Stories about lack of education

A peddler’s life in the city of Badin: Making peanuts selling peanuts

My first interaction with the peanut selling peddler was nearly 28 years ago. In those days, I had gone to Badin (a city in Sindh) with my father. My father bought peanuts from him and that’s how I first met him. Just a month ago, I met him again with the purpose of writing a story about him and his life. The kind, old man was honoured and said to me: “I am happy to know that at least someone cares about the story of a poor man.” Muhammad Ashraf Chandio, 53-years-old and not formally educated, runs a roadside peanut cart in Badin. His ...

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A man rapes an 8-year-old in front of his daughter in broad daylight, and India claims it is progressing

In my previous blog, I had mentioned how an old colleague quoted sacred text to prove that women were sent to this world as a test to men and that women are evil creatures.  Only a few days had passed and I read this disturbing story of a man raping an eight-year-old girl in Delhi, and that too in front of his teenage daughter. It made me wonder what could be the reason behind a human being falling so deep in the pit of monstrosity that they hurt vulnerable people or innocent children. Could it be psychological? Is there any explanation at all? And then I came across these verses from The Mahabharata, ...

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How the misinterpreted youth of Pakistan are fading away into oblivion

Addiction is a mental disease that is defined by science as the formulation of dependency on a substance or activity. It can manifest itself into any human being, driving them towards disengagement from reality and secluding them into an abyss of excessive compulsive behaviour. Addiction can either be chemical or non-chemical. Chemical addiction may include almost anything from the consumption of caffeine by means of morning and evening tea/coffee, to injectable fluids such as heroine, morphine, methamphetamine and other psychotropic drugs. Non-chemical addiction, on the other hand, is referred to behavioural addictions such as gambling, risk-taking, watching television, playing games, excessive shopping and even love. These examples do not even begin to compartmentalise ...

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Why are our children brain washed to become “followers” instead of “thinkers”?

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”  ― Charles William Eliot In the wake of the critical crisis that literacy and education suffers in Pakistan, it is imperative to understand that education and the enlightenment of the mind cannot necessarily be instilled within the caged walls of a classroom. Although degrees and grades can produce suited versions of empty minds vying for jobs in an already saturated market but they can hardly broaden the vistas of learning or enrich young brains with insight and ...

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Why was this Christian boy beaten for drinking water from a mosque?

News and images of Pakistani Christians being beaten up or being wrongly prosecuted are not surprising for the Pakistani public, especially since Pakistan ranks number six on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian prosecution. Verily, one cannot turn a blind eye to such violence when it takes place so often. With the growing intolerance rate in Pakistan, many members belonging to minority groups continue to pay the price for acts they don’t even know constitute as crimes. And, realistically, they aren’t. A couple of days ago, a Christian boy was shown to be brutally beaten up in a video ...

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This post is about Autism, but are you even going to bother reading it, Pakistan?

Last year at the Harvard Ed School we ‘lit it up blue’ for Autism Awareness. We had blue lights on the buildings and people wore blue shirts in solidarity. A lot of my focus while in school was on education in Pakistan, and so as I walked by and saw the sea of blue, I wondered what might be happening back home on this day. The State of Pakistan I found some articles about autism in Pakistan on popular online news outlets and magazines. I wondered how many people actually clicked on the articles and read them. Someone else had obviously ...

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Ashraf Ghani – Bringing maturity back to international politics

Although no one will claim honestly, the new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, for the most part, is a well-respected statesman amongst the Washington circles. Politicians are trained liars and Ghani’s predecessor was no exception to the rule. However, this guy is someone who comes across as less slippery, more adaptable to change and hence generally acceptable for his demeanours and policies. Earlier this week, Ghani was on his first official US visit as Afghanistan’s head of state. He is no alien to either US culture or politics. He studied, worked and played a prominent part in influencing Washington’s pre and post 9/11 Afghan policies. I ...

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Measuring a massacre – Should we mourn for longer? Louder?

Out of a student body of a little over 1000, 132 children are dead. At a moment like this, how do you quantify tragedy? If a thousand children were standing in line, every tenth child was shot and killed. One in 10. “One in 10 children worldwide has no access to schooling.” One in 10 families whose children went to Army Public School (APS) probably wish this statistic applied to them. “There are 1.6 hours of dream consciousness for every 16 hours of waking consciousness; this means that your chance of dreaming at any given moment is one in 10.” There is a one in 10 ...

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Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

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Stop ridiculing the mentally ill

Individuals with mental health disorders are often the victims of violence and there is wide-spread discrimination directed towards them, whether by intent, ignorance or insensitivity. They are often the victim of jokes or are ridiculed for their behaviour. This attitude can make life difficult for them and present major obstacles to recovery. It is hard for them to find stable employment, living arrangements and relationships because of diminished self-esteem and weak social support. I came across two instances recently of major discrimination against people with mental health disabilities in Pakistan. In the first instance, a TV host, on a recent Ramazan ...

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