Stories published in June, 2017

Eidi or sawaiyan? What does Eidul Fitr mean to an average Pakistani?

  Every year, Eid comes with a multitude of expectations; sheer khurma, new clothes, the fresh smell of mehndi, and most importantly, eidi. For most, it means sleeping in, over-eating and repeat, but where’s the fun in that? Eid is all about family, love and celebrations. This Eid, we wanted to get a gist of what people in Pakistan feel about the holiday in general. The responses are heartwarming and hilarious. We hope this Eid is filled with health, happiness and countless blessings! Eid ...

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Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and the world needs to stop maligning its efforts with baseless propaganda

History testifies to the fact that Pakistan was a great supporter of the Atoms for Peace initiative and had no designs to acquire nuclear weapons. Pakistan strictly adhered to a no-nuclear weapon policy for years. But India’s nefarious designs, which were constantly threatening the existence of Pakistan, compelled Pakistan to take serious steps towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It is also a known secret that Pakistan’s nuclear program has constantly been ardently supported by Pakistanis. They reject any external opposition or criticism regarding the nuclear program. They are fully aware of the fact that in the presence of a stringent enemy in the neighbourhood, it is ...

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When the beast awakens on Eid

Let us ask ourselves this. Eidul Fitr approaches amidst scorching heat and Panama hearings. Gulping down fancy iftars and filling sehris, what have we stored for our Eid?  I will tell you what – the Pret collection of branded clothes, quality makeup kits and tall heels. We’ve fixed appointments at salons and parlours to look our best on Eid day. There are lavish meals planned with family and friends. While festive gatherings are in consonance with the harmonious spirit of Islam, there is a question as to how much we actually recall from the holy month that is nearing its end. While these blessed days are spent in sujood (prostration) and taraveeh (obligatory prayers), how ...

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Dear Pakistan, I know our history is complicated, but our friendship is greater. Love, India

When I was a little girl, it was customary for our family to watch at least one new movie every month. Back then, movie titles were always displayed in English, Hindi and Urdu. Therefore, while English remained my primary language of communication, I ended up speaking both Hindi and Urdu fluently. I grew up in Mumbai which has a strong cosmopolitan culture. I grew up with friends and neighbours from different faiths, and was simultaneously introduced to Diwali and Eid, to Navratra and Ramazan, even as my friends got to know more about Christmas and Lent. It was because of this multi-cultural experience that I got to learn so much about the ...

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House of Cards season 5 is drunk on the Underwoods and it’s time to go home

For a show that calls itself House of Cards (HoC), you’d expect its cards to start falling at some point. Maybe in the span of five seasons, 65 episodes and much screen time, you’d expect that to happen. But the Underwoods, it seems, never run out of their cards – with every snail-paced episode, the duo acquire more cards than Patrick Bateman collected in the entirety of American Psycho, advertently ending up being invincible. Spoilers alert! As disappointing as it is stagnant, the show is back to square one when even the world’s slowest elements are speeding up – Sahir Lodhi’s inability to ...

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The lifafa culture and the materialistic desire to ‘earn’ more on Eid

Anybody who has grown up in Pakistan recognises that pretty lifafa (envelope) in pastel colours or in whites, embellished or plain, sometimes with just a name, at other times with loads of prayers written carefully. Inside, the coveted crisp notes and the smell of the currency printing press chemicals. These notes give many a banker sleepless nights during the last two weeks of Ramazan, as clients are ready to both beg and intimidate bank officials for fresh notes. Fifty ya 100 walay (ones). Five hundred walay. 1,000 walay. Even 5,000 walay if the family is upper tier. Getting eidi is the one time when we all enjoy feeling young because every one of us is ...

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“It’s Chand Raat. He would want to be with family”

He looked again at the big slab of ice, big no longer. It had melted here and there, there and here. There was the memory of ice spread across the table. In zig zag lines, in the air around the table. In the future that was taking a leap into the past. Sometimes he thought his business was not really selling ice but buying time. And the sun was the vendor. The greater the sun’s heat, more the customers, but also greater the probability of the ice melting. Profit, loss. Loss, profit. On the hottest days, people flocked to him and in Ramazan, he naturally became the most important person. For those few hours, at least. He could ...

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How the two-faceted mindset of moderate Muslims ends up aiding militancy and terrorism

In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...

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Why don’t parents speak of the developmental challenges faced by their child the same way they do of their academic achievements?

We all want comfort and happiness for our children. From the time they’re born, we want our little ones to excel in life. In Pakistan, this desire usually translates into a narrow focus on achieving academic excellence, which is typically considered the most widely esteemed cognitive ability. While some parents do realise (and often lament) the potential negative effects of this academic ‘rat race’ on their own children, one aspect they often ignore is the pressure this creates on families of children with special needs – children who may be gifted in one way or the other but may not necessarily have the ability to excel in academics. This ...

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If you think Qatar’s ostracism is an awful misunderstanding, you are dead wrong

Queen was never my first choice of music when I was an avid music lover during my youth. I guess Freddie Mercury’s antics were not really to my taste. I stopped listening to music over the years because I wanted to choose mental clarity over residual ideals that music brings with it. However, there have been several events throughout world politics that have reminded me of Queen and their seminal classic ‘Another one bites the dust’ – Qatar’s expulsion from the fold of ‘peace-loving’ Arab nations being the most recent example. To everyone who thinks that Qatar’s ostracism by its once chummy Arab buddies namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United ...

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