Thursday, November 19, 2009

International Men’s Day – Why aren't we celebrating?


While i write this post, only few people in Pakistan would be knowing that today is "International Men's Day". Why aren't we celebrating the day with the same enthusiasm as we celebrate "International Women's Day" on March 8th when all the social and mainstream media is occupied for days to make us men admit that we are the cruelest and dirtiest specie on the planet earth.

From midnight till noon, i haven't seen a single status message or any program on any television/radio channel to say few good words about us.

A few days back a "Women Workplace Harassment Bill" was passed by our National Assembly which could award three year imprisonment and impose Rs. 500000 fine against the offender. Fine. No Objections. But what if women do the same or misuse this bill in their favor? Does any law protect men or does this law has an article that women would be punished for abusing the law? I guess not.

Majority is facing basic problems to survive in the current system and our legislators have nothing else to do other than bringing "NRO", "Hudood Ordinance" and other Women Protection Bills in the assembly. After passing such bills, they hold press conferences and claim that they have achieved the milestone.

Though i endorse women development projects and have been associated with various such projects in past but if we want to promote gender equality, why we have allocated One-Third Quota in our Parliament for them? Why do we have separate compartments in transportation system, separate queues in tickets and billing? Shouldn't this gender behave normally and follow the same procedures as men do?

Anyways, lets come to the original point. When we celebrate a day, we consider something special about that day. Or we would not be celebrating it. Am I correct? What message do we send by celebrating Women's Day? Why not also celebrate Men's Day?

What do we want to think about women? Ideally, they should be treated equally in all the fields. Ideally when one thinks of a woman, one should not think about them different in any respect to men. Except that they mother a child and shoulder different responsibility for a certain period, women should be thought of as equal to men in all respects. Why label them as weaker sex or any such thing. But this is happening. Who is responsible for this thought process, where women are considered different? Men? Women? Historical processes? Who? Let us examine more.

Does media discuss the matter, if a man reaches top of a giant corporation? No. But it does, if a woman occupies that position. Why? Is it only because women have traditionally not occupied such positions or that they are in some way considered inferior to men? So it is a surprise if a woman reaches the top of a giant organization? Why cannot the media ignore such occurrences and not call them as news at all? Does media announce - the sun rose today! No. It is taken as a way of life and nature. Why cannot the media take this fact as granted that women are equal to men in all the aspects and stop discussing any issues that talk of sex difference and ability? With such categorization are we ourselves not treating men and women separately?

I know i'll end up writing a book of random thoughts here but this wouldn't matter at all. Women in Pakistan would keep demanding more and more. We would have more Support Funds, Gender Biased Scholarships, Gender Biased Job Openings but no one would ever raise a voice that men do have certain rights as well. Thus, the bottom line of the post is

Promoting gender equality:

Women’s empowerment and gender equality are two oft-repeated phrases today. It is sad enough that there are many who take great pride in wearing these labels while remaining completely oblivious of their true import. What is worse is that radical women’s groups and vested interests have successfully subverted the real meaning and purpose of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and are promoting discrimination, injustice and serious human rights abuses in the name of gender equality.

Domestic and social harmony will prevail only when women AND men are ensured their rightful, honorable place within and outside the home. International Men’s Day is an occasion to commit ourselves to ensure true gender equality in the society and under law, so that gender relations are improved, litigations are reduced, legal terrorism and extortion through misuse of the law is eliminated, and our human and financial resources can be employed to ensure a better society for ourselves and future generations.

Highlighting positive male role models:

We tend to ignore that every day,

•    Men render many services that make the society comfortable for everyone.
•    Men make many contributions to science, technology and health of all.
•    Men perform the most dangerous and difficult jobs in the world.
•    Men take risks and die to save other lives during calamities and war.
•    Men bring humor into our lives and make us laugh.

International Men’s Day is an occasion to highlight and promote positive role models in all walks of life. It is a day to remind ourselves to honor all men – academic achievers, social leaders,  champions of the environment, artists, comedians, soldiers, farmers, fishermen, fire fighters,  and those more humble males who, on a daily basis, clean our streets, build our houses, fix our vehicles, police our streets, deliver newspapers and milk, care for children, and dedicate themselves to others. It is a day to remember that we must celebrate all men in our lives – our fathers, brothers, partners, sons, male friends, neighbors and colleagues. That's my message. A "Very Happy Men's Day" to all my gender fellows out there.

Post References: Uma Challa and American Chronicle
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Azad Jammu & Kashmir & Balawaristan - State Flag and Government Sign

Some of my readers in their response to my previous post "The State Emblem of Pakistan and the need for change" emailed me to tell them more about the AJK and Balawaristan State & Government Signs (if any). Though i have limited knowledge about them but let me post whatever i know.

AJK Flag 

The official flag the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir was adopted on 24th September 1975. The flag was adopted by the passing of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir State Flag Ordinance, 1975 by the then president, Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan.

Symbolically the flag represents following aspects of Azad Jammu and Kashmir

    * Three Fourths green background represents 75% Muslim population of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    * One-Fourth Orange (Golden) color represents 25% minorities of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    * The Green stripes represent the Valley of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    * The White stripes represent the snow-covered mountains of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    * The Crescent is the usual semblance of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Government of AJK Sign

The AJK Government uses this sign for official correspondences. This is shown in silver thread, whereas the President of Azad Jammu & Kasmir has an identical banner, but of GOLD thread. This flag carries the state/province emblems. Here the obvious crescent and star, mountains, and the maple leaf, which is reflective of the abundance of this tree within the state.

Balwaristan Area

The above outlined area is also known as BALAWARISTAN which has recently got autonomy and general elections were held for the assembly.

Balawaristan Government Sign

As per my information, Balawaristan doesn't have any official government sign at the moment. Mostly people refer the following as the state flag which is actually the flag of Balawaristan National Front.

 Hopefully, the newly elected government would decide their symbol in coming days.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The State Emblem of Pakistan and the need for change

Sometimes while conducting my training sessions, I ask people if they know what does the following symbol mean.  


Surprisingly majority doesn’t even have any clue about it and the best answer that I get is “This is the Government of Pakistan Sign”. This disappoints me a lot that people even don’t know about our state emblem. This has led me to write about the significance of the sign that goes on all official Government of Pakistan correspondences, documentation, and your NICs & passports.       











* The State Emblem of Pakistan was adopted in 1954.  The emblem's green colour and the star and crescent at the top are symbols of Islam, the religion with which most Pakistani citizens identify.
* In the center is a quartered shield, with each quarter containing a major crop of Pakistan at the time of its adoption: cotton, jute, tea, and wheat.
* The floral wreath around the shield is Poet's Jasmine (the national flower) and represents the Mughal cultural heritage of Pakistan.
* The scroll at the bottom contains the national motto in Urdu, coined by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which reads from right to left: (Urdu: اتحاد ، ایمان ، نظم) Ittehad, Iman, Nazm translated as "Unity, Faith, Discipline".

    (All the readers should write very frankly in the comments that how many of you earlier knew about this design philosophy)


    The Need for Change  

    The two crops (Jute and Tea) are no longer Pakistan’s major crop after the separation of East Pakistan and formation of Bangladesh. To me its like not accepting the formation of Bangladesh. Thus, we should replace them with the current major crops of the country. I won’t comment on the “Unity, Faith, Discipline” motto for the very obvious reasons.