My name is Kinza and I’m from Pakistan. This is my first year as an independent student in the external LLB programme. I thought it would be nice to start off with an introduction of myself in my first blog post.
Let’s begin with the educational aspect of my life. I have never been to a school on a regular basis. Yes, you heard me right. The reason for this was that my father believed that schools, in fact, de-educate you rather than educate – especially considering the selection we had. When I was a child, I did go to school, but even that for sporadic instances – a pattern which would become ever looser, until being completely stopped after 8th grade when I started studying privately. While I wasn’t studying formally, I used to love to read books, mainly fiction, and those were, to me, a much-preferred alternative to textbooks (this is probably true even now, to be honest). Reading became a sort of informal education.
14 years ago, my sister and I moved with our father to a country home we have. And the standard of discipline in our home was…well, casual to say the least. My father also worked from home, which allowed all three of us to spend most days doing whatever we wanted – which included all kinds of binges: eating, sleeping, watching (movies, shows, cartoons), drinking Pepsi, playing and many other heavenly pleasures. But, unfortunately, the lack of discipline has always had a negative impact on the practical workings of my life, and it remains my loyal companion still.
Despite this, I did manage to do O-levels and A-levels with decent grades. There were two reasons for this: firstly, I studied to learn the subject, not just pass the exam, which helped make concepts clearer and revision easier; secondly, I knew English really well. The latter of these was essential, it allowed me to understand what I was reading without much effort.
Our childhood shapes the person that we will become later in life, and so did mine. The way I was brought up was quite unusual. My father is someone who places an immense amount of value on intellectual development and overall personal growth – his own and of those around him. So, you can imagine that the minds of my sister and I were to him trees just waiting to be pruned to perfection. And the method of pruning he chose was discussion.
We discussed everything under the sun – religion, politics, philosophy, law, science, art – everything, day in and day out. We didn’t discuss anything in passing, no. All of our talks were of a depth that only now I see as unusual both for my age and for the culture (we were barely a part of) in Pakistan. My sister and I were given equal rights of audience, and our words given the weight that they deserved, which was, again, unusual. He always pushed us to do more, to do better, and reprimanded us for falling below a certain (high) standard. My mother also is an intelligent woman who somehow understood me, and filled the gaps left by my father – this was a solace to me, both mentally and emotionally.
Since infancy, I have had a very quick temper. My saving grace was that I only got angry when I found something to be wrong – not just for myself, but, perhaps more for those around me. Injustice was emotionally taxing on me – often entrapping me in many an argument with all kinds of people, ending usually in a sudden burst of emotion (read tears) from my side.
After a similar argument, ending in a similar fashion, my father said that because of my finding injustice, in all its minor and major forms, (emotionally) abhorrent and my command on the English language, I was the personal embodiment of the virtues that formed the foundations of law and justice – those weren’t his precise words, but you get it – and that, therefore, it would be more suitable for me to become a legal academic/theorist. He said this knowing I fully intended to become a physicist and had already been studying the subject in my A-levels for months by then.
Perhaps he would have made a pretty good lawyer himself, because after a few hours I ditched my dream of learning about the cosmos and chose to study law.
Because of the emphasis on knowledge, understanding and discussion in my life, from the start, I knew I didn’t want to become a professional lawyer. I wanted to stay in academia, and perhaps improve the legal system through my work, which would mainly consist of my writings – and writing had always been an important part of my life. I have had another (now abandoned) blog, always had some sort of a regular or a times-of-need diary, dabbled in poetry and fiction-writing too.
And I did none of those things for mere entertainment. No, I always meant business. Whether it was learning how to paint, play piano, or speak a language, I have always wanted to develop those skills to the best of my ability, and grow not just in one direction, but many. This is why, over the years, the range of my activities was as diverse as the requirements expected of an eligible lady of 17th century England – painting, cooking, playing piano, reading, learning French, writing, stitching etc. All done with the seriousness of a wannabe professional.
I believe in this life we are meant to grow and help others grow into their potential best and then some. As a result, I volunteered at 16 in a private school in our village for about a year, and then later, when I didn’t have much free time, my sister and I would volunteer to tutor a few children who would come to our home every evening. Both of those experiences taught me how important it is to teach what you know to people who don’t have the same opportunities as you do.
A side-effect of living in a conservative area, where women aren’t allowed to be as free as men are (even to roam around in public), is that it further intensified my need to enrich life at home with projects and hobbies. From the little experience I have had with these diverse activities, I have learned so much I never even knew that I didn’t know – and this fact inspires me to learn even more.
I have many reasons for wanting to write for this blog – such as improving my writing skills, challenging myself to do more, engaging with all of you – but mainly a sense of duty to spread the net of the knowledge and understanding that I have accumulated till now, in the hopes of it being beneficial to someone in some way. And, perhaps, this experience might also pave the way to more serious writing in the future.
So, I hope you can tolerate my half-cooked posts, and possibly teach me what you know. And in return, I promise to do the best I can to not waste your precious time (that ought to be spent studying that chapter you need to get to).
Goodbye and good luck!
Kinza is studying our LLB independently in Pakistan.