Skip to main content

(22): We are Individuals; they are also Individuals (II)

We are, yes, individuals. But we are, sometimes, stupid individuals. Perhaps I and you are among the latter group; who knows? Forgive the affront and don’t take any offence. None is really intended. It’s baffling, to say the least, what we humans sometimes do with our lives. I strongly believe that we all are endowed with one or another intellect with which we use to lead our soul and body towards some mental gratifications such as to eat food and drink to quench our hunger and thirst; wear clothes to cover our nudity; communication ability to express feelings and wants; etc. But yet, we tend to do other things so glaringly self-destructive for no constructive reason whatsoever in the name of fashion, passion and thingamajig. I am not moralizing or sensationalizing anything, for that is, or can be, relative and subjective; I am rather rationalizing them. Often it happens, we utter: to each his own. I shake head at this pomposity and respond: to each his ruin.

It was only a few days ago in the prequel to this piece I extolled one baby-faced teen girl named Veena as the “most intelligent girl I have so far come across since my first day in India a year ago”. She of course is, but she’s equally the wildest, the least cautious and highly heedless girl I have met. Never in my life have I known any girl of her age who smokes. Yes, she smokes cigarette. This is, at best, pathetic and, at worse, pathology! I think you must accept my words in the above paragraph, for I can’t help but wonder where the intelligence, the conscience and the foresight she supposedly possesses are. A simple question: why does she smoke? Give me a single medically proven benefit of smoking and I will start it today. Smoking is incontrovertibly deadly and is morally, socially (and religiously too) an aberration. But why? I can’t understand. Veena gets her life all before her, yet she intentionally sets out to destroy it herself. A quick inquest, however, reveals to me that many other Indian girls in urban areas are taking up the same habit. The liberty guarantees to us in this 21st century does not mean permission to commit a slow suicide. 

Nonetheless, as the saying goes, we are the architectures of our lives, un-fatalistically speaking. And I say: we are the drivers of our lives, whereupon the control of, say, the car could sometimes get out of our hands. So we are always given instructions and guide for a safe drive. Thus, one instruction says: don’t drive recklessly as “fast drive maybe your last drive”. It’s the same with smoking. It’s enshrined in its international marketing regulations that a warning: “tobacco kills” has to be boldly written on its package, sometimes along with a pellucid picture of a damaged lung. It is up to its consumers to believe or not.

On other developments; first, I have met another Indian who yet again reshaped my view. His name is Gurnoor, a 25-year-old Indian navy. He so much knows about, and likes, Africa especially the western region where their marine ship navigates on its coastal ports. Moreover, he told me that their Chief Officer was born in Kano, my state, in Nigeria. I literally felt euphoric. Second, among the attendees of our workshop there is a Muslim girl named Anam Kazi. But one can’t figure out anything ‘Islamic’ in her. I only got to know that sometime I finished prayers (sallah/namaz) beside her and she asked: “Are you Mohammedan?” I answered in affirmative and added that I am Muslim, correcting her usage of the misnomer. My being called Muhammad by everyone didn’t ring a bell to her that I was Muslim until that day. Thus, I had to quiz her to verify her claim that she’s also “Mohammedan”. Individualism is multifaceted.

Why would I care about all the aforesaid? You might have asked. I am not a saint, nor a pious. But I only often try my best possible to dispassionately look at things, proffer a particular analysis and express my opinion. I may be right or wrong as any other human being. We are taught in Islam to correct wrongdoing in any of these three ways: (i) by hands (instituted authorities do that); (ii) by words of mouth (which I do) and, (iii) or to feel sad about it, which is the weakest of the trio options (I also do that). This is the main motivation behind this and similar write-ups. I can’t do more than that. Veena's life, for instance, is her’s and her’s alone. We may never meet again as the workshop was completed; but I know for sure that she can hardly forget me or my words. That’s why I stake our friendship, which I, in fact, think I overvalue right from the beginning.

Anyway, I will accept any correction; likewise any constructive criticism or censure on whatever I say on this blog. Always.

Popular posts from this blog

(99): Ali Nuhu and Adam Zango’s Unending Dispute and its Implications on Kannywood

By Muhsin Ibrahim muhsin2008@gmail.com University of Cologne
The Hausa version of this article, with a slight difference, was published on the BBC Hausa website.
According to numerous accounts and lived experiences, rivalry is natural among both humans and animals. It is barely, if at all, avoidable especially between contemporaries. It becomes more probable when one of the lots becomes way more successful than the rest. Mr A may begin to envy Mr B and question why he is luckier or more much-admired than I. In response, Mr B may start feeling pompous, declaring to all that he is ahead of Mr A. Therefore his accolades and achievement are due to his hard work and talent. Again, the people around the two are sometimes yet another cause of the enmity. For one reason or another, they do all it takes to plant a seed of dissonance as they profit by getting favour from either person. There are more causes for strife, but I guess these are very typical.
In Kannywood, the relationship between the ace…

(76): Girl-Child as ‘Endangered’ Human in our Society

Muhsin Ibrahim muhsin2008@gmail.com
“Muhsin”, Shamsiyya (not a real name) called my attention. I answered, and listened. “Come and marry me”, She finished, retorting my allegation that she was still unmarried not because she lacks suitors, but for her being too choosy. It was later that I pondered on our lengthy conversation and realised that I was wrong. Many men are afraid of successful women like her. She is from a wealthy family, has two degrees and works with an international organisation. She also confided to me that she could not stretch the cultural perception and norms to seriously ask anyone to marry her. She would instead continue to wait for Allah’s choice. I was left in a daze.
I came back home, sat down and ruminated over our chit-chat. I then recalled Dr Muhammad Tahar Adamu aka Baba Impossible’s lecture back in our freshman year in the university. He one-day spent many minutes of his period admonishing the ladies in the class on relationship and marriage issues. He was u…

(96): Kannywood, a Film Industry in Need of Revaluation

By
Muhsin Ibrahim University of Cologne muhsin2008@gmail.com
As I wrote elsewhere, the relationship between cinema and the orthodox religious institutions is often marked by uneasiness if not outright hostility. From its very beginning, the Puritans see the raison d’être of visual art as only to entertain, which means to distract people from their duty to God and ethical undertakings. Until today, the accusation is all the more raging. How filmmakers handle the questions of morality, culture and spirituality is under censorship. Kannywood, the Kano-based, up-and-coming motion picture industry of and by the predominantly Muslim Hausa speaking people in northern Nigeria, is not an exception.
It is not news that Kannywood struggles with the culture-war message of several critics who see everything with them as corruption or dilution of the “prestigious” Hausa culture. However, with the ever-expanding rise (encroachment?) of globalisation, I think this feeling is, at best, empty and, at worst…