Friday, March 17, 2006


So after much persuasion in the aftermath of the blogspot ban, I have shifted blogging to wordpress. Initially had some reservations with the publishing process at wordpress, but now gotten used to it.

The address now is:

Farewell, blogspot. :P

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Matter of the Male Heir

Came across this story on the BBC today:

Princess Aiko's future has been keenly debated because of controversial moves by Japan's prime minister to push for new legislation to let women ascend the throne.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made the suggestion because of the Imperial family's failure to produce male heirs.

If the rules were changed, Princess Aiko would stand to ascend the throne upon the death of her father.

But what struck me:

The strain on Aiko's mother to provide a boy is reported to be responsible for the nervous disorer she has been suffering from for the last two years.

It is a real pity that even after all the hue and cry about modern traditions and all the development societies are supposed to have gone through, some can still not discard this discriminating position. What is sadder is that the woman is blamed for her inability to produce a male heir. What they conveniently forget is that that male chromosome does not come from the woman! And in most societies - not just this one - the woman is held as the culprit. It's not her fault. For that matter it's not even the man's fault. It's just how things turn out. Yet, we cling to such beliefs.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


It's that time of the year again. Basant is here. Traditionally, Basant marks the advent of Spring and coincides with the yearly Jashan-e-Baharan (the festival of the spring) at Lahore. Lahore is adorned in green, with flowers sprouting around every curb, every boulevard and most magnificent sight is the lit-canal that criss-crosses the city. The air is crisp and fresh. You can feel the spring in the air. While there are many spring festivals organised by the city government, the real attraction is the kite-flying season. For a day, all Lahore takes to the rooftop and the skies ring with cries of bokaaata! The Lahoris fly, eat and have a great time. But this was a couple of years ago. Now its a different story, altogether.

Over the last 10 years, Basant has been immensely commercialised. Now you have huge Basant parties being orgainsed by the corporate world, enthusiasts fly in from all over the country and abroad. With such commercialisation, the innocent festival has taken on a ruthless edge. The prime perpetrator has been the metallic wire - which is the traditional kite flying string enhanced with glass, metal and certain chemicals. The idea is to make the string sharp enough to pull down the other kite in a pecha - i.e. when two kites entangle mid air. It would have been okay if it was just about the kites. But owing to excessive proliferation of metal string - over the last few years we have begun to see human causalities and severe losses to WAPDA - the electricity guys.

So this year, the Supreme Court decided that enough was enough and that there would be no Basant this year. But it relented when the crunch came and allowed the Basant festivities to go on for 15 days owing to certain stipulations: ban on metal wire and monitoring of the electricity losses and life loss. But all these stipulations are immaterial. There have already been 4 deaths in the city - among them that of a 4 year old boy whose throat was slit by kitestring. Is that not bad enough to enforce the ban again? What is the SC and the city government waiting for? Another 4 before it springs into action?

Not only these deaths. But Basant, these days implies that we seem to have lost all civic sense. On my way to my university everyday, I have to encounter these immense kites in every DHA chowk and awful red and yellow banners everywhere. Yes, we know that Basant is here, thank you very much! Why do we have to adorn our city with such eyesores? Even these are harmless, compared to the torture that you have to go through with power outages. Owing to the metal string used, you are guaranteed 10 power-trips an hour. That essentially ensures that you get no productive work done for around three days - when the festivities are at their height!

I am not against Basant. But I cannot tolerate such reckless behaviour and attitude. Festivals are part of any society - but they become a major pain in the butt when they are not kept within the limits of moderation. Ostentatious displays, loud banging music and giddy partying through the night have become synonymous with Basant. It's pity that the festival no longer remains a celebration of life and color. We lost that somewhere along the road. And now we just don't seem to care.


Dawn Review coverage on Basant: this and this.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What the hell?!

Apparently, Pak Gov has blocked blogpsot in Pakistan. So for two days, I thought it was some issue with my ISP - but I suppose that was naviette! I think this is actually a first for Pakistan. A big BOO for the Musharraf government or whoeverelse had the good sense to order this. *pissed*

But come to think of it. I can still blog. I can still view other blogs through proxy servers. I can still have the last laugh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two Idols of the Old Days

Daily Times reported today:
Born-again Muslim singer Junaid Jamshed told a gathering at a girls’ college in Lahore on Monday that the Muslims had reacted to the Danish cartoons in a most “shameful way”. He said the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) would have expected the Muslim to behave as he did in the face of insult, and “not like barbarians”. He was referring to the damage the mobs had inflicted on public property in Pakistan in the wake of the cartoons.

Ironically, the same day Pakistan’s other born-again Muslim hero Imran Khan was actually protesting — in his own words — against Denmark on the streets of Lahore. Imran Khan has supported the MMA-opposition line that Islamabad should have recalled its ambassadors from the offending countries. On the other hand, Junaid Jamshed has focused on the decline in public behaviour that the protest has caused in the country. Instead of blaming the government he has appealed directly to the people to desist from violence. Many among the shopkeepers of Lahore will heed his message.
Imran Khan!! What has become of you? :|

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Map for Kashmir

The Daily Times reports that Pakistani embassies abroad are floating a new map of Kashmir - a map that deviates from the traditional position of Pakistan on the issue:
The map shows the Northern Areas of the state, which have been officially considered an integral part of the former princely state, as a separate entity, identified simply as the “Northern Areas”. The Line of Control, formerly the Ceasefire Line, has been removed on the map. The entire state, both the Indian-held part and Azad Kashmir, has been shown as one, single, undivided entity, identified as ‘Jammu and Kashmir state’ with the words “disputed territory” appearing in very small letters under this appellation.
Two things to be noted: Contrary to Pakistan's age-old stance, the Northern Areas are not being considered as part of Kashmir. But then are the Northern Areas to be treated as another autonomous region or as a federally administered area? Or what? Confusion lingers. Secondly, the whole of Kashmir has been termed as "disputed territory" - a significant deviation. I am not sure, what to make of it. Maybe, this map has been released to test the waters - to gauge how people would react to any major deviation from the hackneyed Pakistani stance. On the other hand, it can be considered as yet another signal to India: that Pakistan is willing to give ground and have some serious discussion over the issue. It may also be an attempt to score a point with the Kashmiris - Pakistan does not want to divide the Kashmiri families.

Or it may just be a simple map. But interesting nonetheless.

Monday, February 13, 2006

All in a Day's Work!

Courtesy BD:

Source: BBC

poor guy.... heheh.

ps. this is from today's Indo-Pak game at Lahore. [which Pak lost! *sigh* :( ]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Geek or Hack?

I have obviously nothing better to do on this Sunday morning. So here goes:

My computer geek score is greater than 79% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

I scored as :

20% scored higher (more computer geeky),
1% scored the same, and
79% scored lower (less geeky).
and the verdict was:
Mid-Level Computer Geek. Wow, it seems you spend more time in front of a computer than with people.
But then I am just a mid-rank geek. So maybe there is still some hope. khe khe...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Woman, don't you dare run!

The second International Lahore Marathon is scheduled to be held tomorrow. It is a mixed marathon and thus it is damned in the eyes of our religious and moral police.

They say it is inappropriate for a woman to run in front of male spectators. A woman ends up compromising her dignity and self respect. And if you ask them how - of course they would say that it is unislamic and against our culture. *deep sigh*

It's one thing to oppose such an event. You don't want to be part of it - fine keep your women out but why are you ruining the event for everyone else. Why the heck are you making such a fuss out of it? And by the way, since when did we appoint you as guardians of our morals? If the liberals are godless immoral people, let them be. They will burn in hell, not you.

But why disrupt public life? I have heard accounts of the cars of passerbys being damaged by the protesting moral police! And what was their crime, please?

Lock them up, I say and let the women run.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The evils of chatting

Stumbled across a talk show today. The topic of the discussion was 'the internet and the youth'. It featured a showdown between a group of teenagers and a panel of parents, teachers and adults of the society. The crime of the youth was that they over-indulged in all internet-related activities - be it research, surfing, downloading or chatting. The youth of Pakistan is just spending too much time in front of the box called a computer. These activities are not only 'anti-social in nature', but implied an 'overload of information' that the youth is not yet ready to absorb.

More often than not, the discussion gravitated towards the 'evils of chatting'. The parents were irked by the fact that their children were making 'cyber' friends - they were concerned about the influence these 'cyber' friends would have on their kids. Interaction with the opposite sex, came up repeatedly. And so did the possibility of exposure to porn and the likes (but of course in minced words) . Some of the young adults asked why would you want to be friends with someone you can't feel or see?

Come to think of it, 'chatting' is looked down on in our society. Over time it had become synonymous with seeking out 'girlfriends' and 'boyfriends' - a concept largely taboo in the Pakistani society. And it is also true that it is the prime means for 'making friendship' amongst the boys and young men alike. It has become an addiction of sorts.

This raises two important questions for me.

One, why is the interaction between opposite sexes such a taboo matter? Why is it still the forbidden fruit which the youth is tempted to test? More than debating the evils of chatting, the elders of our society need to address the constrictive nature of society. There is nothing wrong with the intermingling of genders - it is but a natural part of our lives. So why do we have to make such a lot of hue and cry over it? Why do we curb the interaction between the two gender from the tender age of 10? Why is it just so taboo?

Two, what are the other modes of entertainment for the youth? There is not much for the young to do with their spare time. Either they have the option of sitting at home watching TV and cable (which is considered equally bad an addiction) or of becoming the slaves of the computer machine. Cricket is probably the only game that is played on a somewhat organised level. But that's about it. Where would you go to hang around with your friends and mingle with others, if there are no other avenues available? Can we really blame the youth over this count? Is it not the responsibility of parent ans society to ensure they are able to spend their time in a constructive yet fun way?

Having said all of this, I also think that the concerns of the elders of our society are also a little exaggerated. Their concerns about being exposed to too much information (and inappropriate matter too) at young ages is total crap. If they deem it to be so bad, then is it not their responsibility that they become part of their children's world? Forget the concept of becoming a 'friend' to the child, ought they not to do it jsut for guidance. Maybe through such efforts they will be able to find some common ground and discover that the world of the internet is not so evil after all.