Stories published in August, 2015

Rural India’s poor healthcare is a reflection of our economy

It has rightly been said that India resides in its villages. Rural India is the mirror of our economy. Healthcare is an imperative prerequisite for human development and is an inseparable component for the overall well-being of mankind. India bears the load of roughly 17.5 % of the global population, one-fifth of the world’s share of all diseases, one-fourth of maternal conditions, and one-fifth of nutritional disorders.  Apart from this, one cannot deny the fact that India has achieved truckloads in advancing healthcare and overall health standards over the past six decades. Public financing of healthcare sector and budgeting schemes for a healthy rural India is important, but seldom ...

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Premiere League predictions: Arsenal and Man Utd don’t even stand a chance

For lovers and fans of English football, the wait is finally over. The English Premiere League (EPL) is back. With millions of pounds already being spent on new recruits by every club, this promises to be another season full of twists and turns. Now would be the right time to look into the crystal ball and predict how the season is going to unfold over the next nine months or so. 20. Watford Of all the promoted teams, Watford is most likely to get straight back down in the championship. They have brought in too many new faces in the club who will ...

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Why Pakistan will soon become a water scarce country

Pakistan is almost water scarce today, with an alarming rate of 1,017 cubic meters water available per capita annually, which is dangerously close to 1,000 cubic meters, the threshold of water scarcity. Unfortunately, Pakistan has failed over the past years when it comes to improving water governance and taking corrective measures for saving the rapidly worsening water situation. Water governance mechanics in Pakistan are loose, out-dated, and inefficient. The federal government has not been able to reach a consensus for decades on the topic of building large dams. Similarly, Pakistan has also failed on diplomatic fronts, it has not been able to persuade or deter India from ...

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Can ‘Shah’ box its way to the top?

Pakistan is a land of talented and gifted people. We have people who have made something out of nothing. With barely any resources available, various Pakistanis have outdone themselves in recent times and have brought pride and prosperity to their motherland through their hard work and sheer determination. Shah is a movie which is based on one such individual, who rose from the cluttered streets of Lyari in Karachi. He rose from nothing and became the pride of Pakistan, but eventually, he was reduced to a mere memory in the minds of Pakistanis. Shah is a story based on true events about the journey of Pakistan’s famous national ...

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You can be an atheist, but not on social media and not on your terms

Niloy Neel is the “fourth blogger” to be killed in Bangladesh in less than six months. It is now officially convenient to get by with assigning serial numbers to dead atheists, rather than making the effort of memorising their names. In 2013, radical religious groups drew up a list of 84 atheist bloggers, and submitted it to Bangladesh’s interior ministry demanding them to be unconditionally punished. The list was widely circulated, and so far, four of them have been murdered by extremist outfits. Those who live, do so in constant fear. The police laid bare its antipathy for them when Inspector General Shahidul Haque victim-blamed ...

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Happy Birthday, Mother – When will you accept me as your own?

It was August 14, 1984. I was only two-years-old. My father decorated the veranda of our small house with lights and green buntings. My parents were excited, as were my elder brother and I. Though I was too young to remember, pictures of that day bring on a strong sensation of déjà vu. Yet, and sadly, before the following Independence Day, we had to leave Pakistan. Persecution, which gained momentum under President Ziaul Haq, forced many Ahmadis to leave for safer lands. Many Ahmadis were killed and their businesses looted.  The state, unfortunately, abetted the religious extremists by promulgating the notorious ...

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She left India for Pakistan, but was her sacrifice worth it?

“People didn’t even bother locking their doors; we knew that we could never come back. It wasn’t easy for us, leaving everything behind, and it seems like another life now, as if we left a part of ourselves back in India. Plenty of people lost their lives, it’s still hard to believe what the partition did to all of us,” told 86-year-old Raffat Jehan. She says that she never regretted coming to Pakistan; she believes the Partition was originally a good idea. “My father’s non-Muslim friends told him that they couldn’t protect us anymore, as painful as it was for us, we had ...

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Wagah Border ceremony: Choose one identity over another

For almost 3,000 kilometres, the border fence between Pakistan and India runs from the sea to the great mountains of the north.  It is lit by 150,000 flood lights, which glow bright orange from space, scarring the solace of the desert and the shared cultural history of the millions who live in it.  It is broken in the hinterlands of Punjab by the Wagah Border Crossing. While the border itself is a product of the violent geo-political dynamic between the countries, this passage across it undermines its absoluteness and highlights its complexity. The border separates the two countries, bisecting a culture and its people – governed ...

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Jinnah’s letter to Pakistan: Who do I hold accountable?

My precious, Where do I begin? Where do I end? 68 years ago, you two breathed your first – I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t ideal. They thought you two wouldn’t be able to make it, but you did. I was such a proud father – the effort, the commitment, the resolve, it all had finally paid off. After the euphoria died down, it was time to snap back to reality. The challenges ahead were steep, but both of you had my unwavering support. My health was giving up on me and I knew I did not have a lot ...

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I am the bare Pakistan

I am Pakistan’s disaster, I am Pakistan’s reluctance, I am Pakistan’s prejudice, I am Pakistan’s vehemence.   I am that blazing ferocious sun, which strikes only the poor of Karachi and pardons the rich, I am that torrent of monsoon flood that demolish the house of the peasant, overlooking the palace of the landlord nearby, I am that dancing death in a farmer’s house whose seeds the government didn’t buy, I am that wrath of God destined for the weak only.   I am the falsified history which is being taught to the students, History which glorifies the tyrants and undermine the real sons of the soil, I am the bellicose politician’s instinct of felony; felony that ...

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