Stories about shakespeare

Give female writers space, both literal and figurative

An old wives’ tale that is often retold to children who refuse to take afternoon naps in their summer vacations, and would much rather spend time with their friends outside, is that summer is the perfect time to grow and, in order to do that, you must rest. Whether that is true or not, in my childhood, it was enough to convince me to take a nap because I wanted to grow taller than my friends. Although those hopeful naps didn’t work and my height did not kick-start itself into action, I still believe that summer is the perfect ...

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The road not taken: Going to Cambridge or getting married

In Pakistan, and in my native language Urdu, woman translates into aurat, which comes from the Persian awrah, meaning “parts to be protected”. Literally, too, in my present Muslim, closed-knit, patriarchal society, women like me are guided — by their fathers, husbands, brothers, sons — to be protected from threats against their body and family honour. While these men encourage “western” trends to an extent — like education at reputable schools, recreational sports, or even temporary employment — cultural traditions halt these prospects after marriage. You are born, our men tell us, to marry fast, and vouchsafe both yourselves and your future daughters ...

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Yaqeen Ka Safar is honest and original, and has changed the paradigm of Pakistani dramas

Drama Yaqeen Ka Safar is currently basking in the success of being Pakistan’s most popular drama at the moment. The plot of some TV serials begins to drag towards the middle, but in Yaqeen Ka Safar, each episode is a rollercoaster of emotions, leaving the audience at the edge of their seats, curious to know what happens next. Personally, this is the first time that I have watched all episodes of a Pakistani drama without fail. It is hard to come up with just one reason to explain the popularity of this incredible story. The drama begins with Daniyal (Shaz Khan) returning from London to Islamabad to try and serve as an ...

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Rangoon is an example of how a gifted director is wasting his talent

There’s a line in the film where Saif Ali Khan tells a British officer, “We’re actors; we know how to convince people.” I am sorry to burst your bubble here Chote Nawab, but regrettably your statement falls completely flat on its face if the said performers are asked to work with a wearingly long and complicatedly patchy screenplay. Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon (2017)Photo: IMDb At 167 minutes, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon isn’t just a drag but also tediously stuffed with a hotchpotch of multiple storylines. Rangoon takes us back to 1940s Hindustan, against the backdrop of contrasting independence ideologies of dovish Mahatma Gandhi and hawkish Subhash Chandra ...

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Nutshell: In the mind of an unborn foetus

There is nothing quite like the fictions of Ian McEwan in British literature. Though quintessentially ‘English’ in essence, his books are rendered unique, by the shocking precision of language, the wonderful economy of the prose and his macabre explorations of uncharted territories. McEwan’s books are boundless in their depth and beauty, baffling and oblique, and even mystifying in craft, narrative and technique. And though, some of his recent books have been unfortunate missteps, with Nutshell, his latest book, he evokes the haunting resonance and shimmying splendor of his earlier novels such as Enduring Love, Saturday and Atonement. Nutshell is an intelligent and compelling novel that uses Hamlet’s plot as a backdrop and ...

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Will rebranding Christians make their lives any easier in Pakistan?

“Pakistan’s Christians will now be respectably called ‘Masihi.’ National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has issued orders regarding use of Masihi for Christians instead of Esaayi, in the column for Religion.” Pakistani Christians had been seeking rebranding for quite some time. “The Urdu ‘Isai’ (derived from ‘Esa’, the Arabic word for ‘Jesus’ used in the Qur’an) now carries strong overtones (of) ‘unclean’ demeaning occupations. This use of language feeds the narrative which makes Christians feel like second-class citizens in today’s society.  On October 8, 2015 in Lahore, more than 500 Muslim students took an oath that they would not call Christians ‘Esaayi,’ but would ...

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The English language is dying and we are the ones slitting its throat

Language shapes the way we think. It’s a system of investigation of reality, and control of reality. Today, so many of us live for language. It is our mode of communication, words are how we express what we mean, want, and desire. Actions do not speak louder. Words are direct, and distinct. But what happens when they aren’t anymore? What happens when words begin to diminish into abbreviations and sentences into acronyms? People blame the millennials, they always do. But this hasn’t solely plagued our generation. I was re-reading George Orwell’s 1984 for a class last semester. I realised that in the world of ...

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Why is a white or Arab guy playing Rumi?

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, better known as simply Rumi, is one of the most beloved poets of all time from Asia to the United States. An Islamic scholar, thinker, and Sufi mystic, he was born in the Eastern part of the Persian Empire – now Afghan territory – which is why it is surprising that Hollywood wants to cast Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor of Italian and German descent, to play him. What’s more, Hollywood wants to cast Robert Downey Jr as Shams Tabrizi, who happened to be Rumi’s spiritual instructor, close friend, and a source of inspiration for his ...

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Colonialism ruined Pakistan and India, even the Koh-i-Noor can’t fix that!

The most precious diamond England had before usurping the Koh-i-Noor from India was none other than William Shakespeare. But the legendary bard, unlike his avaricious countrymen, himself never coveted stones and riches. What he longed for was content, a pleasure which only a man with a heart and passions could enjoy. Shakespeare writes in his play King Henry VI, Part 3, “My Crown is in my heart, not on my head: Not deck’d with Diamonds, and Indian stones: Nor to be seen: my Crown is call’d Content, A Crown it is, that seldom Kings enjoy.” Needless to say, if Winston Churchill had 0.1 per cent of the writer’s virtues, the world ...

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Is education killing creativity?

This one TED-talk made me rethink my concept of education. Education for me had always been about rote learning and grades. I mean, if I could repeat the day’s lesson verbatim I was one of the most intelligent students. But if that logic applies, then a parrot can repeat things perfectly too so it is probably the most intelligent of all life forms. But parrots aren’t educated. Do you see my conundrum? Education should be about more than just about becoming literate, it should also facilitate creativity and originality. In my opinion, formal education is producing a workforce conditioned to be conformist; ...

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