Pakistan: A thousand mutinies for life and laughter in Pakistan

Harsh Kapoor
Professional manipulators of Religion on the one side, and the Generals and the establishment (aided by Uncle Sam) on the other have heavily contributed to sour the dreams of Pakistan's silent majority and spread mayhem elsewhere too.
Every day the media tells us these stories. This high speed media has missed out on a big noisy mountain here -- the 'Other Pakistan'.
The other republic of Pakistan - is a laughing, joyous, easy going, funny and colourful one. This is where people learn not to take any shit, from the religious fanatics or from the powerful khahki clad ruling elites. This is the high activity zone of a very impressive range of dissenting voices within civil society, those of social movements, NGOs, progressive writers, teachers, avant garde artists, painters, musicians and people from all walks of life who have in the last 2 decades kept the flame burning to illuminate the darkness that dot the landscape. To challenge the monsters of mass unemployment, misogyny, ethnic and religious hatreds; here are hundreds of small examples of non violent peoples alternatives to the misplaced development priorities that dominate the official policy in Pakistan. These alternative experiments in 'people's politics dont get written about, reported or celebrated. These are stories of innovation and change where people try to creatively demand a say in the future of their country, in their workplace, in the town, on the road, in their village, their families, everywhere. These are stories were victims of a system organise as active citizens, within unions, within womens organisations, within campaigns on rights for equal wages, for civil liberties and access to natural resources, within shantytowns and slums -in far flung rural areas; Campaigns for health, for education, for the right to run in a mixed Marathon, the right to fall in love, to sing a rebellious song, to dance, to fly kites, to go to cinema, to break age old customs and traditions, to build new ones that are secular and democratic.

Did you know that, in a provincial, not so cosmopolitan, small city (small by local standards) called Multan, some 5000 women marched for equality and womens rights on this 8th of March, 2006, the international womens day. (Did you see such demonstration of 5000 women in Paris, or London or New York!)

These spirited lively citizens campaigns are like nurseries hope and that are trying to build to a peaceful future. (They are not waiting for God or the state to declare peace). It is going to be a long journey this. The stakes for Pakistan are very high and for the world too.

These initiatives need the active attention and support of world's citizens, not as benevolent spectators. Lets join in the Pakistani mutiny for life and laughter. Lets give the mindless bigots and those who trample on people rights a run for their money.

No Pasaran!