To those of you bashing feminism:

To those of you bashing feminism:
Using your own preferred/accessible means of transport without fear of being harassed or objected is freedom.

Being able to express your belief is freedom.

Not taking power out of men’s hands to establish a reverse authoritative system, but letting it be known that the system can exist without such solid gender lines. i.e. challenging the notion of power, that is freedom.

Wearing something on the basis of personal preferences or beliefs, and not according to somebody else’s dictations is freedom.
Judging and hating and writing anti-feminist posts without critical evaluation and thinking isn’t freedom either. It is highly fatal for discourse.
Freedom by definition means “being able to do something out of your own choice”
Therefore if someone is doing any of the above mentioned things out of their own choice, that is freedom!

Imposing your own standards and definitions on other people is not freedom, and its not nice either.
The fact that people think we are out to dominate men, is absurd.
People victim blaming a rape victim is also not freedom.
I don’t get why people don’t understand that promoting nudity and saying that someone’s clothing is not a pass to assault them is not the same thing. Also, riding bikes? The hell, dude?
Just because you’re a slave to a bunch of overly conservative, outdated ways of life, doesn’t mean you sabotage on a group of people who simply are trying to get it through your thick skull, being able to do what you want without being judged is freedom. Be it western or eastern.
Also, ditch the “holier than thou” attitude. You seem to forget, that if you lot actually practiced the Quran and the Hadith, instead of just narrating them to people you label as “behaya”- maybe we women wouldn’t need to start a movement.
Feminism does not mean men are trash. It does not mean we want to rule over men. Firstly, we aren’t that stupid.
Secondly, we have issues. Issues which are taboo to you but are essential to our security. Issues you don’t see.
Like child abuse, forced marriages, rape, we want equal rights, over property, over deciding for ourselves, over what to wear, over whatever we choose to indulge in, equal pay, equal freedom, and with it, comes equal responsibility. This isn’t feminism, this is humanity. Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of it in Pakistan.
Stop character assassinating women who smoke, or drink. Men who do it are equally as bad. “Woh mard hai, uski khair hai” does not justify your hypocrisy. Snap out of it.
You should be ashamed of yourself if you don’t take part in a human rights activist movement, just because it involves advocating rights for women.
You dirty old uncles still want to be able to justify hitting your wife, and get away with it.
You young men still want to be able to treat your sister as your sister, as your property, you don’t want he r to be able to talk back as a free soul, independent of what you want, or not want her to do, or be.
And do the women bringing feminists down, you’re not exactly doing yourself a service. If you can’t spread positivity, don’t spew hate for women who choose to speak up and fight, unlike you, confining yourself to what your abba gee and your veer choose and decide for you.

Advertisements

Malala vs Hate

She needs no introduction. Nobel Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan after five years, and the backlash and the hate for her just won’t stop.
I want to address the reasons why our uneducated, and even the parhay likhay jahil countrymen.
Here’s to everyone ranting “If she’s so brave why doesn’t she come back.”
Her friends were also shot, yet it was just Malala who got the media hype. Just to inform you, Malala was partly targeted, because of her father’s stance on education for girls, and the activist movement he was leading in his area. The media goes for those already in the public eye, is that such a brainer?
Oh and also, it’s the same reason why you yourself are never interviewed about local issues. No one knows you.
Moving on to those stating she’s a fraud, and she didn’t really get shot.
Unfortunately, she did. Just because you refuse to believe it, doesn’t change the fact that she did. Doctors in the UK and Pakistan confirmed. She also has partial face paralysis and scarring on her face. I apologise they didn’t consult you or your hakeem sahib on how she survived a bullet.
About her “using her popularity to live a lavish lifestyle”
You know, those people, the Syrians, the people who you keep posting about-without actually donating a penny, or actually doing anything to help? She’s using her influence to help them. She’s helping children in Turkey, Lebanon, Nigeria, other East African countries. I don’t see her sporting a Rolex, nor do I see her driving around in a Ferrari.
People ask why she got the Nobel Prize and not Edhi sahib. I don’t agree with it. But it’s just how the world works. Edhi Saab definitely did more in terms of sheer volume. However, he avoided the international public eye and wasn’t in the lime light, by choice. He wouldn’t even accept donations from outside Pakistan. Edhi sahib’s work only targeted Pakistan, whereas Malala’s work expanded globally. These factors come into play for the Nobel committee.
Then there is talk of Malala being used for propaganda, and to negatively portray Pakistan. I don’t see Malala bashing Pakistan, regardless of how much hate she receives. The last thing she is doing is presenting a negative image of the country. Now if you want to close your eyes to murders for alleged blasphemy, child abuse, rape, honor killings, and forced child marriages, then that is your headache. Highlighting the problem isn’t “ruining the image of the country”. Although, hiding it and closing your eyes to it, will, and is, eating at the roots of our society. Wake up. These things still happen, and what are you doing to prevent them? You do absolutely nothing. You don’t even acknowledge they’re there; leave alone try to help the victims.
And if she is a “puppet”, and still funding schools in Pakistan, and worldwide, then I’m sorry to say but I would be really glad to have more “puppets” like this.
Have you seen the world? Everyone hates each other. And you still delude yourself into thinking they’ll band together to give Malala a Nobel Prize? Or get fooled into awarding someone a Nobel fucking Prize? If yes, then that person deserves two prizes and a standing ovation as well.
“If she’s so brave why doesn’t she come back, and work here for Pakistan?”
You’re an insecure 30 year old, who will wake up shaking after a nightmare. You want a teenage girl, who has a death threat on her head to come back to her country? Good yaar.
Besides, she is back now, so you might as well quit hating on her.
The bottom line is this-if even after looking at the facts you still have unwarranted hate. Your hate isn’t directly aimed at her. It’s aimed at any girl who gains some form of success, at anyone who elevates to new heights. You don’t exactly hate Malala, you hate the fact that you could never reach that level of esteem; neither do you have the drive to do so. You hate her because she’s a vocalist, and an activist. You hate her for speaking up on the issues you want to hush. So before you spew vitriols of hate, ask yourself what you have done for anyone in your entire life, leave alone for young girls all over the world.

Lahore, and Why She Makes You Fall in Love with Herself

“If you haven’t seen the city, you haven’t been born.”
They say it about London, New York, Johannesburg and about Lahore-my Lahore.
The subcontinent has always been famous for two things-its food, and its cultural diversity. Lahore is known the heart of Pakistan. Its origins reach into antiquity. The city has been controlled by numerous empires throughout the course of its history, giving it the diversity it has today. The city is an epitome of beauty, impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards. The perfect weather to go sightseeing in Lahore would be a cool summer day, with a soft breeze and a temperature around 25 degrees Celsius.
The traffic is haywire, a swarm of bikes will whizz past you from all directions as you drive. You will come across rickshaws and donkey carts, and even the finest cars in existence like the …. It doesn’t matter. What you will not miss anywhere is the buzz of traffic, the beautiful lights and flowers which line the canal and the roads, and music. The music just never stops. You pass by a wedding hall and you hear catchy tunes being beaten on drums, keep driving till you halt at a red light and the car to your left will be playing bhangra music at full volume. At the shrines you witness Qawalli, and Sufi music and dances, and at posh restaurants, serene English tunes to calm your nerves.
If you’re an avid reader, you may know of the Zamzama, It’s a cannon, that Rudyard Kipling immortalized in his novel, Kim. Lahore is home to the Zamzama. Terraced and walled gardens spread over a massive 32 acres dotted with about 450 fountains form the beautiful Shalimar Gardens. Also, Lahore is the seat of the University of the Punjab, made in 1882, which is the oldest university in Pakistan. Near the university is the Lahore Museum, 1864, which houses eclectic collections of art and historical items. The Gaddafi Stadium, has seen some of the most spectacular matches one can find in cricket history, including the 1999 Cricket World Cup final.
Next, is the Wagah Border. Where arch rivals India and Pakistan collide. The border is closed to Indian and Pakistani nationals, foreigners however, may walk across the gates of the Wagah. There is a flag hoisting and a mock parade every evening, where Pakistani guards and their Indian Counterparts perform what the international community refers to as the “Beating Retreat”.
Moving on, food is to a Lahori heart, what paint is to an artist. Music, laughter and tantalizing aroma that pervades the atmosphere of Lahore’s very own Food Street. It’s a foodie’s haven, an ordinary man’s escape, a family’s perfect night out. The frying pans sizzling, and the drum-like beating that signifies a Tukka Tukk being cooked. Walking through this food paradise, wide-eyed and overwhelmed by the perfection of what stands before you. You stand, in the midst of it all, surrounded by the glorious flurry of activities that hallmark Lahore’s Foodstreet: chefs, in their aprons and tall hats, flipping tikka seekhs as the meat turns just the right shade of gold, rushed waiters expertly balancing dish upon dish as they run to the seated customers anxiously awaiting their slices of heaven.
Many cities have walls which are home to graffiti art. In Lahore, however, the art has a different appeal. It focuses on messages of faith, unity, the patriotic verses, and the power of the youth. This was done by volunteers to salvage the city’s walls from horrific wall chalking’s ranging from herbal medicine practitioner advertisements, to political slogans.
Modern Lahore is a maze of modern buildings, shopping plazas, five-star hotels, broad avenues and boulevard. The Liberty and the Gulberg Market are popular shopping centres. The M. M. Alam Road, named after a brave Pakistani Shaheed solider, known for the havoc he wrecked among India’s ranks in the 1965 war. It runs parallel to the Main Boulevard, and is a commercial hub and home to a variety of flashy high class restaurants.
The tomb of Allama Iqbal, The Poet of The East, is one of the most simple and impressive structures you find in Lahore. It sits between Lahore Fort and Badshahi Masjid. The architecture is a reflection of combination of Moorish and Afghan Architecture, and is built from red sandstone. It is a small but somber place, and is a must on the visit list if you’re a visitor.
The old city was at one time surrounded by a wall and a moat, but these structures have been replaced, except in the north, by parklands. A circular road around the rampart provides access to the old city by 13 gates.
The walled city, now known as “Androon Lahore” or Interior Lahore, is not merely a hub of architecture, markets or monuments; the unity, harmony and brotherhood we find there among the people, and that too in terms of religions, is matchless. One example of this is the Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh next to the Badshahi Mosque. Both the religious places share the same wall, and also respect each other’s prayer timings. This is something you may not find anywhere else.
Let me bring to life the one of the Gurdwaras located inside the Chohatta Mufti Baqar, near Wazir Khan Mosque inside the Delhi Gate. This Gurdwara is associated with the pioneer of Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev. It stands there, in all its grandeur. Its walls are painted in white and yellow, and the building has a beautiful marble façade, and if you happen to be there at sunset or at sunrise, the light reflected of its golden domes is enough to blind you. Prayers are held every morning and evening.
Another Gurdwara is inside Lal Khoo Mochi Gate. The same gate is known for the Muharram processions and Havelis converted into Imam Bargahs.
Just across one of the walls, a famous restaurant, is Cuckoo’s Den. Cuckoo’s is the perfect place to eat out-you will have trouble in choosing between the food or the view. Cuckoo’s overlooks the beautiful Badshahi Mosque. Built in 1673, by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks and is capable of accommodating over 55,000 worshippers.
Like the character of its founder, the architecture and the finishing is unmistakably bold, and majestic in its expression. It was the largest mosque in the world for a long time. The interior has rich embellishment in stucco tracery, all in bold relief, as well as marble inlay. Stone carvings and marble inlay on red sandstone adorn the outside of the mosque. The skyline is furnished by beautiful ornamentals, which add further grace to the perimeters of the beautiful mosque.
Next to it, perched on the Northwest corner of the walled city, is the Lahore Fort, one of the noblest structures of its kind.
In Urdu, it is often said to beware, even the walls have ears. If only those bricks could talk…one can only imagine-stories of adventure, of love and of romance, of treachery and of revenge, of coronations and assassinations. The beauty and the horrors of royalty, the dark eyed beauties, the queens and the kings, the slaves and the concubines, the rebels and revolutionaries, the poets and the prisoners, the artists and the court intrigues, the elephants and the dungeons.
Across the other side, is what was once the Shahi Mohalla, or Royal Courtyard. Literally meaning “Diamond Market”, Heera Mandi is a red llight disctrict area tucked away in the streets of old Lahore. It is the oldest red light district in Pakistan. Nightlife at Heera Mandi starts just before 11:00pm, and ends at 1:00am.Aside from being a red-light Area, Heera Mandi was once renowned for culture and courtship during Mughal times. The artists and the dancers here were held in high regard and respect, unlike today, where most women have dropped to selling themselves into prostitution.
If you choose to visit one of the few remaining brothels there, you are likely to enter a small room called the ‘time-room’ or ‘office’. There is room for two or three spectators to sit there, while her own troupe — the musicians—escort the girl to the small gathering. The moment she begins to sway with the music, the whole world seems to be dancing with her; it is no lie, in the moments she dances, time seems to be frozen.
You must to one more thing before you return from your trip to Lahore: shop at Anarkali Bazaar. Even though it might seem to be a crazy place for some foreign tourists, but for the locals it has always been a charm. It is one of the oldest markets of the city and offers an array of all sorts of traditional stuff you can pick from- jewellery, handicrafts, clothes, food, or even hand painted kitchen trays or dishes. Anarkali Bazaar seems to be lost frozen in time, a maze of covered streets, not a single vendor will accept your credit card, beware of pickpockets, and also, you might want to take a local friend with you to bargain over the prices.
The city is absolutely magnificent. This article, or even a hundred other articles, will not and cannot do justice to Lahore because seeing is believing, and believing is everything.

An Open Letter to Everyone

My whole life has been a struggle. Against my parents, to not confine me for being a girl. Between my parents, who gets to keep the eldest daughter. Against the so called *ghairatmand*, in reality, the *chu*ya* mentality of this society coercing me into a corner, shattering my dreams, and quieting my blunt tongue.

Torn between teh dilemma of my mother and father:
Do something good: meri beti hai, zahir si baat hai.
Make a mistake: tumhari beti hai, tum sambhalo isse.

Never has my mother hugged me and said she was proud of me.
Never has my father appreciated me on anything.

When the time came to choose my field. And I expressed my wishes to pursue cricket professionally, and photography as a part-time profession, hell broke loose.

I was always known as the devious one-the troublemaker-the badtameez child in the family. As a closed off child, I never spoke my mind, carefully concealing all my emotions under a cover of either jokes or rage. Little did anyone know of the tornado brewing up in my young mind.

Are they, repercussions of my actions worth losing my individuality for? Are they, really?
It kept me awake through the night.

Since childhood, I have been bombarded non-stop with statements which make my ears want to go deaf.
*Log kia kahenge*
*larkian ko ooncha bolna zeb nahi deta*
*zubaan chalanay ka haq kisne dia hai tumhe*
*tameez main raho*
*lipstick halki karo*
*dupatta theek karo*
*doosray ghar main kon bardasht karay gah tumhara yeh bachpana*

Don’t talk to much. Don’t laugh too loud. Don’t stay out too late.

Masla yeh hai nah, ke logon ne baat karni hai. Banda jo marzi kar le, baatein zaroor banein gi. Toh behtar hai ke fit in honay ki koshish main, aur apne ghar walon ki so called izzat ka pass rakhne ke chakkar main beshak apne khwaab chaknachoor ho jayen, apni zindagi ka satyanas ho jaye.

Gandhi once said: You will guard your wife’s honour and be not her master, but her true friend. the same goes for mothers, sisters, and any other woman you consider responsible for your respect.

Truth be told, in more than most cases, men do not genuinely give a damn to what happens to their women. Had their *izzat* not been attached to us, they genuinely would have never cared. It is this dubiousness, this hypocrisy, this attitude which is more than apparent to those who can see, which sows the seeds of resentment and rebellion in my heart.

Resentment towards this lowly and backward way of thinking. And towards men, who encourage and enforce their women to bind by it. And also towards women, who raise their sons to do so.

Rebellion: protecting myself, is rebellion. Driving my car alone, is rebellion. Sitting at a dhaba for chaye, is rebellion. Laughing to my hearts content, admist the chatter of my friends, girls as well as guys, is rebellion. Deluding myself into thinking no one is staring, blurring the eyes staring at me with contempt and hunger, and the catcalling into an irrelevant background. It makes me smile a little more, laugh a little louder, feel a little more elated. These what appear to the average Pakistani as wrongdoings, are what give me a sense of freedom. A sense of ownership, I’m responsible for myself, my actions, my protection. In these innocent acts of mine, did I find my mental peace. My spirit to fight, my desire and will to not fit in with what I knew as norms, but make them fit themselves around me.

This is one thing I wish and hope to accomplish. And that, In Sha Allah, I shall.

Bloodstained Cities

Istanbul is by far the most beautiful city I have ever set eyes upon.
Attaturk Airport: Layers upon layers of clear glass windows, a hum of indistinct chatter, the view of aiplanes with colourful tails lined till the horizon. Boeing’s belong to Turkish Airlines, white bodies, red tails, and their trademark bird printed on it dotted the runway. A plane took off every few minutes, and I was equally eager to see each on taxi. Vans which seemed tiny in comparison frisked around with flight kitchen supplies, immersed in their own routine.
A massive Duty Free, a purple strip running all around it, lit with what was an endless pattern of birds, mosques, and mountains. Racks lined with assorted chocolates, from Kitkat to Thorton’s. More extravagant sections dedicated to luxurious brands such as Hermes,proud glass drawers showing off the Mont Blanc and Jacob & Co they held.
In the lounge of the “Ataturk Hivalimani” there was a curious mixture of bored and exited people. Some bobbing up and down on their toes, others lying on comfy chairs, many with their noses in a newspaper or tabaloid.
We live in a world where mummifying humanity and ransacking cities is a norm. Henious crimes are committed in the name of religion. At first they fueled these elements, now the cat has been let out of the bag. Now they can kick back and relax while we bear with the repurcussions of their actions.
Never did I imagine this beautiful airport to be stained with blood, Istanbul being home to cries and gunfire. I’m tired of seeing one city after another fall prey to violence. And selective humanity on part of the stronger nations-taking note and reacting to the same anguish differently-depending upon wether the country is Muslim or not, wether it is developed or not, wether it is a Western one or not. 
This is cruel and it needs to be stopped. At the rate of which the things are going, an economy parallel to ours may be set up soon. And we shall stand nowhere. Release the doves, surrender love. Win the wars before they begin. Make a change. And start, with the person you see in the mirror.
Be nice, be tolerant. You may be an Aethist, Agnostic, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Budhist, or Hindu. Does it really matter?  Humanity comes first.

An Open Letter to Shahid Afridi

This one for you lala,
This one for Pakistan’s ‘Boom Boom’

Aight, so firstoff, confession time!
Despite loving you, and maintaining the stance ke Afridi team main bowler aaya tha, tukkay par chal jaye toh chal jaye, naa chalay toh gaalian mat dia karo, I have always been a strong critique of your inconsistency and even questioned your place in the team as an all rounder.

Anyways. Lala, nevertheless, we love you. More than you can ever imagine. Koi aur out ho toh wicket girti hai, lala out ho toh wicket toh girti hi hai, hazaron TV band, aur 18 corore logon ki umeed toot jaati hai.

Afridi is that one name everyone in Pakistan knows, legit, everyone, chahay cricket ki alif bay pay bhi naa pata ho. My dadi included, hates cricket, doesn’t understand why we’re so tense, and keeps telling me to not waste time and study everytime I’m watching a match!! Even she knows Afridi 😂❤️

“Yaar dua karo lala aaj chal jaye”
“Oyeh kuch bhi ho sakta hai, abhi Afridi ne aana hai”
“Allah mian please please Afridi khara rahay, baqi khair hai”
“Match toh waisay hi haar gaye hain, Afridi ki batting dekhay baghair nahi jaana ghar”

Aisa khiladi dobara nahi aaye ga, aa hi nahi sakta. I’m short at words to thank you for giving us these beyond amazing two decades!!

Although, at times, *flinches* you’re over rated. At times, banda sochta hai yeh team main kyun hai, na bowling, na batting, par Afridi ko nikalna gunnah hai, kia karen. Afridi is known for doing as he pleases, and not following suit, yes, but just some advice: retiring when the entire world wants you to keep playing is just one place, you might, might find pleasure in following suit 🙂

P.S Cricket won’t be cricket without Shahid Afridi!

Yours Sincerely,
A loving Pakistani,
~Komal

Life

Life: Live it or pass it, the fact remains, that life, is fuck.
Its a game, play, or be played.
Walking is easy, but running down, falling face first, and then gaining control again is the hard part. You have to take the risks. Every risk helps you grow, every risk takes you higher or pushes you down into the sand further.
However, either you take the risk, or you be content with what you have. But being content with what you have is the same as stepping into a pool of quicksand while exploring a forest, as you close all doors of progressing elsewhere.
There are many harsh lessons you learn, some only which time can teach you, the hard way. If you’re smart, you might learn from other people’s mistakes and ignore advice. Treat yourself like a king. A true king always listens to his council but follows his heart. Do that with life. Even if you fall, you will have the satisfaction that you fell because of your own mistakes, you will feel free.
Do not let anyone influence the choices you make. Un calculated choices are bad one’s. But once you make a decision, stick to it, regardless of the consequences.
People change, best friends snitch, father’s take away roofs from the heads of their young daughters. Pictures fade, but nothing happens to the memories you make. Some bonds last a lifetime. Family is more about who you share everlasting bonds with, rather than who’s blood runs in you.
They will mistake your confidence for arrogance, and your actions for selfishness. Little do they know of the sacrifices you make. Little do they know the causes behind your anger.
Nothing is perfect, but whatever it is, make sure its real…