Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review - Rasheed Araeen: To the West With Love

The book The Triumph of Icarus, is a compilation of essays based on the “Life and Arts of Rasheed Araeen.”
The book is an almost 200 page thick bundle of sagacious essays that attempt to become the “best mirror of the oeuvre and writings of one of the foremost avant-garde artists…”
Each insightful essay is escorted by equally gripping photographs of Araeen’s work. Most of the writers, (mostly artists, but also a few academics and critics) are based in UK like Araeen has been since the 1970s. Many of them have met, interviewed or heard Araeen lecture in person. Therefore, they come up with personal and perceptive insights into the artist’s work.

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Editorial The Nation 29-04-14: Protestors Mistreated

When peaceful protestors of the missing persons issue tried to approach the Parliament building in Islamabad yesterday, the police responded with a baton-charge; firing and tear gassing the demonstrators. Many of these demonstrators were consequently wounded, along with six policemen. Additionally, the police attempted to confiscate the recording equipment of media houses trying to cover the incident.

Editorial The Nation 28-04-14: Showing, Not Doing

Last week, Punjab’s Chief Minister inaugurated the Walton flyover in Lahore. In celebration of the event, droves of helium balloons were released but they caught fire and exploded. The explosion injured 40 people, one of whom died yesterday. Little is known about these people, except that most were children and some were admitted to hospitals for burn injuries. The event leads to two important concerns. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Editorial The Nation 26-04-14: Violence Against The Police

Over fifty police officers have been killed in Karachi in 2014 alone. Shafiq Tanoli was just one of them. Along with high-profile cases like Safwat Gayur and Chaudhry Aslam, terrorists have targeted around 5,272 officials of the law-enforcement agencies (mostly police). Why is the police a target? They are a symbol of the state; not guarded like the GHQ or cordoned off in the Presidential Palace, but on the streets, visible in uniform.
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Editorial The Nation 21-04-14: The Basic Need

Multan road has been revamped, but the drain in the centre of the road remains, filled with plastic bags and other waste materials. This drain, and many thousands like it across Pakistan, will inevitably become a breeding ground for the dengue virus if the concerned departments do not take timely action.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

An unacceptable death

The Suicide By: Madalina Iordache-Levay.

Last month, the tragedy of an 18 year old’s gang-rape in Muzaffargarh gained limelight. The victim had registered her case but it did not make any difference. Eventually she set herself on fire in front of a police station. Her story was then picked up by the media. She unfortunately died soon after. This is a compelling and newsworthy story which outlines the unfair treatment of rape victims in Pakistan. However, it demanded careful coverage.
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The street delights of Lahore

Photo by Rahat Ali Dar 
Lahore is known as a foodie’s haven. Indeed, the ‘taste of Lahore’ is just as unique as its sights. Here, winters can be harsh and foggy but the city’s street delights come to our rescue. The most common and oldest one of these delights is a cob of corn. These are usually heated in a heap of hot ground coal and sold with a splashing of ‘chaat masala’ and lime juice. 

Landa Bazaar: Where old things sell more readily

Photo by Rahat Ali Dar

There is never a dull day at Landa Bazaar, Lahore’s answer to many thrift shops one has seen or known round the world. A second-hand (mostly cloth) market on Nisbat Road, Landa happens to be a vibrant and busy place surrounding the Mayo Hospital footpath, near Anarkali. But you can hear the vendors yelling out to attract the customers, from quite a distance.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What would you do if your brother was abducted?

This image of Farzana Majeed is iconic – a young woman in a blue shawl and red cap, standing with a portrait of her missing brother after walking 2,000 kilometres to find him. Farzana holds a double Masters and is the general secretary of the Voice for Baloch Missing Person’s March, members of which walked across Pakistan to give a human face to the issue of state abductions in Balochistan.

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Khushwant Singh's Lahore in DNA India

Walking through the black metallic gates of Government College, Lahore, now the Government College University (GCU), one is greeted by a winding path shaded by large trees. At the end of the trail stands the red building with its large Gothic-style clock tower. The tower is visible from almost all roads adjoining the GCU. It is the symbol of what was once amongst colonial India’s most prestigious colleges, where many literary luminaries including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ashfaq Ahmed, and the subcontinent’s two Nobel laureates – Har Gobind Khurana (medicine) and Abdus Salam (physics) studied. And, of course, Khushwant Singh as well.

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The nostalgic train to Pakistan

Khushwant Singh, his wife Kawal, Manzoor Qadir & his wife
via Chughtai
My grandparents were from Amritsar, and migrated to Gujrawala in 1947. Throughout their life they have had a longing to revisit their “homes.” But they could not. It was a dream they were reluctant to realize. Not because of the visa hassle or the political turbulence but because of a latent fear that the home they were forced to abandon might not be there at all. Something similar to the overwhelming shock the Indian poet Gulzar received last year, when he visited his house in Jhelum, Punjab. He had to quit his visit because of it.


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