Stories about youth

Pakistan ka matlab kya…who cares?

Six odd decades after independence, we are still squabbling over the ideology of Pakistan, what it represents and what it means to be a Pakistani. With the rise of social media and greater access to information, the urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history. And hence, today the battle of the ideology of Pakistan is in full swing. To me, Pakistan is an undeniable truth, much like Israel. Pakistan is a sovereign country – whether one agrees with the original ideology it is based upon is irrelevant. Like Israel, Pakistan is on the map and must ...

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Why your daughter should watch Disney cartoons while she’s still four

Disney films will always hold a special place in the lives of those born in the 90s: we were the ones who would cry and clutch our fathers lest they go jump into a stampede a la Mufasa in The Lion King. So, recently, some friends and I decided to revisit our favourite Disney film — Mulan. Mulan is just your average Chinese girl who impersonates a man so she can join the army instead of her father. ‘Two thumbs up!’ promised the back of the DVD cover, and we sat down with popcorn and played the film. When it finished, there was ...

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Are we pointlessly Pakistani?

Globalisation is overdone. The role of the internet in our lives, is just as worse. Here we were scratching our heads over an idea for my computer project. The problem was that I had no topic restrictions. At least when something is assigned, you can complain and mope and call your teacher whatever you feel like for thinking up such a dismal topic. But then, at least you’re in the same boat as the 30 other people in your class. Picking out your own topic, however, calls into question your own creative and intellectual capabilities. That is a terrifying prospect. ...

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Generation ‘Yes, we can’: What are they doing not wasting time?

Will someone tell these twenty-something Pakistani men and women to go out and play cricket or go party with friends or something? What are they doing, writing books, learning classical singing and–you won’t believe this – fixing simulators on Naval submarines! The new crop of young professionals and fresh graduates is all about pushing their limits. They take action, here and now. Here’s how they do it: Starting early This “yes, we can” generation starts shooting for the stars earlier and earlier, barely out of their teens, they put on their thinking caps and put their genius to work. Khadijah Khan started to ...

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Pakistani youth: Don’t agonise, organise!

A bespectacled teenager cycles his way from Lahore to his small town. It’s a long journey, but the merry boy has not a care in the world. After all, securing the highest marks ever recorded for the Matriculation Examination is no small feat. Tears of joy complement the bright smile on his face as he enters the town. The town folk are all gathered around his humble family abode to give a hero’s welcome to their very own ‘Ramanujan.’ But among the multitude of admirers of the boy, no one ever imagines that Abdus Salam would have the honour of becoming ...

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Selective coverage: What the stories we never hear about mean

Keeping an eye on how the media has been working in Pakistan, I have been confused about whether it is actually performing its role –  its real role as an unbiased observer to events – and providing masses with untampered facts and information. Aside from its highly anti-government policies and the Zardari obsession, there are other reasons that makes its role suspect. With reference to the Pakistan army, the media’s role remains ambiguous. For reasons that are obvious, there has been a serious lack of reporting on exactly how the army has been conducting activities in Balochistan and Fata. But recent events are alarming. Last week ...

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Kuch Khaas open mic night: Good times in Islamabad!

Last weekend I attended an open mic night at Kuch Khaas, a famous social enterprise in Islamabad. The occasion held all the promise to be yet another “mass brain cell genocide”; a phrase I use fondly each time I end up at one of these gigs. I had anticipated a night filled with tone-deaf kids hopped up on drugs, with couples leering in the corners and of course bad karaoke music. But I was wrong on all counts. This open mic night has to be one of the finest youth events I’ve attended in a long time. Kuch Khaas is located ...

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All the bad lessons movies teach us

Amidst a plethora of job applications, I decided to take a break and treat myself to a no-brainer movie. It was not much of an endeavor to pick a Bollywood movie for the purpose. I found myself playing Dabangg on my DVD and what a treat it was. Despite taking a break of a couple of years from Bollywood, to my utter amusement, I discovered that Bollywood movies have not changed much. The story line of most movies is the same, where a man is either a gangster or a corrupt official with his own sense of justice and his own way ...

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I love Facebook (sort of)

Old people, parents, employers and techno-phobes all love to expound on the many reasons to just bite your lip, rip off the Band-Aid and be done with Facebook forever, but most of us don’t really care. I’m going to be honest-the usual reasons people give for why social networking is such an insidious villain to the average twenty-something don’t matter to me at all. I don’t really feel that that my real personality is being compromised in favour of a Facebook-friendly version of it. I don’t have any secret sex tapes or otherwise questionable content floating around cyberspace and I ...

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I want to be a sipahi

To enjoy power is human. Political leaders enjoy power while fooling the public enough to get them to vote for them; a cleric enjoys this power while issuing fatwas; a jirga-head enjoys this power while awarding punishment to a criminal according to his law; a police inspector enjoys this power as he orders riot police to engage protesters; a teenager enjoys this power while driving his car at 160 kilometres per hour while a poor labourer enjoys this power as he beats his wife. As a researcher I conduct field surveys across Pakistan and recommend policies to decision makers for better development outcomes. ...

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