Stories about freedom

Why are Indian and Pakistani men hell-bent on perpetuating sexual terrorism?

Another day, another news report about a horrific rape that once again highlights the distance India has to travel to ensure true equality, freedom, and justice for its women. In this latest incident, a 21-year-old was gang raped again by the same five men who had raped her three years ago. This incident is beyond outrageous and is a measure of the abject failure of the law and order machinery in ensuring that justice is served and all perpetrators of sexual crimes are punished appropriately. Out of the five original rapists, two were apparently out on bail and three had never ...

Read Full Post

America’s race against itself

The United States has a long history of emphasising the value of personal freedom, liberty, and equality. It has also positioned itself as the champion of these values globally. There’s also good reason why the world largely accepts America as the leader of the free world. The American dream has promised its citizens social mobility, freedom from old world hierarchies, and a climate of innovation, all of which have combined to create tremendous economic opportunity. To say that the US has been a magnet, an El Dorado, for generations would not be an exaggeration. Wave after wave of immigrants have landed on its ...

Read Full Post

Is Uber the Saudi woman’s closest taste of freedom?

I was 10-years-old when I saw something I had never seen before: one night, in a dark corner of the desert on the outskirts of Riyadh, my mom switched seats with my dad and got behind the steering wheel. My sister and I watched in awe as she began to cautiously accelerate. But, as the novelty of the situation coursed through her veins, with the sound of police sirens behind us, all excitement quickly abated turning into dread. My dad nervously rationalised why he was sitting in the passenger seat with a woman behind the wheel in a country that, ...

Read Full Post

Maria Toorpakai’s life sings like a Khaled Hosseini novel

Cut off my locks….my pretty black locks…. Throw away my frocks….my pretty bright frocks…. I will ditch my bangles and my dainty shoes…. I will run as a boy and let myself loose…. They will spare my life if I turn into a boy… And if I remain a girl, they will kill my joy… Birds of a feather flock together. But if you aim to fly high, you have to leave the flock first. Such a bird is Maria Toorpakai. Her life is nothing short of a Khaled Hosseini’s novel; the war struck her home town, the high profile political family and the strangest dream ...

Read Full Post

You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

Read Full Post

What does the IS have in common with the US?

After 9/11, the US administration decided to go on a mass “witch hunt” to locate and exterminate culprits whom they believed were behind the attacks on the World Trade Centre. The ultimate culpability and responsibility for the attacks was placed on Osama bin Laden, the then head of al Qaeda. Although the prime suspects for the 9/11 attacks were led to be of Arab descent, the location where it was believed that Bin Laden and his associates were residing was Afghanistan. Afghanistan, at the time, had gone through a series of internal struggles during their war with the USSR, in which Afghan Mujahideen had fought ...

Read Full Post

Willful ignorance

What do you want, God? What do you need? Submission, obedience and blind faith; is that all you require of me?   I am sorry, my Lord; this dogma I refuse to accept, From the Master of the universe, more compassion do I expect, You are the Vicegerent, the Supreme and the Omnipotent, Am I alive to live in fear? Is that how I am supposed to view your strength?   My heart does not believe it! It does not concur, It trusts a God of mercy and benignity, not tyranny and terror, They kill in Your name; they torment and subjugate, Will bigotry prevail over forbearance? Is that our fate?   They shed ...

Read Full Post

The confused case of a ‘liberal’ Pakistani

As the claws of fanaticism have dug deeper in our skin during the last one decade, a parallel phenomenon has taken place among some sections of Pakistan’s urban youth – a shift towards liberalism. In the simplest of terms, the components of liberalism fly the flag of equality and freedom. The whole concept revolves around civil liberties and rights. To a huge chunk sick of conservatism, liberals provide a platform that enables social change and political reform. Not a bad idea looking at the current state of bomb-wrapped, blood-spluttering affairs in Pakistan. What is the problem then? The problem is the foundation of ...

Read Full Post

Is ‘Haider’ really a threat to Pakistan’s ideology?

This is not a review of the film ‘Haider’, but an evaluation of the strong political reactions it has generated. This review is unsuitable for adults easily aggrieved by unfavourable judgement of their political views. Vishal Bhardwaj has established himself as an artist who likes to prod controversial subjects, just to see what happens. While the film itself boasts an impressive rendition of Shakespeare’s magnus opus, set to the beat of dazzling musical numbers, and jaw-dropping footage of the embattled valley, what truly stands out is its boldness. India: 2/5 stars While Haider managed to successfully squeeze its way through tight grasp of the Central Board ...

Read Full Post

I disagree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

I read a fellow blogger’s post on why she agrees with Sam Harris and Bill Maher. I am sure the writer has her heart in the right place and I completely agree with her principal argument – that the Muslim world needs serious introspection and reform. Except this is not the argument Maher and Harris put forth. They believe that the Islamic faith, not just extremist Muslims, needs reform. Academically speaking, Islam is defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not defined by what the ISIS or some ‘Muslim government’ endorses. Nor is it defined by what 64% of Egyptian Muslims ...

Read Full Post