Stories about immigrants

The Big Sick: An apt portrayal of Pakistan-US stuck in a culture clash

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani began stand-up comedy in 2009 and quickly rose to fame as one of the funniest comedians in the business. His success with stand-up led to small roles at first, but soon enough he landed his own live-comedy show The Meltdown with comedian Jonah Ray on Comedy Central. It was quickly followed by a starring role on one of the most hilarious Home Box Office (HBO) comedy series, Silicon Valley. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017). PHOTO: IMDb Nanjiani is perhaps still best known for his role as the Pakistani software-engineer, Dinesh Chughtai on Silicon Valley. That is most likely going to change with the release of ...

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It’s time we stopped turning a blind eye to the racism and xenophobia that exists in Canada

I consider myself a very proud Canadian. I do. I love Canada with all my heart and soul, as utterly clichéd as that may sound. When my parents were thinking of immigrating ‘abroad’ – we lived in Saudi Arabia at that time – they kept insisting that we move to Canada. And they didn’t have a valid reason for it either; they just wanted us to move here, because everyone else they knew was immigrating in flocks to the United States. I guess they knew, in their hearts, that Canada was the better option. And it was; well, for ...

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Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar: A tribute to our lonely wanderers

The outlook of the working class around the globe and Pakistan in particular has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. People are coming out from the comfort of their home towns and moving to bigger cities and foreign countries for jobs and education. But this comes at a cost; a large number of these people have to stay away from their families and friends for extended periods of time, and that changes a lot of things; from their personality to their lifestyle. Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar (I Often Sit on the Soil) is a narration of such lives, something most the ...

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Why Modi is as bad as Trump

We are living in extremely dangerous times. Many of you would imagine I am referring to the election of Donald Trump, a xenophobic, misogynist, white supremacist, “nasty” man as the US president. I am not. I am referring to an even more terrifying phenomenon; which is our willing suspension of disbelief in election times. This is the very phenomenon which enables evident liars, of the ranks of Trump and back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and team, to work up crowds with promises that any sane man would know are hoax, and get elected to office. And still worse, defeat the right ...

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France had every right to ban the burkini – Their country, their rules

Women and their clothing have long been a matter of contention in society. Men have always regarded the female body as a symbol of social honour and have sought to control the way women dress and the way they carry themselves. In the modern era, it is only in the last half century or so that women have really been able to get some measure of control over their own choices, and that too only in some parts of the world. In most societies, the patriarchal order still dominates. It has been a long and hard fought struggle for women to break free from the patriarchal stranglehold ...

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Pakistan and India: Friends abroad always, enemies at home always always

As someone who had been raised in the United States by Pakistani immigrants, I have always found it difficult to fathom the animosity between Pakistanis and Indians living in South Asia. All the aspects of life that bring the two groups together – from music and food, to values and mannerisms – get clouded out by the venomous politics between the countries’ governments. During this time of celebration for the 69th year of independence of Pakistan and India, I strongly believe that the only way forward is for the citizens of both these countries to recognise their shared experiences ...

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Pakistan and India should celebrate independence from the British – not from each other

Sometime back I ran into an elderly man at work. Since I live in an area of Canada that is densely populated with immigrants from Indian Punjab, I knew the gentleman was from India. After I was done helping him out, he looked at my name-tag and asked me what part of India I was from. I told him I was from Pakistan, not India. A wide smile appeared on his face, and he asked me what city of Pakistan I belonged to. After I mentioned that I was from Lahore, his smile grew even wider as he got teary-eyed. ...

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Brexit’s stunning coup

The decision of British voters in Thursday’s referendum to leave the European Union will have vast consequences for Britain, for Europe and for the world. For a day, the British people were the government, and by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, they took the decision to go. I was a British prime minister who believed completely that Britain’s future lay in Europe. I was the prime minister responsible for legislating substantial self-rule in Scotland so that it would remain part of the United Kingdom. I negotiated the Good Friday Agreement so that Northern Ireland could be at peace within ...

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Did we make Omar Mateen a self-hating gay man?

What happened in Orlando is a terrible tragedy. Innocent people were massacred and now the blame game begins, with accusations and counter accusations, but some serious soul searching needs to be done by several groups. While the gun lobby is relieved that the shooter wasn’t a white right wing, gay hating, fringe extremist, it is relevant that he had licensed weapons, despite being on the FBI radar. America must question the ease with which it allows people to access such lethal weapons. Is the right to bear arms still relevant in this day and age of dialling 911 and proactive ...

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The Year of the Runaways will be remembered in the years to come

Sunjeev Sahota’s second novel, The Year of the Runaways, is a rare piece of literature that has been lucky enough to receive timely praise. Eliciting a largely positive reception, it has been called one of the best novels of the past year and was also shortlisted for the Booker prize. Photo: AFP At the heart of the book are the claustrophobic and morose lives of three Indian immigrants and a British-Indian girl. The three men, Tochi, Avtar and Randeep share a congested and ramshackle house in Sheffield along with a hoard of other migrant workers. Although Randeep’s wife, Narinder, is the ...

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