Of Choorian, Cultures and ‘Calm Down, Dear’


First published at Viewpoint Online.

Posting the unedited version here:

Often things become such a commonality in countries that their implications and meanings, no matter what they hold, are simply reduced to being nugatory. Such is the case in Pakistan; questionable sayings, practices and customs that should usually arouse attention have become so imbedded in our society through repetition that they’ve developed into being a component of the declining environment.

Just a few months back, when the Parliament deplorably resounded with boorish bellows of ‘protest’ and other actions by the Opposition (that evidently consigned and littered all democratic and parliamentary norms, ethics and etiquettes to the trash bin) till the session’s end as Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh presented the annual budget – PML (N) MNA Tehmina Daultana came storming and flung her bangles at him in an entirely misogynist vein.

This, for some, might plainly have been a sign of rightful ‘condemnation’ or just another entertaining event in the history of parliamentary donnybrooks of Pakistan. But what it was an indication of, was left absolutely unheeded.

Hum nay choorian nahi pheni hui!’ (We are not wearing bangles) has assumed form of a very popular phrase amongst the tub-thumping and empty rhetoric of the demagogues in Pakistan.

This expression clearly and solely suggests masculine pride and male bravado along with an endorsement of the opinion (and a much-denoted one to the mores and beliefs of the Arabia of the Age of Ignorance) that women were universally inferior creatures in comparison to men.

By roaring that one does not wear bangles, he intends to put the message across that he is neither weak, a simpleton nor woundable or anything perceived to be of the other sex through the lens of condescension; thus completely depreciating womanhood and making it the subject of derogation.

And this is ignored and even met by cheers from throngs listening to speeches that contain the sentence.

But in the United Kingdom in April, Prime Minister David Cameron was entangled in a controversy while resisting demands for apology after he told a female shadow cabinet minister to “Calm down, dear” during an argument over proposed reforms in the House of Commons. Cameron had  mimicked a famous car insurance advert starring popular chauvinist Michael Winner.

Cath Elliot of Guardian wrote:

“Calm down, dear” is neither humorous nor edgy; it is instead a classic sexist put-down, designed to shut women up and put them back “in their place”.

“Calm down, dear” is what women hear when we’re allegedly being “hysterical” or “overemotional”. It’s that tired old gender stereotyping, the sort that implies that if we can’t even keep our emotions in check, then we obviously aren’t cut out for the more serious male world of politics and debate.’’

While Cameron did not apologise and his aides downplayed the whole affair, it may be rationale to deem that in view of all the media scrutiny and obloquy it drew out, he will be measuring his words and their significance in the future.

Harriet Stowe once said; Women are the real architects of society. How, one might ask.

Women, by divine nature have been bestowed upon with this sole authority and capacity. It is a woman, who nutures a child in her womb and then brings him up, instills values in him while grooming him that directly affect his behaviour, ethos and mentality.

Future doctors, politicans, leaders, journalists etcetra – all constitute a people and are indispensable to the system of the society and world, and each one of them owes his existence to a woman.

The role of a woman  is instrumental in everything. Even a female who is neither schooled,  not married nor a mother, naturally yeilds strength and inspires admiration leave alone one that is given her right to education, choice, freedom, equality and life itself . To remind one of Fatima Jinnah’s role in Quaid-e-Azam’s life would suffice here also.

Thus a woman is the real architect, an irreplaceable pillar of the society.

It was not only to highlight sexism but to illuminate the difference in the wider picture, the juxtaposition of the two incidents in Pakistan’s Parliament and the UK’s House of Commons in this article. What distinguishes the separate countries of the two events from one another, was culture. A culture and society that shuns torpor, prompts introspection and welcomes a discourse; something we are clearly devoid of and replace by impassivity, disinterest about such little things, denialism and nothingness.

It is of paramount importance for Pakistani to realize that it is not a revolution they need but a collective, national socio-cultural evolution.

This verbal male chauvinism, pellucid in the aforementioned Urdu remark, is part of the labyrinth of a mindset and culture in Pakistan that eventually translates and actualizes into the web of repugnant traditions of Vani, Sawara, Karo-Kari etcetra. It is all inter-connected and must be clipped from the roots that are strengthened by how each individual in Pakistan waters them; through silence at the and by ignoring the smallest of its elements (phrases such as the aforementioned).

With the backing and espousing of generations of people of different thoughts and time, cultures flourish and characterize traditons and norms that later all of new eras dare not abandon even if logic dismisses them (traditions). Traditions and beliefs such as, assigning women a position in the community of a lowly figure with not much purpose in life and even little ability. (Due to which’s perception, such sayings and disgusting activities are born)

It is about time as Pakistan totters from crossroads to the brink of a now-or-never stage, that  we cultivate a new culture – for which each indvidual must cast his efforts; question doubtful and wrongly established practises, convention and mores. Adopt better ones, encourage others to.

As individuals come together to become a people, people make a society bound by a culture constructed by them, that society is the base of a nation and nations form countries thus it is dervied that if the people change, the country will inevitably similarly.

To redefine Pakistan in front of the world, Pakistanis must refine themselves and their institutions; the culture and society.

– Hafsa Khawaja

How YOU Can Help The Flood-Hit Pakistanis! [ Living In Other Countries or In Pakistan ]


Pakistan has been hit by the most devastating ever floods leaving thousands killed, millions displaced with 650,000 homes being washed away, countless missing and most living under open skies with no access to even the basic necessities.

“And the worst floods to hit the region in 80 years could get worse, as it is only midway through monsoon season.”

It is said to be the biggest catastrophe in our country’s history.

 

There are many ways to donate for these victims by those living abroad and in Pakistan, following are some organisations who are earnestly working to deliver aid and relief supplies BY HAND to the affectees:

Organisations In Pakistan:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 Pakistan Youth Alliance:

PYA is already known for its phenomenal work globally and has is immensely popular amongst the people for its credibility [FM91, Geo Tv, Express TV, PCB, Stylo Shoes, AMSA-Pak & many more have donated them trucks of relief goods]. They have teamed up with the affected people who are now rescuing others and providing them relief supplies, they have already been to Nowshera for this purpose along with Rajanpur, Multan and other areas.

Donations can be sent through ;

Bank Account # 871-0
Branch Code : 0281
Swift Code : BP UN PK KA XXX
Bank of Punjab,Troops Welfare Center, GT Road, Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.             

Or :

PYA Chairperson Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi can be messaged to know the separate ways to donate for the flood-victims through PYA based on where one resides.

Also ;               

Updates of their work for flood-relief and other ways to donate to them, for those in other parts of the world are available on their Facebook page.                                                                                                                                              

 

                         

Talat Hussein and Kashif Abbasi’s Journalists’ Fund :

Redoubtable journalists and prominent Tv anchors Kashif Abbassi of ARY and Talat Hussein of AAJ Tv have set up their own fund for the flood-victims.

For donations :

Title of Account: Syed Talat Hussain/ Kashif Abbasi
Account No: 0516616341000689
Bank: Muslim Commercial Bank
Branch: Stock Exchange Branch, Blue Area, Islamabad
Branch Code: 1390
Swift Code: MUCBPKKAA

For further information:
Tel: +92-51-111010010
SMS: +92-347-5023842, +92-301–5473521

Site : http://www.aaj.tv/donations/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Customs Health Care Society:

As of September, the main problem is to provide shelter to the homeless people. C.H.C.S has taken the lead (and started the first ever 200 single room (14 X 16 Feet) with a rest-roomproject in Noshehra). One house costs only Rs. 1 Lac = 1150 US$.

Donate atleast one home to the shelterless families.

 

For donating :

Account Number : 5448-9 

Bank Code : NBPAPKKa.02L – 1887

National Bank of Pakistan,

Moon Market,

Allama Iqbal Town Branch,

Lahore. 

All donations to the society are exempt from payment of income tax as notified by FBR vide letter No: I & E/145/1082 dated 21.05.2007.

 

Dr. Asif mahmood Jah, President of the Customs Health Care Society can be reached at :
449-Jahanzeb Block,

Allama Iqbal Town,

Lahore,

Pakistan .

Phone: 092 – 042 – 3784 7008,

               092 – 042 – 3783 1655
Cell:       092 – 0333 – 424 2691

E-mail:    asifjahjah@yahoo.com

                                                                                                                                            

 
A team of students have also started organized and successful flood-relief deliveries to different places. They are in need of several items for the victims, volunteers and funds and can be reached at :
                                                                                                                                                                                              
Saad Bin Shahid : +92-343-5788-966 
Facebook : www.facebook.com/sbs.vor
E-mail :  get.1991@yahoo.com
Usman Bahi : +92 – 332 551 – 337 – 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
To transfer funds please note the following bank account details:

Donations through bank ;

TITL AC : Muhammad Usman Khan
Allied bank, Westridge 3, Allahabad road,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

AC # 01-200-1322-9
Branch code # 0755

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Al-Khidmat Foundation :              

http://al-khidmatfoundation.org/donate-here.php              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

TCF Relief:

 http://www.thecitizensfoundation.org/floodrelief.html      

                                                                                                                                                                

‘Let Us Build Pakistan’: 

LUBP members will be personally going to the flood-hit provinces to deliver aid.

They need funds, volunteers and donations. Help them to save lives by donating.
They can be reached at :

farhadjarral@criticalppp.com
+923333405175
+923332354290

Donations to LUBP are through Western Union:

Farhad Ahmed Jarral : CNIC: 42501-6964334-9
Gujranwala Branch Western Union.
[A consignment number will be given after you donate the money which should be messaged to Farhad Jarral]

 

 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
They are aiming to collect funds and donations as part of their helping campaign for the flood-victims.
 
They can be contacted at:
                                                                                                                                                                                           
Address: 104-C,
                   4th Floor,
                   Main Khayaban-e-Ittehad,
                   Phase II ext,
                   DHA, 
                   Karachi,
                   Pakistan.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 
Edhi Foundation:

 
They can be easily contacted for donations by those living in Pakistan and those in other countries through  http://www.edhifoundation.com/contact.asp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

For UAE :

 

Pakistan Association Dubai:

Contact : Anas: 04-3373632, 3377678;

Inayat Rahman: 050-6317131;

Ayub Afridi: 050-4545106;

Khayal Zaman Aurakzai: 050-6287655;

Ghazi Marjan Aurakzai: 050-6469910;

___________________________________________________________________________________________

The list below contains the DIRECT DONATION LINKS for the flood victims of these international organisations:         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

UNHCR:

http://www.unrefugees.org.au/emergencies/pakistan/

                          

Oxfam [ All Countries ] :

https://secure.oxfamamerica.org/site/Donation2?df_id=4660&4660.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=1c376kssr2.app227a

                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oxfam [ Only for USA, Europe and U.S.A ] :

https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/pakistan-floods/index.php

                                                                                                                                                                                              

Oxfam [ Australia ] :

https://www.oxfam.org.au/donate/current-appeals/pakistan-floods-appeal

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Oxfam [ Germany ] :

https://www.oxfam.de/spenden/form/1

 

Save The Children [ New Zealand ] :

 
https://secure.savethechildren.org/01/web_e_pakistan_flood_10?source=hp_fb_pak10 

 

Global Giving :

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/redr-pakistan/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 Relief International :

 
https://ri.org/APF/donate.php

         

Islamic Relief U.S.A :

 
https://www.islamicreliefusa.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=203

                                                                                                                                                                                    International Rescue Committee [ For U.S.A ] :

 
https://www.theirc.org/donate/help-rescue-lives-pakistan

                                                                                                                                                                                          

Canadian Red Cross :

 
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/donate.aspx?EventID=57138&LangPref=en-CA

                                                                                                                                                                                      

Islamic Help [ U.K ] :

 
You can make a cheque/postal order made payable to ‘Islamic Help’ and send it to:
Islamic Help 19 Ombersley Road Balsall Heath Birmingham B12 8UR
Please do not send cash in the post and please do not forget to write your name and address on a piece of paper.

Bank: You can put money directly in their bank account
Name: Islamic Help
Bank: HSBC

Account No: 41687425

Sort Code: 40-42-12

If you are in a country other than the UK, you can go into any bank in the world and quote the following International Bank Account:

 
Number (IBAN) and Branch Identifier Code (BIC)
IBAN: GB 72 MIDL 404212 41687425
BIC: MIDL GB 2155 G


                                                                                                                                                                                              

 Muslim Hands :

http://www.muslimhands.org/en/gb/appeals/pakistan_flood_crisis/

Muslim Aid [ England ] :

 
Send a cheque or postal order made payable to ‘Muslim Aid’, together with a note of your name and address to:

Muslim Aid, P O Box 3, London, E1 1WP
Donate directly to their bank account:
Name of the Muslim Aid Bank: LLOYDS TSB
Address of the Muslim Aid Bank:
LLOYDSTSB BANK PLC
HIGHBURY CORNER
31 HOLLOWAY CORNER
LONDON N7 8JU
SWIFT/BIC/CODE (OUTSIDE UK): LOYDGB 21180

To donate in pound Sterling £:

Name of the account: MUSLIM AID-DONATION AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 01436818
Iban (outside UK): GB25 LOYD 3094 2101 436818

To donate in Euros:
 
Name of the account: MUSLIM AID- EURO AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 86151365
Iban (outside UK): GB42 LOYD 3094 2186 151365

To donate in Dollars $:

Name of the account: MUSLIM AID-DOLLAR AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 12044226
Iban (outside UK): GB75 LOYD 3094 2112 044226

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

For Other Countries :

This post at Chowrangi provides a great deal of information of organisations that can be donated to for the flood-victims for many countries.

 

Donation Camps in Pakistan :

 
1. Pehla Qadam, has setup a camp in cooperation with rotaract club of Karsaz at the Royal Rodale club on Main Khayaban-e-Sehar DHA Phase VI Karachi.

The camp is located right next to the reception of Royal Rodale.

2. Pakistan Peoples Party, Insaf Student Federation and Tehrik e Minhaj ul Quran have setup their camps at Regal Chowk, Lahore.

 Things identified by the National Disaster Management Authrority that are direly needed to be donated:

 

As Kashif Aziz writes :

“Besides sending cash through below mentioned charity organizations, you can support by providing following commodities. Please do not donate old/expired stuff. Make sure edible items are hygienic and properly packed.

•  Clothing: Clothes of various sizes, Beddings, Shoes
•  Utensils: Jerricans (large plastic cans that hold 20 liters of water or other liquids), Crockry
•  Toiletries: Tissues, Soaps, Dettol (antibacterial cleaners), Towels
•  Food: Rice, Sugar, Flour (Atta), Onions, Potatoes, Cooking oil, Tea, Milk (tetra packs or powder
•  Safe drinking water, Cooked Food.  
                                                                                                                                                                                     

Medicines:

 
1. Water purification tablets.
2. Life saving drugs.
3. Vaccines for malaria, cholera, typhoid, influenza.
4. Pain killers including strong ones like morphine derivatives, tremadol, pethadine, kinz .
5. Antibiotics e.g. Tetnus, Amoxil, Gentamycin.
6. IV Cannulas
7. IV Drip sets
8. IV drips: Normal Saline, Ringerlactate.
9. Local anesthetics (injections)
10. Cotton bandages, cotton.
11. Surgical instruments: e.g. needle holders, forceps, and tweezers.
12. Surgical Materials : Skin staples.”
 

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Food Items That Can Be Given At Camps:

• Rice
• Wheat
• Lentils
• Biscuits
                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Liquids:

• Mineral Water,
•  Milk Carton (With one month expiry left)
• Juice Cartons (With one month expiry left)

 

First Aid:

• Band Aids
• Dettol
• Pain Killers (Panadol, Ponston)
• Nimcol
• Thermometers
•  Cotton
•  Vicks
                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Other Items:

• Sleeping Bags
• Foldable Matresses
• Blankets
• Pillows
• Sweaters
• Shawls
• Coats
• Sanitary Napkins for Women
• Pampers for Infants
                                                                                                                                                                                                         

To Donate Goods :

PIA is making deliveries of goods to Pakistan from almost all over the world. To donate any of the above, they can be contacted at :

http://www.piac.com.pk/Flood_Relief/ERP.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Text To Help :

 
If not anything, people in Pakistan can donate Rs.10 to the victims by texting ‘D’ to 2471 as part of Express Media’s initiative.

Text “PUKAAR” to 4361 to donate to Imran Khan’s  flood relief efforts. 

People in USA can text ‘SWAT’ to 50555 to donate $10 .

Canadian wireless subscribers:  Text “REDCROSS” to 30333 to donate $10 to the Canadian Red Cross.

___________________________________________________________________________

Please remember, The death toll is rising by the day, these people need YOUR donations and help! Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us.
And those abroad, a little of your money means big here, please donate!

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS!

 

 

 

 
These Pakistanis await your aid !

Regards,
Hafsa Khawaja.