By Kabir Altaf
Since last September, one TV serial has taken Pakistan by storm, becoming a major topic for conversation and forcing people to reschedule social occasions so that they don't clash with the program's time slot. Entitled Humsafar (Companion), the drama has made stars out of its leading couple, Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan. The play is a typical melodrama, centering around the relationship between Ashar and Khirad and the intrigues that drive them apart, intrigues created by Ashar's controlling mother, Farida. Yet somehow, this hackneyed plotline has had the entire nation hooked for six months.
By Anjum Altaf
Veena Malik has provided Indians and Pakistanis something to talk about – to, at, and across each other. There is much that can be ignored but a few strands strike me as promising and worth pursuing.
Most of the outpouring, at least on the blogs, is a voicing of individual personal opinions for and against Ms. Malik’s act. That, to me at least, is the least interesting aspect of the fallout. Why should my personal opinion carry significance for anyone besides myself? If the objective were to run an opinion poll, people could vote yes or no anonymously and be done with it.
It would be different if the person offering the opinion were a public figure. Take Imran Khan, for example: his opinion on the incident could provide a clue where he might lead the nation if given the opportunity.
By Anjum Altaf
Patriarchy is the name given to social arrangements that privilege men and subordinate women. The desired end for many is an egalitarian structure that does away with gender bias. There are some obvious and some not-so-obvious facets of patriarchy and its contestation. In this article I will explore some of these with reference to Pakistan. I hope readers from other countries in South Asia would add to the discussion with observations rooted in their own realities.
The most obvious point is that patriarchy is real. Its forms cover the entire range of gender relations. There are still places in Pakistan, I am told though I cannot vouch for it personally, where women are treated as property and bartered for various purposes.
Universal Patterns within Cultural Diversity: Patriarchy Makes Men Crazy and Stupid
By Robert Jensen
Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2008 he taught a three-week course to a co-ed class at the International Islamic University in Islamabad.
Islamabad, Pakistan -- Some lessons learned while spending time in a different culture come from paying attention to the wide diversity in how we humans arrange ourselves socially. Equally crucial lessons come from seeing patterns in how people behave similarly in similar situations, even in very different cultural contexts.
This week in Pakistan, as I have been learning more about a very different culture than my own, I was reminded of one of those patterns: Patriarchy makes men crazy.