Monday, December 10, 2007

Jareeda: Pakistan's Sustainability Magazine

Jareeda first fell in my hands when, having finished my work for the day during an internship at IUCN, I decided to shuffle through the stuff on the office bookshelves.

I promptly took copies of several issues home - where I keep them close to my heart six years later. Because this magazine is so informative, so sincere, and yet so amazingly unknown. And because it features some of the rare-to-find research on Pakistan's environmental and sustainability issues.

At least back then, the thin magazine was being published in English and Urdu - and was available free. It has topical issues - the current one on the website is all about the wonderful Juniper tree.

Previous issues have explored mountains, water systems, national parks, and other matters of ecological concern.

I'll tell you what's beautiful about Jareeda:

  • The content is accessible to the general population: it's in Urdu (haven't checked if the English version is still printed), the language is jargon-free and easy, the writing isn't out to impress but to communicate.

  • There is plenty of coverage on medicinal herbs and other plants. With a global shift towards a lifestyle of health & sustainability, medicinal plants have made a comeback into the mainstream after a long, long winter of the synthetic era.
    It's a significant trend for its possible impact on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industries of the world.
  • It's free. Or was, last I checked.
  • Jareeda's topics are contemporary - e.g. the Kashmir Earthquake '05 was promptly covered in the Fall 2005 quarterly issue. In Summer '07, eco-tourism gets a feature. This means the editors and reporters are well-grounded, doing continuous research, and really care. From an editorial point-of-view, this shows respect for the readers - which translates into a healthy, thought-provoking effect on the readers' end.
  • On the whole, each quarterly explores a subject from a 360 view. Remember STEEPLE (Society, Technology, Environment, Economics, Politics, Law, Ethics) analysis? Analyzing an environment from all these angles, especially to create a map for the future? I have taken a step to integrate external and internal analyses in the People-Centered Model of Business (PC-MoB). PC-MoB* goes beyond STEEPLE to include people's belief systems as the starting point of their roles & actions. Jareeda understands the subtlety. It's beyond the separation of the science of the environment and the people - a frustrating gap - and embraces the philosophy of social ecology. The content is well-rooted in the Pakistani culture, tradition, and thought - it often cites an article or two relating the people's belief system with ecological education - such as here.
  • There are plenty of photos!
Please get a subscription today (contact IUCN Pak); get one for your school/ university/ office library and for your hairdresser's shop - and pass Jareeda 's environmental consciousness on!

* Download PC-MoB (PDF; 540 K)

E-mail: nextbyramla/AT/g mail/DOT/com

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How Stuff Consumes the Planet - Cheaply

This is the 'golden' segment of the eye-opening, mind-expanding presentation Story of Stuff by one curious Annie Leonard. She wanted to understand the truth behind the materials economy. So she searched, and here is her knowledge, simplified.

Story of Stuff is to production/ consumption line (not cycle) what An Inconvenient Truth is to climate.

WATCH this video, SHARE it, and ACT UPON the message. Yes, I've shouted. From the NEXT> roof top.

Thank you!

Via: Truemors

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Saturday, September 01, 2007

To De-Serve? Or To Serve?

Look! How happy people are when they serve!
Service creates both joy -
and opportunity!
Credit: Kifo @ Flickr

Institutional education teaches us that we can grow up to trade our talent for goods and status from the world. We "Deserve."

The products of the institutional world think too much of what they deserve from the world. As if the world will somehow open a warehouse's door and start handing out goods in return of Certificates of Deserving.

This singular notion is the root of much ill. Look again, the word "deserve" can be re-written as DE-SERVE.

Here's how the American Heritage Dictionary defines "De-":

  1. Do or make the opposite of; reverse: decriminalize.
  2. Remove or remove from: delouse; deoxygenate.
  3. Out of: deplane; defenestration.
  4. Reduce; degrade: declass.

So DE-SERVE can mean:

  1. Do the opposite of service. Do a dis-service.
  2. Remove (the element/tools of) service. From something.
  3. Not be of service.
  4. Reduce, degrade (the idea of) service.
Now can we imagine the world out there opening to door to the big warehouse of resources to someone with this attitude?

No one cares what we deserve. Ask anyone but your loving ones, and they will tell you how much they themselves deserve - besides counting to you the many deserving kinds of people in the world: the poor, the down-trodden, the smarter, the faster, the hungrier - it goes on.

So if we approach life the "I Deserve" way - we may end up far behind in the line of six billion human souls - and then count the other beings on Earth.

SERVICE helps us jump ahead of the queue. 6,000,000,000+ souls are always looking for service, many of those in your web of life. Multiply that by the number of service each one of them needs. Add to that a few other billion things that need services.

The People-Centered Model of Business shows the cosmos that we can serve. Find or create your own space below:

Service is what creates opportunities. Service is why we do business. Service is what keeps us in action and demand even when Google makes us feel like a speck of sand in the desert.

Now - do you feel you still have space in the world to live and do something of meaning?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The New World of Power is Humbling – and Abundant


In a world of free ideas, why and how are we still needed?

Mastering the Problem:
Your unique reason of being today, and your "unique edge", is in the human element. Skills and technology and ideas - once the staple of competitive edge [a term outdated in a world of crazy collaborations] - come cheap(r). To just about anyone. For example, if we thought having a social network was still the latest path to billionaire glory, we haven’t yet known Ning.

The ability of a person to make unique connections, and sustain them through service is a truly human endowment. We are gifted with that capability, and a “web” that needs us. And there is work enough for everybody – the number of problems/opportunities is never exhausted. The abundant mind sees the reason of being in in working to solve problems/ create and fill opportunities.

As long as we serve, we are needed. As long as we are needed, we don’t need worry about an edge. When we serve with more courage and passion, we develop more numerous and stronger ties - and so gain "interestingness".

Which place of work would you rather leave:

a. one that demands (more) work for as few benefits as possible from you?
b. one that makes it a mission to create a space where you can express your talent while working on a win-all business model? Such as the remarkable The Hub?

It's a contest between the demander (a) and the server (b). Your answer is the answer of any sane person - you like those who serve you. You will be liked by sane people if your serve, at a quality.

So the benefits: Costs of broken ties saved. Lesser time spent making new relations and creating trust. New ideas and partnerships brought in by passionate partners. A happier life, lesser partner turnover, consumers in love, healthy sleep and a glowing skin.

Also read: Google Made Ideas Free. So Where's My Edge?

Image credits: Paper Men, by Brokenarts

Google Made Ideas Free. So Where's My Edge?

Everybody knows it. From programmers finding code, to ex-lovers looking up dirt on jilters, to graduate students procuring thesis - Google has it all.

Google is the highway to 100-ideas-a-minute factories. So how on Google earth are we to have what is variably known as "competitive edge" or, in quaint business speak, "unique selling proposition"!?

In human speak, it means, to thousands of corporations and millions of free agents, "What worthwhile thing can I offer if ideas are free? When someone else has done it already? Or I look a fake doing it? Or someone can simply steal my idea?"

Over: the Edge?

I've been through this anxiety. It paralyzed me when undertaking a new enterprise. A mere curious googling of keywords of a "new" idea would reveal darn! I have arrived too late. And just as I can be "inspired" by those I Google - [no, honestly, I don't disrespect the concept, inspiration is a valid-legit thing] - well, so, anyone can also pick my idea and run with it. So what now?

Yet there is one answer. Like all things in life, the "answer" to this contemporary challenge is deviously simple.

You Are The Center of Your Web of Life - and There's Nothing Taking That Away!

This amateur sketch (excuse my MS Paint skills!) puts us as the center of the "elements" of our unique life - these elements being other people, organizations, resource, places... just about any "organism."

We are each thrown in a certain set of circumstances. These circumstances yield a singular "mix" for each one of us. From our own position, we will have the ability to connect to other elements.

This “lifeset” becomes a macro-organism that thrives on adaptability and change of its parts. It’s like any other living organism in that respect.

The key is to understand the golden principles of making this "web" work for us, which are:

  1. What goes round, comes round.
  2. Do to others as you would have them do to you... because of principle #1.
  3. Integrity (thoughts, words, actions, message being one) and honesty reinforce the ties (the thin lines in the sketch) amongst the elements, and increase inter-reliance. You need other needs you need other needs you...
  4. More ties = more power.
  5. The connection is received by the other by way of SERVING them, not DEMANDING rights from them. One makes a connection by GIVING, not asking or taking. This web is created by Human Duties & Service, not Human Rights.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blog updates: Comments re-enabled


Comments are re-enabled. Now you don't have to take the lengthy email route.


Monday, July 16, 2007

NEXT> by Ramla @

NEXT> by Ramla is seeking collaborations with like-purpose websites and print publications. To test-launch the idea of syndication, NEXT> and its creator, yours truly Ramla, have been publishing a carefully curated list of trends at since February 2007.

I was wild with joy when Jeremy Gutsche, the visionary young owner of TrendHunter, made me a Senior Trend Hunter within two weeks - in acknowledgment of the quality of trends and the writing of content. I would give credit to the purpose that I dedicate NEXT> to: searching for a better possible future, envisioning a better tomorrow and creating solutions and strategies for it.

Here is a selection of my favorite trends:

1/LOHAS - Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability
What is LOHAS? According to LOHAS.COM: “LOHAS is an acronym for ‘Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability,’ a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.”
[Read More...]

Barnes proposes Capitalism 3.0 that protects the commons while preserving the many strengths of capitalism as we know it. His major innovation is the commons trust—a market-based entity with the power to limit use of scarce commons, charge rent, and pay dividends to everyone. [Read More...]

3/ Voluntourism - Volunteerism + Tourism
No longer do tourists have to just walk in and out of a very “interesting area” - they can actually VOLUNTOUR. The idea is to “combine travel and service” - says [Read More...]

More next time!

Check the portfolio here. Some trends are available at the NEXT> by Ramla blog, most only on

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Friday, July 06, 2007

NEXT> by Ramla is back!

Dear readers:

I found out how well NEXT> by Ramla was anticipated by the readers when some promptly reported that it was "down" or "weird." While the blog was being reviewed by the Blogger Team, who were sorting the splogs (spamming blogs) from the blogs, it was taken over by a splogger.

Persistent requests for support as well as some pro-active tracking of the spammer dude helped to get the blog restored. Back again. Thanks to the beleaguered Blogger Team.

I am going to transfer the blog to a certain that is registered. Only looking for a designer who understands the needs of contemporary blog design.

Secondly, much has been going on in the background to take NEXT> by Ramla to the next level. More in the next post.

A special thanks to everyone who reported the breakdown and expressed their concerns. And thanks to all the readers who take interest in the blog and have encouraged me to take this further.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Call for Case Studies

Version 2.0 of the PC-MoB: People-Centered Model of Business will incorporate case studies collected since the PC-MoB was first published. If you wish to participate, send in a 1000-1500 word, clearly-written summary of your people-centered enterprise/organization at nextbyramla. (It's a G-mail ID.) Mention the area of business and operations, and the application of your people-centric approach. Be bold, share the challenges, failures, successes, opportunities. A website for the business/ organization is required.

Send by June 10, 2007. Much thanks! Selected case studies will be published in subsequent versions of PC-MoB.

And don't forget to vote for PC-MoB, V 2.0 @ ChangeThis !

Vote for the People-Centered Model of Business @!

If you think Business must care about People…
…then do vote for: The People-Centered Model of Business, a change manifesto.

Vote here:

Do you think business should be more responsible? More sensitive? Do you feel that marketers and businesspeople need to "get it" that they are servant leaders?

May be you do. But as an MBA I can tell you: there is little in the business education curriculum of most schools that inspires such thinking.

But we don't need to stay with the problem! We can see this as an opportunity - and CHANGE!

I have proposed a manifesto for changing the face of business education at! Please vote for the manifesto proposal. Your vote means my proposal will be turned into a manifesto and published at!

Please forward to your friends who care about (corporate) social responsibility and conscious capitalism.

P.S. on May 10, The Economist ran a story " Business Schools" - that reports that business schools are reclaiming falling enrollment by putting ethics and people first 1

So dear readers and change agents in your-own-right! Do your part in changing things! Help me publish this manifesto, and your effort will mean you have helped change minds!

Preview Version 1.0
of the People-Centered Model of Business here:

This was written specifically for Pakistani students. Updates in V 2.0 from a global perspective.

Friday, March 23, 2007

1984 - Apple's Icon-Shattering Ad Launch by Steve Jobs

Just going through the archives of ad history when up popped this Steve Jobs speech from 1984 - the year Apple shattered the IBM legend with a single ad. Just watching this man's enthusiasm makes the hair on the nape of my neck stand up!


E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Using the Law of Attraction: 4 Steps to Preparedness

This is the third in a series of posts about The Secret - 1 & 2 here.

What is The Secret/Law of Attraction?
Humans can create what they want.
More here

What is more important than The Secret?
"The End" - that is, what we want to do with the Law of Attraction. Which is only a method, though very powerful.
More here

Recap: Be Careful What You Wish For

a. To use the Law of Attraction, we have to want something. In fact, when we want something, the law of attraction automatically sets to work; whether we know or not.
b. Want the right thing. Because the law of attraction has consequences.
c. Prepare yourself to be the kind of person who wants the right thing, naturally...
d. ...So that when the not-so-secret law of attraction sets in motion, you can be sure that you get the thing you most wanted, and...
e. was for the greater good.

Q: How Do I Prepare Myself?
A: Four Steps to Preparedness

I first called them the four steps to "enlightenment" for want of a more apt word. In this context, "preparedness" may be a better word.

To prepare yourself to be the person who naturally wants the right, good thing - and therefore sets the Law of Attraction to work for the better of all humankind (and so, yourself), these are the four steps, in this order:

  1. Gain Awareness: To know that one knows nothing

  2. Cleanse & Train Oneself: To prepare the heart’s intent, and to cleanse the self of desire

  3. Seek Education: To gain what is known as “knowledge;” the pure understanding of the what, how, when, why, for/by whom, where in our circle of concern

  4. Gain and Apply Wisdom: To judge between right and wrong; to make fair and right use of education so that education may attain what the heart knows our purpose is

Remember, learning is a continuous cycle.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Beyond The Secret: "THE END"

This is the second in a series of posts about The Secret.

What is The Secret?
Humans can create what they want.

More Important than The Secret... knowing what to do with it: "The End." The Secret is only a method. A means. A strategy. A "How?"

The End is the "What?"

Beyond The Secret: at The End of Individual Paths

I believe in what I call "the theory of individual paths." A revolutionary manifesto for humankind, the Qur'an says:

And to you have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come to you. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed Hu could have made you one community. But that Hu may try you by that which Hu has given you (Hu has made you as you are). So vie one with another in good works. To Allah you will all return, and Hu will then inform you of that wherein you differ.

A Pickthall translation, with my emphases and modifications of the pronouns, esp. "He" to "Hu" (005.048)

Each person has their own path. Yet at the end, these paths converge at the common good of all humanity. That's why, it's NOT OK if my littering habits choke up the community works drain. OR the smoke from my factory crosses borders into enemy territory, even. OR my fifth generation is left with the memories of an ancestor with a notorious history. OR my child suffering because I pay too little attention to the family while demanding my rights.

As ecologist Garrett Hardin said, "We cannot do merely one thing." (I love Hardin!)

So before doing something, and having tremendous powers like the law of attraction get to work for us, we have to know the best thing to do. To do that, we have to be prepared. The Secret/Law of Attraction comes afterwards.

"THE END" is primary. The Secret is secondary.
Humanity tends to get fascinated with cause and effect. We get tangled in the technology of things. What is important is not the technology or the means to do something, but that something itself.

The Secret is only a technology. A method. It doesn't tell what should one achieve.

Imagine the power ending up in the wrong hands. In fact, it very often has been the case.

Q. So. What Now?
There has to be a way forward. More, in the next blog post.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

The Secret Law of Attraction - only means, not end

"The Secret."
"The Law of Attraction."
The knowledge of the ancients.
What all great people knew.

This one thought with its many names has been making the rounds for quite a few months now, since the release of the movie Law of Attraction.

Very simply put, here is the secret:

Humans can create what they want.
It's called a law of Attraction because once a human decides what they want, they start attracting the required resources and situations. The Wikipedia summary of the idea is more enlightening:

You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.

There a few complications, though:

1. You've got to know what you really want, as opposed to what you think you want. So if you're telling your friend ok, I'll go with you to the beach whereas you really want to stay at home, don't be surprised if the plan doesn't work out at the last minute because "no one was ready." Admit it. Isn't that what you really wanted?
2. Don't be afraid to get what you want. Fear contradicts the want.
3. Once you know what you want, you've got to take that little trouble of doing something about what you want and...
4. Not stand in the way when the forces of creation get into motion. If you are giving birth to a chicken, and that's what you really, really want - allow the egg to hatch. Or.

Of course. Any Paulo Coelho fan knows this. So, what's the big deal?

Hype? Not Really.
First of all, there's the usual fluff about The Secret being discovered by the Western hemisphere of the world in a big way. As we know, the science-dominated Western thinking has been unappreciative of spirituality. Until very recently. So, those of us who are spiritually tuned (or assume they are) have to put up with the excitement of the discovery.

But is The Secret itself just hype because people have suddenly been getting hyper?


Where is this Secret? Hint: You'll have to Look
I think it's one of the simplest things we should have seen, except it hides out like ibexes in this picture. You can't readily see it, until you look.

We are all creators.
Personally, to me this realization came a couple of months ago only as I was reading the Qur'anic verse about creation:

"Be!... and it becomes!" (036.082)

I realized that this is how all creation comes into being. The creator of anything large or small decides that it should be, and so it begins to happen. Finally, it does happen. Engineers with blueprints know it. Authors and writers with outlines know it. Anyone who makes a mental note knows it. Even passive folks know, at some level, that they let things happen to them.

We can all create. Ordinary humans are capable of it. And it is a knowledge of great potential.

Just like the atomic energy. Great potential. Sans the ethics.

And this is what leads us to the question:
Is knowing The Secret alone good enough?

My answer: No; The Secret is only secondary. The Secret is a mean, not an end.

What is important is what we want to DO with The Secret.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Karachi's green move: Ban on thin plastic bags. Longer live the Green Turtle!

Longer live the Green Turtle of Karachi!

In a series of bans on thin, bio-hazardous plastics bags that is spreading across Asia, the City District Government Karachi's ban is the latest. In late February, the Karachi City Administrator Syed Mustufa Kamal urged town and union councils to create awareness amongst residents of the city before the government clamped down on businesses.

However, news these days are best received through word-of-mouth despite the large ads the government has been placing in national newspapers - I got this one on the right from the leading Urdu daily Jang. And so, it was our milkman who informed us that he will no longer be serving milk in infamous thin plastic bags. We have to get utensils.

Then yesterday, I went to the bakery to do my usual large shopping - and wasn't the only one who had to lap up her purchase like a baby... they told us to remember to brings bags from home.

My environmental-conscious mother is delighted - and I am glad, too, that our government has taken the ban seriously. In Pakistan, we tend to buy from small shops around the corner, and in the past two days, all shopkeepers denied us plastic bags. A medical store owner informed me that shops have been fined since March 15th, 2007, as promised in the ad above.

Not all plastic bags have been banned, only those less than 30-microns thick. These are not bio-degradable. Which means they don't "melt, evaporate, break down into other substances nor can be converted into other stuff." In ecology, everything must come from something, and then become something after being used, or we will be stuck with stuff. This is called an ecological cycle (and see carbon cycle too, here, another).

All natural things become something else upon birth and death. Humans, however, have created some stuff which gets stuck, because it does not break down ("degrade") into something useful. Such as, thin plastic. That's why governments across the world are taking swift action to ban this stuff. States as far apart as South Africa (2003) and India (selected states, 2005, etc.) have banned bad plastic.

Bio-stuck plastic has been killing the marine life of Karachi, especially the famous Green Turtles (WWF page here) who choke on bad plastic.

So. Get a cloth tote. DON'T rely on paper - because sometimes producing paper uses more energy than producing plastic. Save the planet, one shopping trip at a time!

Photo credit:
Top: Karachi City Government ad reproduced in good faith.
Bottom: By Hemanshu Kumar @ Flickr. May not be reproduced for commercial uses.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Monday, March 19, 2007

NEXT> Update: To Green!

Young. New. Joyous. Communicative. Fresh. Clean. Natural. Green.

Green is the new blue; that is, it's the color of the age. Green represents freshness, new-ness, hope, and the natural life around us. I also see a sense of giving and "equality" in this color as it symbolizes Nature - serving, giving, equal productive or destructive without prejudice.

Politically, Green is an important color in 2007: with a growing concern for ecological imbalances, and the need to manage the humanity's environmental behavior, Green has risen to become not just a color, but a concept that represents the attitude of a younger generation that cares.

NEXT> thinks that Green symbolizes all that is immediately ahead of us; the critical factors that will decide the fate of humankind. And NEXT> has a self-pledge to bring the best of the future to the present in a responsible fashion - to create hope, to advocate what really matters, to change beliefs and premises where they must. So, the look & feel of NEXT> by Ramla has been greened up! (Yes I know I am still a horrid designer, but Blogger just doesn't load in Pak and I'm having trouble accessing Blogger.)

The very busy photo on the top is from the Haramosh Valley in Pakistan where I trekked in search of wisdom and "fresh". It's a place that educated me about the origins of society and the nature of people. It also made me feel very strongly about the importance of respecting all people, our environment, and nurturing the development of society and self. And the whole experience was summed up in the shades of green that is the future. And now, it's my concept, my philosophy - one that I wish to share with all...

From NEXT> to a greener future!

The Importance of Being Blogger

Adil Najam, Awab Alvi, Hakim, and Ramla (i.e. myself) - four Pakistani bloggers - four different blogs - three different time zones... all invited together - by Muntazir Solangi of Voice of America's Radio App ki Duniya to discuss -

1. What IS a blog?

2. It is a tool to express frustration - only? What is a blog NOT?

3. Can blogs truly be banned?

4. Do blogs report original stories - or merely repeat primary sources?

5. How have the four blogs covered the Chief Justice story?

6. What is the impact of blogs?

Here is an audio recording (MP3/ 10MB/ 59:59 min/ Urdu), hosted courtesy Adil Najam of Pakistaniat, with his review.

The bloggers agreed that in general - blogs start with a wish to "say something" - to express one's self and opinions - to have a share of voice.

Over time, blogs evolve into spaces, usually interactive.

Adil's group blog Pakistaniat, which became my favorite "Pakistani" space in blogosphere after PakPositive went on a prolonged pause, started when "friends started putting together storied about Pakistan on the blog."

Pakistaniat has rapidly filled a gap on the Internet for a contemporary Pakistani voice - and a space where many can interact from across the world on all things Pakistani.

On a lighter note, Adil has admitted being "inspired" by his fellow bloggers. Hmmm. I think I'll hire Hakim as my lawyer for whatever is left of my rights. :)

Awab's blog Teeth Maestro, which started as a semi-personal diary (of a sun-lighting dentist), soon evolved to become an expression of his thoughts as an avid patriot (hear him warming up). Awab also blogs on the popular Karachi Metblog. I have enjoyed his posts for being opinionated and well-researched. Several of his posts have been liberally lifted by mainstream media - an activity which is now being strictly monitored by Karachi Metbloggers.

Hakim is a recent blogger - and I wouldn't have guessed unless he declared - MicroPakistan comes across as being written by a group of old-hand lawyers. Hakim, a Pakistani student in UK, started blogging as a way of focusing on the small things that need to be put under the microscope.

The four bloggers were united in one way: the recent coverage of the Chief Justice story (here, here, here and here ). We discussed our political views with particular focus on the Citizen's White Band/ Ribbon Protest (here and here).

From various angles - social, technical, political - we agreed that the citizen's voice is important in the 21 century. It's impossible to suppress it because citizens now have the opinion and the technology. And that it will serve governments - Pakistani or other - to accept this fact.

Over all, this discussion achieved the purpose of validating blogging and bloggers in Pakistan - thereby empowering citizenship.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

On Blogging, Blocking, and Blogging the CJ news - 4 Pakistani Bloggers speak their mind

Log in to at Pakistan time 10:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 17, 2007. Check out Radio Aap Ki Duniya, and listen to radio online... you will catch four Pakistani bloggers talking about blogging and the Chief Justice suspension story. The bloggers are:

Adil Najam of
Dr. Awab of Teeth Maestro
Hakim of MicroPakistan
and Ramla A. (me!) of NEXT> by Ramla

Muntazir Solangi of the Wasi Zafar interview fame is the host.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Citizens Rising - Disruption to come, and then glory

The aftermath of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Pakistan is getting complicated. It's a free-for-all for the police, the government, the bar councils of the country, media, politicians and anyone's aunt.

Current situation:

1. Fighting on the streets of Islamabad; tear-gassing, shelling by police, and stone-pelting by people
2. Police attack on the Islamabad office of Geo News a couple of hours ago - prompting strong reaction from the Minister of Information, politicians, people, and of course the press
3. Exploitation of the situation by those who do nothing for Pakistan given a chance

It is TIME. It begins, as many say.

To me, it's not about one pillar of the state against another - the pillar being legislative, executive, judiciary, and media.

To me, it's about the Citizens vs. Everything Wrong with Pakistan. It's about the fact that the citizens of Pakistan have always been brushed aside by whoever had power - law, government, feudal lords, media, academia, the educated people, the wealthy, the resource-owners.

It's about have's and have-not's. And now, the people have a voice, and an emotional bank account in the red.

In the next few days, Pakistan will witness an un-stoppable rising of the unpolitical Citizens, rising only for Citizens' Fundamental Rights. Only time will show what will happen - we all have ideas which are better not expressed.

In a recent Q&A session after futurist Rohit Talwar's talk on Pakistan's Vision for the year 202o, I gave my opinion that within 30 years, Pakistan will be one of the few leading powers of the world. The conference was attended by business leaders and managers of Pakistan, and some expressed surprise at the idea.

I gave my anxious opinion only in private to those who prodded: my belief is that in thirty years, a new Pakistan, led by the youth of today, will have emerged on the map of earth. The IDEA of Pakistan will be stronger, and we will be on our way to great glory - which was always the fate of Pakistan. However, the anxiety was about the disruptive change that will have to occur before we reach that stage. Pakistan, as it is now, is not what the idea of Pakistan is. It is so far removed, that we will need to uproot ourselves from the current situation, and create a new world of our ideas.

My opinion is only of the doctor who sees a patient with advanced cancer, and must tell the truth. The recovery will require drastic therapy, followed by a lifestyle of rigorous health and responsibility.

I believe in Pakistan's future, though Pakistan's present is fraught with discord, and more will come. That is why, I wear a White Band, and not a black one to mark my feelings about the present.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Simpler Life: 100% time for the 20% meaningful


It's important in life to keep checking every now and then whether our actions are aligned with our priorities. I want to share with all an exercise undertaken to align my actions with objectives - and it may help you, too.

Making Time
I love new media. I believe in the power of the Internet as a tool of the people. Hence I center my work around the Internet, spending much time online on communities, educating, learning, interacting.

At the Vision 2020 conference in Karachi last month, futurist Rohit Talwar reminded that we have to create time for thinking by minimizing demands on our time.

Yesterday, prompted by a friend, I worked out an exercise on how I could make better use of my time online. To take immediate action, I made a simple list of my biggest energy-consuming activities online.

I listed 9 major items on one page of my diary, and on the opposite page, I wrote "solutions."

One of the 9 items was comments on my blogs.

Issues: Spam. Really cool comments buried on the comment page. Time needed to moderate comments. Serious discussions lost in comments. Anonymous comments with ulterior motives. Random comments. Etc.

Comments take much time monitoring and answering. Yet I often find little value in comments except that on some blogs, they create a space for user interaction - which is suitable to some blogs, not all.

I am philosophical. So here's how I see it: I am on the blog to say something - it's not a personal nor news-sharing blog, it's about certain views arrived at after thought and research. Those who agree with the views have nothing new to say. Those who don't agree have nothing I could benefit from - because my work is not an accident; I spend time researching and validating it.

Talk is easy. Internet talk is really easy. Which is why some are seriously considering putting a "price/quota" on talking via email etc.

The Law of the Vital Few...
...suggests that 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes. True. 20% of the audience provide 80% of the meaningful feedback, and benefit from the blog. The main purpose of this blog is to share work with those who need it; and that's the audience I wish to serve without distraction. To these 20%, I want to give 100%.

Now. Those who really have something meaningful to add, can email. The effort to email is a "price" that shows this isn't easy talk; it means something to the writer of the email. I usually get the most interesting ideas, and even case studies to support NEXT>'s work, by email. (Thanks!)

So. Comments are going. Feedback and exchange of ideas are not: just mail!

The regular readers of NEXT> will now find the blog's energy more focused.

P.S. Try at home! :)

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim sides with Chief Justice Iftikhar

In a surprising development, Justice (retd.) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim appeared first on Geo TV and then AAJ TV to declare that he will NOT take up the Chief Justice Iftikhar suspension case on behalf of the government, as was being reported by some papers.

He said he was completely on the side of the Chief Justice and "Judiciary." He expressed his dismay at the situation in clear and strong words.

Note: Blogger login is down again. Blog can't be updated. I am trying via email.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Pakistanis' White Band Protest

Edit: to make post *sticky* I'm forwarding the date in time.

Last night, I decided to begin a private protest at the suspension of Justice Iftikhar from Office of Chief Justice of Pakistan, by wearing a white band. The idea was shared here, and blogger MB asked the important question:

Why not black [the traditional color of protest armbands], why white?

Why White Bands?
This is why, as shared on Karachi Metblogs:

I am wearing a white band because by God, no one will take my HOPE away from me. White is mourning, white is peace, white is hope, white is optimism (in my own ability - "my" meaning any band wearer), white is my belief that when we keep working at it - tomorrow will be better.

Actually, I have a feeling that it's "begun."

"Technically correct"? Tell that to the people!
The protest is not against the "technical" move. It is to represent a feeling of despair that we feel at the brusque suspension of Justice Iftikhar - with a possibility of his sacking - when he was giving important decisions largely in the favor of the people - the 98% of the Pakistan that is ignored.

Here is an allegory to explain the ground reality:

A boy sneaks into his home late one night after an outing. He father suspects a burglar, and clubs the boy on the head in the dark.

Point: It doesn't matter whether is was the family's son, or a burglar. What matters is what was perceived, based on which a (tragic) action was taken.

It doesn't matter how technically sound the suspension of the Chief Justice is. What matters is that across the country, the decision is viewed with suspicion and received with anger. And why not? When the Chief Justice made several decisions that were not going to sit well with the powers-that-be.

Demands of the White Bands Protest

So. As a common citizen, I protest. The demands of the protest are:

1. Tell us - the people of Pakistan - the truth about the Chief Justice.
2. Take people into confidence; the government must address the nation via TV, radio, print, Internet.
3. Give fair hearing to the Chief Justice.
4. Give credit to the fact he reduced the number of cases in hearing from 36,000 to 10,000.
5. Give credit that he took suo moto action not to have the pleasure of give pains to the lawyers and the police, but to give justice to the common citizen.
6. Give credit to Justice Iftikhar for taking tough decisions on such cases as the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, the inquiry in to the Karachi Stock Exchange crash, and report on missing persons, among others.
7. Give credit to Justice Iftikhar for being civil-minded, and caring for such things as: murder of people during basant; rights and respect of women; commercialization of public spaces; prisoner rights; and dubious development projects, among others.
8. Stop taking the people of Pakistan for granted. We are a party - a very large and vocal party - to important decisions taken in Pakistan. Respect our opinions and sentiments. Do not aggrieve us by consistently shocking us with one autocratic decision after another.

Before the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan comes on March 13th, the harm done by the high-handedness of this shock decision must be minimized by taking people into confidence.

We respect the courts of Pakistan. Above that, we respect the people for whom the courts are made.

Photo: I begun protest by wearing a white arm band.
Related link: White bands for Justice

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Justice Iftikhar's "irksome" decisions

While Naeem Bokhari twists in agony that the Honorable Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, currently suspended, was busy with matters such as Fundamental Rights which are unworthy of the Supreme Court in Naeem's opinion, Justice Iftikhar was also giving decisions on very high-profile matters.

Munaeem lists some key decisions here, which he believes "irked the government".

Latest on Naeem Bokhari:
Punjab Bar cancels his basic membership (urdu). Naeem prevented from entering the Bar province-wide.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Protest! The suspension of Justice Iftikhar from office...

In losing Justice Iftikhar, possibly forever as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, we have lost the Chief Petty Matters Officer of Pakistan, Supreme Chief of Petty Matters of Citizens' Fundamental Rights.


I protest at the manner in which the last hope of justice to the people of Pakistan has been rounded up. I protest that we the people were not taken into confidence - before or even hours after the incidence. I protest that just when Pakistani citizens have turned desperately hopeless of any formal institution, the Institution of Justice has been breached again at the supreme level. I protest that the Prime Minister made the move to suspend the Chief Justice on a matter more related to his son, not him. I protest because though the knock-out is technical, the reason behind is more sinister. I protest, I protest, and I protest!

I will keep wearing a white band on my arm until this decision is explained to the people to our satisfaction, and we can have hope that the Judiciary is safe. I will keep wearing the band - a sign of my mourning as well my resolution to see a positive change, reflected by the color white - until Justice Iftikhar has a chance to explain himself to those who he cared most about: small, petty people.

Bring the "Media Circus" on!

Note: Post edited. Comment on Naeem Bokhari's letter moved here.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Naeem Bokhari's pains: what did the now-infamous lawyer *really* meant

The suspension of Justice Iftikhar could not have come at a more suspicion-raising time. Elections are nigh, and the suspended Chief Justice shows a strong track record of speaking his mind. (Here and here.)

He halted the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills. He investigated what brokers stood to gain from the crash of Karachi Stock Exchange. And he had time for the "smaller" matter of loss of life from wanton kite-flying.

A man, therefore, of many enemies. One wonders how is the record of the "Prime" accusers of Justice Iftikhar?

From the track record of the high-handed decisions of the present government, I fear that this decision of suspension will turn into one of sacking. After all, Pakistan may need it, like we need our territory to be attacked by foreign forces, no-answers-given.

Justice Iftikhar listened to the poor. The unheard. Under him, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) took self-initiated actions against the wrong committed to the citizens.

And a certain lawyer Mr. Naeem Bokhari thinks that the Justice's suo moto actions were actually part of his brusque behavior. Naeem Bokhari's infamous letter is here, and it pretty much makes up the (media) case against the Justice.

Naeem Bokhari is pained about the involvement of the Supreme Court in cases involving Fundamental Rights - he gives the example of how the Supreme Court got involved in the recovery of a female. Bokhari says that this is "media circus" - apparently a case much below the status of the high & mighty Supreme Court.

"The proceedings before the Supreme Court can conveniently and easily be referred to the District and Sessions Judges," suggests Mr. Bokhari, in obvious pain that the SCP is concerned with trivial matters related to the citizens. Mr. Bokhari makes no mention of the Steel Mills case and gives the impression as if the Chief Justice did nothing but scream at judges, terrify the police (for being lousy, Mr. Bokhari forgets to mention), and worry about petty issues. Justice Iftikhar was "petty" enough to worry about the rights and respect of women, as in the case of Pak Intl. Airlines' female crew.

Wow! Would the citizens of Pakistan involve the Supreme Court if district and sessions courts gave them justice? Where is Mr. Bokhari living on - Planet Awayfromearth? Does he not know that it has come to the point where people are setting themselves on fire outside courts in search of (social) justice? And does he not remember that the police are no sheep; they are inhuman to the extent of stripping a man half-naked and beating him up for wanting justice?

Note: this post has been separated from the subsequent one, as Naeem's action is important to study on its own - being the de facto charge sheet against Justice Iftikhar.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Poll: What do you feel about the removal of Justice Iftikhar from office?

I have created a poll on the story. It's in the right hand column.

Tell us what you think? Leave comments, if you have more on your mind.

Edit: old poll didn't work. Fixed with a new poll host.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Not news, but views: What we think about Justice Iftikhar, and his removal from office

Now. The job of a blogger is not just to report events, but to speak what the heart and mind say.

Let me begin by quoting some of the work of Justice Iftikhar. A random search:

1/ CJ Iftikhar takes notice of intended commercialization of college space - Ayaz Amir

Converting my column regarding the intended commercialization of the open spaces of the Government College of Chakwal into a petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudry, has caused notices to be issued to advocate-general Punjab and the administration of the college. DCO Chakwal has been asked for his comments. Hearing is set for this morning, Friday, before Bench Number One.

2/ IIBL depositors’ plea to CJ for justice

As the honorable Chief Justice who himself conducted enquiry of the scam, knows the plight of IIBL depositors and the brazen modus operandi of the incarcerated bankers. It is not secret that registrar Supreme Court itself deposited Rs. 493.498 million in IIBL in July 2002, which is the token of mistrust of SC upon IIBL management. It is learned through reliable sources that the families of Nadeem Anwar and Javed Qureshi have already left for Canada and they want to sneak through as and when they are out of jail through the clever appeal they made to CJ in an article that appeared in press on 19-07-06. [More...]

3/ Trafficking of girls

Islamabad police have confirmed to `The News’ that after directions from Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, they have made significant progress in the case and have already arrested four accused including a “madam” of this gang, who adopted unique methods to transport these girls after breaching the so-called sophisticated systems of Nadra and passport departments by getting their fake identity cards and machine readable passports. [More...]

4/ Fettered Inmates

A Supreme Court full bench on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the Lahore district and sessions judge’s report informing the court that he had constituted a committee to look into the condition of more than 100 under-trial prisoners who were being reportedly kept in fetters in small Kot Lakhpat Jail cells for weeks, and in some cases even for months. [More...]

5/ SC takes suo moto notice of New Murree Project

The story of a "development" project. [More...]

6/ Take note of the Police

"The Punjab police’s negative role is hurting the government’s credibility. Gangsters are playing with the lives of the people and police seem to be silent spectators despite possessing all resources and privileges to counter crime,” the chief justice observed while conducting the suo moto proceedings of a case regarding Punjab’s high crime rate and the presence of different gangs operating without checks." [More...]

Civil Society
These are the matters relating to civil society on which the Supreme Court of Pakistan, under then chief Justice Iftikhar Chuadhry, took mostly suo moto (self-started) action. In fact, Justice Iftikhar has become popular with the citizens for his involvement in the civil society.

The Shock
The news has shock many in the corridor of law in Pakistan, and the people of Pakistan. Justice Iftikhar also took brave actions in the cases of the thwarted privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills (here and here) and an inquiry into the Stock Exchange crash (here and here) - and in both cases the name of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was implicated.

A Prime Link in the Stories?
As leading Pakistani media reported, President Musharraf removed Just. Iftikhar on the recommendation of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. And this is the murkiest part of the story, since the Prime Minister has been implicated in the cases of Steel Mill privatization and the doctored crash of Karachi Stock Exchange.

High-Handed Move by Musharraf
Another high-handed move by Musharraf, without the need to take the nation into confidence. After the serial attacks of Americans on Pakistani soil as in the case of Bajor, the secretive killing of Bugti, and the abduction of Pakistani citizens, journalists and activists in which the agencies are reportedly involved - comes another controversial decision from the President. To top things, this is an unprecedented constitutional move highly reminiscent of some of the actions that ultimately led to the downfall of Nawaz Sharif.

The People
We have lost what was probably the last resort of any form of justice in Pakistan. What more can be said?

It begins...

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Not Sacked, but "Removed" - the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Developing Story

There is confusion while it is widely believed that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has been "sacked" from his office of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The media is hurrying to understand what the Constitution of Pakistan says on the matter. Meanwhile it is becoming clear that the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has not been "sacked," but "prevented from the office of CJ of PK."

Why? To prevent conflict of interest while investigation are underway on whether he misused authority.

The prime allegation, in the ironic lament of lawyer Naeem Bokhari is:

I am not perturbed that Dr. Arsalaan (your son) secured 16/100 in the English paper for the Civil Services Examination, that there is a case against him in some court in Baluchistan, that from the Health Department in Baluchistan he has shifted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), that he has obtained training in the Police Academy, that he reportedly drives a BMW 7-Series car, that there is a complaint against him with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

My grievances and protests are different.

I am perturbed that the Supreme Court should issue a clarificatory statement on his behalf. I am perturbed that Justice (Retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmed should be constrained to advise you on television that “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others”. I am perturbed that the Chief Justice should summon Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to his chambers on Dr. Arsalaan’s account.

I am appalled that you announce decisions in Court, while in the written judgment an opposite conclusion is recorded.

It is indeed tragic if true - for Justice Iftikhar has been shining as a beacon of hope to the civil society of Pakistan for his numerous suo-moto actions on the behalf of citizens.

One of suo-moto recent actions has been about "Missing Persons" - Pakistani citizens, particularly journalist and those involved with political action or activism, mysteriously disappeared.

This is indeed a disappointing news for the citizens of Pakistan who, until recently, had been relieved that at least there was one supreme institution in Pakistan with its ears open to the pleas of the common citizen.

Photo: Screen shot from Geo TV - Chief Justice (removed) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry explains his position in meeting with President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf on the morning of March 9, 2007. His explanations on the investigation of "misuse of authority" against him were unsatisfactory, and he has been "stopped from" acting as the Chief Justice.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Sacked or Removed? - The Chief Justice of Pakistan. What does the Constitution say?

The "removed" (sacked? suspended?) Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry is presently in the Army House, reported by Geo TV.

Meanwhile, heads are being scratched over what the usually-wildly interpreted Constitution of Pakistan has to say on the matter.

Here is the related constitutional article, straight from the source:

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan : PART VII

Chapter 4: General Provisions Relating to The Judicature
Article 209

(1) There shall be a Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan, in this Chapter referred to as the Council.

(2) The Council shall consist of,
(a) the Chief Justice of Pakistan;
(b) the two next most senior Judges of the Supreme Court; and
(c) the two most senior Chief Justices of High Courts.

Explanation:- For the purpose of this clause, the inter se seniority of the Chief Justices of the High Courts shall be determined with reference to their dates of appointment as Chief Justice [231][otherwise than as acting Chief Justice], and in case the dates of such appointment are the same, with reference to their dates of appointment as Judges of any of the High Courts.

(3) If at any time the Council is inquiring into the capacity or conduct of a Judge who is a member of the Council, or a member of the Council is absent or is unable to act due to illness or any other cause, then
(a) if such member is a Judge of the Supreme Court, the Judge of the Supreme Court who is next in seniority below the Judges referred to in paragraph (b) of clause (2), and
(b) if such member is the Chief Justice of a High Court; the Chief Justice of another High Court who is next in seniority amongst the Chief Justices of the remaining High Courts, shall act as a member of the Council in his place.

(4) If, upon any matter inquired into by the Council, there is a difference of opinion amongst its members, the opinion of the majority shall prevail, and the report of the Council to the President shall be expressed in terms of the view of the majority.

(5) If, on information received from the Council or from any other source, the President is of the opinion that a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court,
(a) may be incapable of properly performing the duties of his office by reason of physical or mental incapacity; or
(b) may have been guilty of misconduct, the President shall direct the Council to inquire into the matter.

(6) If, after inquiring into the matter, the Council reports to the President that it is of the opinion,
(a) that the Judge is incapable of performing the duties of his office or has been guilty of misconduct, and
(b) that he should be removed from office, the President may remove the Judge from office.

(7) A Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court shall not be removed from office except as provided by this Article.

(8) The Council shall issue a code of conduct to be observed by Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts.

Original Story: Breaking News: Pakistan President removes Chief Justice

E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Breaking News: Pakistan President removes Chief Justice

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Pakistan
The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, suspended Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (@ Wikipedia) from the post of the Chief Justice of Pakistan for "misuse of authority."

A reference has been filed against Justice Iftikhar, who has been replaced by Justice Javed Iqbal as acting Chief Justice.

Reports are trickling in via media. It appears that Justice Iftikhar has been removed for helping his son gain positions of importance.

Justice (retired) Nasir Aslam Zahid is just speaking to Geo TV and expressing his view that this step is extraordinary. He believes that the President should have waited for the report of the Supreme Judicial Council on the inquiry about Justice Iftikhar.

Chief Justice (R) Sajjad Ali Shah says that according to the Constitution, Supreme Judicial Council inquires the cases of misuse of authority while the Chief Justice remains suspended.

Note: It appears that Justice Iftikhar has not been "sacked" as is the impression - but "removed" from acting as the functional Chief Justice while hearing against him proceeds in the Supreme Judicial Council... to avoid conflict of interest.

Lawyers have gathered around the building of the Supreme Court in protest. The doors of the court have been locked.

On acting Chief Justice: Justice Rana Bhagwan Das is out of country, and hence Just. Javed Iqbal has been put in the position of acting Chief Justice. According to Just. Sajjad Ali Shah, his religion is not the reason for the appointment of Just. Javed Iqbal - as Just. Bhagwan Das has previously taken the position.

Note: Removed? Is it "sacked?" Is it "suspended?" Details to come. According to CJ (R) Sajjad Ali, the language of the Constitution is archaic and befuddling. He is saying that a corrected, clearer version of the decision must be made.

Removed Chief Justice Iftikhar is known for taking suo-moto actions on complaints of common citizens, which has rendered him quite a hero in Pakistan.

Famous cases:
Supreme Court halts handover of Steel Mills
Stock Exchange Scam

More: Naeem Bokhari's letter to Justice Iftikhar - Offers interesting insights on the cases related to his son
E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Blogger login help

Switched to New Blogger and can't log in? Well, exactly the situation that I found myself in for the past one week when some of the best stories inspired me in a long time!

Well, finally I am back. Here is how:

To log in, DON'T use Instead go to: and log in with the Google ID that you used during the switch.

This tip came in when I finally turned to LinkedIn Answers for help. Amy Dullard, an advanced applications programmer at 1K Studios, gave this full tip:

Are you logging in here: with your Google ID? Or at the old blogger login? There is also info on having trouble with your Google login at:

Meanwhile, New Blogger has made the template editing stuff much easier. I am playing around with the template change that can now be done visually - through a WYSIWYG editor.

Thursday, February 08, 2007 Conscious Capitalist Network is a social network, but it's not socialist. Instead, its "conscious capitalist."

According to Zaadz, this is what their business is:
"We're in the process of building THE most inspired community of people in the world…social networking with a purpose, a community of seekers and conscious entrepreneurs circulating wisdom and inspiration and wealth and all that good stuff. We're passionate about inspiring and empowering people to bring their dreams to life, learning and growing and getting paid to do what they love, using their greatest gifts in the greatest service to the world. (And having fun in the process!)"

Zaadz means "seeds" in Dutch. Created by self-described "friendly philosopher" Brian Johnson, a starry-eyed UCLA grad, Zaadz is to spread the seeds of love. If you want to understand what this means, you will first have to know about the growing global trend towards spiritualism and the need of a new point-of-view to replace the old.

Zaadz offers own blogs, photo collections, "pods" (communities), tagging of books, teachers, inspirational people, and all those
folksonomic features now a staple of Web 2.0 social networks.

Why is a phenomenon to watch?
I discovered this community through a cyber-pal's recommendation and joined in curiosity. While I still figure out what this site means to me, I am glad (in some ways) that it confirms to my feeling that there is a general global unrest with prevailing social/ political/ capitalist/ old world/ new world order ideas; and that the young want change. to me is the proof, if nothing else.

For now, Zaadz seems to have an idea that is born in the right time, but a need to be more "tangible." It is also billed as uber-positivist by some.

Whether Zaadz delivers on its ideas or not is another question best answered by time; what is truly significant about it is the fact that not only it exists, but it represents the ambitions of thousands of its often young members from over 110 countries. Young and connected, the members of Zaadz (called "Zaadzsters") and other similar network represent a very real way of thinking people are developing all over the world.

Taking notes, anyone?

Conscious Capitalism: Dirty Business No More

Muhammad Yunus, the Nobelist who created "micro finance," coined the term Conscious Capitalism. Patricia Aburdene saw it as a "moral transformation" and "today's greatest mega-trend" way back in fall 2005. Social networks such as Orkut have been abuzz with it. And now finally, Conscious Capitalism has arrived. It's here to stay. And it's changing the face of the way business is going to be done.

What is conscious capitalism?
According to BBC News E-cyclopedia , "Conscious capitalism stands for a more moral approach to what is often seen as the dirty business of business. Where once a company would bow only to the demands of its shareholders and customers, under the new order it must take on board its impact on everyone with a direct or indirect interest."

Ever heard the economic term "externalities?" This obscure term means costs that are traditionally external to business activity. Such as, pollution. Disturbance of personal lives of over-worked employees.

I've added the word "traditionally," otherwise, the traditional thinking never considered this cost the responsibility of business.

Conscious Capitalism factors these costs in. It makes businesses and executives responsible to more than financial stakeholders. The society itself is seen as a stakeholder. Which is why sometimes this term overlaps "socialism," which it is not.

As of Feb 2007, when this trend is going to press, a frantic search for a new business model that factors in the externalities is on. Micro-finance is one of the answers; but "conscious capitalism" intends to replace good old profitable business with a more responsible for-profit model.

Read More:
BBC News E-cyclopedia entry on Conscious Capitalism
Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism, by Patricia Aburdene. @ AMAZON

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Emerging Concept # 1: COMMUNITY

What will be the buzz word (or phrase) of 2007?
This question by Steven Burda on a social network prompted me to launch the Concepts series.

My answer: Community.
2.0, YouTube, Flickr, glocalization - whatever. It's "community." I also suggest "Local" as an off-shoot concept of the above.

There are two broad applications of this concept: one in the virtual world of Internet, and one in the real world.

Communities 2.0 - the virtual world
The child of social networking sites meeting user-content driven (web 2.0) websites: communities.

Built around common interests, preferences, or themes, communities are virtual spaces that bring together like-minded folks. On social networking sites such as Orkut and user-content driven spaces like Flickr, users can quickly and easily create thematic communities that attract the interested.

Unlike the older days of the Web, these "2.0" (new Web) communities are self-regulating and flexible. Rules are minimal, and members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with them, and regulate their own behavior. Individuals moderate or own the communities; the success of their "leadership" depends directly upon their abilities and acceptance by the members. A badly regulated, dismal communities dies by attracting no members, who are free to "settle" into another space or create their own. Good leadership - determined by the leader's tolerance, inclusiveness, conflict resolution, and community marketing skills - leads to healthy, growing communities that attract both members and participation. Charisma works.

Communities are small localities and nations in their own right. This is why I suggest that the Internet is the blueprint for a truly human(e) government. (Internet - government of the people: Here and here.)

Because of their open nature and inclusiveness of opinion, communities offer real insights into social life. Thanks to technology, they are fast-paced, ever-evolving, and allow for quick spread of info. Communities also change their form quickly to suit a campaign or project.

This is why, truly savvy change leaders and marketers are taking note of the phenomenon. The Future of Communities is a blog branched out from the upcoming Community 2.0 Conference. It's all about communities and their growing power in the new world of Internet.

Community - local neighborhoods of the real life world
In RL, communities are making a big comeback.

Caring. Giving. Sharing. Giving back. Participating. Responsibility. Local - all these once discarded social concepts are back, and they are here to stay.

There is a growing concern about the rise of "ethnic clash" in the world. I see it the other way. I think that for the first time in human history, the not-so-privileged ethnicities are respecting themselves and understanding that they are as equal as any other human. They are not condemned.

On the other hand, the privileged world, having enough of all resources possible, is looking for "meaning". On the one hand, their excessive resources are going to war. On the other hand, there are people who have taken it upon themselves to give back to the world: within their own community, and then globally - depending upon each individual's circle of influence. This is leading to the growing trend for nomadic lifestyle, often mixed with philanthropy or volunteer work.

This is the larger picture. On smaller levels, the "have's" - especially the youth - are giving back to their communities. The more experienced are realizing that they have to invest in the youth and in building neighborhoods. Only in this lies the safety of people, and any hope for restoring peace and minimizing crime.

Respect for one's own culture, the realization that we have to work together in neighborhoods and that we can't demand rights without performing duties, the sense of delight in serving, freedom with responsibility and a new respect for family and society's institutions (more open, more flexible, more inclusive) - are the highlights of this emerging concept.

Photo credits:
Top: Flickr user Cobalt123, Bestgraph, 2005
Bottom: Flickr user carf (Gregory J. Smith), Friendships - 1, 2005
E-mail: nextbyramla AT