Stories published in March, 2016

You can play Holi too, even if you are Muslim

Phagwa, more commonly known as Holi, celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun (the 12th month of the Hindu calendar), is a festival that heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated with colours, it is a symbolic expression of the changing of temperatures and the blossoming fields of green. My childhood memories are consumed with numerous instances from Holi. Living in a predominantly Hindu neighbourhood in Delhi, and belonging to one of the few Muslim families, we were surrounded by bright, colourful faces on the day of Holi. The enthusiastic crowd did not hesitate to smear my parents with colour the second they stepped out, ...

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Holi should stop being an excuse to sexually harass women

Delhi in the month of March is really a beautiful city – the weather is mildly cool and the sun is not that sharp. One would expect that more tourists would visit the place during springtime for whiffs of fresh air. In short, peaceful sites to travel around, before the hot winds begin. But surprisingly, in this month, you will find anything but peace on the streets. This is a different kind of war I am hinting at – those who have booked their tickets for the hills to flee from the Holi horror show know exactly what I am talking about. More ...

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We don’t know the Qaumi Tarana any better than Shafqat Amanat Ali!

Cricket matches unite the country and bring out the maximum national fervour Pakistanis can ever muster, especially if it’s an India-Pakistan game. But this time what gave more fodder for the newsfeed than the defeat itself, was Shafqat Amanat Ali’s performance of the qaumi tarana. After Qandeel Baloch’s offers to the cricket team – we finally found something unique, fun and deeply rooted in our patriotism to go gaga over. All of which makes a great combination for some national criticism. Pakistanis were excited that someone as talented as him was chosen to accompany the stalwart Mr Bachchan in performing their respective country’s national anthem. However, as with ...

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Namakeen gosht kadhai: Mouth watering at sight, tempting in taste

Namakeen gosht karahi is a Pakistani dish, most famous in the northern areas of the country. Although it is a favourite in pretty much all provinces, it is savoured in the north because not many people from the north eat spicy food, hence the salt. Preparing this dish is always a pleasure for me, especially since it’s considered a treat at home and makes everyone at the dinner table super happy. It may look daunting to make, but follow this recipe and the aroma of the meat, mixed with the spices, will have you making it again and again.  Ingredients: Goat ...

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This March 23rd, admit that you do not love Pakistan

I do not believe that patriotism and the expression of love for our country ought to be limited to just a couple of occasions like March 23rd or August 14th. Yet here I am, writing a piece for one of these very days, which is less of a celebration and more of a concern. I have said and heard the phrase “I love Pakistan” a million times and wondered what it really means. Love for the soil, the seas and the sand, for the land that is Pakistan’s territory? For me loving Pakistan is loving the people who belong to this country; my people. ...

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23 reasons why I love Pakistan and you should too!

In a country with a population of over 188.2 million people, a lot can go wrong, but a lot can go right too! Here is a list of 23 things that make Pakistan home. 1. The men Photo: AFP We may belong to a patriarchal society, but not all men are alike. They don’t all suffer from the disease of misogyny. True gems like Abdul Sattar Eidhi, Ansar Burney and Imran Khan also exist in our society, individuals who play a pivotal role in the betterment of society. 2. The women  Photo: AFP Contrary to the patriarchal outlook of ...

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Game of Thrones: In season 6, Jon Snow’s death is inconsequential

A couple of weeks ago, Game of Thrones (GoT) released the trailer for its sixth season on YouTube and, for those 1:41 minutes, the entire world ceased to exist for diehard GoT fans. The excitement and exhilaration that fans had been harbouring since the beginning of this year (and when the season six teaser was released) increased tenfold and I, for one, began marking the calendar for April 24th like the GoT fanatic I am. After the trailer was released, many started speculating as to whether Jon Snow was really dead or if he will be reincarnated by Melisandre, the Red Woman ...

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Why isn’t Pakistan rooting for our #GirlsInGreen?

Sana Mir wants to prepare a team that is capable enough to do without her; in other words she is ready to hand over the reins to her predecessor on the heels of arguably the biggest win of her international career. Not many male Pakistan cricketers have cared about preparing heirs to their throne in theory, even the ones who have ‘ruled the world’ have left a gaping leadership hole after leaving the game. Sana is hence different and she has perhaps already leapt frogged most of Pakistan’s male cricket captains by achieving what all of them collectively haven’t — a ...

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Terrorism doesn’t care if you are non-Muslim or Muslim, Brussels and Turkey are proof of that

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Brussels. This could be a revenge attack in response to the Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam’s arrest in the city, last Friday. This could also be a symbolic attack against the European Union. Or it could just be another venue for a terror attack after Turkey, as the world watches in horror. It would be an oversimplification to suggest that ISIS is a group of overzealous Muslims working towards the ‘holy’ cause of establishing an Islamic Caliphate; they kill innocent civilians, both Muslims and non-Muslims. They work carefully to draw a wedge between ethnicities within a country to ...

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Kashmir Day holiday is fine but you have an issue with Holi?

Nothing brings out excessive patriotism in Pakistanis like blatant jingoism and bigotry. The Pakistani government recently agreed to allow the Hindu festival of Holi and the Christian observance of Easter as public holidays. This, however, did not sit well with our patriotic, bleed-green Pakistanis who took to social media to portray their “rage”. In short, all hell broke loose. Photo: AFP I, for one, do not understand the reason behind this uproar. The decision seems absolutely justified as people belonging to minority groups should be able to observe and celebrate their religious events, just like Muslims do. Why is it ...

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