Stories about labour

“What a man was born”: Reading Fahmida Riaz’s heartfelt tribute to Karl Marx on his 202nd birthday

Karl Marx was born on May 5th, 1818 – 202 years ago today – in the German city of Trier located along the bank of the Moselle stream, a tributary of the river Rhine. In 1883, a crowd gathered for Marx’s funeral in a London cemetery – a crowd of eleven, counting the undertaker. His great friend Friedrich Engels had been quite right while speaking at Marx’s funeral, “Marx was above all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which ...

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How Pakistan’s economic crisis is impacting women

The fact that Pakistan’s economy is in a crisis need not be restated. Inflation rates are at a historic high, industrial units are shutting down, workers are being laid-off and there are limited employment opportunities for job market entrants. Sources of revenue are shrinking and the daily life of most the country’s population has become significantly harder. Opinion writers, academics and economists have said a lot about the current economic crisis and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. There is also little to no doubt that the average man is struggling to keep up with the current ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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#TherapistDiaries: “I feel nothing for my baby” – the conception of postpartum depression

Most of the world celebrated Mother’s Day last week, and this marked yet another year where we overlooked one of the most important factors associated with motherhood: postpartum depression (PPD). For many women, all the labour and sacrifice that goes into creating a child is often not compensated by the birth of said child. Some sacrifices just don’t end with giving birth, and so is the case with this suffering. It is easy to assume that all women fall into the same category when it comes to tolerance to pain, recovering from childbirth and adjusting to daily life with a ...

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Why I wanted to abort my baby

The facade of life; how extraordinarily amazing yet deceiving. A dear friend, living an apparently ideal life shares her story: I had a love marriage, and since this is looked down upon in general, we faced a lot of opposition from both our families and friends. This eventually led to a lot of resentment, and my once beloved husband forgot that he fought so hard to have me in his life and let everyone mistreat me, so much so that I myself was not sure if love really existed between us anymore. Three years and two kids later, a girl and ...

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A Rs10 tip on a Rs4,000 bill is an insult, not a favour

Tipping is unique to the food industry. As a doctor, never once did a patient hand me an extra Rs20 note as a thank you for a good knee exam. The reason is that we expect a doctor to receive adequate compensation for his work through the bill alone. It was when I put down my stethoscope and took a hiatus, serving chai to paying customers at my own café, did I develop a greater appreciation for this art. Tipping persists in the food industry because we don’t expect the labour to be paid what they are due. Serving food ...

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As a South Asian living in the UK, my vote goes to Jeremy Corbyn

Last week, I found a pamphlet of a budding political party innocuously placed next to my door. It embossed a pulp and a round South Asian face wearing a blue tie. Or was it a purple tie? I cannot remember. The party manifesto intrigued me the most. Notwithstanding the poor grammar, which showed the carelessness on part of the party candidate, it was the ambitious claims that interested me. As a Member of Parliament (MP), he promised to nationalise transport, improve health services, reduce housing cost and, wait for it, improve global trade. The manifesto’s language did not only lack grammar, it ...

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I did this to my wife for eight years and today I am filled with regret

We had a baby! A little baby boy who finally arrived in our lives after nine long months of waiting. I was still exhilarated with the way his little hand had wrapped around my finger. But the joy was short lived. As we waited to get back home after the delivery, we were jolted with unknown complications my wife had developed; a blood disorder that threatened to take her life away. I had the baby in one hand and my other hand outstretched holding my wife’s. I was dumbfounded and wrecked as she was wheeled away for scans and tests. My happiness and ...

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Why do we consider regular e-commerce stores to be startups?

For the past couple of years, new startups are popping up everywhere in Pakistan. Everyone seems to know someone who has recently started a new ‘e-commerce’ store which will revolutionise the industry in Pakistan. To be honest, I’m starting to get fed up with this constant stream of ‘entrepreneurs’ who set up a website, put some products on it and call it a startup and Pakistan’s best online shopping store. I mean how far can we be from reality? Why do we think starting a regular e-commerce store with WooCommerce or OpenCart, without anything different from the thousand other competitors, should still be considered a startup? Yes, ...

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What they don’t tell you about being pregnant

It first starts with the woman (let’s name her Boops) peeing on a stick while simultaneously trying not to wet her hand. It is not a pretty sight. No, don’t try to imagine it. I said, don’t! Then comes the waiting period. Tic Toc, Tic Toc – the longest two minutes to date.  Is it one line, or two lines? One… no… two, I definitely see two! And voila, just like that you are pregnant. The hand you possibly splattered on is forgotten, as you wipe your forehead in relief (or fear) that you are now about to step into another phase of your ...

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