Stories about Malala Yousafzai

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 ...

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Asma Jehangir, a force to be reckoned with

Growing up, I was filled with loathing for Asma Jehangir and yet somewhere deep down I had a sense of respect for her, however grudging it may have been. Today, I have come full circle and openly admit having deep and uninhibited respect for her. My dislike for her was primarily caused by her views which portrayed her as ‘anti-Pakistan’ and ‘against’ Islam. But I was way different back then as I used to be a typical product of state-tutored nationalism and considered any criticism of the state as anti-Pakistan. This brand of nationalism, instilled through textbooks and the media, creates deep mistrust of the outside ...

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Belle is beautiful, but just a little too perfect to be completely relatable

“My dear Belle, you’re so ahead of your time. This is a small village, and it’s small-minded, as well. But small also means safe”. Emma Watson radiates positivity as Belle in her new movie Beauty and the Beast. This 2017 remake of an 18th century French folk-tale manages to maintain the familiarity of the story while also paying attention to modern progressive thought. Due to her strong feminist values and natural elegance, Watson is an effortlessly perfect Belle. As a Brown University graduate, Watson is an intellectual with a passion for reading and learning and is known for her work in ...

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#ETBlogsPicks 21 amazing women this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, let’s remind our little girls that it’s not about being princesses, and damsels in distress. Let’s tell them instead that they should foster to be literary legends, doctors, lawyers, painters, and dreamers. Let’s teach them to be believers in themselves as opposed to believers in happily ever afters. And to show them how they can achieve their dreams, we will show them all the beautiful, inspirational women Pakistan has: Today, we want to honour the following ...

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I made 44 friends in Kenya’s prisons and they taught me more than I taught them

When I arrived in Nairobi on New Year’s Eve in 2015, I didn’t know what to expect. A city I had never visited before or had any familiarity to was going to be my home for a year. Its people, unpredictable weather, public transportation and food were all very foreign to me. All I knew was that I had come to teach law in Kenya’s prisons. This was a bit much for my family to process who were in denial of my endeavours until the night they bade me farewell at the airport. I had never even stepped into a ...

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Why are our advertisements advertising stereotypes and not the product?

Just recently, whilst watching a talk show on a news channel, I came across something horrific. Don’t worry, I am not delivering horrible news, we have plenty of news channels to do that already. It was just an advertisement for washing powder. What was wrong with it, you ask? Take a look and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So the advertisement, like all ads, aims to sell a product. However, the way they’re trying to sell it isn’t all that ordinary. It starts off with two women chatting: “Aray aaj kal ki larkian karti hi kya hain… yeh machine chalati ...

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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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Aziz Ansari: Why Trump makes me scared for my family

“DON’T go anywhere near a mosque,” I told my mother. “Do all your prayer at home. Okay?” “We’re not going,” she replied. I am the son of Muslim immigrants. As I sent that text, in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Orlando, Fla., I realised how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped. Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think “Muslim,” the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left ...

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Will we ever be able to fill in the gaps in Pakistan’s social fabric?

A recent poll done by BBC World Service, found that people are more likely than ever to identify as ‘global citizens’. According to Globescan, which conducted the poll and interviewed more than 20,000 people, over 56 per cent of Pakistanis identify as global citizens. While 27 per cent identify as Pakistanis first, and 43 per cent say their religion comes before their nationality. Is the nation failing its citizens or has globalisation made borders so meaningless that people need new political orders to anchor them? Or is it just stating the obvious; Muslims are always Muslims first, nationals second? The caliphates ...

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‘Gurus’ like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev are a bad influence on society

Spirituality is no guarantee of salvation; it does not make you immune to the ordinariness of life. The yellow garb or white robe does not lift you from your prejudices and pettiness. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev, the popular spiritual gurus of India with a large following have proved this point. Their conduct establishes how they have made spirituality a business, a resource that is exploited to get closer to political power. They use their support base as a constituency to strike a bargain with the ruling class and indulge in political brinkmanship. A spiritual guru is normally silent and maintains ...

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