Posts Tagged ‘Articles’

“White Poison” Industry necessitates radical reforms


Originally posted @All Things Pakistan

The sugar scam resurfaces yet again. Skyrocketing sugar prices, in an environment where inflation is already a critical concern, is only adding fuel to the fire. Concisely, a whole chain involving politicians, ministers, mafias etc are said to be responsible. To begin with, I am unable to understand the mere basis of this industry. What is the gain? Apart from jeopardizing health, discontent farmers and public frustration now and then. Was it meant for exports? If yes, how can a commodity be exported contentedly when it is unattainable for a massive own population? Cane it seems is no more a cash crop.

The saga is more complex than it appears to be. To get down to it; minor farmers are bullied because of the manipulative legislation that does not allow farmers in specified areas around the mills to do crushing on their own. They are destined to give away their crop to the mills on conditions prescribed by the industry. According to the sugar factory control act 1950 (this is an old one, but very similar legislation exists even today, cud nt find a link on net)

The Cane Commissioner may, after consulting the Board, issue an order declaring any area to be reserved area for the purposes of the supply of cane to a particular factory during a particular crushing season or seasons, and may likewise, at any time, cancel such order or alter the boundaries of an area so reserved. Also,

If the cane growers or Cane Growers’ Co-operative Societies in the assigned area are not willing to enter into agreement to supply, the Cane Commissioner may, by an order in writing, require them to do so on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by him, which order shall be legally binding on the cane growers or the Cane Growers’ Co-operative Societies, as the case may be

Such legislation has led to the growth of an unwanted, uncalled for industry in Pakistan. In what way is it aiding to the progress of the country?

Health hazards of this “Chemically treated Chemical”, also known as “White Poison, is an acclaimed fact now. In brief, refined sugar is obtained after processing, using several chemicals like phosphoric acid, formic acid, sulfur dioxide, preservatives, and/or any flocculents, surfactants, bleaching agents or viscosity modifiers. All vitamins (A,D,B complex), minerals, proteins, fats, enzymes, fiber and every nutrient is removed during the process.

Ironically, no research facility is available in Pakistan to tell you if there are other indigenous causes of the Diabetes mellitus epidemic in the country, apart from the usual risk factors like genetic predisposition, changed lifestyle etc, though references linking refined sugar to Diabetes are available.

“Refined white sugar is to a large extent to blame for some forms of diabetes, whose victims face the threat of blindness and other serious impairments, not to mention heart disease, stroke, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and possibly some kinds of cancer,” according to Dr. Robert D. McCracken, University of California (UCLA) anthropologist”.

Well, sugar being sugar is unhealthy, but unlike raw sugar, the refined sugar rushes through the stomach wall, and stimulates excessive secretion of insulin by the pancreas.

The traditional raw sugar, or muscovado sugar or “shakar” as we call it, is made by evaporated cane juice. It is already reasonably refined, free of dyes and chemicals and contains mineral salts, fiber, and vitamins as well.

West has acknowledged the worth of naturally acquired food and is raising “Go Green” slogans, thereby promoting the new trend of organics. Gradually recognizing the hazards of refined and processed food, theirs slow twist in lifestyles; organics is now much more expensive and represents class and flair as compared to the so-called refined or synthetic. Since we the complexed faction of sub-continent do what the west does, and devotedly refrain from using own brains, so in this respect particularly, I believe the trend of traditionally made sugar be revived in Pakistan.

Such a trend in our region, if promoted, can have remarkable impact. Apart from health safety, it will help counter exploitative mill owners mostly politicians, and prevent manipulation of small farmers. Increased awareness will raise demand and perhaps some day sugar industry and mafia that controls it will die a natural death. BTW, Brown sugar is a refined or partially refined form of white sugar with some molasses mixed in and not at all a substitute of raw sugar.

To get rid of sugar crisis once for good, radical measures must be adopted, including earnest will and an amendment in the sugar factory control constitution. I cannot see a point in breeding such an industry, which is more of a nuisance than a benefit.

It should only be limited to provision of sugar for industrial use and available resources be shifted to certain new feasible industry.

Advertisements

Kashmir awaits flotilla


While 20% of Pakistan is submerged in water and Pakistanis are facing the worst and most widespread natural disaster in the living history. There, on the western border, we are stuck in an exigent WOT. Superadded to this now is the rapidly changing dynamics in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

For the last 3 months, freedom struggle in Kashmir has escalated, resulting in killing of more than 100 since June. As a consequence of “Mass graves” and thousands of “Missing persons “over the years, now more women and children than ever, actually widows and orphans of those martyred or abducted by Indian army are marching on the streets in Kashmir. The Indian military has blocked all sorts of telecommunication means and Kashmir has been barricaded. However, the overwhelming resistance that the largest military occupation force in the world is experiencing at this moment is unforeseen and Indian junta for the first time appears to be helpless.

Palestine and Kashmir has scores of similarities. Both conflicts originated in 1948 because of illegal occupation of their territories and barely surviving the clasp of two superlative militaries ever since. It is the 4th generation of these two nations suffering and fighting for justice. Both, erupted huge wars in Arab and Indian sub-continent during the last 60 years, resulting in the emergence of three nuclear powers; Israel, India & Pakistan. In both the places, stonepelters are retorted with bullets and freedom fighters are considered terrorists, and, both are eminent for the beauty of their inhabitants.

While the Arabs have successfully projected the Palestinian issue (not that it is resolved, but at least the world is aware), Pakistan and Pakistanis never highlighted it in that manner, hence the world recognizes Gaza, but is oblivious to Kashmir blockade. A trivial attack in Gaza and the whole world knows, but as regards Kashmir, they remain uninformed. Though, oppression and massacre of any kind and anywhere is unjustified and must be condemned. But the point is, it only indicates far better lobbying on part of Arabs as compared to Kashmiris or Pakistanis.

Had there been a daring government in Pakistan at this point of time, this could have been a wonderful opportunity to take Kashmir issue to a higher ground, and perhaps, solving it entirely to free Kashmiris from the ruthless Indian forces, allowing them to live in accordance to their will. But lets not blame the state all the time, even the Pakistani nation, as well as immigrant Kashmiris settled all over the world have not done their homework over the decades. Had they accentuated the issue over the years, than expectantly today in spite of a spineless ruling elite, they could have evoked a fervent response, enough to grab the attention of the world towards the massacre.

I recall these immigrant Palestinian class fellows, literally crying for carnage in Palestine, I remember this half-Palestinian, half-British girl, who had never been to Palestine, but respecting her roots, she urged everyone to help and raise voice for Palestine, literally every time she met. Only recently, we all witnessed March of flotillas, air force being airborne, zealous Protestants on social networking sites and ardent demonstrations all over the world.

This is the spirit I am talking about, that is seriously lacking amongst Pakistanis, and, particularly a huge number of Kashmiri immigrants living lavish life abroad as well as in Pakistan. My perspective is, particularly as a Pakistani, we might not be pardoned for Kashmir, as they have historical links and deeper social ties with us. I wonder, if the Indian lobby is stronger than the Jewish, or whether nuclear Pakistan is weaker than Palestine. Why, we have never been pro-active as regards Kashmir? Kashmir needs flotillas today. Common at least raise voice, it does not even cost anything!

Linked @GlobalVoices

“Enlightened Moderation” is the foundation of Islam


While pursuing my quest to dig up the truth, I comprehend; we can equitably consider ourselves liberal and liberated, modern and enlightened. I ll tell you how. Precisely, the foundation of Islam is “enlightened moderation”; not Mushi,s much loved enlightened moderation! I wish someone should have taught him Iqbal!

Iqbal

Allama Iqbal,s reasoning of religious reconstruction, supplemented by his contemporary, progressive & forward-looking approach is enlightened moderation in its concrete wisdom to me. Iqbal perfectly eradicates qualms of the Islamophobes & outline design to moderate radicalization. We do not have to look like barbarians, promote outdated punishments, & hence create islamophobes, neither do we have to claim to be secular in an attempt to project a modern outlook coherent with 21st century.

The main purpose of the Quran is to awaken in man the higher consciousness of his manifold relations with God and the universe “he goes …and the individual achieves a free personality, not by releasing himself from the fetters of the law, but by discovering the ultimate source of the law within the depths of his own consciousness.

Iqbals, enlightened moderation, unlike Musharaf,s could give us precise guidance and can bridge gap between extremists and liberals. It is a solution to religious sectarianism and can unite us on one platform regarding religious orientation. We appreciate him as a thinker, mystic and a mentor. But where are the principals he advocated being practiced? Irony is that, he was never understood & followed till to date, hence confusion over religion persists.

To begin with, “Eternal principal”- that is Toheed & spirituality, is the essence of enlightened moderation and the keystone to religious enterprise. Spirituality by no means mean taweez, dhumal, amil baba-the mehboob qudmoon mein type!pasand ke shadi mintoon mein! Frankly, in our society today we are more accustomed with the negative aspects of spirituality than the positive influence. Thanks to our Gaddi-nashhens and fake fakeers for distorting the impression of spirituality & thanks to mullas for overlooking it altogether. People especially from villages, though many educated ones as well who have faith in mysticism go in search of babas & fakirs, and end up with fake fakirs, turning them into superstitious and apprehensive beings.
In reality, spirituality is probity, morality, honor, and character molding to man’s ideal nature. It is meditation, purification and surrendering oneself to one Allah. It is about reviving and utilizing man’s hidden powers of khudi. As Paulo coehlo tweets “Spirituality is not all about meditation & praying, you have to act it!” To whom is it more significant today than us? The ultimate solution to the turmoil around.

” Islam demands loyalty to God, not to thrones. and since god is the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to God virtually amounts to man,s loyalty to his own ideal nature –says Iqbal

Nonetheless, Iqbal,s vision is not even  traditional Sufism , in fact he rejects ascetic Sufism calling it medieval mysticism. He blames “total “other-worldliness” as obscuring one,s vision as regard islam as a social polity” one reason for arrest in evolution of islam in last few centuries. Imperative point here is that, his idea is rather of a dynamic Sufism. His Sufi is worldly wise, more practical & pragmatic. Concisely, he is a hermit at night and a knight in the day!!

It is the lot of man to share in the deeper aspirations of the universe around him and to shape his own destiny as well as that of the universe, now by adjusting himself to its forces, now by putting the whole of his energy to mould its forces to his own ends and purposes. And in this process of progressive change God becomes a co-worker with him, provided man takes the initiative.

if he does not take the initiative, if he does not evolve the inner richness of his being, if he ceases to feel the inward push of advancing life, then the spirit within him hardens into stone and he is reduced to the level of dead matter.

In order to groom ourselves into enlightened religious beings, first credentials “eternal principal” & Khudi is utterly important. We should possess intuit of innovation & creativity. We should have grasp of religious knowledge as well as should be well versed in worldly matters. All rounders-it seems!

Posted @ PakistanFirst

http://pak1stanfirst.com/201009202689/articles/letter-to-editor/enlightened-moderation-is-the-foundation-of-islam.html

“BRAIN DRAIN”: Oh Really?


It is a concern habitually voiced now & than on various platforms that because of the untoward state of the state, students (undergrads & graduates) are fleeing the country ensuing brain drain.

I would say, too many applicants for fewer seats obtainable in universities and consequently  failure to get admission in professional institutes is actually “brain drain”. I rather consider the aforementioned brain drain a blessing in the given situation. It is inevitable now. At least those who can afford, or students’ who are able to get scholarships are going abroad, creating space for freshmen here.

Policy makers are aware of the fact that more than half of our population constitutes adolescents; they have been calling them our greatest treasure & pride. But the irony is that, no development had been done to dwell them except to possibly exploit them for some mere political purpose, if not for anything else. Having most of our population being predominantly youngsters should have sent shivers & goose bumps, setting off alarm bells across campuses to have more of the same developed on an emergency basis.

Higher Education Commission did an incredible job for a couple of years, thanks to Dr Atta-ur-Rehman. His plan of opening campuses of 11 foreign universities here, arranging of scholarships and outreach program etc was marvelous. After the merciless butchery of the HEC after his departure all his efforts of opening those coveted 11 campuses went down the drain, the outreach program bunged up & scholarships vanished.

For instance, the MCAT, only in Punjab this year about 20,000 applicants applied for seats as few as 2000 the private sector took advantage of the shortcoming resulting in mushrooming of private medical colleges which are in reality meant for business. Scores of these private colleges have their first or second year and are charging a minimum fee of 20 lakh. They have exploited parents and seemingly there is no restraint and consequentially no evaluation. Most disquieting fact is that the quality of education is being compromised. Undoubtedly, with such hideos quality of education cases like Imane Malik would be seen more and more frequently in future.

Parents who can afford such phenomenal tuition costs maybe can also meet the expenses of better quality graduate degrees abroad & consequently are sending off their children out of the country. Is this brain drain??

Moreover, employment situation is even worse. Graduates are pooling with no position to work at. MBAs, IT,s are liable to do call centre jobs. While those proficient for call centre jobs r perceptibly jobless. Is this not brain drain? Brain drain happens when state of affairs around does not let people use their brain to the best of their ability. Those who are departing are at least sending off their remittances back home.

Graduates these days are opting for postgrad degrees abroad instead of grieving over redundancy, which I take as a positive approach. Providentially, scholarships &financial aid availability is still their from foreign uni,s, even after the dreary downfall of HEC.

Brain will b drained if they r left to rot at homes after their FSc/A,s because they r incapable  to get admission anywhere coz their r not enough seats on hand for them or brain drain would ensue if even after a graduate degree, unemployment leave them dejected, disheartened & perturbed.

Pakistan has more than enough brain, to be drained so easily. Solution is easy – Fix govt policies, revive HEC, build new universities, conduct evening classes in campuses, improve economy, combat unemployment – the much mourned “brain drain” that has already happened will also reverse.

Failure to execute this indicates incapability of higher authorities, and their incapacity to hold the righteous designations. In such case, instead of drenching over brain drain, one should shout for change!!

posted at: Teeth Maestro , Global Voices, The Pakistani spectator , Pak Blogging

%d bloggers like this: