Pakistan’s Father Teresa

Google honors Abdul Sattar Edhi‘s birthday on their homepage. He would have been 89. When I saw it, I felt very sad and nostalgic for the man we have lost.

Often dubbed as “Angel of Mercy” and also known as “Pakistan’s Father Teresa,” Edhi Sahab (Mr. Edhi) lived a modest and monkish life since his early youth. He founded the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network in Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation. And his death last year on July 8, 2016 deeply saddened me. Although my family and I donate to his foundation a lot, I feel sad that I never even bothered to meet him. However, I can honestly say that he is my biggest inspiration and I aspire to be more like him.

I am really glad Google is commemorating him today and showcasing his philanthropic work for the whole world to see. I know that Edhi Sahab (Mr. Edhi) very much disliked being in the spotlight, but I believe he deserves recognition and praise for being the humanest human in a world struck by hate and cruelty.

Truly, this world is in dire need of kindness, selflessness and humanity. It needs more people like Edhi Sahab, because our world is stricken by war, religion, color and hate. Especially now, with the news of the travel bans and talks of building walls to divide us all.

Here are 7 things you didn’t know about Abdul Sattar Edhi:

  1. He created his exceptional foundation out of nothing when he was only 19 years old and penniless. (Slogan: Live and help live)
  2. He lived a modest and humble life from his childhood till his death. (He worked for free, didn’t take a salary, and only owned two suits of clothes)
  3. His humanitarian work didn’t just limit to Pakistan. In 2005, he raised $100,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. (He was always actively involved in International affairs)
  4. He was offered treatment abroad, but he insisted on being treated in a government hospital at home.
  5. He left behind 20,004 children. (He only has 4 biological offspring, but he adopted 20,000)
  6. His parting words were: “Take care of the poor people of my country.”
  7. Many have debated time and again that he has been overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize and he should have been awarded in his lifetime, but Mr. Edhi never showed any interest in it.

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The Richest Poor Man

In Journalism class, many many moons ago, we were asked to select a living influential person, or a celebrity, and write an obituary on them. While my classmates preferred to write on actors and singers, I chose Mr. Edhi. I have always been inspired by him to be a better human. I hope I always am.

Around 2 weeks ago, we lost him. A very remarkable human being, arguably one of the biggest social worker, humanitarian and philanthropist of his era, left behind a whole nation in mourning. What a terrible, terrible blow for us.

The nation’s hero, in the truest sense. He was probably the only good thing (of a few) to come out of this place we call Pakistan. He gave up everything to help the poor, devoted his entire life for the destitute. I feel ashamed, for I am not even half as great, selfless and modest as he was. I hope I always would be encouraged to be more like him.

His passing away is a huge loss for humanity indeed, not just for Pakistan, but for the whole world. One thing I know for sure. Angels do walk on this earth amongst us.

Here is a link to his exceptional foundation that acts as a safety net for the poor, needy and helpless that he created basically out of nothing.

May he rest in peace. Amen. 💔❤️

 

March ’16

March is such a busy month for me, it just seems to fly away. My sister is here from UK for easter holidays and so is my aunt with her family. Her poor kids are sick.  Also, my younger brother has contracted chicken pox and it will be not long since his twin also catches it. 😕

On another note, I have finally motivated myself enough to start working out again. I want to be the way I was 2 years ago. Sigh. I used to be very thin. I don’t know how I let myself gain all this excess weight. Ugh. The other day, I met a classmate with whom I went to college with. She couldn’t recognize me. And I guess that was my wakeup call. 😧

Anyway. My other bff Mariam is getting married some time in July and I really want to wear a sarree. It will officially be my first time! I do have the height to pull it off but not the body since I’m kind of overweight now. Ugh.

I hope I lose all this fat soon.

My best friend’s wedding 

Two of my really good friends got married earlier in January. I cut my vacation short just so that I could attend their wedding. No way was I gonna miss it!

We arrived at dawn of 9th January and their wedding was at night the same day. I only slept for two hours after unpacking. I had called this talented mehndi (henna) lady at my house at 10 am. She came an hour later, and the whole time she was putting henna on my hands, I was so sleepy! She was slow in the art and it obviously shows. In the end, I had her hurry up but she designed so well! 😍😍😍👌🏼

My mom had her designer friend make my dress while we were in the UK and this is what she made and I’m absolutely in love. Felt like a princess! 👸🏼👸🏼👸🏼☺️☺️☺️

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of myself 😏 because my brother who usually only takes my pictures was sleeping.

The wedding was a lovely event. Iqra looked so pretty as a bride and Zain, the groom. It was so fun because I’m their mutual friend and their families know me, I didn’t feel as if I was intruding. A few of my friends were there, too. Odd enough not many showed up! 🙄🙄🙄

Here are a few pictures!

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I wore this fancy skirt with a high waisted top and a teeka, it’s that thing on my forehead. Huge earrings are my trademark. 😚 Usually everyone dresses fancy at weddings, however, niether of my two friends who were at the wedding dressed fancy. 😏😏😏

The Valima was two days after the wedding. The Valima is a reception party thrown by the groom’s side of the family.

It was a grand event, with beautiful flower arrangements! There was even a video collage that played for some time and I was featured in it! Yayyy! 💁🏽💁🏽💃🏽☺️☺️☺️

Pictures:

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Manto, movie review

Saadat-Hassan-Manto

My journey with Saadat Hassan Manto began when I was almost 17. I had just entered college and in my Urdu class, we read a few of his short stories. Sure, earlier, I had a vague idea of who he was, but I had never read his works until then, simply because of two reasons:

1. I wasn’t allowed, and

2. I wasn’t very much interested in reading Urdu books.

Saadat Hassan Manto was a rebel. And maybe that’s why I liked him. He had a flair for Urdu, an extraordinary way with words, and his stories were intense. People and other writers of his time did not like him very much.

In a Pakistani society, then and even now, some affairs are supposed to stay unspoken and hushed hushed, and he broke taboo. People were outraged. They called him a pervert for writing such stories, when in reality, everything that he has written was derived from his personal experiences and inspired by true events with real people.

My family is very much into Urdu as a language. Their written and spoken Urdu is flawless as they come from a family of writers and poets. My dad has Urdu books showcased in his small library. But none are by Saadat Hassan Manto. My family would always show resentment when they would talk about him. “A pervert with a twisted, immoral and evil mind” they would call him. Unislamic. Yes. That’s what they said.

And this is why I was never allowed to read Saadat Hassan Manto’s works when I was growing up.

In my second year at university, I took a filmmaking class by Sarmad Khoosat, who is a famous Pakistani actor and director. He had just directed Humsafar, a drama serial, which was an instant hit and very much appreciated all over the country. In class, he told us about his upcoming movie, Manto, which was still underworks, and throughout the semester, we would get to watch exclusive footage because he would want our feedback.

Even though, we had seen clips and many scenes already in class two years ago, my friends and I were thrilled to watch the final film. The movie was released on September 11th, and we only just got time to go. 

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Manto was a brilliantly executed and a painful work of art. It was intense, gripping, tragic and more importantly, unforgettable. I did not find the movie disturbing, as the director wanted people to feel after they watched it. Instead, I found it deeply sad and mournful. The screenwriter, Shahid Nadeem, has done an excellent job unravelling the tragic life of Manto, the screenplay was just perfect. When it comes to portraying the character, Sarmad Khoosat showed utmost brilliance and portrayed the troubled writer with sheer truth and clarity.

The movie briefly introduces the short stories written by Manto, takes us into his personal life and shows us a glimpse of his relationship with his family and friends, and exposes the main motivation behind Manto’s writings.

I think, after watching the movie, I understand the writer much more than I did before. The movie proves that Saadat Hassan Manto was only human. Yes, one of the greatest South Asian writers of all time, but despite his brilliant mind, he wasn’t perfect. He was every bit as flawed and disturbed as every single one of us. He was quite sensitive and very expressive, and that resulted in his bold stories and because of that, he was greatly misunderstood and unappreciated. He was not a pervert, as people love to call him, and his writings were not at all corrupt and immoral. He was sad and melancholy, and that resulted in his writings, too.

Throughout the film, we see Manto’s inner battles, his excessive smoking and drinking problem and how it was affecting his family life. The movie also shows us that Manto’s writings were influenced by everything that he found shocking in life, and he put these events in his stories. So, in a way, his writings are not fiction, they are his personal experiences with people.

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Roughly translated: “There weren’t mirrors in the world before, but there was so much beauty. Now, there are so many mirrors, but where is the beauty?”

The short stories of Manto have been shown in a very beautiful manner and every narrative is impeccable and different from the other. Since Manto lived through the Partition, most of his stories are heavily influenced by what he saw around him during that time. I found Toba Tek Singh very heartbreaking and I almost teared up during that scene.

My favorite scene was almost at the end, though, where Manto realizes his alter ego was the one behind all his writings. That scene, the way it was shot and the art direction and everything, that was just brilliant.

All in all, this movie was pure genius. Sarmad Khoosat did a fantastic job portraying Manto especially in the climax of the movie, and he just blew away the whole audience by his depiction of the downfall of Manto’s physical, psychological mental health. In the end, we all were left feeling mournful. The film also cast renowned Pakistani actors who did justice to their characters.

I don’t understand why people, such as my dad, think of Manto as a perverted writer. His works depict the relationship between men and women, but he mainly wrote about the way society perceives women. Sure, he wrote about controversial stuff, but that wasn’t made up, it was only the truth.

I honestly believe people like my dad should definitely watch this movie. Maybe it will make them understand the troubled life of the author and maybe they will make a connection, just like I have.

Manto

My mind is so blown away right now. I went to watch Manto with my friends today. Finally. I’ve been dying to watch it for days now.

Manto is a Pakistani film about the life of Saadat Hassan Manto, the famous writer of Urdu language.

The movie stars and is directed by Sarmad Khoosat, with a cast of many talented and renowned Pakistani actors.

I want to write a review. And I’ll probably do that tomorrow. I’m still so overwhelmed by the movie. I can’t think. It was an amazing experience.

I never watch Pakistani tv, but this…. This just blew me away. And I’m not just saying because im biased as the director was my filmmaking teacher at university. This movie has just left me speechless. It was a great film (more details tomorrow) and maybe the start of the rise of Pakistani cinema again.