Saturday, March 27, 2021

My First Brush with Philosophy: A Tribute to Sir Nafees Siddiqui of ICB/IMS

I remember Sir Nafees Siddiqui who used to teach English at ICB/IMSB, G6/3,Islamabad. He didn't teach our class but we had the opportunity to be taught for a couple of class sessions when he came in to fill in for the absence of our regular teacher. Sir Nafees Siddiqui gave us our first introduction to philosophy and its terminology. He drew a vertical line at the center of blackboard to divide it into two columns. On left side he wrote physical, temporal, mundane, real, objective ... and on right words like metaphysical, transcendent, spiritual, abstract, subjective ,.. And then explained the terms and their difference which were instrumental in raising my awareness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

ICB/IMSB Teachers Autographs 1975-80

Tribute to my school teachers who laid the foundation for my learning at ICB (Islamabad Model School for Boys) G-6/3 near Covered Bazar/Melody. 
Autographs from 1975 and 1980:
Sir Ghalib Raza (Urdu) 
Sir Hanif Tahir (Maths) 
Sir Subhan Ullah (Geography)
Sir Rafique Malik (English)
Sir Jan e Alam (Urdu)
Sir Sabir Raza (Urdu)

I regret not having taken autographs on this autograph book from some other great teachers like Sir Saleem A Khan (Physics) , Sir Tanveer (Chemistry) , Sir Wajid Nawaz (Pak Studies) , Sir Muhammad Ahmed, (Technical Drawing), Sir Zafar Zaidi (Chemistry), Sir Arif Husain (islamiat) , Sir Shabihul Hasan (Biology)... But I do have reports with their comments and signatures 😊..

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Social Media and Medium is the message

ٹیکنالوجی نے اب اتنی زیادہ ترقی کر لی ہے کہ عام عوام نے کتابیں "پڑھنے لکھنے" کی صلاحیتیں چھوڑ کر 1435 کی گٹنبرگ پرنٹنگ پریس کی ایجاد سے قبل کے زمانے کی عوام کی طرح صرف "دیکھنے سننے" کی صلاحیتوں تک محدود کر دیا ہے!
انسٹاگرام ٹک ٹاک جنریشن کو مبارکباد

FB is not a medium but message itself? tiktok is not a medium but message itself? Instagram is not a medium but message itself? Is technology value neutral or does it bring its own values?



"Medium is the message" Marshal Luhan observed this phenomenon in TV, radio, movies, newspapers. Now this observation is clearly visible in different media now available such as FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.
McLuhan in his 1964 book uses the term 'message' to signify content and character. The content of the medium is a message that can be easily grasped and the character of the medium is another message which can be easily overlooked. McLuhan says "Indeed, it is only too typical that the 'content' of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium". For McLuhan, it was the medium itself that shaped and controlled "the scale and form of human association and action".[4] Taking the movie as an example, he argued that the way this medium played with conceptions of speed and time transformed "the world of sequence and connections into the world of creative configuration and structure".[5] Therefore, the message of the movie medium is this transition from "lineal connections" to "configurations".[5] Extending the argument for understanding the medium as the message itself, he proposed that the "content of any medium is always another medium"[6] – thus, speech is the content of writing, writing is the content of print, and print itself is the content of the telegraph."


There is substantial research now which indicates technology brings its own values and it rejects the earlier notion of technology being value neutral. For example you can say things on Facebook which you will not say in an email. And you can write certain things in chat which you will not write an email. Also you can say things in an email that you will not say on phone call. There are things that you can say in phone call which you will not say in person.
Similarly, what you can see in a youtube video, you will not see in a cinema hall,.....

 what Marshal Luhan says is that the medium is so impactful that voice of the content is drowned by the medium

yes that's why I said it is part of context.. and effects the message, intended message precisely BUT not the message per se.. You see same has been true in retrospect in all times.. For eg writing on bones with charcoal to writing on tablet with quills, then on paper with fountain pen, then ball point... All methods and media brought substantial changes in handwritings, and hence also carried noticable effects on message because handwriting reflects the inner psychological context of the writer.. like body language carries in verbal communication.. Jab bhi to log ye hi kehte the email typing mein wo bat nahi.. Because handwritings personal touch is gone.. TRUE.. اب ye to ہوگا.. but saying medium is the message is misleading in my opinion.

there is substantial research now which indicates technology brings its own values and it rejects the earlier notion of technology being value neutral. For example you can say things on Facebook which you will not say in an email. And you can write certain things in chat which you will not write an email. Also you can say things in an email that you will not say on phone call. There are things that you can say in phone call which you will not say in person.
Similarly, what you can see in a youtube video, 
you will not see in a cinema hall,.....

Medium is the message. SMS/texting is only suitable for short messages that were exchanged via telegram like short messages that have urgency such as informing about death, arrival, departure, rendezvous, change in meeting time, an emergency, hospitalization, congratulations on success, death info, condolence, receipt, acknowledgement of communication confirmation , etc. It is totally inappropriate for sharing your profound thoughts, intense grief, expectations, disappointments, future plans, major life decisions, etc.

People are getting their love accepted, getting committed and even great break ups through SMS, this cannot always be misinterpretation :) many hidden love affairs are also making love through these messages. We can't call them misinterpretation completely


Mohammad Ayub Latif my point is that medium
 being an overpowering message will dilute and misconstrue your deeper messages. Why do you think the Hidaya Academy students were sitting on the floor during the awards. The medium (seating structure) through which you go for the award is an overpowering message. Similarly, SMS has its intrinsic message which overpowers what the content means. It is constrained by the structure of device, word count limits, sequence in which you see the messages, the hierarchy of display etc is similar in impact to whether the talaba are sitting on floor or on chairs/sofas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message

People are getting their love accepted, getting committed and even great break ups through SMS, this cannot always be misinterpretation :) many hidden love affairs are also making love through these messages. We can't call them misinterpretation completely


Irfan Hyder yes boss agreed and I think the floor seating shows more of learning attitude and also gives the message that asatza and akabareen are Afzal 
Q: But Sir why then writing on social media books npapers etc has such profound effect even tweets, even official matters even arguments by lawyers to great extent, but when it comes to messages why we deem it so useless...

A: Problems are often too complex. For example, Twitter is simply a soundbite. When you reduce a complex issue to a tweet of one sentence consisting of max 280 letters, you have to reduce the complexity arbitrarily to a simplicity which does not do justice to the problem and you are forced to come up with slogans or simplification that can not withstand the complexity of real life. This is what happened to Trump's messages and also IK's messages. They were forced to reduce complex problems to simple soundbites that they were not. Extremist and fringe thoughts of populace pulled the message in their direction. Message got reduced to satisfying the simplistic mind. Nature of Twitter medium focusing on count of subscribers and count of likes forced the message to be  reduced to satisfying the simplistic mind only. Once in power, reality exposed the impossibility of their soundbites! 1 crore jobs, 50 lacs home, Mexico border wall.... See the devastation in both countries

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

How many taxpayers are in pakistan

فائلر ہوں، چور نہیں ہوں:
ہر پاکستانی GST,WHT دیتا ہے، 
صرف FBR فائلرز 1% ہیں
مگر 13 کروڑ فون، بجلی پر ٹیکس دینے والے بھی فائلرز ہیں!

It is a blatant lie that there are only 1% tax filers who are supporting the taxes of the whole country. Government has files of taxpayers who are giving huge amount of indirect taxes, they must be called filers too! 

Government must give tax receipt of the withholding taxes that people deposited through electronic means,  for example 130 million mobile subscribers + electricity subscribers + bank account holders. Currently for all individuals,  CNIC has replaced the NTN as National Tax Number. No new NTN is being issued to individuals any more. 

Therefore,  government has all the "files" of withholding taxes, CNIC wise, of 130-150millions phone subscribers, millions of electricity and gas subscribers, millions of vehicles registrations, all property transactions in DC offices, all banking taxes,... They are all filers. The number of such "filers" whose data is with government would be at least 60% of population. 

We first demand a compilation of these filers from nincompoop government departments. Government must give me receipt of the tax they had withheld. Why should I obtain the receipts from each withholder and file again with Nicompoops of FBR?

"Please note that bulk of our taxes (55%to 58%) are indirect taxes, the burden of which is disproportionally on the shoulders of poor and lower middle class. 40% of population is engaged in agricultural activity, but adding only 21% of GDP. So they are paying disproportionally lesser tax. 
60 % of population is largely  settled in urban areas and is producing 59% of GDP. They are paying both  indirect and direct taxes. 
But saying that only 1 % people pay taxes is a highly irresponsible statement. People are virtually groaning under the burden of indirect taxes.

While in principle agriculture is subject to income tax but it is still with the provincial governments and income tax yields are small.

Services sector is highly bloated, comprising 58% of GDP.  In the financial sector even middle level employees are making more than half a million per month.

The biggest constraint is the consistently low level of growth rate, particularly in the commodity sector and its limited spinoff( multiplier) effect on employment, exports, dependence on imports and general welfare."
[Last four paragraphs are quoted from comments of Mr Ashraf Janjua, ex Deputy Governor of SBP, ex Dean of CBM,  and author of 4Volume History of SBP.]
It is indeed true that time and again, the governments in power embarrass us for doing our nation a huge favour in the form of indirect taxes. There is no good or service in Pakistan that is tax-free; from birth (expenses that parents bear before birth and at the time of birth) to death (burial places, are sold for a price). Historian Richard Hofstadter’s statement comes to mind "It is the Crassness and anti-Intellectualism of governments in power" this is true and is reminiscent of the statement that you shared above that mentions that only 1 percent tax filers support the taxes of the whole country. Instead of calling us tax thieves, these governments in power should have thanked the Pakistani nation for not rising up and burning down the rent-seeking edifice(Government).