Stories published in September, 2013

Education in Peshawar: Will free higher education for students with distinctions help?

Recently I read that the University of Peshawar will be offering free higher education to students who pass their bachelor’s degree with distinction; and this applies to not only Masters but a PhD students as well. As I scrolled down further, other news stories related to the topic materialised. One of them read “The University abolishes third division as a passing grade in order to improve the standard of education”. I was left wondering whether such a move will even be effective. Should we celebrate? Can raising educational standards be possible with as simple a step as this? It has become old ...

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Bombs, rape and death: Are we suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Mood and anxiety disorders are prevalent all over the world and they exist in different types and forms. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that stems from traumatic or life threatening experiences encountered by an individual. The events experienced may vary, from natural disasters and severe automobile accidents to violent personal assaults, life-threatening situations and wars. The individual initially responds with intense fear, hopelessness and horror and later develops symptoms which are visible when her or she revisits the event through perception or conversation. Patients who suffer from PTSD also have trouble sleeping. These patients have a lot of anxiety, ...

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Morning shows: Nothing more important than dancing and remarriage ceremonies?

Usually while watching the idiot box, I flip through channels and dwell upon a few for news, views and trends before continuing with my flipping exercise again. Recently, however, I had the misfortune of stumbling upon the repeat telecast of certain morning show programmes. The shows were so horrific in nature that I wished my TV remote had the capacity to erase the debacle taking place on my television screen. The scene began with a female host, who jumped on the sofa from the kitchen counter behind, did a jumping jack act and finally sat down, all the while grinning, laughing ...

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Is India’s nuclear arsenal safe?

It confuses me immensely as to why the mainstream media and Western governments are constantly generating a hype about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal when they don’t seem concerned at all about the highly startling condition regarding the nuclear capabilities of India. Ever since the India-US nuclear deal has taken place, India has signed civil nuclear deals with more than half a dozen countries. Hence, the most precarious lie is advocated, that India has a strong track record of nuclear safety, to materialise these nuclear deals. Electronic media reports lead us believe that India has a strong nuclear non-proliferation track ...

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Delicious home-made gulab jamuns that make every occasion extra special!

In my part of the world, every celebration is accompanied by a dessert. Be it a wedding, an engagement, a birth, a promotion, a graduation, purchase of a house, a new car, or any other achievement or joyous occasion like Eid – the tiniest of the joys are celebrated with our mouths full of sweets and desserts. Nothing is more loved on such occasions than the scrumptious mithai most commonly known as ‘gulab jamun’. It is a personal favourite! In Pakistan, people usually buy gulab jamuns and never make it at home. Specialised mithai makers called halwaees make these delicious sweets. However, I had to learn how to ...

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What stress can do to you

It began in grade twelve. My grades had suddenly gone down, and I had no idea why. The journey from being a class-topper to actually failing in three of my favourite subjects was a short one. It took a toll on me. A year later, the stress that I had been gathering for years appeared in the form of a coin-sized bald spot on the crown area of my head. The night before, I had slept with a full head of hair, but that afternoon as I prepared to go for lunch with my friends, I saw that hairless little ...

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Ferrari 2014: Will team Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso prove worthwhile?

At last the unthinkable has happened! Ferrari has let go of Felipe Massa and instead has hired Kimi Raikkonen on a two-year contract to partner with Fernando Alonso. As a result, two legends, two of the greatest drivers of the modern era, will be battling it out in the same team, the legendary red of Ferrari. Arguably, this has to be the strongest line-up since perhaps Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost together in McLaren. It also signals a significant change in the Ferrari policy of having only one rooster in a hen house (to put it in the words of Ferrari president Luca ...

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A 5-year-old girl: The perfect victim for a vile act like rape

Recently, a five-year-old girl was discovered outside Ganga Ram hospital in Lahore. She had been raped and dumped on the street, a victim of a callous man who probably felt he could get away with what he did. And sadly, he is right. Most men who rape or commit sexualised violence in Pakistan do so with complete impunity. The only difference here is that this little girl is the perfect victim worthy of our pity. When a child is raped, societal outrage is far greater than when an adult is raped. Children are innocent and we, as adults, realise we have ...

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Working Parents’ Day: A tribute to the struggles of working parents

Nestled in the comforting embrace of my sister, I would nervously bite my lips and await the doorbell to ring; that ring of the doorbell after the sun had set symbolised the return of my mother from a long, hard day of work. It was the high point of my day. Every day, I would wake up to the sound of the sparrows chirping, but soon I would be rushed into a frenzy because my mother was in a hurry to leave for work. With each strand of my hair braided neatly and my stomach filled with a wholesome breakfast, ...

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La Tomatina festival in Lahore: Can we afford to do this?

It seems as if the time has come for the Pakistani youth to be reminded of the simple yet appropriate pleasure offered by the water balloons. It just so happens that we’ve found a rather unorthodox substitute in the form of the tomato. But we can’t take all the credit for this, or any credit for that matter, as the idea has been copied from Spain’s annual tomato fight festival, ‘La Tomatina’.  For a country such as Spain, with its own traditions and culture and a far superior economic situation than ours, we might let such frivolities slide.  Millions of ...

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