Category Archives: Social Issues

Home thoughts

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN South Asia’s patriarchal societies, writings by women giving their perspective on sociopolitical issues in the early 20th century are not easily available. Diaries are even rarer. Happily, we now have a valuable addition to this genre. It is a diary introducing us to the views of a 24-year-old woman from Hyderabad Deccan, who went to England for further studies. It was my privilege to have a trained preforming artist, Shama Askari, read it out to me.

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‘Maraka’ truths

By Zubeida Mustafa

SUICIDES by young men and women have been periodically reported from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Authentic figures are not available in the absence of scientific surveys and forensic facilities, which allows ‘honour’ killings to be masked as suicide. Neverthe­less, the suicide rate in this region is, arguably, higher than the average in Pakistan (8.9 per 100,000).

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Gender rights

By Zubeida Mustafa

IT goes to the credit of gender rights leader Bindiya Rana that Pakistan is counted among the 20-odd states to have given legal recognition to the ‘third sex’ — non-binary people. They were counted in Pakistan’s 2017 census and are entitled to ID cards. Conservative Pakistan can now be regarded as enlightened in the matter of gender legalities — but not in terms of transgender people’s acceptance and inclusiveness in society.

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The unheeded

I LISTEN to a transgender woman speak and my mind starts to churn.             

 I keep wondering what I would do if I had a transgender child? Keep her hidden from prying eyes? Hidden from my in-laws, or my own parents for that matter who might insist I send her away? Let my own inhibitions translate into something that my child would see as shame, which would make her hate herself? What would I do if I had to take her to the doctor?

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Money mania

By Zubeida Mustafa

WE live in a bizarre country. That is the most appropriate term I find to describe Pakistan. It has some laws and official practices that are not only irrational, but actually absurd when seen in the context of their implementation. They cannot be explained and no sane-minded person would justify them. The elites are the beneficiaries and so they are pro-status quo.

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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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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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