Tag Archives: Society

A conversation at the barber’s shop

Two Karachiites in conversation with each other at a barber’s shop while they wait for their turns:

First guy:              This ‘gormint’ is as useless as a punctured stepney.  I mean look at what just 2 days of rain has done to the city!

Second guy:       Mmmmm…. (Maintains his attention on skimming through images on the showbiz page of a newspaper without caring too much about the date of the paper)

First guy:              You know how difficult it was to just reach here from my place? It was like laboring my way through a swamp. Disgusting!!!

Second guy:       (Pulls his head out of the newspaper almost involuntarily) But you had to come here, didn’t you?

First guy:              Of course! What else could I have done at home? I was getting bored. The electricity’s playing hide and seek since the day the first drop of rain fell on those fragile electricity wires in our area. All thanks to our ‘gormint’.

Second guy:       So, basically you had nothing to do & you thought it would be a good idea to step out for a while and visit the barber’s? (Puts the newspaper away and turns his attention completely towards the first guy)

First guy:              (Affably) Yes!

Second guy:       And you ‘labored’ your way through the ‘swamp’ to reach here just because you were getting bored?

First guy:              (With the same zeal) Yes! And because I knew there would be electricity here.

Second guy:         How did you know there would be electricity here?

First guy:              Well, they have a different PMT for this area. I hook up the ‘kunda’ for my place from this very line. (Looks at the barber and winks at him with a smirk)

Second guy:         (Confused) So you didn’t hook up your ‘kunda’ today?

First guy:              Of course I did. But my cable operator doesn’t do that. So, I couldn’t watch TV.

Second guy:       Right! So, don’t you think the electricity crisis in the city may also have something to do with the ‘kunda’ culture that we have. I mean they do announce that areas with electricity theft and low recovery will experience load shedding.

First guy:              That’s all bullshit! How is my ‘kunda’ theft?

Second guy:         (Baffled) How is it not?

First guy:              It is theft when no one pays for the electricity I consume, right?

Second guy:          (Keenly) Yes…

First guy:              Well, I’m already over-charged for the units I consume legally. They can deduct the amount for the units I consume through my ‘kunda’ from there. The day they stop looting the consumers, all problems will be solved.

Second guy:         So, it is there fault completely?

First guy:              It sure is. The whole ‘Gormint’ is at fault. They can manage nothing properly. They’re just interested in getting their pockets filled. I mean, just look at these guys from the building control authority for instance.

Second guy:        What about them?

First guy:              I built an extra floor at my place and the day the whole floor got completed, they came over with their team to demolish it. They claimed that it was illegal.

Second guy:          Was it?

First guy:               So what if it was! I gave them what they wanted when I got the layout approved for it.

Second guy:          So you knew it was illegal and you still went ahead with it?

First guy:              That’s not the problem. The problem is that they knew what was happening all along and yet they didn’t say a word until it was all complete. They knew I had nowhere to go after that. Bloody blackmailers!

Second guy:          So, the problem lies with them, you say?

First guy:              Oh! So what do YOU think? It’s my fault?

Second guy:       (Retreating) Oh no! Why would I think that? Why would I possibly think that?

First guy:              See! They have crooks in disguise of ‘gormint’ officials. They can’t swallow the fact that someone can earn a little from their own assets.

Second guy:        Earn?

First guy:             Yeah! Someone must have tipped them off about me.

Second guy:       Tipped them off about you… building the extra floor?

First guy:             No, about me selling off portions of my house.

Second guy:       (Takes a look at the grinning barber who was busy clipping off another customer’s hair) Oh, boy! You sold off portions of your house. How many?

First guy:              I made 6 portions- sold 5 of them. Had to keep one for myself too, u know. (Chuckles)

Second guy:       So, you made 6 portions in a 120 sq. yard house and sold 5 of them. Impressive!

First guy:             (With excitement that had arrogance written all over it) Isn’t it? I can get you in touch with the contractor who did it. The guy can make Burj Khalifa over an Eighty Sq. Yard plot.

Second guy:       (As if he had heard enough) No, thanks. I’m good.  I think I should leave now. I will probably come back some other time for the haircut. (Stands up and puts his hand on the barber’s shoulder to indicate that he’s leaving)

First guy:            There’s a marsh outside waiting for you, remember? A gift from the local authorities to the citizens of the ‘CITY OF LIGHTS’. A blend of rain and sewerage water. They can’t even clear the gutters of this city efficiently, for God’s sake!

Second guy:       (Turns around to the first guy with a look of annoyance this time) That’s probably because the gutters are working overtime already with people like you illegally building and selling off portions to settle multiple families in accommodations that should ideally house a single household. A sewerage line installed to cater a single family is being flooded with excessive waste on a permanent basis. But hey! That’s not your mistake either, is it?

First guy:            (Pretentiously surprised) You mean it is???

Second guy:       (Frustrated) Oh no! It is all the government’s fault. All of it! Just that everyone sitting in those government offices and helm of affairs are a reflection of who we are. You, and me, and everyone around us. The ones accepting bribes are as at fault as the ones offering it. People who are not doing their jobs properly of enforcing law are as at fault as those who are breaking it. I’m literally fed up with people whining all the time about everything being everybody else’s responsibility while they sit back and be a part of the very corrupt system they complain about.

First guy:            (As calm as a millpond) Take it easy, ‘Imran Khan’! Have a glass of water. Or should I order you a cold drink? You’re next in line for the haircut and if I had to swim back home through a swamp, I’d do it with a nice clean haircut. Especially after I’d waited for it for quite some time. (Looks around at the other men waiting for their turns with the most brazen of giggles)

Second guy:       (Sarcastic) Don’t worry about me. I’ll order a boat.

First guy:            Fine, suit yourself! They’ve got Peak Factors on these days on boats too, by the way! (Bursts into laughter as the second guy storms out of the barber’s shop)

 

Hammad A. Mateen

If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t

Think about your father, your brother, your son, your sister, your mother, your daughter, your grandchild, your uncle, your aunt, or any of the most closest relations that you may possibly have and consider close. Picture all of them in your mind with all the nicest memories you have of them till now. Recall all the moments where they’ve been there to comfort you- even if comforting meant to only have the knowledge that they’re there for you.

Say your brother’s name once… Now your sister’s name… Now your child’s.

What was the last thing you said to your brother? What did you tell your son when you saw him last? Come on! Try recalling. Even if it was minutes ago.

Now imagine if I tell you that all these loved ones of yours just passed away in an accident or an act of terror that just lasted for a few seconds. Yes! You no longer have your father, brothers, mother, wife, daughter or son. You’ve lost all of them together.

Now say all those names again and tell yourself that they are DEAD. Never to be seen walking around the house, talking to you, laughing with you, crying with you, teasing you, or comforting you ever again.

This is how it is to the surivors of those who pass away in incidents where the news goes like: “5 members of the same family killed in the incident.” News that hardly means anything to us as we casually move on to the next news item without feeling the slightest of compassion for the deceased or their survivors. Forget about compassion, we’re probably not even consciously thankful to God that it wasn’t us in their place.

We’ve belittled the value of human life in our minds so much that we only consider ourselves and those whom we consider our own as humans. We’re comfortable in leaving it to God to take care of the rest of mankind but that too after God takes care of us in a manner that we deem fit.

A few years back, a friend’s cousin met with a road accident and required blood urgently. Upon receiving the message from that friend of mine I quickly spread the word in my circle of influence in order to make an attempt to arrange the required blood type quickly. A mutual friend of ours texted me back asking who the blood was required for. When I gave him the details he was very quick to respond in a manner that boiled my own blood quite instantly. He highlighted the fact that our friend (and therefore his cousin by that connection) belonged to a different sect. He also questioned me whether I was sure about asking people to donate blood for someone from another background.

I was flabbergasted at his response to say the least. All I could come up with in response to this was a simple question: What would you do if you find someone bleeding on the road requiring urgent medical attention? Would you take him to the hospital immediately or run a background check first confirming which religion, sect or group the person belongs to before deciding your next course of action?

Although his response was far less offensive to my surprise but since that day every time I recall the same question, I end up questioning myself for asking that question in the first place. I mean, let’s be honest here with ourselves. How many of us would even stop at the sight of a bleeding person on the road? Not many. Fortunately enough, the time hasn’t come yet when I could sadly yet confidently state ‘none of us’ in response to this very difficult question. But still, the continuously deteriorating situation is not something to write home about as far as compassion is concerned in our society.

Why does it have to take someone who is our own to make us feel the pain? Why has empathy been reduced to merely a topic that corporate trainers & motivational speakers charge huge sums to lecture about in workshops & training sessions? Why does blood have to be treated as blood only when it comes out of us?

All lives have to end one day. Some later than others. If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t. Not because they don’t like reading what I write, but because they’re simply not alive anymore to do so.

Value life, and not just yours but every other human being alive. For every man and woman no matter what religion, sect, caste, group or ethnicity they belong to, and no matter how irrelevant they may be to you, they are someone’s own. Just like your parents, siblings, spouse or any other loved one, the mere thought of whose separation till the life hereafter absolutely sends shivers down your spine.

Hammad A. Mateen

Rationality- a facade

Rationality is such a facade- a getaway that is as equal in magnitude as fantasy. The desire to be pragmatic is as incomprehensible as the yearning to achieve something ideal. Who defines rationality? Isn’t it defined by the very set of people who reject it under different circumstances. Why is a revolutionist always an idealist and why are the followers always ordinarily rational afterwards?

Photo Courtesy: https://ak8.picdn.net

Why is there always light at the end of the tunnel? Why do we always crave for light? Is it because it opens our eyes to what’s in front of us? If so, then why do we fall? Why is darkness not hope for the ordinary to achieve something new? Is it because we are afraid? Afraid of ourselves of coming across something in the dark that may feel like our own yet it may not turn out to be something acceptable to those outside in the light. Why is ‘normal’ normal? Who decides what brings us out of our misery? Who decides if misery is misery?

Evolution is inevitable. But is evolution really moving forward? What if it’s merely travelling back in time? Why do we make mistakes when everything that happens has happened before and that too countless times with countless people, many of whom live to tell the tale and warn those who come after them?

Is reality a fantasy- or is it the other way round? Bleak memories of our past surround us like wolves that threaten to tear us apart with the slightest movement of our muscles. Yet we know we have to keep moving. Growls of these wolves keep frightening our souls as our bodies sleep dead and wake up alive every passing night and day hoping for a future that is placid and free from all worries- a fantasy that we choose to pursue in a rational world.

How naive is man!

Hammad A. Mateen

سانس لینے کی اجازت مل جایئگی ؟

beard

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دین کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! طالبان۔

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دنیا کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! ڈِسکو مولوی۔

“دنیا: “تم نے ڈاڑھی کیوں رکھی ہے؟

“داڑھی والا آدمی: “سنت کی محبت میں۔

“دنیا: “اوہو!!! ہمیں تو جیسے ہے ہی نہیں سنت سے محبت۔ ہم تو کافر ہیں نہ؟

                                                                                  “دنیا: “اوۓ! تھوڑی ٹرم کرلے اسے، انسان لگے گا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! مونچھ کہاں گئی تیری؟ تو تبلیغی ہے؟

                                                                               “دنیا: “اوۓ!! پہلے حرکتیں ٹھیک کرلیتا پھر داڑھی رکھتا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کے جھوٹ بولتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکی سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا” “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکے سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ واش روم جاتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ جینز پہنتا ہے؟

                                                                                             “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ شادی کرتا ہے؟

                                                                                                         “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ سانس لیتا ہے

براۓ مہربانی داڑھی والے کو بھی اپنی طرح کا انسان سمجھیں اور اسکی غلطی پر خود مولوی بن کر اسکے لئے فتوے دینے سے اجتناب برتیں۔

!بہت شکریہ

اللہ پاک ہم سب کو ہدایت عطا فرمایئں۔۔۔ آمین

Do you want change?

We all want to make a difference and turn this country around on its head putting it on a path that leads to development, prosperity and overnight success. Some of us want to do it by taking to the streets, some are still exploring avenues and platforms from where they can create ‘impact’, others are thinking why this country isn’t changing despite their utmost efforts put in the drawing room discussions that they so regularly become part of. But have we thought of starting to make a difference by taking small steps instead of huge lunges.

If asked, ‘Do you want change?’ Most of us will say, ‘Yes!’

But if we are asked, ‘Do YOU want to change?’ We will not be so quick in responding in the affirmative.

Do we think about starting from ourselves and mending our own ways by dealing with the minor infractions and habits that we’ve become so accustomed to in our daily lives? Take it from me, a societal change is only possible when all pieces that constitute the society are in place and coherently moving in the right direction. Those pieces are us, the citizens of this country and members of the society.

change

So, let’s start from ourselves and start making a difference by:

  1. Being punctual to work
  2. Giving way to others on the road
  3. Respecting & following the traffic signals
  4. Accepting your mistake and saying ‘Sorry’
  5. Turning off the water tap while brushing teeth
  6. Carpooling wherever possible
  7. Exchanging gifts with colleagues, friends & family
  8. Praising your spouse
  9. Learning to say ‘Thank you’
  10. Turning off the AC & lights when leaving the room
  11. Doing regular ‘Sadqah’
  12. Spending time with your parents
  13. Appreciating your co-workers
  14. Stop saying ‘this is not my job’
  15. Saying hello to old friends
  16. Stop backbiting other people
  17. Starting to think from the other person’s perspective rather than your own every time
  18. Minding your own business when you’re required to
  19. Keeping your tongue in control and refrain from hurting others
  20. Being honest yet respectful towards others
  21. Accepting others for who they are
  22. Not wasting food
  23. Sending food platters to neighbors
  24. Stop procrastinating, especially at work
  25. Being thankful to ALLAH for all that He’s given you

These are just 25 of the hundreds of small but good deeds that have an impact that spreads like a fission chain reaction. Revolutions start from individuals and unless we become that what we expect our society to become, nothing is going to change.

Think about it!

Hammad A. Mateen

Letter of Resignation

Jobs these days they say are hard to find and once you’ve found one, it is recommended that you hold on to it like you’re holding on for your dear life. People do all kinds of things to keep their jobs. From playing politics to licking the boss’s boots and from lobbying to seduction, there’s a lot that goes on at workplaces.

But what are the factors that lead to someone finally deciding to part ways from an organization or resign from a job?

In the light of my limited professional exposure, I would like to share with you the 3 most important factors that help you decide whether you stay with your current employer or not.

Here they are:

Your Boss:

Your relationship with the person to whom you report to is undoubtedly important. Apart from the fact that this is the person who would eventually be rating you for your performance at the end of the year, this relationship holds immense significance when it comes to you being motivated enough to perform at your best on a daily basis. I’ve seen examples where bosses have led from the front and become inspiration for their teams and team members work towards achieving boss-mugbigger and better results each and every time and even look up to and aspire to be like their boss one day. Examples where bosses become mentors and teachers and train you to take their position. In such cases, bosses and subordinates make vertical progress in organizations together in a clean, productive manner.

I’ve also seen examples where bosses become so insecure of their own team members that they start feeling threatened with respect to their own jobs. This leads to them putting their personal interests in front of organizational goals defying principles of leadership. Such bosses end up pulling down their own team members and exposing them in front of others in order to get rid of them.

Another scenario is when your boss just won’t like you. No matter what you do and how well you perform at work, this person would never be impressed simply because he does not like you. This may be because of your skin color, ethnicity, the neighborhood from where you come from, gender (in many cases), personal, educational or professional background or the car in which you come to work daily. It can be anything. And unless he/ she doesn’t get you replaced by someone of his/ her choice, things are not likely to get better.

Your Team:

Your team comprises of both your peers and your subordinates at the workplace. To say that your team is your 2nd family wouldn’t be wrong by any means as you end up spending more time with them in the week than your people at home. Family harmony here is also as critically important as it is in case of your first family. One needs to be unperturbed mentally in order to perform his/ her duties efficiently at work and the team plays an important role in that. team

Teams can make life both easy and difficult for you and even have an impact on your future at the organization. If all goes well, teams inspire you and help bring out the best in you by moving together and helping each other out enabling both performance and learning at the same time. Good teams comprise of members who are active, positive, passionate and ever ready to support other members.

On the other hand, teams that do not work in a well-coordinated manner often end up getting you in a quagmire, escape from which can become both stressful and challenging. Office politics is to organizations as rice is to biryani. Teams contaminated with politics in excess amounts though result in tense working environments that are hazardous for both individuals and organizations as most of the energies are spent in achieving short term negative goals. The situation at times becomes so bad that stepping into the office feels like entering a swamp where each step needs to be taken while being careful of not being eaten up by crocodiles and alligators.

Your Salary:

Whatever anybody says about their intentions of joining an organization in the capacity of an employee, one cannot deny the importance of their salary. That, at the end of the day is the main reason why people step out of their homes to work in the first place (unless your Dad owns the organization or you are sufficiently rich already and are only looking for a time pass).

Pay checks act as a monthly fuel to your engine and keep you going and if paid well may also serve as a motivation. For some, pay checks are the only reason why they keep sticking to a particular job. This of course requires one to have either succumbed to domestic responsibilities and demands or to have had a severe dip in self-esteem. Whichever way one looks at it, salary is undeniably an important factor. When I talk about salary, I intend to cover the complete perks and benefits also associated with it.

resignation

The Combinations:

Considering the above mentioned factors and their significance, the decision to either stay in a job or move on has a lot to do with them. In my humble opinion, a combination of any 2 factors out of the 3 is sufficient enough for one to decide his/ her future with an organization.

Let’s elaborate the combinations:

Boss & Team:

Salary, not matter how good it is, matters the least when both your boss and your team are after your life and every day at work seems like spending 8 hours in hell with a lunch break included. What do you do? Either give your self-esteem a tranquilizer every day and come to work only thinking that you’ve sold it for an amount transferred to your account on a monthly basis called ‘Salary’, or you take a decision and start googling ‘sample resignation letters’.

Boss & Salary:

There’s no good in having a supportive bunch of sub-ordinates and colleagues around when your boss doesn’t appreciate your work and instead keeps pulling you down all the time. The decision to part ways with your current organization may come very easy to you in case you aren’t paid well there either. Of course, your boss won’t be much of an assistance in giving you a raise so there’s no point sticking around hoping that your team will submit a signed petition asking the organization to change your boss and giving you a raise.

Salary & Team:

Any professional boss will only be good with you until you keep producing the desired results. No matter how good your relationship is with your boss, your bonding with the team is something that will eventually get you results. A good boss and a supportive team may help you overcome your woes regarding you being overworked or underpaid. But a bad team and a low salary is not something that a boss can help you out with very effectively. Especially when a raise in salary depends upon the results you produce working along the very team that will do everything it can to make sure you are seen in bad light.

Disclaimer:

The factors and combinations mentioned in this piece are strictly based on my personal observations and professional experience and does not compel readers to agree with them. These of course are exclusive of factors and circumstances that involve unethical incidents, wrongdoings, misconducts or compromising on principles in either of which case neither of the above mentioned combinations or factors may necessarily be applicable and it will come down to an individual’s values, judgement and the strength to take a decision.

Hammad A. Mateen

DNA Dilemma

The most ironic part of parenting is where deep down inside parents do not want their children to become like them when they grow up. There’s no harm in thinking that way as usually all parents have purely good intentions attached to this wish. They want their children to become better human beings than they are. They want them to become more successful in life. It is generally a pack of all deficiencies parents see in their lives which they wish not to be part of their children’s future.

The interesting part here is the fact that we do not want to work on these deficiencies ourselves. In some cases, we might not even see most of them as deficiencies and may even be proud of them but would still not want our children to inherit them. It is a vicious cycle that we are all part of. Some of us conscious about it and the rest not.

Remember the time when we were growing up? The time when ideals were made in our minds. A teacher who touched our hearts, aHappy Familyn uncle with a macho attitude or an elder cousin who could do anything he wants with such great confidence. These are all examples of people who effect our minds and shape our personalities without us even knowing. We look up to them, copy them and want to be like them. Each one of us has a personality contaminated with elements of characteristics from our ideals. The biggest problem with that starts when we lose the sense of what’s right and wrong while blindly following these idols.

Human beings inherit a lot from their parents and ancestors. The DNA not only carries details about physical appearance and characteristics but also holds strong information about how a person will think, react and behave under certain circumstances. This is what basically forms the foundation of our personality when we are growing up. Call it our ‘default setting’. What makes us different from other living creatures though is the gift of intellect from God that enables us and gives us the option of overwriting certain settings inherited from the DNA and form our own personality.

This is where judgement comes into the picture. The sense of knowing what’s right and wrong while being completely detached from any prejudice or bias. We can all never be perfect, neither were our ancestors. To convince ourselves that we’re imperfect is the most difficult step. Of course, all of us agree that nobody is perfect but we actually don’t really count ourselves when we say it. The fabric of tradition and obedience with which our society is so closely knit sometimes does not allow us to explore anything outside it. Neither does it allow to test the fabric itself with time, religion or technology.

Many of us know about some of our habits that are not correct. In terms of the vicious cycle I was referring to earlier, many of us even know some of our parents’ and our children’s habits that are incorrect. We are usually proud of them for that and blame it solely (still not seriously) on the DNA.

  1. ‘O look! He’s so stubborn just like his Grandpa!’
  2. ‘She only does what she wants just like her mother. No point in telling her anything.’
  3. ‘He’s always late. Like father like son.’

For our children, we don’t take it seriously until it becomes a pain for ourselves when they start developing such habits permanently. In case of our elders, we just can’t find the courage and words to correct them in a polite manner. In fact, we aren’t even honest enough to ourselves to accept that anything they do can be incorrect. The purpose of this post in no way is to entice disobedience towards our elders. It is rather an effort to open our eyes to what is right and what is wrong not from an ancestral point of view but from a ‘religiously-correct’ contemporary perspective.

It is perfectly fine not to bring to notice of our elders some of their habits which may not be appropriate (from a contemporary point of view only). At the same time, it is extremely important to look at ourselves critically and explore if any of these habits exist in our own systems. The best we can do is be honest with ourselves and eliminate habits that we do not want our children to inherit. Besides, our parents probably didn’t want us to become like them in the first place.

You may be short-tempered like your father but that is certainly nothing to be proud of, neither would you want your children to become that way. People may love your child being stubborn just like you but that’s not something to be pleased about if you don’t want your child to grow up and become that way.  So, what do you do? You work on yourself for this. Do not expect your children to be better than you without telling them what’s better. The best way of ‘telling’ is ‘showing’ what you mean by ‘doing’ it yourself. There are more chances of them learning from what you practice than from what you preach.

Hammad A. Mateen

A Cracked Society

We live in a discriminated civilization and our ill fate is that discrimination is the foundation of our society. Religion, region, race, language, color, development, education, economics and a lot more form the slabs of segregation throughout this global civilization.

As far as religion is concerned, differentiation is understandable but it should still not be mistaken for discrimination. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc. all support individual rights of their followers and strictly discourage discrimination. Hinduism however has a caste system for which there certainly are issues where Dalits are considered untouchable by the Brahmans for which their justification is that all this is mentioned in their Shastras (Holy books). The Indian constitution discourages this attitude and protects individual rights.

Discrimination however does not end here, there’s a lot more to it. When I look around myself and carefully observe the society I am a part of, I can see many facets of discrimination.

For instance, when parents look for a bride for their son, they do not want a widow or a divorced woman as their daughter-in-law no matter how young the available option is. Their first and mostly the only choice is an unmarried- or as they call it an ‘untouched’ girl. Islam has no prohibition on a girl getting remarried after she has gotten a divorce or if her first husband dies, but our society has formed its own laws and prohibitions. They may however compromise if the widow or divorcee was to be a green card holder or the lone heiress of an empire.

Same is the case in academics and professions, engineers and doctors supersede all other professionals; that is what people know about these two professions, what they don’t know is that even within these two professions there is discrimination. There are good engineers & doctors and then there are the bad ones. In college, the ones who get better grades are good engineers, no matter what means they use to get those good grades. Conceptual learning is not really encouraged until it bears marks.

Professionally, the one who earns more is a good engineer. Same implies when people look for a son-in-law, the first choice is a doctor or engineer, and the second step is to choose an engineer or doctor who earns more than his contemporaries. I read a very interesting but true SMS a few days ago, which said: “He looks for a woman with a good past and she looks for a man with a good future.”

When we look at our family structure itself, we won’t be surprised to see discrimination there also. Most parents prefer and pray to have boys rather than girls whenever a new born is expected. When the result doesn’t match their expectation or liking, the poor girls have to bear the grudge for their very existence throughout their lives by being denied the independence and freedom of expression which their opposite gender may enjoy from their birth till the day they die.

Families more inclined towards religion exercise the discrimination in a way that the daughters have to strictly obey Islamic traditions by doing proper ‘parda’ (veil or abaya) and keep their lips sealed when it comes to making any choice, be it choosing a degree, friend or even a groom. The sons in the family however are free to make their choices. They are the ones who’ll be responsible for carrying the family name forward in the form of a new generation; they are the family’s pride. Unlike the strict obedience of Islamic laws, traditions and rituals which their sisters have to adhere to, they have a far more relaxed environment provided by the parents. They aren’t generally forced to grow beards or adhere to Islamic rituals like their sisters are compelled to do ‘parda’, they aren’t asked too much about what they do and who they hang out with, they are given the freedom to choose their degrees, professions and even life partners.

Parents get away by stating how naughty their son is when they’re told that he has several girlfriends. The situation is different however when they even hear a slight rumor about their daughter having a male friend.

I do not intend to challenge the true Islamic laws and traditions in any way but the same Islamic laws and traditions also do not allow men to live a life that is no-holds-barred.

I also understand that a lot is happening in our society in the name of equality and modernization that is totally unjustifiable and absurd. But still, the dilemma mentioned above is a reality which we must accept.

Now let’s come to those who use the term ‘equal rights’ in a completely different manner, the upper class and ultra-modern segment of our society.  They look down upon anyone and everyone who has a weaker monetary backbone than theirs. It’s a brand conscious segment of society where discrimination is based upon Ray ban, Gucci, Prada and Armani.

I’m not sure how to conclude this piece as there doesn’t seem to be an end to this discrimination in our society. The cracked society we are part of has so many pieces which I have failed to look upon this time. Maybe I’ll have to write more someday, maybe I’ll have to cry more.

Hammad A. Mateen