Stories about harassment

Holi should stop being an excuse to sexually harass women

Delhi in the month of March is really a beautiful city – the weather is mildly cool and the sun is not that sharp. One would expect that more tourists would visit the place during springtime for whiffs of fresh air. In short, peaceful sites to travel around, before the hot winds begin. But surprisingly, in this month, you will find anything but peace on the streets. This is a different kind of war I am hinting at – those who have booked their tickets for the hills to flee from the Holi horror show know exactly what I am talking about. More ...

Read Full Post

Would Reham Khan’s degree matter if she wasn’t married to Imran Khan?

Recently, when the Daily Mail published an article that claimed Reham Khan, who had citied having attained a course in ‘Broadcast Journalism’, did not exist as part of her educational credentials, the social media was abuzz. As interesting as this not-so breaking news seemed, it looked like an entertaining Twitter trend to follow. I use the term ‘entertaining’ for it was exactly that, entertainment. Having earned a degree in Media Communication and Journalism, for me, the entire hullabaloo that followed this news was intriguing to say the least. We all know that the media really has no ethics and we are also ...

Read Full Post

Why is it acceptable for Indian companies to abuse Indian migrants in the Middle East?

In the southern coastal belt of India and the Malabar side, there has been an obsession among youngsters to flock to the Middle East for a better livelihood. The trend embarked in the late 60s, as a result of the oil boom in most parts of the Arab gulf region. With a shortage of labour force at home, the requirement for semi-skilled and highly-skilled labour from third world countries elevated and thus began the influx of thousands of workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Initially, in the early 70s, Kuwait and Bahrain attracted huge labour force as massive oil extraction ...

Read Full Post

My secret admirer

The doorbell rang. It was 2pm and I was preparing food for lunch. It was almost time for my 15-year-old son, Omar, to come back from school. Wiping away sweat from my forehead with my left sleeve, I rushed towards the entrance. But there was nobody there; just a small package tied with a red ribbon-flower. I was shocked for a second. It wasn’t any special occasion that I could recall neither was it anyone’s birthday at home or any sort of anniversary. I picked it up. It had my name written on it but the box had no name of ...

Read Full Post

Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

Read Full Post

I see Gullus everywhere…

“There is no hypocrisy in Pakistan; we just have completely different standards for men and women.” The comment above summarises the general feedback I received on a meme I created, which went viral on Facebook last week. I hope the irony of that statement was not lost on them. The idea behind the meme was to call out a population that was in an uproar about Humaima Malick crossing over to the tinsel town next door but was showing a general acceptance towards Fawad Khan doing the same. I am no moral authority to judge anyone’s behaviour but it is always fun to start ...

Read Full Post

In Pakistan, ‘It’s On Us’ to protect women from sexual harassment

I remember a crowded market back in Karachi where we stood in a corner going through the merchandise. I was with one of my ‘foreign-educated’ aunts. Suddenly, I saw her face turn a shade of red. I dismissed it and we went back to sifting through the clothes.  A few moments later, it happened again. Her face turned red and her brows creased, but this time she turned around and before I knew it, she had grabbed a young boy by the collar.  “Can’t watch where you’re going huh? This is the third time you’ve passed by this place and grabbed ...

Read Full Post

The black and white of sexual harassment

The Oxford dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks” Gauging from this definition, the meaning is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Apparently not. I am often surprised (read: unimpressed), by the type of conversations I hear surrounding the so-called ‘dubious’ nature of sexual harassment. A few years ago, a colleague came to me saying she felt awkward by the way her now ex-boss would treat her while they were at work. She wasn’t sure if he was interested in her, or if he ...

Read Full Post

No, I am not beckoning you… I am just a woman trying to get to work

To you, The driver who sees my loosely wrapped headscarf, jeans and long shirt, and wonders what’s going on; the passer-by who watches me adjust the messenger bag on my sagging shoulder with one hand and cover my eyes from the sun with the other, squinting at something in the distance; the curious men and women on motorcycles, in vans, riding bicycles and on foot, wondering what I’m doing on a street corner, so early in the day. And especially to those who might wonder if maybe, just maybe… Let me stop you right there and say what doesn’t need to be said ...

Read Full Post

Caught between conspiracies

Members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have decided to show solidarity with their leader, Altaf Hussain, by demonstrating their street power on May 25, 2014 in Karachi. The MQM chief has been under investigation, for money laundering charges, in London for nearly a year now. Though the UK authorities have been unable to prove the charges with substantial evidence, for the time being, Altaf’s accounts have been frozen. Like any other political party, MQM’s major source of income is through donations, which it collects from its supporters locally and around the globe. Altaf  Hussain, the party chief who moved to ...

Read Full Post