Stories about independence

Queen: Healing does not come in the arms of another man, Ladies!

“I also want to do something in my life” Rani says in a wishful voice to Alexander. He replies to the bewildered girl, “So who is stopping you?” This dialogue pretty much sums up the essence of the movie ‘Queen’. The barriers and restrictions holding us back in life are mostly the constructs of our own mind. Vikas Bahl’s ‘Queen’ is not a very novel perception of abandonment and coping with it, but there are a few moments in the movie which make the experience worthwhile. Queen, being a low budget film, has grossed almost $10 million in three weeks, without any male lead ...

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Can you be beautiful as you age? The media says ‘No!’

Beauty has always been tantamount to youth but the frenzy of confining beauty to the fleeting time zone of youth is a recent phenomenon. Media and the cosmetic industry have played a great role in weaving and reinforcing this youth-centric narrative of beauty. Beauty is youth An anti-ageing cream heralds, “Look up to ten years younger.” And that too at the age of 32! The catch here is that the woman is 32-years-old and the gravest matter of concern for her is the growing indifference of her man due to her dull skin. The irony is that the man, no less than a Greek god, is ...

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1971 was a dark year in Pakistan’s history

During the late hours of March 25, 1971 the Awami League leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, announced the independence of East Pakistan in the form of Bangladesh. What followed was the Bangladesh Liberation War which culminated in Pakistan’s defeat in the end of December that same year and Bangladesh celebrates its independence day on March 26.  The surrender by Pakistan resulted in the largest accumulation of prisoners of war since the Second World War. Two wings of a country divided by almost 1,600 kilometres of presumably hostile territory was never a feasible idea logistically, politically, socially and militarily. Add to this, the startling gap of economic ...

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5 movies every (wo)man should watch this Women’s Day

Despite the many differences between the East and the West, one dilemma is shared all over and that is the emancipation of women. Irrespective of social status, age, ethnicity or time period, women have faced oppression and have been forced to ‘compromise’ their basic rights. Today, the world celebrates womanhood. Every woman is made to realise that she is more than just someone’s daughter, mother or wife. Today is a day of celebration for both men and women – a day when you feel proud about being a woman or knowing one. Art has always had a way of recounting history in a ...

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Jinnah may not be a hero to you, Mr Hanif, but he is to me and to many other Pakistanis!

Every sane individual enjoys the birth right of maintaining a private worldview. Democratisation of the world has granted unbounded and everlasting socio-religious and political freedom to the individual and society. The state’s dictatorial control has sunken into the past. No one can, therefore, force one’s opinion on other fellowmen in this democratic world of our times. However, there is a limit for the expression of opinions, especially when it comes to the collective interests and issues concerning the people. You cannot, for instance, speak positively about Hitler and negatively about the Holocaust across the United States and European continent. You cannot call ...

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I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage, thank you

An airport can be a good starting point to begin learning about the culture of any country. Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport is much the same. I was motivated to write about this seemingly trivial topic because of the sheer frustration that I felt on arriving at this airport. The experience left me wildly exasperated, and what I am about to give you is a microscopic account on the matter to make you understand my ordeal. After a 12-hour flight from Canada, as I was making my way towards the baggage collection point, I saw a string of porters looking out for potential ...

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Moving out of a joint family isn’t as easy as it sounds

The desire to hold the rein is one thing, to actually command it is another. At most social gatherings, we often find women complaining about how miserable their lives are and how their in-laws who live with them keep putting hurdles in their way. They usually sum up their tale of woe by saying, “Apni marzi se banda mar bhi nahi sakta hai” (You can’t even die at your own will) What they don’t realise is that the much desired independence from the in-laws leads to a massive increase in responsibilities. My wife and I were enamoured with the idea of moving out to a house arranged to our ...

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Your daughter’s education is as important as her marriage

The wedding season is currently in full swing in the country. There are weddings events and functions almost every other day.  This is the time when practically every household is involved in mehndis, dholkis and mayuns (musical nights) along with nikkahs, shaadis and valimas. I do not know whether it is the pleasant weather that inspires so many to get married at this time of the year or if it is the fact that winter holidays means that friends and family from abroad can attend weddings at this time, not to mention that local schools are also closed, making it easier for the parents. What I do know ...

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Red Ant Dream: A documentary on naxalism, Moaists and the Punjab revolution

A few years ago, I watched a documentary film. I watched it till the very end. Once finished, I played it again – for I searched for meaning; the meaning of ‘azaadi’ (freedom), which to me, before watching this documentary had an altogether different connotation. The film inspired me. It made me believe in the significance of the word azaadi. It turned my life towards a different dimension. For the first time, I understood that occupation is not only about tyranny, killings and oppression. Something more perilous was hidden beneath – capitalism and foreign investment, just to fulfil some neo-liberal aspirations. ...

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Re-igniting the Independence Day passion with melodies of yesterday

As a schoolgirl, I was probably the most patriotic I’ve ever been. I would participate in all the Independence Day activities – performing in the tableaux and skits, singing mili naghmay and making speeches about my love for Pakistan and our struggle for independence. It came from the heart, pure of any doubts and grudges. Times have changed, and after 9/11, my country and countrymen began to face problems we never thought we would. Last night, I decided to revive that fading enthusiasm to celebrate August 14 by looking at dog-eared photographs of my school days. I would wear no less ...

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