Stories about children

Why is it so easy to kidnap a child?

Imagine going through an abusive marriage while holding up to be an inspiration to your daughter simultaneously. Imagine your three-year-old daughter, your angel, being kidnapped by your very own husband and taken away to a country across the globe. Imagine doing everything you can in your power to get her back, yet failing at every turn. Imagine living for months without hearing any news of her, without knowing if she’s okay and being taken care of. Imagine her continuously crying profusely for her mother yet you’re unable to hold her in your arms and soothe her. This is what my friend, Nadia ...

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Dear Abba, I’m sorry

Dear Abba, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for crying profusely when you held me in your arms for the first time, and stopped sulking as soon as you kissed my forehead and handed me over to Ammi. I had just opened my eyes in this world, and I was unsure of your love. I was your first son, but somehow was always more connected to Ammi. I’m sorry for the time when you picked a crying me up from my cot, held me in your arms, wearing your crisp, trademark double-pocketed shalwar kameez, early in the morning ready to go to work, and I drenched you ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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This is how American Muslims feel about Trump running for president

As a Pakistani growing up in Pakistan, I grew up watching undignified politicians. That was my norm. I trudged along my childhood, wonder years, idealistic teens and 20s, and jaded adulthood, along the lines accepting politicians to be lacking in persona, dignity and honesty. In essence, consenting to the tragedy of a deceitful and corrupt political system, where accusations and the actuality of rigged elections, killing, bullying and being a thug is a badge of honour – in and out of office.  This is unlike the United States (US), where truthiness is considered essential though political lies are rampant, and selective accountability with the appearance ...

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Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

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Should school administrators be allowed to harass students over non-payment of fees?

While winding up the lesson, the teacher turned towards the clock to check the time – there were 20 minutes remaining. Opting for a pop quiz, he asked everyone to take out a rough sheet of paper. One of the students eagerly did so – for history was her favourite subject – but as she scribbled the answer ‘Treaty of Versailles’ to the question asked by the teacher, she saw terror approaching from the corner of her eyes. She heard the dreaded words, “Please step outside and bring your diary along.” And quietly moved toward the door while all the students stared ...

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I’d wear the burkini over a bikini any day

The women’s rights minister in France, Laurence Rossignol, thinks that burkinis are “profoundly archaic”. Who wouldn’t agree with me, if I said that she is no different than any rigidly religious person who criticises a woman for what she wears. It is a woman’s own choice and no one gets to make that decision for us. I am a Muslim but perhaps not the ‘best’ practising Muslim. Religion usually doesn’t play a very big role in my decisions (fellow Muslims please don’t jump to conclusion for my statement, but I would rather be honest than be a hypocrite!). So anything that I ...

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The words not spoken

He had slept without removing his shoes. His parents watched him as they stood in the doorway. They smiled, went towards him and took off his shoes, one by one, gently, as if each had a life of its own. But his socks were quite moist and his feet felt cold. She looked at her son with concern, but her husband calmly motioned her to sit. Both of them sat as she wiped his feet with her hands and a cloth, and tucked him neatly into a blanket.  She switched the lights off, and as darkness submerged the boy’s room, they returned ...

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Would you buy your children a Malala inspired Bratz doll?

Nothing in our world happens without meaning or impact. In every moment, we absorb different forms of energy from whatever our surroundings hold, especially in the tender stage of childhood. Toys, for one, might simply be seen as objects children play with, but is there a chance that they too have a deeper meaning and effect on the minds and personalities of minors?  Toys also play a part in implementing gender roles – we all have seen little girls playing with dolls, and boys being given toy cars or guns to play with. I, myself, was fond of dolls as a child ...

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If Hindi is a threat to our national and regional languages, what about English?

Doraemon (a Japanese manga anime dubbed in Hindi) is blamed for the corruption of our children’s own language as we continue to speak a mish-mash of Urdu, English and our respective regional languages. Doraemon has risen as the latest target of criticism. This is the time to honour our culture and language and the well-being of our children. It is heart-warming to see that big-shots in the parliament are concerned about the impact of our TV screens on the youngest of their constituents. However, one of their reasons, along with the ensuing public debates, has revealed the entrenched hypocrisy in ...

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