Strength and determination: An interview by Varda Nisar

Raees Fatima

Raees Fatima: Continuing with her crusade

There are very few people in this world who know what is their calling, and it is in these rare people that we find a determination that doesn’t stop them ever from doing what they think right. Raees Fatima is one of them. Her love for Urdu is still strong and growing. Not only is she a well-known educationist but also a columnist and an author of six books in Urdu.

Getting her early education from Karachi, it wasn’t by chance that she fell upon this great love for Urdu. “I always knew that I wanted to be an Urdu professor, as I had always been interested in writing. Since an early age, I was exposed to Urdu literature and reading. I was always writing for my college newspapers and that love is still strong.”

Her education career covers almost four decades and she has left her mark in many of the colleges of Karachi, which include Jamia Millia, Saudabad College, where she taught for 12 years to then finally retire from Nazimabad College.

“I have never been able to deal with the corruption that exists so blatantly in our education system. I retired early because I could never lie about my age as many of my colleagues had done. Many of my older colleagues are still teaching at that college.”

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things about the system which she was a part of that greatly agitate her. “When you construct a building and its basic structure is weak, you can never expect the building to stand on its own for long. That is the tragedy of our education system.”

She shows her displeasure on not only the coaching system that seems to be booming in the country but also the cheating mafia. “It is such a different situation now. Even a matriculate during my father’s time could speak better English and Urdu but now the education standards have stooped so low that you can’t expect the same from even a college student.”

Strongly against the coaching system, she says that she has always built a case against this latest trend. “Most of the professors don’t even bother teaching in the colleges anymore and I have seen that happening myself. They would be guaranteeing positions for the students that are taking classes in their college. How can we expect the system to work when this is the footing that we are building for the future of our youth.” Continue reading

The word of mouth about Rehman Dacoit

After anyone’s death there are a bunch of rumor/word-of-mouth/gossips/stories that you would hear circulating around. The recent person to have this honor is the Late Rehman Dacoit aka Robin hood of Lyari aka the Notorious Rehman Dacoit.

The word of mouth that I am sharing here includes the information that I got from a resident of the area. This would maybe able to give a glimpse about how he really was and how is it that people of the area who had to deal with him and live with him thought about him really. The conversation with that resident went something like this:-

What has Lyari been like after his death?

For the first time I have seen that the rest of the city is working while Lyari is closed down completely, otherwise it always used to be the other way round.

Is it true that he used to help the local people out there in any way he can?

Well he used to do whatever he can. But more than often you would find that he would help a poor man and give that person money to get this daughter married. Or buy food for some one else’s household. He would help people get job and he would use his influence for that.

In that lane, there was never any robbery conducted or any crime done, so the people of the area were very happy with hime being there. He was a hero for them despite what people might say.

Did he use to roam around the area openly or was it secret or a big security scene when he used to be there?

Well in the area where he used to work and his office was, no one outside of the are could get there especially after dark, but they still used to consider for the families that were living their and they never for once tried to hurt them. Instead they always considered for them in any way they can.

But the area where he and his family lived that was very secured. No one could get in there. During the last Police Operation that was conducted in that area, they also found underground channels in that entire area that were connected from every house, so it was easy for them to deceive the police. It was so astonishing to find that long a channel underground, especially when the city government isn’t able to make one underpass water proof.

What do you think, how did he die really? How have people reacted over there on his death?

Right now people over there think that he was killed by Nabeel Gabool, (a politician of the area) becasue he was planning to stand for the elections and he was trying to establish himself in the area in that regard. He was now being called Sardar Rehman Baloch. I mean people already had a lot of respect for him.

After the news came that he has been killed people were crying and mourning like their own family member has passed away. And it looked like he has been dead for a few days. His body was really rotten. Considering the fact that he has died only twelve hours ago, his body looked very unfresh.

It is said that he was on pretty good terms with Asif Ali Zardari, and after he came in politics it was considered that now things would be easy for Rehman Dacoit in Lyari.

Well maybe he started demanding a lot, or maybe it was simply that a lot of people were worried about what would happen if he came into politics. What is astonishing is that this is the second person that has been killed who was present on 18th October. Continue reading

ALex Haley: An Interview with Playboy

Alex Haley - The man behind the genius Roots

Alex Haley - The man behind the genius "Roots"

If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a true story, Roots might well be the Great American Novel. In the months since its publication, it has been compared to both Moby Dick and War and Peace, and at least one reviewer called it “among the most important books of the century.” Doubleday, its publisher, ordered the largest print run ever for a hardcover book (200,000), which sold out in a matter of weeks, and there are indications it may become the first book in history to sell over 1,000,000 copies in hardback — even before Dell brings out the paperback version.

Its author, Alex Haley, will undoubtedly become a household name later this month, when ABC-TV broadcasts the first episode of a 12-hour series based on Roots, making it the longest and most expensive ($6,000,000) dramatic television production ever aired.

We at Playboy take a special pleasure in featuring Haley as our holiday interview subject. In 1962, when he was a free-lance writer and journalist, we assigned him to conduct a long question-and-answer session with Miles Davis, which became the first “Playboy Interview.” Besides interviewing a number of personalities for Playboy, ranging from American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell to entertainer Johnny Carson, Haley conducted our interviews with the two most significant black leaders of the Sixties — Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. (One result of the “Playboy Interview” with Malcolm X was the bestselling Autobiography, which Haley wrote.) It seems especially fitting to us that Haley be on the other side of the tape recorder this month, since he seems destined to be one of the most significant black figures of the Seventies. Continue reading

Martin Luther King Jr.: An Interview with Playboy

Martin Luther King Jr

On December 5, 1955, to the amused annoyance of the white citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, an obscure young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., called a city-wide Negro boycott of its segregated bus system. To their consternation, however, it was almost 100 percent successful; it lasted for 381 days and nearly bankrupted the bus line. When King’s home was bombed during the siege, thousands of enraged Negroes were ready to riot, but the soft-spoken clergyman prevailed on them to channel their anger into nonviolent protest — and became world-renowned as a champion of Gandhi’s philosophy of passive resistance. Within a year the Supreme Court had ruled Jim Crow seating unlawful on Montgomery’s buses, and King found himself, at 27, on the front lines of a nonviolent Negro revolution against racial injustice.

Moving to Atlanta, he formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an alliance of church-affiliated civil rights organizations which joined such activist groups as CORE and SNCC in a widening campaign of sit-in demonstrations and freedom rides throughout the South. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of the protest movement, King decided to create a crisis in 1963 that would “dramatize the Negro plight and galvanize the national conscience.” He was abundantly successful, for his mass nonviolent demonstration in arch-segregationist Birmingham resulted in the arrest of more than 3300 Negroes, including King himself; and millions were outraged by front-page pictures of Negro demonstrators being brutalized by the billy sticks, police dogs and fire hoses of police chief Bull Connor.

In the months that followed, mass sit-ins and demonstrations erupted in 800 Southern cities; President Kennedy proposed a Civil Rights Bill aimed at the enforcement of voting rights, equal employment opportunities, and the desegregation of public facilities; and the now-famous march on Washington, 200,000 strong, was eloquently addressed by King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. By the end of that “long hot summer,” America’s Negroes had won more tangible gains than in any year since 1865 — and Martin Luther King had become their acknowledged leader and most respected spokesman.
Continue reading