Stories published in November, 2016

Why Modi is as bad as Trump

We are living in extremely dangerous times. Many of you would imagine I am referring to the election of Donald Trump, a xenophobic, misogynist, white supremacist, “nasty” man as the US president. I am not. I am referring to an even more terrifying phenomenon; which is our willing suspension of disbelief in election times. This is the very phenomenon which enables evident liars, of the ranks of Trump and back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and team, to work up crowds with promises that any sane man would know are hoax, and get elected to office. And still worse, defeat the right ...

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Will Trolls live up to the Shrek franchise?

What do you get when you take small, cute creatures with weird hairstyles, in adorable clothing living in a peaceful, natural habitat in their little homes? You get Trolls. Although trolls – adopted from the dolls production since 1959 – has been made into a movie, chances are that it will soon become a memory instead of a classic. The reason being simple – it’s characters and story have a stark resemblance to the Smurfs. The only thing that’s different is the theme song. DreamWorks Animation has come up with blockbuster hits such as Antz, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Turbo – with that comparison in ...

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In Pakistan, it is a sin to be a transgender

I am at a loss for words. I really am. It feels like a sucker punch. It feels like I’m in an alternate dimension – something out of a dark graphic novel where there are no heroes, just villains. And that’s just me. Disconnected from the actual scene of crime, sitting comfortably on my chair, typing away this blog, trying to express the deep sense of horror that I feel right now after watching these videos. The video below shows a gang member brutally beating a transgender – he humiliates and assaults her, but no one is able to set this ...

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The Noorani attack proves Pakistan will continue being religiously intolerant

A few days ago, a friend of mine (who is a renowned activist) jokingly made a comment on Facebook that no suicide bomber would ever consider detonating in Lasbela, Balochistan because it’s unbelievably hot there; no bomber is mad enough to kill himself in such scorching heat. Alas, he was proven wrong. On Saturday, a young suicide bomber targeted a Sufi shrine near Lasbela, killing around 60 people and injuring more than a 100. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and right now, I wish – as insensitive as that joke was – that my friend had been right. His words ...

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Why do we consider regular e-commerce stores to be startups?

For the past couple of years, new startups are popping up everywhere in Pakistan. Everyone seems to know someone who has recently started a new ‘e-commerce’ store which will revolutionise the industry in Pakistan. To be honest, I’m starting to get fed up with this constant stream of ‘entrepreneurs’ who set up a website, put some products on it and call it a startup and Pakistan’s best online shopping store. I mean how far can we be from reality? Why do we think starting a regular e-commerce store with WooCommerce or OpenCart, without anything different from the thousand other competitors, should still be considered a startup? Yes, ...

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Our company said if he didn’t touch you, it isn’t harassment

What happens when you finally voice your opinions over the unbearable harassment that you’ve had to face for three months? You are ridiculed, you are blamed for having filth in your mind; you are indirectly under suspicion in everyone’s eyes and all this, for what? Only because you raised your voice against something you do not want to endure anymore. Three years ago I started working at an IT company – it was the beginning of my professional career. The company provided a van service for women, a facility which almost every working woman needs and that is one of ...

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Will America ever be able to shatter that glass ceiling?

What was Hillary Clinton’s major downfall; the Benghazi issue, Clinton Foundation allegations or the email scandal? Or was it the most inane yet detrimental factor; her gender? As fragile as a glass ceiling may sound, America proved it’s the toughest ceiling to break through. To what extent sexism shaped the 2016 election would be impossible to gauge through statistics. But these elections proved to be a testament to the fact that men can get away with sexist and misogynistic slurs, even in the 21st century. In 1996, during an interview, Clinton was questioned about whether the American people were ready to accept a first lady with headstrong opinions and ...

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Equidistant dots

He picked up his notebook, and he saw that it was filled with equidistant dots, page after page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...

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Why is Sindhi considered an inferior language to English or Urdu?

It was Friday afternoon and I was holed up in my room, surfing through the internet when my nine-year-old sister entered. She had just gotten back home from school so she was still wearing her school uniform. She’s currently in the fourth grade at a well-known school. As I asked her about her day, she started telling me about her performance in a Sindhi class test. She said that the day before the Sindhi test, she was really exhausted and didn’t feel like studying for it. She had aced it anyway. But that wasn’t the point, I asked, “How can you not prepare for ...

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Jeewan Hathi – A case study on how a movie should not be made

There are some actors that directors and writers depend on a bit too much, even more than they should. Everyone in Pakistan wants to be the next Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhtar (late) combination. But it’s not as easy it sounds. I suppose Fasih Bari Khan thought he could build the same association with Hina Dilpazeer. The recently released telefilm Jeewan Hathi is hardly 65–70 minutes long and features Hina Dilpazeer, Samiya Mumtaz, Kiran Tabeer, Adnan Jaffar, Saife Hassan, Fawad Khan and Naseeruddin Shah. Let’s see what this elephant has to offer. Jeewan Hathi revolves around the lives of people involved in the television industry; an ageing TV hostess (Hina ...

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