Stories about honour

This Father’s Day, I choose to celebrate my mom

If you are fortunate enough, you will grow up with two supportive parents and live a happy, fulfilling life under their guidance and watchful eye. If you are even more blessed, you will be raised by one strong, courageous woman, who stands by you regardless of what the world has to say.  That woman is my mother. There are two sentiments in life I never want associated with me: pity and hatred. Why? Because my mother never introduced me to them and her judgment is one I will not question. So today, as I write this piece and dedicate it to the woman ...

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A 21 gun salute to honour a dishonoured land

She woke up to the sudden thud. The rattling windowpanes had sent her in a state of panic. She tried to leap out of her bed but her emaciated muscles clearly were not a help. “Another bomb blast!” she exclaimed frightfully. I, sharing the room with Grandma during my visit back home, gave her a hand getting up. A smile crept across my face, as I understood the reason of her anxiety. “Don’t worry, it is the 21 gun salute to honour our Motherland, Dado”, I reminded her, my words perfectly coinciding with the second thud. A wave of relief appeared on ...

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Are women responsible for rape?

“You know I’d never wear something like that. It’s so… so inviting.” This was said with an air of such self-righteousness that I wanted to get up and say a prayer for this woman who thought she’s the epitome of piety and all things good. There have been numerous occasions when I have found myself fuming at such women (and men) who have taken it upon themselves to decide what women should and should not do. Often I am compelled to consider whether I am a feminist or not, which leads me to conclude that I possibly cannot be a feminist, for being one entails ...

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‘Sharing’ rape

The plight of women in Pakistan is a grotesque reality; so shameful that even in today’s day and age most aspects of their suppressed lives are considered taboo for public debate. One such area is the crime of rape, and marital rape in particular, where the latter is still not considered an offence or a wrong-doing in this land of the pure. The Sughra Imam Report which was recently presented before the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice revealed that there has been a zero conviction rate for rape in the past five years and the main reason behind this is the ...

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Our honour was saved

I am a woman, But you could give me any name.   I am Bhavna; They named me desire. How ironic! Small desires I had, Sipping some wine and Seeing a beach. My love became my bane My rebellion, my curse. I challenged their honour So, something had to be done. They strangled my wishes And cremated my dreams.   I am Farzana; I carved a life And fought for it. They pelted my choice, They battered my soul, Their honour survived But my baby died.   I am the letter peeping through brackets; Reported often in the news, Shrouded in sheen, meem, kaaf, My story ensues.   I am the nanhi kali violated; They talk about in the news, My name is hushed, My identity draped, But we must thank our lucky stars, Our honour is ...

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Dukhtar: A mother’s plight against child marriage

Rarely do movies of such calibre come along that transcend generations and provoke our greater thought process, not because of impressive visuals, A-list actors, extravagant set pieces and locales but because of its strong story-driven narrative – narrative that is deeply entrenched into the harsh realities of life, as opposed to a work of fiction.  Dukhtar too has a potential to lay claim to all of that and then some, thanks to its excellent subject matter. Dukhtar means ‘daughter’ in Farsi and Urdu dialects. The movie is predominately a story about the plights, miseries and ultimately the bravery exhibited by the principal protagonist ...

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Value their lives, honour their deaths, Pakistan

The day after the legendary Mehdi Hassan died, I was at a restaurant where live ghazals were being sung by a budding singer. He was entertaining requests and invariably all the requests being made were of the ghazals sung by Mehdi Hassan. It was as if the people could not think of a better singer. I sat pleased for a moment that the star has truly been recognised. But then it ached deep down, wasn’t it too late? For weeks Mehdi Hassan had laid bedridden and yet, there had been no calls for prayer, no fans thronging his premises and no government officials ensuring ...

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What would Iqbal think?

On the southern bank of the River Neckar in Heidelberg, Germany, is the Iqbal-Ufer. This street, running parallel to the river, was named in honour of Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher from India. It was here that the poet was granted his PhD in philosophy. As I glance at the images of this breathtaking city, I can understand Iqbal’s appreciation for beauty. What amazes me, however, is the depth his poetry plunges into when describing the despairing state of Muslims in India. An eye that is accustomed to beauty, a voice that thrills with eloquence, would shun despair and disillusionment. Yet these ...

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Is morality determined by the length of a woman’s blouse?

Over time I have noticed a common trend on Pakistani Facebook pages, especially those of designers and celebrities: crude, caustic and downright hateful slandering of celebrities. I recently stumbled upon a picture of Humaima Malick looking gorgeous in an elegant Élan ensemble and all I could think of was the talent and beauty that exists in our country. But then I read the bitterest of verbal abuses on the picture, which included: “She is lookin’ dumb and her makeup is damn worst” “Kitni ugly hai pata nai kyun uthaya hua hai isko” “This is behayaee and immoral behaviour” Photo: Élan Facebook Page Apparently, showing inches ...

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Happy 61st Birthday Benazir Bhutto, there is none like you!

June 21st is one of the longest days of the year. But its significance is much more than just that. It is also the day when Pakistan’s great leader was born 61 years ago. Benazir Bhutto was a brave and dauntless leader. With her charisma, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and compassion she was an ideal woman in many ways. Tested through fire, she never abandoned her ideals and belief in the freedom of humanity from tyranny. In a male-dominated and Islamic society, she became the first woman elected ruler of a Muslim country in modern history. She stood bravely against both the tyranny of ...

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