Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged Pakistan

My Sisters Made of Light

When I attended the book signing for Jacqueline St. Joan’s novel My Sisters Made of Light, I knew nothing about the book aside from its inspiration: a chance encounter between St. Joan, an American domestic violence activist, and Aisha, a Pakistani activist. St. Joan was moved by a shared sense of purpose to write Aisha’s story—the story of a teacher who has orchestrated secret efforts to rescue women condemned to death for so-called honor crimes in Pakistan for the past twenty-five years.

You Have Given Me a Country

At the beginning of You Have Given Me a Country, author Neela Vaswani writes, “What follows is real, and imagined.” Thus begins Vaswani's memoir, a dreamy collection of reflections on her family's multiracial, multinational history. Ashok Vaswani, Neela's father, was born in Sindh (now a province of Pakistan) before the cataclysm of Partition. As a toddler, Ashok fled with his family to the new state of India, where his father found a job as a traveling railroad physician. Later, Ashok traveled to the US to practice medicine and to leave behind a tense postwar economy and a family that had fractured under the pressure of exile. “To my father, nationality was fickle, unreliable,” writes Neela. “My father said, 'Homeland is in the body,' and 'Land is in the blood.'”

Granta 112: Pakistan

I was not looking forward to the new issue of Granta on Pakistan. I worried about opening it and finding it looked like some compendium of war reportage. But what I saw when I opened the envelope made me laugh, and it has been a long time since anything about my home country has done that.

The House Of Bilquis Bibi (7/2010)

Making her UK stage debut is veteran Indian singer and actress Ila Arun who plays the formidable lady in question. As the Pakistani mother of five unmarried daughters (Ghizala Avan, Vineeta Rishi, Shalini Peiris, Mariam Haque and Youkti Patel), Bilquis Bibi rules her house with an iron rod, almost literally.

Made in Pakistan

These days, political analysts on both sides of the aisle are calling Pakistan a failed state. While the “most dangerous place in the world” does face profound political and social turmoil, such sweeping commentary fails to capture the more personal intricacies of the lives of ordinary people living inside the country’s borders. Pakistan is more than the Taliban fighters implementing Sharia law in the Swat Valley, and it’s more than the frequent bombings of embassies and hotels from Islamabad to Karachi.

Lahore with Love: Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-Style

A poet’s power lies not only in her well-crafted images but in the rhythm of her recitation. As I read Lahore With Love, the memoir of Fawzia Afzal-Khan, I longed to hear her read the volume aloud.

Transforming Faith: The Story of Al-Huda and Islamic Revivalism Among Urban Pakistani Women

In Transforming Faith, Sadaf Ahmad explores the role of Al-Huda, a women’s Islamic religious school, in promoting the spread of a particular kind of Islam, especially among educated middle- and upper-class women in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ahmad sets the scene by situating her topic in an historical and global context. She provides a broad overview of the various branches of Islam, and she tells the history of Pakistan’s self-conception as an Islamic state.

New York Times 'Half The Sky' Issue

In July, I wrote a post about Nicholas D. Kristof's announcing a "special issue" of the New York Times Sunday Magazine that would cover women in the developing world. Well, that issue is now available online, and will be arriving to the doorsteps of NYT subscribers in a few days.

Skunk Girl

Skunk Girl is Sheba Karim’s first novel. It is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Nina Khan, self-described as “a Pakistani Muslim girl” and from a small white town in upstate New York. Although published in 2009, the story is set in approximately 1993. In a fast-paced, entertaining read, Nina narrates her life and drama as the only Pakistani and Muslim girl in her high school.


Chup is Zeb and Haniya's (pronounced "Zay-eb and Haa-nee-ya) debut album, which was released in July of 2008. The female-cousin duo has been marked as one of the first all-female bands from Pakistan. Ranging from alternative pop, art pashto and folk, ethnic blues, and world music, their music cannot be confined to just one category.

Confessions of a Mullah Warrior

“History is full of great men,” Masood Farivar declares as a young man, about a third of the way into his memoir, Confessions of a Mullah Warrior. Luckily, Uncle Jaan Agha rhetorically slaps him on the back of the head, half a page later. The topic is dropped then, and for the remainder of the narrative.

Yi As Akh Padshah Bai (There Was a Queen)

Yi As Akh Padshah Bai (There Was a Queen) is a documentary that tells the story of women in Kashmir, the northwestern region of the India currently controlled by Pakistan, India, and China. The directors dub it "the world's most picturesque conflict zone". India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, and conflict has been a constant in the region since the 1990's when Kashmiri separatists began clashing with both Pakistani and Indian forces.