[Let’s discuss] Open or closed minded?

by Mirza Ali

For the past few years I have spoken about being modern and broad minded and of course about its importance as well as existence or absence in our social arena. But, since I have a cocky head with no ideological thoughts, I couldn’t get the real explications of these two bewildering words. Most of the comrades think, I am very much spinelessness and flimsy in this age of advancement and more precisely they say “modern”, still old fashioned and pervasive in my customary and traditional appearance, I never cobbled my thoughts and my postures to be Modern and Broad minded, hence getting myself in stat of muzzy reactions, it sparks at once in my head to have the opportunity on Pamir Times to know what is this modernism and what exactly does modernism mean? It happens to be the top intellectual body, and more, in the our region, where some have been considering themselves modern and broadminded. The thing comes to me either we have been heading towards this menace or mission or where it navigates us?

I believe the intellectuals out there, “no gender difference”, can put their most valuable comments in making me cozy to this two said points. And enlighten us. 

The question most of the time piercing my head are

  1. What exactly being modern means?
  2. What comes to us as broadmindedness in the region like ours?
  3. How to link fashion with modernization and broadmindedness?
  4. What is the fashion in terms of appearance and passion in our religions dogma?
  5. How smart we are in modern perspective?
  6. What the links does our values, norms and our perceptions has with the said points or sad?
  7. How to justify ourselves, if we are modern and broadminded?

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  1. One answer for all seven questions:
    The way we dress ourselves is fashion, wearing short is modernization and talking and hearing rubbish is broadmindedness. Norms and values have nothing to do with this. If u have all the above said things, then you are modern and broadminded

  2. There is nothing like broadmindedness which we mean of wearing jeans,speaking English and shaving beard and keeping long hair (fasion),relevent to smartness or running with the modern age etc.The basic thing is to know where from your strength comes.Indeed its believing in yourself,your family and your traditions plus the sceintific and knowlegde development(not only sceince but every knowledge Social sceince and philosophy ,history and religion etc)
    Take these two points together,if you have every knowldge but not self reliance in yourself that what you are,what your culture or traditions say,then you are everything but nothing for development of your society where you are coming from rather your mind will always worship the people who you follow in the name of modernity.Similarly if you havent knowledg and sceince plus facilitities and enaling environment to groom your abilities then only the slogans of traditionalism will not work.Remember both are as important as our National poet IAllama qbal said,

    So self Reliance and Development,

  3. i do agree with Karim.the way we adopted modernization and broadminded society.its quite different from realistic. Modernization or Broadmindedness doesn’t means change in your standard of living,wearing short ,or talking in English etc..its simply the change in thinking level,reacting and following the positive aspects within your society / traditional limitations.

  4. When we say modern, why does our focus goes to cloths we wear or the language we speak? modernization have noting to do how you dress or what language you speak, like what I dress here in the US, I can’t dress the same back home, because I will not feel comfortable to dress that why.
    We can’t live how our grandparents lived their life we can’t dress, travel and eat the same food because we have different facilities then they had and I know our future generation will have different facilities then we have today, I don’t believe there such a thing called modernization, things changes with time. In US I hear many people saying they are modern Muslim because they don’t have beard or the women don’t cover their head, other do have beard or women cover their head that makes them old fashion. Isn’t it our chose to do what we believe not what other people want us to do? Being broad minded mean to accept other people how they live and live your own life they way you want to be not to judge other people by their appearance.

  5. Mirza Ali have brought good questions. There is nothing that shows us that we are modern or broadminded people. Everywhere we indulge in petty politics ignoring the bigger picture. If wearing jeans and speaking English makes us modern than we Gojalies and Hunzukuzh are modern. By wearing pants we assume that our minds will work like the modern western brain. But i am not sure whether you are more concern with the pant, modernity, westernization or brain. Take pant off our body you will see an empty mind behind our people. that is why we have succeed to produce copy cats who wear jeans, but failed to produce a mind that has global mind. we are very smart for our standards of intelligence but complete stupids in the face of modernism. One of the writers on this blog very well suggested me to change otherwise change will change me. so change is inevitable. So why stop on pants. lets start wearing skirts, thongs and bikinis. only after undergoing such transformation we can be in a position to asses whether we are modern or close minded.

  6. i agree with Amina… She is right to a great extent and modrenization goes on with the change in place, changr in culture and change in language.. we are compelled by the time to make us modern and no one at this time is in the level of stone age.

  7. @ Khameto I strongly disagree with you. Because our north people have achieved more in be 20 or 30 years, I think when we speak of modernization your focus goes to western countries culture, wearing jeans doesn’t makes us westernize, think about what we have achieved in this three decades, you are really under minding our youth when you said “Take pant off our body you will see an empty mind behind our people. That’s is why we have succeed to produce copy cats who wear jeans, but failed to produce a mind that has global mind” do you really believe that we have failed? Just look at what our generations have achieved, and when you said, “Let’s start wearing skirts, thongs and bikinis. only after undergoing such transformation we can be in a position to asses whether we are modern or close minded” I really feel sorry for you statement because we all know that we will never wear what ever you talking about and our youth know there identity.

  8. Guys its really very simple thing dont make it so complex.. just accept everyone what they do in your sorroundingz, just do what your inner and relegon telz you.. and be confidented what every you do good in your life… and be positiveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..

    God Bless Us all

  9. A very interesting topic is forwarded on this blog.
    Modernization, Broadminded!
    These two ideologies, or sort of philosophies originate from the western civilization. we living in the east are now exposed to more stuffs that we cant understand and do not know how to cope with them. the reason is their culture, norms, traditions, thinking, lifestyle etc are totally different from us. our society is more conservative, rigid and less exposed and known (all these characteristics of our society suit us, so take it in positive sense). now as we have a clash of civilization, its basically the class of ideologies related to ways of living either in modern way like west or the way we live(watsoever u call it)
    in conclusion, what is needed is to act individually in a rationale way and define the terms in context of our religion and in guidance of imam’s faramins.

  10. Dear Mirza Ali,

    Although you have posed seven questions but the theme of each question is “modernization and broadmindedness”.
    Instead of digging tombs of philosophers, I would like to try to explain them in a summarized way.

    1. Broadmindedness= Tolerance, i.e. the degree of acceptance to the social change. This degree can differ according to some one’s socio-religious environment and can be defined as a ‘bounded rationality’.

    2. Modernization= Transformation of primitive life into a scientific knowledge based way of life.
    Since our society is in a transitional period of persistant agricultural base to a cash economy, we may encounter some anomalies (in different ways) which are the essential part of transition.
    Nevertheless, it’ll take another 50 years to become an enlightened society.

    3. Fashion: It has nothing to do with the modernization but is a passion. If someone is fashion passionate, that is his own preference.
    In reality, modernization is a desire and a struggle where as passion is a choice. For example, farming is my passion but optimizing the productivity per acre of land is my desire and hence I need to evolve my technic of farming into a modern (scientific) way to achieve the maximum yield.

    It is a lengthy debate but due to the lack of time,
    I would like to end it here.

    At the end, I would like to say that no one has the authority to judge the “sins” except Allah but only crimes can be punished by the law. Since wearing bikini briefs is not a crime (can be a sin according to the religious dogma) nobody (in my opinion) has the right to punish.
    Muslims has a great tendency to interpretate “sin” as a crime,( I think that’s why we are in trouble of understanding life) but in reality two different things because “sin” is only punishable by Allah while the crime is punishable by the man made constitutions.
    It is possible that in a substandard state like ours, some sins are constitutionalized as crimes and that creats a huge problem of misinterpretaion of the religion.

    Please, I would really like to stop know. I don’t want to spoil my week-end for a fruitless discussion.

  11. Dear Mirza Ali
    I’m not an intellectual or literate man (not as degree holder but knowledgeable) but found your topic thought provoking and forced to write few words that life made me learn. In that respect I seek your forgiveness, that I might not meet your point and will only be a ravage.
    Discussing such concept is mostly and never agreed up on; it is because it’s about TIME and time means change, never the same. What this concept means to my humble and squat coconut, will not be as you or most of the intellect must perceive from but PT also has space for people like me too.
    As student of linguistic, it has become my habit to see into the literary meaning and its origin. The word Modernism, root’s from the word “Modern”, a Greek derived word, meaning “present time” I’m not sure what it means to others, but to me its concept, meaning is the present life or moment that is experienced . The word “Modern” was first used in English in 1585, with the same meaning as Greek.
    In simple words Modernism means, an angle by which any being that see, observes, feel and think of the situation that she/he is part of. What is happing, how any thing is moving, what is the direction? What is progressing and changing, conditions in favor or according to set norms or against but he is part of it.
    To me no one is non-modern, because he is feeling observing all the situation, condition and is part of everything and he is living it. No one can deny this fact that he is part of the world he is living in.
    Next thing that comes to mind is the acceptance of CHANGE, there are always two school of thought in any society; the first which accepts the change and try to follows it, and the second group are the ones who reject the new method in any concept or situation, and keep on following the orthodox ways in which she/he feel comfortable.
    What is CHANGE, Why changes do come? Because the word Modernism is subject to change and acceptance that is the reason that it should be considered o dealt with. As mention before society’s progress with two sides parallel to each favor and rejection of present, this situation act as catalyst to new thing changes or reforms in the system. The segment toward change, brings in new, it is because they are uncomfortable and need and change, whether renaissances, or new concept or innovation. As result a new Concept, in any field, is introduced with comfort and confidences. Now with new changes introduce the society still remains the same with no change a whole only role of the group changes. The same society with two group and need for change, so on the system goes.
    But the most interesting issue to ponder on is that changes are not always innovative or to be free form old practices but rather subject to human nature (quest for a change and zest to be unique). Man always look for ways and values that makes his self, household, society region and more on extended life to be unique rather to be any copy. He uses his mind power to bring in change in the present situation form through any means. Mind power mean, his vision and definition, based on his nurture of knowledge and experiences. The concept of Change cannot be defined in few lines. It is a multi-dimensional epic of society because it is linked and effects from many point.
    So it not modernism that is good or bad, but its ACCEPTANCE of any concept or change, or idea of ways in any culture, society and system, which makes it controversial or item of disapproval or agreed up on.
    Why change and acceptances are related due to role played in bring and introducing new picture.
    Next is the word broadminded people, what it real means, a person that has more capacity to new ideas and values to be added to life and any concept introduced. Or any one which hates all old values and loves all the new ones???????
    Well that is the question which can be taken form many angles and with different answered upon. To me mind is your experiences, school of thought, values that followed, culture that have practiced, society that nurtured. All these make you mind or thought as result, your definition about any picture presented.
    Broad, extended measurement of acceptances, the power to accept change without changing the core self value built on nature and nurture, the power to give room to progress and positivisms. To grant your experiences to other ideas that revolves around your circle.
    Studying all the discussion, about broad mindism, a sing phenomenon has aroused, that people that have more space to new, attractive and urban ideas or value, while rejecting traditional and old values are called as Mod, or considered to be modernism, more take on out fits and life standers. On the other hand all those who value all their cultural and traditional and reject or find new things to be uncomfortable, are as non-mod or old fashions.
    To me no one is mod or non-mod; it’s just their understanding of values, their definition of life. Any one who defines himself in any group and the rest in other is a non-mod. But the real mod is the one that values each idea. At the present mod is only taken in your living stander and clothing, which is a limited measurement of this concept. Modernism cover many other aspect, that makes you livable in the present, in fact as I have mentioned previously, everyone is in fact a mod- with different colour and style. Ones life covers many aspects, then just outfit, which needs to be changed with the stain mark but he is only recognize by his clothing and its type.
    In real a modern man is one who is part of the social framework, with space for his values and tradition, with its core understanding, with method of involving all the values according to the new dimensions and approaching, without change the real essences of what has been practiced. He who understands the present world needs to change and to move accordingly. He is not limited to cloth and outfit, but is more to ward values, understanding traditional norms ways to make his life more comfortable and easy. Who not only preserves the real culture but practices all the beauties of the past, according to set and need parameter of the present is Modern.
    Next are we the people of north are modern or broadminded. To it there is a straight answer , we are up till know unable to define our self, that what we are, what we are, are we gojalis or are the upper Huzanin, it is stated that we were ruled by the MIR, and so part of Hunza, but this part was never called Hunza even in Mir’s regime, it was known as, HAR BER, never Hunza. Gojalies were the ones who fought against the Mir’s tyranny, that we were people not animals, but even after 1978, Mir,s won ever election, then what was the revolution for. We still are not sure about our identity, and that what should be the stander language of Gojal. We are very far from the word of Modernism. First we have to be in the modern world then we can talk about the next step.
    As for culture we are in illusion, confusion what to take and what to leave, to become all urban adopting the entire new stander of living and values, but at the moment can not afford all the aspect. For example Wakhi marriages have been modified due to removal of many rituals due to expenses, but it more shocking that new more expensive items have been added, what kind of changes we want. In simple we are not sure about the values and our traditional norms, so changes are need to fill in the gap.
    We Gojals, above 70% educated but have unable to identify or define out culture and tradition. We are unable to pick our life values and standers or which path to select. In one hand we are educated people form the fast line, but can not be urbanize our self because its above our limitations, to expensive for us to follow, on the other hand we can not be people with based culture or value because we never had one that made us proud or felt one. We even are unable to act for our unique language, in any means.
    Well in simple words we are people modern in outfit only, but intellectually oppressed and ashamed. So still in the world of darkness, agony and self-created fear and pain. We will be modern when we follow all the stander of present world.
    As for fashion, in short, it’s a recent word introduced in English, in 18th century. This term was introduced any person that is according to the present trends and style. It is mostly used in clothing but covers different subject of life too, style of literature, language, school of thoughts etc. Here I must say that we have created our on style of fashion in different ways, in clothing’s we have developed and crossed many values, actually it represents any civilization , like the people of Sindh are recognized by their hat and Ajrak, Paunjabies with heavy make up faces and bright colors, Pattan and Balouch with long and traditional bread, lose cloths.
    We had a defined manner of clothing which with the time has perished, and are left with nothing but to copy the traditional woolen Shaina Hat. Which is never the tradition of Wakhi any where in allover the Pamir, But any how we have changed our ceremonial dress for both Bride and Groom, and other attending any ceremony, why because we all are educated.
    For a foreigner attending any Wakhi celebration or ceremony provides a clustered of different culture and values. Bride with dress form Punjab, or India, Groom, mostly with British dress and Punjabi Turban, with people representing different culture and value, most of the male seem to dress , as the are on an official business meeting, with president of any bank. Boy mostly dress form the streets of California or Manchester with lose abusive description and Jeans on middle hips. Women if educated then defiantly form Punjab with heavy make-up, like they have used a paint brush to explore their real beauty, and light bright, color outfit which never fits the environment. With uneducated ladies who are unaware of any new culture tips and try to tip in the environment, with lose and outdated long fitted bright with big flowers patterns imprinted cloths, only group to wear the traditional symbol the Original Wakhi Hat, with different color graphic designed flowers.
    We can not be fashionable ones, because the definition of fashion given never matches our style of dressing, fashion means, the style which is according to the environment, values, must have some cultural touch and in all must be comfortable when adopted. Which is never our ways of dressing. But we have our own definition for it, our dress should tell that, this human is educated, that is non-local just here for a visit, and that he/she is earning good income.
    We also have another fashion of forgetting of local language, and to speak Urdu (mixed grammar) and special English, for impression and to be unique. This fashion has taken another turn, by not allowing their sibling to use local language because according to the new concept it destroys their academic standers and makes them known about their origin which is may be a shammed.
    So dear Mirza Ali this is what I have come up with all that my, negative or positive mind, understands about your given topic. I hope you will forgive me if I m not according to the set stander that you must have set.

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