First of all Ramazan Mubarak to everyone! In the dark days our country now faces, what could possibly be a better time to reflect on how much we have and embrace the spirit of giving and charity. To that end, this Ramazan I have a simple challenge for all of us – it’ll obviously be more fun if you do it in a group and with friends, but anyone can do whatever, whenever they want.
In between our all-you-can-eat Iftaar outings and night cricket matches, let’s take some time to appreciate how lucky we are and put some effort into paying back fate for the tremendously lucky hand of cards we’ve been dealt. Let’s all try to spend an hour (at least) every night in Ramazan doing something that directly affects the flood relief victims – something beyond giving money, something that makes us work, makes us break into a sweat and makes us appreciate the enormousness of the task ahead for our country.
In a month intended for us to re-focus and recommit ourselves to being selfless, giving and pious; could there be a better way to understand sacrifice and do good deeds than helping those in need? Indeed, for what many consider the ‘lost generation’ – disenchanted, apathetic and uncaring – could there be a clearer clarion call to galvanise us into action? The time for selfishness must end, the time for remaining isolated must end and the time for buying off our problems must end. While obviously money matters tremendously, for many of the English-speaking elite, the challenge is not donating money, but donating time and energy.
The opportunities to help are endless as hundreds of collection points for relief goods dot most of the major cities by now. Alternatively, following the example of some wealthy Lahoris, inspired by Edhi Sahib – we could grab a little black bowl and hit the streets asking passersby for money. Thousands have been raised this way – asking people at marketplaces, malls and outside restaurants to give only the change in their pockets. If we can swallow our pride, I’m sure even an hour at Park Towers or at the Forum would give us a whole new meaning to sacrifice and perseverance. For all those looking for ideas of what to do and where to go, check out the Facebook group called “Pakistan’s Ramzan Challenge” to connect you with different relief plans across the country.
The important thing however is that something is done and that it involves more than giving money. We all know how immense the scale of the disaster is, but must ensure the images of destruction don’t numb us into inaction or apathy. Crops will be replanted, villages rebuilt and displaced people returned, but the feeling of knowing we did nothing will always be remembered and regretted.So who’s up for the challenge?