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review 2017-03-26 00:35
The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan - Rafia Zakaria

When I brought this book, I was expecting something along the lines of Fatima Merissini. This book is not that.

What this book is a chronicle of a family life in Parkisten after Partition, Zakaria’s family moved to Pakistan because of the anti-Muslim climate of India. Zakaria’s family history, in particular, that of her childless aunt whose husband takes a second wife. The personal conflict in the family is also shown in contrast to the unfolding political and societal drama, as Pakistan’s government tightens control over women.

In many ways, Zakaria’s story is like Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, and considering that Atwood’s novel doe draw on real events and rules that have been applied to women, this should not come as that much of a surprise. After all haven’t you seen the photo of a bunch of old white guys deciding that maternity care is not essential for health? Haven’t you read about the anti-abortion bill that was signed by a white man surrounded by white men? Haven’t you heard of the Saudi Girls council with just men? The Russian loosening of spousal abuse laws? How about the women leaving Saudi Arabia because of the constraining laws? The various Texas bills and laws concerning abortion? The lawmaker who referred to women as a host for the baby? The fact that in many countries young girls can legally be married to older men?

So yeah, The Handmaid’s Tale is real, and this book really proves it.

Unlike Atwood’s fact based dystopia, Zakaria memoir showcases the erosion of rights and standing as a woman actually becomes a leader of the country. The trials and tribulations that the women endure might not be common to all at least on the face, but at the root? At the root, it is.

But the memoir isn’t just concerned with Pakistani politics, but also with the effect of international politics on the ordinary Pakistani citizen. (I for one wish I had read this prior to reading A Golden Age). It is non-linear, so it will put some people off, but if you give yourself over to the voice, it is like you are having a cup of tea with the author.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-06 12:47
Much Fun Was Had at British Council’s #ShakespeareLives but My Heart was Won Over by Puck’s Farewell Speech!


So, I got to go British Council's event that was a part of their initiative known as Shakespeare Lives. From what I understood, Shakespeare Lives is based on an attempt to re-imagine the Bard's works for a modern audience. To that end, they chosen emerging artists from UK and had them reinterpret a play. What I found to be even more effective, than choosing people who the younger generation would identify with, was limiting each interpretation to under 4 minutes or so. After all, asking people to focus on most things for much longer than this is a bad idea these days.


Even though, I haven't read a lot of the plays, I enjoyed the evening.They started with a discussion on all things Shakespeare and it was entertaining to listen to. Before the event, while I had known that no manuscript written by the playwright himself had ever been found, I had never thought about its implications. An obvious effect would be that whoever compiled the plays for a particular version would undoubtedly leave their own  The triumvirate panel expounded upon how this meant that no two manuscripts would be completely identical. 


We were shown four clips of the re-imagined works during the session:



Clip 1:


Inspired by The Tempest, this clip focuses on there being quite a few missing mothers within Shakespeare's plays. The mother in this clip died before she could watch her daughter grow up.


Clip 2:


This clip is loosely based on the play, Hamlet. The events in this one were presented in a comical way with a bawdy joke slyly hinted at in the clip. Needless to say, I loved it!


Clip 3: 


Based on Julius Caesar, parts of this clip were shot in the Foreign office. There was a sense of urgency and premonition in it that reminded me of the movie, Equilibrium



Clip 4:


Anjana Vasan's original composition shown in this clip was inspired by As You Like It. Out of all the clips shown, this triptych was my favorite.


Rosemary Hill, one of the people on the panel mentioned that there were more such clips on British Council's website.


After a brief Q&A, the panelists gave way to actors who would be reciting parts of Shakespeare's plays but in Urdu! The entourage consisted of four students from NAPA and led by Khalid Ahmad. As soon as I saw him, I knew we were in for a treat. I was right! They kicked off the recital with the first scene of the first act from King Lear. I was amazed at how good they all were. But, the actor who played the role of the Lear's illegitimate child stole my heart with his foul-mouthed performance! The other performance was based on the opening act from A Midsummer Night's Dream , which was done well, too. 


The recital ended on Puck's monologue from the play presented by the same actor who had played Lear's bastard. His lively performance stole my heart once again!


Stanley Tucci's Puck from the movie adaptation



More information on Shakespeare Lives.

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url 2016-08-23 06:17
"This Pakistani Band’s Cover Of Game Of Thrones Soundtrack Is The Best Cover Ever"
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photo 2016-08-11 13:03
Wrote this for a giveaway that I won :D


Reading is not like anything else. To me, reading means being comforted, being worthy of being fought for, becoming strong enough to fight for myself and so many other things that I wouldn't even know how to describe. Once I had fallen in with reading, libraries became my favorite haunts. I couldn't afford to buy every book I wanted but I could at least, borrow them. Now, when I scroll down @dusty_pages, I realize what a wonderful thing they are doing. They're making unlimited, unimaginable worlds available to readers at amazingly affordable prices. If I had them while growing up, that is where all my allowance would have gone. So without further ado, i give you the dusty_pages caption:
Dusty Pages--Imagination at its most affordable! #dustypages #readersofpakistan #affordablereads #noholdsbarredreading


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review 2016-04-19 19:16
Literarische Weltreise: Fünfter Stopp Südasien
Ich bin Malala: Das Mädchen, das die Taliban erschießen wollten, weil es für das Recht auf Bildung kämpft (MP3-Ausgabe) - Malala Yousafzai,Christina Lamb,Sabine Maier-Längsfeld,Margarete Längsfeld,Elisabeth Liebl,Eva Gosciejewicz

Malala ist im Swat-Tal in Pakistan aufgewachsen. Ihr Vater ist Lehrer und Direktor einer Schule, in der Jungen und Mädchen unterrichtet werden. Dass Mädchen über die Grunschule hinaus zur Schule gehen, ist dort nicht von allen Menschen gern gesehen. Als die Taliban in das Tal kommen, wird die Schule für die älteren Mädchen verboten. Malala kämpft aber darum, zur Schule gehen zu dürfen und hat einige öffentliche Auftritte deswegen. Schließlich wird sie im Schulbus angeschossen und kommt zur Genesung nach England, wo sie ihren Kampf für das Recht auf Bildung für Kinder fortsetzt.

Der Bericht gibt einen guten Einblick in eine andere Kultur und zeigt auch die politische Entwicklung in Pakistan aus Sicht einer Jugendlichen.

Eva Gosciejewicz liest die deutsche Übersetzung von Malalas Buch und ist dabei eine gute Besetzung. Ihre junge Stimme passt zu dem Mädchen, das ich mir beim Hören vorgestellt habe.

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