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DECEMBER 22-28 2013

The story of the Englishman whose heart lies in Pakistan

The blue-eyed


DECEMBER 22-28 2013


Cover Story

The blue-eyed boy The story of the Englishman whose heart lies in Pakistan COVER PHOTO CREDIT: THE CITIZENS ARCHIVE OF PAKISTAN

Shrink your fear Pakistani cricketers glove victories after being counselled to tackle fear on the pitch



Going nowhere Artists create a satirical travel guide to Karachi that shows you how to live like a local

36 Feature

Khaddi remains khaas Local production of khaddar is long forgotten, but passion and tradition brave conditions to survive



40 Regulars

6 People & Parties: Out and about 44

with beautiful people Review: Thor: The Dark World and Masters of Sex 46 Green Thumb: At home with herbs

Magazine In-charge: Sarah Munir and Sub-Editors: Dilaira Mondegarian and Manahyl Khan Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Essa Malik, Jamal Khurshid, Samra Aamir, Kiran Shahid, Munira Abbas, S Asif Ali & Talha Ahmed Khan Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi For feedback and submissions: Twitter: @ETribuneMag & Facebook: Printed:

SEPTEMBER 22-28 2013

PEOPLE AND PARTIES Celebration for Jugnu Waseem salon and studios flagship branch in Rawalpindi

Alia and Mawra

Rabail and Fari Mishi and Roman

Shaista Lodhi SEPTEMBER 22-28 2013



Zarnas and Rabiya

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Aiman and Aima

Mahtab and Nafisa Shazia Tiwana and Amal

Waseem and Jugnu SEPTEMBER 22-28 2013



Aftab and Sofia Sultan and Tania

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Hina Salman, Farah Asrar and Sadia Hayat

PEOPLE AND PARTIES Tena Durrani exhibits her bridal collection at L’atelier, Lahore Zahra Raza Aisha

Sanna Fauzan

Mehar Toor Uzma and Moeeza

Tena Durrani and Kausar Humayon

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Ali Moeen and Onaza Butt

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Noveen Am

Amina Saeed


e and Maliha Bh

ahwish Bhimje

M Naila Bhimjee,

Alizeh Gabol

Sara Gandapur

Beenish Shaukat and Ayesha Shaukat

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Sam Ali Dada and Humera Malik

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Taninda Chinoy and Gul Zeb

Safa Faisal

Natasha Nawabi with a friend

Fauzea Tareen with a guest

PEOPLE AND PARTIES The Designers art gallery and Ayesha Imtiaz organise an art event in Dubai PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR AND EVENTS

Ayesha Imtiaz SEPTEMBER 22-28 2013


Natasha Farooque

Camilla Choudhry with a guest

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The blue-eyed The story of the Englishman whose heart lies in Pakistan BY AROOSA SHAUKAT DESIGN BY MUNIRA ABBAS

The officer who landed in India as part of the British army has now retired in the heart of Punjab after a long teaching career in Pakistan. Having recently stepped down after running the Langlands School and College in Chitral for 24 years, Major Langlands took up residence earlier this year at the Aitchison College in Lahore — a place far too familiar for someone who taught there for almost 25 years. With doors wide open, visitors (most of them being his students) are often welcomed in the suite of comfortable rooms that he lives in now. The prominently placed white marble plaque outside his suite details all the interesting bits of his life, offering a brief insight into the intriguing personality that sits on a comfortable couch on the other side of the doors. The words “acha acha” can be heard in the hallway leading to his suite. Seated on a sofa, he attends to one of his former students, a young girl from Chitral currently


When the young orphan from Yorkshire decided to take charge of his life at the age of 12, he could have never imagined that his decisions would lead him to influence the lives of so many in a country that was yet to be conceived. For the young boy, the logic had been extremely simple — since people’s kindness had helped him through the darkest hours of his life, he had to return the favour. Now more than eight decades later, just shy of his centenary, Major Geoffrey Douglas Langlands is an institution rich with stories and an understanding of the people and the country he once witnessed coming to life in 1947.

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A white marble plaque detailing the interesting bits of Geoffrey Langlands’ life. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ

I knew that Pakistan would have great difficulties in establishing itself because India was deadly against it. I wanted to help them and that has been my job ever since Geoffrey Langlands

studying at the Forman Christian College, who has come down to meet him. As she leaves, he inquires how she got here. “Rickshaw,” she says. He hands her some money for the commute back to her college. His staff smiles and calls it a generous habit of Major saheb. The news of his retirement has attracted attention from the local and international media and Major Langlands is well aware of it. Beside him, on a small coffee table lies a folded newspaper carrying an article on the role models in the country. His name is mentioned as a prime example but he laughs at being termed as a saint. “I never knew my voice was so clear,” he says recalling one of his recently televised interviews. But his memory seems equally clear. With exact dates often part of his conversation, Major Langlands has a way with narration. Not one to skim through events, each part of his life is given due credit. “You see in my life, my long life, everything that has happened is linked to prior events.” 28 The most striking part of his life however, is his decade long stay DECEMBER 22-28 2013

in a region of Pakistan that even its own citizens shy away from. From April, 1979 to September, 1989, Major Langlands spent his life in North Waziristan, the north-eastern part of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. The newly established Cadet College Razmak at the time was looking for a principal after its first one left. “No one sensible was ready to take charge especially after the first principal described the area as a horrible place,” says Langlands. But a letter from a former student and the education secretary of the province convinced the educationist in him. “The letter read, ‘Please leave your comfortable job at Aitchison and come to a difficult job in the tribal area’ and I simply couldn’t refuse a challenge,” he says. The Cadet College was shifted to Nowshera ear-


lier this year due to growing security concerns in the area. For Major Langlands, the institution he once headed at Razmak was not just any college. “I told the locals I will treat it as a special college where good, talented students would be taught.” Besides students from the area, a quota was also set for students from other parts of the country, who would be admitted to the college on the basis of merit. “I admired those parents who were prepared to send their sons to a school in the tribal areas,” he explains. Issues and conflicts appeared simpler in Major Langlands world. “North Waziristan was very tribal as they [locals] didn’t like anyone from outside the tribal area to come in,” he recalls. And those who did were often kidnapped for ransom. With his speck of silver hair and piercing blue eyes, he attracted all the more attention but claims he never had any issues with the locals, other than his kidnapping in 1988. Caught in the midst of a political clash between two different groups in North Waziristan over representation in the National Assembly, he was kidnapped by one of the groups who wanted their demands to be met by General Ziaul Haq in exchange of his release. After being held hostage for six days and transferred to a

no-go area within North Waziristan, he finally told his captors that he had travelled enough. “They were not used to a kidnapped person standing up for himself,” he says with a smile. The next day, he recalls, they served him tea and boiled eggs for breakfast. Soon senior tribal leaders got involved and he was released on the condition that the kidnappers would not be apprehended. “The leaders said, ‘You simply can’t kidnap the principal!’” He seems to understand the tribal mindset. “I got along with the tribals just by being nice to them,” he says in a matter-of-fact tone. “Most people don’t realise just how completely the tribals are on their own, with no laws and no police.” The provincial government wanted to transfer him from Razmak after the kidnapping but it never materialised. “Had they asked me I would have definitely said no.” But didn’t the incident scare him? “No. Nothing scares me,” he chuckles. And if you know his journey, you will understand why. “I was born at a time when everyone was miserable,” he recalls. Born in 1917, during the First World War, he and his elder twin brother were 10 minutes apart. Followed by the birth of a younger sister next year, the Langlands’ household was struck with grief, as their father died just five days after the birth of their youngest child. From Yorkshire, the children travelled with their mother, a classical folkdance school teacher, to their grandparents’ house in Bristol. At the age of 11, they lost their mother to cancer too and were left under the care of their grandfather. The next year, their grandfather, who was also the last adult in the family passed away. As the orphan twins struggled to cope with the situation, Langlands’ elder brother landed a scholarship in an orphan school in Bristol. Soon 29 DECEMBER 22-28 2013


Langlands retired from the Langlands School and College in Chitral after serving for 24 years.

The number of students at the Langlands School and College increased from 80 to 1,000 during Langlands’ time.



after, the principal of a public school in Tauton, an old teaching acquaintance of his mother, managed to collect money to get the younger Langlands’ in school too. The next six years shaped him into the man that changed the lives of thousands of students in the years to come. “Those six years of schooling made me very confident. I witnessed that while I could have been placed in an orphanage, people helped me in my upbringing so that I get good education. Things like these stay with you.” His teaching career began in London in 1936, at the age of 18. He started by teaching the second grade and soon mastered the art of making the dullest subjects interesting for his students. English has always been his primary medium of communication regardless of where he is in the world. He learnt Urdu but refused to use it. “The only way to get people to learn a language was to speak in that language all the time.” Just as Langlands was settling into this life, the world changed again. On September 3, 1939, Langlands — by then a young school teacher — heard Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announce that Britain was at war with Germany. He immediately signed up to be an ordinary recruit in the British army. “I thought my (my)! This was going to change everything. I decided I wanted to be in the war right away.” Making his way into the British army commandos based in England, he was later part of the force that carried out raids on the French and Belgium coasts. In 1943, during his officer training in Kent, when 30 the army was looking for young army volunteers for DECEMBER 22-28 2013

India, Langlands did not hesitate. In January 1944, he finally arrived in India and spent the next three years in the army as part of the selection board for officers training in Bangalore. Langlands’ life as a British army officer was to change in 1947. “Then came along the day Mountbatten was eager to hand over power. British officers were asked to volunteer to stay for one year either in India or Pakistan.” Even though he had never served in the areas that were to constitute an infant Pakistan, he was eager to join the Pakistan army. “I knew that Pakistan would have great difficulties in establishing itself because India was deadly against it. I wanted to help them and that has been my job ever since.” He travelled to Rawalpindi on August 12, 1947, just days before the Partition. While not many British officers chose to stay back in Pakistan, Langlands recalls that the one-year contract by the British government was cancelled by Pakistan in December, 1947. “We were told that the Pakistani government will give a two or three year contract from January 1, 1948, to British officers they wanted to keep.” Langlands was awarded a three-year contract followed by another one. At the end of those six years, the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan army at the time, General Ayub Khan expressed his desire to retain Major Langlands. But with the Pakistani government only extending contracts to specialists in engineering and medicine, it was unlikely that Langlands would get another extension. “Then he [Ayub Khan] says to me ‘don’t go back to England we need people like you in Pakistan. You can help us a

lot’ and then and there I said I will stay.” Although he had never thought of leaving the Pakistan Army, staying in Pakistan was never a part of the bigger plan either. “But then everyone wanted to help. I had been on my own all my life really,” he says. “I wanted to do good because various people had looked after me. I wanted to make use of my life.” Three days after his decision to stay back in Pakistan, Langlands was offered a teaching job at the Aitchison College, where he had the likes of Imran Khan and Zafarullah Khan Jamali in his tutelage. The next 25 years were spent teaching at Aitchison until he retired and took up another stint in the education sector. After serving as a principal in the tumultuous terrain of North Waziristan for a decade, the next challenge was in the serene mountains of Chitral where he set up the Langlands School and College and headed it for the next 24 years. The institution lived up to its motto ‘There is always room for improvement’ and empowered hundreds of young boys and girls over the years. Having started with merely 80 students, it now educates as many as 1,000 students each year. While the people of Chitral are deeply grateful to this Britisher for bringing a new world to their children, Langlands attributes all the credit to the people. “The people loved the institution,

they wanted education for their children and they worked to materialise their desire,” he says. Langlands never married and his twin brother has only visited him a handful of times in Pakistan. The vacuum of family in his life seems to have been consumed by a love far greater than a desire for personal fulfillment. “Right from the age of 12, all the decisions in my life have been taken by me. I am not sure if that’s a good thing but that is something I did. I decided that I have to do good to people in the world simply because people have been good to me.” And that is precisely what he did. The Langlands School and College has found a new English principal in Carey Schofields, a writer and journalist who has covered everything from Mick Jagger to the Pakistan Army. But it might be impossible for Pakistan to find a replacement for the crisp Englishman who not only devoted his life to a country that did not bind him by blood or birth but has also chosen it as his final resting place. T Some of the photographs were provided by The Citizens Archive of Pakistan, and are drawn from material obtained as part of its Oral History Project. Aroosa Shaukat is a Lahore-based reporter for The Express Tribune. She tweets @aroosashaukat



Shrink your fear

Pakistani cricketers glove victories after being counselled to tackle fear on the pitch BY EMMAD HAMEED DESIGN ESSA MALIK

Pakistani cricketers have been programmed to deliver victory. Optimistic and determined to succeed, they dismiss fear each time they play on the winning pitch prepared by Maqbool Babri. The hypnotherapist is convinced that the cricketers ‘will’ keep taking wickets and scoring boundaries till the time they believe that they ‘can’. After attending Babri’s workshops, the team ended its global tournament winning drought of 17 years, by bagging the 2009 World Twenty20 trophy in England. “The players were receptive and totally supported their transformation,” Babri, a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, recalls four years later. “They felt that they could associate with me as I was speaking their language, helping them get rid of their fears, anger and guilt.” Although the 62-year-old has previously worked with Pakistani golfers and accompanied them on foreign tours, his entry into the cricketing world wasn’t quite as easy. Babri had to initially persuade Ijaz Butt, the former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, of his credentials. But after assisting the team in bagging several wins, he is now a familiar figure in the cricket fraternity. Popularly known as Max, the shrink has a clear mantra in life — if one desires success they need to get rid of their fears and inherent insecurities, have a clear vision and push themselves to the limit. The same applies to competitive sports. As a motivator and healer, Babri aims to get

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rid of the scarring that usually holds back battered minds. However, there is no such thing as a winning formula he claims, “I consider myself a healer.” According to Babri, most players can relate to him because like themselves, he had very humble beginnings. “I could relate to their troubles, their fears, the scarring from critics and the failure[s] on the cricket ground,” he says. Babri makes them visualise their best moments and believe in their potential so that they can deliver their best during the match. Although effective, Babri was not hired for a long term stint with the senior team. However, after the spot-fixing scandal of 2010, he was asked to conduct sessions with Muhammad Aamir and Zulqarnain Haider. “Muhammad Aamir is trying to rebuild his life after the horrifying scandal [and] the good thing is that he has accepted his guilt,” he says with a strong belief that it is important to accept guilt and to forgive oneself and the ones who have offended you. “Zulqarnain, it seems is preoccupied with negative thoughts, but like Aamir he wants to focus on cricket now.” Babri’s longest association with the men in green was during the India tour last December. He was asked by the then PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf, to accompany the team for the hastily arranged, high voltage series. “We are the best, we can do it and we will do it,” Babri reminds the team. The 2009 slogan was used once again to steer the team towards another victory. “There was a conscious ef-


fort to [replace] ‘can’ with ‘will’,” he says. “This way they take ownership of the task, their thoughts are clear [and] when the slogan is shouted [out loud], each member of the team end[s] up producing powerful and extremely positive vibes.” During the tour Babri conducted individual and team sessions with every member of the squad. “Group exercises included ‘break in break out’ and ‘rock and roll sessions’. The two exercises are designed to create a sense of teamwork and an ‘all for one and one for all’ concept, since trust and camaraderie are the key components of a successful team,” he explains. Although the two-match T20 series resulted in a tie, the Pakistan team pocketed the ODI series with wins in the first two matches in Chennai and Kolkata. The winning spree however slowed down when players started taking their success for granted, and some refused to undergo sessions on account of certain personal beliefs. “They are not inclined towards hypnosis or the training methods I employ. I tried to reason with them, but at the end of the day it is an individual’s choice.” But while some players are opposed to Babri’s methods, others welcome it with open arms. Misbahul Haq and Dav Whatmore are particularly receptive, Babri claims, “[They] feel that every step that helps in building team spirit should be taken. Whatmore in particular is open to ideas and sensitive to players’ needs; he subscribes to every tool that can help gel the team.” Having endured a love-hate relationship with fans due to his inconsistent performance, Kamran Akmal was a prime candidate for a confidence boost from Babri. “Max was a tremendous influence on me. I think there is a real need [for] psychologists and motivational speakers [and] all cricket teams are focusing on this aspect,” says Akmal. Babri also has a friendly advice for the T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez who was ‘Steyn-ed’ regularly in the series against South Africa. “More than anything Hafeez needs to be heard, the constant ridiculing has taken its toll on him. It seems that every time he faces Dale Steyn, he is under pressure and fears getting dismissed,” says Babri, explaining that the fear is so great that it takes over Hafeez who ends up getting dismissed. Despite his recent successes and efforts, the PCB has not offered Babri a long term contract. “Hiring him is a costly affair; we have used him in short bursts and whenever we think that the team or an individual player needs counselling,” remarks a board official. “At present, entering into a long term contract with him doesn’t seem [to be] a financially viable option for the PCB.” The reason is dispelled

They felt that they [the players] could associate with me as I was speaking their language, helping them get rid of their fears, anger and guilt Maqbool Babri

by Babri who wants to continue grooming the team and claims that he offered his services at a discounted rate and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. The hypnotherapist is not only optimistic and patriotic, but also very pragmatic. Along with a proper infrastructure for sports in Pakistan, Babri feels, “It is equally important for the office bearers to have a positive mindset. They need to believe that they can pursue the interests of the country at international forums like the ICC.” To remain on the squad, it looks like Babri will have to do more than just convince the players of his unconventional methods. T Emmad Hameed heads the sports desk at The Express Tribune. He tweets @Emmad81

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Going nowhere Artists create a satirical travel guide to Karachi that shows you how to live like a local BY SANAM MAHER PHOTOS BY ZAHEER KIDWA DESIGN ASIF ALI

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but my father might,” said the ghora gaari waala to Sarah Khan, when she asked him if he knew Ahmed Rushdi’s Bunder Road se Kemari. The artist met the young man’s father, who immediately recognised the song and took her on a ride in his tonga along the route Rushdi sang about in 1954. “I took that route every day,” Khan says, “as my house was located in the area and I would visit Khori Garden for my art supplies.” Her trip on the tonga, however, allowed her to glimpse familiar sites anew, as she furiously sketched while perched in the carriage. The sketches form part of Khan’s contribution to Right to the City: Travel guide to Karachi, a collaborative project by four artists, a historian and a curator determined to challenge local and international perceptions of Karachi as ‘Pakistan’s dark heart’ (as characterised by Time Magazine in 2012) or a ‘sweltering gangland’ (Time Magazine in October 2013). For curator and editor, Shahana Rajani, the idea for the project took shape in December 2009, when a suicide bomber targeted an Ashura procession in the city, leaving more than 40 dead. More than 2,000 shops were gutted in arson attacks in Bolton market after the bombing. “I remember noticing the rhetoric used at the time,” Shahana explains, “that emphasised Karachi’s resilience, the ability to endure suffering without breaking in the face of violence.” While a mixture of condemnation and calls for strength amassed on social media sites, the foreign minister at the time, Shah Mehmood Qureshi noted that “the people of Karachi have always shown utmost resilience in the face of crisis” Such talk of resilience, Shahana felt, “is not a positive thing as it allows us to just go on without having 36 to deal with instances of trauma.” DECEMBER 22-28 2013

Sara Khan Chapter: Bunder road to Kemari

Manizhe Ali Chapter: Twilight in Broad Daylight

Over the span of three months, she met with shopkeepers, traffic policemen, firemen and witnesses to the 2009 arson, recording their stories of how the market had permanently changed. “Most of them were so eager to talk about it,” she recalls, “they were really engaged and wanted to speak of how the market had changed, how the people who visit there have changed and how they now feel unsafe there.” As Shahana recorded their stories, she created an archive of oral histories online, a narrative of recovery and the relationship between violence and spaces (accessible at “The trope of resilience gets us to see this city as indestructible and unchanging,” she explains. “It is usually people who are privileged who speak of resilience. Life does go on in spaces like Bolton market, but it does so with great struggle.” In her desire to question this narrative and perception of Karachi as an epicentre of violence, Shahana conceived a project that would enable her to flag up imaginative geographies of the city while providing a context to Karachi’s violence. “We often don’t give our city the credit it deserves,” she feels. “We’re apathetic and we think not much is being done to correct the ‘buray haalaat’, but that’s not true — there have always been people who have worked against the mainstream agenda and Karachi has such a rich history of activism and protest, of a struggle for change.” Using the format of a travel guide, Right to the City utilises the genre of travel writing to question who is given the

Seher Naveed Chapter: Seeking a Safe Karachi

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The power to represent usually lies with the media, the film industry or the tourism industry. In a similar fashion, we wanted to generate images and perceptions of the city, reclaim representation and bring out our own narratives Shahana Rajani

right to represent, and the sort of representation they produce. “The power to represent usually lies with the media, the film industry or the tourism industry,” Shahana explains, “and in a similar fashion, we wanted to generate images and perceptions of the city, reclaim representation and bring out our own narratives.” The agenda was simple — to disrupt and contest mainstream narratives, while the format of a traveller’s guide allowed the artists and contributors to provide a cheeky commentary on the depiction of Pakistan as a space of inherent opposites. Take, for instance, the Commonwealth’s 2013 guide to Pakistan, which cautions travellers about armed carjacking, robbery, kidnap and murder alongside images of lush greenery and Kalash tribes. And so, even as Sara Khan takes you on a visual journey from MA Jinnah Road to Kemari, she mixes advice such as, “Don’t get dehydrated! Quench your thirst with a glass of freshly churned sugar cane juice” with “Caught without crime? Not to worry! Just slip Rs50 to the policeman and be on your way”. “The two places visitors to Karachi usually want to see are the beach and the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” writes artist Manizhe Ali in her chapter Twilight in Broad Daylight. For Ali, the Quaid’s mausoleum, located in the geographical heart of the city, is representative of the many faces of Karachi — flanked on one side of Numaish chorangi by two Imambargahs, the Shah-e-Khurasan and the Azakhana-e-Zehra, and on the other by the madrassa and masjid of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat group. In a space representative of a secular leader, the mazaar’s surrounding area becomes, according to Ali, “a hotbed of all the sectarian violence in the city and the route of the Shia Ashura juloos as well as the Youm-e-Omar juloos.” This is also the site where hundreds protested the sectarian violence against the Hazara community earlier this year. 38 “The road changes its nature depending on what is hapDECEMBER 22-28 2013

pening in the city,” Ali explains. “All you have to do is look at the mazaar and Numaish Chorangi to see what the city’s halaat are like.” A testament to the sectarian and religious diversity in Pakistan, Ali says the area is a space of conflict and one of increasing ghetto-isation, as former Hindu and Parsi residents move out of the area and are replaced by Shia families looking for safe spaces amongst others of their sect. While Ali’s chapter focuses on the ways in which violence alters the nature of a space, the artists Bani Abidi and Seher Naveed comment on the response to violence. Abidi presents a veritable catalogue of the different kinds of security barriers found around enclaves in the city (from the hulking containers at the American consulate to the plant-filled concrete blocks outside the British High Commission) and Naveed maps out the sites of bomb blasts in order to plot out the coordinates of safe

Shayan Rajani Chapter: Sir Syed, we have an image problem again!

Security Barrier Type H Security Barrier Type H, near the American Consulate, Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi

Security Barrier Type C 47th St, Block 6, PECHS, Karachi

Security Barrier Type D Pakistan Naval Base, Karsaz, Karachi

Security Barrier Type G Traffic Police, Karachi

Roohi Ahmed Chapter: Homing In

Bani Abidi Chapter: Security Barriers A-L

places in the city. The safest place in the city, it turns out, is the Arabian sea, Naveed wryly notes. Similarly, historian Shayan Rajani plays with the format of the popular Texts from Last Night blog (a record of scandalous, drunken or inane text messages) and gives it the Karachi treatment, creating a witty comment on the ways in which we have become attuned to violence in the city. These are a collection of messages Rajani received from friends or family, such as “Bhai, parents want you home, there was a blast on Shahbaz” and “Dude! MQM guy shot… I think we’ll have to cancel our shisha plan again”. Rajani’s chapter, Sir Syed, we have an image problem again! hones in on the anxiety expressed by certain members of society who push for a ‘softer’ or positive representation of Karachi and Pakistan, particularly after 9/11. Finally, artist Roohi Ahmed’s contribution to this slender volume explores personal relationships and emotional responses to the city through hand-drawn maps and text from Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography. Shahana has created a tour guide of the city to accompany the book’s launch, complete with readings from protest poetry from the 1950s as well as old photographs, historical accounts and anecdotes. The ‘Radical Tour of Karachi’, conducted via rickshaw and spanning the period between 1839 and 1970, hopes to tease out the city’s social histories. At the same time, the tour aims to encourage an engagement with the city’s past beyond a clucking disapproval of the deteriorating state of our beautiful old colonial buildings. T The book is available at The T2F Café for Rs300 and you can sign up for the Radical Karachi Tour via Facebook: Sanam Maher is a subeditor on The Express Tribune’s national desk. She tweets @SanamMKhi DECEMBER 22-28 2013



KHADDI REMAINS KHAAS Local production of khaddar is long forgotten, but passion and tradition brave conditions to survive TEXT & PHOTOS BY RASHID ALI

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(Top left) Threads used to make khaddar are lined on the wall. (Top right) The threads are placed on combs to be used for ‘tana bana’. (Below) Care has to be taken when using threads for khaddar due to their ability to get tangled.

Sheen Bagh, a village in the Attock district of Western Pakistan is known as the oldest centre for handmade khaddar. As local elderly craftsmen remember, until a few decades ago, it was almost as if the whole village was involved in the trade. The situation is radically different now, with only four people remaining behind the handloom. Khaddi or khaddar, a cloth primarily made out of hemp (high growing varieties of the cannabis plant and its products, which include fibre, oil and seed) is a combination of raw materials such as cotton, wool and silk, woven on a loom. The fabric owes its popularity to its versatility — warm in the winter and cool during the summer. Though it is now mass produced in factories, older gen-

erations in Sheen Bagh are still working hard to keep the hand-made version of the fabric alive, despite meager earnings and high costs. While the newer generation is looking at more viable career options, this is the elders’ way of preserving their cherished craft. To make khaddar, approximately 500 strings are passed through four combs, in a process that takes nearly eight hours of work a day, for three days straight. The khaddar sheet (a shawl, bed sheet or quilt) which is a result of the 24-hour labour process is then sold to local merchants for approximately Rs1,500. In the retail market, the prices are quickly doubled. Khaddar sheets are sold for nearly Rs3,000 to Rs4,000, with little or no profit margin for the labourers. The minimal earnings have made the line of work unfeasible for many families in the village and it is no surprise that only four people have stayed true to their skill. These few professionals still weave cloth under the broken roofs of their houses with the same vigour that they inherited from their elders, nearly 80 years ago. Baba Ahmed Khan, a resident of the village sits in his partially damaged home in one of the narrowest lanes of the area, “I was a young man, nearly 17 or 18, when I started working on a khaddi. From when Pakistan was founded, till now, I still work on khaddi — without my glasses.” Not one to abandon his craft, he considers the chargha, ricch, naal 41 DECEMBER 22-28 2013

HOW THE LOOM WORKS In a typical khaddi, there are four combs and four paddles to work with which are dug into a ditch. It’s almost like an orchestra, with each component strumming, coordinating and working with the other. While running one comb with a hand, the worker sitting at the khaddi station moves one paddle with his foot simultaneously, allowing for the vertical threads (tana) and horizontal threads (bana) to weave together. The process looks simple enough, but it can be tricky as the threads can get easily tangled. It takes five hundred strings in 13 or 14 knots to make a perfectly smooth shawl. The length of the woven fabric is nearly six metres, which is then cut into two pieces for sewing together. Women, who live near these handlooms, come and collect the sheets when done and add ‘tilla’ (a web of crisscrossed threads at the border) on both sides for a fee of Rs50.

(components of the handloom) and the combs as his obedient friends. Baba Khan’s devotion to his skill is praiseworthy in a time when financial gains trump the satisfaction of completing a handmade product. Cities like Peshawar and Multan are not foreign to the fabric and its skill, according to Baba Khan, “People from Multan invite us to work on special projects.” However, there is no change in the profits offered. “Merchants and companies make thousands of rupees off my products by selling them in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and foreign countries. On the other hand, I can’t even procure a Rs100,000 loan for myself to buy enough material to last the year.” Craftsmen like Baba Khan long for recognition and start-up capital but without local and international exhibitions, their growth in the industry 42 is stunted. Lack of support and low DECEMBER 22-28 2013

Merchants and companies make thousands of rupees off my products by selling them in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and foreign countries. On the other hand, I can’t even procure a Rs100,000 loan for myself to buy enough material to last the year Baba Khan

profit margins aside, there are other factors contributing to the death of handlooms. In a story published in The Express Tribune, Aziz Khan, a power loom owner in Matta, Swat said that there are two types of loom — hand and power. Back in the day, hand looms were converted into power looms but since the process has become mechanised, power looms have become more common. However, Aziz added that the trend fluctuates due to prolonged power shortages. If institutional support in the form of loans and direct access to markets is not provided, the craft faces a real danger of dying out with Baba Khan’s generation and the joy of wearing a handmade khaddi kurta may soon become a thing of the past. T

Rashid Ali is an Attock-based correspondent for Roznama Express. He can be reached at

Norse God Turned Blonde Bombshell Acting takes a backseat as Thor: The Dark World rakes in on Hemsworth’s crowd-pulling good looks BY SAIM SAEED This battle to save the Earth just took a very thor-ny turn. To be honest, there’s little difference between Thor and the bad guys in Thor: The Dark World; both are extra-terrestrials, far superior in technology, and both find something very important to them on the otherwise ordinary planet Earth. For Thor, it is a pretty Natalie Portman who faints with frightening frequency, and for the villains, it’s a mysterious substance called ether that Natalie Portman consumes unwittingly. So for a brief moment, there is even lesser difference between the two except for Chris Hemsworth’s good looks. The plot, therefore, is simple: the bad guys want the ether, which would bring eternal darkness to the universe and Thor needs to keep it away from them. Thor doesn’t have to do much to keep the audience’s attention — his pecs and biceps do the talking. With Natalie Portman more unconscious than not during the film, it seems that acting really wasn’t a priority for this production. Due to a galactic alignment of the realms known as the ‘convergence’, directors, Alan Taylor and James Gunn, evidently had fun with bending space and time, creating spatial portals between different worlds. This allows cars to float and birds to fly out of the ground, and Natalie Portman to get phone calls from British guys on distant planets that resemble Hiroshima. But what else can you expect going into yet 44 another superhero film with a ludicrous plot and DECEMBER 22-28 2013

special effects? Christopher Nolan’s realist noirstyle superhero was a fad it seems — one that even brought Superman into existential trouble in Man of Steel. That fad, however, has given way to red-white-and-blue spandex a la Captain America, Scarlett Johansson in leather, and in Thor 2, a loud, dim and not particularly stimulating romp that veers from punch to punch. But after thinking about it a little, you do have good reasons to subject yourself to Thor 2, the main one being Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the devious Loki. His soft voice and menacing eyes do far more to capture attention than the bludgeoning 3D and excessive explosions. Kat Dennings also displays more charm and authenticity in every individual scene than Portman does throughout the movie. Her role as Darcy leaves you wondering why Thor didn’t fall in love with her — perhaps too smart for him. What you get, then, apart from a couple of saving graces, is an entirely predictable plot, hero, villain and a damsel in distress. It’s a wallet-emptying, unnecessary 3D presentation; a couple of one-liners; and an under-utilised Idris Elba. The light was lost far before the bad guys threatened to steal it. T

Super Save The Avengers (2012) A motley crew of Marvel superheroes team up to fight an invading army of aliens led by the stepbrother of a Norse god.

Captain America (2011) The First Avenger, a committed but weak American soldier, takes part in a military experiment that endows him with superhuman strength. Armed with an indestructible shield and patriotism, Captain America is on a mission to foil the Nazis’ plans of global domination.

Iron Man 3 (2013) Fast-talking Tony Stark faces his most difficult challenge yet, as a self-


healing, self-exploding Guy

Saim Saeed is a sub-editor at Tribune Labs. He tweets @saimsaeed847

Pearce attempts to destroy Ironman and his world.

Hard science

All we can tell you about this series is that we can’t really talk about it The original expert gynaecologist Dr William Masters and his secretary Virginia Johnson. PHOTO


In Pakistan, it is the year 2013. My task is to write about a television show set in America of the 1950s. It’s about Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson who changed the way the world thinks about women’s performance in the run-up to their reproductive function. Given the sensitivity of the topic and print media restrictions in respect of our readers, I will be steering clear of the title of the series and language that may ruffle some feathers. As you can see, Pakistan of the 2000s is quite like America of the 1950s in some ways. What I will tell you, though, is that this Showtime television series is based on Thomas Maier’s book Masters of [...]: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. The book explores the way expert gynaecologist Dr William H Masters, working at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri (the conservative mid-West), undertook research with the help of his secretary Virginia Johnson, who didn’t even have a college degree at the time. Until the Masters and Johnson research appeared in a book in 1966, the American understanding of the female response in the bedroom was beset by certain misperceptions. One researcher, Alfred Kinsey, had done some work, but it was based on questionnaires and not hard science. Dr Masters wanted to measure the biological response of the female species during the act. He and Virginia found, among other things, that female pleasure or lack of it was linked to things like self-esteem, anxiety or a communication gap with their partner. The tasteful execution of a controversial subject is the show’s strongest selling point. Though everything is shown openly; the aim is not to titillate or insert gratuitous material. The goal is to shed light on the science of this most fundamental of human functions, show how women’s roles were perceived in and outside a marriage and how men factor into this entire equation. So, for example, the show’s Emmyaward winning scriptwriter, Michelle Ashford, takes on the taboo of infertility. Even today in Pakistan, our first assumption is that if a couple cannot have a child, there must be a fault with the woman.


In the series, Dr Masters’ wife, Libby is shown to undergo painful treatments in order to conceive even though the real problem actually lies with the husband. So what does this mean in a world where a woman is considered incomplete if she doesn’t reproduce? Life is not much easier for women who have had children. The show’s main character, Virginia, is divorced with two children. But such was the environment in the 1950s that when she tried to sign up for courses at the university, the librarian, an older woman, tried to dissuade her. She told Virginia that her place was at home with her children. Indeed, the debate of the working woman versus the housewife persists in Pakistan today; but in many cases it is forgotten that in order for a woman to enter a higher salary bracket, she has to invest time in formal education or degrees, which will mean time away from her children. The show also tries to untangle the moral questions surrounding the issue of a woman’s right to decide what to do with her body. In Pakistan on a more visible level, violence against women manifests itself by physical harm to a woman’s body. Take the rape, beatings and acid attacks. On a less visible level, women’s bodies are controlled by men when it comes to their decisions to plan their family. Similarly, in this television series, one of the characters, a female sex worker, helps Dr Masters with his research by providing her girls as subjects. But when she asks the doctor, who is also her gynaecologist, to untie her tubes, so she can have children, he refuses. He cites her unconventional life choices and economic instability as the reasons. In the end, though, the question is whether this woman has a right to make her own decisions? In Pakistan we may not openly discuss such intimate matters, and may only perhaps allude to them in our own television dramas, but at the end of the day the subject of reproduction, fertility, infertility and disorders merits some study given how intrinsic it is to a well-fulfilled life, indeed our personal happiness. T Rating: Mahim Maher is an editor at The Express Tribune. She tweets @Mahim_Maher



At home with herbs To start your own small, herb garden, all you need is some pots, soil and seeds

Bronze fennel





Evening primrose


Whether you grow herbs for cooking, healing, beautification, pest control, fragrance, crafts or a stunning garden display, rest assured, these delicate plants will prove super easy to grow. All they need is a spot in the sun. Follow the simple guidelines and treat your mind, body and soul to your very own blissful herb garden. Most herbs will do surprisingly well in containers of different sizes, picked depending on usage. For culinary use, you can plant fennel, basil, thyme, sage, parsley and rosemary; lavender and chamomile to soothe senses; tansy and mint to deter mosquitoes and flies; and chives to stop pests from attacking vegetable plants. And if you have a larger space, plant majestic herbs like marshmallow, honeysuckle, bronze fennel and foxgloves.

Patios and balconies In sheltered areas that get sunlight only for a few hours, plant shade-loving herbs such as mint, parsley and yarrow. If your balcony or rooftop braves strong winds, plant herbs like rosemary and lavender that can tolerate strong winds and ensure that they are well protected. To create an aesthetically appealing combination of herbs, get a larger window box and try planting different herbs to-

46 DECEMBER 22-28 2013

gether. Basil coupled with climbing roses and parsley at the base look striking. Even hanging pots of nasturtiums and chives can do the trick, and if you prefer all green, then simply plant coriander, tarragon and marjoram together.

Planting herbs Herbs are either planted by sowing seeds or by taking time-saving cuttings from existing plants. Always read the seed pack and follow the sowing instructions that vary depending on the type of herb and size of the seed. For instance, lavender might not germinate as easily as other herbs. It requires a moist/cold treatment to break dormancy and is best planted during the winter season. Each herb needs to be tended to separately as they have different growing habits and needs. Some herbs like rosemary and lavender are drought tolerant and grow better in loose, light, well-drained soil, while herbs like lemon balm grow in moist soil. Parsley and basil grow in rich, moist and deeply dug soil and sage requires dry, alkaline and well-drained soil. While unique in their own way, all these herbs come together to brighten up your home and lives with their magical properties. Zahra Ali Husain is a sustainability education specialist, writer and an environmentalist. She tweets @Zahrali.

Some must-have herb combos: Salad Herbs: Red salad bowl lettuce, chives, mizuna mustard and rocket salad. Aromatic Herbs: Lavender, mint, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, white jasmine and climbing rose. Moonlight garden: Forget-menots, rosemary, thymes and evening primrose. Pakistani culinary herbs: Oregano, dill, fenugreek, coriander, mint, bay tree, saffron, fennel, garlic and basil.

The Express Tribune Magazine - December 22  

The Express Tribune Magazine for December 22nd 2013

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