Stories about class divide

Hindi Medium: When Pakistan and India come together to shatter class barriers

I always knew Saba Qamar was good, but this good? She is going ‘toe-to-toe with Irrfan Khan and still holding her own version of good. Pakistani diva’s Bollywood debut Hindi Medium’s official trailer has just dropped and it’s safe to say that we are all highly impressed. The great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said, “A different language is a different vision of life.” While his statement might ring true anywhere on God’s green earth, but in our part of the world, it reaches gospel status. Photo: Screenshot Photo: Screenshot Being in a country where multiple languages are spoken, ...

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Pakistanis open their wallets in Ramazan, but do they open their hearts?

Ramazan – the month of giving. As one of the world’s most charitable nations, and with the desire to earn an even higher reward than other months, Pakistanis open their hearts and wallets in Ramazan. The same holds true for Muslims all over the world. This is heart-warming and wonderful, but with just one exception. Somehow, somewhere, we have made this “giving” a justification for extravagance, excessive spending, and consequent showing off. The common understanding is that if I am giving my prescribed percentage of Zakat, and also a bit of additional charity, it justifies any amount of money that ...

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The confused case of a ‘liberal’ Pakistani

As the claws of fanaticism have dug deeper in our skin during the last one decade, a parallel phenomenon has taken place among some sections of Pakistan’s urban youth – a shift towards liberalism. In the simplest of terms, the components of liberalism fly the flag of equality and freedom. The whole concept revolves around civil liberties and rights. To a huge chunk sick of conservatism, liberals provide a platform that enables social change and political reform. Not a bad idea looking at the current state of bomb-wrapped, blood-spluttering affairs in Pakistan. What is the problem then? The problem is the foundation of ...

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Humans of poverty

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. “Hello, I have this page, where I take pictures of people and share something about them, a thought, a quote, an opinion, an anecdote, whatever you are willing to offer.” “Okay, so…” “So can I take a picture and ask you a question?” “Sure, go ahead, but make it quick.” “Cool… hmm… so I was wondering, what is your saddest memory?” “Haha, I see you are pretty clever for your age. You know which will sell more – and a eunuch’s saddest memory will definitely have more depth to it than any happy moments, ...

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Prince Faisal’s visit to Pakistan

“I have not come here for any sort of deal with regards to the former president, Pervez Musharraf,” Prince Faisal declared to the media. He was sick and tired of these countless questions about his supposed involvement to get Musharraf out. He simply did not care – he wasn’t even sure why he was in this godforsaken country. The king and some advisors had decided that he had to go, and so he was here, just a man who was going to shake some hands, smile to the cameras, have some whiskey and go back. Even the two days he had to ...

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Rich people, doing rich things in poor Pakistan

It has been 65 years since Pakistan’s independence. During this period, Pakistan has seen a lot of transition. From Ayub Khan’s industrialisation to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s socialisation, to Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation to Musharraf’s enlightened moderation and war on terror, we have had our fair share of ideologies and doctrines. Being a 22-year-old, average Pakistani guy who hasn’t seen most of these periodic transitions, I can naively (and safely) assume one similarity between all of them – the class divide in our society has remained unchanged throughout these six and a half decades. Every now and then I come across drawing room discussions where people, ...

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Cambridge International Examinations: Not Pakistani, so it must be good

I remember when my anxiety towards an impending CIE A level examination superseded the boundaries of personal interest and assumed a political nature. Disappointed with the B in my Chemistry mock exam, I turned to my teacher for further evaluation. Instead of relieving me of my worries, the response I received gave way to a wide array of concerns. “Come on, how many past papers did you guys really do? You can’t expect an A without having done enough past papers!” I began to notice, with increasing clarity, how much emphasis our teachers put upon the internalisation of what I call the CIE ...

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Why sending bureaucrats’ kids to govt schools won’t work

Would forcing government servants to send their children to public schools help improve the quality of education? While such a populist measure seems well intentioned and simple enough, it betrays our continued ignorance of how education works or at least how it should work. Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that state schools need to be expanded and improved. I believe that schools should be palaces. However, the factors that contribute most to improving the quality of education, measured in terms of examination performance include, the quality of teachers, supportive parents and the financial standing of the student’s household. In ...

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What kind of Pakistani life do you lead?

Hello everyone, long time no see! I’ve been mulling over all that has been happening in Pakistan over the last year and it got me to thinking, its about time I tried my hand at writing a quiz a little more all-encompassing than the Desi elite political identity quiz (though do take that if you haven’t already). The big question: what kind of Pakistani life do you lead, should hopefully provide you with some perspective on whether things are looking up (or down) for you, not to mention give you bragging rights with your peers. Keep score, keep calm and leave your results ...

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Lawn is (literally) the latest rage

We love being angry don’t we? As a nation, Pakistanis are most certainly good at one thing: criticizing. I’m not saying that is a bad thing. It’s good to have an opinion, but we should know where to draw the line. Being enraged about the violation of human rights by Maya Khan in her morning show was great. We showed her that civil society is sensible and very active. However, when my Twitter and Facebook were flooded with angry comments about the latest Sana Safinaz advertising campaign last night, I had to see what the ‘poor’ brand had done to deserve ...

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