Is Rumi an anti-dote for the post-truth America?

On January 5, 2017, the New Yorker published an article with a revealing title: “The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi.” Rozina Ali—who is also the editorial staff of the magazine—raised an interesting issue: that in the West, Rumi, the 13th-century poet and scholar, is “typically referred to as a mystic, a saint, an enlightened man” but “less frequently described as a Muslim.”  Ali’s contention is that Rumi’s poetry has been decoupled by his English translators from its Islamic context, and that way they have effaced “historical dynamism” within the Muslim scholarship. Because “Rumi’s works reflected a broader push and pull between ...

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Why are husbands generally so unromantic?

He comes from the office, and has not brought flowers or any small gift for her. She smiles quite genuinely and gets a half-hearted and fake smile in return. Once he is settled, instead of spending time with his wife, he sits in front of the TV and starts switching channels. He seems so engrossed in the TV that his wife has to call him several times to even evoke a mundane response like “hmmm”. After managing to evoke a response, she tries to stir up a conversation and fails. She asks a question she has asked a million times ...

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Will Careem and Uber be able to survive in Pakistan?

The government of Pakistan, both federal and provincial, remains in a deep slumber. It does not counter any illegal business activity but only takes action when the project strengthens its roots in society and provides an alternative to public woes in a certain segment.  It is the government’s responsibility to provide adequate, reliable and secure modes of transport to the public to commute from one place to another. Unfortunately, the government has completely failed to do any such thing and hence, most of the country’s transport is in total control of the private sector. The tram service, which was operating in ...

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I met a Jew who didn’t judge me for being a Muslim or a Pakistani

We believe we live in a connected world today, but is that really true? A few days ago, I asked my friend what she thought of it and she said, “We can connect to any part of the world with one click. We can access any information in the spur of a moment. What else is connectivity?” I partially agreed with what my friend had to say but I still wondered if we really are living in a connected world. We live in a world where we are limited within our own small worlds, which are usually only as big as our mind-sets. And the ...

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The spark that makes #AmanKahani worth it

In June of 2016, I gave interviews and follow-up interviews at what they called a “social corporate enterprise” for my first job, fresh out of college. I was sceptical. I wasn’t sure I wanted to work for a non-profit foundation, even if I got in. But an interview is an interview and you give it your best. That is what I did. Eight months in and I have been working, churning out words as a content developer and wordsmith, to inform people about what the Aman Foundation does in the verticals of health and education. But have I really made any difference? I’m ...

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10 types of medical students you’ll come across in med school

Medical students are a completely different cohort of students. Thought to be among the most studious students throughout the world, they are much more than that. As I complete four years on my journey to become a doctor, I have realised that every medical school has a funny mixture of personalities and that’s what makes the long years of studies more entertaining. The specific traits present in this breed of human beings are unlikely to be found in other students. Here, I present ten types of students commonly found in medical schools. You can choose to love them, love to ...

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An open letter to all stay-at-home women

I always thought women who stayed home were mediocre – that they were either too scared to come out of their comfort zones and face the real world or too lazy to give up on their sleep-TV-eat-sleep routine. I took pride in starting my career at the early age of 19 – I am 29 as I write this. I never took a career break, for my wedding or my first pregnancy, because I thought it was what weak women did; and I was anything but those women. I went to work till the day I sat for my ‘mayun’ and ...

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Are unrealistic expectations ruining the institution of marriage in Pakistan?

It’s wedding season in Pakistan. We all know what that means – our tables are strewn with intricately designed wedding invitations, making us wonder how long each wedding will last. Unfortunately, the time lapse between a wedding and a divorce has shortened, and the number of broken marriages is increasing. Talking about breakups is never easy. Recently, I came across certain figures that stated that from 2015 to 2016, there were record divorce or khula cases in Pakistan. In 2015, in Punjab, 5,000 divorce cases were filed, and thus, 4,500 parted. In 2016, the number had grown to 18,901. Although divorce is allowed in Islam, it ...

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Why is the independence of an unmarried girl perceived as a threat?

Many of us grew up with the eternally single phupho or khala; that’s right, the one that never got married. They all have their reasons and, many a time, they’re respected in their households. Some of them may hold good jobs, spending their well-earned money on their precious nieces and nephews. We seldom see them living their own lives, or making time for themselves outside of their work, and home. We see them as totally dependent on their families, in every facet of their lives. Picture this – her room or space at home is either shared with her parents or a growing child ...

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Are our traffic wardens the only ones who need psychotherapy?

A recent news piece mentioned traffic wardens in Lahore being given psychotherapy sessions in light of their unruly behaviour. It appears to be a good move on the surface, but is it only the traffic wardens who need these sessions? If one makes a list of the most disliked authority figures in Pakistan, it would have traffic wardens at the very top. This is not a phenomenon that is common to a select few – it is much bigger than that. I remember growing up in Lahore, and learning to drive. Every now and then when I would be out with a group of friends (before ...

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