Monthly Archives: October 2012

A post a day??

Why hello there. I’ve been waiting for you. Step into my office.

SO a couple times I’ve pondered doing daily posts, but I haven’t really been sure whether or not to do it. I’ve been thinking about it today though, and it seems I’ve come to a rather YOLO-like conclusion.

Everyday this week I’m going to be posting daily. They probably won’t be my long Sunday posts, which will still happen on Sunday. The thing is, I have a bunch of things I want to write about, but I never actually put them down on…paper? Screen? I never actually put them down on screen. So this week I’m going to go for it and write a post everyday, and I guess we’ll see how it goes!

In parting, I’d like to voice my thoughts on the forthcoming daily posts with a quote from Mr. Kanye West.

“What we gon’ have; dessert or disaster?”

Thank you Kanye, that was *wipes tear* that was beautiful.

-M

Tagged

Heritage

Something insanely exciting happened this week. Like so crazy awesome. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it for days:

Katy Perry turned 28.

jk!

No, I actually–wait, well yes, she did, but no that’s not what I’m excited about. I actually found out that I’m most likely from Afghanistan originally, at least on one side of my family.

The thing is, my grandfather has always said that his grandparents and father lived on the India-Afghan border, when that existed. My last name is Jawa, so I speculated that it’s derived from Jawad, which is a common Muslim name. But the thing is, my grandfather has also said that his grandpa was a Hindu. Soo that part never fit perfectly into my idea, even though Hindus could have Muslim last names, especially if they lived in an area with a lot of Muslims. Still though, not a perfect fit. But after doing some more digging this week, I accidently stumbled on something: a list of Afghan Hindu and Afghan Sikh names. At the time, I was actually researching my cousins’ last name. But once I got there I thought heck and I did a search for Jawa. Now, I’m used to seeing Jawad or Jawan or something like that, but when I did the search, I was taken to the list of Kabuli Hindus. Right there under it, no “d”s or anything attached, was my last name. And it made sense: My ancestors lived near the Afghan border, they were probably Hindu, and they were Jawas. I called my grandparents and told them about what I’d found out. They both felt that it fit, and they were really excited too, especially my grandma, who used to teach history. It makes so much sense. I can’t even take how much sense is going on. It’s like going to Taco Bell and getting 3248 packets of witty-messaged sauce packets. The sauce packets are the sense in this scenario, because there’s so much of it.

Anyways, needless to say I’m psyched about this. I love finding out more about where I’m from, and I’ve been thinking so much about Afghanistan recently. In my last post I got super dramatic and I was like my thoughts are always with the Afghans. I meant it, too. And just a couple of days later, I found this out. If I felt connected to Afghanistan before, I definitely do now. I’ve been watching a couple documentaries, and I’ve just been noticing how many words Afghans use that I’ve been hearing my whole life. Mushkil, meaning difficulty, that was one that stood out to me. Zindagi, meaning life, was also one I heard a lot.

I really want to take one of those National Geographic tests that tells you what part of the world your type of DNA is from. Who knows what you’re going to find?

-M

P.S: If you’re interested, I found some interesting pictures of Afghanistan to tickle your fancy:

-In the 50s-60s: http://englishrussia.com/2011/07/21/the-afghanistan-of-the-50s-60s/ (Definetly very interesting to see)

-And on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/search/?q=afghanistan (Beautiful stuff, some of it very sad)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

WHAT IS GOING ON THO

How was your week? I hope it went well. The weather has been seriously gorgeous, man! Like that’s some nice weather, right there. *sips tea*

MEANWHILE IN THE WORLD, THE CRAZIEST STUFF IS GOING DOWN:

(My thoughts are in blue. Oh, and a warning to the reader: The following post is filled with an necessary amount of rhetorical questions. Reader discretion is advised. 😉 Oh, and scroll all the way down the post to see all the headlines–I had formatting issues :/)

All of these headlines have been on my mind the past couple of days. Malala Yousafzai is making a nice recovery so far 🙂 Also, the rapes in Haryana are terrible to hear about, but apparently it’s an issue that’s been happening for a while, so I think the media attention will encourage a solution. What’s not so good is that areas in North India are experiencing a drought, and supposedly Punjab has received no government support for the farmers suffering financial loss, while the other areas experiencing a drought have gotten help. Also, there’s the comment that Rahul Gandhi made– that 7 out of ten Punjabi youth have a drug problem.  Now I don’t live in Punjab and I’ve never been there, but from what I’m always hearing about it from people who have gone back, I have to wonder if there’s some truth to what he said. Aaaand a Punjabi girl has been kidnapped by a gangster and she’s currently missing. There’s some serious police negligence involved, like that the kidnapper was never arrested after being charged with rape, and was a free man when he abducted this missing girl. Finally, there’s the Afghans in Pakistan. This news is the most recent to break my heart. There are about 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. It’s being said, and I don’t know if this is official, but it’s being said that they are going to lose their refugee status by the end of the year, and they might get deported. And you know, I understand where the Pakistani government is coming from. The country is pretty young, at it’s going through rough times right now. It makes sense for them to want what must be a huge burden on their economy, population-control, etc. to be gone. I don’t think Pakistan is to blame. But the Afghans. Good lord. When are they going to find peace? Where? Afghanistan is saying they aren’t ready for the refugees, some of whom have been in Pakistan for 10 years, to come back, and Pakistan can’t keep them anymore either. And on top of that, the U.S is in the process of pulling out of Afghanistan. Whether you agree with this decision or not, it’s undeniable that this will be a big change for Afghanistan- one that they’re going to have to adjust to. At the same time, they’re going to have to take back 3 million people who they haven’t had to worry about in 10 years. I mean, forget about the politics for a second. Forget about the war, forget about the Taliban, just think about the people that have been living it. There are Afghans who have been born and have died within the time span of all of this. They lived their life in this mess; it’s all they ever saw. When are these people going to be okay? When are their lives going to be just average? My grandma thinks it won’t ever happens, and my grandpa says it’s been like this in Afghanistan of hundreds of years. But I think they could be wrong. To every Afghan out there right now- my thoughts are always with you. The world is unpredictable; your life can change in an instant. And I hope they will, and for the better. Stay strong. 

-M

P.S- Note to self: Posts written at 12:30 AM will turn end up being very dramatic and emotional. 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Gulabi Gang

Quietly they’ve sat in a post I never finished. Waiting and watching. Now I think it’s time I finished the post, because Thursday was International Girl day. And boy do I have some girls to tell you about. But they’re not just girls. They’re women.

They are the Gulabi Gang.

Uttar Pradesh in North India is where this began. The Gulabi Gang (“Pink Gang”) is a group of women who find abusive husbands in North India and literally beat them with sticks of bamboo until they agree to stop hitting their wives. They’ve gone after corrupt public officials and police officers as well. They don’t always use violence; only when their attempts at communicating verbally have failed do they resort to it. Women come to the gang to tell them of their grievences, which they then take up with the police. But if you don’t listen to the gang, you get beat, no matter who you are. The Gulabi Gang is by no exaggeration a gang. But instead of causing corruption, they fight it.

I think that verbal communication is something the whole world needs to work on. But there’s a quote by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, a prominent figure in Sikhism, that says  when all else fails, it is permitted to take the sword in to ones hand. The leader of the Gulabi Gang, Sampat Pal, reminded me of this quote when she said If they still don’t listen, then I hit them with the latti (stick). Sampat Pal is an illiterate woman in one of the poorest parts of India who was a child bride at the age of 12, and yet the world has bent to her will for the better. I feel like what she does is sort of the ultimate refusal to give up. She knows what’s going on is wrong. When it doesn’t change, she doesn’t just stop trying. If she has to, she will take a stick and beat, physically beat, the person causing others pain. All to make her community better. From what I hear about India, it seems like anyone in any kind of authority position is corrupt, from police officers who you can pay on the spot to sweep your arrest under the mat, to politicians who can do worse. In a world like that, I can definitley see a need for something like the Gulabi Gang. In their pink sarees they trek all over North India with nothing, no qualifications, no warrants, nothing but their will and their lattis. No one gave them power–but they gave it to themselves.

Anyways, happy belated International Girl Day! I’ve been keeping Malala in my thoughts and prayers. They’re saying that the next 48 hours of her recovery are crucial, but doctors are satisfied with her condition right now. Also, I was really happy to hear that 2 suspects of the shooting have been arrested by Pakistani police, who are continuing the investigation. Fighting the Taliban can’t be an easy thing to do, but they’re doing it–just like Malala is.

Have a great one!

-M

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Survivor

On October 9th, a Pakistani human rights activist was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban. She is 14.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was coming home from school on her school bus when a gunman walked up to the bus and asked a student to identify Yousafzai. The student pointed to Yousafzai, and the man shot both girls along with another student on the bus. The Taliban is claiming they are responsible for the attack, and that Yousafzai is “symbolic of obscenity and has spread negative propaganda,” according to Wikipedia. The Taliban is responsible for taking countless numbers innocent lives, but what strikes me about this case is the victim. This shooting was not random. By the age of fourteen, this girl has spoken on behalf of the right of women to be educated, and has been blogging about the injustices exercised by the Taliban since she was 11. At 14, Mala Yousafzai spoke loud enough to provoke the Taliban. She knew of the danger of what she was doing, and was used to receiving death threats. But she did it anyways, becoming the first winner of Pakistan’s National Peace Prize.

I don’t think the Taliban should be portrayed as the subject of this story in the news. It is not shocking that they’ve tried to kill more people. In my opinion, Yousafzai is the headline here. Everyday she went online to write about her life was a day she put her life at risk for the sake of bringing awareness to the atrocities that had invaded her world.

I’ve read a little bit of her blog (Check it out HERE), and it reminds me of conditions in Afghanistan. She lives in Swat Valley in Pakistan, which is pretty close to Afghanistan:

I don’t know, I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about this girl. Is it that fact that she’s so young and has accomplished so much? Or that every picture I see of her is a picture of the most serene face I’ve ever seen, even pictures after she was shot? I’ve been watching videos from various news networks, and in them they have snippets of her talking, sometimes in English, sometimes in her native language. When she’s not speaking in English, an English translation is heard over her voice. But in the few seconds before it comes on, I realize that I can already understand what she’s saying. I understand this girl’s native tounge, and yet here I am laying in bed with my cat writing this post, and a world away she is laying in a hospital bed for doing the same thing, and we speak the same language. I’m aware that these kinds of shootings are happening every day, but there was something about hearing her speak that really hit me hard. Overhead there was a voice that came on to help me understand what she was saying, that voice was meant to connect Yousafzai to me, the listener. But I didn’t even need it.

Different sources are saying different things about Yousafzai’s condition (by the way, if every time I’ve written “Yousafzai” you’ve been reading it as “…._________….” I understand. Say it with me now–You-SAFZ-eye. There you go. I probably should have done this earlier in the post but better late than never?) but for the most part it seems that she is in stable condition and that the bullet in her head has been removed. I don’t know about her neck. (Update: Both bullets have been removed.) There is a plane at Bacha Khan International airport waiting to take her to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) for treatment if it’s necessary. One news outlet has said that some doctors think her ability to talk might be damaged.  Whether or not Yousafzai comes out of this with speech, I hope she doesn’t stop using her voice. I hope she will be able to come out of this as strong as she was before. Apparently the Taliban has been trying to kill her since 2011, and have said that if she survives this attack, they will try again. I hope this girl is granted asylum somewhere. I hope Pakistani kids like her are following her lead in fighting for their education. Maybe a new generation will clean up this mess in the east. If they have Yousafzai’s courage, I definitely have faith.

Okay, just one last “I hope” I swear–

I hope people around the world are realizing that Pakistanis and Afghanis are not who we are fighting against–we’re fighting the Taliban, and Pakistanis and Afghanis are fighting them too.

Pakistani school girls praying for Malala today (October 10th)

Stay strong Bhan Ji ❤

M

Tagged , , , ,

Quotes float your boat?

This post is going to be a bit different, but hopefully kind of cool too. For the most part we all know the basic “fun” facts about India: it’s the second most populous country in the  world, the largest democracy, etc. So instead of compiling a list of facts here, I thought I’d do a list of quotes. As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, you could say India’s been around for a while. It’s inevitable that some interesting people have said some interesting things about this interesting land. In a way, I think some of these quotes- the good and the bad- are just as telling as facts, only on a more first-hand level. I’ve never been to India, and I’m constantly looking at pictures of it. Quotes like these kind of make the images three-dimensional for me. There are also some in here about other countries around India.

Shall we begin?

India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator. -Winston Churchill

I am involved in the land of a leonine and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a well of steel, confronting my soldier. You have brought only one son into the world, but everyone in this land can be called an Alexander. -Alexander the Great on Punjab (This is one of my personal favorites. How coincidental that he used the word “leonine” when Singh actually means lion)

Famine is India’s specialty. Elsewhere famines are inconsequential incidents — in India they are devastating cataclysms; in one case they annihilate hundreds; in the other, millions -Mark Twain

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls- 17th century poet Saib Tabrizi on Kabul, Afghanistan.

When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.
~~~ Albert Einstein (not specifically about India as a country, but interesting not the less)

Tell me, why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognise our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?
~~~ Abdul Kalam (President of India)

No one is India. –E.M Forster. I’m still working on this one…

Cinema in India is like brushing your teeth in the morning. You can’t escape it. –Shahrukh Khan lol.

Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength. –Abdul Kalam. Fun fact here–India has never invaded another country in its entire existence. 

The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai, the biggest factory in the world is in China, the largest oil refinery is in India, the largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore. -Fareed Zakaria. Woah. Go Asia.

I like the evening in India, the one magic moment when the sun balances on the rim of the world, and the hush descends, and ten thousand civil servants drift homeward on a river of bicycles, brooding on the Lord Krishna and the cost of living.
–James Cameron

As far as the public is concerned, India is amazingly secular. -Shahrukh Kahn.

India can live without nuclear weapons. That’s our dream, and it should be the dream of the U.S. also. -Abdul Kalam. Quite the dream.

When I was 17, I went to India for six weeks and had what, at the time, was a very challenging trip. You walk down the street and you see lepers and beggars, and there were several of us, a group of Americans. I remember we were just trying to park one night somewhere and people were just sleeping in the parking lot. -Chris Hughes

I will lay my bones by the Ganges that India might know there is one who cares. -Alexander Huff

A lot of these I’ve only just heard, and to be honest I still have to figure out what they mean. But that’s sort of the fun part. Hopefully one day, India will be less of a mystery to me. And, if some of the things I hear about it are true, less of a mystery to itself as well.

-M

Tagged , , , ,

Aaaand Once Again :(

 

The guilty kitten you see above is currently my emotions in kitty-form, for once again I do not have a post this Sunday. I don’t want to start excuse-ing up in here, so I can only ask that you please trust me when I say that it’s not because I don’t want to write one, it’s because I didn’t have the time to write something that’s good quality.

It’ll be up tomorrow after school, and I think it’ll be a fun one 🙂 Until then, I hope you all have an amazing night/day. You–you reading these words right now, you right there–YOU are the bomb. Don’t let no fools tell you otherwise.

See you tomorrow–

M