Stories about values

We lack the wisdom to raise our sons the way we raise our daughters

Before our son Kareem was born, my wife Priya, my daughter Madina and I were on a flight and we ended up sitting next to a woman who was expecting her first child. I sat in the middle seat between Priya and the expecting woman while the two of them discussed things only an expecting mother could discuss with another mother. At one point we asked if she knew the gender of her baby and she said, “A boy thankfully. I am so relieved.” As she went on to explain why she’s relieved, she said having a girl would be a lot more ...

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Why should a woman be shamed for being on her period?

I’ve been watching a recent debate unfold: students at a local university in Pakistan stuck sanitary napkins on the university walls with poignant quotes. As a woman, I admired the bravado of these students. Mainly because ever since we were kids, we’re told that since we are the ‘weaker/fairer’ sex, we shouldn’t: “Wear too much make-up”, “Wear a dupatta this way” “Wear such high heels”, “Don’t talk so loudly’, Oh yeah, and, “When on your period, channel your inner Jane Bond.” Maybe the men don’t get the whole psyche that’s inbuilt women from the age their periods start. The society has some sort of a state of ...

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When a rape victim is ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’

Outlawed in Pakistan won an Emmy this year for Pakistan and this is a triumph that must be celebrated on many levels. Pulitzer Centre grantees Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent five years in making this 45-minute-long short film, exposing the inherently flawed justice system of Pakistan. It’s another addition to the success spree of alternate filmmaking in Pakistan, two years after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy award for her documentary. It’s also an endeavour to bring forth the severe violation of women rights and how women, from extremely opposite social and economic backgrounds, work together to empower women all ...

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Neelam Ghar and Kasauti: Change is not always a good thing

Recently, I was flicking through the local channels when my fingers suddenly stopped on Pakistan Television (PTV) – our once-glorious national channel is now on permanent crutches, a tragic outcome of trying to keep up with modern trends. And amid such handicaps, there he was, the immortalised Mr Tariq Aziz, boisterously putting up questions of general knowledge. Agile and above 60, he would race towards an enthusiastic audience that could be cajoled into doing anything for him, from playing age-old games like musical chairs to participating in Urdu poetry competitions. One of his famous chants still echoed in the auditorium as ...

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Losing our culture and identity, one drama at a time

Gone are the days when families would sit together and watch Pakistani dramas. Instead, today we get to see the ‘not-so-moving’ storylines that seem to be inspired by Indian soaps. What is worse is that our TV channels show things that are in direct contradiction with our cultural and social values. From pregnancies to abortions, from extra-marital affairs to illegitimate children and elopements, we have been exposed to all kinds and degrees of absurd content in these dramas in the name of modern entertainment. Even respectable relationships are not spared. I have seen countless dramas where a guy falls in love with ...

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Parent trap: Friend or foe?

A cousin of mine quite often argued with me about how incessant and unnecessary interference in a child’s life can weaken the parent-child bond. According to her, in this day and age if parents unduly poke their nose in their children’s lives, especially those who have just entered or are about to end their teens, and don’t maintain a friendly relationship, their parent-child relationship may seriously suffer. The inclusion of electronic media in the lives of the modern society has opened up a huge world of awareness-for the young ones in particular. Now these young adults are well informed ...

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How the mighty dollar weakens the rupee

Money only holds value because there are goods and services available to buy with that money. It is the goods and services that create a value for that money. Coconut water would be more valuable on a treasure island than kilos of gold. In that circumstance, it’s not the value of coconut water that has increased, but the diminished value of gold that is being reflected. The fewer goods and services available, the lesser the value of money – even if it is a pile of gold. Pakistan currently produces cotton, rice, fish, fruit, vegetables, pulses and much more. These ...

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The choice between excelling and growing up

I taught A’ Level law for a good 8 years, and then I quit. I was dejected because I think I always ended up seeing my students as my children and I was appalled at what the system was making me do to them; focusing on just getting the much desired ‘A’. Lately, some students (not all) would start rolling their eyes or looking at their watches the moment I would talk to them about anything that might entice them into becoming better people. No, I did not preach in class but I did expect them to think about their ...

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Sex for sale: Where are we heading?

On a recent trip to a juice shop in Lahore, my husband and I noticed a huge black Cygnus car stop at the turn across the road. After closer observation, we saw two women, both around the age of 25, dressed in bright silk step into the jeep that careened off. Two other women were left behind. After some 20 minutes, they too stepped into a Camry and sped off. My husband and I looked towards each other simultaneously – we knew what we just saw but did not have the guts to admit what was going on so openly at ...

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A dummy’s guide to morality in Pakistan

Like everyone else, friends on my e-mail group became very active while discussing the recent media hype about Veena Malik. While the opinions came from a diverse group of people, one irritated friend questioned why people can’t seem to follow basic ‘Pakistani moral standards’. Reproduced below are the top 10 rules on Pakistani moral values that came out as actually being followed in modern day Pakistan: Pakistani moral values 101: Top 10 rules If a Pakistani man dates more than one woman, he is a Casanova. If a Pakistani woman dates more than one man, she is a “loose woman”. If ...

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