Stories published in March, 2012

Bhagat Singh the intellectual

A lesser appreciated aspect about Bhagat Singh, who was executed on March 23, 1931, was his intellectual prowess. In the greater context of subcontinent politics and history, Singh’s socio-political understanding showed a very nuanced and detailed insight into the future of India and the importance to transform society. The tragedy, in the context of a Pakistan that lacks an academic culture, is that Singh’s legacy has been used to reaffirm the state narratives set in place. For some reason or another, history before 1947 has been studied in limited scope within Pakistan. In reality, Singh’s writings should be seen as ...

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Bangladeshi Tigers: Not ready to roar just yet

It seems they are not quite ready for the big games after all. The cricketing fraternity was quite pleasantly surprised with the Bangladesh resurgence at the Asia Cup. They defeated the current world champions India, former champions Sri Lanka and came quite close to defeating Pakistan – also a former champion – on two occasions. In fact, the final went down to the wire, and was not decided until the last ball. Bangladesh dominated the entire match; they bowled brilliantly and restricted Pakistan to what seemed like a barely adequate score of 236. Had it not been for the heroics of Sarfaraz Ahmed ...

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I’m a Pakistani marrying a gora

The past 10 days have been very eventful for me – no, scratch that-  they have been momentous; I received some excellent news about my future, went on a wonderful business trip to the sunny state of California, and yesterday my gora (foreigner) best friend asked me to marry him. I said yes, in case you were wondering. Yes, I am the other half of an interracial couple. The funny thing about being in an interracial relationship is that in a world where everyone is always talking about race, that’s the last thing on my mind when I’m with C. To me, he isn’t ...

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Be kind to your teachers

I wonder if women are given presents on Women’s Day. Whatever the case, the Election Commission of Pakistan has definitely given Presiding Officer Habiba Memon and Assistant Presiding Officer Shagufta Memon the best Women’s Day present ever: restoration of their self-respect, which took a battering when Waheeda Shah slapped them during the by-elections recently in Tando Muhammad Khan. I am really happy about the way things are finally changing for women in the country. First Maya Khan got sacked for unethical journalism, and now Shah, who has been disqualified by the Election Commission for two years. Too much of power ...

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Inside Parliament: A state of oblivion

Disillusionment is the word that comes to mind when I recall my first assignment of covering the proceedings of the National Assembly of Pakistan a few years ago. The reason behind that disappointment, which I guess is not cynicism, is that I did not find it the place where legislators assemble for the sake of legislation, where elected representatives of the people join hands to steer the country out of its many crises. How many politicians are there who are absolutely above-board, against whom no one can point fingers? How many have the charisma to mould public opinion? How many have ...

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The Hunger Games: Stimulate your mind

If the best games stimulate the mind and the body, then The Hunger Games belongs near the top of the pile. Adapted from a novel bearing the same name by Suzanne Collins, this first installment in a trilogy is a superb dramatic action film, which engages the grey matter on various levels, thanks to its rich depth in characterisation, as well as a subtle multi-layered narrative. Set in a dystopian future in North America, things start with 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who feeds her little sister Primrose (Willow Shields), and her widowed mother (Paula Malcomson), ...

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Karachi violence: Gunshots on bus U-10

It is frightening to even think what one human can do to another. Getting late for work in the morning, on March 27, I was unaware that my city was already bleeding when I jumped onto a bus called the U-10. We were motioning slowly and gradually until we reached a spot near Tipu Sultan road. From nowhere, a man appeared in front of the bus with a gun in his hand and yelled out to all the passengers, to get off the bus. In a gust of panic, people started rushing out and the driver giving in to fake assumption motioned ...

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Are we in spiritual crisis?

In a world where there is so much profanity, we are losing our sense of spirituality. Even in our art and poetry, the animating themes of spiritual experience are undergoing a sort of transcendent ecstasy and are giving way to the darker expressions of the human psyche. Introspective poetry tends to border on the nihilistic and pessimistic; reflections on a broken world that seems beyond deliverance. Probing the side of human nature that is all too often splashed across our television screens – tragedy has become a form of art in the modern world. This exploration is critical, but we ...

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For economy’s sake: Can India and Pakistan forgive and forget?

When geography and history become prisoners to politics, it’s destiny that becomes the real victim. A realisation is dawning on South Asian countries that by pandering to narrow political vision they have invited misery, backwardness and suffering for their own people. Their potentiality has become stilted at the altar of political bickering which stunts the economic growth of the region. How can these historical shortcomings be overcome? How can we rewrite a new history of economic integration? Representatives from all the South Asian countries gathered, in New Delhi recently, to mull over a new destiny for the region that shares ...

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Steal a baby, sell a baby

Fact is stranger than fiction. At least with fiction, you can chew out the author for writing a predictable ending or for using outlandish plot twists. Sadly, some stories in life seem to be built entirely on outlandish plot twists. On the 22nd of March, the police in Bhara Kahu, right outside Islamabad, busted a couple who stand accused of conducting illegal abortions, including dangerous late-stage ones, and selling the babies that survived. Sounds a lot like Hell’s version of the sustainable development model. To top it off, the couple shares a bond of blood with one of the accused in ...

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