Stories about intellectual

Pakistan’s burgeoning intellectual dilemma

Normally, we think of knowledge as an activity which is shorn off from society in the libraries and laboratories of thinkers and scientists. On the contrary, production of knowledge is very much connected to the prevailing mindset and cultural ethos which directly influences our perception and reception of knowledge. It is this very mindset that has contributed to the poor state of human sciences in Pakistan – where these subjects have essentially been assigned a marginal status at the higher education level, as compared to natural sciences. Instead of engaging with complex ideas, we reject them by stating that they are ...

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Drone attacks, Pakistan and its love-hate relationship with the US: In conversation with Noam Chomsky

“Professor Noam Chomsky doesn’t do documentary interviews anymore.” The office assistant told me in her soft tone, pronouncing the alphabet R in a typical Boston accent. She added that they have 500 interview requests already. “Listen. You tell him that I am his biggest fan, and if there is one person out of the 501 who deserves to meet with him, it is me,” I retorted. She laughed and before hanging up the phone said, “Alright, I will tell him exactly that.” Soon after, I received an email from Professor Chomsky’s office confirming the exact date and time of the meeting. Immediately, I flew to Boston ...

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Farewell to our very own star on Earth, the extraordinary Stephen Hawking

“They’re named black holes because they are related to human fears of being destroyed or gobbled up. I don’t have fears of being thrown into them. I understand them. I feel in a sense that I am their master.” These are the words of Stephen Hawking who passed away on March 14th at the age of 76. He was not afraid of death. And why would he be? He was told, at the age of 22, that he was suffering from a rare motor neuron disease and was given only a couple of years to live. But nobody loved defying odds ...

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Pakistani media should learn something from India’s Satyamev Jayate

Hypocrisy is one of Pakistan’s most wide-spread epidemics. The channel, which defamed and criticised a respectable educationist for ‘corrupting the youth’ of Pakistan by imparting sex education, occasionally airs inappropriate content full of sexual references during prime time. How exactly are we supposed to explain to our children what rape, ziyadti (dishonour), prostitution and najaiz jinsi taluqaat (inappropriate sexual relations) are when they hear these words on TV? Not only is the timing inapt but sometimes, it is also the content. Most of the channels have identical programs in which they ‘expose’ selected evils of the society. Some months ago, a channel aired a story about a ...

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Bhagat Singh the intellectual

A lesser appreciated aspect about Bhagat Singh, who was executed on March 23, 1931, was his intellectual prowess. In the greater context of subcontinent politics and history, Singh’s socio-political understanding showed a very nuanced and detailed insight into the future of India and the importance to transform society. The tragedy, in the context of a Pakistan that lacks an academic culture, is that Singh’s legacy has been used to reaffirm the state narratives set in place. For some reason or another, history before 1947 has been studied in limited scope within Pakistan. In reality, Singh’s writings should be seen as ...

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Bin Laden killing: Whither objective journalism?

I remember the general reaction in the newsroom the day the news of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden broke. There was relief, felicitations of ‘Mubarak ho!’ and the excitement of covering what was perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year. Throughout the day, and the days following the incident, I noted people’s reactions. While some openly celebrated the news, others quietly welcomed the news with relief, adding however that it was against their principles to celebrate death. Sure, there was shock and anger against the political and military leadership and condemnation about the violation of Pakistan’s ...

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The defence of a “burger baby revolutionary”

I do a fair share of reading on the internet, and it both humours and angers me in equal proportions to read what the so called intellectuals have to say about the ‘urban youth’ as they like to call us. Authors seem to have used supernatural knowledge to conclude that due to our appearance and way of life, our opinions can be overlooked and that we are simply not in the same intelligence bracket as them. Stop stereotyping Our lifestyles, upbringing and appearances are ludicrously stereotyped, and our abilities to understand the world and the philosophy underlying politics in regard to the ...

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Hate commenter: Why are you reading this?

Yes, you. The one who’s going to post hateful anonymous comments about how all this is a waste of time and how this publication is printing trash and the writer is representing mindless elitists whose only interest is in indulging themselves and not caring about human tragedies and natural disasters. Yes, you, who takes the time and effort to read all of what is on the ‘Life & Style’ and ‘Gossip’ sections and then refuses to comprehend satire, misunderstands sarcasm, and wastes office working hours on reading ludicrous items like this instead of engaging in philanthropic work and visiting NGO ...

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Intellectual poverty: Troubles of the Muslim world

It sometimes seems like a lost cause – our backwardness as a nation, our never ending cynicism and our victimisation at the hands of the West. What is it that fans all the violence in our societies? Perhaps we never bother to think about that. The only instincts that are left in us are animal. And it’s not only us. It is also the Arabs, the Central Asians, the Persians and others who are scattered across the face of the earth – all, victims of stereotypes and suffering from a chronic identity crisis. It is us, the Muslims, the peoples of ...

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The debate within British Islam

There is something happening within the UK, a debate of deep urgency. In the west, in a post9-11 climate, European and American Muslims have been thinking deeply about their faith. There has been a new generation of Muslim activists and intellectuals across the “theological spectrum.” However, Muslims are not just passively acting in their countries within the mainstream; intellectual life, public debate and discussion are growing and budding within Muslim communities. In the US, the popular Muslim scholar, dubbed by The Guardian as the most influential Muslim scholar in the west, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, has opened his own seminary of ...

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