Stories about maulvi

Women, the stuff maulvi nightmares are made of

Pakistanis are extremely resourceful people. We work with what we get. When life gave us the proverbial lemons in the guise of terrorism and religious extremism, we rose to the occasion by coining the term ‘liberal extremists’ to protect our social fabric from the menace of tolerance, human rights, and other Jewish conspiracies. The ‘liberal extremist’ is the right-wing’s brilliant attempt at tapping into the powerful global constituency against violence and extremism in a post 9/11 world. Someone recently said that ‘when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’. In the case of Pakistan, when you have political ...

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I was not allowed to enter Memon Mosque in Karachi, because I am a woman

A beautiful combination of chaos and serenity: yes, you are now in the most picturesque area of Karachi. An extension of Saddar town escalates towards the lighthouse, a grandiose Memon Mosque situated along the way. I had always seen this huge structure of reds while passing my route to college. I found myself thoroughly intrigued by the long bearded men who would come out of the high floral grilled gate in flocks of white kurtas and shalwars rolled up. A knack for photography has always had me attracted towards architecture that has history attached to it. One fine summer afternoon, following the hues of ...

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Our reliance on Maulvis has made religion a business

On December 16, 2015, the nation observed the first death anniversary of the APS attack victims. Right now, the country is reeling from the attack on Bacha Khan University. We have suffered multiple disastrous assaults, yet the government remains unconcerned. It still has not taken any concrete steps to implement the National Action Plan. Various measures had been taken to combat the likelihood of another attack. Security had been beefed up, children had been trained on how to react, school timings had been changed and special instructions were delivered. But these were interim and private measures. Has the government taken any long-term measures to address ...

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In Pakistan, ‘It’s On Us’ to protect women from sexual harassment

I remember a crowded market back in Karachi where we stood in a corner going through the merchandise. I was with one of my ‘foreign-educated’ aunts. Suddenly, I saw her face turn a shade of red. I dismissed it and we went back to sifting through the clothes.  A few moments later, it happened again. Her face turned red and her brows creased, but this time she turned around and before I knew it, she had grabbed a young boy by the collar.  “Can’t watch where you’re going huh? This is the third time you’ve passed by this place and grabbed ...

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‘You listen to music? Oh boy, you’re definitely going to hell!’

“You listen to songs, oh boy! You’re definitely going to hell.” No, this pronouncement was not received by me from an adult, neither from any religious preacher or maulvi, but from my eight-year-old nephew, who looked at me with disgust because he had seen a guitar, a piano and headphones in my room. His words froze me for a moment, not because they seemed harsh but because they came from an eight-year-old, who was taught intolerance towards those who do not seem to be on the right track by the source of his learning. In that moment I stood in shock, having been ...

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The ‘frandship’ caller conundrum

It might be odd for many but a guy like me has also gotten frandship calls over the years. Partly because my voice didn’t break for the longest time and the pervert on the other end didn’t believe that he was, in fact, talking to a guy. Similarly, I had to pretend to be my sister when the pizza delivery guy called confirming the address. Pizza guy: Aap Mr Ali kay ghar say baat kar rahi hain? Me: Jee, main Ali ki behen hoon. However, though the history of my former voice seems interesting, it is not the point of this blog. It is in fact, about the annoyance of frandship calls that ...

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What Maulana Sahib taught me and what I learnt from him…

“Hello, dear. How was your day?”  “Good, Mom,” replied Hina Khaleej as she walked into the house.  Her mother was washing dishes in the kitchen. She asked, “How is Jenny? Are you still mad at her?” Opening the refrigerator, Hina poked her head inside looking for something to eat and replied, “No, we’ve worked things out. Mom, I can’t wait for the picnic tomorrow. It will be so much fun! And I would’ve been so bored if Jenny and I hadn’t patched up.” Hina and Jenny had been best friends since kindergarten and although they fought quite often, their bond was unbreakable. They were ...

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Only in Pakistan: Setting an 11-year-old girl on fire to ‘treat’ typhoid

We were in the middle of a counselling class, whereby our experienced, capable and intelligent course instructor was attempting to answer a fairly difficult question.  One of the practicing psychologists present had asked her what they were to do if a client insisted on rejecting therapy and instead preferred to go to a ‘quack’ or a local maulvi for treatment. Carefully measuring her words, the instructor replied, “Don’t discourage them from attempting spiritual treatment. Let them seek a faith healer, a priest or a maulvi if they want but ask them to seek a therapist’s expertise on the side as well. Tell them there’s ...

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Thoughts on leaving Pakistan

The last time I put thoughts to paper was a year and a half ago, when my husband and I moved back to Pakistan from the US. It happened very suddenly, under very sad circumstances, and there we were – thrust into a disorienting new life, filling roles we had never anticipated, never wanted, inhabiting, once again, the cloistered, uninspiring world of Lahore’s privileged class. Much elapsed during the past 18 months in Lahore – much to rejoice and remember. Engagements, bridal showers, weddings. Baby showers, and babies! Farewell parties and welcome-back parties, birthday parties and Pictionary parties. PTI fever, elections, and Pakistan’s ...

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A visual guide to the political circus in Pakistani media

Five years of democracy has meant a great deal of ups and downs for the free media. There has been a lot of drama, and occasionally some substance. Politicians returned from the wilderness into a completely changed world and had to adapt quickly. New phrases, techniques and protocols had to be developed and on most occasions, the result – apart from tragedy – was hilarity! Here are a few of the best trends that caught on in the Pakistani media. “Dekhein ghaltian tou sab se hui hein” (We’ve all made mistakes) The best of the trends came right at the start. Several politicians were ...

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