Stories about history

Jazba just wasn’t enough

Pakistan lost the much-hyped match against India, just as they lost on previous four occasions where they came up against India in any World Cup game. They say history never repeats itself, but it did in this case. However, folly always repeats itself. We made the same mistakes that we always do. Pakistan felt they could go into the game and pull off a win even after fielding like they always do, leaking runs and dropping catches. But one can ride luck just so far. Eventually, reality catches up and the men are separated from the boys. Let’s hope Kamran Akmal is ...

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Mohali showdown: Do we put our faith in history?

Can Pakistan win against India in India, that too in a World Cup? If one is to go down the memory lane, the answer would be that it is not likely to happen. After all, history is known to repeat itself, and it has already done so a few times in the 2011 World Cup as well. For instance, Pakistan had never lost to Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium before, and history played true. The ever-unpredictable Pakistan managed to beat the consistent and highly-talented Sri Lanka once again, and quite easily as it appeared in the end. And how ...

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I’m sorry, but Habib Jalib who?

It was Habib Jalib’s death anniversary a few days ago, and, as expected, when I inquired from my friends if they knew who this revolutionary poet was, they said no. Why would they know Jalib anyway? I didn’t know who he was until I stumbled upon a few videos of his poetry recital when I was in college three years ago. It was then that I was exposed to a man whom I went on to respect. In fact, I made sure I learnt some of his verses, as they seemed very applicable around the year 2007, as they were when ...

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Saeed Book Bank: Another casualty in KP

It’s not that I never anticipated the closure of one of Peshawar’s largest and oldest bookstores, Saeed Book Bank, yet that news still broke my heart. I can’t exactly recall my first visit to the store but I do know it was the best book store in the province. Saeed Book Bank has been regarded as a site worth mentioning to tourists in Peshawar. It has served the literary and educational needs of the people of KP for over five decades. Saeed Book Bank was established in 1955 by Saeed Jan Qureshi. His sons took over the family business in 1985. ...

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Love is more than roses: The legends behind Valentine’s day

It’s the same old story every Valentine’s Day. Red things plastered everywhere, sales, advertisements and the omnipresence of hearts. As sentimental music lulls the senses over candlelit tables where love struck eyes caress each other in banal and repetitive gestures, the voice of reason within me asks, “What the hell is wrong with us?” If someone told me February 14 was the day that fat cats from Hallmark and flower tycoons from around the world gather to toast their Dom Perignon and light their cigars with $100 bills to celebrate the world’s stupidity, I wouldn’t be surprised. It is one of ...

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1947: A teenager’s memories of Independence

After all these years I can still smell the stench of death and half burnt timber. I still see mountains of rubble as if it was August 1947 in Lahore. I was 13 years old, tense and worried. I could see columns of smoke rising over the city’s rooftops. Speculations were ripe. They said Lahore was going to be a part of Pakistan but the inclusion of Gurdaspur, the area where my relatives lived,  was doubtful. I did not know what would happen to the rest of the Muslims all over India. My own relatives lived in East Punjab, and I anxiously ...

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Save your breath, PML-Q!

The PML-Q’s disapproval of the present regime’s tactics at placating the ‘religious right’ clearly indicates that politics in Pakistan is replete with irony. Caustic remarks were made with reference to the PPP’s inability to sustain support for progressive and moderate elements within the country and instead succumbing to pressure from religious extremists. Some PML-Q leaders have also gone to the extent of saying that there is no fundamental difference between the current leadership and the autocratic Zia regime. This anti-government tirade appears a tad insincere keeping in mind the fact that this ‘religious right’ were once empowered by the PML-Q ...

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Liberals then, and liberals now

The lack of pluralism within our society is emblematic of our intolerance in general. I hate to be cynical, but it has always been this way and I fear that it shall remain so. There has been talk on these pages of a ‘liberal movement’ or ‘liberal activism’ as well as ‘liberal fascists/ liberal extremists’. The fact of the matter remains that left-of-centre social and political thought has never been the ‘done’ thing in this country. Ghosts of a leftist past In the early 50’s right up to the 60’s and 70’s, this country had some semblance of leftist thinking. There was ...

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Dedicated writers: The bright side

The days of calm and peace lie so distant in our past as to be a fading dream. What we have is chaos and anarchy, loot and extortion, theft and robbery, violence, murder and terrorism. Not many days go by without another blast killing many and causing wives to be widowed and children to be orphaned. It is natural for people in times like these not to take life for granted and for the feeling of transience to be heightened. Such are our circumstances but sometimes one comes across something that makes one wonder how it is that there are ...

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Pakistan (Studies) Zindabad!

“You know what really bothers me about India? Not their stupid ‘Incredible India’ slogan or their weird item songs or that ‘Licence to wear Black’ ad,” says a friend during Pakistan Studies class one day. “The Taj Mahal! Everybody wants to see it. It’s on every postcard. Even that stupid French guy wants to see it. It’s the first thing everyone wants to see!” When I ask why she’s bothered by the Taj Mahal, her answer is simple: “Because it’s really ours.” That is, Pakistan’s. Five years of Pakistan Studies class, hours of learning dates and battle names, of revising lists ...

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