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Archive for January, 2013

Lambee chaal

Ek bahut hi ghareeb mulk tha, naam tha uska  Dammocracy.

Wahan per ek aqlmand shakhs ki hukumat thi, jiska naam tha Zorbhaari.  Uss mulk ka ye tareeqa tha, ke her 2-5 saal mein hukumat badal jaati thi.

Ye pehla sadr tha jisne apni danishmandi se 5 saal khench liye. Pher jab kuch maheene reh gaye to uska dil lalachaya, ke aur kuch saal raj ker loun. Bahut dimagh per zor diya.

Udher door pariyon ke mulk mein ek Pir rehta tha, behad saaf, doodh jaisa dhula safed.
Zorbhaari ne socha is Pir se koi dua ya hull nikalwaya jaaye.

Usne Pir ko Dammocracy me bulwaya. Uske aamad per apni riyasat ke chappey chappey ko uskee tasveeron se sajaaya.

Pher ek din uss ne Pir se ilteja ki:

Zorbhaari: Pir Saheb aap jo kahengey jitna maangengey main doonga. Buss mera kaam ker dein.

Pir: To pher meri baat ghaur se suno. Tum Bholewal House me paani ke kinare baith ker mera wird karo. Mujhe ek lambi chaal chalni paregi. Pher main 3 din mein Zaalimabad sambhal loonga. Jaisa kahoon, waise kerna.

Zorbhaari: Jee Baba ji, aap ulta latakne ko bhi kahenge to ker loonga.

Pir: Ager tum se isteefa mangoon, to teesre din de dena. Dobara isee assembly se 5 saal ke liye waapas aa jaogey. Haan thora see Qurbani deni hogi.

Zorbhaari(dartey huwe): Woh kaun see?

Pir: Ho sakta hai Baja Rental ka balidaan dena parey. Lekin sabr karo, aur mera bataaya wird karo. Allah tak tumhari arzee pahuncha dee hai.

Zorbhaari: (falls on the feet): Baja Rental ki khair hai, who to waise bhi dimagh ka khaali hai, mujhe hi sab kuch samjhana perta hai. Beshak  uska balidaan le lein. Buss mera kaam ker dein Pir sahib.

Pir: Ek aur bahut zaroori baat hai. Mere mureedon per koi bomb ka hamla nahin hona chahiye. Khoon baha to wird ulta ho jaayega.

Zorbhaari: Aap fikr hi mutt karein, nahin hoga. Main honey hii nahin doonga, to kaise hogaa. Intezaam sakht hoga, nigrani pakki hogi. Iski main gaurantee leta hoon. Aap tou buss mera kaam ker dein huzoor. ( haath jortey huwe)

Pir: Tou pher fikr mutt karo, Allah tak tumhari arzee bhej dee hai. 3 din mein Kaam ho jaayega. Buss mujhe der hai iss Tsunami Khan ka, isska Pir kaheen koi ulta wird na ker dey.

Zorbhaari: Pir Saheb kuch pakka intezaam kijeeye, ye Tsunami Khan mere peechey para huwa hai. Is per koi kala jadoo bhi nai chaltaa.

Pir: Allah ko arzi bhej di hai, ke Tsunami Khan ki aankh per parda per jaaye, aur woh bhi hamari chaal ko na pehchaane sakey.  Ooper wala  hamari darkhwast kabhi nahin taalega. Kam pakka hoga.  Kuch ho na ho, lekin fatah tumhari hi hogi.
Tum buss Parhtey raho….Haan aur mera muawaza poora milna chahiye. Khabardar mere saath koi chaal mut chalna. Mujhe ghaib se khaber mil jaayegi ?

Zorbhaari: Pir Pir mujh per rehem farmayein…(aur pher Pir ke wird mein madhosh ho jaata hai…).

*Only pun intended*


Sometimes calamities unite us more

First published here:

The conscience-shaking brutal rape and subsequent
death of the anonymous student from Delhi is not India’s issue alone and the grief is not for one case alone
By Ilmana Fasih

As thousands of people on both sides of the India Pakistan border mourned the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, someone commented on Aman ki Asha Facebook group: “Well, the Delhi rape proceeds from a common mindset. The negatives unite us just as well as the positives.”
“Sometimes, calamities unite us more,” came a response.

The conscience-shaking brutal rape and subsequent death of the anonymous student from Delhi (who is referred to by different names by various sections of the media) has made us rethink how common our pains are.

Beyond this tragic incident, looking through the e-newspapers from the subcontinent, there is hardly a day without some incident of rape being reported.Be it the gruesome gang-rape of a medical student at a bus stop in a megacity, or a six-year-old girl raped by local goons in a village, or a girl raped while partying with friends in the posh area of another city, or a teenager gang-raped and then asked to patch up by accepting money or marrying one of the rapists in a town. Can you guess which side of the border each case belongs to? The scenarios differ, cities differ, but the crime remains the same. The mindset stays identical. Age is no bar. Infancy upwards, one finds women and children of all age groups being subjected to rape and sexual abuse.

Unfortunately this is one situation where the human race seems to have achieved a “no barriers of age, color, creed or class”, the world over.

Hard to digest, but rapes are on a steep rise in the subcontinent.

In 2011, 568 rape cases were reported in Delhi, and 459 in 2009 (National Crime Reports Bureau) .The figures given by Delhi Police reveal that a woman is raped every 18 hours or molested every 14 hours in the capital.

Similarly in Pakistan, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, estimates that “every two hours a woman is raped in Pakistan and every eight hours a woman is subjected to gang-rape”.

The Additional Police Surgeon, quoted in a 2008 newspaper report, estimated that at least 100 rapes are committed in Karachi alone every 24 hours, although most are un-reported.

If these are the statistics of two megacities, one can fathom what would be the situation in the other smaller towns and villages. It is well known that the majority of the rapes in India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries are never reported, and just a handful of the perpetrators are ever punished.
The tragedy is amplified when inane solutions are offered like: “Women should not go out late at night” or “Women going out late night should be accompanied by a male.” In the ‘Delhi gang rape’ case, the solution of an accompanying man clearly failed.

Women are advised not to wear western clothes, or more ridiculous “not to eat chow mein” or “not to carry mobile phones with cameras”. Some even advise women to not report the attack “if there are not enough witnesses”.

But none of this well-meaning advice takes into account why rapes occur. It is not because the woman was dressed so, or walked alone on the street late at night, or was attending a party with her friends or ate a certain kind of food. No. Rape occurs because some men want to rape. And why do ‘some’ men want to rape and not others? Rape is the culmination of a series of systematic experiences that a man is exposed to, from infancy to manhood- in which he is told, with or without so many words, that he is stronger, and a woman is not just weaker, but a commodity at his disposal. Rape is a way to display power and superiority.

So long as this mindset persists, legislation and punishment will never be enough of a deterrent. This tends to get overlooked in all the outrage at the gruesome details of the Delhi gang rape, that has led to demands for the severest of punishments, even public hanging for the perpetrators.
Without undermining that tragedy it is important to remind ourselves of the countless cases of rape and sexual harassment that are routine on both sides of the divide. Those who survive suffer psychological trauma, often far from the media limelight, mostly in silence.

Rape survivors are often pressured by the police or local goons to hush up the matter either, to accept money, or worse still, marry the rapist. Many commit suicide, or live with permanent scars. The rapists often roam scot free, posing a threat to the survivor who does not even dare to raise her head for justice.

Insisting on the death penalty in an isolated case that has shaken people cannot be a solution. Studies have shown that the certainty of punishment, rather than its severity, is a greater deterrent to crime.

We also need to look towards at preventing this crime rather than just push for a punishment after a case gets highlighted.

Foremost, each of us, irrespective of gender, which empathises with the Delhi student who was gang-raped, or any other faceless rape victim, needs to strive to ensure every woman in our sphere of influence feels secure and gets due respect. One of the signs of evolution in human beings is the neo cortex which enables us to restrain behaviour and train our minds. We need to use it to ensure that we don’t force anything upon any woman – or indeed anyone in a more vulnerable position.

Secondly, we need to empower girls with the right information and stop making rape a taboo issue for their ‘innocent’ minds. It is more important to teach a girl to be assertive than to try and ‘protect’ her. “Look up as you walk and stand up straight; pretending as though you have two big panthers on either side of you as you walk may sound silly, but it can help boost confidence,” suggests a self help site on rape prevention. “Attackers are more likely to go for those who they think cannot defend themselves.”

Given that over 90% of the perpetrators are known to the victims, girls (and boys) must be taught that if they feel uncomfortable with anyone’s touch – even if it is an uncle, a cousin or a friend – they must trust their gut and not let it continue. Thirdly, if we cannot change the mindset of some grown men, we can at least guide our sons, right from babyhood, to respect women and not consider them a commodity that is ‘available’. Last but certainly not the least, for those who cannot change their mindsets, a real need for certainty and not the severity of punishment to the rapist, as a mode of deterrence, is mandatory.

Shocked after the demise of the Delhi paramedical student, I tweeted: “Her sacrifice must no go in vain. Let us rise to make violence against women a history.” Knowing the scale of the menace, this may be wishful thinking, but we need to keep striving to make it a reality.

The writer is an Indian gynaecologist married to a Pakistani, a proud Indian Pakistani dreaming of a peaceful, healthy and prosperous South Asia.

She tweets @zeemana

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A tribute to Delhi gang raped girl, inititially known as Amanat, Nirbhaya or Damini:

Goodbye Damini – A tribute to Nirbhaya

Pizza Pakistania

Pizza is Italian and everyone knows it. However, as remarked by a cousin from Italy, what Pizza Hut and other pizza brands make are delicious foods, but they are not Pizzas. A typical Italian Pizza is extremely thin crust with a crispy base.

What is interesting are the legends associated with its origins. Not sure how authentic or true are they, because one does not find them documented in books.

One is that Pizza used to be a poor man’s food in Ancient Greeks, who made a flat loaf of bread and spread it with onions, garlic and herbs.

In the 1st century BCE, the Latin poet Virgil refers to the ancient idea of bread as an edible plate from his Latin epic poem, the Aeneid (trans. A. S. Kline ):
When the poor fare drove them to set their teeth
into the thin discs, the rest being eaten, and to break
the fateful circles of bread boldly with hands and jaws,
not sparing the quartered cakes, Iulus, jokingly,
said no more than: ‘Ha! Are we eating the tables too?’

Another is that in 1800s Italian Royality commissioned a cook to make Pizza, in honor of Queen Margherita. Out of the three, the Queen picked up the one made with tomatoes, olives and mozzarella cheese, because it had the three colors of Italian flag–red green and white. And so this is how it came to be known as Pizza Margherita. Not sure if Italy had the same flag then too.

Interestingly,  when you ask some friends who make pizza at home,  they share that they add many ingredients into the base including eggs, powder milk, baking powder, baking soda, butter etc. Yet many of them fail to make the necessary sponge, or the crisp the base made from shops get.

However, the recipe that a cousin shared from Italy was surprisingly simple, yet fail-proof. Never ever has my pizza base, after following her instructions,  failed to rise.

The ingredients are simple– flour, yeast, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon sugar, some lukewarm water and Olive oil. It is the method of making the dough that makes the real difference.

Fond of homemade Pizza, as it comes steaming hot from the oven with its appetizing aroma, the grown up kids,  take active part in custom designing the toppings. Having tried almost all the renowned and strange combinations, they are now fond of green and white topping which includes– pesto sauce at the base, baby spinach leaves, fresh basil leaves, green olives, feta & mozzarella cheeses.

Nostalgic with the green and white colors of the Pakistani flag, they call this (originally a Greek recipe) Pizza Pakistania.

Following is the making of the Pizza Pakistania from the scratch:

First and the most important step: To let yeast ( I teaspoon), a fist of flour( half a cup), and  sugar ( 1 teaspoon)  froth with lukewarm water ( 2 cups) for 15-30 minutes
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The kneading of dough. Add gradually the remaining  flour ( total 3 cups) , olive oil( half a cup) and pinch of salt. Knead it well and leave it to rise for half an hour in a warm place.

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Rolling out a leavened dough. The more leavened it is, the more it gets tough to roll out as  it keeps recoiling back:

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Base spread with Pesto paste, which if homemade needs basil leaves, pine nuts, fresh garlic made into a paste with  olive oil:
{Homemade Pesto sauce: Take a cup of fresh basil leaves(tulsi leaves), half a cup of pine nuts( chilghoza), half cup extravirgin olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic and salt to taste. Grind them coarsely in a chopper or a mortar}.

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Our fresh supply of basil leaves, which adds aroma to the pizza:

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Assembling together baby spinach leaves(2 cups), basil leaves( half a cup), feta cheese( 1 cup) and mozzarella cheese(1 cup):

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Bake it in a preheated oven at 225 degrees C, for 15-20 minutes, until cheese and the crust is golden brown.

Hot and crispy pizza, just out of the oven:

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And it took just a quarter of an hour for two pizzas to vanish from the dining table:

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Moral of the story: Its simple to make ( with less cumbersome toppings), loads of green healthy stuff, and a pleasant change of taste from the usual pizzas.

Don’t miss the close look at the fine sponge and the crisp of the base bread. 😀

How I wish, these Christmas vacations are forced upon us, every few months !!!

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