Degrees of reality

In the past two weeks, one of the issues to have gotten a lot of attention is that of fake degrees. From allegations to verifications to justifications, a lot of people have said a lot of things about parliamentarians who have made a space for themselves in the parliament to try to make a ‘real’ difference by using a fake degree. I recently read an article published in this newspaper about how the Punjab government had decided to remove the academic qualification for members of local zakat committees. The day after that, the Balochistan chief minister said fake or real, ...

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More is less when it comes to Faiz

The richness of Urdu language could easily be gauged from the brilliance of literature and poetry. At one time Urdu was my sole medium of expression. Then slowly and gradually, don’t know how English replaced Urdu but the sweetness of Urdu – that brings me back to it from time to time – remained unbeatable. However, there was one thing in school that always stole my peace and that was Urdu poetry. The cumbersome process of tashreeh and explanation of the poetic endeavors of the renowned poets for earning good grades in school was a tedious task. One couldn’t go beyond ...

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10 things I learned at med school

1. If you thought clearing the entry test exams after high school was the end of your hardships, you are in for a treat. Every year brings new surprises, challenges and career options and better still, new perceptions on life. Biology, chemistry and physics appear minuscule and boring compared the grilling subjects we study at med school. 2. People around you think you are a doctor from day one of med school, not knowing that you are far from actually understanding any disease or how to treat it. They come to you for advice. If you fail to check their blood pressure, which you will, they ...

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Passing exams, is that it?

The etymology of the word “education” is found in the Latin word educare meaning to “bring up” or to “bring out”. The reality of our system of education has less to do with “bringing out” and more with “putting in.” Students are exposed to a wealth of knowledge. However, the pedagogy favoured at present values the regurgitation and memorization of facts. Knowledge is increasingly viewed as something to consume. Once consumed it is swiftly transferred from thought processes to pen and paper.  Amongst sentences are formed paragraphs, and with it the reproduction of facts; measured by the accuracy with which ...

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My life as a pessimist

I don’t feel the anger I think I’m supposed to I hear about minorities being beat up and shot dead. But horrendous events don’t seem unusual or upsetting. Despite my insensitivity, I know they are wrong and deserve condemnation. The media has subconsciously and rightfully, led me to believe so. There is a notion that news analysis may contribute to the normalcy we desire in the aftermath of a tragic atrocity. It certainly doesn’t. If anything, the media, left or right, fights its own agenda.  In the process, it forgets its responsibility to report accurately. Seemingly, these recurring mishaps come ...

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Multi-dimensional intimacy with “Bibi Sanam Janam”

After “Paimoona”, Zeb & Haniya steal the show with their highly applaudable “Bibi Sanam”, with Dari derivation and saccharine Dari accent. The Coke Studio sessions are really worth appraising and hold a touch of classy knack to them. The original song, sung by Wahid Qasemi (Vaheed Kaacemy; Persian) was built on a different set of tune and harmony. The magnificent folk song from Afghanistan is sung in a Dari style by Wahid. Vocals of both the artists are incomparable, since both have a style of their own. The Zeb & Haniya version starts with a beautiful Rubab played by Sadiq Sameer, ...

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Where and how to have fun?

Recently I visited an exhibition at the Expo Centre which boasted that over ten thousand people had attended on the very first day. One thing that always strikes me when attending such events is the enthusiasm with which families turn up and the fun they seem to be having, even when they are being jostled by each other and have to push their way to the front of the stalls. But then again, I guess it’s not surprising keeping in mind the limited facilities that families have to enjoy themselves, while also spending the least possible money. True, there are the ...

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The kindness (or not) of strangers

I travel a lot by bus. One thing I like about this mode of transport is that I get a firsthand look at the life of the man on the streets and his daily problems. Just yesterday, on my way back from work, as I hopped on to S-2 I witnessed a sad scene. A family of let’s say five, two boys, one girl and parents, climbed onto the bus. That in itself was nothing unique. But one of the boys, of about ten years of age, was suffering from what appeared to be a disease because of which he ...

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Banning Dr Zakir Naik

The Express Tribune website recently ran an online poll with the question: “Should an individual be banned from a country for making controversial statements?” To which 55 per cent of voters responded yes, while 45 per cent responded no. The result of this poll was quite interesting in itself, as was the issue which drove the question. Background The poll was created as a follow-up to the story Britain bans Dr Zakir Naik, which has seen a huge influx of traffic – attaining 92 comments and 316 Facebook ‘likes’ in just two days. Needless to say, the issue was an important one for Tribune ...

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Milan Kundera: high peaks, deep chasm

Who’d have expected an author’s fortunes in Hardywood to fluctuate so much with a single novel-screening? In the past, popular authors have been dumped unceremoniously, but has there ever been an author who, in a single novel-screening, has impressed the viewers greatly, and then, only a few hundred or so pages later been discarded with unspeakable disgust? Indeed a high peak, and then a deep chasm. Milan Kundera’s novel “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” was the first translation screening in Hardywood; in that sense, his debut was historic: Hardywood has always been hesitant in allowing translated novels, believing that in ...

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