Stories about The Guardian

Did India just say it banned Lipstick Under My Burkha because it was too “lady oriented”? Seriously?

The deliberate silencing of women’s voices is a universal phenomenon; only the extent of it differs in different parts of the world. In a country like India, where women face a multitude of challenges, a desperate re-writing of the dominant male-centric narrative is required. And what better medium in India than the film industry to challenge the dominant narrative? This is what Prakash Jha thought when he set out to produce his latest movie, Lipstick Under My Burkha. The film is a sexual comedy, revolving around four independent women who, tired of being shackled to misogynistic norms, decide to break ...

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Can Pakistan ever be a minority-friendly country?

Both January 11th news items were almost conjoined. Or like reading the mirror-written ecnalubma (mirror image of the word ‘ambulance’ written in front of ambulances) and getting it right as ambulance in the rear-view mirror. The Guardian carried a report, titled ‘Christians in India increasingly under attack, study shows’, in which Pakistan ranks fourth on the list of the 50 countries where persecution is worst for Christians. APP reported that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached out to minorities in a speech at the sacred 900-year-old Katas Raj Hindu temples in Pakistan where he said: “The day is not far when Pakistan ...

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Why is the Bangladeshi or Indian narrative the only acceptable narrative for 1971?

The year 2016 is ending on a somewhat positive note for Pakistan with a lower number of terror-related casualties compared to 2015. Yet there is one date that always affects Pakistanis aware of the 1971 partition of East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. That date is the December 16th. December 16th is marked as Victory Day in Bangladesh, signifying not only its independence from West Pakistan (now Pakistan), but also its apparent victory over the Pakistani military. On this day every year, social media, not only in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in neighbouring India is abuzz with different narratives, opinions, and sentiments. #16December A historical day for India, the Day ...

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Does the on-going Kashmir “movement” lack a plan of action?

In Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail?, an article published in the New York Times last year, Ivan Krastev couches his set of arguments in a thought-provoking manner by referring to history. He writes that, immediately after the 1851 Paris coup by Napoleon, some of the greatest political minds from Europe, including Karl Marx (a communist), Pierre Joseph Proudhon (an anarchist), Victor Hugo (a romantic), Alexis de Tocqueville and Walter Bagehot (the liberals) hustled to their reading rooms to understand the Paris coup and draw philosophical conclusions out of such events. To quote Ivan, “Their interpretations of the coup were as different ...

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Will America be able to bounce back from such a venomous presidential campaign?

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, now has to make ‘America Great Again’. The ‘what’ is clear, the ‘how’ has yet to come and much hinges on his ability to “bind the wounds” as he said in his victory speech. Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire on November 6th, Hillary Clinton had already said that Americans must choose between “division and unity”. On November 8th, The Daily Telegraph called it the “…most divisive election in history” and The Guardian the “… most divisive campaign in memory.” So now the winner has just over two months to ensure ...

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Five of my uncles were shot in the Nazimabad attacks

You never think it’s going to happen to you… until it does. Just over a week ago, I was in a queue with my four-year-old son. We were waiting for a train ride around the park near my parents’ house when I received a phone call from my mum. It was the phone call that nobody ever wants to receive; the phone call that informs you of tragedy at home. Five of my maternal uncles had been shot in Nazimabad, Pakistan. We weren’t sure who was alive at that point, but as we took to Twitter, the true reality of the horror was ...

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Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

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Of dirty politics, Cyril Almeida, Lal Masjid and Asia Bibi

The Supreme Court’s adjournment of Asia Bibi’s final hearing, the Lal Masjid warning of dire consequences of her release and Cyril Almeida, Dawn’s prominent columnist and purported inheritor of Ardeshir Cowasjee’s mantle, figuring on the Exit Control List, have all converged to test Pakistan’s status as a civil society based on the rule of law, equal protection of minorities, free speech and an independent press. The issue of Asia Bibi has no doubt inserted the government of Pakistan between a rock and a hard place, but it is precisely from where the present government can emerge with credibility or merely ...

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10 Alan Rickman moments I can never forget

Alan Rickman, the actor who played an array of eccentric roles in different cinematic visuals bid farewell to the world, and parted from his fans, on January 14, 2016. Rickman, who died at the age of 69, was suffering from cancer. The veteran actor was recently well-known for his role of the villain, Severus Snape in the films based on JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Today, however, I would like to remember him as Alan Rickman, on and off-screen. Here are my top 10 Alan Rickman moments:  10. Charity work and politics Alan Rickman was a supporter of multiple charities and ...

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Why does the world continue to ignore these roots of Islamic extremism?

The ghastly terrorist attacks in Paris have once again put Islamic extremism under the microscope. Similarly to all religions, Islam is like a stream of water, available to anyone to drink from. Out of the two billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority draws from this stream uneventfully, living out peaceful lives. There is, however, a corrupt and hateful minority, drinking from an infected portion of the stream because it suits their world view. This infected stream has been allowed to flow for over half a century in the modern era, because confronting it would result in painful and costly soul searching ...

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