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Archive for June, 2011

With an unwavering commitment to set foot on anything that remotely resembles a mound or a dune, my eccentric quest and pursuit continues. The latest victim happens to be the remains and left over of a structure that once stood tall like a dignified rock. While the British were busy extracting all the jewels and treasures of the ‘golden bird of subcontinent’, they ruthless crushed and reduced the endeavouring rock to pieces. Whatever is left of this mound, it lends its name to the wannabe hill station situated in an endless ocean of plains called ‘Sangla hill’.

Located at some 55 kms from the industrial centre of Faisalabad roughly to its North East, the government has finally realized and developed a park surrounding the so called hill ( more of monument) to conserve the remains. Once approached, despite scorching heat and blazing sun, the temptation got the better of me to climb (read crawl) to the top and take some photographs, just in case, one fine day the hill just disappears from the face of the planet like scores of others that vanished from its neighbourhood leaving it behind as a solitary mark of distinction today.

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The world we are living in has changed and is transforming at a phenomenal pace. If technology has revolutionized one thing over the years that for sure is communication. Gone are the days when voice of masses, a populist movement or uprising could be hushed or silenced by authority and censorship. Liberation of media, advent of internet and social media in particular has changed the rules of the game altogether. If someone has any doubts, please revisit the events of recent upsurge in Tunisia, Egyptand Middle East. What was the dynamic behind the abrupt change in the region that brought an autocratic rule to its knees within days of the suicide of a young university graduate despite all authority and censorship?

Yes. As much as the followers of strong leadership theories (I being one of them) hate to believe, it was the popular campaign and well co-ordinated effort through social media such as Facebook, twitter, youtube and blogsphere that moblized the educated and impassioned youth to the point that rattled the forces of status quo and shook the foundations of the monarchs and military backed regimes in the entire region. In the event of such a deluge, if leadership gets arbitrary and widespread temporarily, is beyond the discussion but more importantly what we have witnessed lately is the real power and potential of a virtual medium and social marketing in achieving objectives of an uprising or an upheaval when it has the potential to connect and resonate with the aspiration of the masses. Grasp over English language or not, a thin or narrowing tip of pyramid constituting a stream of spearheads has shown to represent and influence an exponential base and human resource at the bottom.

What brings me to resort to such an introduction is an excellent article published in the daily ‘The News’ today (June 18th, 2011; Taking social media by storm by Malik Siraj Akbar). It discusses at length about the similar phenomenon that is brewing in the much neglected but largest province of the country i.e Baluchistan. Arguably one of the least developed areas having low population and even lower literacy rate, the most critical and lethal element remains the relevance. There is no denial that Baluchis today find themselves in utter state of deprivation and negligence. Though this galvanization and resentment against the state is not a nascent development, the recent socio economic events and catastrophes have definitely alienated and disenchanted the Baluchs further.

The gruesome reality and mystery regarding the fate of missing persons remains shrouded. How ruthlessly we dealt with a 79 year old Sardar and Baluch icon, Sardar Nawab Akbar Bugti in particular and other political and national figures sharpened the wedge a great deal and intensified the feeling of unflinching hatred against the state. Baluch nationalistic sentiment is gaining momentum and only gets stronger following each clash with the security forces. It has got to the point where they are resorting to target killings and living in the province for a Punjabi or a non native is a potential life threatening risk. The lukewarm and listless response to the earthquake in Baluchistan a couple of years ago further aggravated the economic woes of the people. So much so, the blogsphere and press talked about deliberate flooding of portions of Baluchistan with allegiance of military and police to safeguard the interests of some Sindhi influential landlords during the devastating floods last year.

Poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment and deprivation remain the chief concerns of the tribal and gallant Baluchs. Mineral rich Balochistan is brimming with resources like natural gas, copper, coal and recently discovered huge reserves of gold. A long stretch of coastal belt runs along the shores of Makran and Gawadar but unfortunately any plans to develop potential goldmine of port of Gawadar have been jeopardized mainly because of the insecurity and partly owing to the cold war and conflicting interests of giants like America and China in the strategically located province.              
          
Isn’t it ironic that a democratic government cant even associate itself with marginalized population ( a mere 5% of the total population) of the largest ( that constitutes 44% of total area of Pakistan) but most backward and sparsely populated province of the country?

Although the history of nationalistic unrest and military intervention and use of force to curb such elements dates as far back as independence, the widening chasm and technological revolution demands a grossly varied approach to the issue. There was much propaganda of an impending economic package for Baluchistan by the prime minister but nothing has materialized so far.

Coming back to the point, there are  a number of blogs and forums that represent Baluch nationalists and promote their extreme agenda and hype on the web. Talking of most popular ‘Baluchistan’ page on Facebook alone, considering the low literacy rate, there is a following of close to 6000 individuals which by any standard or stretch of imagination is substantial. The worsening law and order and security situation doesn’t help. Thanks to social media, well organized, energetic and flambuoyant youth are quick to grab bits of news and information and share and disperse them within the community and cyber space within no time.

If the infested and bleeding wounds of Baluch pride and marginalization are not daubed with serious dialogue, concerted and well organized effort and if what the article reveals about the extent of co-ordination and the activity and commitment of Baluchs to use social media as an alternate platform to counter all censorship, we have a mammoth, ominous and worsening political challenge to tackle at our hands.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=53240&Cat=9&dt=6/18/2011

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Having gone through the painful research of Stephen Covey and appreciating the lot of hard work that he has put into the subject, I was moved and motivated to the extent that I decided to address the loop holes and come up with my own theory on the subject after years of humble research. Taking nothing away from him, but reinforcing where mandatory to bring due reverence and regard to the statures of these management gurus, I am inclined to draw my own conclusions. As I gather, the typical attributes of a highly successful manager outlining his profile may be summed up as:
  1. A successful manager is highly visionary. Keeps his eyes and senses firmly shut but blindly follows the vision ( read dictates) of the higher ups or decision makers.
  2. Unlike his eyes, the mouth is wide open. All the time talking aloud but not the words that are his own or he ever believes in. A mouthpiece, instead,  continously transmitting a message that makes many jaws drop down in awe and wonder.
  3. Smelling and sniffing are the sharpest of his senses and prized assets. Blessed with a nose long and sensitive to an extent that puts a poodle to shame. The most interesting feature, nevertheless, is a continously  wagging tail that is surprisingly not visible to a pair of naked eyes.
  4. He is all for free speech but never free to speak his thoughts and words.  He only talks what makes sense and that is what he is told to speak or the higher management wants to listen.
  5. Talking of senses and how could we ever miss the sense of taste!? And when it tastes of leather? You got it right! Boot licking!
  6. His loyalty is exemplary and at times can be matched only by the faithfulness of ….well the one with a wagging tail.
  7. There is only one governing principle if he decides to work for a change that is. Merit is the sole criteria unless of course the stake holder or customer is connected to the top. Reciprocating the earned favours in special cases only strengthens the business relations and such best practices are quoted in customer relationship management manuals.
  8. He thoroughly believes in maintaining a healthy work life balance and drum beating is his favourite sport. Blowing a trumpet much larger in scale and portraying something minute as humungous is what he excels at.
  9. He is a champion of honesty and integrity. Thus never fails to utter a shameless lie with complete faith in all honesty and integrity.

Now if you are the one on a look out to grab an opportunity to put your career on course to an accelerated growth, here is your only chance. And if you seem to care opportunity never knocks twice.

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