Stories published in March, 2014

Paul Smith shoes and cultural appropriation

Paul Smith has come up with a fabulous new design for shoes, check them out. They call them the ‘Robert Sandals’ and you can buy them here online for GBP 300. Source: Paul Smith website Except oops, wait a second, this isn’t an original design by Paul Smith! They are in fact Peshawari chappals (slippers) that have been made and sold in Pakistan for the last, oh, 200 years? Here is a fine example of the Peshawari chappal from Zalmay, a Peshawar shoe store. They make these shoes to sell abroad, given the price in GBP, 27 pounds. Zalmay doesn’t have a monopoly on this design ...

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Ravindra Jadeja might be ‘the next Wasim Akram’, what a joke!

It was very awkward for me when I saw a picture of Ravindra Jadeja on a magazine cover with ‘The next Wasim Akram?’ written on top of it. Indian Bowling coach, Joe Dawes gave a statement after losing the second Test match against South Africa that he may try to make Jadeja the new Wasim Akram. His statement implicated that Jadeja should practice some seam bowling as previously done by Sourav Ganguly or Sachin Tendulkar. The first thing that disturbed me was how a spinner can be compared to one of the greatest pace bowlers the international cricket has ever seen. If anything, I personally think Sanath Jayasuria would have ...

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Give Shakeel Afridi a fair trial!

Sometimes I think Pakistan and Pakistanis suffer from a collective national identity crisis. A few days ago, I happened to meet a rock-ribbed writer, known for his patriotic approach. I asked him who he considered to be the biggest enemy of Pakistan. Immediately, he replied, “USA.” I changed the subject and diverted the conversation to different topics, from agricultural science to astronomy and finally I asked, “Do you remember which year we stepped on the moon?” With a smile on his face, he replied,  “Some time in 1969.” “We stepped on the moon?” I exclaimed. Everyone and I mean everyone knows that Apollo 11 was a US ...

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Attack in Islamabad: Where did the Pakistan I grew up in go?

How many deaths will it take for our government to wake up and realise that our country is doomed if they don’t wipe out these terrorist groups once and for all? The recent attack in Islamabad sent shivers down my spine. My wife used to go to the katcheri (lower/district court) regularly to get documents attested just a few months ago. My younger sibling’s school is in F-8, not too far away from where the blast took place. I know I sound selfish at the moment thinking about what could have been, considering the dozen lives that were lost the other day. My heart goes out to the families ...

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What is the point of International Women’s Day anyway?

In the land of technicolour, is there space for grey areas? Welcome to Pakistan. We are rapidly moving towards a positive change, for example, everyone now knows what Aldo sells – everyone who is anyone, that is. Another, more poignant example is how we are all set to celebrate International Women’s Day in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for all the right reasons. Or at least that’s what we have been told – be happy on March 8 and go give the next woman you find a pat on the back. She may turn around and slap you but that’s okay. It ...

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Kashmir will celebrate the Indian cricket team’s loss, no matter who they play against!

Meerut is not Srinagar by Shivam Vij published on March 7, 2014 justifying sedition charges on 67 Kashmiri students by a private university in Uttar Pradesh India, is a new addition to journalistic literature on Kashmir. Premised on the ‘exodus ’ of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, the author draws anachronistic comparisons of two contextually disparate events. In theory, if there is any Kashmiri nationalism, it is of the state sponsored variety. Kashmir’s association with cricket is only occasional. It is not the win of Pakistan but the loss of India against any cricket playing nation that revives interest for cricket in Kashmir. India’s loss is a temporary ...

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International Women’s Day: My induction into the Pakistan Air Force

It was August 7, 2000 when a group of 40 girls entered the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Academy for the first time, in such a large number, as lady cadets or female cadets. And it changed the course of our armed forces forever. Until only a few years ago, females could not think of joining the coveted PAF as anything more than a doctor. The first opportunity for women to work in a ground based job came when the post of commissioned officer was opened for admissions, at one of PAF’s many ground support branches. However, they were still not ready to take female pilots; ...

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5 movies every (wo)man should watch this Women’s Day

Despite the many differences between the East and the West, one dilemma is shared all over and that is the emancipation of women. Irrespective of social status, age, ethnicity or time period, women have faced oppression and have been forced to ‘compromise’ their basic rights. Today, the world celebrates womanhood. Every woman is made to realise that she is more than just someone’s daughter, mother or wife. Today is a day of celebration for both men and women – a day when you feel proud about being a woman or knowing one. Art has always had a way of recounting history in a ...

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Working women do not make better moms

“Working women do not make better moms,” I told an audience comprising of my teachers and fellow students in my primary school where my own mother was working as a teacher. I had the audacity to look her in the eye as I completed my argument in the speech competition. She looked back with a smile and I looked away. I had a good reason for the argument. Ever since my mother started working I saw a change in my family life. She often brought work home and then struggled with house chores. I got lesser treats at home. There were no more homemade doughnuts ...

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Umar Akmal: When the going gets tough, the tough… run to ‘daddy’?

I still remember how as a young child I said something rude to a cousin of mine, a typical childish remark like, “I don’t want to play with you, you always whine” or, “You don’t have any nice toys” or something like that. When my parents found out, I was not only berated for my rudeness, I was even made to apologise to my cousin with a promise that I would never again be intentionally mean to anyone. This incident not only helped me being careful of what I say or do for years to come but also made me realise that accountability ...

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