Wither innocence?


By Nasira Jabeen Though contradictory to common sense, it is true and, in fact, a paradox: ‘The child is father of the man’. The traits and habits predominant in children often foreshadow their later days except in cases where the reverse happens and promising childhood entails disappointing manhood. The truth of the statement will evidently be borne out by the lives of today’s children too. These being particularly much before their time summon implications verging both on the favorable and unfavourable consequences. Where children’s prematurity is celebrated and savoured there it leaves one bemused and dumbfounded, nay in utter predicament finding no shades of innocence intact and their integral part still. Wiped away are the days from the myriad of faces of the world today when children were sighted in their care free romping, in their exultant indifference of situation and changes however grave around; when they were spotted in their own made little houses engrossed and actively busy in their pretentious hospitality to render thus their mock house holding the more effective; when the leisure laughter and the happy cries of theirs’ in the various plays they played went clamouring up the hills and echoed back and filled the surrounding; when they were up before it was broad day (when at home on Sundays) to early start their recreations with all the happy contemporaries and with as untiring a verve and enthusiasm as to make their day all sunshine throughout. These engagements of the children were a scene in themselves for the lonely groaners of creatures, (themselves weary of their plaintive cry) for the weather–beaten workers, for the pensive strollers, for the sorrow-stricken to urge them pause to divert the course of their thoughts and be haunted by the ghosts of many hopes, of many dear remembrances, of regrets, of longing… In the midst of their much perturbed existence ensuing further trepidation, it were a vision of these little trifling of the little ones that lightened the burden of their hearts and helped raising their drooping head from the weight of recollections and kindled a soothing and gentle hope that the world is not yet cleared of innocuous joys and freedom; that they too were like them once and if Heaven ordains can see bright days again. As if their spirits were heightened with the feeling as with Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” As the world grows even grimmer and lend even more miseries on the older inhabitants occasioned by causes additional to feelings of personal capacity, like countries’ precarious status quo, security challenges, deficient budgetary resources, limitations, urgent needs of the people and manifold other giving but only bleak prospects; the world of the happy ignorant bleating lambs (the children), tightening and vibrating the loose and mute string of the unhappy ones’ hearts, grows the more faint. With their advanced intellect and mature air they have undoubtedly nestled strongly at the minds and perception of the long grown-ups and have themselves acknowledged and in fact have spared their parents many of the discomforts of life. But their ripen look as though they have lived whole of their lives and have re come on earth and their outwardly cheerfulness, striving against depression of responsibilities, of competition, of imprinting impression, of meeting goals, of keeping pace, of excelling out, in short against depression from all possible corners of their association, has left them “a piteous spectacle of abject frustration”. In their countenance can be seen the view of life as a thing to get along with and to bear with and to dominate it, with no sign of the early generation’s zeal for existence on it. Unless one has inherited the native simplicity or has it intuitively, their majority is far from developing a taste for it. Delicacies and sophistication of life are more liked by them now. There seem to be nothing that they don’t know of; no avenue that they have not explored, no mystery or myth that they have not unraveled; no expression of their mother tongue that they have not unveiled, no ways left they have in turn not employed to articulate the same and in no less better a manner than the old practitioners. Thomas Hardy in his novel ‘The Return of the Native’ says, “What the Greeks only suspected we know well, what their Aeschylus imagined our nursery children feel.” This was back in the Victorian Age (second half of the 19th assumed half genuine of those nursery children, it would be only a too prismatic reflection of today’s children and youth alike. They might never be so positively hectic, so detesting trifling occupation, so audacious, so unproportioned (due to the brain nerves carrying too much information) and so seemingly in a royal mess, as the present. Some of the attributes mentioned are indeed commendable, for who will bear to see their children derailed from today’s advancing path, or to see them staggering behind. As the succeeding eras evolve as modified, coloured, modern and computerized picture from afore ones, each succeeding generation evolves too likewise and is naturally restricted in surmounting its prevailing influences upon themselves. The custom of time (as it unfolds new experiences, novel approaches, fresh zest, wholesome envy and their ilk) frame the mind and shape their attitude which they cannot help but get along with even if it goes for earning the name , ‘talking and moving machines’ for themselves. Helpless victims!) But, nonetheless, all these are well for the mechanically bend minds. There is nothing amiss, nothing has gone to pot, everything follows, without deviation, its inevitable course, no need even of endeavoring to adjust oneself to get accustomed to the mainstream flow, things are as they are to be, need only to not highlight them by giving them undue attention but to let them pass too as life passes. The rather sensitive must have observed the ‘loss’, if we may so express it. The serene look, with the soothing influence, the more cheerful, amiable and honest demeanour of the children of yore; all accumulating to present them the more bright and beautiful, the more spirit inspiring, the more happiness causing; the unagitated natures, the indulgence in plain employments; their innocuous ignorant faces, their simple unquestioning faith as if it were a bliss, except in faces or few, are things of the past now. The cup is sour to the brim, but for these few to have a semblance of the sweet.  ]]>

  1. Obaid Ullah says

    Now that we all have become judges, I think our dear sister has done a great job and we would like her to write more in the coming days. Not everyone can have such courage to write and get in published the way she has done. I can see even the learned commentators who are “experts” in English literature have made grammatical and spelling mistakes.

  2. Muhammad Jalaluddin Shamil says

    @Nasira Jabeen & Waqar
    “Goyum mushkil ast, na goyum hum mushkil ast”
    Sorry if I had committed the crime of hurting you people. I always try to be suggestive but failed in doing so this time, I guess. Nasira kai keep it up, try to refine your style even more better, I will read your articles, as I’m doing the same with others.
    Waqar don’t mind, I was just kidding. Beacon’s soul is perhaps wondering around West Minster Bridge, how it dares to comes to Chev Bridge to encounter an energetic mountain dweller? Let’s have an agreement to remain cool and calm.
    Stay blessed.

  3. Nasira Jabeen says

    @ Shamil
    It is true that the article has turned out to be too literary for the readers in general, i admit. Sometimes when you become too involved with the subject of your pursuit and feel for it the more, ideas flow out of you in kind of an unconscious manner. I fully recognize the value of being like Bernard Shaw or Francis Bacon or Bertrand Russel for that matter but few topics require you to be like Charles Lamb, Robert Browning and even Dickens and few topics go for the former group.
    Mr. Waqar is not being unreasonable in his comments . He is right in acknowledging the inevitable existence and influence of style of writing too in line with clearness of ideas. He is appreciating ,it means he may have found the article in accord with his taste and understanding.

  4. Nasira Jabeen says

    @ Shahpar Ali
    I have glued to my point of view because i am right there and i will stick to it.
    ‘ They’ and ‘These’ , i would better not consult anyone for these two at least. ‘They’ is a pronoun, a personal pronoun and it is used for the persons spoken of. ‘ These’ is a demonstrative pronoun and is used for near plural things, or recently heard ideas, excuses etc and for human beings also when they are near you, as opposed to ‘ Those’ which is used to refer to things, people , place , ideas etc far away in time and place .
    In the particular sentence in the article i have used ‘ These’ , because the objects of my reference are very near there, that is, ‘today’s children’ , appears in the very line preceding that sentence.
    I could have used ‘They’ there if there were nothing like ‘These’ to employ in such cases safely.
    I wonder you have not seen any such expression on any face of any book yet.
    As for the long sentence , i have already explained that with reference to the literary device ‘Anaphora’, which when you use even one sentence ends up producing more than 100 words. You can find the use of it both in poetry and prose. For your assurance of the same you are recommended to read passages from Malory’s Le Morte D’ Arthur if you can find it, or George Eliot or Charles Dickens , Thomas Hardy and the like.
    if you have not been able to appreciate the contents of the article then it follows that either you may not be the student of English Literature or if you are, you are not the true student of it. But it does not mean that you will allow yourself for blind allegations in places where your own knowledge is limited.
    I expected the educated readers of Chitral to comment on the contents of my article but such false accusation! it is really disappointing.

    1. Shahpar Ali says

      I am ending the debate. Keep on writing, Chitrali women have been writers and lyricist in our past (Nan-Doshi, Begal) but for the last 3-4 decades have not produced any Chitrali female writer, intellectual. You are 52% of the population and in terms of feelings and issues completely different from Men, hence the society need someone to represent females and bring forward their feelings, ideas and issues. It is very important that Chitrali females write and present their ideas. So, the society needs people like you and I will strongly suggest to make a group of writers from your own surrounding and continue writing on different aspects of the society especially relating to females. I did not mean to discourage you in any way, but the thing is, I was happy to see a write up from Chitrali female writer but being unable to read and understand it was disappointing. Hence, I tried to give you some positive criticism which you can take care of in your future write ups.
      More power to you and all other budding Chitrali writers.

  5. Waqar Ahmed says

    Don’t be personal,you have absolutely no right
    to pass sarcastic remarks about people. If you don’t like
    someone’s write up don’t read it, that’s simple. Your remarks in Kowar like “Chewa Ta ogho dreni,Ta mek Ayaz Amir” can only suit people of your ilk. I say sorry to you and most importantly the respected readers of this online for entering into futile diatribe with you.

  6. Muhammad Jalaluddin Shamil says

    @ Waqar: Tu ma khayal avelo “pride of performance” o haqdar chitrali ke tu vocabulary/words istimal no kori ideas an discuss kos. That makes you the 8th wonder of the world. The team of guineese world records must visit you. The noble price is ur due and I, shahpar Ali and nazira jabeen Kai recommend you for the Man Booker int’l Prize as well.
    Ta Miki Ayaz amir ma d khosh la, hs na hani mushkil, na kiawat out of place/context vocab use koyan. ma tatay mashwara tu Bertrand Russel o ke raytaw royantay faida diko bash simple writing style gain koko bos. warna indiscrimainte use of vocab will spoil ur journalistic career, if there is any in this field.
    Ideas an discuss koman ray “alu” o jaga “Lablabu” istimal ke aru ta angrayzio ustad ta nabehail koi Francis Beacon o Rooh Chive sera alti ta boti af ulayr.Paloon o sora pajama anji Ayaz Amir o tung ishperu rigisha angar koko tat kia kaylir.
    dunyaa even stupidityo d rule sheni, positive endeavour maslan “Writing style” thay pharo shar. Writing is not immune from rules of simplicity and clearity. As “style is the dress of thoughts” and “clearness ornaments profound thoughts” this is what intellectuals say.You gentleman! Be honest and give fruitful suggestions, rather giving irrational favours. Ta comments antay poshto a “Tesh khulay kabari” rayr. Awa electiona vote diko chuchi aih goman, jeet bak candidate ot rayman ke KPk assembly a irrational suggestions dyk an bachain legislation koko koshish ko ray.Umeed koman hash sensorship ta suggestion an kia stop koya.Warna freedom of expression o kholo multu uti pesa jam royan Motorway ar nayzi “pakdandi” an alomian..Khafa no bos kia tu ma pen friend.

  7. Waqar Ahmed says

    “Style is the man”. Longinus.
    A writer should follow his/her
    natural style,otherwise,he/she will lose
    his/her originality.There are writers who are considered rather vague and
    obscure still they are extensively read and enjoyed
    in the world. My favorite Sir Francis, Charles Lamb and Robert Browning
    fall in this category. Even in Pakistan writers like Ayaz Amir, Yasser Latif
    Hamdani are considered difficult to comprehend ,but they enjoy vast circle of
    readership. My suggestion to Nasira Kai is to carry on with her natural style,because
    Chitralis are no longer afraid of vocabularies,they have started discussing ideas.

  8. Nasira Jabeen says

    @ Shahpar Ali
    Brother, as far as the sentence, (These being particularly much before their time, summon implications verging both on the favorable and unfavorable consequences) is concerned, there is nothing wrong in it, it is very correct grammatically. It appears complicated to you by my use of vocabulary and phrasal verb that you may not be familiar with, it seems.
    ‘These’ in the sentence, as you see, is referring back to today’s children and ‘there being much before their time’ or their being too mature for their age, call for implications or suggest results which are simultaneously favorable and unfavorable that is it allow people to have a good opinion of them and at the same time bad opinion. The very next line, (Where children’s prematurity is celebrated and savored there it leaves one bemused …. finding no shades of innocence intact and their integral part still) explains it very clearly.
    Sentences usually don’t stand out alone in a passage, you need to read them contextually to fully understand them.
    (At two places, I found some change and omission of words by the editor too.)
    As for your second allegation, the paragraph, in fact is long but it’s not that such paragraphs are altogether not practiced. Many writers have written such. I have used ‘Anaphora’ there: a rhetorical device where words or group of words are repeated in successive clauses to create greater effect. And in doing so paragraphs usually attain length.
    As this is the age of learning and education, almost all are avid readers now and are scholarly writers, so I take it for granted that the readers will face difficulty in understanding me.

    1. Shahpar Ali says

      I appreciate your resolve to sticking to your point of view, but I strongly suggest to consult someone and ask two questions:
      1. Can ‘These’ be used to describe children…what is the difference between ‘they’ and ‘these’
      2. How good is a sentence (not paragraph, a sentence, from one full stop to next full stop) of 120 words.
      Stay blessed and keep on writing…

      1. Nadir Khan, Karachi says

        Mr Shahpar, you need a good primary teacher to tell you the difference between ‘these’ and ‘they’. Using these for children is perfectly correct. When the children are in front of you, for example, you cannot use ‘they’ for them. Secondly, if I cannot properly comprehend a sentence or a book for that matter, I have no right to blame the writer. Yes simplicity is a must but it is not that much simple to be simple in writing and convey the message.
        To Ms Nasira Jabeen, my message is keep up your good work and also write about the issues of Chitral, especially be the voice for the women of your area.

        1. Shahpar Ali says

          so if there you come home and tell someone that you saw children playing outside you can say, i saw children playing, these were playing outside’…?

  9. Ali Safdar Khan says

    Dear Sister Nasira, I really appreciate the article but please try to write short and concise articles which is easier to comprehend and interpret by people ordinary people.
    All the best.

  10. Muhammad Jalaluddin Shamil says

    @nasira jabeen & @ Waqar Ahmad:
    Respected kai, Persian people say, “kasbay kamal kun k azizay jahan shavi”. in our context “Kasbay kamal” could be a simple expression of ideas. one aim of writing any article is to educate people and this aim could only be achieved if expressions are made understandable to the maximum. You are a student, rather a teacher of literature, you can express a single message in hundreds of different ways, but that could not be beneficial for a student like me. Such style could only benifit learned people like Waqar ahmad. for the sake of average reader like me i suggest further simplification in your writings. Without compromising your standard,While in Rome, doing as the Romans is a prudent idea, i guess.
    Your generous counter-comment delighted me. Thanks for that
    I ask you and Waqar to guide us in improving our comprehension skills of technical literary pieces, as it is the duty of the more learned to guide the less.

  11. Nasira Jabeen says

    You are perfectly justified brother in pointing out that my articles require careful perusal, after you have found them so. But its not that i prefer to be vague and my message not grasped , far from it. What i want but the readers comprehension of me.Though during writing the handful of my articles till now, i have always been mindful of the readers and painstakingly tried to be as simple and understandable as possible yet each time i could not have gratified myself with a more plainer expression and there they appeared in their natural form.
    But, nonetheless, in my subsequent writings i will endeavor my utmost to be plain and simple though i can only hope for the desired result.

    1. Shahpar Ali says

      Sister, I don’t want to discourage you but just want to give you an honest feedback. I tried three times to read your article with a view to give you honest feedback but sadly I could not read beyond the poem. Your vocabulary usage is totally out of place, grammar at times is incorrect (e.g. These being particularly much before their time summon implications verging both on the favorable and unfavorable consequences. cannot make any sense of this sentence).
      But most importantly, sentence structuring. Do you know that the first sentence of your third paragraph contains more than 100 words, this might be the longest sentence i have ever read. Brevity is the soul of wit. In a nutshell, I could not understand what you tried to tell me in this article. Try to write simple, small sentence, correct grammar and go easy on that synonyms option in Microsoft word 🙂

  12. Waqar Ahmed says

    Not that much difficult, provided you have a background in English literature.
    Very well written.

  13. Muhammad Jalaluddin Shamil says

    Plz be simple, so that readers may comprehend your message. Every second letter of your article needs Oxford dictionary consultation. Your writing reminds me of the book “God of small things”, by celebrated Indian writer Arundhati Roy.Two times I tried to read it but abandoned it twice for she uses very difficult vocab.i thing u and Arundati Roy are on the same page in digging words out from English dictionary.
    We need the knowledge of people like you but too much use of difficult English vocabulary makes it a herculean task for readers to grasp the idea and message. I admit you have a strong vocabulary but using all of it in a single article may be good for you but not for your readers. Hope you will not mind, and try to make your message and concept simple for your readers.
    Do you know, what I wrote in the first page of Arundhati Roy’s book, when I was unable to read it with convenience in the second time? If you don’t know, I wrote, “Ghoto Luan to nan hush koi”, and interestingly, a friend of mine wrote “Likhay Musa Parhay Khuda” beneath my Khowar one-liner

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