Stories about humanity

The memory of partition must become invalid now

During our Aman Chaupal initiative, where we invite a representative from Pakistan to interact with students in India, this time I got the opportunity to meet Mr Aamir Nawaz. Nawaz is the president and artistic director of the MAAS Foundation, a leading theatre group of Pakistan which showcases plays on several social themes. One of their prominent themes is Indo-Pak issues. As a part of the Aman Chaupal, we showed the video of one of MAAS’s plays to students of the South Asian University (SAU), which was followed by a discussion on the theme of the play. The play, named Permasher Singh, was based on ...

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You can’t care about animal rights on an empty stomach

Rehmu was on his last tour of the day, carrying bricks from one point to another on his donkey cart. He needed to do at least five such tours a day in order to earn enough for a sufficient meal for him and his family. But today he could only do four and he knew that it would not be enough for his family. He was thinking that either he or his wife would have to pretend not to be hungry that night. He had known since that morning that he would not have enough work today. His mind had ...

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12 Years A Slave: A peek into the dark history of the US

While my friend and I were having coffee, he shared an interesting observation with me: “I always wondered why the black people were unable to overcome the practice of slavery in the United States through revolt?” I pondered for a few seconds and replied,  “Hasn’t this always been the case when it comes to dynamics between oppressor and oppressed? It is not just the physical scare that prevents a revolt, but a psychological one.” 12 years a slave is a film based on a book written by Solomon Northup, a ‘free negro’ in 1853. In 1841, Northup was living in the state of New York, alongside his wife and two ...

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Support minorities and save St Joseph’s Hospice, they need our help!

I wrote an article on street beggars and how they are more greedy than needy yet we still keep stuffing their pockets by directing our charity to this flourishing business of begging. The comments, numerous ‘likes’ and the feedback I received acknowledged how people agreed with my suggestion of giving charity where it’s deserved – to organisations that truly work for the poorest of the poor. But ironically, we have places like St Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi that tirelessly work for people whose own families are either unwilling or unable to support them due to limited resources. For 50 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has been ...

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Rawalpindi violence: Where is our humanity?

It has become a recurring story now. The same news stories reappear on our television screens every Muharram, be it the Ashura procession in Karachi a few years ago, to the one in Rawalpindi this year. Every year when Muharram comes about, there is a little voice inside all of us which warns us to expect that religious fundamentalists, in some parts of Pakistan, will try their utter best to ruin a peaceful Ashura procession. And sadly, this voice usually turns out to be correct. I have been fortunate enough to spend some part of my life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. To me, these joint ...

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From Palestine to Chitral: Miracles do happen

In an age in which reading or watching the news is enough to turn any normal human being into a raging lunatic or a hardened cynic, the smallest piece of good news is often like a breath of fresh air and can do wonders for restoring a positive outlook on life. Rooftops near North Jerusalem. Photo: Abdullah Saad I am originally a Palestinian from Jerusalem, and like many Palestinians, I suffer (or perhaps benefit) from a severe case of Wanderlust. Dome of the Rock. Photo: Abdullah Saad This means that we have to remain on the move ...

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The war within and the war outside

It is early morning, The sky is still dark outside, The house is silent. I take my cup of tea And turn on the computer, Scanning different news sites, From around the world. My eyes run over the headlines, In that hope of finding, Some evidence of humanity, Somewhere.   But there is none.   The advanced technology, That brings the world to my fingertips, By encasing it on the keyboard, Has yet to find solutions, Or resolutions, For the dreary, never-ending disputes, Between nations and its people.   The weary world continues to be at war.   I turn off the computer, And walk to the television, Hope a little sparked, That it might bring me, Better news, From some corner of the world. A sliver, a hint of harmony, amity, ...

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Why I do not care about teaching my toddler about letters, shapes and colours

How many adults do you know that can’t read, can’t draw a circle or can’t identify colours? Honestly, you may be able to think of one or two in your life. Statistically, one in seven adults has issues with reading and writing. So this is not an issue to completely forget about, but if you are reading this blog, chances are your child will not be one of these children. This statistic mainly comes from very impoverished and neglected children and these adults will need far more than basic grammar skills to function in life. So what’s your rush to get your toddler to ...

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Pakistan, where humanity is dead

A few years ago, my aunt was driving with my uncle sitting next to her. They were in the service lane, and wanted to change lanes when my aunt saw the car next to her trying to make a turn too. She thought that the car was turning in another direction, and so, decided to proceed with the turn. However, things didn’t work out in her favour and the two cars collided. In the accident, the other driver walked out without a scratch while my aunt was badly injured with blood oozing down her arm. After that came the traffic fights. People crowded around the ...

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Azizabad blasts: When MQM puts your life before theirs

Recently, I was out with my cousin shopping for ingredients to bake a cake. Soon after we reached home, there was a loud bang and suddenly everything became silent for a few minutes. I could hear a roar of bikes outside the house rushing towards Block 4 of my area; everything was in a state of chaos. A few minutes later, we heard ambulance sirens. There was a blast as the news reported; it was in Azizabad Block 8 – a block away from where I was just a few minutes ago. There was panic in the entire area. Ambulance sirens were ...

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