Stories published in September, 2016

Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

Read Full Post

Pink: No, she does not want to have sex with ‘you’!

How do you break a woman who has the audacity to have a spine to stand up for herself? What does it take to knock her down if she has the gall and gumption to fight against all that’s wrong? How do you shut a girl who has the temerity to have a rational mouth on her? Well, you can’t! And B-Town has finally manifested the point in all its cinematic mightiness. In the prevailing culture of putrid patriarchy, if a female refuses to submit, it is considered as an attack on the male ego. You label her a slut, ...

Read Full Post

Our minorities have found a voice in Pakistani cinema

I still remember when I was first introduced to The Mindy Project by a friend while sitting in her apartment in DC back in 2014. We started binge-watching it for a few nights after dinner during my brief stay with her. When I returned to my internship in Vancouver, I heard one of my colleagues (an Indian-Canadian woman) raving about it. Mindy Kaling is undoubtedly a talented lady and the show has been quite popular – on a separate note, there was something about it that made all the brown girls go crazy. They finally got to see a brown woman in ...

Read Full Post

Are there any ‘liberal extremists’ in Pakistan?

One of the phrases being used repeatedly in the Pakistani mainstream, as well as social media, is of ‘liberal extremism.’ I have repeatedly heard and read that Pakistani society is polarised – and both the ‘extremes’ are equally harmful. A few columnists and anchor persons continuously point towards the ‘dangers’ emanating from liberal extremists. Some way or the other, our media is trying to project itself as striking the vital middling position and professes ‘miana ravi’ or moderation in opinion. This term is no longer just restricted to the media but has also found its way in everyday conversations and drawing ...

Read Full Post

Should the internet be the one teaching our children about ‘the birds and the bees’?

You know they say that ‘hormonal teenagers’ is a cliché? And do you know what they say about clichés?  They say that most clichés are true. And they are.  And hormonal teenagers are the truest clichés in the universe. Psychology and medical science tell us now more than ever; if there was ever a time to accept this cliché and all the baggage that comes with it, it’s now. More parents, logically, should accept that between the ages of 13 to 18, young adolescents go through various surges of hormones in their bodies and sexual arousal is also a part of this physiological development. Logically, more parents should help ...

Read Full Post

What’s going wrong with José Mourinho’s United?

Manchester United – a team consisting of extra-ordinary individuals but performing below the ordinary level of expectations. After the disastrous derby day defeat, no one thought things with someone like José Mourinho at the helm could go this wrong. After the disastrous derby day defeat, no one thought things with someone like José Mourinho at the helm could go this wrong. Photo: AFP But bloody hell, (Fergie-style) we have been wronged. Mourinho got it horribly wrong in the first half of Manchester Derby. He really underestimated City, and above all, Pep Guardiola’s strength. Although United’s performance in the ...

Read Full Post

Ek Thi Marium – this is what empowerment looks like

Steering away from the melodramatic genre of our drama industry – which continually encircles around the ‘bechari aurat’ (oppressed woman) – projects like Ek Thi Marium attempt to bring about a much needed change showcasing the true meaning of the commonly misused term: woman empowerment. The project is a biopic of the first Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium Mukhtar, who was martyred whilst in the line of duty. The gripping narrative, crisp direction, and deep dialogues have made this telefilm both moving and inspirational; two qualities which our monotonous sagas continually lack. Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium MukhtarPhoto: Reuters Ek thi Marium narrates the story ...

Read Full Post

Churchill’s face on the new £5 note is an insult to the Commonwealth

Like 2.5 million others from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal and millions more from Africa and South East Asia, my grandfather fought with the British military in World War II. Tens of millions of others across the old British Empire gave precious resources to aid the war effort, many millions losing their lives in the process. They accepted the call to join the Allied forces to help defeat the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Germany at the door step of the United Kingdom. Winston Churchill, the war time prime minister, told them to ‘brace themselves for their duties’ and this would ...

Read Full Post

In Thar, crops wait in their beds of soil for the rain to come

The desert of Tharparkar spreads over 19638 sq km in southern Sindh, Pakistan. It’s known for its rich culture, religious harmony and arid lands that turn green after the yearly rainfall. Since its origin, Thar has been infamous for its droughts. After three years of continuous droughts, the people of Thar are hoping for a surplus harvest this time around. It’s one of the most peaceful areas of Pakistan and is ingrained with a beautiful culture, a unique geography, and hospitable people. I moved to Thar in 2013 from Sanghar, where I have been practising photography and developing documentaries ...

Read Full Post

When women talk, men are heard – but hopefully not for long

India’s daughters have long been discriminated against. They are taught to be subservient, docile, and self-sacrificing and the whole social structure is designed to keep them suppressed. The parents of girls take it for granted that they have to pay for dowry and carry the burden of a lavish wedding where the groom’s family can make unreasonable demands and expect them to be fulfilled. No questions asked. It is also considered normal that the girl will give up everything to go live with and serve her husband’s family. With such thoughts so deeply embedded in the social psyche, it is no ...

Read Full Post