they should. But it is a mockery of the time that most of the teachers being hurt on the teachers’ day too. The program arranged on this occasion in the schools found full of advices to the teachers. The exception is the students’ real feelings and respect expressed through their gifts and flowers and speeches too. This is the only source of inspiration for the genuine, loyal to their profession and the dedicated teachers.

There is nothing wrong if society blames them for the negligence of their duty and show them right path, which is actually a duty of the teachers. But most of the teachers, sincere in their work, find no happiness this day too. Many teachers arrange a programmed so that they could get maximum gifts. I know a teacher who brings a car especially on the Teaches Day, only to show his colleagues the number of gifts he receives on this day.
The teachers who are not performing their duties are also felicitated; most of such type of teachers arranges their own felicitation. Such types of teachers may be less active in their duties, but they store their energy and all their powers to invest in this business of publicity. It is a great pity that most of the teachers awarded with the best teachers awards, don’t deserve it.

In fine, all is not well with teachers day, whether it serves the purpose of it’s celebration?
Isn’t this day being only used for snatching gifts from students?
Are our schools really successful to inculcate a feeling of respect and love for their teachers among students, and these students who are the future of India able to recognize their teachers or well-wishers services?
And is there really a service to be recognized?

Vacations

What a lovely time the last day of the examination is! Only those people know its fascination who have passed through the tiresome agony of the examination. No problem whether they pass or fail . The result of every examination is a sigh of relief, full of joy and ecstasy.

The tragedy of new generation is that it has been deprived of a number of natural pleasures. A freedom after the examination is also one of them .you might have seen the glowing faces of small children, as they are poured out of a school building, after the school is over. Last day of the examination provides the same feeling to it’s every examinee. Nowadays education has become a nonstop procedure. As soon as the students of higher classes particularly of ninth and eleventh standard come out of the kingdom of boredom of any examination, they have to join another territory of tuition and coaching classes.

After the annual examination, students are provided leave, for at least one or two weeks. Some teachers presume that one or two days are sufficient, but the concept of this one-day leave does not match to the young minds, which are always full of ambitions.

Now a day after examinations, in spite of enjoying holidays, they have to start tuition classes which have become a part and parcel of our education system, at every level I have even seen tiny tots studying in the kindergarten, also join tuition classes which have become, more a matter of prestige and less a solution for the education. A huge burden of books is piled upon these small heads, which they have to transport all over the year.

These students spent their academic year hoping that at least, at the end of the session holidays will bring comfort for them, but in vain, now they have to continue this tire some journey on the path of extra coaching in vacations too. Vacations and holidays provide a short stoppage to our daily routine. We feel charged our selves and go ahead with a better speed .On the contrary, if it doesn’t happen; we loose interest in the business of life.

The strange phenomenon of human nature is its ability to acquire personal requirements from different sources .If people don’t get fulfillment from one place they make it available from other one since natural resources of entertainment have been snatched from young generation they are approaching to unhealthy centers of attraction.

Many coaching centers and educational institutes have become a source of pleasure for students, though it has nothing to do with their educational activities. The students who have been engaged in coaching or tuition classes, were already over burdened with the work of their previous classes, next year they will have to bear a heavier bag, full of books, with out gap or holidays between two sessions, to relax them. It shows that our whole educational set up treats these students as machines, or as a computer, though it is a machine, it has sighted an example before us that every thing has its own limitations. Computers slow down after being over burdened and some times hang too, so why not man?
Shouldn’t human being, be treated at least like a machine too?

A student is indeed a human being and he should also be treated likewise.


بدھ, اکتوبر 18, 2006

Dilemma of diary writing

Teaching self-expression to students is not only beneficial for their emotional out -let but also useful to involve them in creative writing. I think so, therefore, at the beginning of every academic session; when new faces, glowing with the shine of ambition, and hearts to follow every path; taking them to wards their dream land and heights of their carrier, appears in my college, as a teacher I suggest them to adopt many activities. Diary writing is one of them.

Some of those students had delighted me by providing proof of their venture. These students, according to my instructions, keep a record of happenings around them, note down important information, couplets, sayings, proverbs, important events from the life of famous personalities, etc. I found it helpful in developing literary test among them as most of these students collect famous Urdu couplets and other literary masterpieces in their diary.

I recall those days, when I also used to write diary, with same zeal and enthusiasm, but with the passage of time; the life had snatched several things from us, the spirit of storing events on paper is also one of them. Now those moments turned into memories, I found it only in the safe deposit of my diary.

The time when I was passing through many hardships, I was full of tension generated by financial and family problems, at that time; my diary had become a friend of mine. It was a sort of catharsis for me, which was earnestly needed to me, as I was on the threshold of adolescence. The same passages have to travel to those students of same age. I think a diary may extend a helping hand to these people. The things they want to say to some one, and find no one to listen them so the diary plays there a role of “some one”.

This year, at the beginning of the session, I told my students that a diary may be beneficial to them for personality development, as what ever important information and instructions they have stored in a diary may shape their emotions, thought and elevate their personality. In case of applying all those information’s in speeches and discussion, in day-to-day life, it may help them to appear as an impressive personality in the society.

Since last few years I have been suggesting diary writing to many students for development of writing skill. But, this year, as many things happening around us are shocking, my suggestion created doubt in a student’s mind was also unusual for me.

When the usage of diary writing was being explained in the classroom, a student stood up and asked: ‘Sir, may I ask a question ’?
‘Yes.”
“Sir, You have suggested us diary writing for developing language, particularly in our mother tongue, Urdu, but you know, what is going on around us, is it safe to do so?”
“Why? What is wrong in it?”
“Isn’t it possible, that any one of us writing diary in Urdu, may be caught with this diary and in no time declared a terrorist, as it happens in such cases, and may be encountered.
I was pale with fear.

I found no satisfactory answer to his doubt. His questions certainly were a pointer to the unsafe times we live in. And more than unsafe, the turbulent emotional thoughts that the people have because of these events going on. For this youngster’s sake and for their creativity to live on, I wish the world is one happy place again.

منگل, اکتوبر 17, 2006

Eid Celebration

Last week I saw ten years old Najma asking her mother, “Why don’t this Eid come earlier, I have completed all my preparations, I have purchased clothes, sandals and bangles etc”. It was the middle of Ramzan, the holy month, which is famous for the fast, prayers and charity. At the end of this month Muslims all over the world celebrate the festival of Eid -ul-fitr, which is considered a joyful reward for their fasts and prayers they have performed during the month.

Every festival is an occasion of merry making and happiness. The same sense is in the word ‘Eid’. Eid-ul-Fitr, the most important festival of Muslims has many common features of celebrations like other festivals, but there are a few peculiarities for having Sheer Khurma and Sewaiyan (vermicelli), special sweet dishes prepared for the occasion, wearing new scented clothes, performing Namaz-e-Eid which most of the people particilarly in villages prefer to go to the out side open ground called Eid Gah, but in cities due to unavailibility of such places muslims perform Namaz in nearest mosques. After namaz they congratulate each other by hugging and shaking hands.

A few newspapers publish suppliments consisting many pages of pictures of kids who had performed Roza (fast) during the month of Ramzan. It is strange that most of the poems published in Urdu on Eid have a common notion that depicts the woe of poor people unable to celebrate Eid hole heartedly due to their poverty. The same situation has been described in a couplet of poet Iqbal.
He says,
Hilal-e-Eid Hamari Hansi Udata Hai (The crecent of Eid seems to laugh at us)

In our society we have also seen middle class people facing hard time to cope with the expences of shopping they have to do for the festival. Last week I saw a heap of applications forms for emergent loan before the secretary of Teacher’s co-operative society.
A couple of days before, I saw a beggar lady with her children asking my neighbour for some money,” Amma, hamare chhote chhote bachche hain, kuch zakat, fitra dila do.” This is a common scene, particularly in Muslim vicinities during this holy month. Many groups of beggars and charity collectors seem wondering from door to door. Most of them are not really in need but they have adopted this as an occupetion. It is also a fact that there are a number of people who are unable to meet both the ends, their poverty and dire need never Known to public. The people who are enjoying three-figured salary also found disturbed at the occasion of a festival then what about a person who is lying below poverty line .The charity in the month of Ramazan is for these needy people. This charity called Fitra is compulsery to every Muslim, and it should be handed over to the needy people before going to the namaz of Eid. Some one had asked Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) “What about the person who is unable to give any thing in charity?”

She was told that such person should refrain himself from hurting others and perform good deed with his hands, this is charity on his behalf, and if he has no hands, he should advise people for good deeds and in case he is unable to do this too, he should keep silence. It would also be treated charity from him.

It may be Eid or any festival, these occasions being enjoyed mostly by the children. We have ample sweet memories of such moments in our childhood. Most of us have fade up with these celebrations. New clothes, bright new shoes, sweet dishes and other things have been failed to provide us joy. Still a new form of delight is remaining for us and that is, smiling faces of our children and relatives and certainly this is our Eid.