On ‘The Afghan Girl’

Thinkpieces

I want to start noting stories that deserved more than they received, so here goes. ‘The Afghan Girl’ is one of the more known stories when it comes to exploration of eastern narratives. I always felt a strange connection with this photo – I saw it when I was a teenager and I immediately felt like I could have been her, she could have been me, life is a bizarre lottery.

On Being a Non-Bilingual Brown Person

Thinkpieces

“You can’t understand Punjabi?!” Rishma* said, mouth open in a grin stuck on pause that evolved into rolling laughter of disbelief. “No,” I smiled, clenching my fists that lulled by my sides to prevent them from instinctively floating up and punching her in the jaw.

Partition, 70 years on

Thinkpieces
martha art

Art by the ‘Pakistani Martha Stewart’

So much reading material is available on the formation of Pakistan that it’s hard for someone as clueless as me to decipher what’s true anymore. But there is one tale that seems quite indisputable – that for almost 1000 years different religious groups co-existed here in harmony, as a family, embracing one another’s traditions.

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A perception of South Asian women has lingered

That they are inherently submissive, naive, hidden from the world behind dupattas and burkas

But I look to the women of my bloodline who arrived before me

Audacious, uncompromising, unbearable to the men who don’t want to hear them

Bold looks, big dreams, words armed with wit

It’s dangerous

Some will try and bring you down to earth where they want you to belong

But you are flying, dazzling, undefeated

Your mother brought you and my mother to a cold strange land for a better life

And as your necklace rests on my chest I remember

To never compromise, to never bow my head in submission, to be free

As we laid you to rest, the birds were flying above

And I just knew

You were flying with them

 

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To The Women Of My Blood

Poems

Charlie Hebdo: People, Not Politics

Thinkpieces

all is forgiven

As emotions continue to run high following the atrocious attacks in Paris last week the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo went on sale in the UK, with customers queuing overnight to get their hands on the Survivors issue. As I’m sure you’ve all seen the front cover maintained their brazen stance, with a cartoon of their depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, who is in tears, holding the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) alongside the headline ‘Tout Est Pardonne’ (‘All Is Forgiven’) – regardless of the diverse reactions, it’s a potent message.

The only thing I could be sure about in this situation was that the death of artists is heartbreaking and rage inducing. I’ve heard people of a similar descent as me comment that ‘they weren’t innocent …’