With the advent of the digital age, Pakistani internet users now have the opportunity to step into the global culture and engage with all sorts of people. This opens new doorways to ideas and vocabulary hereto unknown, and that is important to communicate not only with the world around our selves but also to understand ideas and phenomenon.
But we see something rather funny on the Pakistani side of the internet; often times words are either used entirely out of context or just plainly wrong. But why does this matter? It matters because this is the age of information overload. Content and information is dumped on us from all sides, people trying to sell us products to politically motivated news channels forcing “alternative facts” down our throats. Users are now suspicious of most of the information they receive and the world works on buzzwords. And when singular words can impact how people see the world, it is important to make sure that people actually understand the words they have collectively demonized.
Buzzwords are heavily packed with cultural connotations, ideological meaning and kind of an explain-it-all kind of words. To better put the idea into perspective, when someone uses the word ‘privileged’ on the internet, most of understand that they mean people who hold power (financially, politically or culturally) in society and are comparatively in a better position than other groups and they are talking about ideas of social equity and egalitarianism. The speaker does not need to explain all of this; we simply understand the context of the word.
This is exactly what Donald Trump does, instead of using complex (and correct) words to explain ideas, he just uses buzzwords to convey meaning, some of his favorites include “American Values”, “Job stealers”, and “fake News”.
So here are a few words the Pakistani internet users need to reevaluate.
1. Liberal (also known as Libtard, desi Libtard, Amiki agent)
You will find this magic word everywhere, from tragic comment sections to heated political discussion. If you honestly ask me, it is popularly used for anyone with a shred of basic human decency; because even that is being too liberal in Pakistan.
Users of this word mean to convey that someone is dumb and stupid and their ideas are influenced by kafir western countries. But what does the word actually mean? Well, now it means a lot of thimgs due to developing and contradictory political theories but it still has a basic principle behind it. The word liberal comes from the Latin word ‘Liber’ which means freedom, just like liberty. Also like liberty market where men take the freedom of catcalling and groping women but that’s a topic for another day.
So the word simply means a kind of political philosophy which argues that individuals are free to exercise their wishes as long as it does not hurt anyone else and the state should not intervene in the personal decisions of the people. Simple, right? And not even scary; no yahoodi background or Amriki sazish.
2. Feminism (also known as ‘larki-haat-se-nikal-gai’)
This is a real scary word for the Pakistani internet, if you use this all arguments will stop because now they know you’re one of those crazy types and reason and logic doesn’t work on you, so they’ll resort to weird humor.
But guys chill! You don’t need to be scared of this one, it is a nice word. The word reflects a socio-political idea that women are disadvantaged in society, let’s change that. And you can’t really say that women are not disadvantages, look at honour killings, forced marriages, lack of access to education, all these things make men more powerful than women in society.
So why is it called feminism and not ‘egalitarianism’ (egalitarian = equality)? Well, feminism is a movement and is based on the principle of egalitarianism. Just like it was called the Pakistan movement and not “right to self determination for minorities” movement. Sometimes you just gotta be more specific, and seriously the name doesn’t matter guys, stop being afraid of calling yourself feminists.
Pakistani internet makes fun of this word a lot, but it is not even funny. Why should you care about this word? Because I assume you’re decent human beings who care about justice. So the patriarchy comes from two words, Pate (father in ancient Greek) and Arch (Rule in ancient Greek), so the word means a system of social set-up where father (men) rule families and society, highlighting a power imbalance. And I think socially oppressive systems are not funny, you should think the same.
4. Secular (also known as sickular and Kafir)
This is one of the most dangerous words in Pakistan, don’t say it out loud. Most people on the Pakistani internet HATE this word, but funnily enough they do not even know what this means. Most people think it means being against religion or something of that sort. But news alert: religious people can be secular too. The word simply means a separation between religion and the state. Not to say there is no religion or religious belief of the citizens, it means exactly the opposite. It means that citizens are allowed to have any religion they want and the state has no authority in matters of religion.
The idea behind it is simple, the state is a social construction, it does not tangibly exist and only exists in our mind so firstly, it cannot have a religion and secondly, the state does not have the authority to make decisions on religious matters. The state is a public entity and religion is private, simply separating the two.