Stories published in June, 2012

You were our star Mehdi Hassan

Mehdi Hassan  died today after 84 years of serving us. There are no words to capture the influence he had over my generation and the ones before me. May you rest in peace Khan “Saheb”. The “Kesariya balama”has finally left us all to his new home. From Khyber to Dhaka and from Skardu to Deccan wafts a lifting and profound voice that bonded all the discerning lovers of music. The highly trained vocals were none other than Mehdi Hassan ’s, which leave music buffs like the me wondering how Mian Tansen may have sung “Raag Darbari”, his own innovation, with full-throated ease and with ...

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Kill me, for I have spoken

Colour me red, paint me black, brush me dead, back on track, picture perfect, vivid deploy, peace stagnant, you destroy. Shoot everyone having a mind, no eyes? Everyone’s very blind, your arrogance and guns show, the laws of the land will not go. Cross the road and you will die, stand and wait, and you will die, speak your mind, and you will die, be human, yes, you still will die. Misunderstanding much? Oh please, ideologies cliched, yes very much, the land of the pure, bruised and cut, apologists, please shut the hell up. Conditional peace is always good? Your side of the deal, oh it was fate, heaven sent men, please go away, for ...

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36 A’s or a 4.0 GPA won’t make you a genius

My goal in a classroom setting has been simple; make students as uncomfortable as possible with the content of the lecture. Once they get uncomfortable with the ideas that I float, they despise me, and to prove me wrong they go back home and do research. I have observed three outcomes of such a situation: 1) Students do some research and agree with my views. 2) Students curse me and reject my views outright. 3) Students get confused and realise that the world is complex and requires much more in-depth study. I aim for students to end up in the third slot. What we produce, ...

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Magnum Chocolate Party: Royal indulgence

The word ‘magnum’, when used in an informal manner, indicates something with an unusually great power or size. But what is magnum to me? For me it’s that little piece of heaven on a stick – an ice cream of the future. It awakens your taste buds with its smooth, silky Belgian chocolate coating that melts as soon as it hits your mouth. Then comes forth the cold vanilla ice cream in the centre that is indulgence at its finest. So, given my high regard for this ice-cream, we happily made our way to the much awaited Magnum Chocolate Party on June 10, 2012. And boy ...

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Why Israel and Pakistan can never be allies

In 1947, Israel’s founder, David Ben Gurion sent a telegram to Muhammad Ali Jinnah in an attempt to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The telegram was initially ignored and to date, Pakistan still refuses to recognise Israel as a state.  Ben Gurion was allegedly quoted in The Jewish Chronicle in 1967 on his view of Pakistan: The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological state is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the ...

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Hypocrisy thy name is Humsafar, Umme Kulsoom, Durr-e-shahwar

With the surging number of private television channels and the freedom given to the media, the Pakistani entertainment industry has progressed tremendously in providing entertainment to its viewers through dramas, talk shows and even trendy morning shows. However, after watching numerous Pakistani dramas for a final paper for my Gender Studies course at Mount Holyoke College, I was sickened by the cynical stereotypes about religion and gender roles being enforced in sugar-coated ways through most of these dramas to a society that’s still  seeped in conservative dogmas. Most of these dramas objectify women as weak and helpless. Not only are women continuously illustrated ...

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Naach: Lollywood dancing to the beat of success

I am a big fan of Pakistani movies, and I am not embarrassed in the slightest to admit to this. However, for the past few years – like a decade or so – I have not come across many quality movies in terms of script, performance and concept. Khuda Ke Liye, Bol, Yeh Dil Aapka hua and few other movies were technically sound and showcased strong scripts and some impressive performances. The rest,  and I say this with deep regret, were typical in that they offered no quality content to the audience. A few days ago, I was enlightened about the trailer ...

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So, a Christian can’t ‘save’ Pakistan?

Recently, I have come across many status updates on my timeline that really hit me deep. It is very common for me to see the following opinions pop up on my news feed: Pakistan ko bachanay k liye humain acha Musalman ban’na pareyga. (To save Pakistan, we need to become good Muslims.) The only way to achieve a prosperous Pakistan is by being staunch Muslim These statuses have, many a times, left me pondering about the definition of a Pakistani. Thus, I decided to look up the definition of the word ‘citizen’ in the dictionary and see how far it applied to being a Pakistani ...

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The corruption rat race

Viewers often consider anchorpersons as a panacea for evil in Pakistani society because they make efforts to malign corrupt politicians and their notorious designs under the umbrella of ‘best interest of the masses’. However, the fiasco of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar has allegedly exposed some senior journalists and anchorpersons as paid persons of property tycoon, Malik Riaz. Now, the question which a common person ponders over is how dirty are journalists? Following the surfacing of the list with their names as beneficiaries of Malik Riaz’s charity, most journalists are making efforts to arrange talk shows with the investor to clear their records. ...

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Unruly males

In the not-so-Islamic Republic of Pakistan, one recent sickening case was that of a husband permitting a relative to whom he owed money to sleep with his wife. When the wife disagreed, the situation exacerbated into a rape case. Where does one begin to highlight the multiple tragedies in this story? Yes, the rape. The woman’s husband used his ‘soulmate’, his lifelong ‘companion’, the mother of his potential children to pay back a loan. To the husband and the relative, she was a material object; her rape was used to settle the money that the husband owed. It will be news ...

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