Stories published in January, 2015

Why #IAmNotCharlie

There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it. Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offence against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyse why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists ...

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What in the world is ‘Love Jihad’, India?

A few days ago, whilst looking for a flat in Delhi, I approached a broker. With a pleasant smile on his face, the 27-year-old real estate agent ushered me into his two-room office. After I explained my requirements he asked me my name in a serious vein, as though everything depended on my reply. “Sapan Kapoor,” I said. “This is good.” “But what is in a name?” I asked. He paused for a moment and then said laconically, “Hum Muhammadans ko ghar nahi dete hein.” (We do not rent out to followers of Muhammad (pbuh)) When I enquired about the reason behind this discrimination against a particular community, he refused to elaborate. ...

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Playing god in the land of the pure

People everywhere look for answers in stark black and white, and love the comfort that gives them the ability to use it as a club against others. For some reason, people keep recreating the very issues in their religions that the founders of those religions sought to eradicate. True spirituality should bring complete humbleness and love. What is common to all of us is how we struggle for an authentic faith without taking refuge in the absolute; that, to my mind, is the classic source of apostasy. There is nothing I ever read about Islam that didn’t pertain equally to other religions’ ...

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Dear ZaidAliT, stealing jokes isn’t funny

Carrying a Facebook page over two million ‘likes’ strong, it would be safe to say that young Pakistani-Canadian comedian Zaid Ali T has moulded himself into an internet sensation. Each update from the young entertainer earns countless shares, likes and comments within seconds of hitting the internet. His audience is primarily South Asians, though his followers originate from many countries. Zaid’s weapons are his disarming smile and jokes that hilariously channel our exasperation with Asian cultural norms. When I first discovered Zaid, I spent hours combing through his Facebook page, chortling at every one of his shenanigans. His strict father, who gave him ...

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Appeasing the meat-eater in you with this Pakistani styled stir-fried spicy minced meat

As a kid I was never a mutton, beef or milk fan. I was scolded a tonne by Ammi and Nana (maternal grandfather) for that. I was told that I would never grow tall enough or excel in class or be physically fit. Turns out, I achieved all of that without eating much meat protein throughout my adolescent years. However, something else happened as well. As I became an adult and moved away from Pakistan, the flavours and tastes that I took for granted came back to me as a longing. I missed eating the very things I despised as a kid. And mutton was one of ...

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Sarfraz Ahmed – Pakistan cricket’s biggest positive in 2014

Pakistan cricket has a glorious history as far as wicket keepers are concerned, with the likes of Wasim Bari, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif serving the country successfully for long spells in the past. Moin Khan (L), Rashid Latif (C) and Wasim Bari (R). Their successor, Kamran Akmal, made a breakthrough entrance into the team and continued to perform consistently, up until that dreaded Test match in Sydney in January 2010. Kamran failed to hold on to four catches and also missed a run-out, due to which Australia were able to seal a highly unlikely victory. Ever since that horrid day, Pakistan’s wicket keeping standards have experienced a ...

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Because Sobho is gone…

When next the rain strikes Sindh, And that longed for fragrance rises, With Sindhu dust and Sindhu water, Mingled in love; We will know for certain, Sobho is gone.   For the fragrance will be diminished, However slightly, And we will know then, The angle of the rain drops. Striking Sindhu, Altered in their descent, By nano degrees, Because Sobho is gone.   And All Sindhis know, That he held for them, That un-gilded glue. That Mother Lode of Sindh, Kneaded into his voice, Making each son, Each daughter, Of shining Sindh, Also Sobho’s ...

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Where are all the moderate Muslims?

History tells us a story about a woman who used to throw garbage out every morning as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) passed by her house. This was the woman’s practice every morning, the Prophet (pbuh) did not reprimand her neither did he change his route. And then one day, the woman did not appear, the Prophet (pbuh), worried to see the woman missing, knocked on her door and inquired about the woman’s wellbeing. The woman was so overwhelmed by his kindness that it is believed that she converted to Islam. That was the greatness and humanity of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); ...

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Yes, Imran Khan’s marriage IS my priority

Let me begin this with a disclaimer: I have nothing against Reham Khan. She should not be harassed or have her private space infiltrated. She is free to choose whatever and whoever she wants to. I hope it’s clear; this is not about Reham Khan. This is about the discrepancy in Imran Khan’s choices. Imran, like any other right wing politician, exploits the religious sentiments of his voters. We are a nation who as children fall into the trap of our grandma’s religious manipulation, “Hazoor (SAWW) ne toh kabhi kisi khanay se inkaar nahi kiya, chalo achay bachoon ki tarha kaddu kha lo.” (The Prophet ...

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Subramanian Swami, I guarantee you that the ISI did not fund PK

Dear Subramanian Swami, Unlike Aamir Liaquat, I do not wish to engage in a tirade of abuses and vitriol of hate. I will not mention any ‘dandas with jhandas’ or ‘pichwaras’ or ‘teesri hockey sticks’, but I simply hope to appeal to your ability to see reason. You claim that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of Pakistan has funded the Bollywood movie PK. You say that your sources trace the funds to Pakistan through Dubai. Sir, I do not know what you are smoking but please can I have some too? Who financed the PK film? According to my sources it is traceable to Dubai and ISI. DRI ...

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