Stories about tolerance

Once upon a time, in the land of the pure, I was a religious fundamentalist

I have a mantra on life which I wish to share with all of you – ignorance restricts and breeds hatred and extremism, while knowledge liberates and breeds compassion and understanding. Fundamentalism stems from ignorance and thus, only breeds negativity. It is a venomous disease that kills positivity and growth. It needs to be identified and cured, on a very personal level. As a Muslim, who had adopted a fundamentalist approach in his earlier days, I have come a long way by internalising a basic yet painful truth – I do not have all the answers, hence different points of view are not ...

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Has your husband lost his job? Here’s how you can help!

Huma followed her two children as they ran to the apartment balcony, shrieking, “Dad is here!!” She was shocked to see her husband getting out of a cab instead of the green Suzuki Cultus given to him by the company he worked in. Looking at her tired and exhausted husband she inquired, “Where is your car?” He handed her an envelope and instead of sitting down for their routine evening sessions where they would discuss the day’s happenings, he dashed to the bedroom saying, “I am tired, just leave me alone.” Huma opened the envelope and to her surprise it was a letter from the company ...

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Afridi’s opinion on women is none of your business!

Just when we think we are over it, it starts all over again. Another video goes viral over social websites, attracts conversations and often takes you nowhere but through a vicious circle of ongoing rebuttals. This time it’s Shahid Afridi under attack. So here goes, it starts with Afridi making a grand comeback, surprising us with his performance in matches against India and Bangladesh. Suddenly, all the loyalty towards him is regained. Then come all the memes about him against Virat Kohli, Indian fans, Bangladeshi fans and the likes. In between the hundreds of comments, we see people praying for Afridi to have a son now after three ...

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Don’t cheer for Pakistan’s cricket team if you are in India, you may be suspended or stabbed!

In a bizarre demonstration of overbearing nationalism, a university in Uttar Pradesh suspended 67 Kashmiri students for cheering for the Pakistani cricket team. This may be a clinical sign that the sore-loser syndrome has reached its terminal stage. I don’t watch cricket. All I really know about the sport is that Pakistan won the match because Shakil Afridi, incidentally the same guy who found Osama, scored a last-minute goal (also called a ‘touchdown’). I do know, though, that every India-Pakistan cricket match sends the neighbouring nations into a state of frenzy, which is quite natural. It doesn’t matter. As long as their skirmishes and battles are confined ...

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A place where ignorance is bliss

When ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise. When rationality is rare, ‘Tis sinful to raise one’s voice. Where tolerance is extinct, ‘Tis a futile try to reason. Where masses are blind, ‘Tis fruitless to have a vision. When darkness is sovereign, ‘Tis useless to follow the light. When apathy prevails, ‘Tis arduous to end the plight. Where murderers are hailed, ‘Tis effete to long for peace. Where barbarians reign, ‘Tis illusive to live with ease. When bullets speak, ‘Tis difficult to hold a pen. When terrorism rules, ‘Tis rare to hear a good ...

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If I were prime minister of Pakistan in 2014 I would…

The year 2013 has been heavy on all of us. We’ve gotten through drone strikes, kidnappings and the elections, and had to suffer through the likes of Sahir Lodhi on our radio. On a more positive note, there were a record number of people at this year’s elections. There were talks of better relations with India (which did not really pan out) and Geo finally realised that Sana Bucha’s perfect hair was not enough to keep her on. However, with the coming of the new prime minister, I realised that there are a lot of things that I would change if I were to become ...

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Hrithik Roshan and Suzanne Khan split: Get your nose out of my business!

Remember the last argument that you had with your husband? The one in which you were both on the way to a party and you had to hurriedly blink back your tears and wipe away the mascara streaks running down your face? You had almost reached the venue and you had both been arguing the entire way. But what happened as you made your way into your friend’s house? Your husband put his arm around your waist, you both donned your ‘we-are-so-happy smiles’ and you made the rounds as if there was not a wrinkle in your seemingly perfect married ...

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Rawalpindi: Parsi places of worship… still exist!

I was talking to the 70-year-old man, trimming grass at the Parsi place of worship, when he said, “I have been working here for more than 20 years and during this time none of the elders or children have ever spoken harshly to me. I am their employee and they are always polite to their workers.” An old gardener tending to the garden at the Parsi place of worship in Rawalpindi. Photo: Shiraz Hassan I guess the old man noticed my intrigued expression because he continued with a smile, “One day some community leaders visited while I was having my ...

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Ehteram-e-Ramazan: Don’t forget to beat, backbite and bribe.

It has to be said, nay proclaimed, that we are the proud custodians of Islam and chest thumping leaders of the Ummah. But was there any doubt on that score? Notwithstanding the deafening silence in the land of Al Harmain Al Sharifain, Saudi Arabia, we protested against an American film by a sloppy filmmaker. We so loved setting ablaze our own property and cinemas, because of the resounding impact it had on the life and profession of that sloppy American filmmaker. We keep screaming like banshees at the plight of poor dispossessed Palestinians who have never backed us on ...

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A Pakistan I wish I knew

Days like August 14 and September 6 invoke positive emotion for Pakistan and yet, I’ve grown up listening to things absent from the motherland. The oft-repeated expression “Oh what a country it was” makes me wonder and imagine, and then I sit down to hear the fairy tale. According to my father, Pakistani society was beautifully knit, so much so that people from different religions — what to talk of various sects of the same religion — lived in perfect harmony. They would celebrate each other’s festival and jointly participate in all types of communal activities. Eid, Christmas, Rabiul Awal and ...

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