Please welcome a new guest blogger on Thinkibility who will share his exciting story about supporting women, men and young people in Pakistan. Shamir Faraz is a student who is currently doing two masters, one in English and the other in Sociology. He is the CEO of a charity called Hope Welfare Society. Shamir is a man of action and a firm believer that problems can be solved. He has funded trips to villages in Pakistan where he helps villagers to come up with ideas to solve problems such as how to transport bricks in the most efficient ways by using donkeys. Read his fascinating story about the importance in believing that conditions can be changed by supporting people to look for alternatives ways of doing things. One of the villagers Shamir met said, “Let’s design new truths!”. Gijs and I could not agree more.
On planet Earth, every person can make sense of the world depending upon his/her mode of perception. The perception of women and their rights never remain static. Historically, the rights of women have adopted various appearances and passed through various phases.
If we direct our attention towards developing countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, women have lost their basic rights as well as have lost the freedom to “think” for themselves.
While, making surveys in some villages, I met women who belonged to different social groups. By interacting, with them I realised that they were having a terrible life in Pakistan. Some women were burned and beaten by their husbands, some suffered from broken marriages, while some were victims of adultery. Sometimes these things happened, because the women were not able to make “decisions”. When I arranged seminar and met them, I realised that they needed “change”. They needed to get rid of their “old thinking patterns”. These patterns of thinking were forced upon them by certain groups in society. In the surveys, we found that young teenage girls were enjoying thinking more than people who have lived their lives under the shadow of “complacency”.
Even some women who appeared to be very religious revealed that they themselves were tired of their “religion”. For them thinking was the most difficult task of the world. But, when I introduced them to some thinking tools they thought thinking was like “playing with ideas”. Many of them told me that thinking tools helped them in reducing “unnecessary details”. I met workers who made bricks, they thought that thinking was only for “finding truth” and “fighting for truth”. While, interacting with them I used different examples to tell them that truth itself can be of many types, some of them started laughing when they understand it. One of them said, “Let’s design new truths”. Many of them came with very useful ideas by “focusing” on different aspects.
Secondly, I met people in a village near Multan in Pakistan. Parents were helpless because their young sons were seeking “wild justice”. I met a counsellor and we arranged a plan to meet the young people. We introduced the basic concept of “values”, and I explained that every person has not exactly the same “values” . One of the boy quickly understood the concept and he made a funny statement that values are like “evil spirits” because they captures one’s brain and actions. I introduced them to a logical premise that was “keep your value bubbles in your pocket”. The same boy asked, “So wild justice for what?” I said there is no need to do it, we simply need to use EBS (Examine Both Sides) and explore how to find “other ways” peacefully. Ideas like this I got from the book “Keep Your Value Bubbles in Your Pocket”, which is an excellent book written by my friend Phil.
I also met a man who was very religious and a freedom fighter. I asked him, “Do you know the “consequence” of your fighting motives will not prove constructive for you in “long-term?”. He answered that he knew only one consequence, which was that after death he will go to heaven. I asked him could you please sincerely direct your attention towards more consequences. But he was content with one. (This habit of mind can limit perception. When perception becomes limited, the world becomes limited and the width of life becomes limited.)
In Pakistan, even the layers of Government itself are bound by boxes consisting of different races, creeds and sects. While, meeting socially oppressed women I arranged a meeting with their husbands. Instead of giving them a lecture, I told them. “Please, direct your attention towards EBS (Examine Both Sides)”. The men came with new perspectives about their wives which they never ever imagined. One female came up with many ideas when I asked her to use CAF (Consider All Factors), the most prominent was that “issue of women is universal issue”. The same women said that she is worried because her life is full of accidents and she said, accidents are her fate. I said accidents happen because of certain reasons. I requested her to use “CAF” again, again she came up with more ideas, one was that she often in a hurry. She herself came up with “self-made pattern” that she needs to think “slowly and simple”.
While, going to Lahore, I met a social group who believed that things can’t be changed in favour of women. One of my team member replied that there is a difference between Personal belief and Others’ belief. He said that in many parts of the world many “other people” want to root out the oppression on women.
Feminists who are political and social workers in Pakistan are trying to change the life of women by using already “established patterns”. Many want to root out the social problems of women by using “ready-made patterns” of religion, which isn’t possible. All problems faced by women universally, are problems of perception.
In Pakistan sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence is common. Those who plan to root out such problems are excellent in describing but not expert in “finding a way forward”. When I requested a women in Jhelum to use APC (Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices) on finding solution for such problems. One of her prominent idea was that women should look for international “association”.
In number of countries the women have removed their uterus because, these women have not enough money to manage them. One of my friend in India met one of those women he asked them why you did this. She replied because she did not have “any other way”. Problem is that while “finding other ways” very few people honestly directs their attention to find “other ways”. Often, such problems are seen because some women do not seek for the “purpose”, “accuracy”, and “outcome” of information.
One of the big contradictions that women are facing in Pakistan is that they are suffering from discriminatory legislation. Historically, Pakistan is using the cocktail of feudalism and religious dogmatism, therefore true requirements for women cannot be advocated by any “bounded rationality”.
Many women because of social oppression are feeling themselves “alien”. Even they are unaware of the fact that they can “think”. Therefore, it can be said that these women are suffering from “alienation”. Hence, it is clear that false conclusions are the product of misperceptions.
During my work on my projects, it was very hard to discuss my concepts with other people to make my interaction simple and effective I used “Parallel thinking” technique. In parallel thinking, people were extending my ideas and I was extending ideas of them. There were certain reciprocal and lively relations among us.
Like other social processes thinking also require a process to form new ideas. It depends upon the inputs one use. For instance, means of production give shape to raw material. Similarly, tools of perception give shape to ideas. Quality and time value of commodities depends upon quality means of production, similarly quality of ideas depend upon tools of perception. As soon as one “recognises” tools of perception, one may use them. Because, fine ideas come from practice. Even tools of perception themselves are abstracted from different concrete elements during practice.”Selection” of tools depends upon our requirement, which also can only be determined during practice.
Outer world shapes the inner world and inner have enough ability to shape outer world.
Thanks Asa for your intellectual support and encouragement of my projects. Indeed, practice develops thinking and thinking gives new shape to practice. Quality of life process and thinking process have reciprocal relationship.
Thanks Shamir for sharing your experiences!
Photo: “Hand Holding Believe Stone” by thepathtraveler