Posts Tagged youth

Social media: Good, bad and the ugly

2 October 2011

By Raza Rumi:

Despite the threats and risks, the Internet has provided a useful platform for people-to-people contacts. It has also facilitated issue-based engagement among South Asians and is likely to generate a more realistic understanding of the bitter rivals that are India and Pakistan

The creeping foray of social media into the Pakistani society is a tale, which cannot be ignored. In a country marked by political repression and constraints on free speech, the arrival of social media is a fundamental shift that will gradually unfold in the years to come. At present, it is too early to make any definitive judgment; however, this may be a part of the transformational moment in Pakistan.

Deregulation of electronic media took place nearly a decade ago in Pakistan and is altering the power-sharing arrangements among the elites. The media barons are now influential power-brokers, with unprecedented leverage available (more…)

Beyond censorship

6 June 2010
The youth of Pakistan give one hope that they will not accept the formulas crafted by the ancien regime

Pakistan is a captive country. Since the Partition, its ruling elites have used a self-serving version of ‘Islam’ to control a secular and pluralistic society. In particular, the ghost of General Ziaul Haq thrives in the polity and fashions institutional behaviour. Since the 1980s, discriminatory laws against women, minorities and ‘blasphemy’ — have further fractured the society. General Musharraf tried to reverse the tide of Islamism after a decade of ineffectual civilian governments, but it was perhaps too late by then. In the twenty-first century, when democracy has been restored, many Pakistanis had hoped that the dark shadows of authoritarianism and its bedfellow, the militant Islamism, would recede. It seems that there is a long way to go before such hopes come true.
Censorship is nothing new either. We are a country that banned Fatima Jinnah’s speech on radio when she criticised the military takeover by Ayub Khan. The rest is history — Ayub Khan banned newspapers and Ziaul Haq punished errant journalists and publications. Even Bhutto could not resist censoring portions of Fatima Jinnah’s memoir entitled, My Brother where Jinnah’s critical remarks on Liaqat Ali Khan’s intentions and other stalwarts of Pakistan movement could not be published, always in the name of Islam and national interest.

No priests needed – search of a Pakistani identity

27 January 2010

Raza Rumi  wonders why we remain in search of a Pakistani identity

Half-truths are what we love to indulge in. One of the countless crimes committed by President Asif Ali Zardari is that he wears a Sindhi cap instead of a Jinnah cap. That by preferring a Sindhi topi and thundering at the occasion of late Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary, he undermined his Pakistani identity, is truly mystifying. After all, what is a Pakistani identity and why is the Jinnah cap being elevated to the level of an article of national faith?

If anything, Mr Jinnah’s patronage of Muslim identity mark was an afterthought. His usual attire was a well-tailored pucca-sahib-like suit. It was only in the nineteen forties and that too close to India’s independence that Mr Jinnah started donning the Muslim nobility’s attire.

So what is this fuss all about? Constructing Pakistan’s ideology based on theological interpretation of a universal religion like Islam has been a carefully executed project of the Pakistani establishment and its shadows in the non-state domains. Such cliques have grown bigger, mushroomed and are now essential to our lived reality. Therefore lambasting of Zardari on not sporting a Jinnah cap finds public resonance and broad acceptability within the populous Punjab province where the Urdu press flourishes and finds readers and writers aplenty. (more…)

The dilemma of an educated [Indian] Muslim youth

27 September 2008

Saif Khalid, a patriotic Indian writes here on the predicament of those who want to stay away from the missions, the purges and typecasting of Indian media:

Terrorists once again played with deadly bombs in Delhi on September 13, bringing the usual destruction of life and property. By now, we Indians have become quite accustomed to death and destruction — man made or natural.

My very first reaction was: Will it be Indian Mujahideen (IM) once again? Within minutes of the blasts IM claimed it was behind the savagery. I felt like crying and shouting from the rooftop that whatever the terrorists have done in the name of Islam was wrong; that I am an Indian, who also happens to be a Muslim. I would not rejoice at the bleeding of my very own countrymen.

Civil Service is no longer an alluring career for Pakistan’s youth

7 July 2008

The captioned article of mine appeared in News on Sunday a week ago. I was quite glad to note that the NEWS wrote an editorial on this subject and picked up a few concerns highlighted in my longer piece. I have reproduced it at the end of this post.

A little news item that appeared a few weeks ago was ignored by our all-knowing analysts and TV channels. Reportedly, the Federal Public Service Commission failed to recruit all the vacancies that were advertised for the CSS competitive examination held in 2007. Out of 290 available posts, the number of successful candidates in the 2007 CSS competition was merely 190, leaving almost 100 vacancies unoccupied.

In the photo above Founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah is seen talking to Pakistani Civil Servants (circa 1947)

Last year, too, the government could not get enough number of successful CSS candidates to fill in the available posts and 47 vacancies could not be filled. Such instances have occurred before but given the state of unemployment this is, to put it mildly, shocking.

The truth of the matter is that entering the civil service is no longer an alluring career option for the talented young men and women of this country. Perhaps, the greatest damage to the attractiveness of the civil service came in the wake of the devolution plan that rendered the most coveted service group — District Management Group – unpalatable. Within days, the district administrators had no prescribed career-paths and that they had to be subservient to small time political cronies of the central political elites. (more…)

Delhi and Lahore – globalised fads and trends

3 June 2008

This piece of mine appeared in the Hindustan Times yesterday. An accidental piece it was, written on the request of a friend during my recent stopover in Delhi.

Delhi-Lahore hip factor

Be it Khan Market or MM Alam Road,  life for young guns in both Delhi and Lahore is a blend of cafe culture, cool music and retail nirvana

A Pakistani like me who is visiting Delhi cannot help but identify the commonalities between the Indian capital and Lahore. The climate, the predominant Punjabi influence, the urban chaos and indeed the quest for a good life are as shared as the centuries of mixed history.

In Delhi, these ingredients are packaged into a single space, loved and mourned in equal measure, the Khan Market. Its swanky cafes, retail outlets spell out a comfortable sense of the plentiful. A trip to Bahri Booksellers is essential to check on the new, profound and banal book titles. Step out of the book-zone, walk around and you see young men and women holding hands and out to buy a little dose of happiness from the upmarket retail stores. New frames for glasses, an array of pret-a-porter garments and of course cafes where one can lounge while sipping an exotic coffee brew with a fancy cake. Barista is a favourite of mine with its neo-modernity ambiance and an ample variety to select from. If Barista is crowded, one turns to Cafe Turtle. Wi-fi access is available in these places along with soft music and trendy customers, whose snazzy mobile telephones rest silently on clean little tables. Connectivity is another facet of the global search for fulfillment.

In Khan Market cafes, one reminisces about similar haunts in Lahore. The MM Alam Road there is now a bustling venue for stylish cafes and restaurants that are popular hangouts for the youth defying the silly stereotypes of Pakistan. Men and women converse in their designer jeans about the world, quite unaware of the residual violence of the war on terror on the Pak-Afghan border. The Coffee & Tea Company is hugely popular. Another joint, Massom, a pancake lounge, sells mouth-watering desserts with coffee brews and plays cool music as one plunges into leather sofas to chill. Places such as Cafe Zouk, Hobb-Nobbs, Jamin Java continue to lure the hip Lahorites.
Since globalisation’s onslaught on Pakistan, Lahore’s traditional love for eating out has transformed into a fusion culture bonanza. The Hot Spot Cafe, Little Italy, Cafe Aylanto and The Dish have emerged as havens of cross-continental culinary blending. Young women drive alone to meet up with friends at these places; and hordes of teens are seen flocking to the Pizza Huts, McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.

While the affluent have these arenas, the underclass youth, both in Lahore and Delhi, finds its own recreational spaces in Carom and Snooker clubs, sleazy internet cafes with loads of porn, the weekly trips to parks; and the occasional sojourns to police lock ups. Life goes on. Globalization has something to offer to everyone.