The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman @ MIT

Arif Hasan: Architect with ethics

Arif Hasan and Perween Rehman: Architects with ethics

Parveen Rehman, photo by Steve Inskeep, NPR

Perween Rehman, photo by Steve Inskeep, NPR

Commitment personified, an abbreviated version of this piece,  was published in The News on Sunday last week.

Speakers at a symposium in the Boston area last week, on “The Orangi Pilot Project and Legacy of Architect Perween Rehman” paid tribute to the late architect and OPP director, as “a woman, architect and social activist”. They also discussed parallels between the issues faced by the urban poor in and elsewhere.

Hosted by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the symposium featured prominent academics from India, Pakistan and the United States. The event, spearheaded by graduate students Fizzah Sajjad and Hala B. Malik from Lahore, had been in the planning soon after the murder of Perween Rehman in Karachi on March 13, 2013. Continue reading

What Mastung blast survivors need now

Ridha and Ibtihaj

Ridha and Ibtihaj: He bravely faces his staggering loss.

My article for The News on Sunday, shared here with additional links, pix, and tweets:

By Beena Sarwar

Death, destruction, disaster are newsworthy for the mainstream media. What happens to the survivors and how they cope in the long-term are not.

Those who orchestrate bomb blasts thrive on media attention. Those affected by their dastardly acts are left to carry on as best as they can, often with inspiring courage and resilience. Continue reading

The Southasian penumbra

IMG_5208

Kanak Dixit: thought-provoking

My PERSONAL POLITICAL column in The News last week

Beena Sarwar

I was curious when my old friend, the Nepali journalist Kank Mani Dixit proposed the topic “To be Desi or Southasian” as the topic of a talk that another journalist friend, Aseem Chahbra from India, was setting up for him in New York.

Continue reading

“Art for art’s sake is fine, but with a social consciousness it’s even better” – Nandita Das

IMG_5338-Nandita I met Nandita Das for the first time at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, 2004,  introduced by our mutual friend, the activist Shabnam Hashmi, sister of the late Safdar Hashmi. Since then I have caught up with Nandita several times, most recently at Brown University in Providence where she talked about her life and work. Here’s my article about her for The News on Sunday - it includes bits they had to delete due to space constraints. Also published in Times of India blogs.
Continue reading

Afridi’s googly and CII’s no ball

Afridi kitchenUpdated version of my PERSONAL POLITICAL column published in The News op-ed and TOI blogs on Friday

Beena Sarwar

Shahid Afridi’s googly lobbed at women’s cricket in Pakistan in an interview, dismissing women as just good cooks, went viral on social media over the past few days.

And recently, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) decreed that Pakistani laws that prohibit under-age marriage and place conditions on a married man’s attempts to take another wife are ‘un-Islamic’.

Ostensibly very different, both stem from the same patriarchal mind-set that sees women as inferior to men, justifying itself by invoking religion or cultural traditions. Continue reading

Pakistani Women Hit Hurdles in Medical Profession

Left to right, medical student Saima Firdous, Dr Jamila Khalil, Sarah Peck, Dr Khalil Khatri Credit: Beena Sarwar

Left to right, medical student Saima Firdous, Dr Jamila Khalil, Sarah Peck, Dr Khalil Khatri. Photos: Beena Sarwar

My report for Inter Press Service, March 8, 2014. Picked up by newspapers around the world – I like the headline Asia Times gave it: Women doctors say what ails Pakistan

BOSTON, United States, Mar 8 2014 (IPS) - On one of her many visits to Pakistan recently, Sarah Peck, director of the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, spent some time talking to young women medical students in Pakistan. She was struck by their passion and commitment — and by the hurdles they face.

The US-Pakistan Women’s Council is working with expatriate Pakistani doctors to find ways to encourage women qualifying as doctors in Pakistan to practice medicine.

Women outnumber male students in medical colleges across Pakistan, forming up to 85 percent of the student body in private universities and 65 percent in the public sector. Continue reading

South Asian University response to question re: students from Pakistan

Thanks South Asian University for the prompt response to my question about Pakistani students raised in my last blog post. See tweets: Continue reading

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