Stories published in June, 2011

Eight fake Twitterati you need to follow

Twitter seems to have become the next big thing, after Facebook, for Pakistanis, or at least for the 20 million internet users in Pakistan. This is probably because Twitter allows unparalleled access to almost everyone on it – aside from the weirdos who have restricted timelines. Twitter is exciting – almost all the superstars of politics, sports, culture, music and film are on it and you can speak to any of them, or at least, attempt to. Sometimes, they even answer back – nowhere else is this kind of power possible in Pakistan, unless you are a visa officer in the ...

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Coke Studio India: For true fans of music

I have never seen the Pakistani version of Coke Studio, and had no expectations from the Indian version. What I knew from the promos was that this is a bold attempt from MTV to bring back to its fore what it originally stood for – quality music. It did not disappoint. For all the talk about the comparison of the Indian version with its Pakistani counterpart, I do not think the comparison is fair as both the cultures are diverse and rich and hence, the music emanating from both has a different soul to it. What I loved about Coke Studio ...

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BCCI does as it pleases

Lalit Modi, India’s Twitter savvy former Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner has painted an unflattering picture of the Board of Cricket Control of India’s (BCCI) power in the global cricket community with his Here are a few excerpts from Modi’s Twitter handle: “It just shows that mandarins at BCCI have no clue what is happening in the cricket world. They can’t see beyond their own shadow.” “It seems best way to scuttle any plans is to say Lalit Modi is behind it. Good to know that just mentioning my name can send a shiver down their spines. Guess, they are a ...

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Are Pakistanis happier in 2011?

With regular bombings being just one of their constantly growing fears, and their country being ranked 12 on Foreign Policy Magazine’s Failed States Index 2011, Pakistanis hardly have reasons to be a happier nation in 2011. We haven’t stepped into particularly hopeful terrain this year. The CIA World Fact Book estimates that Pakistan’s net emigration rate is 9 per cent higher than in 2011. This is testament to the fact that many things are wrong in the country – the most glaring of which are: 1. Inflation The 15.5 per cent inflation rate in December 2010 was brought down by two ...

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Romancing the ordinary

The column last week about mangoes and jamuns got some unexpected attention. Qasim Jafri remembered and has shared several verses about mangoes by the late Syed Muhammad Jafri. Another friend, who read the column in translation, called just to hear Iqbal’s verse referred to in it. Yet another wanted to know more about the significance of Aung San Suu Kyi’s relish for jamuns. To answer the latter, let me refer to a short story by Krishan Chander. The protagonist, an artist, is described as having a romantic bent. Accordingly, the narrative about his romantic love proceeds. However, the story ends with ...

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Musings of a ‘Westernised’ Pakistani

We often blame “the West” for constructing and perpetuating unjust stereotypes about Muslims and Pakistanis, while not realising that we’re constantly returning the favour without even knowing it! So, on behalf of the “burger-society,” I’d like to speak a little in defense of “the West.”  Ready your rotten eggs if you must. Let me start by saying that “the West” does not exist. If it does, could someone please delineate it for me? Is Japan included in your definition of the West, despite being a Far-Eastern nation? What about Russia, industrialised China or Romania? When radicals make blunt statements like, “the West is waging a ...

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Urdu vs English: Are we ashamed of our language?

Most Pakistanis have been brought up speaking our national language Urdu and English. Instead of conversing in Urdu, many of us lapse into English during everyday conversation. Even people who do not speak English very well try their best to sneak in a sentence or two, considering it pertinent for their acceptance in the ‘cooler’ crowd. I wonder where the trend started, but unknowingly, unconsciously, somehow or the other we all get sucked into the trap. It was not until a few years ago while on a college trip to Turkey that I realized the misgivings of our innocent jabber. A ...

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Bol: Speaking silence

Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol is brutally honest. Based on the stories of Hakeem Sahib’s Sunni-Syed household of seven daughters, the movie adeptly focuses on gender issues at large, dwelling on tensions between fossilised cultural practices and new ones, speaking well to tensions underlying many South Asian households. With reports on the status of women’s rights in Pakistan doing rounds, Mansoor’s social commentary is timely for villages, towns and cities across the country. Before the screening for human rights activists and politicians at a small non-commercial setting in Islamabad on June 11, Mansoor told his female audience that this was every Pakistani woman’s ...

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De-meriting the merit system

Pakistan is notorious for multiple reasons – ranging from terrorism to illiteracy and poverty. Recently, however, I feel that our merit system has seen a bit of a downturn. It seems that in the professional world, it’s all about who you know, not what you know. And for fresh graduates like myself, that is indeed quite demotivating. My friends and acquaintances will start with the: “my dad knows the head of HR at company XYZ so I’m going to be starting there from next month.” And i’ll wonder what relevance a social sciences degree will have in the finance department. Aah, ...

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‘Thank you guys’ said the robbers

Incidents of armed robberies, mugging, mobile phone snatching and rape etcetera aren’t new in Karachi. The recent robbery at The Second Floor (T2F) Café did garner attention however, with people discussing security measures in place, while others even mocked the exhibition entitled “Art Loot Maar” (ironically means theft/robbery) which was taking place at the time of the incident. The café, T2F which karachisnob.com lists as one of the “coolest” cafes in town “is an alternative space” says Bina Shah, Karachi-based author and former editor of the Internet magazine SPIDER. Opened in 2007, T2F, operated by a non-profit organisation, quickly became ...

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