Stories about freedom

There is no PTI or PML-N, there is just Pakistan

Imran Khan’s protest began against alleged rigging in general elections, transformed into a march and sit-in against the prime minister, and has blossomed into one of the firmest stances against status quo in the history of Pakistan. It is not just the number of people, but the kind and class of people in his sit-in that speaks volumes about the strength of his stance. These are people who were never seen in political gatherings or protests. The upper-middle and upper-class; educated people, professionals, women and children, have taken over the space that was once occupied mostly by simpletons, who were nothing but ...

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All is not well, Papa

Dear Papa, I am told I was born to the call of the azaan, on the most blessed of nights. It was much celebrated, my birth, I am told. I was welcomed as the manifestation of a dream, the fruit of relentless toil, and the sweat and blood of millions of orchard farmers. I was God’s answer to man’s desperate cries for help, I am told. For years, I stood firm, draped in hope and dressed in faith. I was still in infancy but I was strong, and strong beyond that word. Kids in the neighbourhood never thought I would make it. I ...

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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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Feminism will never work in Pakistan

Rebecca West, a famous author, once said, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” These are powerful words, indeed. Everyone has a different perception of what feminism entails but, universally, it espouses equality and freedom from discrimination, degradation and sexual violence. However, feminism is a concept that sits at odds with a fiercely patriarchal, deeply religious and culture-obsessed society like Pakistan. This is not to say that feminism doesn’t exist in Pakistan; it’s just not given much emphasis or is ...

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Noor of Bihar

“Babu jee, India is so enormous. Mumbai, Agra, Delhi and Bihar are unfathomable in size. Either you take one step or accomplish a hundred, it will take 10 years to traverse from one end of the country to another,” she assured me in her mellifluous Bihari tone. As the fan overhead continued its eternal hymn, Nani (maternal grandmother) shouted in distaste, “Huh, you have seen India, my foot! Woman of no worth,” she shouted out, as mother and I looked at each other, exchanging mental notes on how to manage Nani’s incorrigible distrust of domestic helpers. Nani suffered from a cancerous tumour ...

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The graffiti promised a cure for my son’s disease, it was all a lie!

“Man-Pasand shaddi…” (Marriage of your choice) “Kia aap be-aulaad hain?” (Are you childless?) “Kamzor jism ko mota banaein…” (Beat weakness and get healthy) Photo: Sana Urooj I am sure every single person in Karachi is immune to all these appealing statements painted on walls catching our eyes almost daily. The system is usually blamed for such cheap marketing tactics but it is in fact, Karachiites’ signature trend – purposely created. Graffiti, defined as wordings or images scribbled on a wall, actually originates from ancient Romans and Egyptians in the form of cave paintings and was used as a manner of self-expression. It has transformed ever since in ...

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6 reasons you should live in a hostel at least once in your life!

Can’t find clean clothes? Forced to wear two different socks? Your bed hasn’t been made in a month and your room looks like a laundromat? There are orange peels all over your study table with the seeds scattered everywhere in the room. There’s no one to scold you about how untidy your room is and you live a happy-go-lucky life with no worries about the next day, hour or moment. When all these things happen to you simultaneously, you know you live in a hostel. I mean, honestly speaking, what else can you expect from a bunch of young adults living together in ...

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7 simple rules (or not) to impress ‘rishta aunties’

We all know for a fact that middle-aged aunties are on the lookout for prospective wives for their sons and nephews, during the wedding season. What is surprising though is that young ladies love being the centre of attention and enjoy all the looks of admiration showered on them. And let’s be honest, what better place is there to plan the conception of your own wedding than the venue of someone else’s wedding? However, there are rules that need to be taken into consideration if you wish to actively participate in the South-Asian game of ‘match-making’. Even if you intend to avoid the game ...

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My life… or a poorly scripted story?

My story is one that is not worth listening to. It is poorly scripted and lacks punctuation and depth. It lingers on too long and then stops suddenly, as if looking for a new introduction to an already spoiled plot. It dies too often or does it sleep? I do not know. It becomes dormant so it could be either. Its commas occur once too often and the colons, which are otherwise latent with the charm of novelty and surprise, act as full stops. Its full stops end half-lived sentences which miserably rise and fall, full of verbs which do and die, ...

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Cheeekh-Speak Up: Plagiarism in the name of ‘freedom of expression’

Freedom of speech is a much touted phenomenon in the society today. However, along with this freedom comes the responsibility to recognise original content as well as the conscientious use of someone else’s opinion. Surfing on the internet one day, I came across a post shared on Facebook by a non-profit organisation called Cheeekh-Speak Up. Skimming through, I was shocked to see a post from my personal blog site published there as a contribution. What was even more appalling was that it had been published without any credit or link to my page, making it seem as if I myself had contributed ...

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