I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago after a discussion with fourth and fifth graders at a public school in Cambridge MA; slightly different versions published in the Cambridge Chronicle and The News on Sunday Continue reading
…And upcoming, seeking support: Forbidden Steps – a feature film that aims to humanize a faith and a people that have long been misrepresented; writer/director Iram Parveen Bilal’s earlier work includes Josh based on Karachi’s Khana Ghar, and The PHD Movie.
My article in The News on Sunday, Jan 1, 2017, on two film festivals in New York recently showcasing work from Pakistan and India. I wanted to write more about some of them but didn’t have space. Below, with additional links and pix.
Desi audiences thronged to two recent film festivals in New York showcasing films from Pakistan and India
Many of the films in what is being heralded as a revival of Pakistan cinema feature the sprawling megapolis of Karachi. The multifaceted city’s historic sandstone buildings, sandy beach, traditional tiles, boundless energy emerge in these films… dreamily romantic under a perpetual full moon (Mah-e-Mir), wildly eclectic (Mailay), effervescent, multi-cultural (Actor In Law), violently revengeful (Gardaab), creative, musical (Ho Mann Jahan), a playground for street dancing (Dance Kahani), a tangle of underworld sewers and space-age factories (Teen Bahadur, animation). Continue reading
Filed under: Art and activism, Culture | Tagged: Asim Raza, Dobara Phir Se, Economic liberalisation, Fahad Mustafa, Hindutva, Ho Mann Jahaan, Mailay, Mantra, Mateela, Mehreen Jabbar, Mehwish Hayat, Nabeel Qureshi, Om Puri, Pakistan UN mission, South Asian films, Teen Bahadur | Leave a comment »
The struggle of Muslim homosexuals in Pakistan, South Asia, or as expatriates is not just about LGBTQ rights but part of the larger fight for inclusion and pluralism within Islam. My essay published in The Boston Globe Ideas section (July 31, 2016) on South Asian and Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality, reproduced below with additional links, info and photos, as well as parts not included in the final published version. The attack in the Orlando gay nightclub put the spotlight not just on the perpetrator, but his victims — Muslim gay (queer) folk who are particularly vulnerable to homophobia besides facing as Islamophobia in the West, and receiving little or no support from the Muslim community at home and abroad. Plus they are now increasingly being targeted by extremists claiming legitimacy from Islam. Thanks to all those who took the time to speak to me, gave me feedback and entrusted me with their stories, and to the Boston Globe editors for their empathy and openness. Continue reading
Filed under: Art and activism, Culture, Human rights, Islam, Southasia | Tagged: Deepa Mehta, Eiynah, Fawad Khan, Fire, gay rights, hijra, Islam and homosexuality, Kapoor and Sons, khwaja sera, Muslim LGBTQ, My Beautiful Laundrette, My Chacha is Gay, Orlando attack, Purdah, religion and homosexuality, Transgenders | 4 Comments »
My oped published in The News, April 24, 2016
I sit down to write this on April 21, the birthday of one of my oldest, dearest childhood friends, universally known as Poppy – Shayan Afzal Khan, to use her full name. On Feb 21, 2015, Poppy lost her second battle with cancer, which she had fought with her characteristic grace, courage and humour. One of Poppy’s enduring legacies is her book ‘Unveiling the Ideal: A New Look at Early Muslim Women’, published by Musawah-Sisters in Islam, Malaysia in 2007. For this book, she drew on her writing skills, faith, feminism and history degree (Girton College, Cambridge, 1985). Continue reading
Something I wrote for The News on Sunday, published Feb 14, on a thoughtprovoking series of discussions and Anila Quayyum Agha’s stunning installation ‘Intersections’ at the cornerstone of ‘Imagine, South Asia’ at the historic Peabody Essex Museum
In an age of divisiveness and conflict, with media attention focused on power politics and high profile acts of violence, Imagine, South Asia, a weekend-long series of events at the Peabody Essex Museum was a welcome reminder of the healing and inclusive power of the arts.