Stories about knowledge

If you don’t ask why…

I request a reply. Dad, please tell me, Why Is the earth not flat? Oh, I don’t know that! Why do bears hibernate? Well, that’s out-of-date! Why is the sun so hot? I’m sorry, I forgot!   Where do the trade winds blow? Come on, you should know! Do you know how TVs work? Let me call Mr Burke! Or how the seasons change? That’s out of my range!   What is the sense of smell? Quite difficult to tell! The capital of France? No, I don’t stand a chance! The speed of light? Your science teacher might!   Any clue of aerosol? It’s quite hard to recall! Any Indian folklore? I knew one before! The length of lunar years? I’ll break into tears!   Why a panda bear hides? The cause of ...

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Dear Bilawal (Zardari), please read a newspaper so you know what Sindh is going through

Dear Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, It has been reported that you are behind the move to remove some ministers in the Sindh cabinet and appoint new ones. Of course, this is nothing new, all over the world ministers are sacked and replaced if they do not perform satisfactorily. Usually what happens is that new and competent people are chosen to run the government. With all due respect, I, for one, feel that nothing will change by sacking some ministers and replacing them with others. The people of Sindh will continue to suffer due to the absolute lack of governance in the ...

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My time, I knew, hath now come

In lonely accomplishment, and crestfallen muse, I endeavoured to build my mind anew. To tamper emotion, and temper, and brute, I sought in Truth, that art known to few.   For knowledge to passion, is as water to flame, And lust ablaze, puts but the seeker to shame. These lessons I knew, in earnest since long, Experience foretold, of those ruined and gone.   Yet for man is to err, as thence proceeds that favour divine, I heard the priest sing so, “Atone son, and in wisdom, pine!”   The altar was heavy, the heath a growing damp, Incense belittled the air putrid, The dark faltered amidst a winnowing lamp.   In servitude I knelt, a ...

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Six (of many other) ‘wrong numbers’ that Pakistan keeps dialling

Many in Pakistan have taken Aamir Khan’s PK as a lampoon only for Hindus and brushed it aside as just that blissfully ignoring the very blatant message the movie tried to give to followers of all religions. In my opinion, this movie was most relatable to our side of the border than any other place. The only real difference between what the film portrayed and what happens here is that when we bring up such questions we are killed. Simple. But if you give the message in the movie a little more thought, you will realise that most of what happens in ...

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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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The resurgence of Lal masjid and honouring knowledge with ignorance

The Crusades were an example of a diminishing empire declaring war on an ever-expanding opponent using religion as a pretext, even though the motives were actually territorial and economical, and the actions of its soldiers more satanic than godly. The Muslim world was at its peak around this time, its libraries a source of light for the world, its share of scientific output unmatched, and its religious zealots confined to the fringe. Western writers have described one of the Crusader leaders’ orders following the sacking of Jerusalem as ‘kill every man, woman and child, but spare the dogs’. That same kind of ...

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At LUMS I was not allowed to enter the library

Ray Bradbury, a well-known American author says, “There’s no use going to school unless your final destination is the library.”  I endorse the same idea; any kind of studying is incomplete without having access to a library where one can explore and read about relevant material. The reason why I feel the need to highlight the importance of a library is because of something that I had experienced while I was studying a management course at the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS), one of the top-ranked private universities in Pakistan. To my surprise, during the entire duration of my course, none of the ...

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In Hangu, are teachers a specie quickly going extinct?

A few days ago when I was going home, I received a text message from Abdullah Khan, a journalist working in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It said that three primary school teachers had been killed in Kach Bandha, Hangu in a drive-by shooting. I immediately called him to confirm the news. I felt goose bumps as he told me that three teachers – Muhammad Khan, Syed Khalil and Faqir Hussain – had been killed and two of them had been targeted because of their sectarian affiliation. These teachers had left their homes in the morning with prayers from their families and were killed that same ...

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When ‘playing doctor’ is more than just a children’s game

Pakistanis are known as the most versatile people on the planet. Each person thinks they have it all covered; they have enough knowledge to handle all the tasks like a pro. However, what really gets on my nerves the most is our well-read (not) fellow countrymen’s ability to diagnose a disease and prescribe the best totka or medicine to combat ‘that disease’. For me, it all began when I started getting fever every evening. Initially, I did not give it much thought but when I started losing weight gradually, some acquaintances decided to begin their diagnostic practices on me. Measles, viral fever, ...

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Najam Sethi: Who needs cricketing knowledge to head the PCB?

It seems that the trend of political interference in the selection of the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues with Najam Sethi’s appointment by the current government, despite the ICC’s continued efforts to put an end to it. The ICC knows it’s futile to expect anything else, but it has to go through the motions and fulfil the formalities, much like parents when going out and leaving their kids unsupervised implore them not to stay up and watch TV too late. After the disastrous performance by the players in the Champions Trophy, there was more scrutiny on the PCB than ever before. With a ...

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