Stories about culture

Pakistani dramas in India, yay!

Indian soap operas and dramas have been airing on Pakistani television for a long time now. Pakistani women especially, have been largely influenced by these drama serials and this can be seen in the way Hindi words have seeped into our language and Indian clothing has become part of our fashion. Women not only want to buy Tulsi’s sari now, but to also, at times, address an unfortunate happening or a mishap as abshugan (Hindi for bad luck). The effects on our culture can be easily spotted. However, a few days back, I came across news that was thoroughly refreshing to hear; Pakistani dramas are ...

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Want to learn about the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Go to Lyari, Pakistan’s mini Brazil

It is said that things are not always the same on the inside as they may seem on the outside. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The same phrase can be said for Lyari’s current situation. Lyari is one of the oldest and most densely populated areas of Karachi, where people belonging from different races and ethnicities have been living together for years. However, people need to understand that Lyari’s real identity has been manipulated and the area is wrongly presented as a symbol of terror and fear. It is not as bad as it is portrayed by the media or discussed ...

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In Malaysia, I visited a mosque – In Pakistan, I can’t

I am a Pakistani, but the first time I visited a mosque comfortably was in Malaysia. I was able to appreciate the house of worship without once feeling like an outsider, something I have never been able to do while living in Pakistan. As a non-Muslim tourist in an Islamic country I felt liberated to reveal my identity to everyone, and I consciously did so just to relive that feeling again and again before I returned home. In Malaysia, however, it is not until one utters ‘Assalamu alaikum’ can you gauge if they are Muslim. Although over 61.3% of the population ...

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An entrepreneurial Pakistan is not a dream: Thatta Khedona shows you how it’s done

Imagine a village in Pakistan that has garnered international acclaim but still remains unknown to 99.9% of the Pakistani population. This village is called Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka (TGD), which I am sure many of you have never even heard of.  TGD is located 30 kilometres outside Okara and is situated on the Okara-Faisalabad road. Before 1992, this was like any other poor village in Punjab, lacking resources and infrastructure. However, a couple of events completely changed the fate of this desolate settlement. Amjad Ali, a local resident of TGD, whilst studying in Germany, invited his German teacher Dr Senta Siller to visit the ...

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You let me down, my friend

Teenage years are said to be the golden age of a person’s life; when a person feels unchained and independent as if the whole universe lies beneath him. Nothing seems unattainable, boundaries are invisible and risk remains a concept unheard of. It was during my teenage years, that I met you my dear friend. When I got hold of you for the first time it was as if I had found a dear friend. You completed me and I felt like you would never let go of my hand. And you never did, my friend. In times of good and bad, you were always there. But ...

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Copy culture: Degree holders who can’t read or write

The youth, of any country, is always considered its greatest strength and an educated youth is an even stronger pillar for the state. However, these pillars cannot remain strong if young students start looking for shortcuts in their educational life. If such a situation does occur, a decline in a nation’s progress will be the inevitable result. Sadly, this process of decline is already in motion in Pakistan. Cheating culture is increasingly prevalent in our education system and it has become a pervasive phenomenon over here. Despite high claims and solemn promises, respective authorities have failed to curb the rampant and blatant cheating culture ...

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Just because they are old, they don’t have a right to live?

“Five more minutes” I said to myself, while browsing my Facebook wall and going through the list of things-to-do in my head. It has become so hard to manage ones time these days. After snubbing my kids and finishing other tasks, I reluctantly called my mother for our routine morning talk and tried to keep it as short as possible. After a few minutes, as I shifted my legs restlessly and planned how to end the conversation, my mother came up with another ‘aur sunao’ (so tell me more) – which safely meant another 10 minutes. I sighed and continued with our ...

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Don’t worry Pakistani immigrant, the West will not treat you the way you treat your minorities

Migrating to a Western country has many perks. Considering Pakistan’s current situation, it’s quite natural for people to look for opportunities elsewhere, and migrating to a more developed country is usually one of the most sought-after solutions. Those who can avail it, almost always take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself. So, it is disheartening to see some of those very people crying wolf on the smallest of issues and basing it on the religion they belong to or the country they originate from. Here is an instance where I experienced such behaviour first-hand. One fine evening, I bumped into an acquaintance ...

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Preparing for Ramazan with potato stuffed samosas and a spoonful of green mango chutney

Like the rest of the world, few foods are associated with certain events and seasons and in Pakistan, it is no different. Like Kashmiri Chai, which is an integral part of the food menu during wedding festivities in the winter season, gulab jamuns and ladoos are served to celebrate joyous occasions, samosay and pakoray are served with fiery chutneys when the monsoons open up the heavens above to give us a little reprieve from the hellish summers in Pakistan. Our love for samosas, however, doesn’t end with the monsoon season. In fact, samosas take centre stage during the month of fasting – Ramazan. No iftar table is complete without vegetable or minced meat samosay, served with various types of chutneys. While ...

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Learning from the Indian elections, despite Modi’s win

Despite being upset about Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Modi Sarkar claiming undisputed victory in the Lok Sabha, I could not help but notice the immaculate election process that is being conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI). To hold an election process for an estimated 814 million voters over the span of five weeks is not only a daunting process but one that is easily subjected to chaos and anarchy. However, having followed the election process diligently, I was convinced that the election process was as peaceful as it could get, even with the BJP rally fiasco in Varanasi. BJP’s ...

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