Stories about man

Feminism will never work in Pakistan

Rebecca West, a famous author, once said, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” These are powerful words, indeed. Everyone has a different perception of what feminism entails but, universally, it espouses equality and freedom from discrimination, degradation and sexual violence. However, feminism is a concept that sits at odds with a fiercely patriarchal, deeply religious and culture-obsessed society like Pakistan. This is not to say that feminism doesn’t exist in Pakistan; it’s just not given much emphasis or is ...

Read Full Post

Queen: Healing does not come in the arms of another man, Ladies!

“I also want to do something in my life” Rani says in a wishful voice to Alexander. He replies to the bewildered girl, “So who is stopping you?” This dialogue pretty much sums up the essence of the movie ‘Queen’. The barriers and restrictions holding us back in life are mostly the constructs of our own mind. Vikas Bahl’s ‘Queen’ is not a very novel perception of abandonment and coping with it, but there are a few moments in the movie which make the experience worthwhile. Queen, being a low budget film, has grossed almost $10 million in three weeks, without any male lead ...

Read Full Post

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: ‘Brilliant, arrogant, autocratic and opportunist’

‘Brilliant, arrogant, autocratic, opportunist’ – these are only a few of the words that have been used to describe the ‘father of popular politics’ in Pakistan. A staunch nationalist and the hero of the suppressed for his local supporters, a naive leftist for his foreign detractors, the man who restored Pakistan’s pride before his foreign supporters and an alcohol consuming corrupt statesman for his local critics. Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore it. Today on April 4, 2014 it has been 35 years since he was hanged following a politically motivated sham trial in 1979. Nevertheless, some facts need to be ...

Read Full Post

Of biased history: Wait, wasn’t Nehru the bad guy?

“Oh Jinnah sahib? Suna hai ke woh Nehru ki takkar ke thay.” (Oh, Mr Jinnah? I have heard that he was quite the equivalent of Nehru.) Stunned by the honest answer to my question by my Indian friend, I tried to process what he had said. It was the third day of the Boy Scouts Messengers of Peace Camp and we were in Delhi riding together on a bus to visit a monument – the Qutub Minar, I believe. Over the last few days that I had been in India, I had noticed that only a select few of my Indian counterparts knew ...

Read Full Post

Shahid Afridi: The face of sexism?

In the land of the pure, apparently, one cannot be a man and a feminist at the same time. The two seem to be mutually exclusive. Usually, this disconnect is attributed to the misconception that feminists are man-hating, rabid women out for social revenge; however, in Pakistan, the culprit is menial passivity because that’s just how it is here. In a recent resurgence of a four-month-old interview, Shahid Afridi took it upon himself to remind Pakistani women that their skills are most useful in the kitchen. His response to a simple fluff question about a women’s cricket team in Peshawar has outraged many, ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Jalib, remembering his fight against dictatorship

There was a man who audaciously used to say, “Mai nahi Manta” (I refuse to accept) He was neither a bourgeois nor a feudal and surely, he was not patronised by any ‘third force’ (Teesri Quwwat) that has a hand in every incident that takes place in Pakistan. He was an ideologue, charismatic and an eloquent poet. Moreover, he was best known for his revolutionary zeal. He struggled for the restoration of democracy and human rights. His enthralling poetry elucidated the notorious rule of dictators. However, his poesy still befits today’s political setting. That man was none other than the great Habib Ahmed Jalib. Dastoor was ...

Read Full Post

“Ask for ‘permission’ before taking a second wife? That is out of the question!”

Suddenly the head of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has claimed that it’s against the tenets of Islam for a man to seek permission from his wife before taking another one. The question that arises is why now, after more than 53 years? When the law was enacted, Islamic scholars like Maududi, Noorani and Mufti Mahmud were active politicians. None of them objected. Therefore, it was assumed that the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 was in accordance with the teachings of Islam. So, what made the current head honcho of CII claim that there is no need to ask your wife if you want ...

Read Full Post

A strong man

He really hated elbows on the table. It made him feel as angry as when they hid his cigarettes. But he had no choice in the matter. It was a conspiracy hatched by three women, against him, and not just any three ladies, but three headstrong, exceptionally sensitive and explosive women. So he let it go. But the matter of elbows on the table really got his goat. How difficult was it to just rest the forearms at an angle of 45 degrees with the wrists dangling gently over the cutlery? It wasn’t hard. He had done it for 28 years ...

Read Full Post

Modi cannot become India’s prime minister

Hindu nationalist leader and Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has a fantastic dream – a dream to rid India of the Indian National Congress. “Mahatma Gandhi’s last wish was that the Congress party should be disbanded. The time has come to fulfil his wish. We must work towards building a Congress free India,” said Modi while addressing a public rally. The Gujarat chief minister has reiterated this desire of his on several occasions. Agreed, the Congress is corrupt to the hilt and it definitely deserves to be punished. The party’s extremely poor performance in the recently held assembly polls in five states does ...

Read Full Post

Sarfaraz Shah murder verdict: Ranger or not, justice is justice

I believe it was J R R Tolkien who said, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” Then again, there is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous political philosopher, who states in his treatise, The Social Contract, “There is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death, even as an example, if he can be left to live without danger to society.” The ...

Read Full Post