Stories about bullying

The TV host has apologised to Nasir Khan Jan. Now it’s your turn, Pakistan

The easy part is over. We must now find our own reflection in Muhammad Shueb’s behaviour and apologise for our own classist and chauvinistic worldview. In a recent viral interview, Shueb, who is a television anchor, berated internet sensation Nasir Khan Jan for his “vulgar” videos. The interview was conducted in an insufferably prudish and invasive manner, inviting comparisons to Maya Khan’s moral posse many years ago. Shueb brought up a video of Jan dancing in a bathroom towel, saying that, “For you it could be entertainment. For me, it’s not!” As Shueb made this declaration, it’s quite possible that he heard in ...

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#TherapistDiaries: The dilemma of being in the closet in Pakistan

I was recently discussing with a patient about how in our culture we do not like to disappoint our parents and would put up with any unreasonable demands and rules just to escape an irrational guilt of hiding something from them or revealing our true selves. This overwhelming guilt or anxiety is experienced even in the most casual rules they set early on in our lives regarding food, friends, religion and so on. For instance, in our society, a 30-plus working adult would rarely challenge these irrational rules and if they do, they carry a great amount of guilt in ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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Another life lost to depression and yet we don’t consider mental health a grave issue?

Mental health should now be the top priority of every person wanting to function fully and maintain a healthy life. However, most of the world does not take this need seriously, and Pakistan is no exception. The country at large remains unaware of the importance of sound mental health, and while certain campaigns do address such issues, they mainly cater to a particular class. Bullying, depression, anxiety, and hundreds of other psychological conditions aren’t taken seriously here, as people believe they will disappear on their own or by prayer, or else the person will be treated harshly or ...

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Bullying 101: We don’t need more angry, aggressive boys – we have enough already

I had conflicted feelings the minute I saw him on screen, despite not being able to pinpoint the exact factors that made it unappealing for me. Even though I tried to watch the video after putting my therapist goggles aside, it still seemed problematic to me. However, as with most things online, I soon forgot about it and moved on. But it did not stop with that single video. A while later, another video of the same child popped up in a similar school setting, with adults apparently enjoying the expression of emotional distress through the child’s tantrums. Who was making these ...

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The new high: You’re depressed not because “your life sucks” but because of Facebook and Instagram

“He is only 19 and so accomplished, what am I doing with my life?” “My hair never looks like that model on Instagram.” “Man! He is having the time of his life and I am just stuck in this miserable job!” “Why am I just sitting here in my pyjamas at home while this guy is vacationing in Bali?” Do you recognise the pattern in these statements? Have similar thoughts gone through your mind recently? If they have, you were probably thinking like this while surfing through your social media, being too depressed to do anything. Unfortunately, we do not realise just how ...

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How Bill Cosby went from “America’s Dad” to #MeToo’s first victory

After I took my last exam at college, I walked towards the founder’s garden on campus and sat down on a wooden beach chair. I kicked my legs up and started working on my paper; the last one due before I was free for the summer. But amidst the heat and the groups of college students socialising, smoking or eating from food trucks, the letters ‘O’Connor’ gleamed and mocked me in the summer sun. Patrick O’Connor was the chair of the board of trustees at Temple University, a public college in Philadelphia, and a few months ago, O’Connor Plaza was renovated ...

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Tough guy syndrome: Ragging is not ‘shugal’ or some rite of passage – it has consequences

Underneath Barry Block’s ominous tress, at the grand Aitchison College, the “premier school in Pakistan”, they stand in a row. Five of them, those unimportant, annoying juniors. “Murgha ban kar beth jao saare ab,” the seniors order. (All of you sit in the chicken position now)   “Yeh tumhara baap hai. Tameez se beth, aur Sir ya Daddy bol. Yaar nai hain hum teray,” another senior exclaims pointing towards one of his batch mates. (This is your father. Respect him. Call him Sir or Daddy. We’re not your friends.) Amongst the hundreds of crises that every teenager faces, there are many fuelled by ignorant, toxically ...

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PTI’s citizen journalism: From the Sharifs and Junaid Safdar, to Reham Khan and Sahir Rehman

The advent of social media and access to smartphones dawned an era of citizen journalism. Anybody can make a video through their mobile phones and upload it on social media to inform the world about an event. We have seen such examples during the Arab Spring, when citizens uploaded pictures and videos of the atrocities committed against them. Students in Bangladesh are also currently using the power of social media and user generated content to update the world on their protest against traffic laws, and the government’s high handedness with them.  As with anything else, citizen journalism has its ...

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If you think Priyanka Chopra is a ‘cougar’ for dating Nick Jonas, congratulations, you’re sexist!

Dating isn’t easy if you are a woman. Not only do you need to ensure that the man you are getting enamoured with poses no real danger – i.e. he isn’t a rapist, a serial killer, a psychopath, or simply a creep – you also have to deal with society’s dissection of your character, once your private life becomes public knowledge. Unfortunately for celebrities, their private lives are always in the public eye and thus open to scrutiny, and if you are a female celebrity, the scrutiny is always worse. Most of the time, the commentary is uncalled for ...

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