Friday, November 6, 2009

Self Portrait

Self portrait literally means a photographic close up of a person – but in it embodies the entire personality of the person in question. Face readers all over the world would in an instant give out the hidden facets of a person by just looking at his photographic portrait. Thus no matter how much we try to hide ourselves from the people and wear a disguise, be warned that there are people out there who can uncover the disguise and reveal one’s true self.

And if an individual’s portrait can tell us everything about oneself, then the collective portrait of a family, community or people of a country can do the same thing – uncovering the true face of that society and country. Although, sometimes, people do deceive and wear such a disguise that is hard to decipher, but in the end, one is caught with his actual identity and personality.

But when talking of a collective portrait, no people can wear a masquerade that can deceive the entire world. But remember, even if the collective portrait portrays a particular facet, it may not be applicable to each and every individual. For example German women are known for their loyalty and love for their husbands and the families – but you may find exceptions. One can be overawed by the technology advancement in USA and may conclude that everyone strolling in the New York streets, just near the Smithsonian Institute of Modern Sciences, but one would be amazed to find Americans totally oblivious to science and technology and may then wonder how collective portrait differs from that of most of the individuals.

Likewise, talk of anyone in the West about Pakistan, and he would jump from his seat and try to hide behind a shelter as if someone suddenly appear from nowhere with a beard and start spraying bullets all around. People, even living in next door India, believe that the moment one gets out of an air port, he would be faced with a close encounter of third kind with militants and hooligans killing others showing no mercy. But is it so really?? Those who still dare to come Pakistan, find it far different from the dreadful stories attached to its portrait. Yes there are problems, but the routine life carries on. Men, women and children abound the roads both in cities and villages to go to their work stations, schools, universities and business centres.

And contrary to many beliefs, a vast majority of the Pakistanis is averse to the kind of change the militants want to bring to the country. Islam has been the religion of most Pakistanis and they have been practicing it peacefully since last six decades, tolerating others’ beliefs and living in harmony. And they would continue to do so in future as well as they find religion a part of them and do no want to be dragged into a drama where guns rattle and women beaten in the name of religion, as once the scene in Afghanistan.

Those who go back from Pakistan, always speak of the warmth and friendliness of people of Pakistan, and its lush green landscape and snowy mountains. Very few would speak otherwise. A guest from India at my friends was so sacred as he along with his family was about to get out of the Lahore airport and asked his wife to drape herself into a covering as she might not be taken on by an militant for violating the “hijab”– but when he was taken to the glittering Liberty Market and the markets in / around Fortress Stadium and a dinner at Gawalmandi Food Street, he was fascinated and spellbound. He said that he was advised by folks back home to restrict his movements in markets, specially at night. He said he was taking back happy memories.

The point that I want to drive home is that one should not only judge a person, people or a country by the exposed portrait, but should venture out inside to find out how wrong he would have been had he based his opinion on face value or stories heard from others alone.


S A J Shirazi said...

Rightly said. And timely said. Only if someone listens to it in this din.