Archive for January, 2016

Snowy hills, posh green,
Cashmere, it is.
Paradise we call it!
Ah! How can they not see?
What it heralds in its heart
Bullets tearing it apart,
Pepper chokes in its lungs.
There is a blood line that froze,
Slitting, Killing & what not?
Disappeared & Disappearing.
Tufail, wamick, Sameer, Burhan
Zubair, Inayat, Zahid, Bilal
Adil, Imtiyaz, Arif, Aaqib…
And many more.
Leaving behind wailing
Half Mothers & Half Windows.
Even our snowmen have
blots of blood to show.
Evening air smells of rust,
Brother,
Fill this hookah this night
Till I burn to death once more.
Like Parwana strumming
Not afraid of flame.
But do you know?
The saffron grows
A little less.
Tell them;
Paradise has turned sour.

Khawaja Musadiq For Beyond Sanity Publishing

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bob dylan
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’ swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind, it’s just a shadow you’re
Seein’ that he’s chasing.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ is a song by Bob Dylan in 1965 for his album ‘Bringing it all back home’.
The first time I heard this song, I felt as if I had a way out. A way out of all of life’s worries and chaos. All the conflict and the confusions running through my mind.
It was  undoubtedly one of the greatest albums in rock history. I kept listening to it over and over again.
Yesterday, someone asked if I have heard this song, and I was thrown back to the time when I was still in college and wondering my life was taking me, yes, I was blue, like all college students are. Yes, I was having fun, like all college students do.
It was normal. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Maybe there was.
Maybe the music sounded better, maybe the wind was happy.
Maybe I was hopeful about all things.
I am not, that hopeful anymore.
Why? I don’t know exactly.
So when I heard this song I was filled with so many memories and trust me I wanted to re-live all of them. Well not ALL, to be honest.
But most of them.
We all have so many dreams when we go to college and when we finally get there, we think and we rethink everything.
Friends, work, love, life.
Everything changes.
There are countless arguments, several fights, backbiting, reunions, but you don’t understand what life is about.
Yo search the seven seas of your mind but that hollowness remains. You keep thinking you need someone in your life, even if they think you don’t matter. It’s not fair to you.
You need to look into that hollow empty space within you and fill it with art, fill it with poetry, beauty, green fields, clouds, storms and when you are at your lowest, pills drugs whatever floats your boat. But don’t die.
Death is beautiful I agree but you have things to do!
You have places to see!
You have to listen to your tambourine man and you have to dance the worries away.
You have to breathe.
Hey, I’m here too. She is here too. So is he.
We all are. We can all be filled with art and beauty even if we have ink on our skin and scars in our hearts or the other way around. Let the leaves grow out of you. You can become a tree of everlasting words and arts fruit.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
You will be so amazing. You will be a legend.
You will have a throne.
You will sleep sound.
 

Kashmir is a bone of contention between Pakistan and India. Issue of Kashmir just started after partition of India and Pakistan, both claims the state. Kashmir issue is now an international issue but the problem is how to solve this conflict.

On March 24, 2012 Kuldip Nayar in his article said that Kashmir issue can be solved if both governments transfer all subjects except defense and foreign affairs to Kashmiris and soften their borders so that the people of both Kashmir meet and plan jointly the development of their region. He further said Lok Sabha’s elected members from Jammu and Kashmir should sit in Pakistan’s National Assembly and those of Pakistan-administered Kashmir in India’s Lok Sabha.

On April 9, 2012 Khalid Iqbal urged American senators and representatives to take notice of the human rights abuses in Kashmir and hold a hearing on this pressing issue. He is of the view that Representative Dana Tyron should focuses on human rights situation in Kashmir, which is a UN recognized conflict, instead of wasting his breath in pressuring Pakistan via Baluchistan.

According to Shabir Choudhary Pakistan should show flexibility on its stand on Kashmir and there should be no restrictions imposed on the choice of Kashmiris. The APHC Azad Kashmir should also pursue the same strategy. They should persuade the Azad Kashmir leaders to join APHC and then they should visit Gilgit Baltistan to win their confidence.

On May 30, 2012 Yasin Malik expressed that it is only the violence that gets the attention of policy makers and makes them come to the negotiating table. The new generations of Kashmiris will then draw this lesson and may take gun as a means of protest to make themselves heard. Policy makers, the international community and all the stake holders should try and pre-empt. The time for this is now.

According to my point of view representation should be given to the people of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan in the National Assembly and the Senate. It should be the first step taken by Pakistan, so that international countries as well as the people of Kashmir get know that how much Pakistan is interested in Kashmir and how much it gives importance to it. Even a cow in Kashmir has more rights than its citizen so media should also play its role and should give daily coverage on the violation of human rights in Kashmir, as media is one of the most powerful tools. I will appreciate Ahmed Quraishi who highlights Kashmir issue a lot in his program; other anchor persons should also do the same.

Another step to solve Kashmir issue is that the international community should debate this issue in the United Nation and the first step which they should take is to de-militarize Kashmir.

If we involve all countries in this issue and do work on this conflict sincerely then that day is not far when the whole Kashmir will get freedom and people of Kashmir will be able to live freely.

Zara Khalid Khan For Beyond Sanity Publishing

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A pious heart, a divine soul

I know of someone heavenly pure,

I see him not, yet I love him,

I know him not, yet I trust him,

Oh you who are present,

Come quick, make this place heaven,

For you I shall wait,

Every second every day,

For you I shall pray,

With every breath I take,

Yet all this is not enough,

    For his being is beyond us.

Zeenat Talpur For Beyond Sanity Publishing

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‘Women Of Pakistan’ By Syeda Fatima

The moment’s gone
The hour is late
She lays awake hoping
The storms would abate
Struggling to fill the void
That is here to stay
And sleep was as if
A thousand light years away
Her gaze was erratic
Faltering in the dark
It stumbled upon a shadow
That was eerie and stark
Petrified, she hurriedly
Squirmed beneath the sheets
Thinking maybe now
She with her fate meets
Instead a gentler hand
Rested on her head
As it sat there
Beside her on the bed
Realizing ’twas harmless
She slowly crawled out
This time less dreading
And a bit more stout
the shadowy figure now
Not as
Murky as it was
Said in a quaint whisper
After a prolong pause
“Those untended questions
Finally caught thou  eye
Many never notice
And merely pass by
But thou need to be patient
And heed what thou see
It is always there
Amidst the dubiety.”
As she rose from the bed
It beckoned her to lie
So she spoke instead
In what, when and why
The figure then quaintly smiled
And finally heard her out
All that had dismayed her
What she had wept about
The figure smiled again and said,
“No more shall ye weep”
“Hush! My child. Hush!”,
It said,
“Off ye go to sleep.”

Sidra Tul Muntaha Malik For Beyond Sanity Publishing

Artwork Submitted by Syeda Fatima

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Quaid’s Pakistan they say, but who is Quaid, and where is Pakistan?
The clock keeps ticking as I write. It is December 24th 2015, almost the end of another year, another year ready to go down in history, stories of which we will be telling our children tomorrow. Sixty eight years it has been since a nation stood up for a cause, sixty eight years it has been since hundreds and thousands of people fought alongside one another for a homeland. They all fought for the same purpose, they all were hungry to breathe the free air. That nation strived for a place where everyone could enjoy their rights in tranquility.

It is true that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, an ignorant man would sit idle for an hour in a garden full of flowers, where as a poet would write a whole poem on how blessed he is for the colors and beauty of nature that surrounds him. In the same way, these words are merely words if you fail to extract the meanings out of them, and the meanings will be understood by only those who carry a vision.
These concepts are sensitive and demand great consideration.

A man once lived whose eyes of the heart were opened, his name was Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The visionary that he was knew what change people could bring if they stood together for one cause for he was an eye witness of the change itself. Pakistan was never won by Pathans, Punjabis, Balochis, or Sindhis; it was won by a group of people who fought together as one against the tyranny of the oppressors. The Quaid that we remember only two or three days a year now for public purposes, emphasized greatly on the importance of unity and the fruits it brings.  Unfortunately, we made our paths our destiny, and those who followed a different path were all declared wrong, though the destiny was the same for everyone. We all were headed to the same place, we all wanted to go to heaven, all the people were working for the betterment of the country in their own unique ways but we failed to understand this. With time people began to form ethnocentric groups without thinking the disasters it was bringing with itself. We tore apart this Quaid’s Pakistan with our own hands. We are weak now because we are divided into many sects, groups, divisions and sub divisions.

Pakistan was not just created as a free country, it was created for the preservation of Islamic ideology as well, and it was made in the name of Islam. Now, there are Muslims everywhere but Islam is found nowhere, and why not, we are Muslims by birth, not by heart. Blinded by the curtains of ignorance, people fail to understand Islam, its modernism and how it is the best way to live a life. The reason is simply being the infinite distractions and never ending illusions that we all fall prey for. Religion is a way of life, and Islam without a doubt is the best religion. No book on life, ethics, self learning, motivation, justice, science can outrun the teachings of Islam. After being evaluated and tested at every single level, Islam is presently the only religion in the world that is worth following. Only those who read learn, and think can understand this, the eyes of the rest are covered with blindfolds. Problem is, we are not ready to learn, we don’t want to. The sad part is, we hide ourselves from the truth when we literally have the power to change the whole world. It was for a reason that Allama Iqbal said that the vision of a believer can change the fate of thousands. It is not wrong to say that we have forgotten who we are, we have forgotten the purpose of our lives, we have forgotten everything and yet we call this land Quaid’s Pakistan which is nothing but a half forgotten memory of the person who created it.

A pen was declared as a weapon against a sword, a pen which when held by the educated can change the course of stream that the world is flowing on. No wonder education is of prime importance, but our concepts of life and its realities are so weak that we simply take education as a purpose of income now, no more than that. The education on which all the great leaders in the world emphasized was not this, the education which they stressed upon was the education that differs a human from an animal.  It is funny how we cannot read 10-20 pages of a book everyday when we can waste hours on the social media websites. We have distanced ourselves from knowledge as if it is a disease. Yes, education is much more than holding a degree and getting paid for it. Education is the foundation of greatness. Education makes ordinary humans great humans.  Education is what makes a difference but we are far away from understanding this.
It is not like we don’t have great minds in our country, we do, but those minds are covered by the clouds of ignorance, and of darkness. It is absolutely wrong to say that a person like Quaid-e-Azam cannot be born again; it is not like God created one man and one man only. Many leaders have born, so much have they contributed, were they super humans?  No, they simply combined their intellect with loyalty, commitment, courage and hard work. They were honest.
Hence by ignoring education, we dug another pit for ourselves, created another disappointment for the Quaid who expected from us, so much for Quaid’s Pakistan.

So easy it is to complain about each and everything, so easy it is to accuse everyone for everything. We say that the governance is bad, the parties are corrupt, but are we ourselves loyal to our country? Think.
I guess the only difference between us and the people ruling us is that they have authority and we lack it, nothing else. We are all corrupt at our own level, so why blame others when we are not righteous ourselves. Negative are our thoughts, away from the positivity we live, and always ready to humiliate others. The thought of doing something good and purposeful simply never crosses our mind.
Most crimes are social crimes; those who commit them are usually deprived of their basic rights and necessities. We are ready to donate, give charities, impose law and order but we cannot give people their rights. We can mourn for the victims, we can feel bad about the tragedies but we cannot stand up, step forward and do something to eliminate the cause of that incident. Our women are deprived of their basic rights, we feel sorry for them but we cannot do anything for them, too much for promoting equality I presume. The great Quaid put a lot of stress on women empowerment, if it was his Pakistan, it would surely be a different situation right now. We create crimes ourselves, we create criminals ourselves, and this is certainly not what Quaid wanted.

Yes, this is not Quaid’s Pakistan and certainly not the Pakistan he would have dreamed of. Now the choice is ours, we can keep it that way or we can raise our lives and standards to transform ourselves and this homeland.
Change yourself first not the society. In trying to do big things and become great humans, we miss out on keeping ourselves humans, humans love, humans care, we should do too.
Remember, if you change today, ten more people will join you tomorrow, hundred more will follow the day after as well.  Honestly, it all starts at the individual level. To correct ourselves, we first need to know that we are wrong. We first have to admit that we are in slavery, only then can we free ourselves. Then combine all the traits of leadership within ourselves; be brave, be honest, be truthful, be hardworking, be knowledgeable, and above all be good Muslims.
Find yourself in the shadows of darkness; know yourself and all that you are capable of. You can set fire to the whole world if you just find yourself. For once, get tired of letting down all those who had hopes in you, who called the youth as the definers of future. Read books, learn new things every day, your time is limited, spend it in doing things that matter.
Stay alive to make a difference, and don’t just breathe.
Fight, fall, and rise again.
I wish if I happen to write on 24th December 2016 again, my views have changed.

Submitted By: Fahad Asif For Beyond Sanity Publishing

Secured 1st prize

labyrinth

“Hey, you okay?” Hadi asked, reaching me.

Fear had taken over my body, hugging my throat with all the power in the world. It was as if it had gotten colder all of a sudden. Shivering all over, I pointed towards where those daunting, bloodshot eyes were a moment ago. There was nothing but sheer darkness there now.

“Tell me what I am supposed to see at least. Wait. Let me guess. A ghost?” He let out a laugh which he quickly stifled when he realized I didn’t find his attempt at humour funny at all. I couldn’t care less about what he had to say at the moment, my mind all too occupied with the image of those eyes. They were real! They must have been.

“Listen, I’m gonna go in that direction.” I pointed towards the road to the left of the haunted house. “and you may go back to the others or to hell for all I care. Just don’t follow me.”

“Are you always this rude or-” I walked away from him before he could finish.

“If that’s what you want then be careful! It’s really dark out there.” He shouted from the back.

“Do you ever shut your pretty mouth, blouche?” I shouted back, annoyance clearly lacing my tone.

“What in the world is a blouche?” I heard him yell but I ignored.

I walked, accompanied only by the sound of dried fallen leaves crushing beneath my feet and my shaky breathing. I already regretted walking here alone. But then I reminded myself that’s its just a dream. It’s not real. It’s just a dream. It’ll disappear as soon as I wake up.

That’s it! I just needed to wake myself up. I remembered people biting or pinching themselves in movies to wake up from a deep sleep. And so I did. A bit too hard. I yelped in pain as the bite mark on my hand turned into a bright shade of red. But nothing happened. I felt stupid enough knowing I had just done that. The reality of the situation only got worse when I heard an entire crowd of people laughing at me. Great.

“Nice try kiddo but I’m afraid it’s not that easy.” Barked Badass Guy, his sentence interrupted by his own loud laughter.

I wanted nothing more than to punch him square in the face. But the memory of getting punched in the stomach earlier was still sharp in my mind so I decided not to take the risk. I just turned around and started walking away without another word. I didn’t make it far before I found Hadi standing in front of me with a grin plastered on his face.

“I thought I told you not to follow me? I’m seriously considering mass homicide.” I put as much vileness in my words as I could manage.

“Yeah right! Ever killed an ant, little one?” I heard the sucker-face say from the back.

And so I snapped. So I turned around to face him and shouted, “Listen up douche-face! Don’t ever call me that or I’ll show you what I can do.”

Apparently my threat seemed to amuse him for he smiled and started calmly, “First off my name is Yusha. And secondly I think we’d all love to see what you can do to me. We really enjoyed what happened last time.”

Unable to answer, I closed my eyes out of anger.

“Amal, honey did you sleep late again? Wake up, you’re getting late.” I heard mum’s familiar voice and realized I was home. I’d been home at night too, my mind snapped at me.

“Morning, mum” I said a little too enthusiastically, jumping up to wrap my arms around her. She smiled warmly at me.

“You’ve got 10 minutes sleepy-head.” She said as she threw a towel at my face and directed me towards the bathroom to get ready. I brushed my teeth and washed my face hurriedly.

Oh great! A bruise, a cut and now a bite. And a bite had given myself. I got pulled out of my thoughts when Adan opened the door of my room with a force I never thought a creature as small as herself could possess.

“Hurry up, blouche. ” she bawled out and ran back downstairs. I started running after her without thinking.

“Why aren’t you ready yet Amal? Look at you.” Mum yelled at me.

“No particular reason, Mum. Just stressed out because of the burden of studies.” Hassan answered in a high-pitched imitation of me which was followed by a roar of laughter from both of the tiny devils. The frown on mum’s face, however, hadn’t changed.

“Now eat your breakfast properly, at least.” She told me. I wolfed down the slice as quickly as i could and ran back upstairs. I tied my hair quickly into a ponytail without looking in the mirror. Grabbing my blazer and my bag, I rushed towards the others who had already got in the car, nearly tripping on the stairs. Getting in right next to Adan, I stared at her.

“Who taught you that?” I whispered as low as i could.

“Taught me what?”

“Blouche. You called me it when you came to get me.”

“Oh that. You.” She said as loud as she could, giggling afterwards. I let out a sigh and gestured her to lower her voice. This 5 year old was driving me crazy.

“How many times do I need to tell you not to be so loud when I’m driving? It distracts me. Don’t you know that?” Mum said. “Amal you shouldn’t be acting so childlike.”

“It wasn’t me! Why am I always blamed for everything these two do?”

“Chill, Amal, Chill.” said Hassan, making sure he said something in every situation.

“Shut up, you-”

“Blouche.” Adan finished for me.

“Stop saying that.” I hissed at her.

“Blou-what?” Asked mum, pulling over.

“Err nothing. Love ya. Bye.” I jumped out of the car and entered the school.

I found my clique in the corridors, seemingly waiting for me. “Hi losers.” I chirped. Despite my annoying siblings, I was happy today. It was oddly satisfying knowing I wasn’t stuck in a dream being tormented by annoying guys.

“Hey.” They said in unison.

“Why aren’t you guys in the class? ” I asked.

“We were waiting for you. We’ve been asked to be at the gymnasium at 8:00 sharp. Let’s go.” Said Sarah, a rather small girl with black-brown hair and a pretty face. We entered the gym. There was something about the gym which made me feel at home. It smelled of freedom, power and, sometimes, sweaty socks. It was my favourite place in the whole school. There was a large basket-ball court in the middle. To the left was a tiny room where you could find the sport supplies and to the right were neat badminton and tennis courts. For sports like cricket and football, you’d need grounds,of course. It smelled freshly cleaned today, much to the relief of my nostrils. Miss Nida was standing opposite to the entrance at the upper most portion where there were seats for the spectators. Most of the seats were already filled.

“Oh look, there’s the Grey Witch.” Said Ziley pointing at a senior teacher standing right next to Miss Nida. We called her that because she was old. With her greying hair and white facial hair sprouting like whiskers, she was a total witch. If she could, she would make this school in to a prison and never let us escape. I clearly remembered how one time we were bunking a class. We were talking and walking and without realizing we entered the corridor that took you to her office, only to find out we were at one end of it and she was at the other. “COME HERE YOU LOT.” She screamed at the top of her lungs. She couldn’t see our faces clearly. Old and all. At least we thought she couldn’t. We had two options. Number 1: We go to her and face the worst. Number 2: We run and don’t look back. Our choice was obvious as Miss Nida’s voice echoed in the corridor. “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING? COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW OR-” We heard her yell as we took a right turn and took refuge in an empty class.

So there it was. The announcement we’d been called here for was made by the grey witch, of course. There was going to be a huge sports competition between our school and a few other schools. What excited me the most was this that it was going to be a boys vs girls match. I’d never been too fond of them but the guys in my dream have made me hate them with burning passion.
“All of you who are willing to participate in basketball, cricket, badminton, football, snooker and swimming are supposed to go through a trial today. So we can form the teams and practice further. Also there will be no classes in the first half today.” She announced with her trademark face. I wondered how would she look if she ever smiled. Then I realized everyone looks beautiful when they smile. As mainstream as it may sound but everyone is in fact beautiful. It’s just our actions and sometimes consequences of life which make us look or feel otherwise.

Sarah and I decided to go for cricket. The others weren’t that interested in sports. We had so many interests in common that we’d always been in the same competitions since childhood, even against each other in a few.

“It’s gonna be fun.” I said. We had to wait for an hour for our turns. The cricket tryouts were held in the school ground. Sarah went first. I had to wait for 15 more minutes. “Amal, you’re up next.” I got up with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness and walked towards the field.

“Time to announce the name of those who made it to the cricket team. First up, it’s…

 

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Saja Ali & Zoha Hidayat For Beyond Sanity Publishing