How an extra-school program changed the way a seventh-grader looked at society

Beyond the Classroom Education is a program teaching school students all across Pakistan the ability to think for themselves, rather than being taught what to think. Students are exposed to several problematic societal issues through a number of behavioural activities that give them the ability to decipher between right and wrong. It teaches them how to cope with the issues at hand, and also explains ways they can make society a better and more accepting place for all types of people, using the best of their abilities. When the program was introduced to students of the Mama Parsi Girls’ Secondary ...

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Rawalakot, Kashmir is known for its beauty but it should be recognised for its exceptional women

The sound of the phrase, “women are not allowed to work” was so unfamiliar to me, until I reached university. I grew up seeing progressive, working women, like my mother and other relatives, in the society. I am from a small town in Kashmir called Rawalakot, situated in the northern region of Pakistan. This area is known more for its beauty and less for its exceptional women. Women of this area are termed exceptional because despite the existence of an ingrained patriarchal society, they have paved way to be achievers in life. According to the annual socioeconomic report of Kashmir, Azad Jammu Kashmir at ...

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A Rs10 tip on a Rs4,000 bill is an insult, not a favour

Tipping is unique to the food industry. As a doctor, never once did a patient hand me an extra Rs20 note as a thank you for a good knee exam. The reason is that we expect a doctor to receive adequate compensation for his work through the bill alone. It was when I put down my stethoscope and took a hiatus, serving chai to paying customers at my own café, did I develop a greater appreciation for this art. Tipping persists in the food industry because we don’t expect the labour to be paid what they are due. Serving food ...

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From Imran Shah to Khawar Maneka: 11 days, 2 cases – when will PM Imran walk the talk?

I have to concede, it is not easy to digest. But every once in a while, there is news that shakes up the political arena and sweeps the ground beneath your feet. This is one of those instances. Although more details are to be revealed, there are enough facts present at the moment for us to be reasonably alarmed. It seems, unfortunately, that the only “genuinely incorruptible” man in Pakistan has also been compromised. The district police officer (DPO) of Pakpattan, Rizwan Gondal, was reportedly transferred after he intercepted Khawar Maneka, former husband of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra ...

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I resigned not because of my boss, but my co-workers

It is said that people do not quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. However, what I believe is that sometimes people quit not because of their boss, but due to a hostile work environment – or in my case, the bad attitude of some co-workers. Let me offer a disclaimer that I am not here to badmouth my former colleagues. Instead, I wish to share my experience, and my realisation that sometimes people are so competitive and callous in a workplace that they don’t realise how their bad attitude can affect a person’s mental health. It was last year ...

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“Mera jism, khandaan ki marzi”

It was a particularly tiring emergency day in the obstetric labour room. I was writing down patient notes on a file when a woman came pleading to me, “Doctor sahibaa, mehrbani karain, mainay jo sign kiyay hain wo kaat dain, hum nay waqfay ka chalaa nae rikhwana.” (Please doctor, nullify the signatures I just did on the file, we refuse to take intrauterine device for contraception.) IUCD (commonly known as Cu-T) is a small contraception device placed in a woman’s uterus to delay the next pregnancy and ensure better health opportunities for both the mother and the child. When I tried to ...

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: The last dignified fighter in India’s political arena

The demise of former Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee has brought an end to the era of ‘statesmanship’ in the country. Vajpayee brought an entirely new dimension to the Indian political scene; the only point ahead of his leadership was perhaps his poetry, filled with a literary richness that would easily put Prasoon Joshi to shame. Perhaps most importantly, however, Vajpayee was the last dignified fighter in India’s political arena. The man paved the way for nationalistic politics as the founding member of Jan Sangh in 1951, and later established the BJP in ...

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‘Tis the season of sacrifice: No, we don’t want to come to work on the third day of Eid!

Eidul Azha is next week, and with our government recently announcing Eid holidays, citizens of Pakistan are unhappy, to say the least. The four-day break has been cut down to three days, making the Eid break range from Tuesday to Thursday (August 21-23) in its entirety, and the third day of Eid being a working day. Many citizens have voiced their concerns over this rather strange and abrupt holiday announcement, and rightly so. Retweet kar k iss notice pe laanat bhejein. #NaManzoor pic.twitter.com/v7YziRwTCH — Shahrukh (@shahrookhh) August 15, 2018 All across the world when people celebrate major occasions, holidays are given accordingly. The best example ...

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When the old Pakistan was a new Pakistan

Every year as August 14th peeks around the corner, it is tradition to see stories emerge of what is known to be the bloodiest and largest mass migration in history. Similarly, there have been many instances where I have been told the story of my maternal great-grandparents and their journey from India into Pakistan. Before the Partition of 1947, my great-grandparents, Syed Hasan Mian and Syeda Sardar-Bano, resided in Muzzafarnagar, India with their three sons and daughter. Mian, after receiving his degree in law from Aligarh University, was an advocate by profession and the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Provincial General Secretary in the Muslim League. His friendship with Ayub ...

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High BMI and low stamina could not stop me from making that hike

This is going to take a while. I’m still processing my feelings after spending three nights in the middle of a local forest managed by Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Pakistan. There is so much that needs to be expressed because you cannot sum your experience up in a hashtag when it comes to the profoundness brought by nature. In comparison to other people, a sedentary lifestyle and a higher body mass index (BMI) barely helps you when climbing a few stairs or performing day-to-day physical tasks without experiencing fatigue. Walking for a few minutes seems like a never-ending task ...

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