Stories about issues

If we can empathise with the protagonists struggle in Tamasha why can’t we empathise with the struggle in Sanam Teri Kasam?

Last week, after watching Mawra Hocane’s Bollywood debut Sanam Teri Kasam (STK), I was oddly overwhelmed. It wasn’t because of the cliché storyline that left the audience weeping but in fact, the social issue that the movie deals with; the purulent shaadi (marriage) problem. The one that is so widespread in our society but yet many fail to recognise. This movie narrates the story of a 22-year-old who has been rejected by 10 suitors owing to what is presumed to be her nerdy look: the kind that guys allegedly don’t swoon over. In attempts to gain self-worth, the protagonist seeks the rescue of her ...

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Today I have been recognised, not as a Hindu in Pakistan, but as a Pakistani Hindu

The delayed Hindu Marriage Bill has passed and as anticipated it will bring a shelter of lee and glimmer of hope for many Hindu couples confronted by matrimonial issues. In its absence young, innocent women have been forcibly converted to Islam, widows have led unprivileged lives and there is no way of proving their marriage to claim their inheritance, married couples have faced harassment since they have no certificate proving their nuptials, and newly wedded couples have endured separation waiting for difficult documentation required to apply for immigration. Why is the registration of Hindu marriages important? First and foremost it establishes that Hindus enjoy ...

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Karachi water shortage: Why KWSB is not the only one responsible

Annually, 250 million people face water-related healthcare issues all over the world and amongst them, 20 million succumb to their illnesses. Pakistan ranks at number 80 among 122 nations in the index of provision of hygienic drinking water – which means 44% of Pakistani people have no access to clean, usable water resources. This should make a lot of people lose their sleep at night, especially the powers that be – however, it doesn’t seem to be the case right now. We have failed to provide a great proportion of our people with safe drinking water. And the people who do have that privilege have ...

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Why do her clothes matter?

The only thing we know about First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia is that she wore no headscarf. She and her husband, President Barack Obama, probably discussed many worthy issues with the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, but to the Western media, what mattered most was what Michelle Obama wore. The First Lady wore a long sleeved shirt and pants but no scarf upon arrival at the airport in Riyadh. Her unveiled dress code sparked controversy on social media almost instantly and Twitter was flooded with tweets about Michelle’s dress code. Sure, it was an official trip for the First ...

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Za Pakhtoon Yum: A mind-altering foray into Pukhtun life and culture

So far, our dramas have revolved around the vicious circle of poverty, a miserable daughter-in-law suffering at the hands of her evil in-laws, societal customs, dowry issues, giving birth to a male child or the perfect ‘rishta’ (proposal). Indeed these are issues which need to be addressed in dramas or movies, but there are other issues that require our attention as well. With the passage of time, we, Pakistanis, have come across many complex issues segregating our society into small groups, each intolerable for the other. We have issues ranging from the Shia-Sunni to the Punjabi-Pukhtun, anti-women empowerment to pro-women empowerment, even from the pro-Malala ...

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Dear US, before fixing the world, fix yourself!

At a time when the United States forces are grappling with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) scourge, it may not be the most appropriate moment to write this. However, recent events, such as the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, happening within the US, have prompted many to ask a rather critical question – does the US really need to go to foreign lands, sacrifice lives, dole out billions and play the role of a fixer when the country itself is domestically faced with issues of monstrous importance? As international affairs have significantly evolved, Washington continues to tow a somewhat outdated line. ...

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Meera ji’s age conundrum: It is time for our actresses to grow up!

It is evident that, in today’s day and age, women become very sensitive when it comes to discussing matters of ‘age’. Some become defensive, while others become emotionally distraught. Yesterday, a friend of mine shared a video with me on Facebook, and what a surprising video that turned out to be! In the clip, Meera is seen clarifying speculations about her age. She says, “My age has always been a very complicated matter and ‘Googles’ also portrays my age incorrectly, even my date of birth. I was born on May 12 but ‘Googles’ shows otherwise. But for now all I ...

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9 things you should know about the missing Malaysian Flight MH370

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has proven to be an absolute mystery with more questions than answers. The Boeing 777 plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 local time on March 8. Its transponder’s signal was lost to air traffic control at 1:22 local time while still over the sea in the Gulf of Thailand; barely 40 minutes into its flight to Beijing, China. If there was one thing which was immediately clear, it was that Flight 370 had gone through a catastrophic event at 1:22 when its transponder stopped ...

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Pink buses, pinkie rickshaws and extra-virgin airlines to the rescue!

So, we now have a women-only bus service. That makes sense. Given the piddling issues of mass unemployment, insecurity, a weak economy and the energy crisis, one can understand the government’s obsession with its favourite pastime – separation of the sexes. I can even imagine the conversation that must have transpired. Imagine this – a huge room dripping with opulence and accompanied with the usual smell of flop sweat that hangs in bureaucratic offices. Seated around the teak wood table are leading strategists, clad in crisp white shalwar kameez and shining pates. On the throne-like chair sits the head honcho, marked by the starchiest ...

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Oscars 2014: ‘Her’ deserves the Best Picture award

In an era of re-boots ,superhero franchises and weak attempts at capturing the ‘essence’ of classics , very few films stand out as being relevant to the complexities and issues of the modern world . This year’s Oscar season crop has seen some improvement when it comes to directors and actors, old and new, engaging in challenging and thought provoking roles and issues.  While most people hotly debate whether Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar drought will end , whether the McConaissance movement will gain a major boost or whether Christian Bale has finally cracked the code to completely control body weight and ...

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