Sunday, September 28, 2008

Remembering DEAR one's on EID DAY Celebrations

A PAGE OF MY DIARY
(dedicated to Moazzam Bhai)

Those we love, never go away
They walk beside us everyday,
Unseen, unheard, still near,

still loved, still missed & still very dear.

Today is Eid-ul-Fitr, an annual religious festival, a day all about gratitude, happiness, sharing and celebration. A festival when God wants His people to celebrate as a show of gratefulness to their Lord right after the month of fasting.

Celebrating Eid is following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by offering the Eid prayers, dressing up nicely, eating something sweet and greeting all around.

Embracing each other on Eid day and uttering the simple two words of ‘Eid Mubarik’ rejuvenates a special bond between two persons, celebrating the same festival for the same reason. That reason is their religion. Here they forget their socio-economic status, ethnicity, family backgrounds, putting behind all differences for a cause – to celebrate, under one roof, the roof of Allah.

But it is a time of confusion when smiles turn into frowns and laughs convert into tears, when one does not know whether to celebrate or mourn this occasion. It is an Eid without your beloved.

The real essence of Eid does not lie in holding lavish parties and exchanging luxurious gifts. It is about the presence of all the important people in your life, who are there with you in your moments of happiness, sharing gifts wrapped up with affection saying, “I love you and I need you like a flower needs rain, and I want to spend my life’s each and every moment with you.”

Such gestures overpower the need of words to express how you feel towards each other. Your effort says it all. To take out time and think about what to get for your loved one keeping in mind their likes and dislikes and putting them in your love and thought, Eid becomes an occasion to celebrate and rejoice.

But what is Eid without a beloved? Like a dark night with cool breeze, like mesmeric music without rhythm, like love without passion. Where does the glow of the face disappear when you are alone on this festive occasion, wanting to be with someone who is distant from you by the will of Allah? May be you will spend the whole Eid thinking of how great it would be when you will be reunite on Eid, or may be you would recollect your memories when you were together. Now you just feel like mourning because those moments would never be back again because your loved one has departed forever. He would be spending this Eid with angels up in the sky, more happily than anyone on this planet earth.

Safe in the heavens in the refuge of the Almighty, away from the tensions and fears of the mortal world, you do not want to know how he parted from this world leaving behind such great sorrow and emptiness in your life.

Who would have left the house thinking that he might never return, might never see his loved one, might never talk to him, and might never be with him? If this truth was ever known, his beloveds would have never left his hand, he would have never let him go, he would have caged him close to him for eternity. He would have seized every minute.

But destiny is cruel and companionship of two is not meant to be more than these few moments. Some had many Eids to recall and cry over joys they once shared. Some only had dreams of experiencing those joys once they would be together again.

Fate can be ruthless. Testing times can come to anyone at anytime no matter how powerful a person deems to be; in front of death he is powerless.

Today I celebrate Eid with my beloveds. There are few new members making their ways in my life who were not with me yesteryear. This is my first Eid with them, so I feel special and want this occasion to be special. In contrast, this Eid I do not have someone who was with me last year. Someone who bid goodbye to this mortal world, my dear brother. I would remember him on this Eid, miss his presence and last but SURELY not least would miss the joy he brought right through in my life.

A record number of relatives filled our house at Islamabad on this occasion of Eid ul Fitr (19 in all). But there’s no one like Moazzam Bhai who could ever replace what my dear brother gave to me… And I want to thank you.

You’re the air that I breathe
My bro, you’re all that I need
And I wanna thank you, brother.
You’re the words that I read
You’re the light that I see
And your love is all that I need.


I do not know what nature has in store for me. I am illiterate knowing that next moment I would breathe or not. I do not know whether the building I am currently sitting in is safe or not. And I am not aware whether I would see my loved ones again or otherwise. My dictum in this irresolute life is simple and that is to live up to it the most.

This Eid resolve not to waste your time in fighting and quarreling with others but to enjoy the height of delight with near and dear ones. Say whatever is in your heart. Spend as much as you like and do not be a miser in spending your love.

Teri Majboorio' ko Tu hi Behtar Jaanta ho ga
Muhabbat mein Judaa hona Zaroori ho gia ho ga

You never know whether you would be lucky enough to have this blessed moment in life again or not. Enjoy it and reach out to everyone you know. Spread the spirit of Eid in these hard times and bring smile to all the faces around you.

EID GREETINGS to all!

MUHAMMAD MAHTAB BASHIR
House # 2026, Street # 32,
I-10/2, ISLAMABAD.
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

Friday, September 26, 2008

INTELLECTUAL LUNACY

By Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Islamabad

People call me insane. They may be right because a person who tries to cling to the virtues of good and detests evil is not welcome in any society especially in ours. People call me moron may be because I cannot speak anything but the truth. I don’t feel twinge. I don’t feel isolated as long as I keep my ‘insanity’ intact.

When you follow the path laid out ahead of you by your conscience you can never stop. The path may be unpaved and ruthless but you have to go through. Thorns and bushes threaten to go along with you to the extreme, but slowly and surely the journey gets easier, exciting and colorful. You feel satisfied no matter what the world thinks of you. And there comes an ultimate moment when you start thinking ‘majority means all fools on the same side’ instead of ‘majority is authority’. It needs a strong willpower, as to me, the only discipline that really works in one’s life is ‘self-discipline’.

I know what to expect and what is going to happen next, I am neither an expert in making prophecies nor a fortune-teller but because I have learnt the rules of nature that make me strong. Many moons ago, an old sage advised me saying, “Listen my Kid! You can not be broken by nature, if you are a part of it”. And being a quick learner, I start exploring the basics of life. Thereafter, I learn that If I plant flowers I will get flowers in return but if I sow thorns and anticipate aroma of flower out of it, it is a plain stupidity. Is it the reason people call me insane? No it is not. I have something more to say.

Is it san
ity to kill people? Is it sanity to destroy this beautiful world with weapons of mass destruction? Can you call a person sane who dropped the nuclear bomb to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Can you adjudge person a sensible who creates havoc with explosives from 9/11 to 20/11? Is it sanity to kill innocent people? Is it a coherent society where rich is getting rich and poor is on the verge of extinction? Is it all fair to exploit poor masses?

Stop it all! Now tell me frankly but truly, do we have the courage to make this all odium? I don’t know about others’. But yes I have that valor to raise my voice against all such evil forces. I will go ahead on the path of virtue. People like me may be called brainless but I am happy to be called insane as it inserts my name in those privileged members list of Aristotle, Mansoor Hallaj, Confucius or Carl Marx to name few.

People have their reasons and I have my own. The world goes on like this. Lets see whose’ gonna win.


Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
House # 2026, Street # 32,
I-10/2, Islamabad
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Voice: 0300 52 56 875

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bus YADEIN'... YADEIN' reh jati hain, kuch chotti chotti batein reh jati hain...

By Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
mahtabbashir@gmail.com

Today is the most lamentable day of my living as I lost one of the bequests of my dear late brother- his motor bike(Honda CD-70), bearing registration No. IDD-8284, was brought to our home at F.6/4, Islamabad by Moazzam Bhai (my eldest bro) in 1984, when I was a minor and given away by smallest brother (myself) after a span of two and half decades.

I have had very blessed memories with that two-wheeler started of from my early schooling. Those were supposedly the chilliest mornings of my life when I used to stood up early hours with a rucksack (school bag) over my feeble shoulders and whispered timidly besides the bed of Moazzam Bhai to please get up, I’m getting late (from school). And Since than I have grown with that black coloured magic machine with a lot of activities.

From my early schooling to my relatively maturity till its deliverance, my happy belonging to this bike never get reduced. I went riding over it to places.


It (bike) remained intact with Moazzam Bhai after few years of his marriage (in 1992) and later on when he was posted to Karachi back in early 90’s, he transformed his life on four-wheeler (Or may be he was in Islamabad as an Assistant Commissioner Income Tax, I am not sure here) Anyways, Moazzam Bhai became the owner of Charade-turbo that sprinted on petrol. I remember its colour was shocking scarlet and now that little appliance (bike) was shared by Moody (my another brother) in late 90’s. Soon after, Moazzam Bhai sold out Charade and got Suzuki-Margalla that is still a part of his family. Meanwhile, Suzuki Potohar & few other official green plated vehicles were also used by Bhai.

It is pertinent to mention here both Moazzam Bahi and Moody survived for quite a number of times while riding this. Both of them met severe accidents and narrowly escaped. In early 2000, Moody bought Suzuki Mehran and hence I became the proprietor of that black bike. Later, Masood Bhai gifted me brand new Motor bike HN-106 ICT model 2006.


Now I hardly used that old bike of Moazzam Bhai and it was parked in the porch of house. In the meantime, Moazzam Bhai transferred to Gujranwala as Deputy Commissioner Gujranwala Region from Ministry of Commerce, where he worked as Deputy Secretary. After sometime, I tried to get his signature on a ‘Transfer Latter- power of attorny’ as an approval to give that bike away but suddenly he got ill and my mind never turned back again on that matter of reassign his bike to my name.

Time passed away briskly as it refused to allow both of us to communicate on such matter because of Moazzam Bhai’s awful health. I visited him quite a number of times after his first surgery, and he seemed quite energetic. However, his health drastically started deteriorating and after battling valiantly against deadly disease, he left us for heavenly abode in early 2008.

Teri Qurbat Kay Lamhay Phool Jaisay
Magar Phoolo’ Ki Umrain’ Mukhtasar Hain


Shortly, I started embracing number of offers from friends, relatives and acquaintances to sell this bike to them and I always refused them with minor excuses, knowing that they don’t evaluate the value of my emotional attachment to this bike.


Now .... although that bike refused to role on, Mobil-oil leaked out on the floor of porch and engine seemed ceased, and Ammi Abbu also started showing annoyed attitude over such situation. Ultimately, a moment came when I succumbed against my strength of will and I planned to sold out that ‘precious gift’ to one of my old friend.

Suraj Kay Sath Doob Gaya Mera Dil Bhi Aaj
Itna Udaas Shaam Ka Manzar Kabhi Na Tha


I sold out that because of the fact that it was not the ONLY ‘souvenir’ of my dear late brother to me. I have spend my whole life accumulating things from him as he was the most generous and big hearted person on this planet, I've ever identified. He presented me a number of colognes, branded shirts, t-shirts, trousers, sweaters, neck-ties, watches, cufflinks, shoes, and the list never ends. He made me aware of all the electronic revolutionary devices ranging from mobile to digital diary, Handi-Cam to VCD, or I-pod to digital camera when none of these articles were widely known as they are now. The system (computer- CPU) through I am conversing you guys- is my beloved brother’s memento, introduced to me in mid 90’s.

My brother was a gem of a person. I miss him a lot and I continue to do so until I join him.

I am sorry my brother! I know heaven becomes a sunny spot with your arrival there. I want to share with you my feelings bro... and u know - When I think of you I dream a dream & I hope I never wake up, but ...

Dear readers! Allow me to quote here some excerpts from one of my favorite book authored by Mukhtar Masood titledAwaz-e-Dost’. It seems very much attacking to my 'sanctity' over the very issue :(


He said, “kisi khandan may aik guldaan ko buzurgon’ ki nishani samajh kar dil-o-jaan say hifazat ki jati thi. Phir halaat nay pansa palta, ‘farsooda daor’ ‘taraqqi yafta daor may taghiyyur-pazeer hua to aik din betay nay guldaan tor dia. Boorha baap bistar par leta sab kuch deikh raha tha. Guldaan kay toot-tay hi baitay ko apnay paas bulaya aur kaha, Beta! Hifazat ka daor khatam hua aur ab nadamat ka daor shuru ho ga, jo shaied kabhi khatam na ho.”

Let me affirm you here, I am not at all against the facilities, conveniences or amenities of this science & technology era but quite bravely speaking one must not prioritize these windfalls over the laborious lives and experiences of seniors.


Log Bazaar Mein Baich Aay Hain Shamsheer-o-Kalam
Ghar May Rakhtay Bhi Buzurgo’ Ki Nishani Kab Tak.

p.s: With the time drsatically changed (for me), after the untimely death of Moazzam Bhai, Rehana Bhabhi decided to sold out his Suzuki (Mragalla) and got Suzuki (Cultus), lasy year. Moody got Toyota (VITZ) in 2009 saling Suzuki (Mehran). Mukarram Bhai (CMH, Rawalpindi) is enjoying his life with Toyota (Corolla) & Suzuki (Mehran), Masood bhai (posted in Myanmar) has Toyota Coraolla (model unknown), and Aftab has a bike (Honda- red coloured) while I'm happy with my own Sawari- (Honda CD 70- again black).

MAHTAB BASHIR
ISLAMABAD
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com
Cell: 0300 52 56 875

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PRICE SPIRAL DURING RAMADAN

By Muhammad Mahtab Bashir
Islamabad
mahtabbashir@gmail.com

Price hike and the sacred month of Ramadan are synonymous on this land of pure. Irrational rise in edible prices have become a recurrent phenomemnon on the eve of this month. Shopkeepers and market mafias are involved in black-marketing in total disregard for the religion that urges for maintaining its sanctity and austerity.

Half way through to this month of fasting, the measures so far taken to check the price spiral by govermnet does not seem to be adequate. The commerce ministry that is responsible for maintenance of price, virtually does not have any control over the market. Practically the commerce ministry is always found unenthusiastic to impose any strong and effective steps to control mrket. The minsitry usually holds formal meetings with the trader groups urging them to keep prices of essentials constatnt during the holy month of fasting and the ground reality is that traders always turn a deaf ear to such advices.

Extra charging almost on each food and other essential items tells you that the moon of Ramadan has been sighted. Each trader in the market raced ahead of the other in ignoring the price list issued by concerned government authorities and fleecing the skin of consumers without fear of any check on him. They say it "Haaza Min Fazli Rabbi."

At the start of this holy month, the federal government had announced a relief package of Rs 1.75 billion for retail consumers, ensuring the availability of kitchen items across the country at unified subsidised rates. According to this package the essential items would be provided to the masses by a network of 5500 utility stores for which the government will bear the subsidy up to Rs. 2000 million. Question arises here why the government has restricted this facility at utility stores only and why does it not extend to open market for easy reach of the common man? There are many ares in different cities of the country or so many cities where no utility store exists. Instances has also revealed the quantity and quality of items sold at utility stores are usually found unsatisfactory and below standard due to careless supervision and misconduct.

Government has formed some price checking committees to protect the common men from the profiteering of the shop keepers, but that is proving useless. First because, rarely any government is seen at the marketplace, and if somebody comes he is thoroughly ignored by the shopkeepers, because they know that they have already taken care of that officials and his bosses.

The holy month of Ramazan has been welcomed with traditional zeal and zest and the prices of all the things have been raised from 50% to 80%. The prices of fruits and vegetable remained all time high and shortage of flour prevailed and the prices of oil, pulses, milk, and other edibles have gone through the roof.

The reason the government could not act on time is because it does not have mechanism to monitor the market and to get up-dated information about demand and supply of various items, day-to-day retail, whole sale market prices, market prices in the country from where good are being imported, tranportaion costs, approximate time period for transport and other related issues, so that it can work out on a reasonable price policy and then bargain with business enterprenuer.

On a broader scale, when we closely inspect the ways retail or wholesale business works it is clear that they simply do not have much control of the market. It is only the importers who have the means and scope to manipulate the market, because they set the price of any item at the first place. Sometime before they finished a particular challan the prices go up from where the goods were imported. They immediately raise the prices though they are actually selling from the same challan. Sometime they intentionllay play delaying tactics in placing orders or keep stocks for longer periods to create an artificial crisis. Sometimes they exploit their own engineered crisis to force the government to withdraw taxes on imported goods to multiply their profit.

Flour, edible oil, gram pulse, gram flour, tea, dates and sugar are the main items that are consumed in larger amount during Ramazan. Can we cut out on these items as much as possible during this Ramadan?

The market mafia has started hoarding various products commonly required during ramadan that indicate their wayward intentions of black-marketing but our governmental machinery at federal, provioncial and district levels is a silent spectator. Half of the month of ramadan is over and government has not yet announced any policy or startegy to control price-hike.

Keeping in view the past experiences of traditional black-marketing during ramadan, government should fix selling prices, binding on wholesale and retail merchants and depute officials to ensure the sale of these items at controlled price in open market to facilitate all citizens durinf this holy month and not allow anyone to indulge in black-marketing and hoarding and to punish violators publicly without discrimination. It can only be possible if concerned authorities shun rhetoric and act tangibly.


Muhammad Mahtab Bashir is a freelance contributor from Islamabad

MUHAMMAD MAHTAB BASHIR
House # 2026, Street # 32,
I-10/2, ISLAMABAD.
Cell: 0300 52 56 875
mahtabbashir@yahoo.com