Mina Malik-Hussain

  • TSome weeks ago, humans made a marvellous scientific breakthrough—after ten years of research and hard work, scientists around the world working on a project called the Event Horizon Telescope combined telescopes on sites across the world to create one enormous, powerful, super-synchronized ...

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  • TMuch praise has been showered on Jacinda Ardern, the Kiwi prime minister, in the wake of the Christchurch shooting. She deserves every inch of it; her response to the terrorist attack was full of empathy and compassion rarely seen in leaders. There was a great deal of wonderment about this too, the ...

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  • TA video has surfaced of a horrible woman at a day care centre, beating a toddler. It’s one of many videos one sees routinely—different permutations, but the essence is the same: a caregiver smacking a child. Videos like these make any sane person deeply uncomfortable. For a parent it is ...

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  • TThe Aurat March happened last Friday, with marches in different cities in Pakistan and across the world. For the uninitiated, the Aurat March coincides with International Women’s Day, but also echoes the first Women’s March, which was held in 2017 in America, against the Trump ...

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  • TRobert Macfarlane is a well-regarded environmental writer in the UK. His books are deeply erudite and warm and full of wonder for the natural world. Dr Macfarlane walks all over England, swimming in lakes and rivers, climbing trees to listen to the wind, hiking up hills to see the clouds. Each of ...

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  • TRecently I was at the doctor’s clinic with two of my younger children. One had a notebook and a few markers, the other had some toy trucks and I had a book, and we spent our waiting time each engaged with our activity of choice. For once there wasn’t any squabbling, and we got on with ...

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  • TDid you know, readers of this column, that white people still think people of colour feel less pain than them? Medical students in the United States were surveyed once and most of the white students, who were on their way to becoming certified doctors, all thought that people of colour—brown ...

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  • TAt the World Economic Forum, an annual event held in Davos, Switzerland, there is an even called the Pakistan Breakfast. It’s a panel of Pakistanis designed to chat up the country, to further our national obsession with “showing Pakistan in a good light”. That’s all fine, ...

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  • TOur universities have such a rare and unique talent for dreaming up the most insane, inane and pointless policies that they should offer an official degree in Useless Grandstanding. This time, in a few weeks, Faisalabad University is going to take back Valentine’s Day from Western ...

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  • TPaternity leave in Pakistan has officially been extended to ten days. This means that, up to twice in one’s entire career—at least as a government employee—a man can take ten days of paid leave. Apparently in the private sector, even that isn’t a guarantee. Notes from the ...

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  • THappy New Year, dear readers! Hopefully you too have been borne into 2019 on a wave of shaadi karahi, fresh naan and indigestion corrected by kinoos in the smog as the bored children on winter break frolic around you. Lahore winter used to be the highlight of our year, that delightful time where ...

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  • TYou can’t have your cake and eat it too, unless you are a certain television evangelist with a penchant for second marriages conducted in public. If you are, say, a Panther, then you can leave your wife with whom you have two teenaged children and marry someone half your age without telling ...

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  • TRecently at a large shopping mall in Lahore, advertisement flyers for an insurance company were being handed to people inside the cars driving in. They featured a bride, and the caption asked after what one’s plans were for a daughter’s wedding. To quote, “vision for ...

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  • TPhotos of Sara Tawab Umar, the Assistant Commissioner of Peshawar, have hit the news. She is making rounds of the city with her child in tow. Another photo shows her at her desk, doing paperwork with the baby in her lap. The child’s carrycot is on her desk, which is strewn with toys and ...

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  • TI spent a most edifying day in Faisalabad this weekend at the Faisalabad Literary Festival. It is the fifth year of the festival, and full marks to the organisers for bringing literature and the arts to the city—after all, creative endeavour is fostered by dialogue, discussion and ...

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  • TLife is stranger than fiction. Last week, a fellow mum at the elite, English-medium school my children go to spotted a woman outside our school as my friend waited in her car with her toddler for her older child. This woman parked her own car, stepped out and disappeared inside school, obviously ...

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  • TOne day, I’d really like to see a mob of women going ballistic on the streets. It’s so tiresome how protest after protest we see men running amok, throwing rocks at shop windows, terrorising young men with banana carts, setting private property on fire—all with great ...

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  • TIt’s no surprise that daytime television in Pakistan is abysmal. It seems like across the network board, people have sat down to brainstorm the best ways in which to reduce millions of viewers to drooling idiots by blasting the most inane, thoughtless and frankly crass content possible at ...

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  • TDupattas, in my opinion, have always been a strange and cumbersome addition to a wardrobe. They have some uses—in a pinch, you can wipe your hands on it, use it as a blanket or a pillow, shield yourself from the elements. You can use a dupatta as a rope, a hammock for a baby or when slung ...

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  • TI have done a fair amount of traveling alone, but one thing I have noticed as I grow older and less tolerant of uncomfortable situations is that I appreciate a Lady around. I am grateful that airline personnel in Pakistan will automatically assign a woman to sit next to you on the plane, or at ...

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  • TThese days, in America a judge of theirs who has been nominated for a Supreme Court seat is under investigation. His name is Brett Kavanaugh, and he has been accused of assault by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist and researcher. He assaulted her with a friend when they were all teenagers; ...

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  • TTen year old Amal Umer was tragically killed last month when a police bullet hit her while she sat in her car with her family. Her parents were mugged at a crowded intersection full of traffic and people, and the police thought it fit to open fire on the retreating thieves in an environment like ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground was abroad recently—in Istanbul. The seat of the Ottoman empire, Istanbul—formerly Constantinople—is a treasure of a city. The Ottoman empire began with Osman the First and eventually became the most important sultanate in Southeastern Europe and the ...

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  • TIsn’t it so edifying when one’s provincial minister for culture makes it known exactly what he thinks of culture, and it isn’t what one would expect? It really shakes things up for the average citizen who inclined towards the cultural. Usually “culture” and ...

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  • TOne is deeply grieved this week. One is perpetually mourning one thing or another it seems in this country of ours—four years into Notes from the Underground and never a dearth of things to be thinking out loud about. This week, it is again the depths of brutality to which people can sink. ...

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  • TCongratulations to all, we have a new government. Our opposition looks like it is ready to keep a close eye on the majority, the new roster of ministers is predictably dull—so long, brief flicker of hope for more women in charge — and things are settling down. One eternal interest that ...

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  • THappy almost-Independence Day, dear readers! As we crest the wave of seventy-one years of our green passport, cricket team and precarious sense of identity (all closely enmeshed), one likes to take a moment to consider ‘Pakistaniyat’ – a kind of New Year’s resolution; good ...

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  • TFourteen schools, primarily girls’, have been burned down in Diamer. For the geographically unsure, Diamer is in Gilgit-Baltistan and sounds familiar because it is also the site of the proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam, for which most Pakistani citizens have received a polite text message about. ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground is back after a summer holiday! Many things are different, and this is the first Naya column. One feels it should be accompanied with some kind of pomp and circumstance, but one is now used to being in Pakistan, the land of hard knocks—sometimes a bat whacks you in ...

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  • TEthical television shows on Pakistani television have proliferated like rabbits. Gone are the benign days of Tariq Aziz giving away microwaves as the audience dutifully clapped along with the synthesizer going tan-tan. Now we’ve got pumped up game shows, morning shows, talk shows, cooking ...

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