TV chefs teach us how to cook better. Cutting edge sports equipment makes us run faster. And with a combination of the words ‘how to‘ and an internet connection, you can learn pretty much everything. The amateur is getting more professional. But are we still having fun?
The Rise of Professional Amateurism
There was a time when, if someone had said “I’m going to run a marathon”, you would have replied, “You’re mad.” But nowadays — with the ‘start to run‘ hype, better shoes, heart rate monitors and your Facebook friends as cheerleaders – more and more of us are taking on the challenge. The status of amateur sports is evolving to the extent that triathlon is the fastest growing amateur sport in the UK.
But the trend towards professionalism also shows up outside the field of extreme sports. According to the British think-tank Demos, we now live in the era of the professional amateur: we want to be judged by professional standards when we engage – even during our leisure – in activities that we’re passionate about.
Take technology and food: two other sectors where achieving expertise is the amateur’s goal. Nowadays everyone with an SLR camera (or Instagram app on their phone) is a photographer. And while we used to drink our instant coffee with a quick stir of milk, now a whole new generation of professional baristas is redefining how we want our caffeine hit each morning.
We live in a do-it-yourself age. According to Demos, this has to do with a new set of social and demographic factors. Not only is the world more competitive than twenty years ago, there’s also our expanding life span, growing levels of education, a more open society in which people can seek individual fulfillment, and the trend towards second careers later in life. Not to forget the impact of the digital revolution – just look at how blogs and social media are changing journalism.
It’s worthwhile that amateurs are learning from professionals. It makes society more fluid and varied, and individuals more fulfilled, even in difficult economic times. As Jack Hitt writes in A Bunch of Amateurs, “The cult of the amateur is the soul of America. It’s really in our DNA that you can walk away from everything and start again in your metaphorical garage. Just think of Steve Jobs as one of the most iconic amateurs turned superstars.”
But while we’re busy competing and comparing, and setting the bar ever higher, are we still having fun in our spare time? Getting up at 5 am in the morning to train for a marathon before going to your office job is not everyone’s idea of a leisure activity.
On the eve the Olympics, when it will rain numbers and personal records while the whole world is watching, I find it a fascinating thought that until very recently only amateur athletes were allowed to participate in the Games. Amateurs! Those who were in it for fun, not for the money.
Big contracts and sponsorship have changed the rules over recent years. But today the professionals can still learn something from amateurs: enjoyment. It’s precisely that careless joy, in combination with vitality and passion, that sometimes lets the underdog win against their betters.
As Intelligent Life wrote recently on the dangers of over-thinking, “experienced athletes and artists often complain that they have lost touch with what made them love what they do in the first place.” Sometimes we need to train ourselves to get more skilled at ignoring information in order to get that pure joy back.
Dusting off the roots of the word amateur (the Latin for ‘lover of’) could relieve some stress in our professional and personal life. Running for gold while also enjoying yourself – a little wink at the camera, a joke after the finish line – isn’t that when professionals become gods?
Author Elke Lahousse is a Belgian journalist, the article was originally published on TSO Life.
Irony of Happy Muharram – A Light Hearted Narrative Of Serious Issues
Someone said, “Anything can happen over a cup of coffee”. I would like to add one more line in this. Alternatively, you can say that I want to modify this with some twist, “Anything can happen over a cup of coffee especially in India”.
People are so much addicted to talking that they are ready to talk about anything and evening tea is a fantastic option for talking about things. People are an expert in giving views and what is better than discussing lives of Indian Muslims with family over an evening cup of tea, which in any way does not claim to be authoritative and specialized, yet it is the funniest discussion one can have.
Indian Muslims have always been in headlines. However, there is no logical reason for this. Yet, for many weird and funny reasons. Mr. Sayed Amjad Ali since living in India for years discovered that he is not allowed to vote of his name has been changed to “Shaheer Amar Ali” automatically. This is not the case only with Sayed Amjad Ali where he has faced this thing.
Many Indian Muslims have faced this thing in past or are facing it currently. Maybe, because Z is much easier than S and hence, many Muslims have been a victim of this name change. However, it is easy to say that this is just normal govt apathy, these mistakes are not limited to Muslims and you are right but they are more common among Muslims because after so many years we are still considered an unknown entity.
People are always like this way. They talk about things, make fun of things, name, people and their cultures irrespective of thinking that it might hurt them. However, what is more, depressing is their behavior towards Indian Muslims. They have always been seen with a different eye. This book is merely an attempt to show what an average Indian Muslim’s life is like; the good the bad and the ugly.
The book is based on rambling discussions over endless cups of tea and does not in any way claim to be an authoritative or specialized work. It merely aims to give a peep into the life and times of an average Indian Muslim who, based on my personal experiences, is an enigma for most people.
The book “Irony of Happy Muharram” authored by Syed Amjad Ali is filled with such experiences. Some of them will make you laugh, some of them will make you sad but in the end, everything will leave you with a question that whether this differential behavior is good for society or not. After all, humanity is all that we need irrespective of caste, religion and other things that make us do these things.
The irony of Happy Muharram – The Blurb
What does it mean to be an Indian Muslim in today’s day and age? If you have ever wondered about the answer to this question then this is the book for you. Find the answer to all those questions you have always wanted to ask about Muslim marriages, divorce and many other issues; but be prepared for the fact that the average Indian muslim is just like everyone else.
The main attempt of the book is to highlight, with the help of humour, that India is a huge country with many different communities and just as each community has its own customs and rituals so do Muslims but this does not in any way lessen any aspect of their Indian identity.
A light hearted look at serious issues
If we see the world from a different perspective, you will come to know that the world is a beautiful place and is filled with people from every religion, community and they celebrate different festivals. Have you ever noticed that during festivals, how the markets, malls, shopping centers’ are decorated beautifully decorated and everyone unites to celebrate those festivals irrespective of religion? If festivals are celebrated with so much of equality, enthusiasm, love, and respect then why can’t we be the same in normal days?
Additionally, the political system in India is also a factor that contributes to this indifference. Political leaders and political parties for the sake of their personal interest to win seats in parliament do this vote bank politics. Caste-based politics is also one main factor.
No matter how many schools are opening every year in cities, kids are getting the high-class education and getting jobs in MNC. But the sad part is despite getting so much education and working for good companies, their thinking is also the same.
People want to live a lifestyle that meets their every expectation. They will replace a broken vase but are not ready to change their broken mentality about Indian Muslims. How will the country work? In which direction are we all heading?
Nevertheless, as they say, a ray of hope is sufficient to provide sunlight to a completely dark room.
In a similar manner, let us get hopeful as the current generation by the grace of God is above all and are not of feud mentality and neither they favor all this differential behavior towards Indian Muslims and other community. They believe in equality in every field and this may be taken as a positive step towards a different India, Powerful India.
Read this hilarious yet funny story in all new form. Grab a copy of ‘The irony of Happy Muharram’ by Syed Amjad Ali at: The Irony of Happy Muharram
Muslim boy evinces the problems of Muslims in India, and it’s not funny
Why do Muslims have such a high population growth rate? Why do not they favor uniform civil code? What about the rights of Muslim women in India? Why Triple Talaq? Questions are many, that are being fired by ‘Virat’ social media warriors and then these are easily picked by ‘Pseudo’ liberals, not to answer these but to counter-question them. They use the ‘Muslim’ word/world for their own agenda and that revamps the hateful questions from form to another – Why are many Indian Muslims seen as untouchable? Why Government is oppressing Muslims? But amidst all this ruckus of downright nonsensical questions, one thing that is irrefutable about the Muslims in India that they love India and India loves them.
While wandering on Quora, I found a question gleaming on my timeline “What problems are Muslims facing in India?”, considering it another idiotic ‘agenda-driven’ audit, I was about to move on and then I saw this answer by a Muslim boy who revealed his ‘real’ problems in India and it touched my heart.
The ‘Real’ problems of Muslims in India
Much has been said about ‘Secular Fabric’ theories in India, newspapers have inked reams of paper, we have a long list of politicians who are thriving on ‘secularism’ and the intellectual society that is showering hypothetical cynicism in our society; I believe most of them make their ‘invaluable’ opinions sitting in their air-conditioned rooms without going through a grassroots’ survey.
The secularism written on a piece of paper, shouted in TV debates is far aloof from the secularism practiced in reality. Secularism is something new, but ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb‘ is an age-old tradition being followed by Hindus and Muslims with an unwavering fidelity. Secularist hullabaloo dwells in TV debates and political spheres but ‘the real secularism’ lives in INDIA, in our hearts, in our veins.
There are some who sneer and cough in the times of rising intolerance and agenda-driven hatred, but here are many who know to smile in every milieu.
Yes! Being a Muslim I face many problems in India!
In School: Friends waited for me to snatch my tiff-in box for delicious Biryani and Kababs. I faced problems when all of them visited me at home on EID. I felt bad when I was spared from punishments during Ramzan. It was troublesome to visit each and everyone’s home on Diwali and other festivals.
In college: I again faced problems when my roommate in hostel made arrangements for me to offer Namaz. I got very angry when my college professor gave me enough liberty for attendance just to make sure I am offering my prayers on Fridays.
In office: During Ramzan, I faced problems being a muslim in India because every other individual wanted to offer me Iftar. Surprisingly, they even remembered my Namaz timings. I faced problems when my manager reduced my work load during those days and threw an Iftar party with people of every religion sitting beside me.
Here, Mokarram Iqbal tells how he have been lucky to live in a society that treats everyone equal regardless of their religious beliefs, while putting his experiences forward he opines it is the ‘Education‘ that makes the difference not the religion.
I don’t think I ever faced any problem regarding of my religious links rather I have been blessed and cared for being a follower of Islam in India. May be this is because my upbringing was in very favorable and great society. The major concern as if I can see is the “lack of education in the Muslim masses” that’s why they feel insecure to the majority masses. I lived 18 years of my precious life in a colony where we are only Muslim family and we are hell respected . I have got great friends who are not from my religion. I never got a single call of feeling problematic and insecure inside. In Ramzan when we were at fast, none of our teachers would even make us stand for punishment, this is not because they were afraid that we are Muslims but because they respect us. The major problem is the conventional approach of Indian Muslim society. May be in many parts of India any injustice is done to Islamic population but that doesn’t apply to general masses. Education stature of Indian Muslims must be enhanced and every problem will vanish. “I always feel safe and happy in India because I know I am living in the security of 100 million of Indian who follow Hinduism , Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity.”
And while everyone was putting their sentiments forward, here comes a #BrutallyHonest answer from Abdullah Al Faruque who evinces – Yes, Muslims in India are facing many problems that might or might not be associated with other religions. There are all kinds of problems Muslims face in India. Some of these “problems” may be across religions and culture while some may be community specific. But they are there. Muslims do not face any problem in India which is a lie. A big lie! The first step towards solving a problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Denial does not help.
High population growth rate: There are many reasons for this. Lack of family planning, overall economic backwardness, unwillingness to use contraception (due to the perceived “evil” nature of contraceptives and accepting high birth rates as gift from God), lack of awareness and ignorance among Muslim women, marriage at young age (especially females) etc. are among the major reasons. And this has hampered the Muslims more than any other community. The Muslim community must look within and not be intimidated/antagonized by such elements and lose track of the problem. There has been a good decline in the fertility rate of Muslims in India and the trend must continue. The xenophobia among some non-Muslims related to this is absurd though! Analyzing the whole problem will nullify any misplaced notion on this issue which is generally fueled by propaganda.
Gender inequality: Although this is a problem which is present across religions and cultures in India, Indian Muslims have the worst record for this. The reasons are high percentage of Muslims in agrarian and “physical labour focused” sectors, over-dependence on clergy in personal matters like marriage and divorce, marrying off girls at a young age, discouraging higher education among women (due to the age old “Indian” fear of not being able to find a groom) etc. It is absolutely incumbent for Muslim women to lead from the front in this regard. The victims have to make the loudest noise. And I am glad to say that it has already started in India. It won’t be eradicated completely in even the next 5–10 years but such change is seldom achieved in a haste.
Religious conservatism and intolerance: There…. I said it! I would like Indian Muslims to look at this issue rationally. I’m not going to quote verses here but will try to discuss this issue with nothing but logic. The main claim that fuels Islamic conservatism is that Islam is for eternity and it is perfect. OK! Let’s try and make sense of this. If the religion is for eternity, then it has to re-align itself with changing times to be conducive for progress. Change and progress are realities which only fools will deny. The modern world is radically different from what it was in the 7th century. We now know many things about the world which have never been mentioned explicitly in any of the religious texts.
“There are many other problems that Indian Muslims face but, in my opinion, these are the major ones. Most of the unmentioned problems here (poverty, illiteracy, political exploitation etc.) are common (both in size and scale) across the board which just proves my point of how Indian Muslims have integrated with the Indian culture now. Also, I think I must add that this answer might come across as pessimistic and rude to many but the question was about “problems that Indian Muslims face” and not how I party with my non-Muslim friends which of course I do and enjoy a lot,” further he says concluding his most rational reply in the thread.
When we talk about intolerance, paid-rioters, agenda-driven politics and TRP-thirsy media, we often ignore the fact that not all the fingers are same. Beliefs do not make anyone good or bad, every religion, be it Hinduism or Islam, has it’s own set of fanatic theories and blood-thirsty clerics, call them parasites who thrive on other’s blood and money. A rational approach is the need of hour, rules and verses were written in other times, if they are relevant in present times, follow them, if not – flout them.
Also read: A MADRASA THAT TEACHES SANSKRIT TO MUSLIMS
Muslims in India , Funny problems with Islam, muslims opression in indian army, hindu muslim harmony, hindu girl muslim boy love jihad
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