Mina Malik-Hussain

  • TTen year old Amal Umer was tragically killed last month when a police bullet hit her while she sat in her car with her family. Her parents were mugged at a crowded intersection full of traffic and people, and the police thought it fit to open fire on the retreating thieves in an environment like ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground was abroad recently—in Istanbul. The seat of the Ottoman empire, Istanbul—formerly Constantinople—is a treasure of a city. The Ottoman empire began with Osman the First and eventually became the most important sultanate in Southeastern Europe and the ...

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  • TIsn’t it so edifying when one’s provincial minister for culture makes it known exactly what he thinks of culture, and it isn’t what one would expect? It really shakes things up for the average citizen who inclined towards the cultural. Usually “culture” and ...

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  • TOne is deeply grieved this week. One is perpetually mourning one thing or another it seems in this country of ours—four years into Notes from the Underground and never a dearth of things to be thinking out loud about. This week, it is again the depths of brutality to which people can sink. ...

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  • TCongratulations to all, we have a new government. Our opposition looks like it is ready to keep a close eye on the majority, the new roster of ministers is predictably dull—so long, brief flicker of hope for more women in charge — and things are settling down. One eternal interest that ...

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  • THappy almost-Independence Day, dear readers! As we crest the wave of seventy-one years of our green passport, cricket team and precarious sense of identity (all closely enmeshed), one likes to take a moment to consider ‘Pakistaniyat’ – a kind of New Year’s resolution; good ...

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  • TFourteen schools, primarily girls’, have been burned down in Diamer. For the geographically unsure, Diamer is in Gilgit-Baltistan and sounds familiar because it is also the site of the proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam, for which most Pakistani citizens have received a polite text message about. ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground is back after a summer holiday! Many things are different, and this is the first Naya column. One feels it should be accompanied with some kind of pomp and circumstance, but one is now used to being in Pakistan, the land of hard knocks—sometimes a bat whacks you in ...

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  • TEthical television shows on Pakistani television have proliferated like rabbits. Gone are the benign days of Tariq Aziz giving away microwaves as the audience dutifully clapped along with the synthesizer going tan-tan. Now we’ve got pumped up game shows, morning shows, talk shows, cooking ...

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  • TIn the children’s cartoon film, “The Little Mermaid”, the evil sea witch Ursula is plotting to trap Princess Ariel, in order to manipulate her father the king into giving up his power to her, Ursula. Ariel falls in love with a human, which is forbidden, and Ursula sees an ...

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  • TChildrearing in desi households is always a group activity. Everyone has an opinion, and feels free to air it. Someone will always give the child a biscuit before lunchtime and obviously at tea-time don’t even try to stop the someone who will be giving the child a sip from their cup. ...

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  • TAnother week, another spate of unregulated insanity. Never a dull moment! The government has finished another democratic term, which is both unprecedented and excellent. Our democratic process is creaking along, whether thanks to the usual peripheral interference remaining there or better practice ...

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  • TAnother year, another Ramzan and many wishes for us all to have a blessed, peaceful and happy one. Only somehow, one doesn’t quite think that the government trusts us to. Why else would they pass a bill like the Ehteram e Ramzan (Amended) one, where now if you are caught eating in public, you ...

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  • TThere seems to be a trend for putting females in the garbage. One is utterly sickened and heartbroken at how disposable a female life is, particularly in this country. As if it weren’t enough to rape them, beat them, marry them off before puberty to men old enough to be their fathers, keep ...

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  • TI have been thinking a great deal about how we Other people. German philosopher Hegel first coined the term, elaborating how the human preoccupation with the Self automatically creates a Not-Self, or an Other. Everyone who is not Me is Someone Else, and that person, that not-me, the un-self, is the ...

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  • TApparently a strain of antibiotic-resistant typhoid is on the loose in Pakistan. This is very, very serious news, particularly for a nation of self-medicating compulsive pill-poppers such as we are. While diseases are all caused by microbes, they are either viral or bacterial. You can catch germs ...

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  • TPakistani Twitter is on fire, and what a glorious blaze of light it is indeed. Girls are coming out of the shadows to finally name their harassers, and it should come as no surprise that there are so many of both parties. Most recently the CEO of music company Patari had to leave the company in the ...

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  • TGloria Steinem once said, quoting Irina Dunn, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle—in other words, doesn’t. Following Asma Jahangir’s demise many words of praise were said about her husband, and how he was to thank for her great success as a lawyer. One often finds ...

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  • THave you ever been in a position where, after having driven somewhere and are now leaving, some random man begins to wave an arm when you start reversing? You have somehow managed to leave your house, navigate traffic and parked your car quite safely. Now, when you are leaving, someone is trying to ...

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  • TThe Lahore Biennale is full-swing in the city, and it really is tremendous. Top-class artists are showing their work in several different locations across the city, all for free—there are exhibits at the Fort, the Shahi Hammam, the Lahore Museum, Lawrence Gardens, Mubarak Haveli and an ...

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  • TTo mark the international Women’s Day, many people in Pakistan participated in the Aurat March—walks in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad held simultaneously on the eighth of the month to celebrate the global movement for equality, and to show solidarity for women from all walks of life. It ...

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  • TAnother summer, another onslaught of ridiculous lawn. Fashion is fashion and that’s all right, you do what you like with your money, but when did the advertising for lawn become a song and dance that has to be bested each year? There used to be the good old days when you’d just stand in ...

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  • TIconic Bollywood actor Sridevi Kapoor died last week. It was a shock to everyone who knew who she was, because at fifty-four she was as fit and young looking as ever, and nobody could imagine that someone like that could die so suddenly, and with no real reason. Death is shocking and sad, no matter ...

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  • TWhen the bomb on Fane Road detonated in October 2009, outside the FIA building, I was in class. It was around nine thirty a.m, and I was teaching English to thirty eighth-graders. There was a dull fwoomp, a kind of heavy explosive sound. Because I grew up in a Lahore where bombs never went off, the ...

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  • TWe have suffered a terrible loss. Asma Jilani Jehangir, lawyer and activist, passed away suddenly on the weekend. This is no ordinary passing, because she was no ordinary woman. On the basis of a legal education had at Punjab University, she began her career when she was called to the High Court in ...

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  • TLahore, ancient and beautiful, is a city with an unparalleled, diverse history. Before Partition, Lahore was one of the great cosmopolitan cities of India, brimming with artists, thinkers, writers, poets, saints and philanthropists. As Pakistanis, we seem to be obsessed—at least on a ...

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  • TNew Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is expecting a child while in office. She is the first Kiwi PM to take oath pregnant and quite possibly be the first to give birth while in office. New Zealanders are pretty excited, and news of who is jokingly being referred to as “the ...

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  • TOne wonders, as one is inclined to do, why public figures sometimes let utter whoppers loose. Sometimes it’s an unthinking slip of the tongue—“s**thole”, anyone?—and sometimes it’s deliberate because you thought it was clever or witty, and turns out it was ...

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  • TOur law minister, that shining ray of truth and justice in the dark days we see on an all-too-regular basis, thinks that when bad things happen to children, their parents are to blame. One would almost think he didn’t have any children himself, because this is precisely the kind of pompous, ...

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  • TThis weekend Lahore hosted one of the best, most vibrant festivals it has: the fourth edition of the Lahore Music Meet. The LMM brings together musicians from all over the country for two or three days of incredible talks, workshops and concerts that are all free, and open to all audiences. From ...

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