Tag Archives: Blaagers

A Year of Sermons from The Pulpit – Reflections of a Blaager Newbie

One year ago, inspired by the interaction with the Blaagers on Twitter, I decided I needed a place of my own to vent my thoughts, feelings and opinions. Having bottled up these thoughts for several years since my return from the US of A, I figured that blogging would give me a great platform to speak out on issues just like in the good old days when I wrote in the Opinion pages of Technician.

Nearly a year has gone by and while it has been a great year in terms of my interaction with fellow blaagers, unfortunately it has not been a great year in terms of my writing. As I reflect on this past year, i see that my enthusiasm was there but the years of disuse of the creative side of my brain and the rust that had set it served as a big deterrent to my blossoming as a blogger. Add onto that a really hectic work and social schedule and unfortunately we have a very mediocre blog. Granted the quality of posts, in my humble opinion, were quite good, but the quantity was too little too far spaced and so the blog never really attracted people as there was no more content to return to.

I was so down at my performance as a blogger recently that I had actually thought of deactivating the blog. If the muse struck there were always several blogs I could guest post on. But then I recalled the saying, Success is getting up one more time than you fall down. So I’m getting back up!!

In my second last post, Vote for From The Pulpit in Pakistan’s First Blog Awards, I had promised several changes including more active posting. Four months later, I have failed miserably to deliver. I can only blame a Writer’s block for this lack of posts these past months but the truth be told it was my indiscipline to treat my blog as an area where I needed to set some goals and targets. That and the fact that i can never really manage my time despite my efforts. Another reason that I have not been able to post frequently is that I am too much of a perfectionist. Most bloggers simply write things daily as a journal, writing longer posts when needed. I need to start utilizing this format of shorter but frequent posts instead of trying to write entire volumes. The thought of the time requirement to write the type of posts I have been doing is maybe my biggest stumbling block. Shorter posts would mean I will blog more and blogging more will keep the gears of the mind well oiled and efficiency will increase.

I hope that the last post on “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” will have helped get rid of the cobwebs in my brain and started the ball rolling on things (I am writing this now so things seem to be moving OK for now I guess).

I have been alerted by the powers that be that the Blog Awards is finally happening May 28, 2010 and while the fans have helped vote The Pulpit to the top of the Best Diarist category (if you haven’t voted yet what are you waiting for?), unfortunately my four month hiatus from the field of blogging may just harm that popular vote of my fans. But I am working on that speech and figuring out all those I need to thank when I am up there (hey why be a pessimist?).

I do have several ideas for posts in the next couple of months (and writer’s block be damned if it gets in my way) and I am also trying to get some guest posts on here also. I am also Insha’Allah planning to Guest post at some other blogs also so keep your eyes on the blog for cross posts from that effort.

Finally I am calling again on the creative people out there to please help me get a new header graphic and give your suggestions for improving the look of the blog. Your help would really make this site rock!

Lastly I would like to thank all that are subscribed to my posts via email or RSS and I hope that I will be able to give you better content in the future Insha’Allah.

Vote for From The Pulpit in Pakistan’s First Blog Awards

DiscoMaluvi brings about a breath of fresh air, his tongue-in-cheek comments and his unique style of writing makes him one perfect blogger who symbolizes the true concept of blogging. He writes only when he has the urge to spill his guts, else he hounds us all on Twitter. The DiscoMaulvi name makes you wonder what’s this maulvi doing on the Disco floor.

The above words are ones used by one of Pakistan’s most well known bloggers, Dr Awab, BlogAwardsor Teeth Maestro, to nominate From the Pulpit for an award in Pakistan’s first blog awards. Such great words from someone who could easily be considered one of the Baba-e-Blogging of Pakistan is great.

Now that the gauntlet has been thrown so to say, it is imperative that the readers, without whom this blog is merely another page in the vast cyberspace, be made aware of this contest. Just as the loyal readership has made From The Pulpit worth for nomination for an award, they too must play a part in making sure that the awards committee hear their opinion.

In order for the blog to win, the readers are requested to visit http://bit.ly/VoteDM and rate the blog on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. More votes means a better chance of winning. Your comments and recommendations on that page will further add to the chances of winning. And last but not the least, click on the link for the blog from the above page in order to generate page views.

While winning the competition would be great, it is really your love and support that is the more important part. Over the next year, I would like to see this blog blossom more as it emerges from its infancy. A better look, guest posts by several well-known Blaagers, active writing by yours truly, and maybe a custom URL. For all this, your support and your comments are vital. And maybe some additional marketing on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

Well what are y’all waiting for? Get voting and commenting already! 🙂

 

Other Blogs we would like you to vote for:

Teeth Maestro

Deadpan Thoughts

Shaista Thinks

Naveen Naqvi

TeaBreak

Raja Islam

 

A Special Thanks to CIO Pakistan and Google Pakistan for this great idea to promote the Pakistani Blogosphere.

A Prayer for Salman – Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajeeoon

I’m told that I have a tendency to make new friends and acquaintances very easily. Yet oddly enough I am sometimes very awkward and quiet when meeting strangers. I guess it all really depends on the time, place and how well someone reciprocates to me.

A few months back I became active on Twitter and started blogging (joining the community we call Blaagers). This opened up an entirely new front in terms of social connections as I met people I otherwise would not have made links with. These new contacts range from well known celebs like Naveen Naqvi and Ayeshah Alam, activist bloggers like Dr Awab Alvi (aka Teeth Maestro), my blogging mentor Faisal K, blogging Divas like Sana Saleem and Kalsoom Lakhani, politicians like Marvi Memon, ultra geeks like Haris Nadeem, Mahdi (more commonly known as Enk), the head honcho of PASHA (Jehan Ara), the dynamic force behind CIO Pakistan (Rabia Garib), and two very inspiring individuals: the sister-brother duo Ayesha and Salman Mahmood.

Ayesha and Salman both suffer from Thalassemia

an inherited blood disorder which is the inability of the body to produce adequate amount of Hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The result is severe Anemia. (Source: Thalassemia Society of Pakistan)

Thalassemia patients require regular blood transfusions to take care of their anemic condition as well as treatment for removal of excess iron in their blood. Their growth is also restricted due to a lack of oxygen to their muscles. (To learn more about Thalassemia please visit the knowledge base of the FAITH FOUNDATION)

My initial exposure to Thalassemia was thru another online friend I made on the Karachi Stock Exchange forums on Yahoo! Groups, an extremely dynamic guy name Abdul Mateen Khan. A Pakistani based in Saudi Arabia, he is an inspiration also in that he has done a lot despite his disease. He is mostly known for his online Stock Exchange forum called TeziMandee.Com.

skdev Like Abdul Mateen, Salman too is an dynamic guy. He works as a web developer for a US based company called Directors Advantage (working night hours to coordinate with the US timings). He is also the founder of the Karachi based Fight Against Thalassemia Foundation (FAiTh). Their mission is to educate the masses about the disease, provide help to those who are affected and help arrange blood for those who need (one transfusion is needed per month!)

Last week, Salman and Ayesha drummed up support for a Blood Drive to be held at Fatmid Foundation, and this past Sunday several of us headed over to donate blood for a severe shortage that Fatmid was facing. We were expecting to meet Salman and Ayesha at the drive, however, we were given the news that Salman was diagnosed with Meningitis on Saturday and was admitted at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).

Meningitis is a dangerous disease that can be devastating and deadly even for a strong healthy individual. Given Salman’s Thalassemia, the disease is even more dangerous and he is under critical care.

McFlurry Tweetup.jpg

Ayesha (Left) and Salman (Third From Left) with DiscoMaulvi and other Blaagers at a Tweetup at McDonalds (Photo Credit: Jamal Ashiqain)

I urge all the readers of From The Pulpit to pray sincerely for Salman’s health and his speedy recovery. Salman is a fighter who has not let Thalassemia put him down. Meningitis will Insha’Allah be conquered by him with our prayers. For those friends who would like to visit Salman, visit timings are: 12 to 12.30 pm and 5 to 6 pm. And to just visit Ayesha you may go till 7 pm. Salman is in the Critical Care Unit.

May Allah Almighty, the Most Merciful, grant Salman health and a speedy recovery. May He, the Most Beneficent, give Salman’s family patience and strength during this trial. Aameen.

UPDATE 1

I visited Salman this morning around noon. Unfortunately Ayesha had gone for a transfusion and I don’t know anyone else in their family. I managed to go in to the ICU and see Salman. One of the attendants there told me his condition was the same as yesterday and that he was in a coma.

UPDATE 2 (Oct 17, 09:00 PM)

Faisal K and Dr Awab went to see Salman in the evening. Dr Awab tweeted the following (20:15 PST):

Visit to AKU met @blessedayesha > @skdev dire condition ICU Ventilator/ no response/ pupils not reacting > DUA’s for fellow #Blaager

It seems Salman’s condition has worsened during the day. It is indeed really sad to see one of the Blaagers battling for his life. Please pray hard for Salman. A dua narrated from the Prophet (SAW) is as follows:

أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ رَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ أَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ

“I ask Allah who is the Lofty and the Lord of the Mighty Throne that He cures you”
Prophet (SAW) said that by reciting this dua seven times, the ill person will regain his health and if death occurs then that (death) is a different issue (i.e. death is written it cannot be prevented).
(Source: Mishkat)
It is also narrated in Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 70, Number 579:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

Whenever Allah’s Apostle paid a visit to a patient, or a patient was brought to him, he used to invoke Allah, saying, “Take away the disease, O the Lord of the people! Cure him as You are the One Who cures. There is no cure but Yours, a cure that leaves no disease.”

Whether any of the above or any other way that you choose, please do pray for Salman.

UPDATE 3 (Oct 19, 12:00 AM)

The updates from the hospital unfortunately are not very encouraging. The doctors report that Salman’s pupils are not responding to light, nor his skin to touch. They say his brain might be dead, but rest of his organs are alive. If there is no improvement in his condition in the next 24 hours, it seems they may take him off the ventilator and let nature take over. It is harsh for us but the reality unfortunately is that once the brain stops response the chances are very slim. May Allah forgive Salman and give his family patience. May He revive Salman and make him well as only He the Almighty, the All-Powerful can do.

UPDATE 4 (Oct 19, 10:30 AM)

At 9:28 AM, Ayesha tweeted:

Same condition…. I ask whatever is better for Salman…am not selfish. Please Allah just do what is better for him……

Doctors have give 01:00 PM as the deadline for Salman to respond. I request all to sincerely pray hard in whatever form you can. It has been suggested by some to pray 02 Rakat of prayer, followed by dua on an individual basis. Since this has been a practice of mine also I endorse this suggestion. I think this is the most concrete way of praying for him (as opposed to tweeting duas to his Twitter ID which is a bit too weird for me).

Some of the readers have left suggestions for duas in the comments below. Since they have not provided the necessary source for the duas I can not confirm if they are from authentic Ahadith but am including them for the readers:

Please recite the following masnoon dua’s after offering 2 rakat namaz haajat.

اللهم رب الناس ، أذهب البأس ، إشف أنت الشافي لا شفاء إلا شفاؤك شفاء لا يغادر سقماً

اَسْئَلُ الله العَظِيْم رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيْم اَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
(Source: Owaies)

 

AMMAA YUJEEBUL MUZ’TARRA IZA DAA’U WA YAKHSHIFUSSU
(Source: Raza Abbas)

The Final Update

At 01:15 pm, Ayesha tweeted

Ventilator being removed

At 02:01 pm

Innal lahi wa inna ilahi raa’jaon. @skdev is no longer among us.

And with that we lost a friend, a fellow Blaager, a brother. He struggled in life against a disease many of us are totally unaware of. Some of us still probably have no clue what it is. Salman may have left this world but his memory will live with us in the FAITH Foundation that he founded. We, the Blaagers, should ensure that this Foundation continues to operate in memory of our friend.

Salman’s funeral will be held at the Kutchi Memon Graveyard near Ghaas Mandi after Maghrib today. Please see below for the map of the graveyard or visit here.

Verily to Allah belongs all that He takes and all that He grants and to Him returns everything at an appointed time. May Allah firgive his sins, grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaus & may He grant Ayesha and the rest of the family with patience & strength to bear with this monumental loss.

This year on Pakistan’s Independence, mend some Broken Windows

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August 14, 2009: Pakistan turns 62, and the Blaagers (name given to Paki bloggers) celebrate by Going Green and Trending #Pakistan on the Twitter Trends (similar to when we trended #PakCricket and Twitter was a Sea of Green). And while I was among those involved in this effort and fully supporting it these past days, a strange void was felt inside. A nagging thought that maybe Going Green and making it to the Trending Topics were feel good measures; a sense of Patriotism that rises up at occasions like this and then conveniently is put in storage for the next appropriate Pakistan Pride moment. We owe it to Pakistan to move beyond just superficial lip service to the ideals of Jinnah and our founding fathers. We must do something to stall the downward spiral we see our beloved country in.

I just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell recently and one particular discussion in the book stuck with me: The Broken Windows theory. This thesis put forward by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982 and further discussed by Kelling in his book Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities gives us a great insight on the problems Pakistan faces right now. We have essentially become a community where there are too many Broken Windows.

So just what is this theory?

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

Basically, the premise is that a Broken Window sends a negative signal and people start slowly treating the area around this Broken Window as rundown and derelict. The idea is that if you want to make a big change sometimes the best thing is to change seemingly trivial things. As these trivialities add up we reach a tipping point, and soon we know it the area is no more what it used to be.

Building Up Pakistan

So just what am I talking about? What windows are we breaking? Whether it is that 50 rupee note you slipped the policeman to avoid a ticket for talking on the cell while driving, or the fact that you just flaunted every traffic law that exists while driving an unregistered car without a driver’s licence. Or it is that empty Coke bottle you just threw from the car’s tinted windows.

Patriotism is not just about the paper flags you have decorated your street with, it is also about taking those flags down once the celebration is over. It is not about the huge flag on top of your house, it is also about removing that illegal and unislamic Kunda your house is running on. It is not about blaring National Anthems from your car stereo, it is about respecting the traffic laws as you do so. It is not just about being enraged at the disappearance of the Quaid’s photo from the President’s House, it is about living the ideals of the Quaid.

This year, on this Independence Day, let us resolve that we the Citizens of Pakistan will not shed our Patriotism when the clock strikes midnight. We will instead mend Broken Windows, clean up our mess, and implement the dreams and ideals on which Pakistan was founded on. And as pane after pane is fixed, we will Insha’Allah soon see Pakistan become Evergreen.

“It ain’t easy being Green” – Kermit The Frog

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Pakistan Take The Twenty 20 Cup and Twitter Too

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BOOM BOOM Afridi - © Associated Press
BOOM BOOM Afridi – © Associated Press

 Seventeen years after Imran Khan and his band of men in Green lifted the Cricket World Cup, history has repeated itself and Pakistan has been crowned the champions of the Twenty 20 World Cup.

Pakistan started with a wonderful bowling attack and managed to demolish the top order of SriLanka. However, a wonderful knock by Sangakkara managed to lift SriLanka to a respectable score of 139 for 6. Pakistan started their batting slow but steady and at one point it looked that we might have become too over-confident and ended up handing the game to our rivals. However, the stability in wickets proved to help and wonderful knock by Kamran Akmal followed by a spectacular knock by BooM BooM Afridi led Pakistan to lift the cup once again.

For the Blogging community of Pakistan (aka Blaagers), it was a double victory. An e-rally started to turn Twitter into a Sea of Green and to trend #PakCricket to the top trends on Twitter succeeded and the majority of Pakistanis on Twitter (and some on Facebook) changed their display picture to some form of the Pakistani flag. moreover, live tweeting and comments on the match using the hashtag #PakCricket managed to scale the trending topics chart on Twitter and fell just short of toppling over Father’s Day and Iran Elections related tags. The ability to trend a topic in face of other more international issues shows that Pakistani digital activism has a lot of potential. This was also seen when Teeth Maestro led a digital campaign (#LongMarch) to accompany the Long March carried out by the Lawyer’s to restore the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP
Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP

Congratulations to the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani Cricket team, and the Blaagers for their success today. Live Long and Prosper.

From Other Blaagers …

Pakistan are the World T20 Champions!!
“You are a twit”, says Twitter
Pakistan wins T20 World Cup 2009, Hail Greens
The Enthusiasm of T20 World Cup win
Pakistan – T20 Champions!
Pak wins 20 20 World Cup
A Triumph Against The Odds — And Against The Cricketing Establishment Too
T20 Cricket: Pakistan is the World Champion
Pictures of Pakistan T20 World Cup Victory Celebrations
We are the Twenty20 World Cup Champions !!!
We can change our fortunes, The way we won the final

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Sea of Green – #PakCricket takes over Twitter

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I come from a family of Cricket fanatics; watching every cricket match; hosting a regular Sunday game in our Garage; night matches in Ramadan in the lane outside the house; a cousin of mine even played in the Singapore national team once upon a time.

I am an exception to the rule. I mean I’m fond of cricket just like most average Pakistani boys, I was even part of the Saint Patrick’s cricket team (representing the A-Levels) back when no one outside the school circuit had heard of my team mates Danish Kaneria and Faisal Iqbal. I still play occasionally for a team on Sundays (though less than what it used to be). I just am not much of a fan of watching matches. In fact I could technically claim not to have watched a complete match ever in my life. For me the excitement really builds up in the last overs when the game is a nail biting, thumb chewing kind, with everyone on the edge of their seats, jumping up with joy at every run or wicket (depending on which side you are supporting).

I am very excited about one particular match though: The Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Twenty 20 final being played at Lords stadium in England today. In fact i am so excited that it just might be the first cricket match I watch fully in my life.

In March this year, both teams were struck with tragedy when the Sri Lanka team was attacked by some anti-Pakistan elements on their way to a match in Lahore. Having graciously consented to play in Pakistan, despite the spate of terrorist attacks recently, Sri Lanka had showed its friendship to the Pakistani nation. Unfortunately, a dastardly attack left seven of the Sri Lankan players injured and five valiant Pakistani police officers dead. It was only the actions of one brave man, the bus driver Khalil Ahmed, that saved the team from what would have been an unbearable loss for the two nations and the world of cricketing. This match will not only be about dominance in the cricket field. It will be a signal to the barbarians who attacked in March that the Pakistani and Sri Lankan people are opposed to their actions. It will be a call for peace and the elimination of bigotry. It will be a match for unifying these two countries again in a friendly environment to put a salve over the wounds caused by the terrorists.

Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images
Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images

The other reason why I am so excited about this match is that the digital activists of Pakistan, the blogging community and the Tweeters of Pakistan have come up with a campaign to promote Pakistan and support our team in this important match. All over the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter , countless have changed their display pics to show the Pakistan flag. My twitter stream has turned into a “Sea Of Green” as friend after friend raises up the Pakistan flag to support our boys in their bid to beat the yet unbeaten Sri Lankan side.

We have also attempted on twitter to gain some recognition nternationally by tweeting with the #Pakcricket hashtag, so that we can grab a spot on the top trending topics of Twitter.

PakCricket on trending Topics
PakCricket on Twitter Trending Topics - Courtesy TeensPk

 

Twitter recently shot to internation fame when the #IranElections tag became the best source of information out of Iran following the unrest of the elections (it is still the top topic on Twitter). In addition, countless changed their display pics to show a Green overlay, a move being called the “Wave of Green” for supporters of the Iranian opposition. The “Sea of Green” is our version of the same, albeit on a very non-controversial and free of propaganda cause.

We, the blogging community of Pakistan (or the Blaagers as we call ourselves), are on a campaign to bring a smile to the face of every Pakistani, by supporting our team in what will Insha’Allah be a historic win for them.

Teeth Maestro, one of Pakistan’s top bloggers and digital activists, has a very good post on the specifics of our e-Rally. It has very clear instructions on the steps you need to take to support our campaign.

Raza Abbas and Hina Safdar throw in their two cents on the topic as well while Bites85 posts on TeensPk about #PakCricket being a trending topic on twitter.

Well the games about to begin so catch it live at Lords. You can also catch a live coverage of the #PakCricket tweets through TeaBreak.pk.

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