Stories published in September, 2013

Delhi gang rape verdict: Is it a crime to be born a girl in India?

She came from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, but she had big dreams. Her father may have been just an airport baggage handler at Delhi’s international airport who earned $200 a month, but he supported his daughter’s ambition and sold his ancestral land to finance her studies. Having enrolled in a four year Physiotherapy course in Dehradun, she came to Delhi for an internship after finishing her final exams. To supplement her income, she worked nights at a firm and gave tuition to school children. She slept for only three hours because she was in such a hurry to reach ...

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My Christian house help: Pakistan never wants its minorities to succeed

Pakistan’s fertility rate is likely to drop if women marry at an older age: that argument stands on its own considerable merit, because a young woman is likely to conceive more easily and often at this most fertile time of her life, but other factors also contribute to the high fertility rate. In Pakistan, children are not just a source of joy, but necessary pillars that support parents in the parents’ old age. This is true of all cultures, but it acquires an imperative urgency in societies like ours. Insaan Masih is a young man of no education but an innate sense of ...

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Pakistan must learn from India: Dark skin doesn’t make you ugly

I recently came across an online movement called ‘Dark is Beautiful‘, a campaign that has drawn attention towards the unjust effects of skin colour discrimination in India. The campaign features famous Indian actress Nandita Das who has urged women to throw out their fairness creams and abandon the belief that dark skin is ugly.  I was quite surprised to find that Nandita is perhaps the only actress to have resolutely decided to keep her dusky skin tone, despite the demands of the ruthless entertainment industry where there is an explicit preference for light skinned actors. The same stands true about Pakistani society ...

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Diary of a frequent Indian ET blogs commenter

Dear Readers, The regulars here know me by my pseudonym ‘Nandita’. The head of the blogs desk has asked me to write a piece about my experiences of commenting on this page for the last couple of years. This is an attempt to enumerate the multiple reasons that compel me to visit The Express Tribune blogs on a regular basis. I started frequenting this site sometime in 2010. I had moved to a new city (yet again!) and I found myself in an unfamiliar environment with little to keep me engaged after office hours. I’d spend the evenings reading books or articles/blogs on the internet while ...

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Why Pervez Musharraf is Chitral’s hero

Despite the boycott of the 2013 general elections by the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the party managed to get two seats (one national and one provincial) from the constituency of Chitral under special permission to contest the elections from its party’s president, Pervez Musharraf. This victory for the APML in Chitral proved yet another time that the common people never forget leaders who give prime importance to their demands and are keen to serve the people at all costs. Chitral is a far-flung area in the north of Pakistan with scenic beauty and breath-taking picnic spots located all over the ...

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Landa bazaar: More than just poverty, heat and mud

At the heart of the cultural hub of Pakistan lies the decades old ‘Landa bazaar’. To some it is but a crowded alley of poverty and inexpensive counterfeits; to others, it is a source of sustainable livelihood that bridges the class divide through duplicity. To me, as a student of photojournalism, it is much more than the former or the latter. The bazaar is an important aspect of our diminishing culture; a sea of faces, a juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary, and a true depiction of what Pakistan is beyond the urban comforts. The colourful humdrum of Landa Bazaar. ...

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