Teaching Literature on Female Friendship in the #MeToo Era

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. 

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Musings of a Reader: What Happened to Pakistani Television?

Published in Zau magazine in August 2015

As a principle, I am against the whole “things were so much better in the olden days” line of argument. I think it’s a lazy argument to make, and that nostalgia and distance inevitably make us believe that the past was better than it actually was. I usually roll my eyes when this line is thrown around during discussions of technology (“You kids with your smartphones and your Facebook – in MY day, we used to play out in the streets”) or the state of contemporary literature (“In the past, people read TRUE literature, not the Fifty Shades junk of today”). But just like rules are made to be broken, principles are made to have exceptions, and I, too, have an exception to my general aversion to romanticizing the past: I genuinely believe that the Pakistani dramas of the ‘70s and ‘80s are eons better than the crappy shows of today, with their one-note characters and their weepiness and their constant need to make a virtue out of suffering.

Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: What Happened to Pakistani Television?”