academic freedom!(?)

erasing academic freedom_0

for long our center of discussion remained the system of education being so weak. so weak to obstruct our progress. that it with all its frailties is unable to provide any room for free exchange of ideas. that it is incapable of producing minds of great intellect. that the system is eroded to even carry the burden of critical thinking. that academic freedom as a consequence to the system being so meek and feeble is bound to have its very existence threatened.

so what we did? we firmly believed that the depravity in educational field is what the normal condition looks likes. so the struggle against the depravity against the ailment passed for it being normal. hence we made it the scapegoat. there were a consolation in making it a scapegoat. why your country so backward? lack of education. why no progress in science? lack of education. why so poor? lack of education. why religious extremism? lack of education. why why why. lack of education. lack of education freaking lack of education. like the stone wall concept of dosteovsky. the wall that is blamed because we havent learned to question its existence at first place. because we were not made to think otherwise.

and what happens when you question the wall? it may not be able to break apart but the reasons behind its existence comes in question. and when you know the reasons you know who is responsible. you know at least who should be held accountable.

youll know at least the system is not weak but devised and designed to produce cripple minds. that it is not eroded but conditioned to wear off our creativity. that the system is not by any means incapable or unable but simply unwilling and reluctant to leave any room for academic freedom. that no system is stunted by default unless it is made for that very purpose.

ustaad chomsky calls it the indoctrination of the young. where the sole purpose and function of education is to produce obedient and conformist generation. a generation with no thought of its own. of no creativity of its own. no ideology of its own. or to put simply in more general terms to impose authority. so it is not questioned. and challenged and threatened and thrown off.

because if you let people have their independent thought theyll break away the shackles of enslavement. and subjugation. if people were given chance to question. theyll question your stupidity first. if theyre given freedom to challenge ideas. theyll challenge your conflicted ideology first. if theyre given unrestrained academic freedom theyll make the very base on which the grand power empire is built waver.

look at our own state. from distorted history sketched in curriculum and flawed teaching methodology to the terrible state of infrastructure. from arresting students for peaceful protests to forcing scholars to leave their institutes for their political views underscores the grave reality of the times we are living in. that the price for academic freedom is no less than coercion. we have seen what they did to sabeen. to mashal. to junaid hafeez. we know the people they are after. we know the reason. the pattern. that the tale of people exercising their fundamental rights ends with no happy endings. and that our sacred land is tainted by these tales.

yet the majority of our people. people who still have their conscience intact remain silent. that silence by every sense of it too is political. but since it strengthens the hands of those in power so it makes no difference to them. silence that is either borne out of fear or hopelessness would then acts as the foundation stone to the edifices of injustices towering higher than the moral grounds. and we come again to dostoeveskys stone wall. you know who to blame now.

 

 

scribbling

ever met with people who when speak it feels like poems are fluttering through them? poems in colors. crimson emerald sapphire rustic poems. colors in full bloom. wholesome and hearty. an orchard of poems. scattered around.

people when they walk it feels like poetry is on stroll. on an evening walk. poetry written on exile. poems created in exile. poems wrapped in melancholy. drenched with longings. swollen in anguish. coming back to home with utmost pride. poems that cost so much anger and pain and suffering to even imagine.

people when write their prose turns to poetry. voluntarily. effortlessly. naturally. rhythms. rhymes musicality filled in spaces. spaces between words where poetry is born. spaces between words where poetry is matured. voluntarily. effortlessly. naturally. so much to envy and steal. so much to take from them. so much to emulate.

have you seen people like baldawin speak. have you seen baldawin speaking. when he spoke his eyes brightened up a little more than usual. the radiance of his eyes tend to illuminate the aura around him. fearlessness. so much conviction. when he spoke he made other listen. and think. he made people lose the eye contact with their conscience. he made people feel ashamed of their history. he made them afraid of the coming times. no matter how much troubled and messed up his world was. the harmony in his thoughts in his words in his utterances remain something to learn. to steal. to emulate. to envy.

have you read people like derwish. poets of exile. who carried with them their cities. their streets. and nourished them with the air of longing. they carried with them resistance that made them leave homes. homes they never had. homes they can never have. homes they searched for the rest of their lives. and they carried with them their history. history that was distorted yet saved by them by their memory. through their poetry. and they carried with them their people. and they carried with them torment and distress of their people. and they carried with them the tortured skies of their people. and they carried themselves and their dreams and their poetry on the road to exile. for their people.

have you read essays on freedom and resistance. on defiance. on liberty. some got killed for writing them. many by acting upon them. written centuries ago. but remain so viscerally relevant even today. word to word. a commentary on the life and history of our forefathers. a commentary on our recent past. a commentary on our present state. a commentary on the inherently brutal attributes of human race.

even though our battle is different. our reasons are different. yet the struggle for identity remains same. the homeland we are born in. our parents born in. countries we have our hands in building. the soil in which we buried our people. people whose blood spilled to nourish its soil. people who owe so much to their country so much been settled. yet they. their country in its reality with its huge spaces still remain to be filled has absolutely in any way possible not even the tiniest place for us to live on.

and who are we even. if not the offspring of oppression. if not dreams nourished in vengeance. if not rage in its entirety. if not hearts severed from body. if not identity-less beings looking for refuge. if not tales of abandonment tinted with bitterness. if not all of these.

we dont know how to remain silent. we no longer know how to make things look pretty. to keep writing poetry to adorn their skies. poetry in harmony. poetry on stroll. poetry fluttering. or how to keep us from putting you under scrutiny. to stop holding you accountable. we dont know how to make your oppression look presentable. how to filter your hate. and ugliness. we dont know how to filter our rage. our language. its not our job to make you feel comfortable. to purify and beautify your tainted history and images. our job is to read the life and works of baldawin and malcolm x and toni morrison and brecht and dostoevsky and achebe and faiz and jalib and derwish and agha shahid and manto and arundhati and their likes. thats our job. to amplify them. to magnify their struggles. our job is not to write for you. our job is to write to you. our job is not to cover up your oppression but to unveil it. our job is to make you realize of your mistakes. our job is not to let you repeat them. ever again.

every time a poet dies…

i wonder why with every passing day the world seems more distant. it gets unfamiliar with every sun passing away. with every rotation the earth feels more away from its axis. unable to stand. as if losing the balance. the ground. its solid ground that kept everything so intact. and everything gradually bit by bit falling apart.

the earth now feels in a constant state of mourning. like a widow. no like a mother.  who keeps losing her children. to circumstances unknown. to reasons unimagined. her healing hasnt started yet. because she hasnt stopped losing her kids yet. and theres no healing for her. theres never a healing for a mother who loses her children to circumstances unknown. to reason unimagined. theres only grief. grief that multiplies with time. grief that becomes her language then. mother language. grief of which now her house stands on. she doesnt call it home. it can never be a home. its something like a portal to suffering. a mere grief house. like her heart. and our earth. grief is her synonym now.

i dont know but death of a literary giant always hit differently. so close yet distant. what do we do with this feeling. that we cant put in words. words that have their own demise then. a funeral of words. stories. poetry. books. a funeral of literature. where the only word left alive to mourn is grief. it is bound to hit different and deep.

i dreamt of a gathering. so heavenly so divine. poets eveyrwhere. poets i read growing up. poets i studied growing up. omer rumi hafez khusro fareed waris bhulleh shah and their likes. exchanging wisdom. exchanging words with wisdom. faiz nasir sahir keats shelley derwish naguib agha shahid and their likes writing back to their lands. ode to their respective homes. yes homes they never had. there was rabia emily sylvia eliot  maya christina amrita weaving words with emotions.

it was so sublime. them all together. there were so many words lingering. but what remained so prominent was the aura they had. they all had. something beyond languages they had command on. beyond the nationalities they were born with. beyond any confinement of physical world.

what was there that kept them so united. i believe it was their grief. grief. that was their common language. grief. their nationality. grief. their home. their abode. grief they so heartily wore over their hearts. grief they wrote so eloquently. grief they walk down their streets with. grief they drank down the tea houses. grief their eyes were so accustomed to.

the world was slightly better a place with them. because they shared its grief. they were holding its weight. its burden. with them gone turning to stars. the earth has lost its balance. its grief has piled up so much that it made it lose its balance. every time a poet dies the earth dies a little more. it moves further way from the axis. it leaves the world off balance. breaks its harmony. its peace. its silence. every time a poet dies a language dies along. leaving the words hanging in the middle never to be read again. every time a poet dies the earth dies a little more.

 

 

 

 

 

discontinuous thoughts

you all care so much right. so much that it legit shows. rage i see everywhere. so many debates. discussions. endless. so much worry. so many experts. bashans. everywhere. analysis. putting things through into perspectives. until they seem understandable. statuses updated. talks about kindness. be kind. yar. you know. world needs it. kindness. be kind. someone has died. be kind to your family. be kind to your friends. be kind. be kind. be kind. shut the hell up. i swear shut the hell up. enough of it. enough of your ignorance. enough of your edgy tweets. your ‘im so devastated” ‘so shocked’ statuses. enough.

a life is lost. one less human. to walk on your mighty earth. to chase your dying sun. your starry nights. your starless skies. a human being. a human made realize how unworthy his life is. so unworthy to be taken away. just like that.

mental health is real. you needed someone to die for you to realize mental health is real. thats the least you could do. to stay silent if have nothing but mental health is real to say. do you not feel a bit idk how to say it appropriately for you but shame. do you not feel shame. to say it right after someone takes away their right to live. im gonna ask you again. do you not feel ashamed while typing it. mental health is real. do people really have to kill themselves to make you believe its real. or do you really have to announce it right after someone commits suicide. and you still have the audacity to complete your sentence with be kind. to hell with your be kind that serves the opposite purpose.

so done with ‘if you feel like talking, im here for you’ ‘ reach out’ ‘ a phone call away’. get out of your little bubbles. thats not how things work. you cant talk it away which is being nurtured and spreading so heartily within. Which has overcome all your senses. its like drowning. and you keep drowning until you give up. and you eventually give up. unless and until someone jumps in for you. pulls you back. drags you out. makes you stand on your feet again.

and o so supremely pious lot. the utter disgust to your respective religion. haraam. a thing so forbidden. nah. dont you even dare to mourn and what not. what else is haram in your religion? being human? or being considerate to others? or being kind? or being gentle? what else is haraam. give me your freaking forbidden list. reduce your religion to a forbidden list only. thats the real practice and purpose.

respect his freaking decision for yoir own sake yar. to take his own life. enough of your labels. he ended it all. for himself. for us. his life. his death is not a freaking recommended paper for your own thesis. his life is not a ground to explore the definition and explanation to lifes reality. his suicide is not a lab to test your hypotheses. his suicide was a murder. and you know who to blame. just stand before a mirror. youll get your answer.

They

Homeland.

At dawn they come
Preying on our dreams
And take away
Our starry nights

At noon
They snatch the pen we hold
And paper we write our poems on

When the sun fades
They come again
Rubbing the poetry
From prison walls

At dusk
They come searching the cell
What keeps us all
So free in cage
And find nothing
But our poems
In the end
Hesitant a bit
They ask for them
But we read them aloud
So loud to haunt their chains
Until they leave
Unable to stand
Our freedom prayer
And we keep our poems
Under the pillow
Until the starry night
Brings us back our fettered dream

the fading sky

i wrote my poems

to the fading sky

without missing

a day in vain

and waited for it

to write me back

until one day

i didnt send my poems anymore

a poetic vengeance

on the inkless sky

that never writes

i heard a shudder

up above

thundering

as if a poem burst

to a thousand words

and i heard the sky

pleading to write

lightening like never before

it rained like never before

i grabbed my pen

to jot a few thoughts

wrapped around

the dying hope

and wrote underneath

‘from aisha

the girl waiting

under the fading sky

to exchange poems’

and i waited

and kept waiting

until i stopped

this time

no thunder

no lightening

no rain

no pleading

to the shimmery moon

i pour my grievances

‘the fading sky

never reply’

to distant stars

i wrote the same

and waited until

i heard them say

‘your poems

made the sky shiver

and dried it out

and its ink to write

and memorized for you

many poems

but couldnt bear

to send them off

and couldnt bear

to keep them all

a small demise

of words

of poetry

occurred a day

your fading sky

has faded away’

letter to the boys playing in the street

hi

i saw you guys there. on the street while i was so immersed in my thoughts. there was something i couldnt comprehend. i cant comprehend. something so not normal. something so kind of making the heart ache kind of weird. what was there making me so feel the intensity of that moment so deeply i might never now. why was i so willing to give up everything left to me. everything. for you guys.

you all didnt even notice me. and why would you even care to. i was no more than a passerby. i should have passed by. i was the background of your canvas. everything for that moment became nothing. you guys were magnified right before me. so what else i had in my control then to keep staring at you. and i did. shamelessly i did.

oh dear what a sight it was. but i still cannot define it properly. something i still envy. something i cant have. something i want to have. something so pure. something so tinting my life. something so appealing. something so exotic. something so distant. something so maximized. something untamed. something worth living. something short lived. it was something. with capital letters.

you see. what you had i cant even put in words. and i wont even try to do so. it will lose everything that made it something. that is another weakling we grown ups have. we cant describe things. specifically the intimate ones. we roam in something all our lives. we are seeking something. something that adds meaning to our life. something that makes it worth living. or worth something. worth yours something.

you might be laughing why would i want your toys. thats what you think you own. something to envy. right. and thats exactly my answer. obviously not your toys lol. but your life. your art of not giving shit about life. about the passerby. about the background of your canvases. im may sound brutal. but thats what life did to us. and we werent like this. we dont want to be like this. but theres no going back. the cyclic rhythms of time wont be reversing. either you go with its pace losing everything you have. or you stay back to mourn losing everything you have. regardless of what you do. you eventually lose everything you have.

but you know what really aching me deep down. the fear of you all ending up as passerby like us. grown ups. that you too might end up as a background to someone elses canvas. that you too might be weighing your success with you being content that too when you are aware the latter amounts to nothing. zero.

i know you wont be paying head to it. why would you. everything is perfect. that sight. you. your life. you have life in your hands. you can beat the hell out of it if you want. you can make life beg you for hitting you where it hurt. you can make life compensate on your terms. you can do it and i would beg you to keep doing it. to let life realize of its mistakes. of its callousness. of its unjust and unfair means of vengeance. of its frailties. of it being so small to take away what keeps us afloat. make it very clear. very very clear. that even it comes hunting down preying upon what you have. that you will never let it have who you are. never. that would then amount to something. something with capital letters.

may life remain easy on you.

a passerby

 

 

tery ishq nachaya

he was so intoxicated. so enwrapped in love and pain and agony. so madly in love. it made him dance. twirl. but his wails appeared unmelodious. as though he didnt care. his speech remained without rhythms. he cared for none. he was there for a purpose. thats all he cared. to make things up. so he danced. and danced. and sang his wailings out. like a woman. like a peacock. until the world around him joins the chorus. until the chorus burst into oblivion. in trance. a background thing. where he kept spinning. kept humming. like a woman. like a peacock. calling from groves of passion.

many a time he was forced to leave inayat. his mentor. inayat. his inayat. his spiritual teacher. caste prejudice. a flower plucking gardener. to shallow a status. he eventually did. he left his master. his teacher. his inayat.

inayat pointed his folly and called him a lost. he didnt lose his inayat. he lost himself. his way. his path. his awakening. the reckoning.

he knew he lost what mattered. he knew he was wrong. he knew he made a mistake.

a havoc befell. turning his worlds crumble if not in ashes. this made him restless. the parting. leaving his soul in so much pain. in agony. he thought of ways to lure him back. to make him accept him back. inayat so fond of dancing made him learn it. he so ingrained it in his soul. perfected it for him. and came straight to inayats door. nor for a week. or for a month. or for a year. but for twelve years. twelve years of incessant dancing at inayats door that remained closed on him. until he started his laments. dressed up as woman. called himself a peacock. shunning the identity he was known for. the status that made him superior to inayat. dancing. the lowliest of lows. like a woman. worst. yet he was never so proud of him. what mattered there was inayat.

what he was to sing became the song of love. irrespective of place. of time. of gender. transcended across borders. across regions. across people. across everywhere the slightest fume of love still burns. where love still holds great reverence. where it is still celebrated. in memories long forgotten. in tales abandoned. in souls in shambles. preserved in language. in words. in hearts.

tery ishq nachaya. he finally confessed. your love made me dance. like mad. that your love has intoxicated my soul so deeply. that if you dont let the door open this very instant. o tabeeba. o my healer. i might die here. that i know i was at fault. that i should’ve gone with you. that a peacock now calls. for redemption. all here to lure you back. o who have made me dress like woman. open the door. for the sun of his life has faded. and he wont be turning back until inayat brings the light back.

and inayat finally opened the door of his wisdom to him again. he remained so ardent decsiple to inayat that inayat he no longer remained inayat. that love blurred out their conflicted identities. and he became bhulle shahs inayat. bhulle shahs master. that is what he now known as. bhulle shahs inayat.

manto

some say he was a rebel. the one who goes against the set norms. thats what they like to call him. rebel. but they still have confusion. just a word for such man. rebel. nah. so they search for more words. words and words. and keep searching. but couldnt find any. the language he was so proficient in. doesnt have any word worth his caliber. yet they keep gathering people to define who he was. to confine him within words. to put labels on him. to find the exactness in him. to put him in black and white compartments. yet they fail. they fail to define him.

they lost track when they tried to make a boundary around him. to limit him. to quantify him. with who he was. a rebel. a revolutionary. a literary giant. or an alcoholic. he become all of them. and he was all of them. yet they remained unsatisfied with their findings. saadat hassan silently faded away. but manto became a thing. undaunted. fearless. bold. unwavering thing. yet undefined.

i bet it cracks manto up. to see them in such toil. in such labor. i bet he hates it. such toil. such labor. and what for. to know him. to curtail him. to measure his greatness. to enclose him in their words. i bet he hates it too. and as far as i know him, had he been alive, he would have taken them to the cleaners through his mighty pen. he would have given them a shut up call already.

so who he was. that we will never know. and that what makes him who he is. that his greatness lies not in knowing who he is but who he isnt. that manto is beyond any confinement. beyond the distinctive marked lucid boundaries. because he himself blurred them. that labeling him would minimize him. his greatness. so he un-tagged himself. rebel. they call him for a reason.

i call him just manto. manto. i like it that way. it covers everything. what he stood for. and what he despised. manto. a free spirit man. manto. our manto. our gone to soon manto.

manto whose stories were often ended up in court trials. and that he still he still had the audacity to contemplate if hes better than god in story writing or not. in a rather sarcastic tone. for the uproar his stories got. the stories he emulated from gods canvas. where they go unnoticed. a commentary on his times. on our times. a timeless tragedy.

manto whose language was asked to be made presentable. like that of his contemporaries. urdu. ghalibs language. the ornate fancy flowery language of respectable aristocracy. he made it ordinary. too relevant. profane. obscene. he contaminated the language he became the greatest short story writer of. an irony of his times. of our times. a timeless irony.

manto who defined himself for us. that he will live on. that every effort of defining him in words in physicality is needless. for he doesnt have an exactness. hes abstract. that even though we try hard to limit him. he cannot be enclosed. and thus makes him eternal. everlasting. that he knew who he was. ahead of his times. way ahead of ours. and i think thats all what matters. that manto was just manto. our manto. our gone too soon manto.