Stories published in June, 2016

Why triple talaq needs to be abolished

Following petitions by Muslim women in the Supreme Court, there has been an on-going debate about triple talaq (divorce) and the need for its abolition. The dominant views on the issue are either by the likes of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board or the Muslim women themselves. It signifies two extreme positions; continuation of status quo versus voices for reform and gender justice. This article is an attempt to put forward our position based on the lived realities of women as a Muslim womens’ organisation that strives for justice and equality. Triple talaq should be abolished because it is un-Quranic; goes against the spirit of the ...

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Udta Punjab – High but yet somewhat dry!

Remember how Tony Montana cursed and swore his way into our collective hearts back in the day. I distinctly recall how being an impressionable young teen, watching Scarface (1983) was a life altering experience. Al Pacino playing a cool-ass Cuban gangster had such a profane… ooops!.. profound effect on my susceptible neurons, that I even contemplated becoming a full-time goon (just don’t tell my dad). Anyways, since the aforementioned idea was just a little far-fetched, I settled for the next cool thing by becoming a lean mean cuss machine! (Being a proud Punjabi certainly had a sway). And ever since that ...

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They are tortured, beaten up with sticks and metal gears, set on fire and boiled ALIVE

Disclaimer: The pictures in this post are graphic. Please use discretion. A dog is a man’s best friend. This might be a common saying, but not as much in China where dogs are barbarically butchered and eaten for the sake of a festival celebration. This annual celebration is held in the city of Yulin, Guangxi, where the festivalgoers eat lychees and dog meat for over 10 days starting from June 21st till June 30th. The festival is commonly known as the Yulin dog meat festival. One of the stalls at the Yulin dog meat festival.Photo: Twitter [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Thank you Abba, for making me the woman I am

It’s been almost nine years since Abba left us. I have written much about Ammi since then, about how she did not take his going so well, about her dementia. But I have somehow avoided writing about my father. Perhaps there is too much to write and it is difficult, even for someone like me, for whom words come easy. In the last few years of his life, his health was flailing and he knew. He started to wrap things up, though he loved life and fought for it till the end. In that twilight phase, what came up repeatedly was ...

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Start funding the police the way the army is funded and you will see a change!

Corrupt, immoral, ill-mannered, undisciplined and mostly ‘chillar’– these words strike people’s minds while thinking of the civilian government’s prime law enforcement agency: the police. Even I had such an impression, although not as vile, of the police, owing to my encounters, interactions and dealings with the paramilitary force. But, after joining it, I have seen another side of the coin that remains hidden from the limelight of the masses’ eyes. Each kind of image or character building, whether flaunting or humiliating, takes time to build. The successive years of deep politicisation, improper institutional training, out-dated infrastructure and above all, a lack of funds coupled with an inappropriate ...

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Does having a career mean I’m going to be a bad mother?

I was having a chat with a newly married friend when she suddenly stopped and said, “I want to start a family, but I’m not too sure.” Relieved that it wasn’t some troubling marital revelation, I assured her that her confusion was natural and that time would probably grant her more clarity. However, her predicament didn’t end there. She had always envisioned herself to be a home-maker, but now when it was actually time to start a family, she wasn’t too sure if she wanted to compromise on her promising career. To top it all off, she was not only confused, but rather, was ashamed ...

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An orphan no more

“I’m not hungry today…” I remember I said to myself just as I opened the lid of the still-warm pot resting on top of the stove. The dirty dishes, filled with leftover pieces of roti, took their place on the right side of the stove and the empty water bottles on the other side had once again told me that my family had eaten without me. The cooking pot seldom had anything left for me to eat. Usually, though, it was half-filled with diluted curry. Every evening, I was handed two gigantic, but empty bottles by my aunt, while she prepared the delicious-smelling ...

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Dear PEMRA, why can’t Hamza Ali Abbasi talk about the plight of Ahmadis without being threatened or banned?

Pakistan is the land of topsy-turvy, where the righteous are punished and the wrongdoers thrive. In what is a thoroughly perplexing decision, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Ramazan program. What was his crime? To open a dialog on his show on the plight of one of the most viciously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, the Ahmadis. Not a few days ago, Hamza Ali Abbasi asked why Ahmadis were treated so poorly in the country and why we were so afraid to talk about it: “The community is being suppressed but if you talk about it, ...

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Will Pakistan continue to fail its non-Muslim men and women?

Every year in Pakistan over a thousand non-Muslim women are forced to convert to Islam. The stories of forced conversions tend to have a similar pattern. First, the girls are abducted. Once taken away from the safety of their homes and communities they are raped and then, usually, married off to their assailants who sneakily shield their non-consensual sexual assault behind the veil of a nikkahnama. Sometimes they are sold into the sex trade. These girls rarely ever return to their families. Help from the police and local clerics is pretty much unheard of. Both parties are either in on the ...

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Lapland: The closest you will ever get to a real Winter Wonderland

After a fun Friday that was spent exploring Helsinki, early next morning when many were still making their way back home after a night out on the town, we were on our way to catch a flight to Ivalo, Lapland – the northernmost airport in Finland. It was also the closest one to our dreamy destination, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. I still remember the day I saw a travel page’s post about this fascinatingly cool arctic resort. It went straight from somewhere in the middle of my newsfeed to the top of my “wander-list”. We were expecting a really small plane, but to our surprise it was ...

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