Remembering Dr Wahidur Rehman: Will tender hearts always be easy targets?

The compassionate souls who put eternity to effect; the nurturing spirits whose influence meets no end, yes, it is a tale as old as time. The enlivening faith in the pursuit ‘teachers are healers of the nation’; they preach to humanity the disciplines of wisdom and intellect, and bestow the power to transform hearts. Not only are they the shapers of society, but they also leave behind a legacy of shared love and life. Teachers have always been greatly revered in every society and with this come the heart-clenching bitter reality of the persecution of remarkable teachers, intellectuals and scientists. Those ...

Read Full Post

Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?

Every day you’ll see tonnes of confessions by India’s dark girls (savli, tan, dusky or whatever you would like to call us in the milder version!) on different opinion blogs where they simply blurt out their deepest frustrations. Some have been rejected by their crush/lover, some were shamed by their potential in-laws, and some were even rejected during interviews only because of their colour. And India is not a racist country? Oh please! ‘Dusky beauty’ is something that my ears have been bombarded with ever since I was a teenager. Yeah, not just beauty but dusky beauty! And this is the reason why most of the ...

Read Full Post

The only nation where Malala Yousafzai is a contentious figure is her own

Of the numerous fault lines that exist in our society, none is as divisive as society’s opinion about Malala Yousafzai. A revered symbol of liberation and women empowerment across the world, sadly the only nation where she is a contentious figure is her own. But why would anyone have a negative opinion about a teenage girl who stood up to the Taliban and even took a bullet for her convictions?  In the following lines, I shall respond to some of the accusations presented against her by her critics. Perhaps the most pervasive sentiment observed is, “why only her”? The argument goes that Pakistan has lost more than 60,000 ...

Read Full Post

Dear Imran Khan, if you want justice for Mashal, then start with your councillor, Arif Mardan

I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan visiting the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known. 1. This morning I condoled with Mashal's family and was moved by their amazing courage and dignity pic.twitter.com/AkZFdqxyIp — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 18, 2017 So congratulations, Mr Imran, you knew that you would offend your coalition partners, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government by openly condemning the brutal murder of the innocent student. Even your chief minister, Pervez Khattak, said that there was no written or verbal proof of him committing blasphemy. ...

Read Full Post

If Beauty and the Beast was based in Pakistan, what would Belle’s fate be?

Oh Disney, you and your goo-goo eyed characters and mush-tacular storylines. Here’s the thing – you can’t fool us. We hail from the land of desis. We know what’s up. Just look at Beauty and the Beast. Unrealistic! We can believe the talking furniture and the enchanted experiments in botany, but as desis, we know exactly how it would have happened if Belle lived down the road from us. Our movie opens: The power of reading Gaston spots Belle running around with a book in her hand. This is one of the best things about a woman getting a degree and involving herself in education – ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to the man I birthed

Last year, I entered the world’s finest and most respected club – motherhood. From then till now, my life has been a real rollercoaster ride. I never imagined my life as a nappy-changing, breastfeeding mother, but doing all this just made me more complete than ever. People had warned me that raising a boy was a different job and it truly is. Giving birth to a boy in a society like ours is a victory itself. The first words you hear after your delivery are,  “Mubarak ho, beta hua hai!” (Congratulations, it’s a son!) Every face around you, from the Dadi to the Nani, glows with the reassurance that ...

Read Full Post

When Cynthia Ritchie exposed Pakistan exactly as every Pakistani has known it for 70 years

It is interesting how there are times when despite your passionate avowals of the virtues of being unbiased and uninvolved, taking sides becomes a moral obligation and a strategic necessity. When you find love on your left and hate on your right, you can no longer be a bystander on the aisle of nonchalance and call yourself righteous. Photo:Sarwar Mushtaq Lies create fear and fear fuels hate. Perhaps clichéd and simplistic, but that is my only explanation for people hating people they have never met or known. With the interminable narrative of fear we are bombarded with day ...

Read Full Post

It is high time we accept that Indians are indeed racist

The government has taken great pains to explain the last few days of turmoil in Greater Noida to the world, with Indians being dubbed “xenophobic and racist”. And it is high time we accept that Indians ARE indeed racist. My experiences with the way we react to Africans and the colour of their skin have led me to believe that we, as a nation, need to change our attitude. I simply cannot erase the memory of the day a few of my older sister’s Kenyan friends were mistreated at my house in Varanasi. Many Kenyans believe India offers the best prospects for education, and those ...

Read Full Post

I was afraid of them

It was during one of my unplanned trips to Kanyakumari that I met Uma Maheshwar. I had boarded the almost empty train at Thiruvananthapuram. I was alone in one of the compartments, dozing. A few women passed through the alleyway wearing thick makeup and pungent perfume, which disturbed my nap. Another woman followed. She stopped and turned towards me. I looked up confused. To my surprise, it was neither she nor he. She begged, clapping, “Give something saar”. The clap they have patented. We consider them incomplete without that clap. I will be honest here. I abhorred them. “Saar, something”. She repeated in Tamil mixed with Malayalam. “Go ...

Read Full Post

Justice Hani: A goodbye to the harbinger of justice

In the year 2007, a 10-year-old boy sat within the stuffy walls of the Hyderabad prison, charged with his father’s murder. One can only imagine his frame of mind as he spent his days therein, surrounded by offenders averaging three times his age and boasting allegedly dark pasts. Little did he know that a surprise visit to the prisons was to shortly change his destiny. Alarmed at the little boy’s presence in what should have been a cell confined to male adults, Justice Amir Hani Muslim immediately ordered for the child’s transfer to the women’s prison alongside his mother, a ...

Read Full Post