Lending a hand

Imaduddin Ahmed | The Friday Times 14 April, 2005 At first glance it could have been mistaken for just another commercial fair; over 30 stalls, four nations and Pakistan’s four provinces and northern areas represented, people coming in and enjoying the atmosphere. The unsuspecting visitor had been lured into the pleasant family-friendly environment of the…

Questions are never indiscreet: answers sometimes are

The Friday Times | Feb 22, 2006 Imaduddin Ahmed “Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim” By Ziauddin Sardar; Granta Books (2004); Pp 356; Rs 445  Islam is all the rage. The charade Hudood laws debate continues in parliament as I write, taking prime media space. Scholars and politicos are discussing how Islamic the Hudood laws are. The…

Legging it

The Friday Times | Feb 13, 2006 Imaduddin Ahmed The Lahore Marathon: a day of mixed success It was ‘Run Lahore Run’ day and I had run out of run. I was walking to complete the 5km ‘Fun Race’. With me was a motley collection of retired army officers, schoolboys in tight jeans and open…

Marx out of ten

The Friday Times | Jan 3, 2006 Imaduddin Ahmed Why Pakistani communism lags behind India’s – an encounter with Taimur Rahman “Marxist” is not a term of abuse in India, at least not to the voting majority in West Bengal or Tripura where the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), currently holds government, or…

Making it happen

“I thought this was a dead nation, but the earthquake has woken us up. Everybody is doing what they can. You can see collection points on every chowk. Even children are collecting door-to-door and contributing pocket-money,” commented my dentist, a few days after the earthquake.   An NGO executive had a different perspective: “People have…

Preaching to Osama

I was at my biweekly Urdu class before work with Dr. Safia at a fly and police-infested canteen next to my office. Batting away a fly from her left eye, her lip, her cup of tea, Dr. Safia turned her eyes slowly to me. She gave me the stern look that a discontent anthropologist gives…