Stories published in May, 2012

The true meaning of love

She was 78 years old; fair, tall, elegant and beautiful. She had been in a relationship with her husband for 60 years, yet their love seemed fresh – an awe-inspiring bond that spoke of young love. I first saw her when her husband brought her to the hospital for a general check-up. What a sight they were; him ever-smiling, with a tinge of pride as he pushed his wife’s wheelchair. A sense of satisfaction and contentment emanated from them. She was suffering from osteoarthritis, and was0 visiting a physician under whose supervision I was doing a research project. A few weeks into ...

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Unsung heroes and our medieval knowledge

Names such as Bhagat Singh, Mangal Panday, Rani Lakshmibai etc are never even remotely mentioned in Pakistani course books. Why? Their contributions as well as those of other unsung (at least in Pakistan) heroes are immense and should not be so arrogantly ignored. I love the fact that the entire Islamic nation, especially Pakistan, is so stuck in and obsessed with the glory days of yore. There’s no doubt that the Arab and Persian scientists from the medieval era made huge contributions to science, but why do we Pakistanis fail to acknowledge that they were Arab or Persian rather than Indians (which we ...

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Why we don’t need a Mohajir province

A dormant phenomenon has recently become active; the movement for a separate province for the Mohajir people. This movement was pioneered by the Mohajir Rabita Council  – a political movement which started in Hyderabad, Sindh. It should be noted that it is not just the Mohajir community that is asking for their rights; Pakistan’s history is loaded with separatist tendency right from 1947. An excellent research paper is presented by Mohammed Waseem, titled “The Political Ethnicity and the State of Pakistan”. Mohammed Waseem talks about the separatist tendencies which grew in the Baloch, Sindhi, Mohajir, Bengali, and Pashtoon people of Pakistan. He also outlines ...

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Game On: Remembering Pakistan’s wonder years in hockey

Since its inception, Pakistan has been an extremely passionate sporting nation. Our players overcame the lack of resources quite well to win laurels for their country. At the Olympics in Rome in 1960, Pakistan won the gold medal for the first time because of Naseer Bunda’s game changing goal. This is when Pakistan was finally able to break through the stranglehold and constant winning spree that India had maintained on the gold medal in the Olympics. This was a sport that was enthusiastically followed by our nation and hockey players of the yesteryears were as popular as our national heroes. Pakistan’s second gold ...

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When to use or lose identifiers

Ethnicity, religion, sect and gender. Do we or do we not, as journalists, use these as identifiers in a headline or in the introduction of a story when we are reporting on an incident –  that is perhaps a question that every journalist has to ask and the answer is never clear. When is it right to mention ethnicities or religion? Does it add any news value to a story or can it be the catalyst or inciting possible hatred amongst ethnic or religious groups? The question we journalists often ask is that if we do not mention these identifiers, are ...

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The wailing wall of Israel

Perhaps we have all heard the oft repeated joke; when an American tourist came to Israel with the intention of visiting the Kotel (the Wailing Wall) but he forgot what it was called. When he stepped into a taxi, he said to the driver, Can you please take me to the place where all Jews cry? Do you know where this is? The taxi driver answered, Beseder – I’ll take you there. And he drove him straight to the taxation office! When I stepped outside the Easy Jet terminal on Tel Aviv International Airport, I felt chills travelling down my spine. They were partly ...

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Salma’s story: Molested by her guardian

I first came across her on a Facebook forum in August 2010. The two of us were quite vocal on a forum made for the Sialkot brothers who had been publicly lynched during Ramazan that year. We often bumped into each other online and shared common passions and eventually decided to become “Facebook friends”. Hailing from an educated, upper middle class family, she seemed to be an ordinary 20-year-old girl. However, I soon began to realise that all was not truly well on my new friend’s side. The seemingly normal girl appeared to be a little – well, different. It looked to me as ...

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The Lyari we all (don’t) know

If you see people with curly hair, pan gutka in their mouth, speaking their own Balochi version of Urdu, then you are definitely among Lyariites. Being someone unfamiliar with this Pandora island of Karachi, one should be worried because it is here that you are among the most dangerous creatures to be found. In a few minutes you may be killed or drugged, or if lucky, kidnapped. Your head will be ripped off and given to the children to play football. Your hands and legs will be severed and sent to your parents and so on. Unfortunately this is the misperception ...

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Diary of a book lover

I almost stole a book once, from a library in Rawalpindi. It was a beautiful copy of Dombey and Son; I’ve never seen one like it again, with paper almost silk to the touch. I had kept a track of the book for months – it was never issued, except by me. It won’t be missed, I thought, and the theft will only come to surface when the yearly audit happens. Who knows where I’d be by that time? I held the book for a long time, justifying my action and finally walked out, without the book. It was my first ...

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We can ******* our education system ourselves, thank you

Universities are supposed to help open a young person’s mind to the world, exposing them to new ideas and concepts. Historian Richard Hofstadter felt that “a university’s essential character is that of being a centre of free inquiry and criticism — a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else”. Unsurprisingly, this concept is foreign to at least one of the country’s leading universities. Recently, Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI) Rector Fateh Muhammad Malik took indefinite ex-Pakistan leave, allegedly after pressure was applied on the government by the ambassador of a ‘friendly nation’ for his removal. Now, IIUI is hardly a ...

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