Category Archives: Children and Youth

Happy children

By Zubeida Mustafa

LAST week, I went to Lyari to attend the Food and Fun Festival. Organised by the Ilm-o-Hunar School, the event left a positive impression on me as the youth appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Dressed in their Sunday best, they exuded confidence. The performance was delightful but creativity had to substitute for professionalism. Did it really matter, though, if the stage props were improvised and a single microphone was passed around, from actor to actor? Or that the actors were all speaking in Urdu, which the audience fully understood?

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Language Day

By Zubeida Mustafa

LAST Monday was International Mother Language Day. In Pakistan some seminars were held but they had no impact on the national discourse. Few in this country consider language a significant element of life. Nor are they interested. The day should have been an occasion for celebrations and some solemn soul-searching to remind us of the many tragic moments in our language and political history. We have wiped them out from our collective memory.

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TEACHING IN TONGUES

Reviewed By Faisal Bari

Reforming School Education in Pakistan and the Language Dilemma
By Zubeida Mustafa
ISBN: 978-9692102346
330pp.

We have a broken system of education in our country; not many will dispute that. An estimated 22 million youngsters are out of school, even though Article 25A of Pakistan’s Constitution states that the state should provide every child between the ages of five and 16 “free and compulsory” education. We don’t even have universal enrolment at the primary level. Only six to eight percent of enrolled children reach university level.

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Child marriages

By Zubeida Mustafa

OUR society seems to have been obsessed for long with the idea of matrimony. Mercifully, the growing trend towards female education has to an extent weakened this obsession — but not in communities still deprived of the benefits of education and enlightenment.

In these underprivileged classes, which constitute the majority, it is a common practice for mothers to start planning their child’s marriage soon after birth. They informally decide who will be whose life partner. Termed ‘baat pukki karna’, the arrangement is irrevocable. The girl’s mother even starts collecting her daughter’s jahez. Obscurantist parents even consider it a sin if the child is not married before puberty.

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Broken promises

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE current issue of the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association carries a supplement sponsored by Pathfinder and titled ‘Keeping the FP promise alive’. This will no doubt be a formidable challenge. A look at the family planning data contained in the supplement gives rise to a sense of hopelessness about the promise ever being kept. In 2012, Pakistan had promised at the family planning conference in London to double the contraceptive prevalence rate to 55 per cent by 2020.We are nowhere close to it.

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Awaran moves on

By Zubeida Mustafa

OCT 16 was a red-letter day for Balochistan. In Lanjar, a village in Awaran, a schoolteacher brought together some girls and boys after school hours to teach them the Balochi language. One could well ask what was so special about this that it must be celebrated? The fact is, the tragedy of the Baloch is that they have been robbed of their language. For years we were fed the fiction that Balochi is only a spoken language with no literary tradition. The emergence of scholars and poets such as Zahoor Shah Hashmi and Saba Dashtiari belied this myth. Now we know better.

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آواران آگے بڑھتا ہوا

زبیدہ مصطفیٰ

انگریزی سے ترجمہ: شبیر رخشانی

ا16 اکتوبر بلوچستان کی تاریخ میں ایک یادگار دن تھا جب لنجار کے ٹیچر نے سکول کے اوقاتِ کار کے بعد لڑکے اور لڑکیوں کو جمع کرکے بلوچی لینگویج کلاس کا آغاز کیا۔ کوئی پوچھ سکتا ہے کہ اس میں ایسا کیا خاص ہے جس کا جشن منایا جائے؟ حقیقت یہ ہے کہ بلوچ سے اس کا زبان چھینا جا چکا ہے۔ عرصہ دراز سے یہ فسانہ گڑھا جا چکا ہے کہ بلوچی زبان جس کی کوئی ادبی روایات موجود نہیں صرف بول چال تک محدود ہے۔ مگر اسکالر سید ظہور شاہ ہاشمی اور پروفیسر صبا دشتیاری کی کوشش اور کاوشوں نے اُس تاثر کو غلط ثابت کیا۔ اب اس حوالے سے ہم سب باخبر ہیں۔

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