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Category Archives: Inspiration

A reflection of my inspirational fuel.

Daastan- Pakistan’s First Ever Self-Publishing Platform


Daastan is Pakistan’s first self-publishing platform with an aim to revive the literary industry of Pakistan. And also, to encourage people to pursue writings they are more than willing to publish their works. Mera Qissa is a project of Daastan through which a number of writers have been able to publish their work. And a good news is that, Daastan is now a registered publishing house.

A number of books have been published under the guidance of Daastan. The most famous ones include Zulekha by Omer Malik (http://www.meraqissa.com/book/22), Scars by Sania Irfan (http://www.meraqissa.com/book/31), and Especially Special by Sundus Zafar (http://www.meraqissa.com/book/33).

Zulekha is written under the genre of Romance. Omer Malik is the author of this romantic novel. And the synopsis of the book goes like this: “Five years of marriage or fooling around? Five years of love or sexual desire? Five years of living or hiding?
These questions haunted a couple from day one, prying on their freedom to do as they pleased. This is the story of a marriage embroiled in forbidden love and desire, a marriage burdened by the two contradictory extremes of honour and passion in sub-continental society. When one partner tries to rekindle the lost affection with other, the narrator tries to explain to us why forsaking everything; their parents, society, religion and the teachings of God was not such a bad idea. Or was it?
Torn between the will to live their lives as they please and the norms of the traditional and religious society of Pakistan, will these two forbidden lovers find consolation in their love for each other on this ‘second honeymoon’?”

This novel along with others are available to read online or order a hardcopy at www.meraqissa.com.

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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Inspiration

 

A lecture on “Self Discovery” by Hamza Andreas Tzortzis


HAT

Information Technology University, Arfa Software Technology Park, Lahore, organized a seminar on February 7, 2014 by inviting a renowned International public speaker for anyone who is in search of few major questions of life, its reality and human existence! Self discovery is the first step for an individual to recognize him/herself as a being with an identity and a purpose of life .

The seminar was a part of the greater project, titled “Winds of Change”, an initiative by the Youth Club to help the directionless youth of Pakistan.

The lecture was delivered by Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, a convert to Islam, an international lecturer, public speaker and writer. Before beginning the lecture, Hamza clarified that he doesn’t want to give a dosage of intellectual and spiritual insulin through his talk. “All I want is to plant seeds of change,” said Hamza in his preliminary note.

He explained to the audience that the self or the ego always wants to be “right” and it wants to impose itself on others, whereas, he expects the listeners to burn their egos for a while. Hamza’s discussion revolved around 4 major questions that he posed in the beginning:

1) Who we are?
2) Why we are?
3) For whom we are?
and
4) What on Earth are we?

He suggested that if these questions remain unanswered then the person remains deluded and the answers to these questions are necessary for the spiritual and intellectual revival of an individual.

He asked the audience to unwrap their linguistic wrapping by asking themselves the following:

Did you choose your name?
Did you choose your gender?
Did you choose your ethnicity or socio-economic upbringing?

The answer to all these was; “ABSOLUTELY NO CHOICE”

“Yet people believe they are free,” exclaimed Hamza. He opined that double slavery is to be in a state of shackles and to have the illusion that you are free, hence, illusion of freedom is worse than slavery itself.

WHAT WE ARE?
Hamza explained to the audience that human beings are thrown into reality and the more a human looses him/herself, the more free he/she is. Therefore, we are:

a) A slave to context
b) A human being in search of meaning

According to him, “Fitrah” (self-transcendence) is supported by empirical evidence. It is the fitrah of humans to believe in unseen transcendence. On the other hand, Atheism is learned, forced and taught. He quoted a 14th century theologian, who said that

the only way to get free of our limited understandings is to change the direction of our slavery towards someone who knows you better than you know yourself!

As per Hamza’s opinion:

Pakistan is going through an existential crisis. Pakistanis define themselves by what they are known for, but not by what they are! The neo-liberal media of Pakistan is responsible for imposing a forced religious dichotomy within the society.

He urged the youth of Pakistan to:

1) Prioritize it’s life
2) Find the human element within them by connecting to, obeying and loving Allah (the Creator)

As an example in Pakistani context, he referred to Shoaib Akhtar ( a Pakistani bowler and the fastest bowler in the history of international cricket).

Hamza recalled his meeting with Shoaib Akhtar, who told him that whenever I bowled fast, people expected a swifter ball, whenever he won a match, people expected him to win the next as well. His life was all about satisfying the slave masters. Shoaib Akhtar, lived on anti-depressants for two years, just because he was living to reach newer heights every day. However, now he has realized that contentment cannot be achieved by satisfying worldly expectations. Now, Fajr (the morning prayer) is the highest height for him.

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Inspiration

 

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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Inspiration

 

Reflections 2013


Dear Readers/Blog Visitors

Another year has come to an end. Alhamdulillah! (Praise be to Allah)

I would like to thank all those who have been visiting this small blog . This little effort attracted more than ten thousand views this year and made me a 3 year-old blogger (means three years of blogging). I took refuge in “blogging” as an immature writer who entered the University back in 2010 to complete an undergraduate degree in communication studies. This platform gave me a chance to practice “online journalism” and reach out to people belonging to diverse backgrounds, around the globe. It now has visitors from over 110 countries and around 500 followers.

2013 has been a very exciting year for me and broadened my perspective towards life in a positive way. It took me out of national boundaries for the first time.
This year reinforced my belief in an old adage; “work and worship never go unrewarded”.

I entered into 2013 with a powerful and wise thought by Tariq Ramadan.

TR

 I hope that 2014 unfolds in a better way. I wouldn’t take much of your time as new year‘s eve has evolved into a festivity that is cherished by people in various ways. All I want to achieve via this blog post, is to share some beautiful sayings that I came across or heard.

 The first one is by my teacher at University- Dr Bushra Hameedur Rahman (who is, perhaps, the ONLY teacher that has ever inspired me in life till now).

Dr Bushra

The second one is from a public figure and a writer (Yasmin Mogahed), author of Reclaim Your Heart (the best self-help book that I got my hands on during 2013).

Yasmin Mogahed

The last two quotes are from Nouman Ali Khan ( a person whose perspective towards Islam has helped me to understand my religion in a better way).

NAK

 

NAK-2

 

WISHING YOU ALL A BLESSED 2014! 

Kind regards
Fakiha 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Inspiration, Random Scape

 

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Academic Exchanges and Cultural Perceptions


VIEW : Academic Exchanges and Cultural Perceptions — Fakiha Hassan Rizvi

I remember watching the famous British comedy television series “Mind Your Language” when I was about eight-years-old. It was broadcast in Pakistan during the 1990s. The show was set in an adult education college in London and focused on ‘English’ as a foreign language. The classes were taught by Mr Jeremy Brown, a role played by Barry Evans, who had to deal with a motley crew of foreign students. The student body ranged from an Italian chef to an unemployed Pakistani. There was also a stereotypical German, Anna Schmidt, who was so proud of her physical strength and was not afraid to punch her fellows. She was hard working and always bragged about ‘German efficiency’, but had a rigid personality. Anna was the only German that I knew till I was fortunate enough to get selected for a summer school on political communication at the University of Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany.

This summer school aimed at assessing the ‘Changing Role of Social Media in Muslim Countries’. It was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service — DAAD. It was a consequence of mutual cooperation with two Pakistani universities (University of the Punjab and University of Peshawar). This project is a brainchild of the Chair of Muslim Culture and Religious History, University of Erfurt and was initiated in 2012. Apart from its core aim, this academic tour provided a platform for interaction between students of different nationalities (the prime ones being German and Pakistani). I already knew that majority of the Germans do not hold a positive opinion about Pakistanis. Going there along with the scattered media representations of a character in an old sitcom was not rational at all. However, the childhood perception still prevailed. On the other hand, it was just a matter of days after reaching there to dispel the rigidity associated with Germans. During the period of 12 days, I realised that students belonging to other countries also knew little about my country. They were not reluctant to use the terms ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘conservative’ while describing their perceptions about Pakistanis before participating in the summer school. In addition to this, Pakistanis were of the view that bars and pub culture comprises of under-dressed drunkards as seen in movies. As for the Germans, they were not happy with the students who remained at distance from the bars at night. Misunderstandings on both the ends strengthened the case of academic exchanges that give a chance for person-to-person to communication.

Among the long list of inspirational aspects, the tranquil and serene environment of Erfurt was one. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the University of Erfurt provided the ideal ambiance, conducive for studying. Personally, I envied the German transport system and its rejection of automobile slavery. Even most of the professors used bicycles for short trips. With regards to the preservation of cultural heritage, Germany provides an unprecedented example. The visit to the German parliament (Bundestag) and Goethe House was audio guided. One did not have to rely on a tour guide for a very long time and was free to explore parts of the building by himself/herself. The respect for time and punctual behaviour of Germans was also laudable.

On our very first day we received a warm welcome and some goody bags containing pamphlets and other written material about the University of Erfurt. I flipped through some of the material and came across a glossy card that had the following words on it ‘I love Uni Erfurt’. After staring at the card for a while I gathered that students loving their educational institutions might be playing a decisive role in ensuring high literacy rates at Germany. The summer school participants did not get a chance to meet away from the university and discuss their aspirations in life. Luckily, Petersburg (a historical citadel at Erfurt) turned out to be an adequate venue to gain inspiration from each other. After two and a half hours of patient hearing, our bonding with each other had strengthened. During the conversation, I was startled to see how every single person was absorbed while listening to another participant. That was a much-needed activity to establish our association with each other. A visit to MDR television, FREI radio station and Deutsche Welle gave a clear picture of German media systems. Moreover, a visit to the headquarters of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) gave insights about political culture in Germany. With elections around the corner, I could hardly see any political advertising except for A3 size posters on poles in the streets.

Books or Internet was the only source through which I got to learn about Berlin before August 14, 2013. Fortunately, the summer school included a two-day tour of the capital city of Germany. This happened to be the second formal excursion trip of the summer school. Being the capital city, Berlin was quite different from Erfurt. Contrasts between the East and the West (before unification) also made it historically significant.

This summer school reiterated the need for academic exchanges that level the insurmountable cultural barriers. Not only do the students enhance their knowledge and discover new horizons of learning, but the stimulation of dialogue also aids in understanding each other. At least, they do not let us dwell on images like Anna Schmidt constructed by the media.

The writer is a student of Communication Studies at University of the Punjab. She blogs at http://www.fakihahassanrizvi.wordpress.com and tweets at @Fakiha_Rizvi

Originally published in Pakistan Daily Times: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C08%5C25%5Cstory_25-8-2013_pg3_6

Participants of Summer School on Political Communication

Participants of Summer School on Political Communication

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Inspiration, Random Scape

 

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Sigh of Relief in the Hot and Humid Lahore


The clouds that made today's morning wonderful

The clouds that made today’s morning wonderful

Lush green shrubs in front of the grey curtain of clouds.

Lush green shrubs in front of the grey curtain of clouds.

The much-awaited drizzle and raindrops on the path...

The much-awaited drizzle and raindrops on the path…

As the flower cleanses itself with the tiny droplets

As the flower cleanses itself with the tiny droplets

And the leaves dance along with the cool breeze...

And the leaves dance along with the cool breeze…

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Inspiration

 

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Roy’s Chal Parha: Education Emergency!


We’ve seen some scintillating performances by Shehzad Roy ranging from ’Laga rahay’ to ‘Uth Baandh Kamar kya Darta hai’. His proximity with the general public and the extent to which he seeks solutions for the myriad problems being faced by Pakistan, exhibit his patriotism. On the other hand, his non-governmental organization – ‘Zindagi Trust’ has burgeoned up since 2007 to contest the case of ‘education emergency’ in Pakistan.

Being a pop-singer, Roy is both a motivation and a lesson for any young adult living in this country. Unlike many, he isn’t chasing projection in the neighbouring media outlets, allured by ‘piles of money’ or the lust for fame. If he continues with his efforts, there are good enough chances for him to introduce a new ‘genre’ in Pakistani music industry– something like ‘social responsibility’.
Similar to other institutional transitions budding in the Pakistani society, ‘music’ also requires a reorientation. The mass media (including ‘music’ as a means of communication) is also ploughing for a ‘fresh crop’ that wants to satisfy the need of ‘social uplift’.

Making the message of ‘positive change’ vocal, isn’t an easy task. However, ‘music’ seems to be the compatible format considering the level of ignorance and illiteracy in the Pakistani society. Any nation heading towards intellectual demise should be purported by arts, literature and music to engender the thirst for ‘knowledge’.

Chal Parha- a new program being aired on GEO TV during prime time slot is a success story for the local media. It is for the first time that the most urgent need of the country has seeped into the electronic media to grab the ‘time’ and ‘space’ of a television channel. The show is unique with regards to purpose and format. Above all, it has the privilege of ‘Shehzad Roy’ serving as a testimonial.

As the renowned singer himself says: “In this show, I travel across 80 cities in Pakistan from Attabad Jheel and Gulmit to Gojal and Thar and film in more than 200 government schools. In each episode we highlight an issue from public schools for example, corporal punishment, medium of instruction, population, textbooks, curriculum, teachers etc” 

Zealous Roy also gets a chance to fulfil his passion for ‘bike riding’, while hunting for the loop holes in the education sector of Pakistan. You’ll get a chance to see schools where donkeys (real ones) are found in the class rooms. The host will open the doors of those buildings where the future of the country is being prepared or where the majority of the children can afford to go.

The promotional song (Chal Parha) of the program defines the digression of the society, in general, for not giving due attention to ’education’. In a light yet piercing manner, the lyrics serve as a stringer for the listeners. It is a rhythmic reminder to rescue the country from the darkness of illiteracy through the light of ’education’. Moreover, an allusion towards another dilemma of the society has also been made, that is, the non-acceptance or indifference shown to talented people. Roy selects a young girl hailing from Faisalabad as a co-vocalist for the song in order to encourage her exceptional singing abilities. She complains of the lack of projection given to talented individuals in Pakistan, the reason she hums melodiously: Pair ho par saya na ho, din ho par ujala na ho, aisaa mumkin nahi… (‘how can hope and darkness coexist?’). Shehzad aptly responds to this: Yai anhonee jo baat hai, mairay dais k saath hai (this strange thing is seen in ‘my’ country).

Chal Parha is another call to declare ‘education emergency’ in Pakistan – not just by adding Article 25-A in the Constitution, but to ensure its fair and proper implementation. It aims at revolutionizing the education system of the country for saving the lives of innumerable talented gems and to alter the fate of Pakistan.

Originally written for The News International Blog: http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/2013/02/roys-chal-parha-education-emergency/

Chal Parha-Roy

 

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