Stories about class

All Pakistanis are fighters? I think not!

As a nation, we have administered euthanasia to our collective conscience. There are three general categories of people that dwell in this land of pure: the elite-educated or otherwise; the educated class and the uneducated mortals. The elite have a conscience, but they never allow it to get the best of them, therefore, they can be forgiven for their beliefs. The uneducated can also be forgiven, because conscience alone cannot bring food to their tables. That leaves us with the so-called educated class, largely consisting of puritans. There is simply no excuse for their behavior. We, the educated people of this country, ...

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The real entrepreneurs of Pakistan

Shakeel operates a DVD rental shop in the building across the street from where I live. It’s nothing too fancy, just a couple of shelves in a six-by-four feet space, in a market dominated by tailors and kapra walas. He comes in at about 4 pm every day, and takes the 10 pm bus back home. All day, he rents out pirated copies of the latest Hollywood and Bollywood flicks to clients at his little shop. Shakeel’s a young guy, maybe 24, with glasses that look remarkably similar to mine. His mother doesn’t let him go to his shop if ...

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Wanted: Trophy wife/millionaire husband

I have this strange habit of reading while sitting on the toilet. It doesn’t need to be anything in particular; as long as there are words to read, anything will do. In a hurry, I often pick up the nearest piece of newspaper on my way to the washroom. While that may sound gross to some, what I read in today’s early morning ritual is much more so. The reading of choice today was the last page of the classified section: the page that contains the “Matrimonial” segment. In the neatly divided “Bride”, “Groom”, and “Marriage Bureau” subcategories, were entries that ...

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Flood tax: Leave us alone, go catch tax evaders

So far Pakistan’s economic loss due to the massive flooding is calculated to be$43 billion. This is equivalent to one fourth of the total GDP  which today stands at $170 billion. For Pakistan, where financing the state, military and debt costs more than what we earn, such an enormous loss to the country’s economy has left everyones mouth agape. And it seems that due to the recent economic losses incurred, the dream of increased spending on human development is far from materializing. There is a dire need of funds to finance the relief and rehabilitation work keeping in view that the tax-to-GDP ratio ...

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Why should I pay a flood tax?

As the flood waters start to recede and the government gears up for rehabilitation, it plans on putting the burden on the tax paying segment of the public. It will be people like you and me who are going to pay flood tax while our friends riding around in SUVs will have a good laugh. The government planned a one time tax that would be deducted from the taxpayers’ salary via property tax, while the 98.4 per cent of the non tax paying population will get away with more than just not paying tax. I, for one, am not in favor of ...

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The cost of grades

By the end of my first semester in university, I became aware that my approach towards education is becoming what the university wants it to be – grades oriented and competitive, wanting to be better than the others, but not because learning is the aim. Without my realising it, the concept of education had changed in my mind. Now it was just a matter of mere numbers (marks) and letters (grades). Relative grading in educational institutions teaches students one simple rule: your grade depends on how others have done in your class. So if the rest of the class has done average, and you are a just a little above ...

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Spreading the joy

The last week of Ramazan brings thriving business for salons as women line up to prepare for Eid. But as we wait in overcrowded salons for our turn, we forget that those putting in the extra hours, working their magic seemingly tirelessly to bring out the best in us, are also women who would like to prepare for Eid. A couple of days before the festival, when I was waiting for my turn at a salon, I got talking to the women working there. They told me that in the days before Eid, they work 12 to 15 hours a ...

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The problem with Imran Khan’s politics

In Pakistan we, particularly those belonging to relatively more educated and urbanized middle class, have developed this psyche where we find a strange solace in other’s miseries. When the Sialkot lynching occurred, many of us were appalled and shaken by the event and then tried to draw parallels to similar incidences in other countries to bolster our dwindling self esteem. A war of articles started where liberals were described as self loathers and were reminded that such incidences were a norm in other countries. Hence there was no need to worry and be depressed. This was followed by the cricket scandal ...

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What language do you speak?

Our identity is not something many of us have been nurtured to accept, let alone be proud of. In this fight against ourselves, one of the greatest losses has been that of language, which lies hidden under the inherent shame of who we are and covered by the pretence of who we are not. Many of us who have studied in private schools have been inculcated this sense of shame about Urdu. Back in school, it was embarrassing not being able to express oneself in English, despite the fact that it was not a language most of us were used ...

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Floods and selective silence in the blogosphere

As I write these lines, the latest reports put the death toll from floods at some 1,100 with 1.5 million affectees and some 100,000 plagued by diseases like cholera. Most of those affected are stranded at remote areas, away from safety, with no food or shelter or clean water and with no access to medical facilities. The waters still rage on and more villages are vulnerable to disaster, risking yet many more thousands of lives. However, I am appalled by the utterly careless, stolid response of the Pakistan media in general and the blogosphere in particular towards this issue. While ...

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