Stories about education

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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Is having ‘brown’ skin, in Australia, a crime?

Ali, 26, was lying unconscious on the concrete footpath outside a busy train station on King’s Street, Sydney. His mouth was bleeding profusely and his eyes were bruised and swollen, while his friends made frantic phone calls to the police and emergency services. Within 10 minutes, the police and paramedics were at the scene, applying first aid. As he regained consciousness and looked around, he realised that his attacker had fled the scene and he was surrounded by the emergency staff. Before this incident happened that day, Ali was partying with friends on a Friday night on King’s Street – the party hub of ...

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An open letter to Imran Khan

Respected Sir, Of all the leaders in the Pakistan today, we see you as having one thing in common with Quaid-e-Azam; purity in intention. We don’t want Quaid-e-Azam’s image to be a mere wall hanging, but a symbol of the true ‘Azadi’ that he and our ancestors strived for. The freedom they intended to gain encompasses all that we Pakistanis need today. And this is enough for us to believe, once again, in faith, discipline and unity; the three roads that together will not only lead to the rebirth of a country, but a nation: Pakistan. The Quaid did not overrule his decisions based on the overpowering ...

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Congratulations, Pakistan

The 16th Annual All Pakistan Inter-University Bilingual Declamation Contest for the Allama Iqbal Shield award concluded on April 29, 2014. It is an annual exercise that the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) conducts, in order to promote a better understanding of socio-economic and political issues, critical thinking and communication skills among under and post-graduate students. The contest comprises three rounds. Students from various departments within a university compete in the first round. One top scorer from each university qualifies for the second round, where students from various institutions within an administrative division compete. In the third round, three top scorers (Urdu ...

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Is my tax money funding your political advertisement?

Open any newspaper and you’ll find government advertisements – be it provincial or federal – flashing their on-going or upcoming projects. The best term I could come up with for this exercise of self-promotion is ‘political advertising’, meant for boosting a politician’s profile or a junior level politician behaving like a sycophant for his party boss. The phenomenon cuts through all political parties and ideologies, and affects all forms of media, print or electronic. Such adverts are often used to serve party politics rather than public policy. The incumbent government spends the most on such commercials, which explains why the government’s budget for advertising is ...

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Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

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Happy Birthday, Malala

In a recent social media diatribe (the ones where everyone’s faith is fired up or as a friend once put it, ‘angrily typing curses and calls for Jihad from their mothers’ basements in Bradford’, and anyone against these noble agendas is a spawn of the devil), an old friend descended to defend the ‘good Taliban’, opposing drone strikes and how liberalisation is ruining Pakistani people. It’s almost mathematical; the kind of arguments that pile up in this side of the spectrum. Aafia Siddiqui is the daughter of the nation. Kashmir is ours. Taliban don’t really exist – it’s all a smokescreen because America wants to ...

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Don’t Christians in Pakistan deserve a church?

This Good Friday, on April 18, 2014, I met a wonderful Christian housewife named Seema, in Lassori. Christians make up 1.6% of Pakistan’s population, and have been serving in every profession. Seema explained that for the last 60 years, 58 Christians have been working as farm labourers in Lassori Tobatake Singh. She and her husband, Allah Ditta, work in the fields and own two goats and a cow. She explained that the entire street comprised of 40 houses on each side and that all the residents present were Christians. Her parents had migrated during the British colonial rule, when the latter allotted ...

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Karachi Board of Education: What happened to the sanctity of honest earnings?

Recently, I had to pay a visit to the Karachi Intermediate Board of Education in North Nazimabad because I had lost my original Intermediate admit and enrolment card, without which my Intermediate Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) could not be issued. In other words, I knew that I was bound to suffer that day at the hands of inept and inconsiderate government workers. I took a day off from work to run my errand and headed towards the Karachi Board Office, where numerous students were sitting on the side-path, waiting for the administration office to open. Apparently, mornings at the Karachi Board ...

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Why Malala is not a western puppet

I have always heard about how summer days and winter nights are exceptionally long in Norway. However, it was not until I visited the Scandinavian country myself that I understood the magnitude of their duration. A beautiful country on the whole, the drastic differences in the lengths of its days, as compared to Pakistan, took me a while to adjust myself over there. I was invited by the 14 August Committee to visit Oslo and meet Malala Yousafzai, who was also visiting the city at the time. When we reached the Oslo international airport, the other committee members and I were told to wait ...

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