Stories published in August, 2013

Re-igniting the Independence Day passion with melodies of yesterday

As a schoolgirl, I was probably the most patriotic I’ve ever been. I would participate in all the Independence Day activities – performing in the tableaux and skits, singing mili naghmay and making speeches about my love for Pakistan and our struggle for independence. It came from the heart, pure of any doubts and grudges. Times have changed, and after 9/11, my country and countrymen began to face problems we never thought we would. Last night, I decided to revive that fading enthusiasm to celebrate August 14 by looking at dog-eared photographs of my school days. I would wear no less ...

Read Full Post

When will Pakistan say ‘Yes, it is my fault’?

I remember during high-school when my friends and I got bad grades, we blamed the school administration. When the roads in Islamabad were polluted with squashed ‘Frost’ juice boxes, we blamed the government. When I was late for classes and meetings, I would blame my driver for driving slowly or my maid for not waking me up on time or the rain for making the roads slippery – you get the picture? After we graduated from high-school and my friends received bad grades, they blamed the Cambridge administration for a biased system. In my 18 years in Pakistan, I have NEVER ...

Read Full Post

I would have given my life for Quaid-e-Azam: My mother’s Pakistan

Dementia is ruthless. It doesn’t give you a choice about what you want to forget and what you don’t. But while the words may disappear at the cruel hands of memory loss, the feelings often don’t. My mother may at times confuse the names of her children, but she never forgets that she is ammi and we are her children. She also never forgets what Pakistan means to her, and to us. Her eyes still light up when she hears the name “Quaid-e-Azam”. She hasn’t forgotten the most important things in her life – the good ones and the bad. Milestones ...

Read Full Post

Gandhi’s forgotten sacrifice: A lesson neither India nor Pakistan learnt

At ten minutes past five on January 30, 1948, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was crucified on the cross of bitter Hindu-Muslim blood feud. This resolutely courageous man endowed with an indomitable spirit kept fighting for the Hindu-Muslim unity until he was, alas, assassinated by a Hindu extremist. The Mahatma, however, achieved in death what he could not achieve in life; peace between the two communities, although it lasted merely a brief period. The next day, in a most memorable tribute of all, the editorial of Hindustan Standard read: “Gandhi ji has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived. This second crucifixion in the ...

Read Full Post

Let’s do #14ActsForPakistan this August 14!

“Check the top trend on Twitter right now guys!” My colleague, Ahsan said pointing towards his laptop. This was a regular conversation for us as we sipped on our morning teas and chatted about how depressing it was to wake up so early. Perks of being in the Digital Marketing field, you can say. Yes, we take Twitter very seriously. We also take patriotism very seriously. You can tell by the green and white décor and the sound of national songs resonating within the walls of our cubicles as August 14 approaches. Anyway, we huddled around Ahsan’s laptop, peering over each other’s heads to stare at a ...

Read Full Post

Can I please please please blog on ET?

Call me a wannabe or a passionate writer who wants to break into a robust blogosphere sprawling across Pakistan; either way, I am shameless and relentless to the core. I will keep on coming back again and again, no matter how many times I get this message from the moderators: “Hi, Thank you for your interest in The Express Tribune. Having read your post, we feel as though it doesn’t quite fit our section. Thus, I regret to inform you that we will not be running this particular piece. Please write to us on a different topic. Thank you for your consideration. Kind ...

Read Full Post

Would you want Mohammad Amir back if he was not talented?

From the moment the News of the World (NoTW) published the spot-fixing story, the cricketing world, it seemed, was taken by storm. A large number of Pakistani cricket fanatics went about expressing soft sentiments for the young Mohammad Amir and each had their own argument. The majority seem to converge on two points: (A) he is exceptionally talented (B) He is very young and has a good amount of cricket stamina left in him. This school of thought seems to believe that the young fast bowler should be given a second chance to play sooner than the expiration of the five year ban imposed by ...

Read Full Post

Nazia Hassan: Remembering our subcontinental princess

Hendon Cemetery, London NW7 on Holder’s Hill Road is a serene space with the usual poignancy and hush that accompanies cemeteries. There, tucked away among other graves is a simple tomb with a black headstone. “786”, the numerical translation of Bismillah is etched along with this touching epitaph: “In the loving memory of Nazia Hassan. Loving daughter, sister and mother. Beloved and cherished by millions of people. Died in her youth, August 13, 2000.” Every word rang true and took me back to July 2000. I was driving my friend and Nazia’s songs were playing on the stereo. “She is about to die”, he ...

Read Full Post

Will radicals succeed in making India ‘for Hindus only’?

The Hindu right wing government in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh finally withdrew the order introducing lessons from the religious text Bhagavad Gita in school curriculum. They also wanted to include Hindu religious teachings in the curriculum of Urdu schools from the academic year 2013-14. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state came under heavy criticism from Muslim organisations and secular political parties for its attempt to alter the secular character of the constitution. Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Muslim Personal Law Board blamed the government for the communalisation of the school textbooks and attempting to ...

Read Full Post

From Peshawar: A plea to the government

Dear Leaders of Pakistan, I hope you are well and are busy overseeing and planning solutions for the many problems faced by our nation. Since you will, undoubtedly, be caught up with reforms rather than amassing wealth, as you have just stepped into office, I thought I should tell you a little bit about your awaam. As a dutiful child is expected to inform his parents about the changes happening in his life, I want to tell you about how we are living now. We, your children, have finally installed a generator at home. Despite living in a posh area of the capital ...

Read Full Post