Stories about Urdu

Does the National Action Plan not apply to Pakistani Ahmadis?

A recent report by the Hudson Institute paints a damning portrait of Pakistan as a country where its Ahmadi community is arrested for propagating their faith, has its places of worship destroyed over allegations of blasphemy, has its businesses and products boycotted, and its deceased’s’ graves desecrated with impunity. This is a Pakistan where police officers are frequently complicit to violence against Ahmadis, the school curriculum panders to prejudice, and it feels like every few weeks new names are added to the list of Ahmadis murdered at the hands of misguided psychopaths who are brainwashed and influenced by Pakistan’s irresponsible, vast ...

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If Hindi is a threat to our national and regional languages, what about English?

Doraemon (a Japanese manga anime dubbed in Hindi) is blamed for the corruption of our children’s own language as we continue to speak a mish-mash of Urdu, English and our respective regional languages. Doraemon has risen as the latest target of criticism. This is the time to honour our culture and language and the well-being of our children. It is heart-warming to see that big-shots in the parliament are concerned about the impact of our TV screens on the youngest of their constituents. However, one of their reasons, along with the ensuing public debates, has revealed the entrenched hypocrisy in ...

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So today, I came across a hilarious news item

Scrolling through my newsfeed, I came across a hilarious news item. Amidst the chaos of problems the nation is facing right now, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has chosen the funniest one: ban Doraemon. It has actually become a popular trending hashtag #PTIvsDoraemon. The Japanese cartoon is currently being dubbed in Hindi and has been entertaining our children for around four years. The nation, already starved for entertainment, has found yet another thing to laugh about along with many amusing Twitter reactions to follow. Dear #ImmiBirgade…look for this button in your tv remote and learn to use it, thank you.#PTIvsDoraemon pic.twitter.com/5NCzqBa6CJ — Sheraz Khan ...

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Thari culture, palla fish, Bombay bakery and my meethi journey through rural Sindh

Quiet recently, I joined a small group of close friends on a trip to Tharparkar, Sindh. The three of us reached Karachi by air and went to Hyderabad by road, where two other group members joined us. The five of us started our journey to Tharparkar via Badin. Our first stop was at Mithi, the district headquarters, where we experienced the first taste of hospitality by a Hindu friend’s family, who despite being vegetarians had prepared meat for us with various other delicious vegetables. After enjoying the scrumptious meal, we continued our journey onwards to Nangarparkar. On our way to Nangarparkar we ...

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The newspaper boy

He threw it inside the house and as he cycled forward and heard it land softly on the doormat. Great shot, he thought. There were three streets to go. And the light around him was slowly spreading. He continued. In the street before the last, he slowed down because he was nearing the house filled with flowerpots. Previous shots had broken some pots and invited anger from the owner whose life seemed to be divided into the dozens of pots she had. This time, though, he came near the gate and slowly hooped it inside. The sound of contact with ...

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KGS isn’t perfect but it isn’t quite as bad as you may think either

To some, Karachi Grammar School (KGS) is a name as synonymous with snobby elitism as it is with academic prestige to others. On the one hand, those enrolled in the school make us proud with an impressive list of notable alumni and achievements, in both national and international competitions. The same students also warrant spite for their reputation of being overly westernised, entitled and completely out of touch with the society in which they live. But the question is, how did it get to this? To understand that, we have to go back to colonial India in 1847, when the school was first ...

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Why has Pakistan forgotten about the 2.5 lakh Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh?

A few years ago, I was travelling to Birmingham from London’s Marylebone Station. I sat with an elderly Asian who happened to be a Bangladeshi. During the course of our discussion, the tirade of the Fall of Dhaka came up. He suddenly became defensive, stating that Pakistan never wanted Bangladesh to be part of it from the get go. He began to justify his stance and he went on to mention Allama Iqbal’s blunt ignorance towards Bengali Muslims, whilst defining the territorial limits of free Muslim States, claiming that they would constitute the north-western frontier parts of India. He added that in 1948 when Jinnah, the father of ...

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The problem with Vande Mataram and Hindu nationalism

There is a constant debate of whether Hindutva nationalism has mainstreamed in India or does it remain confined to the right-wing constituencies. Whatever may be the case, the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen MLA Waris Pathan’s suspension, through a unanimous nod, by the Maharashtra Assembly is an indication that there is a thin line between Hindutva nationalism and Indian nationalism. For now, Pathan remains suspended for the entire budget session until April 17, 2016; for exercising his right to not to speak certain things that he didn’t want to say, as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. In the double irony – which seems to have become a hallmark ...

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Why has it become so acceptable to know English but not know Urdu?

“Humne Urdu k saath sautanon wala sulook kara hai aur almiya ye k ye samjhanay k liye bhi aik dusri zubaan ka sahara lena parega.” (We have always treated Urdu as a step-child and the worst part is, in order to fully understand our native language, we seek help from a foreign one.) It hits hard, doesn’t it? Sadly, what we never realise is that language is an art that breathes with those who breathe it. It matters not which language you speak, neither does is matter what your prowess is in the language, but what does matter is the respect any and all languages command. ...

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From Mehdi Hassan to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tanya Wells does renditions like never before

“Music has no boundaries. No matter what language, genre, rhythm, it can always find a way to everyone’s heart.” Watching the English singer Tanya Wells sing the ghazal virtuoso Mehdi Hassan’s ‘Duniya Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein’ while playing the guitar is part of what makes her singing even more soulful and mesmerising. Her voice rose steadily in pitch, along with a distinct sweetness in her voice, which delightfully astonished Pakistan’s music lovers. Her choices of songs ranged from Shahanshah-e-Ghazal Mehdi Hassan’s ‘Rafta Rafta Woh Meri Hasti’ to the ‘King of Qawwali’ Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Man Kunto Maula’ to Nayyara Noor’s ‘Ae Ishq Humain Barbad Na Kar’ to a mash up of Blackstreet’s ‘No ...

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