Stories about morality

From APS to Sahiwal: Does Pakistani media have an empathy problem?

Humans are not naturally empathetic creatures – a primary reason behind cataclysmic wars, the rise in extra-judicial killings, as well as the growing hostility towards people escaping calamities. As the world spirals into chaos, the ability to consciously acknowledge the condition of individuals undergoing distress and mentally processing their misery has nearly vanished. But then again, did such an ability exist to begin with?  There is a silent conflict between those struck by a persisting crisis and those privileged enough to smoothly slither their way out of it unscathed. Humans are prone to living completely autonomous lives, but it seems ...

Read Full Post

Lacking poignancy, ‘What Will People Say’ could have been more nuanced and relatable

In her second movie, What Will People Say, Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq tries to relay the experience of a teenager who is caught between the fairly conservative background of her family and the liberal atmosphere of the country she calls home. The film – which is apparently inspired by the director’s own life – is centred on the story of 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who is a typical Norwegian girl when she’s out with her friends but forced to conform to her parents’ strict rules when she is at home. After being caught fooling around with her boyfriend in her ...

Read Full Post

When your morally-guided hero and sanskari babuji turn out to be predators in disguise

The #MeToo movement in India kicked off right after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta alleged that Nana Patekar sexual harassed her. Since then, many women have come out with their #MeToo experiences on social media, accusing several celebrities of sexual assault or harassment. In the past few days, there has been an outpour from women from all walks of life. This is the first time that so many women in India have gathered enough courage to tell their horrific stories of sexual misconduct and to even name prominent perpetrators. In a staggering revelation made on Monday, the Bollywood writer and producer, Vinta Nanda, posted ...

Read Full Post

Trump’s #MuslimBan: A realist’s take

Recently, the UAE foreign minister defended Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, claiming that it’s not Islamophobic. The unconvincing statement, perhaps given in relief or gratitude for the UAE having avoided the ban itself, only goes to highlight the unscrupulous foundations of the ban. Rich, influential Muslim countries that are financial or strategic allies like the Gulf States and Pakistan have been spared, whereas those with little utility to the US have conveniently been scapegoated to appease Trump’s right-wing populism. Perhaps Abdullah Bin Zayed’s words have some truth to them after all. Perhaps the ban isn’t merely a coup against Muslim countries, but ...

Read Full Post

Afreen Rehman case: Equality for Indian Muslim women is impossible without a Uniform Civil Code

The bizarre and unfortunate situation of Afreen Rehman, a modern, Indian Muslim woman, once again demonstrates that one of the most pressing reforms required in Indian society, namely the de jure and de facto equality of the Indian Muslim female vis-à-vis the Muslim male, can only happen via a Uniform Civil Code. The Indian State has always lacked the gumption to challenge Muslim patriarchy within the country. The subordination of the Muslim female is further reinforced by secularists, Marxists and their politics. Along with the Congress Party, they are equally complicit in this with their own double standards and vote bank politics. Occasionally, such subaltern women ...

Read Full Post

Am I immoral because I’m attracted to my husband?

During a conversation with a female friend, she let me in on a strange secret. She said, “Once, my husband doubted my morality,” I remained silent, mostly out of curiosity. She continued and said, “It happened when I tried to get intimate with him; not with a stranger but with him, my own husband.” “What exactly do you mean?” I asked bewildered. “He hadn’t come home from work and I was missing him. Aroused, I approached him, thinking he’d appreciate that. In return he gave me a stern look and said, what is wrong with you? Why are you behaving so immorally?” This was expressed with ...

Read Full Post

The Jacks of society, stealing from the giants

“Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service.” – Robert Collier Case 1 Master Munna was a poor boy, small in stature, dumb in ways. His mother Aunty Munni kept telling him to mend his ways and start working in the village shops, but no, all Munna wanted was to loiter around the village, play with buntay (marbles), and waste his days. Then one day, Aunty Munni said that there was a job fair in the village that Munna must attend. He attended the fair, got a job ...

Read Full Post

24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

Read Full Post

Slapping Gauhar Khan with the ‘Muslim’ card

It was interesting to read the incident about Gauhar Khan, the Muslim Bollywood actress, who was slapped during her attendance as a presenter at the reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ on Sunday. The matter is thought provoking because Akil Malik, the 24-year-old man who slapped her, claimed that he did so because being a Muslim, she was wearing an inappropriately short and revealing dress. After the incident, Malik did not resist arrest, indicating that he was in no way ashamed of what he had done. Malik’s reason for the slap changes the entire context of the story, taking it out of the boundaries of ...

Read Full Post

Contradicting the Constitution (il)legally

“Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures… Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes… No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law… All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law… There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex… No child below the age of 14 years shall be engaged in any factory or mine or any other hazardous employment… The State ...

Read Full Post