Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


An Update.

12 Sep 2010

Unfortunately my ticket out of Pakistan was booked a long time ago. Back in the huge orange bubble now, and loving it.

Sadly this means that I will no longer be waiting for people to call me back so I can interview them for this blog, but I have been lazy and not been able to write a few posts of the people I did meet, and I’m getting on it.

I hope however, that this journey continues, and I don’t want to say that it’s concluded at all. At this point I must take the opportunity to thank my Professors Gary Schneider and Tom Weber, who have been kind enough to support me and give me amazing advice, and Marylin Ham and Steve Mackey for facilitating the financial help I got from the Department of Music at Princeton. Throughout these past few months I’ve been looking for answers, hope, and some inspiration in the music of Pakistan, and I have found some.

To say however that Pakistan as a whole at this point is hopeful, would be very wrong. To say there are ample pockets of hope would also be optimistic. I left the country with people posting Facebook statuses saying that Pakistan deserved all that we were getting. That after all Pakistanis had done, the way that we were, after everything, this is what we should get. It would be hard to remember it more hopeless ever before in my life.

As sad as I am of having to leave, I do hope one day that I come back for good. Often I think about whether escaping for a while is better, a little time off from all the hungama, to find myself, to look for answers. But it’s hard to run away, and all the time I am here I think of finding answers from everybody I meet for everybody music makes music in their own way.

I’ll continue doing my insignificant bit. My writing is read by twenty or thirty loyal readers, and there is little this will achieve, but I hope it get some message across, that it is a voice for a spirit that exists in Pakistan but is hard to find.

I don’t believe in patriotism. What is it about a piece of land that we have to hold close to us? Maybe its historical, religious, or the land where our families lived. But one would think that the human race, in so many generations, would realize at some point that adoring a piece of land and making it a question of morality might not achieve too strong a purpose. I’m not saying we are wrong not to do so, I just find it surprising.

But I find my patriotism not just in the love of that land that I grew up in, but in knowing that we are the only ones that can fix the problems that we have seen seep in. It is our responsibility. No one else can feel as closely, the land that we have seen and dreamed of.