The struggle for existence

The struggle for existence

The struggle for existence

The struggle for existence , My Poems , Some Heart Touching Words , A heart Touching Poem

In the dangling electric-supply wires

and the dim, corroded lamp

perched atop the telephone pole

with its pallor barely touching the ground;

And the swirling snakes of water

which slip down the chipped red-brick slopes

and are arrested suddenly by the coal-tar road;

And the lid-less, gaping gutter-holes

vomiting frequent throngs of roaches

who tread the scarce grass blades

bordering the moist leaks in the ground;

And the foul smell that glides across the land ‘ere

tugging at the rugged walls and dingy buildings

sneaking under the ugly gates

and into the oppressive, nearly non-existent verandas;

And in the endless din of useless discussions

gossip and grocery talk

earnest commitments

of saving a penny here, a dime there

only to eventually indulge in one last extravaganza;

In this do I find beauty

a beauty that mesmerises

with the verity of its naked truth

its bare bones, starched of the drapes and false apparels

fleshless bones of a bony vulture

that stands true to the what begets it

and feeds upon it, ravenously

the struggle for existence

 Salmanaltaf.wordpress.com

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The Road Less Traveled By

The Road Less Traveled By

SalmanAltaf , The Roadless travelled ByWhen we are young, we are sent to schools for education. We are taught what has been passed down, generation after generation. And a part of this age-old wisdom is to make secure choices. And we are forbidden from making bold choices – we are strictly told, times and again, that sticking to the norms, the pre-ordained rules, is the best course. And that anyone who refuses to comply ought to be punished.

That, I believe, is what ingrains in us a fear for the unknown. That’s what leads us right onto the straight road, like sheep to a shepherd, who can move about in the herd but never break free from it and take a course off from that road. This culture bars us from making bold choices; in fact, it hands us an all-new definition of ‘bold choices’ and we, by falling for the same old tricks, albeit presented in a new fashion, believe us as being the rebels, the bestowed few whereas that’s barely the case.

Yet yes, there are those who take the ‘road less traveled by’ and by no means is that choice an easy choice. You are confronted not only by the society but by even your near and dear ones who think that by abandoning the ‘safe’ course of things, you are venturing into the dangerous and uncertain. They tell you all kinds of anecdotes to keep you from choosing it.

But the fact is, the day you choose to comply with the norms and give up on your dreams, no matter how extra-ordinary they are, you cease to live. You merely exist for the rest of your life, doing most of what the society asks you for, following that dull, monotonous routine of things well practiced, well tested and guaranteed as secure choices. And just like that, you pass away with a life that frankly was no different than billions of other beings.

However, if you do choose to overcome all that opposition, a daunting task indeed, and take the path less traveled by, your life becomes a journey of discovery. You get to have all those exquisite experiences that perhaps no one ever had before. Your life becomes a perpetual struggle for the realization of your dreams and you willingly invest you time, your energies and everything you have to make it happen. The very conscience that you have embarked upon the unknown, that there will barely be the beacons of ‘guidance’ all along and that no one will be holding your hand and no footprints to mark your course pre-handedly, the very conscience of it all invigorates every second of your being. And even if you don’t end up where you had planned, and that’s quite improbable, you get to have a life worth-having!! You get to exist and not to live. The fear of the unknown turns into the ecstasy of exploring the new.

Image courtesy garryknight.

Some Heart Touching Words

The Road Less Traveled By

Imran Khan – to vote for or not?

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To vote:

• There’s no doubt in the fact that he has magnetized the youth, especially the urban youth, to abandon the comfort of their homes and move forward from mere words; Imran Khan brought them to the streets and no matter how or what he is, he at least unfolded a new chapter in our youth’s political activism which is a dire need today.

• On a neutral stand-point, Imran Khan is someone who hasn’t been tested yet. Despite all the talk about Imran Khan being the ‘suicide’ option, even worse than status quo, the fact remains that so far, Imran Khan has never been found involved in any corruption charges. And the feats he has achieved in the past, from leading Pakistan to a run for World Cup to establishing the hospital and a university, all these clearly tell that here is a man who wants a social change and who has tried to bring it as far as he could. So, after all give and take, Imran is still someone who one seeks out as a possibly better option. In short, his past record shows him a man who is honest and incorruptible.

• Imran Khan does not come from a political background or hasn’t been launched by one of the major political parties and then took his own stage. He’s self-made, in so far as his political achievements are concerned.

• Imran Khan is a face well-known internationally. He is a person who knows how to speak well, how to get his point across and how to adjust to different kinds of audiences. Just ask yourself, who would the world take more seriously when addressing at UN General Assembly – Mian Nawaz SharifAsif Ali ZardariAltaf Hussain (just saying) or Imran Khan? Plus, his British connections may let him sale relatively smoother in the rough waters of foreign diplomacy. That, of course is an assumption but a fair comparison lends it weight.

• Not only youth but a number of intellectuals, media personnel and a constituency of literate populace sides with him. While you will see men shipped from rural regions and ‘patwaris’ are the gatherings of both PPP and PML-N, the jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan had people from all walks of life, most of the politically conscious, at least in comparison to the voters of PPP and PML-N.

• Thus far, Imran Khan hasn’t pitched in any ethnic-centric, region-centric or any other exclusive rhetoric. He claims to be fighting for elimination of corruption, all over Pakistan. Whatever the manifesto of PTI encompasses, it speaks for the entire Pakistan. And that is manifest in both the words and actions of PTI thus far.

• Imran Khan talked about women rights, about educating Pakistan and similar other objectives which pretty much constitute much of what’s wrong with Pakistan today.

Not to vote:

• The chief problem that I find with Imran Khan is his anti-US rhetoric and pro-Taliban stance. Of course he hasn’t openly supported Taliban like JI and others, he has never spoken against him. He speaks of talking to Taliban by ending war or terror and thus restoring peace but all this is a highly impractical as well as illogical. Taliban are not ready for talks, their Shriah-aimed ambitions are not regional but universal and they are not to be told to ‘give up’ their demands just like that. A recent proof to that can be found in the example of the fate Rabbani met in Afghanistan.

• Another great concern is about the personnel his party has been embracing. From Hamid Gul to Jamat-e-Islami rightists, his party has well catered to all sorts of members without disagreeing with their ideology. PTI has also been indiscriminate towards accepting such politicians who have abandoned other ships or were kicked out, some of them even on corruption charges. So whereas yes, Imran Khan comes clean on the issue of corruption, his party seems to be taking a somewhat relaxed stance towards it.

• The worst, of all things leveled against Imran Khan, is his alleged involvement with the deep state or what we know as military establishment. There has been talk of agencies supporting his cause and Imran’s tacit approval of army’s actions since he never talked against the army or it’s exploitations in Pakistan. And this allegation gains much currency when one sees that right now, PTI is only hurting PML-N’s vote-bank, the only party in the political arena who aims to bring army to accountability. Naturally, the logical path for army is to support Kaptaan and that is understandable – but Kaptaan’s support for army is what perplexes many since corruption simply can never be eliminated from Pakistan until army, too, is brought under accountability.

• Recently, PTI arranged a demonstration in Peshawar where it blocked roads to barr NATO tankers from going across. According to media reports, the demonstration was attended by a number of extremist right-wing parties. Also, on the way back, Imran stopped by at the Maulana Sami-ul-Haq’s seminary, the great madressah which has the ‘honor’ of having first launched Taliban who were students there. This is not to hand-pick a single example and lambaste PTI over it – rather, this is simply a proof to the aforementioned assertion that Imran Khan seems to sport pro-Taliban sentiments – now whether these sentiments arise purely out of his anti-US strategy or are these a result of some military minds working to shape PTI’s orientation, one cannot say. But those are the facts.

While that pretty much sums the chief features of both sides of the mirror, let me add that I haven’t absolutely ticked off Imran Khan. He has made his presence known and he may well have a political future, perhaps a significant one. What makes me wonder is that in recent days, in fact within a week of his jalsa, a number of intellectuals have been won over by him – they are optimistic, liberal, humanists and they see a hope in him. My sole hope with Imran Khan, however, is that the mistakes he has made thus far and the errors he has committed in the estimation and ideology of the Taliban and other right-wingers is a result of his naiveté and political immaturity, further bolstered by the ‘patronage’ of JI hawks and exploited (?) by the military establishment. One can only hope that once the liberal coterie abandons its distanced criticism and joins the flock, Imran Khan may have a chance of bettering his views and consequently, his policies. I, personally, think he will be the last man to concede to the implementation of Shriah.