Category Archives: Language

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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Whither culture?

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHEN Ameena Saiyid organised the first Karachi Literature Festival in 2010 she had hoped it would inspire others to hold their own festivals and thus start a movement. She succeeded to an extent. A number of literature festivals are now being held in the country. Ameena was then the managing director at Oxford University Press (OUP) and had the resources and clout to initiate an undertaking of this nature. She also had Asif Farrukhi by her side to indigenise the festival. Literature from our own languages made the KLF more inclusive.

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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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The former MQM in 2021

By Rifaat Hamid Ghani

IT is not possible to view politics in Karachi without factoring in the Mohajir constituency’s voting strength. And as Karachi was once Pakistan’s capital; was and still is Sindh’s capital; a port that didn’t become another Hong Kong, and is almost too strategically located for its own comfort, all this gives its particularized constituency an inalienable national relevance – apart from the fact that it opted for Pakistan in 1947 with its feet. From its founding day the country ‘owes’ them the security of the nationality they came for. Or at least as much as any and every citizen is owed by the state regardless of ethnicity and creed and not in consequence of any preferred badge. 

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Is it child abuse?

By Zubeida Mustafa

HERE is a narrative to introduce the subject so close to my heart. At a family gathering, I was chatting with my cousin’s granddaughter, a lively girl of three. As she told me about her interests I asked her to move closer as I couldn’t hear her and I pointed to the hearing aid I was wearing. She obliged me and showed great interest in the tiny device, asking intelligent questions about it before examining it. What impressed me was her curiosity and eagerness to learn.

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It is for the child, Sir

By Zubeida Mustafa

I have a little friend in Kheiro Dero in Larkana district named Sitara, a bright child of six. She speaks Sindhi. I speak Urdu. Yet, we get on well. We don’t need a language to communicate in our friendship.

But in education, one needs a language. Sitara’s father has dreams of educating his little darling and so Sitara started her schooling at the Ali Hasan Mangi Memorial Trust community school, which makes education a fun activity for its students — the best way for a small child to learn.

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Follow the child

By Zubeida Mustafa

RECENTLY, I had a deeply satisfying experience that gave me hope for our children. I attended five lectures as an observer in a five-week course for teachers’ assistants sponsored by the Pakistan Montessori Association, Karachi. This ‘return to school’ exercise reinforced my faith in the future of our children who alone can save Pakistan.

The lectures prompted some soul-searching. I could understand how we are failing our children and thus our country. It was William Wordsworth who wrote “The Child is father of the Man” in a poem. But state and society are destroying the spirit of our citizens of tomorrow.

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بچے سے رہنمایٰ حاصل کیجے

زبیدہ مصطفیٰ

حال ہی میں مجھے ایک بے حد اطمینان بخش تجربہ ہوا جس سے بچوں کے حوالے سے مجھے امید ملی۔ میں نے پاکستان مونٹیسری ایسوسی ایشن کراچی کے تعاون سے پانچ ہفتے کے ایک کورس میں بطور مبصر پانچ لیکچرز میں شرکت کی۔ ’اسکول واپسی‘کی اس مشق نے ہمارےبچے کے مستقبل پر میرا اعتقاد مضبوط کردیا کیونکہ صرف بچے ہی پاکستان کو بچا سکتے ہیں۔

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Activism in verse

By Zubeida Mustafa

ONE aspect of I.A. Rehman’s priceless legacy was his restless spirit that drove him to champion the cause of freedom and human rights in Pakistan. The huge community of human rights activists in the country drew inspiration from his rational and encouraging leadership.

Many of us — his juniors — were constantly turning to him to draw from his limitless pool of knowledge and saw him as a pillar of strength. In the gloom that followed his death I felt comforted when I received a book of poetry that resonated with me. It touched the same causes Rehman Sahib had inspired us to espouse. Titled Eik Subh Aur Aaygi and containing 103 poems by Anis Haroon, the book is a powerful statement on the sad state of human rights in Pakistan that has brought the country to the brink of a catastrophe.

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