Stories about families

Partition 1947: Their worlds suddenly changed, never to be the same again

Partition. A simple word used to refer to the extremely traumatic events of August 1947. A word that seems devoid of any emotion whatsoever; concealing the atrocities committed and the thousands slaughtered in the name of religion. As boundaries were rashly drawn by the British and their colonial country was left ravaged by war, how aware were these higher orders that communities, families and friendships would be so ruthlessly ripped apart? Everyone from both sides of the border have their own tales of Partition. My own daadi and naani (paternal and maternal grandmother respectively) often narrate their accounts of pre-Partition India, Partition, and ...

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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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Trump’s policy and Melania’s jacket prove one thing: they really don’t care

This could not have come at a more appropriate time. “I really don’t care, do u?” That was the message on the back of Melania Trump’s jacket when she visited a children’s refugee camp yesterday. This message essentially summed up the way things have turned out for the miserable citizens of the South and Central American countries running away from gang violence, rape, torture and police brutalities in their own respective countries and seeking shelter in the US. Some of them even travel thousands of miles on foot in their endeavour to cross the Mexican border into the United ...

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Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar: A tribute to our lonely wanderers

The outlook of the working class around the globe and Pakistan in particular has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. People are coming out from the comfort of their home towns and moving to bigger cities and foreign countries for jobs and education. But this comes at a cost; a large number of these people have to stay away from their families and friends for extended periods of time, and that changes a lot of things; from their personality to their lifestyle. Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar (I Often Sit on the Soil) is a narration of such lives, something most the ...

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Eid in the life of a transgender in Pakistan

Wasn’t this Eid a happy one, like all of our other Eids? All of us joined our families in sharing joy and the festivities of the occasion, visited our loved ones, exchanged gifts and shared laughter and lark. As I happily celebrated the first day, my mind drifted to the ones away from home – towards those individuals who are living abroad; yearning to reunite with their loved ones, battling homesickness with the hope that they’ll be celebrating the next Eid with their families. It made me sad to think about how one would feel being far away from home. ...

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Is Maryam Nawaz gearing up to be the next prime minister of Pakistan?

On October 22nd, the former US First Lady and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, survived an 11-hour long congressional hearing pushing her closer to the Oval Office. The same day, Justin Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Premier, Pierre Trudeau, began his takeover of power in Ottawa, Canada. On that very day, just shy of her 42nd birthday, another political heir made her global debut standing next to Michelle Obama in the eastern wing of the White House.  This woman is Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan’s incumbent third time Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who has announced a commitment to educate more girls in her country. The fact ...

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This was not revenge, this was murder without mercy

From today, we can no longer be divided into groups and raise slogans for politicians. Today, we need to join hands and stand together as Pakistanis for the future of this nation. The ‪‎Peshawar attack is another brutal example of the heinous criminals that infest our nation. As the death count rises, we are counting the bodies of dead children. Dead children, for God’s sake. There is no excuse for this brutality. There is no excuse for this infamy. There is no excuse for anyone to even consider fighting for anything other than the Pakistan that 132 families sacrificed their future generations for ...

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My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Nowadays, various television channels have taken to playing emotional songs about sons and fathers joining the army, going on active duty and dying at the line of duty. It might be motivating for the general public, but what happens to the families of these soldiers can be comprehended neither by the channels nor by their producers. It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching the song, if her father is going to meet the same tragic fate because she believes that her father is the bravest. It is difficult to answer her question when a lump in the throat is ...

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Déjà vu: The workers died due to suffocation

‘The workers died due to suffocation’ – this is not the first time we have heard news like this. The first time we heard it was back in 2012. Two years ago, on September 11, 2012, when the garment factory caught fire claiming 259 lives and injuring 140. They called for help, screamed and shouted in agony but all in vain. The rescue forces didn’t get there in time. There were no fire escapes, fire retardants or safety measures. The doors were locked and the only unlocked door was on fire. One might think that they could have used the windows to escape instead ...

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Bulldozing the poor of Islamabad to make room for the rich?

I offer my deepest sympathies to the elite and upper-middle class families of Islamabad who may be experiencing frustrating irregularities in the activities of their servants. It’s quite possible that the inconvenience is being caused by their maasi (domestic maid) Zareena’s sudden homelessness in the aftermath of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) war on slums. I’ll try not to undermine the importance of preventing illegal occupation of public land but this prevention shouldn’t be reserved for just one segment of society. It’s expected for these settlements to be raked away especially, if the occupiers are haplessly poor and have no teeth to bite back. But what ...

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