"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Dr.Maqsood
Full Name: Dr. Maqsood Jafri
User since: 19/Nov/2011
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Sadaf Shahid:  A Great Social Reformist

By: Dr. Maqsood Jafri
 I am delighted and educated by the columns written by Ms. Sadaf Shahid. Her pen is facile and mind rational.  She has kindly commented on my column titled " Islam and Mysticism." I appreciate her rational,fraternal and humanistic approach towards religious thought. The dire need of the hour is to reconstruct the religious and social thought and introduce moderate and scientific outlook. In my opinion, still the Eastern nations have non-Scientific mind set and attitude. I again stress on the need of rational thinkers in our society. The clerics have no vision. They are sectarian poised in the nebula of superstitions and out beaten religious rituals. I appreciate her positive role as a writer and reformer in the fields of social issues, education and disability. Her suggestions to improve the crippled and crumbled culture are highly valuable and commendable
, I would like to comment on her two columns relating to change in our social set up. First of all, I must admit that her writing is very mighty,gravitating and engaging. It fascinates, educates, inspires, delights and instructs. Her columns carry the reader away with the surge and flux of literary tinge and taste. They are the blend of fiction and reality artistically knitted. It is a rare gift endowed on very few persons by the hand of Providence. Her commitment to uplift the downtrodden people needs our sincere applause.

Her first column titled " The Fate of the Daughter" depicts the plight of the Eastern daughters.  She has described the story of a poor lady worker Amma. How the poor lady is the victim of house abuse and is struggling against heavy odds. Her husband is harsh on her and does not work. She works to feed her children and also bears the education expenses of her kids. She is worried about the future of her daughters and wants them to remain at arms' length from the bad society around wherein the girls and guys are smothered in evils. The youth is entrapped in drugs and carries weapons. While reading this column, I am remembered of great British novelist Charles Dickens, who in his novel entitled " Great Expectations" had sketched the life style of the Londoners of his epoch. That was the society of addicts, druggists, hoodlums, hooligans, gamblers, drunkards, thieves, burglars, vagabonds, rascals and hirelings. Let us put a cursory glance at our society. Do we miss any one out of the pack of these swindlers? Sadaf rightly writes:" Pakistani woman is still a damsel in distress."  What a beautiful phrase.The poets praise the tresses of the damsels but do not high light their distresses. Eminent poet Fouq Luthyanvi in his Urdu poetry book titled: "Zakhme Jan( The Sore of Soul) in a couplet says:" Ye husne mujassim bhi agar mehve dua hay: A meray Khuda our yeh kiya Mang reha hay." ( If this beauty incarnate damsel is praying to God; I woder what else she is asking from God as she has been made so beautiful). The poet happened to be my very good friend. Once, he recited this Ghazal in my presence asking me his opinion. I appreciated the beauty of it but alarmed him by telling him that a beautiful girl is also a human being and has social and personal problems. We must praise the beauty but should not ignore the rights of the Beauty. Aptly Sadaf writes  that we have to educate our daughters. We have to empower them and provide them employment.  We have to free them from the fetters of patriarchal society in which the women are drowned and dominated. They are discriminated. We have to eliminate gender inequality. Sadaf has cited in her column an extract from the speech of an eminent  Indian author Kishwar Desai that still in Indian Punjab, the newly born girls are buried alive. While burying their daughter alive the villagers gather around and call:" Go away child, bring back a brother next time." On this human tragedy we must shed tears and raise a volatile voice to end such pernicious customs.  What a human tragedy in the name of religious superstitions and rituals. In pre-Islamic era, the Arabs used to bury their daughter alive. Islam strictly prohibited this callous custom and gave love and respect to daughters. In Egypt, the heathens used to fling one young and beautiful girl in river Nile every year as a ransom. On the orders of Hazrat umar, the Muslim governor Omro bin al-Aas stopped this heinous inhuman practice. 

The second column titled" When Poverty Disables"is a heart wrenching column drenched in human blood. Her  fictional style makes it very charming. The tragedy is presented in sugar coated pills. We swallow this bitter pill not knowingly that it is not God but the cruel and dishonest rulers who have pushed us in the pit of inferno. Afzal is a poor boy working in a mechanics' shop. The furious riot attacks the shops. Many die and are burned in flames. He loses his arm. He is turned out from his job as he is no more needed in shop with arm deprivation. Then he becomes a sweeper. As a sweeper he works hard and earns a petty amount to feed his children. Unfortunately, one day his son receives head injury and loses speaking power. There is no proper hospital to cure and care the poor guy. Ms. Sadaf deplores on this national plight. She suggests we must have Social Security Department and welfare institutions to look after the proletariat of our society. She condemns the class society. She writes that  the rich class gets their kids treated from Europe and America but our socially deprived people do not have even basic health facilities. She writes:" If we wish to be a welfare state,then we must not abdicate its' responsibility towards the disabled members of society". Who can deny this suggestion? Alas; Pakistan is not a welfare state. It is a feudal and capitalist state. In Socialist countries it is health care is solely the responsibility of sate. In the Western and Scandinavian countries, the states  provide basic health facilities to their inhabitants. But, unfortunatelt in most of the African and Asian countries, we do not provide educational and heath facilities to public. May be we are poor nations, overpopulated and under fed. But we will have to bring change. Change for good.
I feel incumbent to adulate and appreciate the conviction of Ms. Sadaf Shahid. She is a great social reformer. She unveils and unravels the grim face of class society. She wants the betterment of the neglected, grieved, bereaved and down trodden people. Her writings on the issues of education, heath and disability high light the our negligence at national level. In her mighty literary style she promotes the cause of the poor people and gives feasible suggestions for their improvement. Her golden words are our national asset. The government should seek advice from her on social issues.

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