Stories published in February, 2011

Pakistan’s inexperienced batsmen: Experiment is not an option

The 10th edition of cricket’s grandiose event has now kicked off and marked the entrance into a territory where experimentation does not remain a viable option anymore. Pakistan, on many occasions, have stumbled across this dangerous strategy of constantly changing their strategy, batting line-ups and playing-elevens. Those days should now be over. At this point, the team management, captain and coach should understand the fact that open-ended plans, loosely defined batting line-ups and playing-eleven will only hurt the team’s prospects. If Pakistan have any chance of a successful campaign, it lies in consistency and not experimentation. The team should be well acquainted ...

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The truth behind the Basant ruling

The Basant prohibition has been explained officially in terms of foul play by kite flyers who use metallic wire or coat their twine with such preparations that it becomes fatal for the people in the streets who happen to get it on their throats. But the real reason is the clerics’ hatred of the festivity. They campaigned against it calling it a Hindu festival and a pagan ritual. The Muslims, they insisted, must be barred from it. It was on account of this campaign that the prohibition was proclaimed. Hindus revere and worship everything in nature. To them, the stars, the ...

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Should we report aerial firing in basant?

If I had a brother or even a close relative, who enjoyed aerial firing, especially during weddings or birthdays, I honestly doubt that I would ever report them to the police for a measly Rs5,000. Activities such as kite-flying and aerial firing, particularly amongst the youth, have to be dealt with through a stronger hand. Basant, a festival for which kite-flying is an essential aspect, is especially prevalent in Punjab. Kite-flying there is not only to entertain the masses, it is part of a much larger tradition that resonates heavily in the region. That’s my point — tradition, much like a habit, ...

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Are we pointlessly Pakistani?

Globalisation is overdone. The role of the internet in our lives, is just as worse. Here we were scratching our heads over an idea for my computer project. The problem was that I had no topic restrictions. At least when something is assigned, you can complain and mope and call your teacher whatever you feel like for thinking up such a dismal topic. But then, at least you’re in the same boat as the 30 other people in your class. Picking out your own topic, however, calls into question your own creative and intellectual capabilities. That is a terrifying prospect. ...

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Cricket madness: India’s media frenzy

The ICC World Cup 2011 is just around the corner and the hysteria has already kicked in. Issues of the grounds and change in certain venues haven’t dampened the spirit in a country where cricket is close to being religion. With a Rs1.2 billion insurance cover to an estimated Rs6.3 billion of betting money riding on this game, this year the mania is a little different from the previous years. Undoubtedly, India is being counted as one of the hot favourites to win the World Cup. After the 2003 team led by Saurav Ganguly, this team captained by M S Dhoni ...

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Fauzia Wahab: Removed for having an opinion?

The Pakistan Peoples Party government is facing pressure from all fronts. The core issue seems to be the Raymond Davis case and the pressure from the US to release him on diplomatic grounds, paired with the pressure from the local media and a large segment of society that he should pay for his actions. But another thing the PPP is facing is embarrassment. The cause of this embarrassment is a seeming lack of ability to control what some call ‘loose cannons’ or are they simply people who have an opinion of their own – an opinion that does not necessarily toe ...

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Between food and opium: What Pakistani liberals fail to understand

There’s something Newtonian about the way Pakistani political discourse is being carried out these days. At one end is the ‘ghairat brigade’, with their twisted ideology and their usual diatribe against the liberal fascists – a term which is about as meaningful as a Vegan BigMac. On the other end are the liberals ( fascist or otherwise) who might not be as reprehensible as their bearded cousins, are equally redundant with their staid arguments, essentially revolving around the ‘Quaid’s vision’ and his speech to the Constituent Assembly. Fundamentally, I do not have an issue with the arguments of the liberal ...

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India’s barefoot ghazal

I have received from Pathankot in India a volume of eloquent Urdu poetry. A ghazal poet of the new generation is how Perveen Kumar Ashk introduces himself. Let me add that his father, the late Kalvant Roy Kanwal Hoshiarpuri, too, was a poet. He taught his son Urdu and so well that he has ventured into poetry and sprung a surprise in the name of ghazal. As I read the volume, Dua Zameen, I cannot help admiring the poet for besting even those who came up with anti-ghazal. When Maulana Hali dismissed the entire ghazal tradition, including his own work, as nightingale-and-the-rose poetry, ...

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Shiv Sena, cricket isn’t for creeps

Once again, politics has interfered in cricket. The spirit of sportsmanship, that players struggle to maintain received a severe blow when right-wing party Shiv Sena announced that it would decide if Pakistan will be ‘allowed’ to play in Mumbai if the team reaches the final. A senior member of the party, Manohar Joshi  told the press earlier this week: “You all know Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s views. If the Pakistan team reaches the final (scheduled in Mumbai), whether to allow them to play, the Sena chief will decide. Mr. Thackeray will decide (whether to allow Pak team to play or ...

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World Cup 2011: Spinning a web

The sub-continent pitches have always been spin friendly and that’s one of the reasons why India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always produced great spinners. In the last World Cup held in these countries (1996), slow bowlers took the most wickets for all the four semi-finalists (joint, in case of Australia). Look at the line-ups of two sub-continental favourites, India and Sri Lanka. Both have selected three specialist spinners in their World Cup side. In addition, they have really useful part-timers. All of Pakistan’s pool games are in Sri Lanka. The spin provided by the pitch should be present but at ...

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