Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I can not Dance..!

Whatttt ... you can not dance...!

This was the first surprising reaction from my colleagues during early days of my fellowship during an introductory gathering @ Cairo. When they knew that I never danced, they could not believe. It was very hard to make them understand why I do not dance. I tried to explain that I never danced before and I can not but they could not make out. But why I never danced has a very vast cultural background that is not easy to understand for Non Pakistanis.

Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. All of the ethnic groups have their cultural routs in pre-partition Indian subcontinent. In pre-partitioned Indian subcontinent in Urdu speaking population singing and dancing were limited to one specific community. This community was usually headed by women known as Tawaif equivalent to Prostitutes but not all of them were prostitutes in popular meaning of the term. These Tawaifs were limited to one specific geographical area in the cities known as Bazaar-e-Husn (Market place to buy women).

These Tawaifs were of two types. One type of Tawaifs used to sing and dance only for men and any one can come, pay their fee and watch dance and listen songs. Some times any rich man would buy rights of singing and dancing of the most famous, most beautiful and most talented Tawaif. In this case she would perform only for him and he would pay her a handsome monthly salary. She might get pregnant of this man legitimately or illegitimately but this child would never be accepted in his family. Some times these singer and dancer Tawaifs used to go to wedding parties of rich people at home “to please only men audience”.

(Dancing was considered so bad in Urdu speaking community that noble women were not allowed to see.)

Another kind of Tawaifs was Female Sex Workers. They used to live in the same Bazaars. But because of getting old or not being so attractive and beautiful as others were, hence having fewer admirers for their singing and dancing, they had to sell themselves for money.

Sex workers or performers, all of them were considered same - WOMEN HAVING VERY BAD CHARACTER - at those times, because the noble women used to observe Parda (Hijab) from Na-Meharam (out of family) men. While these women not only were coming out in front of all men but singing and dancing in front of them at least and flirting with them for earning more money. So among noble community they were considered as untouchables. No noble men would marry a Tawaif (surprisingly he was allowed to see her show/mujra :D) if some one would do so, his family would never accept this girl and her children as legitimate family members and inheritors.

So till today noble Urdu speaking families consider dancing and to some extent singing as un-respectable art or skill (not elite families, there is a difference between a sharif family and Ashrafiyah :P).

But it does not mean that people especially women do not dance at all in Pakistan. Other major ethnic cultures such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtoon and Balochi have their own very beautiful cultural dance forms for men and women and they dance separately or collectively on different occasions according to their centuries old traditions. In modern Urdu families people getting infected from Indian movies and dramas and they dance more than Indians (dance is a part of religious rituals in Hindu Culture) to show how modern they are. However, I am proud and happy that I am from a traditional Urdu family.

One may call me a Conservative, I am happy with that :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

اپنے اپنے خدا

تنبیہ: کمزور ایمان والے اپنے رسک پر پڑھیں، ہوسکتا ہے میں نے آپ کے خدا کی شان میں گستاخی کردی ہو

انسان فطرتاً 'عابد' ہے اس لئے ابتدا ہی سے 'معبود' تلاشتا اور تراشتا رہا ہے۔ ابتدا میں فائدہ و نقصان کی بنیاد پر معبود بنائے، سورج سے حرارت کا احساس ملا تو سورج کی عبادت شروع کردی، سمندر کی طاقت سے دہشت زدہ ہو کر یا رزق کی فراہمی سے مرعوب ہو کر سمندر کو دیوتا مان لیا، آگ نے جلا ڈالا تو آگ کو سجدہ کر لیا، پتھر سے چوٹ لگی تو پتھر کو دیوتا بنا لیا۔ کیونکہ انسان کی فطرت میں بخیل پن ہے تو اپنے اپنے دیوتا اور خدا الگ الگ کر لیے، پتھر مختلف شکلوں میں تراش لیے اور انھیں لات، منات ایسے عجیب و غریب نام دے دیے۔

Monday, July 2, 2012

ہاسٹل میں رہنے کے رہنما اصول

صاحبو ہاسٹل اس جگہ کو کہتے ہیں جہاں طالبعلموں کی تعداد ہمیشہ دستیاب وسائل کے بالعکس متناسب ہوتی ہے یعنی طلبہ کی تعداد بڑھتی جاتی ہے اور وسائل کم ہوتے جاتے ہیں۔ ہر طالبعلم کو ہر صبح پہلے غسل خانے کے لئے اور اسکے بعد ناشتہ تیار کرنے کے لئے رسہ کشی کرنی پڑتی ہے۔ جہاں ایک طالبعلم کو اسی وقت فل والیوم سے مائیکل جیکسن کو سننا ہوتا ہے جب دوسرا خوابِ خرگوش کے مزے لے رہا ہوتا ہے۔ جب آپ غسل فرمانے کی فل تیاری اور موڈ میں ہوتے ہیں اور اسی اثنا میں کوئی دوسرا حمام پر قبضہ کرلیتا ہے اور آپ صرف دانت کچکچا کر رہ جاتے ہیں۔ کیونکہ ہم یہ کشٹ کاٹ رہے ہیں اور اپنے تئیں خاصے تجربہ کار ہو چکے ہیں اس لئے نئے آنے والوں کے لئے ہاسٹل میں کامیابی سے رہنے کے کچھ راہنما اصول درج کیے دیتے ہیں۔