Life Lessons My Car Taught Me

red car 2

‘Khat, khat, khat! Crunch, crunch, crunch! Dug, dug, dug!’, this is what my car sounds like. You see people talk about their brand new cars but you never really see them post pictures of cars that sound like this or the junk they might have driven a long time back. Well, I still drive the same junk. I have been driving my Suzuki Khyber since A’Levels since I got it as a hand-me-down from my parents.

My car broke down so many times, I have lost count. There were many times I was stranded in the middle of the road because it just refused to start and the sound of the cars honking their horns behind me made me feel worse. Sheer embarrassment and outrage used to engulf every cell in my body. So many times people drove past me laughing at the wreck of a car I was driving while I tried to hide away my tears because I felt so ashamed and sad.

So many times I was pulled over by police and other random strangers just so they could make me feel worse that I owned the worst and ugliest car on the planet. There were a couple of times I actually broke into tears in front of strangers for the helplessness I felt after they were done telling me about how pathetic my car was. Even pedestrians who couldn’t afford a car laughed at me and the condition my car was in.

red car

But there is this odd contentment in my heart. I believe I have received more than any woman in this society could. I got permission to drive as soon as I was 18 and had my own car; women rarely get that opportunity. So maybe it wasn’t a Ferrari or a Mercedes and maybe it wasn’t the most comfortable ride in the world, but it was my ride and it was earned through halal money. It had no interest on it to be paid.

This crappy wreck for some people is what has taught me many lessons. It has taught me that life will have ups and downs and this has made me stronger. My car taught me to not be afraid and made me confident.

But most importantly this red junk taught me humility. Now every time someone’s car breaks down I don’t honk a horn, I get out and try to help them out. Every time someone has an accident I stop my car to help them out. My car taught me patience. When someone drives really slowly because their car looks crappy I try to be patient and not honk since it won’t make the car go faster.

We people forget who we are and where we will go in the end. The car has made me more considerate to other people’s problems. It’s easier to say just go get a new car from the bank, than to actually go do it however, it isn’t that easy. It is impossible for me because I have no intentions of getting stuck in riba and interest. This car is a little price I pay but it is better than going to war with Him which is a definite loss. I will wait my turn surely He has something better in store for me.

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The Beauty in Diversity: Part 2

‘When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion or political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.’ – J. Krishnamurti

I got into a disagreement with my brother when he shared this post on his wall on facebook. He agrees with the man above and I don’t. He shared his opinion and I shared mine. Now, let me clear up one thing I don’t dislike anyone for disagreeing with me, because it is only natural. I dislike it when they start to become disrespectful while they disagree, for example calling someone stupid is violence just because they don’t agree with your point of view. Intellectual discussions cannot be fruitful if they are based on emotional outrage.

While I appreciate the man above and my brother for supporting peace and unity, however their argument to blame it on our differences of opinions and beliefs seems a little immature and impractical to me.

First of all, violence is not only directed to humans it is also directed towards animals and nature in its entirety. So violence can be towards any living species, according to my opinion. Furthermore, violence can be physical, like wars, or it can be social, like discrimination, or psychological or economical, like trade bans. Once we have cleared in our minds what violence could and could be, only then can we further discuss the quotation above.

Let’s break down what Krishnamurti has said above. ‘When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent…’ When Krishnamurti states this, he is in short implying that associating oneself to a group is being violent. It is our natural and psychological tendency to associate ourselves to a certain group.

In the next sentence he says that it means that we are separating ourselves from others, which is the main cause of violence. I disagree because the main cause of violence towards any living being is not the differences in themselves. The main cause is showing intolerance of the differences we were created with.

He further adds that anyone who wants to understand violence does not belong to any group and says ‘…he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind’. His point is valid to an extent that a person should be unbiased while trying to understand humans. However, the understanding of mankind is contingent upon accepting the fact that humans will always have differences. They will always disagree on one thing or another. It is a basic and fundamental fact and not accepting this fact leads to such impractical utopian ideologies which are impossible to implement to eradicate the issue of violence.

Therefore, violence can only be curbed by accepting the differences and tolerating each other’s diversity in opinion and beliefs. Making these differences our strength, instead of making them our biggest weakness can the issue of violence be curbed, if not completely eradicated.

2% Drop in Literacy Rate

Infographic on literacy rate

According to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) carried out by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) from August 2013 to June 2014 shows a 2% drop in the overall literacy rate of Pakistan; dropping from 60% to 58% in a year despite the 2% increase in the Government spending on education. A person is literate if he or she knows how to read and write; I guess 42% of the current populations doesn’t know how to do that either. According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Pakistan was supposed to increase its literacy rate to 88% by 2015 and I guess we just keep falling behind on that too.

Now let us first look at how the Government merely increases a 2% budget on education. Education is what makes or breaks a nation and amazingly it is their last priority. You know what the total amount of Government spending on education is? It is merely 537.6 billion PKR. That is not enough to educate the exceedingly large population of Pakistan. And according to a recent survey, most people didn’t send their children to school because it was way too expensive.

So that was the total population, but do you even know the percentage of literate women in Pakistan? It is a mere 47%. This means that only 47% of women are literate compared to 70% of men. Why the double standards? Education is supposed to be a right for all. Let me clarify one thing before religion-haters start thinking, ‘oh, it is because of Islam.’ For your information, it is compulsory for both men and women to attain education according to Islam, so please don’t get me started on it.

Now, let’s get back to the point. The declining interest in educating ones child has a lot of reasons; one reason is that it is expensive. Other reasons have more of a cultural stigma attached to educating ones child. Moreover, this situation is going to continue to deteriorate if something is not done about it, as soon as possible. First of all, education should be centrally regulated. Secondly, the spending should be further increased and thirdly, the syllabus needs to be revised as soon as possible to save whatever is left of the country. The current Government needs to adopt effective strategies to mitigate the issue before it gets completely out of hands.