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Religion, violence and art


About 3,000 precious works on display in Paris‘s famed Louvre museum.

A NEWS item in Dawn (Sept 23) revealed that Paris’s illustrious Louvre Museum has opened a new wing of Islamic art.

The wing was sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and Azerbaijan.

One of the very first visitors, after the inauguration of this latest religion wing in the museum, registered his comments.
According to him, the exhibition depicts that ‘Islam is a refined and peaceful civilisation’.

This is the swift impact which art can generate on the minds of the recipients. It’s a feasible and effective tool for making religious principles more comprehensible. The Islamic world needs to change the gear for countering actions that openly aim at denigrating Islam.

Islamic calligraphy and art itself is renowned and lauded all over the world. Any form of art should be considered for utilisation to target both believing and non-believing audiences. An anti-Islam film calls for elucidating and clarifying religious injunctions with a motive of communicating their true essence.

Comparing this aesthetic medium with the grotesque protests in the streets of Pakistan in the name of ‘Day of love for Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)’ makes one think that ‘artistic manifestation’ of religion is far better.

This can have a longer and profound impact of a religion that is a symbol of peace. Muslim countries across the world need to react unanimously and with prudence. Even if they label it as propaganda, then an intelligible ‘counter-propaganda’ is required.

Art is among the long list of peaceful ways of propagating Islam, as it is. A more sensible attempt was made by ‘Discover Islam UK’, a non-profit organisation working to promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

After the release of anti-Islam film, this organisation started to distribute large numbers of copies of books, which reflected the correct version of Holy Prophet ’s life.

Islam is a peace-loving religion and it does not need burning tyres or remonstrating mobs to claim that we love the torch-bearer of this religion.

Those who chant slogans of jihad must carefully look at its forms as well. One of the forms, known as ‘Intellectual Jihad’, demands that the arguments raised by non-believers are answered carefully. For that Muslims should accoutre themselves with weapons of intelligence, reason, truth and logic. In my opinion, art can make ‘Intellectual Jihad’ much easier.

Originally published in Dawn newspaper, September 28, 2012.
http://dawn.com/2012/09/28/religion-violence-and-art/

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Letters

 

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Encouraging people to write


THE social sciences and humanities both help to instil civility in individuals. These subjects also allow us to think and pen down our thoughts which, in turn, can compel many others to use their brain cells because human beings by nature are ‘cognitive misers’.

A writer is not less than a social scientist who prescribes measures to encounter social evils. A poet, a writer and a columnist all of them aim at painting a vivid picture of society through their words.

This means that writers are an integral part of the social fabric as they point out social disorders and also suggest solutions.

It is a heart-rending fact that in Pakistan the profession of writing is fading away. Even those who wish to opt for it are discouraged and asked to do something else that can help them to earn a reasonable income.

The merit for journalism and social sciences is low as compared to science, medicine and engineering. A writer is as important as a doctor, engineer or a chartered accountant. Aptitude tests similar to MCAT and ECAT should be conducted to test writing skills and those who are capable of doing so should be selected.

I remember that when I was a child, creative writing classes were essential and students were encouraged to write on their own.

Now, all that is expected from students is to learn by heart the material suggested by teachers or printed in books.

This deprives young minds of being creative and innovative at an age when both these qualities can perk up. These children eventually lack the ability to rely on their words.

If this situation continues, then there will be no prolific writers who can be lauded at home and abroad and earn a good name for Pakistan.

The red-tapism involved in publishing a book discourages those who wish to write for their country and answer the questions assailed at their homeland.

As it is the age of communication and information technology, Pakistan requires skilled writers with excellent writing skills.

Dedicated and passionate students should be encouraged to join the profession of writing while the government should
introduce incentives to make sure that their future is not bleak.

This was originally published in Dawn Newspaper on June 20. 2011.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Letters

 

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