Stories about Urdu

Really Pakistan? Haya Day on Valentine’s Day?

It’s that time of the year again. Women are anxious and men are distraught; the day when every guy and girl sitting together are stared at suspiciously; the day when people are edgier than usual; the day you are confused about how to celebrate this day because it also happen to be the day students fear being seen in public with someone from the opposite gender because of the ‘consequences’. While the world celebrates Valentine’s Day today, the students at the University of Karachi are celebrating something different. These students have given various names to this day, including Hijab Day, Haya Day and ...

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I thought he was a beggar-child…

I was deep in my thoughts, standing at the railway station, when a slight tug on my shirt startled me. Averting my gaze towards the source of the tug, I saw a child. A sense of pity washed over; I took out some money from my pocket and tried to give it to the child, but he refused to take it. Feeling even more empathetic towards him, I gently took his small palm into my hands and placed the money there. Suddenly, a man came rushing towards us, “He is not a beggar! You look smart enough to know that!” he ...

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Noor Jehan: The undisputed queen of melody

Today is the 14th death anniversary of Malika-e-Tarannum Madam Noor Jehan. Yes, it’s been 14 long years since South Asia’s queen of melody left us all, after she suffered from a prolonged ailment, at the age of 74. Famous for her silken saris, bold eye make-up, unique hairstyles and glittering diamonds, Noor Jehan’s melodious voice touched millions and created a matchless blend of vocal gestures and emotional expressions, which interpreted feelings in a very surreal way. A legendary singer, all her musical performances have a distinct manipulation and creation of vocal articulation, all done according to the standards of style and genre of every ...

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Kids will be kids: Why Bilawal Bhutto failed to deliver

The much awaited and highly publicised Bilawal Bhutto rally in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Karachi, on October 18, 2014, occurred on time but fell greatly short of the mark, considering it was the launch of Bilawal’s political career. Needless to say, it failed to deliver the punch as the grand coronation of the next Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, the son of Benazir Bhutto and the grandson of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB). Besides the tens and thousands of Pakistanis who had been squeezed out from the internal nooks and crannies of Sindh to lend credence to the ‘Bhutto power’ and the 13 containers that had been joined together to ...

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Baby Bhutto, the Kashmir issue is way out of your league

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has spoken. “I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan.” This statement has evoked serious backlash from the Indian side and has made him a butt of jokes in both Pakistan and India. The statement was disturbing on many levels. It came at a time when the “political intern” was visiting flood affected areas and was, ironically, asking all political parties to set aside their differences and work in unison for the flood victims. By mentioning Kashmir out of the blue, he contradicted his own agenda ...

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Will Muhammad Shoaib Adil be convicted for blasphemy or will the state save him?

“The clerics tried to attack me at my office and later at the race course police station. The police were very supportive and didn’t let them touch me. Later, they surrounded the race course police station and tried to pressurise the police. Luckily, some of my friends came to my aid and they did whatever they could to make sure I get out of police station safely.” He was freed from the police station in the wee hours of night, when the angry mob had dispersed. That day his life changed and he went into hiding along with his family. ...

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Here is why I chose Habib University

Every student stepping out of high school faces a dilemma: which university should they choose for further studies? Recently, a major investment has been made to establish Habib University. This university is a progressive educational institution that has incorporated state-of-the-art facilities along with learned faculty members. This university became my choice and here is why: The faculty Many universities in Pakistan have faculty members from foreign countries but very few are committed to undergraduate research and service inside and outside the campus community. This holds true for Pakistani teachers as well. A majority of the faculty members at Habib University are middle-aged or younger; this just ...

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Manto: A realist par excellence

Saadat Hassan Manto (1912-1955) is a name synonymous in the annals of Urdu literature. Considered among the greatest contemporary Urdu short story writers of the 20th century, he has left a legacy that stretches far and wide. Manto’s greatest gift was his ability to depict the reality of society with such ease that he would leave the reader mesmerised and in utter awe. His attention to minor details and his signature style of description was second to none. Manto was a realist and a puritan who hated hypocrisy in every given way. Manto was a household name for me, virtue of my mother being his daughter. The ...

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Noor of Bihar

“Babu jee, India is so enormous. Mumbai, Agra, Delhi and Bihar are unfathomable in size. Either you take one step or accomplish a hundred, it will take 10 years to traverse from one end of the country to another,” she assured me in her mellifluous Bihari tone. As the fan overhead continued its eternal hymn, Nani (maternal grandmother) shouted in distaste, “Huh, you have seen India, my foot! Woman of no worth,” she shouted out, as mother and I looked at each other, exchanging mental notes on how to manage Nani’s incorrigible distrust of domestic helpers. Nani suffered from a cancerous tumour ...

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Am I a ‘ganwaar’ if I speak in Punjabi?

Over the last few weeks, I have been meeting children from different parts of Punjab. They ranged in age between three and five years and included children of my friends and extended family. I was pleasantly surprised to hear these kids speaking in Punjabi. Some of the phrases that I recall hearing them use are, “Kithay chalay o?” (Where are you off to?) “Aa ki aey?” (What is this?) “Ki karde paye o?” (What are you doing?) Punjabi is the most widely spoken language across Pakistan. However, from what I have seen, most of the people in Punjab – especially those living in the urban centres – do ...

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