Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Helpers

One of the many middle-class delights of Pakistan is the cheap and easy availability of domestic helpers. Most of these helpers are under-18. A younger maid offers many benefits. She can run after the children few years older to her, eat less, sleep in a nook or corner, does not attract attention of the male members (hopefully) and is easier to discipline than an adult.  
In 2003, UNICEF reported that eight million under-14 children were labourers in brick kilns, carpet weaving units, agriculture, small industries and homes while a 2004 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report states that around 264,000 Pakistani children are labourers. The ILO has introduced a domestic labour convention but Pakistan has yet to sign it. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Imran-Rushdie Saga

Last week, Imran Khan withdrew at the eleventh hour from the eleventh annual India Today conclave in Delhi. The reason cited – presence of the fatwa-struck author Salman Rushdie – had its pros and cons, but on the whole the gesture was a very unimpressive one. Firstly, this was blatantly a publicity stunt because the list of speakers had been sent to Imran Khan weeks in advance, but more importantly such a step is eons away from any kind of positive ideological “change” that he has been promising.
Imran has affiliated with the right-wing suggesting talks with the Taliban, refusing to rebuff terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and even sending some of his party members to a terrorist organizations’ congregation. He probably wants to counter PML(N)’s influence in these partially overt and partially underground movements. This may not be very tactically wise either, because most political parties are either quasi-supporting these terrorist outfits or are at least too scared to oppose them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catch-22 of Charisma

Historically, charismatic leadership has not been very advantageous. And a brief look at the past can substantiate this claim. The worst examples include Franco, Mussolini and Hitler during the World War Two, whose paranoid visions and prejudices cost some 50 million lives, along with six million Jews. Leaders gain immense popularity, but eventually misuse their power.
We will go by the definition of charismatic leadership that comes from Max Weber’s “Tripartite Classification of Authority” in which he defines charismatic leadership as: "a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.”

Kindle the passion

Kindle as a technology has certain drawbacks but is totally worth it. It’s thinner than your wallet, perhaps lighter than your grandfather’s ink pen but smart enough to carry your entire library in it — and more. This New Year, I acquired the most well-known of all the e-book readers in the market. I got myself the Kindle. Though Kindle’s latest version is Kindle Fire, I have an older model. Kindle has arrived in my life, like Faiz puts it: “Jaise saihra mein holey sey chaley bad-e-naseem” (As, slowly, in the desert, moves the breeze).


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