Which Way To Follow???

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Awais Tarar 8 Comments Category :

(Note: Here, ‘I’ usually refers to the person reading it. It’s not an entirely personal article)
Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? These are the questions which haunt every human being at least once in life. Whom should I follow? How should I behave? What are my limits and what I am permitted to do? Who will guide me?
When I was born, I was declared a “free man” by my society but at the same time, they forced me to inherit everything they had, their laws, customs, beliefs, traditions and habits as well, resulting in the imprisonment of that poor “free man”. As I grew up, more restrictions were hurled at me and I ended up carrying the burden of numerous chains on my frail shoulders.
How should I live? Should I act exactly as I have been advised by my limited social circle? Is that the only world to whom I am answerable? I’ll be very glad and secure if I blindly follow their orders and cover up my body in their clothes? But what if I step out of that circle?
In our world, we are faced with variety and diversity to the extent of contradictory differences. Everyone has his own set of rules, an ideology which he regards as the only correct code of life. It’s so difficult trying to find out the right way. Most of us spend our lives based on social class in which we are naturally placed by “money”. If I opened my eyes in a poor family, should I live the way they live  considering it to be my fate? I should believe that I live in an oppressive world, the rich are evil, I am innocent, work like a beast and curse the fate for dropping me in a poor family. On the other hand, if I am born rich, should I live like a God on earth, believing that money is everything, should look down upon the poor, curse them for being the burden on this earth, have some influential people in my pocket and ladies by my side and live as if there’s no end? Whom should I regard as right? Both of them are right according to their point of view. Now where do I place myself? Is money the only decisive factor in the determination of course of my life?
Then comes even the bigger confusion, what should be my beliefs? This may seem a simple question but is actually very troublesome if one digs deep into it. Then again, everyone seems so confident about his ideology. Our environment constructs our beliefs. If I grew up in a village, I would have a quite a good set of beliefs and I would go to any extent to prove them right. On the other hand, If I happened to be an urbanite, I would have my perspective and again, I would be as firm as rock on my beliefs. Disregarding both of them, an ordinary guy is stuck somewhere in between because this is just a beginning. Should I be a tough religious guy or should I prefer a more moderate doctrine? On the other hand, liberalism has also crept in, but mostly, it is discarded as it is seen as a tool to legitimize our illegitimate desires and actions but again, who decides what is legitimate and what’s not? Should I be an honest man or should I be elastic in nature as people call it, for I live in a “practical world” and we are trained at home to be practical? Should I believe in merit or should I get the prayers and wishes of my relatives by favoring nepotism in my job, for we aspire to receive respect and good remarks from ‘people’? Should I be idealistic or pragmatic in my approach? Should I believe in dreams or I should go on perceiving life that would never change? Should I just move on with my personality that has been granted to me by society, environment, the school that I went to, etc etc? Or should I create my own self satisfying my queries? What should I do? Where do I stand?
One of the big confusions is that whichever way I choose, it seems so good but somewhere, it doesn’t satisfy me completely. We all live in our own world, believing it to be right. We see things only which we have allowed to be seen in our field of vision. Every lifestyle is the right one if one goes into that circle and we never step out of our social circle considering it to be the best. We live like a frog in the well, who thinks that this well is the only place in the world, so vast, so extensive, so deep. It never gets out of it to see there are rivers and oceans as well. And we all seem to be very glad with our lifestyle because we have the social approval by the people in our circle. We derive justifications for our actions from the company of friends we dwell in. In that specific limited perspective, our every action is right, totally based on sensibility because we are doing what we think is right and is approved by the best people we have with us, isn’t that enough? And when we happen to glance at other people belonging to different groups, we feel it so hard to understand what they do, for we find such non-sense and silliness in their gossips, behavior and beliefs, forgetting that some other guy must be looking at us and must be thinking the same because for him, we are aliens as well……..! And if anyone wants a demonstration, go to the top of any building and observe the people, you would not come down without a laugh because from that height when one sees a complete picture and is himself not present in it, one analyzes it objectively and will certainly laugh at people doing such immature acts and believing that nobody sees them.
Now, abandon this safe heaven and pierce the balloon you are living in, and get out, you’ll feel cold and will find you stuck in confusion and astonishment.
 Is poverty a sin? No, it is just a matter of placement in a balanced society. Some babies were placed in financially well-off houses, some were dispatched to financially crippled huts so that a balanced social life could be created, otherwise if all had been produced as children of rich families, society would have collapsed. Thus, the rich owe the poor the stability of their lives.
Sometimes I laugh at the elite class for having such a pathetic life. They live like machines trained to do exactly as they are programmed. For them, ‘maintaining the status’ is life. Trying to buy more expensive furniture than friends’, dresses, latest model cars, cell phones, credit cards, bank balances, many room-houses in a single house, always worried about the security of life, hardly ever going to market without armed gunmen, taking every step to please people around, showing off and all that, I ask that man: where are you? Where is your existence? Are you breathing? Or you have also surgically implanted artificial respiration machine? Is this what you call life? And final question “If I accept as you say, that you are having the best life, where would you land if I take out one thing from your life? MONEY”. What’s the use of million dollars in bank accounts if I’m taking sleeping pills to go to bed? I would rather prefer sleeping on a wrecked bed with empty pockets if that condition satisfies my soul, awards me peace of mind and a sound sleep!
Money can never grant you happiness. Why do we always try to rely on illusions? Being rich is a blessing but life does not end on it. “Status” is our identity, we maintain it like one preserves ancient scripture. Our attitude towards different people changes with changing dresses. Do I belong to high class or am I resident of kachi abadi? It is a criteria for my recognition. There is no questioning about one’s character and education. Money is regarded as everything. Why is money so important when it cannot give me what I want? Being rich is such a curse, a person relies on the wall of sand to protect him from tides. It keeps him in deception and he never stands on his own feet. He is always dependent on his ‘Sweet Fellow’ and dependence is the worst disability. That person never realizes he has got hidden treasures inside him which need unlocking. He never dives into his own self. Confused mind is much better than satisfying your confusions with overloaded belly.    
On a national front, Americans are usually perceived as messiahs in our country. They may have developed a lot and may have solutions to many problems but they cannot dictate us, because they don’t have capability to do so. Any foreign solution cannot be applied to us. We can’t blindly follow ideas which were meant for solution of their local problems. When we are labeled as conservatives, fundamentalist etc, they are not tagging us because they understand our problem but because they find us similar to the particular group of people in their own society whom they assigned these titles. Then, as they do so, they prescribe the same medicine for us which they used for their disease. It’s like requesting a heart surgeon to operate a brain and heart surgeon applies the methods and procedures he learnt during his training to brain because through naked eye, brain tissues look similar to cardiac tissues. What would be the result? Imagine yourself!
Problems of our country are complex going back to our history which has seen intermingling of various civilizations and now, we are confused how to carry all of them along. American mind can never realize and understand the complexity of our country. They have a poor civilization which is only 250 years old, which according to historical dating, is as if it does not exist. America was nothing but a wilderness ruled by native blacks and then, some fortune-searchers landed on it and introduced it to our civilized world where we had the magnificent and glorious Mughal empire at that time. Since then, America has been inhabited by blacks and whites which are predominantly British and a few from other European nations. And no other country has then tried to conquer that isolated piece of land trapped somewhere between Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They didn’t have much consideration in world politics until early 20th century. There has been little fusion of various civilizations in that country. People from other parts of the world usually go there in search of money.
Lets come to our region; we are the people who are the inheritors of almost all the great civilizations that ever lived on this earth. People have been living in this area since prehistoric times. Our civilizations were the most advanced of their times. Indus valley excavations have proved its greatness in civic sense, social structure, and scientific development. Gandhara empire  erected marvelous cities like Taxila and Peshawar, their expertise in sculpture and education can be seen even today in any museum. Our land has always remained on the crossroads of world trade routes and has always attracted the attention of great conquerors. Alexander was immensely inspired by the way we used to live and he ended up adopting our culture and traditions which was partly responsible for the rebellion he faced during his last days. Khyber Pass has been inviting armies for so long, Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Scythians, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Mughals, all mixed themselves with our domestic life to produce an amalgam of vibrant culture and traditions. Complexity and diversity is our definition and we are proud to inherit it. And as if these reagents were not enough to create the desired compound, British people stepped in and we are such an open and elastic nation in our own sense, we embraced them as well and we have now emerged as nation of the world, the people who derive their local values and culture from all the great civilizations that now exist only in the pages of history. We are the only link between the ancient Huns, Indus people, Mongols, Persians, Central Asians and the modernized western nations, for we accommodate in ourselves the ideologies and genetics of all of them. And then, of course, we are the folks enlightened with Islam, the ultimate solution to all the problems plaguing the globe. Thus, this explains the complexity, diversity and fertility of our minds, we are the people loaded with brilliance and talent and our ancestors have proved it in their times. Now, it’s our turn.
My lips automatically move to make me smile as I write that people of ‘the’ United States who have never faced any such mixing, are only 250 years old, have still not resolved the sole issue of blacks and whites and are always afraid somebody would come and invade their land, have got huge problems regarding immigrants for they have failed to accommodate them, they think their poor infertile mind can understand and comprehend the complexity and genius of Pakistani people and thus, they act as our boss. Isn’t it funny? We’ll have to find our own solutions. Blindly adopting their way of life to get rid of our confusions will put us in a bigger confusion. Hopping from one lifestyle to other and then other will not help for we are not rabbits. We’ll create our own code of life satisfying our minds and geography.
Coming back to the main topic, our lives are always monitored by the fear of “people”. We are bound in chains. Sometimes, it manifests itself as “respect”. If I try to do that thing, I would lose my respect. Fear of losing respect is probably the only imaginary thing which is more powerful than the most powerful weapon in the world, for it suppresses human soul and deprives him of realizing his destiny. Many passionate guys lose all their brilliance and genius because they somehow don’t muster up enough courage to express it in public. What would happen if people stopped respecting me? If I’m going to buy my respect by accepting their slavery, I won’t have it! If ‘people’ snatch my respect away, will I cease to exist? I was nothing before they got to know me and then they imprisoned me with the “Gift of Respect”, I would again go back to “nothingness”. But I’ll still be walking on my own legs, I’ll still be breathing from my own lungs and I’ll still be doing what I am doing now. Get rid of this “adjustment policy” and free yourself of clutches of the “people”. All this seems so fantastic but it is applicable as well. But I have a question and I haven’t been able to find its answer: In our country where a woman’s life revolves around the maintenance of her respect in society and it is the most sensitive issue so far, is it possible for her to think like this???? Our lives are also locked in the “fear of losing whatever we have if we try to achieve something bigger”. Thus, we compromise with whatever we have got instead of putting ourselves on maximum acceleration and fulfilling our dreams. We dislike disruption, disturbance and falling. If we are not disturbed, how can we get stability because science teaches us that when particles are disturbed, they align themselves in a more stable way. Why don’t you take a plunge and do what you want to do. Then, even if you lose whatever you had earlier, you would also lose “regret of not doing it at all” and that is a big achievement if you think.
And if one wants to lead a contented life, one must start ‘loving’. Allow love to buy a plot in your heart and build a small house there, for malice, selfishness and hatred cannot take refuge in a heart where love is already settled.
And concluding this discussion, it is really difficult trying to find out the right way. There is so much confusion and our immaturity added to it, frustrates a soul tremendously. Sometimes taking one step gets as heavy as living a whole life. And sometimes, you don’t know how things would turn out, you do something entirely based on honesty and sincerity and all that goodies and you end up having hurt the one you loved most. Sometimes, you start something so enthusiastically but then, it starts getting annoying and you start doubting everything, maybe at that time your faith is tested and your firmness and character is put to experimentation. One can understand all this but that depressing feeling is shattering to one’s soul when you are confused about the whole thing and you shudder to think what’s going to happen next. And who decides whether a man is really doing the right thing or he has just unknowingly twisted facts to fit in his personal desires. But one must keep moving, continue to endeavor despite failing. You never know any meddler may come to sort things out for you. And if you want to take this adventure, as a starting point, I put forth my answer to all my questions which I found in the Quranic verse 4 in Surah Yaseen. Allah Himself swears:
                                       “(Muhammad) You are on the right path”



  1. This was an amazing read. (Y)
    So much that I or anyone else I'm sure, can relate to!
    The analysis was superbly done and now and then there were some complex truths so brilliantly simply stated.
    The ending, I'd say, says it all.
    Placement of money does limit the circle and does inculcate a biased perception of things. But then again depends on who pops that balloon.
    اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيم

  2. thank u for such an eloborate analysis :-)

  3. brilliant!!
    true that we all are confused
    pathetic that we try to impose that confused state v mind on others!
    no matter how heavy the step might be, we will have to take that to move out of our confusion
    to be on the rght path!

  4. Your article is such as I am lost for words to say something about it. I could never ever imagine that this Tarar who seems so workmanlike has humungous inner resources to use language so idiomatically. You have actually bamboozled me by showing your skills of writing.
    And about the subject matter, it is simply incandescent!!!!!! so not much to discuss about that....

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. thank u Aushna baji,you are true, all of us must take that step. and Sarmad, thanks alot brother, your comment means alot to me!

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