Yearly Archives: 2021

Unequal and ill

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE world could not have been more unequal in contemporary history than what it is today. It has always been unequal but the present trend set in when the Cold War ended with the fall of the USSR giving neoliberal forces a free rein. With the countervailing force of the socialist bloc withdrawn and respectability granted to elitism and the exercise of unabashed corporate power, inequality became rampant. Not that inequities did not exist before. But today, inequality and its discontents are unparalleled.

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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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Democratic attempts

By Rifaat Hamid Ghani

WIELDERS of political power and the executive and administrative authority accompanying office are remembered for the ambience of life under their rule as well as the formative sometimes indelible imprints they leave on public consciousness and civic discourse and behaviour.  When leaders or their policies are controversial their impact can be polarizing, even destructive. But if controversial leaders are within themselves essentially tolerant and open-minded – whether or not society is hidebound – these differences of opinion stimulate debate and communication which are the indispensables of a healthy, vital, thinking society.

            So what to do when ugly differences emerge and leadership lacks the will or skill to handle conflict with good sense? Us Pakistanis have seen our leaders resort to oppression and suppression; and the consequences both of resistance and lack of resistance.

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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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Cause for thought

By Rifaat Hamid Ghani

          Pakistan’s hybrid politics may also be dubbed mongrel in that the product is apparent but origins uncertain. That is not all – there is a growing anxiety that present hybridity could progress from the mongrel to pariah: What might follow?

What used to be mainstream parties – not just in terms of their national vote-banks but also in orientation and focus – have adopted the PTI’s signature mode of accusatory venomous rhetoric. Coalitional incumbents can also indulge in a self-glorification the unfairly free media helps it to propagate, while denying the facility to the opposition. Such, since quite some time, is the totality of Pakistan’s political language. Most of us have stopped listening; but political fatigue and passivity can cost.

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Serving society

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE contradiction is intriguing. It is a story of a woman of royal lineage who passed away recently and will be remembered fondly for her services to the poor. Her work should be seen in the context of ‘social security’. That is what made ‘Rajkumari’ Kaniz Sakina Wajid Khan (1920-2021) exceptional.

It was not charity she was doling out, as social work is often considered to imply today, but a service she saw herself providing to the indigent. It additionally had the underpinnings of old-time values.

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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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