Culture and Community

The community is a specific group of people which thinks and struggle on same grounds for achieving common objectives. Communities have begun since the people from Stone Age found their likeminded fellows around them. As men were born free to make choices by own, this led him so open towards the lifestyle. Starting from the leaves that used first to cover the bodies, make the thinker to think that was all the people at that time were agreed on covering the body with leaves? Of course not still with no else option all did the same. With the passage of time, we have seen individual choice turned into people choices, people into groups and groups into community choices.

Community groups did hard to make their unique existence in the world where a list of the unlimited set of minds is available always. Communities structured themselves in a way where they could maintain a set of unique choices, ideas, ethics, lifestyle, food patterns, earning moods, dressing, physical representation and many other things, in short, they struggled to form their own culture.  The word culture is closely attached to the community, as both have no existence in isolation. Where there is a culture there is a community and where there is a community there is culture. In Pakistan, communities have adopted cultures as to show their separate identities. Culture and subculture of communities have grabbed international attraction to Pakistani people. Pakistan is very rich in its cultural traditions where people of Sindh, Punjab, KPK, Baluchistan has developed a complete set of living that is different from other.

We could see our cultures being celebrated on almost all occasions like Religious and Seasonal festivals and they are so valued in order to get a highlight in international platforms. Culture support the community as it provides distinctiveness to the people belong to it. Attributed stuff that relates a community to a culture never develops within years rather it became the identity of a community with deep backgrounds and history behind. For instance, the Sindhi Embroidery is an influence of Indus Civilization where the same motives could be seen on master art pieces of people belong to Buddhism, so the cultures pass through centuries and remain alive till centuries.

Our traditional stuff of any province used to earn from the international market just like handicrafts, master art pieces, cultural specimens, dresses food etc. Pakistan’s GDP ratio to culture is always questioned and mostly denied, we never thought to add on a ratio to our annual budget where the focus is culture boast. There is a budget allocated for media to promote the culture through festivities but that’s not enough, as our traditions are very rich and attach to its deep roots need a proper space for representation on National Grounds. Our organizations like Lok Versa have done a tremendous job in order to save the culture but our local provincial institutes are rarely found to do so.

As I said culture is a support system to the community where if culture is ignored community is ignored and that’s the death of nation where communities led behind due to cultural ignorance by authorities. The power of culture to develop a community could be seen through tourism business earn by people around the world. Why in Pakistan only education, buildings, dams, industries and agriculture is relied on to earn income cultures should also need to promote with original grounds and sincerity to make a nation successful.

Empowering Women, Empowering Economy

Empowering women is the key to social and economic development in the world. In today’s world, around49.6 percent of the world’s population is female, giving a total female population of around 3.52 billion in the world as of 2014.

Pakistan needs to take a serious step for women’s participation in an overall national economy because according to GeoHive, Pakistan has 85 million female populations out of 170 million totals. This is almost half of the total population. When they are given equal rights and opportunities in social, economic and political grounds, this huge folk would bring heaps of benefits to the nation.

Quaid E Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, once said that ‘No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.’ These words for our today’s people seem nothing than shallow.

The Constitution of Pakistan states in article 9, 25, and 34 accordingly say that ‘security of person – no person shall be deprived of live or liberty saves in accordance with law.’ ‘All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex. Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.’ ‘Full participation of women in National Life – steps shall be taken to ensure the participation of women in all spheres of national life.’But these articles are not implemented in the spirit that they should work for women.

The Holy Quran says that ‘And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women (2:228).  Unfortunately, we have forgotten the actual spirit of the Holy Quran and have interpreted in our ways.

Given the above references, we see no implementation of the words of the founder of Pakistan, the constitution and the religion we follow. Do you not think it is the threshold of great tragedy?

Hindrances toward empowering women in Pakistan are prevailing since decades due to conventional values and thoughts of the people, and also the patriarchal society. They have very less equal chances of participation in the formal workforce due to gender pigeonholes that lead to their irresistible illustration in the unpaid care work. According to recent report ‘women’s economic participation and empowerment in Pakistan’ depicts that women in Pakistan are ten times more involved in unpaid care work than men. This is also manifested in lower literacy levels among women and girls resulting in their sparse presentation in high skilled jobs.

They are restricted to the four walls of homes on the pretext that Islam has forbidden women to work with male partners. Not only are this but they are deprived of their basic rights of education and freedom.

The women who work at home, in agriculture or industries; there is no recognition for their work. From dawn till dusk, they keep on servicing for the husband, children, other members of the family, even the rural women also work in agriculture. I really salute them from the core of my heart for being so invincible, tolerant and diligent.

There is another problem that lack of gender responsive  infrastructure and  weak implementation  of laws  on sexual harassment at workplace and at public places further constrain women from pursuing their careers outside their homes. This is showed by the appallingly low percentage of women in the public sector employment nationally – less than5 percent.  They should be provided access to affordable childcare, transport, residential services etc.  is essential for  ensuring equal  participation of  men and  women in  the labour  market,  education and training.

The education and empowerment of women is a guarantee leading the country to the path of economic development. If we empower women, they would empower our economy, when our economy is empowered then overall country and nation would be developed. Therefore, instead of considering them as the showpiece, we must invest in them to challenge the world. Their active participation in social, economic and political settings would no doubt pace us, where actually we would like to move on – socio-economic development.

The bottom line is that women are “underutilized, underpaid, under-appreciated—and over-exploited.” This needs to change. Yes, it is a matter of justice, but it is also a matter of basic economics.

This article was published on Daily Times

Sindhi Embroidery

Sindhi Culture derived from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. This culture is under the influence of Sufi policies and canon. There are many fascinating items in Sindh which are adored by people from all parts of the world. For instance, the embroidered dresses, handmade stuff, Sindhi hand embroidery and much more.

As we know, Sindh is no longer a part of India, no work on Indian embroidery can be complete without mention of the handwork in Sindh. Sindh has absorbed many influences which are naturally reflected in embroidery. It was conquered by the Arabs and has geographical proximity to Baluchistan, Punjab, and Kutch. The interlacing stitch works over a laid foundation of threads and is widely used in Sindh. The stitch appeared very early in Germany and Middle East from where it was probably brought to Sindh by the Arabs who were great disseminators of culture.

Sindhi Embroidery Pattern was oriented from Thar Parkar and its neighboring Districts. The design used are mostly abstract and formalized representations of flowers, foliage, worked in primary color using the mainly satin stitch.

The most creative practitioners of this style are the women of Meghwal, leather workers by profession and caste who are centered on the Thar Parker District of Sindh. Their most work includes marriage cholis, purses, and bukhanis. Their work is of two types either profusely floral and disguised bird designs, mostly on a red ground incremented with mirrors and beaded and metal thread work on a black background.

Sindhi hand embroidery is not specifically practiced in Sindh but also other regions of India such as Kutch and Kathiawar. The designs of Sindhi embroidery are mostly chevrons and checks giving them a stylishly classic as well as traditional look which is sometimes created in bird or flower form.