Misguided Reading Policy Creates Wrong Lessons for Students as Writers

radical eyes for equity

Having taught writing to teenagers and young adults at the high school and undergraduate levels for over thirty years now, I have a standard approach to the first few classes: We identify and then unpack and challenge the lessons the students have learned about writing.

For these foundational lessons to work, however, I have to gain the trust of my students so that they are open and honest about the real lessons (or more accurately framed as “rules” they have conformed to implementing). One of the best moments in this process is when I very carefully ask them to explain to me how they decide when to use commas.

Usually someone is willing to confess: “I put commas when I pause.” And then I ask who else uses that strategy, and essentially every time most, if not all, of the students raise their hands.

Next, I help them trace just…

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Love Conquers the world (محبت فاتح عالم)

I thought of contemporary love as a feeling of deception that you have for somebody, enslaving you to inferior desires. It was not until I read عشق کے پانچ درجے by Khurram Ali Shafique and discovered Iqbal through his Marghdeen. This change introduced me to that powerful love through which beloved says بتا تیری رضا کیا ہے (What is your wish?).

My original thought was a reflection of the society, a society having boys and girls eager to talk to each other, spending sleepless nights on phone and offering useless gossip about girls/boys in gatherings. It is an ignorant world view to which youth is forced to believe in; this world view of lust, promulgated by media. It is nothing but a means of profiteering from the masses.

Love is much more powerful than all this, it is that curiosity for an infant to take the first steps; it is in those sleepless nights of mother taking care of her child; it is in those scholars who persevere to preach goodness; it is in those martyrs who stand for their countrymen. It is this love  in the universe that holds it all together.

Love is quite a real phenomenon. It exists physically. It is tangible and can be felt and sensed. It can be experienced and then held. It is supreme power of love is that constitutes ‘humanity’ today. It is the foundation of human existence: ‘He placed between you affection and mercy’.

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