Stories about suffering

Life at the fringes of empire: Edward Eastwick in Sindh

Edward Eastwick (1814-1883) entered the service of the East India Company at the comparatively late age of 22, after arriving in Bombay in the summer of 1836. This was not Eastwick’s first trip abroad. Following the unlikely advice of a family doctor and the ‘earnest solicitations’ of his wife, Eastwick’s father Robert had taken his sickly 10-year-old son on a year-long opium-trading voyage to China in 1825. Eastwick caught the travel bug, and probably many others besides. The privations of this early voyage may have gone some way to prepare Eastwick for his first posting in India as ‘Assistant Political Agent, Upper Sindh’. After an ...

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On Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment

“My dear sir,” he began almost solemnly, “Poverty is no vice – that is the truth. I know that drunkenness is also no virtue, and that is even more so. But destitution, my dear sir, destitution is a vice, sir. In poverty you may still preserve the nobility of your inborn feelings, but in destitution no one ever does.” This turned out to be my second attempt at reading Crime and Punishment; the first attempt was brought to a sudden halt by a slight turn of events. As a result, this wreaked havoc on my vintage copy of Crime and Punishment – the one translated by Richard Pevear ...

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Chernobyl Prayer: A chilling walk through nuclear disaster struck lives

On April 26, 1986, at a nuclear plant in Chernobyl, a restricted district in Ukraine, a slapdash scientific experiment ignited a fire that exploded the plant and unleashed a heavy mass, almost 50 tonnes, of radioactive element into the atmosphere. The radioactive contamination swiftly spread towards much of Western USSR and Europe. The highly excited nuclear particles infested fields, landscapes, forest, villages and cities, leaving the area highly radioactive for hundreds of years to come. The Chernobyl disaster is one of the worst and most catastrophic nuclear accidents in the history of mankind; hence, it was no surprise that ...

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To Gaza

Nothing remains but the ruins of hopes and dreams. So much sorrow, so much suffering, So long, somehow, The sacrifices it seems were made in vain. Every day is a tragedy, Everyday a massacre, There are no more tears left to cry. Or so I thought… Can you see? Instead of a house, there are remnants of a home, Like pieces of a dismantled puzzle everywhere; A puzzle that will remain such with its remains strewn far and wide, Together with the lives and existence of those who inhabited it. Can you imagine? There is a boy, And the dream of that boy to be a grown-up. His aspirations so pure, his ...

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Has Pakistan forgotten what Ramazan means?

The most awaited Islamic month, Ramazan, is here. Muslims around the globe observe this month in their own, unique way. In Pakistan, people are usually busy buying groceries, making regular trips to the tailors to get their Eid outfits stitched, setting up their houses, planning iftar parties and praying – all in that order. Ramazan in the United States is celebrated differently, however. Muslims try to change their timings and cut down their work shifts so that they stay fresh for taraweeh prayers and late night qayaam. As an American Muslim, it is a great test to stay patient while fasting and dealing with ...

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Acting superior but feeling inferior?

Sometime ago, I came across a news article on Facebook about a woman who had killed herself because she didn’t like the colour of her hair. Apparently, she made several appointments with her hairdresser but after being repeatedly disappointed with the results, she gave up and killed herself. This shocked me at first but I soon realised that that this wasn’t really anything new. Although perhaps, not as mentally disturbed as that woman, I have personally seen a number of girls around me suffering from similar problems. The way they look affects their entire attitude towards life and their hair, skin, clothes, ...

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Bombs, rape and death: Are we suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Mood and anxiety disorders are prevalent all over the world and they exist in different types and forms. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that stems from traumatic or life threatening experiences encountered by an individual. The events experienced may vary, from natural disasters and severe automobile accidents to violent personal assaults, life-threatening situations and wars. The individual initially responds with intense fear, hopelessness and horror and later develops symptoms which are visible when her or she revisits the event through perception or conversation. Patients who suffer from PTSD also have trouble sleeping. These patients have a lot of anxiety, ...

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Ibrahim Hyderi: Where children chew gutka and await their turn to eat

Enter Ibrahim Hyderi. From the foul and putrid smell that contaminates the air to the alleys upon alleys of shanty mud erections, this 4,000 year old basti (town) will leave you despondent. It has been deserted by the government, abandoned of literacy and polluted with all forms of abuse: child, drug and health. Its inhabitants lead a very dismal existence indeed. This crumbling and dilapidated town is home to a staggering 50,000 Pakistanis. As the rocking waves settle against the sweltering sun, a string of fishermen’s boats line the docks. The effortless beauty is deceiving for while Mother Nature may majestically ...

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I’ll wait for you

The look of anguish on your face, As you ran away from my embrace, My mind and heart cannot forget, And yearns for the affection I deserve to get.   The way you left; the car drove away, My days became dark and grey. My eyes desperately searched and followed you, And the desire for a loving look grew.   My whispered goodbye; you did not hear? Nor the way my heart began to tear? Hot tears burning in my eyes, you did not see? Nor the desperation I held in my plea?   Your smile, I yearned to receive, But watched, helplessly and reluctantly, leave, Their argument ripped us apart, The painful moment piercing me like ...

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Marie Colvin’s journalism of attachment

On Wednesday, another journalist was killed while covering the Syrian military operation in the city of Homs. Marie Colvin’s last broadcast, aired just hours before she died, was about the painful death of a child during the Siege of Homs. When CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper voiced some general concerns about the media showing gruesome images from conflict zones, Colvin replied by sharing her lifelong philosophy: communicating pain and suffering of the distanced “others” to the world in order to mobilise peace. The idea becomes even more significant in the context of international ...

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