Stories published in September, 2010

The flip side of lynching

The recent trend of Pakistanis lambasting the entire nation for the tragic events that transpired in Sialkot is getting old already. It is true that when public lynching becomes possible, even probable, a country is in a sorry state. It is also true that events such as these should inspire, outrage and force us to question who we have collectively become. Similarly, we need to keep in mind that thanks to the global trend of hating this country and everything to do with it, we are in a position where most Pakistanis have become aware that nobody can help us ...

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Mob rules: Finding a pattern from chaos

What the people of Pakistan are going through right now is unfortunate. We are faced with massive flooding across the country, terrorist attacks and growing public anger. But out of all these, the scariest by far is growing public anger. Flooding and terrorist attacks can potentially be curbed by effective planning and implementation mechanisms. Public anger on the other hand is wild, chaotic and deadly. But as they say there is a pattern even in chaos. Public anger didn’t just suddenly pop up, it has been building for a very long time now and it just reached its tipping point ...

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Spreading the joy

The last week of Ramazan brings thriving business for salons as women line up to prepare for Eid. But as we wait in overcrowded salons for our turn, we forget that those putting in the extra hours, working their magic seemingly tirelessly to bring out the best in us, are also women who would like to prepare for Eid. A couple of days before the festival, when I was waiting for my turn at a salon, I got talking to the women working there. They told me that in the days before Eid, they work 12 to 15 hours a ...

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Aisam: Not just another tennis player

He did not just enter the hall-of-fame in the world’s sports history. He is not just a symbol of hope for a nation starved for a hero in a very long time. I also do not think that his biggest achievement is that he gave a country drenched in floods and smoldering in bomb blasts a reason to cheer and smile. For me, Aisam ul Haq Qureshi is bigger than Federer, Graf and all other celebrities that I have admired in the world of tennis, for a different reason. It’s his inspiring journey to success that a lot of ...

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The problem with Imran Khan’s politics

In Pakistan we, particularly those belonging to relatively more educated and urbanized middle class, have developed this psyche where we find a strange solace in other’s miseries. When the Sialkot lynching occurred, many of us were appalled and shaken by the event and then tried to draw parallels to similar incidences in other countries to bolster our dwindling self esteem. A war of articles started where liberals were described as self loathers and were reminded that such incidences were a norm in other countries. Hence there was no need to worry and be depressed. This was followed by the cricket scandal ...

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Exorcising the feudal

Over the last few weeks, various elements from the MQM have launched a scathing attack on the prevalence of the so-called feudal system in Pakistan. The intent behind this needless  criticism appears extremely idealistic since it has yet again been assumed that an uprising will solve the problems of the impoverished. Moreover, there is a striking dearth of foresight in this scheme that is to preempt the repression caused by the ineffectiveness of the feudal lords. After all, we cannot overlook the fact that “almost half of Pakistan’s GNP and the bulk of its export earnings are derived from the agriculture ...

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The media in our backyard

It was that simple. Chou En-lai knew that he was addressing lonely men, men whose mentalities had been branded with a sense of being outcasts. It cost him nothing to make such a gesture, to speak words of compassion. He offered no programs of industrialization, no long term loans, no mutual defense pacts. To the nations smarting under a sense of inferiority, he tried to cement ties of kinship. Richard Wright, The Color Curtain. These are the words of compassion we direly need from all quarters. The have-nots of this country have become a city within a city, the city ...

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A building for Bhutto: A monumental mistake

Is our leadership foolish or do they simply enjoy poking the nation every now and then? A monument for Benazir would have been a good idea, had there been no floods! As the millions affected by the flood await help and support, our leaders have been going around gathering funds from around the globe. While the initial aid received will help the government support the affected people on an emergency basis, billions of dollars are required to get Pakistan up and running. While we receive international money and continue to ask for more, there was an urgent need to pay our ...

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Aisha: Beauty without brains

My sole purpose of watching Aisha, was to see how Sonam Kapoor who claims to be an avid Jane Austen reader would recreate her master piece ‘Emma’ on the silver screen. Alas! Aisha was no ‘Emma.’ Although it was an adaptation of the book, the film could very well be touted as a desi Sex and the City. Aisha Kapoor (Sonam Kapoor) is the archetypal uptown girl from super rich Delhi. She’s smart,  sassy and devotes her time to animal rights, art exhibitions, polo matches and shopping sprees along with her newly found obsession – matchmaking. The film takes us on ...

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Celebrating Eid with Aisam

Watching Pakistan’s Aisamul-Haq Qureshi almost win the Men’s Doubles Final at the US Open in New York was not a bad way to spend Eid. Throw in a velvety lump of gulab jaman gratis the Bengali uncle at Spice Corner, beaming from behind the counter in an embroidered black kurta; some papery pista-encrusted bakhlava from the toothless Palestinian landlady, her troop of grandchildren hurtling through the building in a jumble of satin and plastic wands; and a cup of spongy ras malai from Curry in a Hurry, served by a waiter in a Jinnah cap with a retro Shahrukh Khan-Madhuri Dixit video playing on the TV – I’d say Eid was downright unforgettable. We hadn’t planned on it. I was expecting ...

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