Stories about village

A child’s broken dreams

A smile flickered on her lips as the fluttering butterfly evaded her for the umpteenth time and became a fugitive in the darkening skies. She cried out to her mother excitedly, “I nearly caught her!” To which her mother, Nargis, replied as always, “How many times have I told you not to tease such innocent souls, Ghulab Jahan? They will curse you and then you will never be able to become a doctor.” Ghulab Jahan, as pretty as her name implied, chuckled at the thought of a tongue-less creature complaining to God about her. Ghulab was an anachronism in many ways; she belonged neither to ...

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I was asked to rig the ballot as a polling officer in 2008

In the general elections of 2008, I was assigned the duty of managing a polling station. It was the first time that I was summoned (of course unwillingly) to conduct polling in a remote village area. I knew this job was not a piece of cake and I prepared myself for anything unexpected. Since I did not have any strong connections, I was obliged to do the job. One day before the polling, I was called in court to collect the polling material and meet with the rest of the staff members. My court orders clearly mentioned that I had the ...

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The girl in the shabby clothes

This time, it feels different. This time, the view has changed. Or maybe it’s not the view that has changed; it’s the person gazing upon it who has changed. This time, I have changed. Seven years ago when I was here, all I saw were the dirt strewn, littered streets. I saw girls getting married at a sadly young age; I saw how women were limited to indoor activities. I saw families with more children than they could afford to raise. Most troubling of all, I saw a severe lack of education. Words like ambition and individualism were foreign concepts ...

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Giving village children a fighting chance

I am from a village in rural Punjab, Pakistan. Like most other villages, my village lacks proper infrastructure. Poor people live in houses built with mud and only the rich live in huge mansions. Children of the rich go to private schools in the city, but the poor parents cannot even afford the heavily subsidised government schools. They are left with no other choice but to educate their children in the village school. Visiting my village as a child, I remember hearing about the experiences of students in the village school. As you might or might not know, schools in villages have ...

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Why is Manmohan Singh’s village better than mine?

Reading the tale of a ‘modern village’ Gah, I was amazed at how each word painted a surreal picture of an ideal village. Was this village really in the same country and the same province as my village? Gah happens to be the birth place of the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. As a friendly gesture, Musharraf’s government labelled Gah as a ‘modern village’ and what followed miraculously helped to improve the standards of living of the poor people there. Commendably, Manmohan Singh stayed in touch with his roots played a pivotal role in supplying the village with solar energy. Thus, the people of Gah are heavily in ...

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May I speak for the accused?

The courts are to decide the Uzma Ayub case, the alleged rape victim from Karak (a southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the fate of the 13 accused of being the rapists. However, being a native of the district, I think I have the right to speak for those among the accused, who did something good for my village and its people. One of them is Hakeem Khan, an assistant sub inspector (ASI) at the Takht-e-Nasrati police station (Takht-e-Nasrati is a tehsil in the district). Hakeem brought peace to my native village and arrested almost all the notorious gangsters, kidnappers, ...

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In Okara: Why Twitter is not enough

I had joined Twitter sometime ago, and was truly disgusted by the so-called thinkers sitting in the luxuries of their air-conditioned rooms, tweeting about how Pakistan is in dire need of help. Tweets about which city they are in, or which coffee house they are in will not help the situation of the people who need our help. “Why don’t they go out and do something?” I wondered.  Thus, I decided to be proactive. It has been a year since I started working as the PPP president for Okara district, Punjab. Growing up in a political family, I witnessed my father ...

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Video Blog: Forgotten floods – daily travel, daily trouble

Earlier this week I was in Kasur to produce a news feature on the flood affected areas. In order to get to the village Mastikhey, which is one of the last border villages, we ended up walking in fields which were submerged by knee to thigh length water. On our way back, the villagers gave me a ride on a buffalo cart where I learned just a little about the hardships the villagers face on a daily basis. Pakistan’s 2011 floods continue, but who is paying ...

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Rural education: Eight reforms we need now

Educational institutions are the breeding ground for any civilization. Illiteracy is the mother of all evil and ignorance leads to exploitation of the weak, and injustice in the society. The pertinent question: Why is the current breed of politicians so ignorant about the pitiful state of government-run schools? The simple answer: They know that their presence in the assemblies and their luxurious lifestyle is only possible because of the illiterate masses who vote for them. Education, especially in state-run institutions, has deteriorated. I belong to a very remote part of Sindh and have had the opportunity to observe the devastation of society personally. I have ...

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I am a sardar

I am a Sardar. I am six feet tall and came out of my mother’s womb ready to raise hell. To borrow from Isaac Babel, if rings were fastened to the sky I would have pulled it down to the earth. Yes, I have men and guns but these are just the traditional trappings of power. I look after my men and their families. They are my clan; we are bound together by ancient geographies and histories. They are my children. I uphold tradition but know that in order to survive in today’s world an education is essential. I studied Agriculture ...

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