Stories published in August, 2010

Only in Bollywood…

1) Irrational nomenclature – Bollywood: Named in pursuance of the oh-so-holy Hollywood the word was coined after Indian film capital Bombay, but since the city is now called Mumbai why not call it Mulliwood? 2) Aal iz well: Bollywood propagates the idea that India is filled with unlimited wealth which is utter nonsense. If you go beyond the movie sets and the candy flossed frames you will discover just how unglamorous life in shining India is. 3) The quanitity: The industry produces bad movies without any regret and displays an eagerness to make hopeless movies repeatedly. 4) The family business: Bollywood should be known as a monarchy since it is ruled and fought over like a royal’s heir battle for the throne. There ...

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Bowling with teeth

For genuine connoisseurs of pace bowling, Pakistan’s tour of England has not only been resuscitating or made for compelling, if not compulsive, viewing but, in its own unassuming manner, it has also been reassuring, given all the public concerns about fast bowlers turning into no less than “dinosaurs” or “dodos.” All three pace batteries, Australia included, have displayed an acute sense of skill, class and discipline, which underscores the very essence of fast bowling, and made for a healthy distraction from events in Sri Lanka, where getting 20 wickets against two top batting line-ups was seemingly unachievable. The context of ...

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A media man in a relief camp

They say guilt is absent when an act is justified. Today I felt guilty because I could not justify sipping branded bottled water as our car moved some kilometers beyond Khan Garh. People from this fertile land were without any kind of drinking water as we were asked to halt by army personnel on the roadside. Thanks to cable TV, these apparently uneducated folk have a good idea of what the electronic media can do these days. They tell me to talk about them. All they want me to do is talk about them. They want me to tell the world that they lost everything. They want us to know that ...

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Mob violence and channelling anger

Anger is a gift. It is a feeling related to one’s perception of having been offended or wronged, and there is a tendency to correct that wrongdoing with retaliation. It is also a gift because it signifies restlessness and a will to change things. It’s a good thing we are an angry nation because it shows that we aren’t as complacent as we like to believe, and we are not satisfied with our current state of affairs. We are people who feel wronged and we want that to change. But first, we need to learn a thing or two about expressing ...

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Is Facebook to be blamed for 1 in 5 divorces?

Some clerics would say yes. Those who believe Facebook is sinful are likely to be against internet, gender mixing, music and a lot more because these may inspire a person to commit sin. Like any other social media platform, Facebook hosts a wide range of users, some looking for intellectual stimulation, and some others looking to seek companionship. One has to be no less careful with Facebook friends than with next-door neighbors, perhaps more so given the 500 million active users that it boasts. Earlier ths year, rumors about a religious ruling against Facebook went viral. A known figure from Al Azhar, ...

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My teacher taught me how to hate

It is a myth that extremist Islamic ideology which is used to fuel conspiracy theories is only a threat to the desperately impoverished. The country’s tendency to believe in xenophobic conspiracy theories cuts across the classes, advocated by perfectly ‘normal’ middle-class actors. Underneath the western façade of designer denims and a sporting British education, there exists a generation confused, suspicious of democracy, resentful of the West, and guilty for their inability to dedicate themselves to Pakistan’s ascetic version of Islam. The ‘new’ Islam The country’s imagination is arrested by pointed fingers. Every problem has a foreign enemy and every solution bans the ...

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‘Justice must prevail’

The Arts Council Karachi collaborated with volunteers from the Voice of the Civil Society (VOTCS) to hold a protest against the brutal killing of Hafiz Mughees and Muneeb Sajjad from Sialkot. The gathering By 3.00 pm, a crowd of about 200 protestors had assembled in the garden at the Arts Council entrance, and despite the heat and mid-ramazan fatigue, the assembly’s zeal was palpable. The place was dotted with students, fashionistas, educationalists and TV personalities, brandishing posters and banners inscribed with slogans for justice, and black arm bands to signify their unyielding disapproval of the tragic incident. Enter Bushra Ansari Veteran TV personality and ...

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When in America, do as Americans don’t

I was spring-cleaning my laptop a few days ago when I came across these two pictures. Normally, I wouldn’t have even noticed them buried in virtual stack loads on my hard drive, the blessing and bane of digital photography. But my general sense of awareness about “culture” and “identity” somewhat heightened of late, I paused to look, and was struck by the utter incongruity of it all. Not just the photographs, but of myself – in Pakistan, an English-sprouting, skinny-jean-wearing junk-food-eating, American Idol-watching “Westerner”, and in America, a jingly, jangly, Urdu-priding, chai-chugging, public transport-taking “Pakistani”. I moved to California from ...

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Don’t put a label on it

Islamic centre or mosque? Obama, Muslim or Christian? Flood aid, Indian or not? Why exactly does it matter? In the twenty-first century, labels still define us and somehow they seem to be more important than the ‘bigger picture’. As individual groups, Muslims and Pakistanis have allowed labels to divide themselves, creating disunity which allows for instability. In the case of Pakistanis, a society that acts so quickly and effectively to help fellow citizens in a time of crisis, it doesn’t make sense that Pakistanis would let labels divide themselves to the extent that they have. Pakistanis have a multi-layered and faceted society, and ...

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Democracy in Pakistan: Keeping the faith

Everyone is criticising democracy and ‘corrupt politicians’. From the media to those who are part of the so-called corrupt government and people in the opposition, everyone wants ‘sincere military generals to save the country from the corrupt politicians’. I have heard some people argue that the people of Pakistan are not ready for democracy and only a dictator can handle this mob of ‘illiterate and unorganised people’. I agree with the MQM, Imran Khan and Pir Sahib Pagaro. The present government is corrupt. It is not following democratic norms. Governance is not visible. Prices are rising by the day. Thousands daily ...

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