Stories published in April, 2014

“There’s no god but Allah, there’s no language but Urdu and there’s no ‘jaan’ but ‘Ammi Jaan’!”

Sometimes when I hear the aunties around me discussing their daughters-in-law, potential daughters-in-law or girls whom they have shortlisted for their sons, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Listening to them, I sometimes think that these aunties have forgotten that they have daughters too and that they themselves were once on the other side of the scrutiny bench. Or perhaps, this is their retribution. Whatever the case may be, I find some of the character traits of the larke ki ammi (boy’s mother) in Pakistan to be agonisingly funny. If you’re a boy, please read this blog with an open mind; if ...

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Is Pakistan making the same mistakes with child rights as India?

The importance of modern education for any society is so obvious that it hardly needs any explanation. And indeed, the subcontinent has come a long way since the days of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Nonetheless, both India and Pakistan have failed to ensure a high level of literacy, let alone education for our masses even after more than six decades of independence. And this is a major reason for our economic backwardness. Moreover, lack of education is also a major factor behind the rise and growth of violent theofascist movements that pose a major threat to peace and progress in the ...

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Oh great government of Pakistan, take notice of the female aid workers in Balochistan, don’t alienate them!

On my recent trip to Balochistan, I came across examples of how women folk fare in tribal set-ups. While we, in the urban centres, believe that women are usually ignored and not allowed to contribute to society in tribal arrangements, the Baloch tradition has a very unique way of putting their women to good use. Tribal feuds and enmities usually span over generations. So when all else fails, the hidden asset – the women – is consumed. The women of the tribe seeking to reconcile are sent to the other tribe. These women then beg for forgiveness for the men folk of ...

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Rani Mukherji married Aditya Chopra, get over it!

Bollywood star, Rani Mukherji and the head honcho of Yash Raj Films (YRF), Aditya Chopra tied the knot on the April 21, 2014. While my interest level in their nuptials is dismally low, I can’t help but be revolted by the reaction of fans across the country. While some are ecstatic, others feel she could have done better. The comments floating around on Twitter and Facebook range from being congratulatory to being downright discourteous and boorish. There were media reports of Uday Chopra being attacked by Twitterati and having read some of the tweets, I am appalled and disconcerted at the crudeness on display. Here are ...

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What’s common between Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abdus Salam and Abdul Khaliq?

They were never appreciated in Pakistan. We are a profoundly aptitudinal nation and have produced the finest people in all fields of life, whether it is sports, music or science. Take cricket for example. We have seen the likes of Hanif Muhammad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram, Sarfraz Nawaz, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamamul Haq and many other legends. Moving on to hockey, we have had some of the best players in the world and we are the only nation that won the hockey World Cup title four times. Out of the 10 medals Pakistan has won in the Olympics, we won three in hockey. Sohail Abbas ...

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In Pakistan and trying to read the BJP manifesto? Nope, can’t access it!

The right wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) recently released manifesto says many things – and newspapers and people all over the world tell me a lot of it is problematic. There’s something about a reversal of India’s nuclear doctrine, apparently. And an Indian friend of mine told me they might be cutting beef production. But I wouldn’t know, because I can’t access BJP’s website, and neither can anyone else in Pakistan. Interestingly, it isn’t our government that banned it; the BJP itself made its website inaccessible to people from Pakistan, citing hacking threats. While the hacking threat may not be entirely ...

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6 reasons you should live in a hostel at least once in your life!

Can’t find clean clothes? Forced to wear two different socks? Your bed hasn’t been made in a month and your room looks like a laundromat? There are orange peels all over your study table with the seeds scattered everywhere in the room. There’s no one to scold you about how untidy your room is and you live a happy-go-lucky life with no worries about the next day, hour or moment. When all these things happen to you simultaneously, you know you live in a hostel. I mean, honestly speaking, what else can you expect from a bunch of young adults living together in ...

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A royal massacre

It is one thing to be a bystander to animal cruelty but it is an entirely different thing to stormily strike and wound a living creature and then have the nerve to back your sadism with a very exasperating false impression of royalty. A  Saudi prince comes to our homeland, gets a ‘special permit’ to kill a 100 protected houbara bustards, multiplies 100 by 21 and without any hesitation winds up by killing nearly 2100 birds instead. What’s even more appalling is how easily this royal walks away from this heinous indulgence without being stopped or having to face any repercussion. Since ...

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Why #BanBossy won’t work for women in Pakistan

Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook is on a mission. A couple of weeks ago, she, in collaboration with a star line-up of women in other leadership roles launched the ‘Ban Bossy’ (#BanBossy) campaign. They argue on their website that, “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader’. Yet, when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy’. Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys – a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage ...

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Do you have a toilet in your house?

Almost two and a half billion people in the world do not have toilets in their homes or lack access to proper sanitation facilities. South Asia makes a significant contribution to these staggering numbers – 65% in India, 53% in Pakistan and 45% in Bangladesh. Not only does this result in adverse health-related problems, like malnutrition and diarrhoea, it also severely affects the economy. On an average, countries in South Asia lose 6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because of poor sanitation. Though many people in the region consider this lack of proper washrooms a major problem, it is not the health-related issues that worry them. ...

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