Social Networking and the Individual of the 21st Century

asasalarageThis is the 21st century – the age of social media, an age where we collect friends like stamps. However, despite the fact that man is a social creature, it is not possible for him to be friends with a very large amount of people. Research reveals that most humans are incapable of closely knowing more than around 150 people. This causes one’s social life to get demanding, as soon as new connections are built around the workplace or elsewhere. Thus, enters technology into the scene.


With the emergence of new social networking apps, people have found more opportunities to represent themselves on a public platform.

We belong to a generation addicted to technology, and hence, it has controlled our social circle interaction to a great extent. We engage in online conversations, exchange videos and photos with friends, check-in to places to make people aware of how we live. Even while sitting home, we can be aware of what is going on in other people’s lives, where they are hanging around and how is their lifestyle. As difficult as it may be for one to admit, we all use social networking to represent ourselves to the world the way WE want to.


Daily sharing of pictures related to people’s lifestyles has become a common frenzy on social networking apps like Instagram.

With the emerging concept of individualism in people, they have diverted themselves to a sudden feeling of self-actualization in which they explicitly reveal themselves through their personal achievements which may include one’s professional career, the amount of wealth one owns, a self-image, and of course, consumerism. Taking Instagram for example, we can vividly observe how people daily upload pictures of what they eat, how they look, what they wear, what they buy and where they go. It gives an opportunity to showcase one’s own lifestyle. This makes us realize how badly we’re engaged in endless personal promotion either on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Snapchat. We build up profiles, upload the photos only in which we look good, and share about the mainstream trending topics and point of view for the general public to absorb from our image – the way we want them to perceive us as.

One would reach to the thought about why interacting in real time has become so difficult nowadays. To answer that, in real-time conversation, you cannot control what you say. However, in conversing through a technological medium, we get the time-frame to think about how we create a message, or respond to one, think about the consequences of speaking something before we actually say it, have the ability to modify what we have written and no one can read our corresponding facial expressions to what we say. This gives our personal image another edge; however, deep down in our inner-self we know what we are trying to show. We use technology to define ourselves and this may lead to the extent of faking experiences just to have something to share. This sharing of continuous information about ourselves is itself a way in which we feel active and alive to the world of social networking and hence embed into the mainstream culture.


The Province You Didn’t Know About by Agha Sarmad

Gilgit–Baltistan is an autonomous self-governing region which unconstitutionally is often referred to as the 5th province of the State of Pakistan. For many people, this might be just a northern territory with perpetually snow-capped peaks and scenic beauties, but this … Continue reading

Pakistan – a hub for animal cruelty? by Agha Sarmad

Fallen on the street due to carrying excessive weight of trash.

The donkey fallen on the street due to carrying excessive weight of trash.

Meet Dungi, a street donkey employed to carry around the load of society waste on itself from the neighbourhood streets. I met this fellow a week ago in intense weather conditions of heavy showers across the city of Lahore. Dungi had slipped its feet in the rainy weather, and because of the heavy load it was carrying, it was unable to stand up back in proper position. It kept retrying this repeatedly and this made it impossible for me to look at the ongoing scenario in a desensitized manner. I rushed towards the donkey and saw his keeper Mohsin, as he told his name, whom I immediately instructed to initially unstrap the poor animal first to allow it to stand firmly on its legs. I, along with my friends explained to him that this is cruelty for them, the same way if someone forces you to carry a whole bag of bricks on your back, without allowing you to speak.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 has notable laws and policies regarding the mistreatment of animals, the penalties assigned relevant to this, ranging from the over-loading of animals, inciting them to fight, to killing them with unnecessary cruelty.

This act is not in the constitution of any European or American country, but our very own homeland, Pakistan. It seems surprising at first glance to read an extract such as this from our constitution considering the fact that the way these poor fellows are treated in Pakistan, one wonders whether the rights of these living beings actually exist in our nation. However, this act has been here for centuries, in pre-Pakistan era during the British Colonial Rule but depressingly, it has not been paid much heed to, especially after the independence of Pakistan.

The more grotesque part of it is that many people believe that giving importance to such problems is not significant and it is not a part of the culture that we follow. Despite the fact that these hypocritical locals of the “IslamicRepublic of Pakistan very well know that the Quran highlights the rights of animals, the penalty for their mistreatment in many of its verses to specifically avoid this issue. Furthermore, it lays out specific instructions on how to slaughter animals in a way that spares them pain and provides us with meat free of blood and pathogens. Our government is slaughtering animals by shooting them with guns and strychnine poisoning. Reaching this point, what right do we have to call Pakistan an Islamic Republic, unless we mend our ways?

There’s a new dog-fighting trend emerging these days which is originally borrowed from the West (which the west condemns itself too). People with their varieties of hounds, German Shepherds and whatnot gather together, and incite their dogs to fight the tournament. Once a dog has lost a fight, it cannot qualify in any tournament in Pakistan ever again. Bets are placed on the winning parties and this way, people earn cash and entertainment both – only at the cost of these poor animals being forced to mercilessly fight with their opponents. The news report video below gives a clearer image of the dog-fighting scenario in the nation:

There are countless stray or homeless animals throughout our country, particularly from the canine and feline population, which seem to live the most catastrophic lives, often dying either by being hit by a car or from mere starvation. And never has this been ever taken into consideration. Just wonder once, when was the last time you witnessed an inquiry being carried out for the mistreatment of an animal? The answer would be never, of course. Our country fails to provide its own citizens a safe shelter, a humanly treatment, which keeps the mistreatment of animals completely out of the question.
On World Animal Day on 5 October, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani spoke of the religious duty of ours to be concerned for the well-being of animals. He still however failed to shed any light on the animal rights violations that occur in Pakistan. When a supreme entity such as the Prime Minister fails to acknowledge that there even is the existence of a problem, how would anyone ever reach its solution?

However, to every bad thing there’s always an opposing force existent. The Animal Care Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Animal Welfare Society and Edhi Animal Shelter are names of such forces that are working zealously in the country so that the issue of animal rights finally gets the attention that it actually deserves. Numerous vets are emerging in different corners of the country that provide a good service for people’s vets. These points show a ray of positivity in this dark tunnel of cruelty.

Hence, one can only hope for our constitutional laws to be taken seriously one day, with the help of media spreading some awareness of this issue, the methodology of dealing with such issues in the foreign world and how they could be taken as a role model in this plus finally the general public to realize that the rights of animals are not a secondary issue, but as important as the rights of us human beings.