Published in Dawn’s Prism on February 18, 2019
My reason for designing an undergraduate literature course titled Female Friendship in World Literature was initially more personal than strictly literary: I have been shaped, in big ways and small, by the friendship of women in different moments of my life. On the emotional landscape of my personality, my female friendships have always loomed large, teaching me in ways both joyous and occasionally painful some of the most worthwhile lessons that I needed to learn in order to live in this world and in my own skin: how to love and care for another person while also honoring my own self, how to accept kindness and to offer it in turn, how to build a relationship that has enough room for both my own jagged edges as well as the other person’s. Because I believe that literature should be studied for its ability to lay bare the complexities of life, I wanted to design a course that would look at this important aspect of my (and, I suspected, every other woman’s) life: literature that explored, in all their contradictions and complexities, women’s friendships with one another.
Continue reading “Teaching Literature on Female Friendship in the #MeToo Era”
Published in the 14th issue of Zau magazine in February 2016
I’ve been a fan of historical fiction since long before I knew what the term meant. When I was ten years old I read Patricia Reilly Giff’s middle-grade novel Nory Ryan’s Song, which is set in Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of 1845. At that time, I was, of course, completely unaware of Irish history and of the mass level of destruction that this watershed event caused for Ireland – what I cared about was the story of Nory, a young girl trying to help her family survive the famine and the cruelties of their English landlord while having adventures in her coastal hometown of western Ireland. The historical setting of the novel was superfluous to ten-year-old me, apart from creating the very specific circumstances that Nory’s story grows out of – how she and her friend Sean try to prevent their neighbor from being evicted when she can’t pay rent, how she sings to her little brother to distract him from his hunger, her dream of one day reuniting with her older sister in Brooklyn.
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: On Amitav Ghosh and the Importance of Historical Fiction”
Last month it was announced that the beloved children’s author Enid Blyton’s series The Faraway Tree was getting its own film adaptation. The news came after a Famous Five film adaptation was announced in the summer, perhaps signally a revitalisation of Blyton’s vast and much-loved canon of children’s fiction.
Continue reading “The Evolution of Children’s Literature”
Quick, off the top of your head, name five books that have gotten critical acclaim recently. Chances are the books you’ve named are mostly those written by a male author. ‘But that’s just because I read genres that are more male-dominated,’ you might argue.
Or, ‘Well, men write better books than women.’ Such arguments are overly simplistic (not to mention misogynistic, in the case of the latter) and ignore the deep-rooted sexism that is prevalent in the world of literature today.
Continue reading “Sexism in Literature”
Published in Truthdig in October 2014:
Editor’s note: This piece by Nudrat Kamal is the last in a three-part series about the unique challenges and opportunities that Pakistani youth are facing that were written for the Global Voices: Truthdig Women Reporting project (click here for more information about Global Voices). The other two stories, by Zubeida Mustafa and by Kamal, can be found here and here, respectively. Click here for a photo album featuring images of people mentioned in this interview, or view them in the slide show below.
Sohail Rahi, 44, and Nadeem Baig, 45, the duo who established the Lyari Youth Cafe in Karachi, Pakistan in 2012, were in their twenties when they first took up the cause of the youth in their neighborhood. In 1990, they began organizing street schools to make education accessible to the underprivileged boys and girls of Lyari. Two years ago, the idea of the street schools was developed further, and the Youth Café was launched.
Continue reading “Creating a Safe Haven for Pakistan’s Youth”
Published in Truthdig in October 2014:
Editor’s note: This piece by Nudrat Kamal is the second in a three-part series about the unique challenges and opportunities that Pakistani youth are facing that were written for the Global Voices: Truthdig Women Reporting project (click here for more information about Global Voices). The other two stories, an article by Zubeida Mustafa and an interview by Kamal, can be found here and here, respectively. Click here for a photo album featuring images of people mentioned in this story, or view them in the slide show on Page 2.
The challenges that Pakistan’s young people face today are significant and pervasive, and can be addressed only through sweeping systemic changes. Notwithstanding these challenges, many young people are defying great odds to become conscientious and engaged members of society. They are innovative in devising activities for themselves.
Continue reading “How Young Pakistanis Help Themselves”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011: http://tribune.com.pk/story/239994/studying-psychology-its-all-in-the-mind/
When I tell people that I am interested in psychology, the most common reaction I get is“Psycho parh parh kay psycho hojao gi.” There is so much that’s wrong with this sentence (the least of which is the abbreviation of psychology to psycho; its Psych, people), that I usually just smile and shrug off the scepticism instead of arguing. The fact of the matter is that psychology is more relevant to our everyday lives than most people realise, and it is definitely not synonymous with morbidity or depression.
Continue reading “Amazing Psychology: The Psychology of Happiness”
Published on the Newsline Magazine blog in December 2011: http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2011/12/research-says-money-can-buy-happiness/
Happiness doesn’t buy happiness. It’s a ridiculously overused saying. You hear it all the time. From your parents – probably followed by its even more clichéd sister, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”. It’s the message those movies give you, in which the poor main protagonist, who is constantly complaining about having no money, suddenly gets rich, only to discover that all the money in the world can’t fill the sad, sad hole in his heart. It’s not like the message is incorrect. After all, clichés become clichés for a reason – because there is a grain of truth in them. And if I had to bet, I’d probably say that a person with healthy, fulfilling relationships would be happier than a person with an obscene amount of money in his bank account and no friends. But recent studies show that there are ways in which money can increase your happiness. In fact, these researchers say that if money isn’t buying you happiness, then you’re probably not spending it right! Here are some ways in which you can use your money to give you greater pleasure:
Continue reading “Amazing Psychology: 5 Ways In Which Money Really Can Buy Happiness”