How to become a successful magazine writer; tips and techniques

writers_block-e1368467379710how to become a successful magazine writer

page 2; some handy tips

page 2; some handy tips




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An Extract from a Teacher’s Diary

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Margaret Fishback Powers said, “One hundred years from now on, it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much you had in your bank account or what your clothes looked like, but the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a child.“

Assess the worth of a person who plays a vital role in the lives of a number of children. Of course it’s none other than a teacher. Teachers are the role models who inspire us, guide us and lead us through the paths of life. Behind every success and failure of ours, there’s a mentor or a leader.
When I questioned myself why do I want to be a teacher despite multiple inhibitions about the profession, I found that it’s only because of the great teachers I had in my life. Whether it’s my junior class petite and polite instructors Maams Tabassum, Naheed and Aforze or secondary school exemplary educators Ms.Naseem, Safia, Mrs Siddiqui and Yahya, they remain a source of inspiration and enlightenment through the thick and thin of my life. They role model for their students, discover their potentials and polish their personalities in every way possible


I luckily found great facilitators in college and university too. Ms Mehta’s style, Ms Shafqat’s charm. Ms Baig’s poise, Maam Gulzar’s concern and Ms Sahida’s radical thoughts opened new vistas to many of us and we blossomed into confident young ladies from perplexed teenagers.
I always wonder if I could ever be as valuable to my students as my teachers were. One who have the insight to make its scholars think, question and discover.While a good teacher is a blessing, an incompetent one can easily turn a student’s life into a hell. Students lose their belief in goodness of mankind when teachers exhibit attitude problems and prejudiced behavior.

Unfortunately, commercialization of education in Pakistan has reduced teachers into paid tutors dealing with clients rather than students. This transformation has changed most values about teacher-student relationship. Leaving exceptions, most private educational institutions are selling education at high rates. Teaching there is just a mean to produce labeled degree-holders that can acquire attractive jobs with handsome salaries only. Parents also seek for the result-oriented education that ensures fast-track secure career.

In such a demanding market-oriented environment, teachers are to drill numerous syllabus topics into students mind, assess them to achieve high grades and arrange extravagant activities to justify exorbitant education cost to its customers. The concept of truly devoted teachers with a genuine interest in students’ character building is thus extinct. The selfless dedication of instructors and unconditional devotion of students are long-lost. Reciprocally most teachers are losing their status and charisma at the cost of declining education standards despite better packages and increasing ventures at numerous educational institutions.

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I got a chance to teach at different levels; from high school to college and undergraduate to graduate and even post-graduate levels in different stages of my teaching career. On the basis of which I can say with all honesty that students from middle and lower social stratus still exhibit keen interest in their studies and genuine respect for their mentors.

However, my experiences with some of the City’s posh institutions were devastating. The affluent parents send away their spoil brats in these renowned educational institutions for a reputed degree. It’s, therefore, teachers foremost duty to please their customers anyway. I often wonder their casual mannerism. The never let a chance to demoralize their mentors. Be it a bad joke, suggestive remarks, howling sounds or arguments over assessment, they like to get an edge. However, very few show true intellect and interest in studies. Since students have a say at management level and teachers are hired,promoted and demoted on their feedback, most teachers grade them leniently to acquire students’ acknowledgement.


It’s true that a teacher is a key factor in the class but s/he is not working in isolation. Students nowadays enjoy an equal status to make or frustrate a teacher. Teachers who teach social sciences, liberal arts, literature and languages often face tough time with their students since most of them consider these disciplines inferior to hardcore science and business subjects that can lead them to a standard degree and sound job.

Our educational institutions and society are equally responsible to reinforce the due status of teachers along with the essence of education. Appreciation for Art, Philosophy, Literature, Ethics and Religion and Social sciences must be developed, as these are the spirit of human existence and self-realization. We as a society need to understand that “Without respecting educators and education, we will remain backward and ignorant.”



images (1)Girls carry their school bags as they walk along a road while heading to their school after it reopened in PeshawarIt’s a do-or-die situation. But neither our government nor school management are capable enough to provide foolproof security to our children. So what’s the solution? How long we can keep our educational institutions closed? How far we can live under threat? These are pertinent questions that are to be raised, responded and resolved at every level

Extended Winter Vacations in Schools are about to end and children across Pakistan are ready to go back to school. After all fun-filled visits to family and friends, festivals and festivities; this is the time to resume studies in educational institutions. However, the dilemma each parent is confronting at the moment is ‘Are we Ready to send our children back to schools under the open threat of attacks from militants’? I am just wondering if we are…! When I posed the same question to the principal of my children’s school in these words, “What if there’s another attack and that would be our school?” She looked shocked and responded with utter disbelief. “God Forbid! acchi baat mau sai nikalai.” “But…!, I tried to explain however was quickly interrupted with a ready-made response, “We have taken all the required measures, you can go and check the notice board at the entrance. And if you are still keen, take a separate appointment to discuss the matter further. Baqi Allah is Great, Trust Him.”
On one side, mainstream media regularly feature activities of countless committees and statements of ministers and law enforcing agencies regarding the stringent security measures and foolproof initiatives claimed to be enforced. But are they trustworthy with their conflicting claims? The other day, I have seen the warning of Punjab Education minister Rana Mashood to the educational institutions that if they failed to follow the security instructions of the home department, they would be sealed till satisfactory arrangements.
On the other side, schools’ management resisted, saying that the authorities’ pressure to increase number of trained and armed security guards, installation of CCTV cameras, metal detectors or walkthrough gates, alarms and construction of boundary walls with barbed wires on them at their expense reflect the fact that the state is unable provide security to its educational institutions

The situation is not much different in other provinces including Sindh, KPK and Baluchistan where high ups from intelligence, police and provincial governments claimed to have a liaison with the management of schools, colleges and universities for essential security measures to avoid sequel of Army Public School Peshawar incident in any city. However, at the same time the Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo accepted the fact that they don’t have sufficient staff to provide security to all schools in the city so private schools with heavy fee structure were instructed to take independent security measures on their own. The provincial governments obviously pass the buck to educational institutions by issuing redundant directives regarding distant parking, vigilance at entrance, exits and staff training. But who is responsible to ensure the monitoring and implementation of the directives is crucial to ask.
Being parents we are totally puzzled and threatened. We don’t believe in all these hollow claims, responsibility-shifting gimmicks and publicity stunts. What we are increasingly concerned about are the security of our children, teachers and educational institutions. Not only that we also demand the fool-proof security of other public places including shopping malls, cinemas and religious places.
What I strongly believe is that rather than extending school’s winter vacations or blaming each other, we as a community, consisting of parents, teachers, students, staff and civil society need to join hands and do whatever we can as our responsibility to our community. The primary objective is to ensure efficient surveillance measures to prevent access of terrorists to our schools, colleges and universities. For that purpose installation of functional detectors, alarms, cameras and engagement of professionally trained security guards is indispensable. Schools, state and parents have to bear the cost mutually since it’s the matter of our children’s survival and security

Besides, effective Civil Defense crash programme should be introduced in all educational institutions and offices as mandatory training.
Civil Defense is an effective tool to combat militants and security threat that implies emergency operations and evacuations, preventive measures, recovery and response drills. Educational institutions must engage civil defense experts and volunteers to train their staff, teachers and senior students for any emergency situation or attack.
I might sound ambitious but there are incidents in the world and in even our own country where civilians effectively prevent deadly attacks and accidents through timely action and decisions. Considering the massive scale and severity of the situation, we have no option but to learn how to combat such attacks and how we can protect ourselves and people around us.

According to Sean Coughlan, the Education Correspondent of BBC News,
“Terror attacks on schools and colleges have risen to higher levels than at any point in more than 40 years world over.” Since 2004, there is a marked increase in such attacks as indicated by the global terrorism database and unfortunately Pakistan topped the list even prior to Peshawar attack in December, which, no doubt is the deadliest and one of its own kind. Thus it demands equally serious Defense measures.
What is crucial to understand is the fact that we cannot live under terror for good. In order to rear and prepare our children in the current environment, we have to take proactive measures. No politician, state, government, army, police or even educational institution can help and protect us unless we decide to help ourselves. This is high time we need to equip ourselves to protect our future and our children since it’s the matter of our survival.


Lollywood through a Transitional Lens


Lollywood-448x241[1]Lollywood is the term coined after Bollywood and Hollywood that represents Pakistani Film Industry. It is considered the hub of feature films mostly produced in Urdu and also in various regional languages including “Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi, Sindhi and very few in English language. Till 1971, Pakistani film industry had three film making centers viz., Dhaka, Karachi and Lahore.However after fall of Dhaka, it lost one of its key production hubs which further confined to Lahore during 80s in the Zia regime.
The cinema of Pakistan is known for generating some really finest artists, directors, producers, writers and musicians. Immediately after the partition, the newly founded Pakistan faced a brain drain when most of its highly talented and skilled workers migrated to India including most actors and directors. Shortage of filming equipment further paralyzed the national film industry.Since the newly born Pakistani film industry was too young to meet the demand of the native cine goers, Indian movies remained exhibited in the country even after 1947.

Pioneers in the Lollywood: A large number of film people from Bombay and Calcutta migrated to Pakistan after partition·They made Lahore, the only city actively involved in filmmaking, their home·Prominent amongst the first batch of migrants were:
Directors and Producers: Nazir, Daud Chand, Zahoor Raja, Shukat and Hussain Rizvi and Sabtain Fazli etc.
Actors:Noorjahan,Santosh Kumar, Ghulam Muhammad, Ajmal and Shamim Bano etc.,
Musicians:FerozNizami,Ghulam Haider, Rashid Attre and Khursheed etc.,
Lyricists: Saadat Hussan Manto, Nazir Ajmeri, Tanveer Naqvi& and Arsh etc.,

The Controversial Twist
Pakistani Censor Board raised an initial barrier against freedom of expression by banning two feature films Roohi and Wada directed by Ahmed; These were the first feature films to be banned for propagating Socialist ideology on the pretext that the newly created Islamic Republic of Pakistan can’t afford to project communism on big screen. After the ban of these two movies, no film maker dared to touch the sensitive socio-political issues. The self-censorship policy hampered the development of parallel cinema in the country.

War of 1965 and Formal Ban on Indian Films: Following the Indian invasion in September 1965, all Indian films were taken off the screen from cinemas halls in Pakistan and were completely banned all over the country. Though the ban presented formally in West Pakistan since 1952 and in East Pakistan since 1962, however, it was strictly implemented after 1965 war” (Select Timeline of key events in Indian Cinema). Fall of Dacca proved to be the second major jolt to the Pakistani film industry as it lost its Dacca based film center along with an array of refine performers and singers including Runa Laila, Shahnaz Begum, Habib etc., who migrated to Bangladesh and left the local film industry at the verge of disaster once again.

Undue Censor and Social Restrictions: Pakistan’s Film Censor Board unduly restrained local film makers even at that time. A living example of it was the film Tehzeeb which was released in November 1971. The director of the movie was ordered to alter the lyrics of a song that contained reference to “Misr” Egypt. The rationale given was that it might spoil the diplomatic relations with the Arab country; ultimately the wording “Laga hai misr ka bazaar dekho” was changed to “Laga hai Husn ka bazaar” in the film’s soundtrack (Mazhar, 2008); First Balochi film Hamalo Mah Gunj was ready to showcase in 1976, but could not see the day of the light since a protesting crowd in Quetta burnt down the cinema hall where it had to be released. Pakistan’s first and perhaps last film dubbed in English is Beyond the Last Mountain’ was premiered in December 1976 with Urdu version titled as Musafir, both films flopped at the box office.

Bollywood Boom & Lollywood Decline begins in 1970s; Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military coup in 1979 led to the so-called Islamization of Pakistani society which devastated almost every section of performing arts and film industry was one of its initial and worst victims; the radical registration laws (1980) made it mandatory for filmmakers to be degree holders. In result, a number of the leading producers and directors were disqualified. Compared to the total output of 98 films in 1979 (including 42 films in Urdu), only 58 films (including 26 in Urdu) were produced in 1980. Further several cinema halls were demolished in the country especially in Punjab and govt. imposed increased entertainment taxes that raised the cinema tickets’ cost and thus reduced the number of cine goers further.images[2]    Pakistani commuters, sitting on top of a

Revolution; the Punjabi Movies’ Era in Lollywood: The film makers who survived had dull plots and gave a bland story-line to Punjabi cult classics in 1979; A regulation against public displays of affection confused the industry; Thus violence-laden gundasa culture Punjabi films flooded the cinemas as film makers were left with no choice. Stars of Pakistani film industry in that era were Sultan Rahi and Anjuman; Besides Pushto cinema was replenished with soft-core pornography and attracted a flock of viewers to cinemas from the Pushto community Afghan; The educated viewers off shouldered the rowdy audience and showed disinterest in the films; In these circumstances, VCR was introduced in Pakistan in the mid 70s proved to be an instant hit; Considering growing public demand, pirated video cassettes of both Bollywood and Hollywood were smuggled and made available at very low-cost concurrent to their release in cinemas.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Hindi films were about fictitious heroes and heroines who envisioned unimaginable situations, broke social norms and taboos & emerged as victorious. This was the period that yielded films such as Sholay and Dewar (1975), which projected the heroes as rebels; The rise of Amitabh to superstardom during 1970s must be seen in the context of the anger that’s inflicting the Indian society; It was the era of gritty, violent films about gangsters and bandits. “Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his “angry young man” roles, rode the crest of this trend with actors like Mithun, Anil Kapoor, which lasted into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini
Jaya Bachchan, Rekha (Evolution of Bollywood, 2009)

Lollywood’s turmoil continued in 1980s and 1990s.  It was the difficult period for Pakistani Film Industry;Death of Waheed Murad in 1984, Anjuman’s marriage and departure from film industry in 1989, Sultan Rahi’s murder in 1996 and Nazrul Islam’s death proved to be major setbacks to the already declining Pakistani film industry; Specifically Punjabi film production died a sudden death with the loss of its leading icons; the new millennium dawned with the death of native film industry; Bollywood’s penetration in local market in 80s; On the other hand VCR reached mass households by the 80s; Indian movies were candidly rented and sold at no of rent-a-shops in each locality all over the country; Viewing Indian Movies on VCRs was a major source of family entertainment arranged on weekends and at wedding ceremonies as a collective pastime; People spent hours in front of rented VCRs and television to enjoy Bollywood hits offering bara masalay ki chaat to satisfy their leisure buds in absence of quality entertainment at the local front.images[4]

Satellite Channels increases Bollywood’s Craze in 1990s: Mahmood (2004) affirmed that Indian movies gained instant fame in Pakistan in the 1990s due to its easy, free and excessive exhibition on Satellite channels’Satellite dish’ arrived in the early 90s in Pakistan and people were bewildered by galaxy of Indian channels such as Zee, Star Plus, Sony, B4U and MTV. With such a cut-throat competition and multiple choices, people glued to their TV sets and their evening gupshup and gossips revolve around the Indian soaps and films.

Consequently, it started affecting native culture and transform local clothes, language, rituals and even fashion strikingly; It also changed the concept of family entertainment since formerly considered obscene language, vulgar dialogues, indecent themes and gestures ignore recently as commercial requirements

Nineties was the Decade of Contradictions: Action movies era that lasted from 1970s to mid 80s was soon replaced with family-centric romantic musicals in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the success of films such as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak(1988), Maine Pyar Kiya(1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaingay (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998

The blockbuster films of the 90s and early twenty-first century revolved around socio-cultural conflict aroused due to fast globalization that blurred boundaries and led to an adjustment struggle between traditional and modern lifestyle and values. Undoubtedly, 1990s was a decade of contradictions; On one hand romantic musicals and reality based art movies revived in the era following pompous action-based 1980. On the other hand, Hindi film producers projected more graphic and frequent violent crimes on silver screen in films like Satya; It is not wrong to say that Indian Cinema was going through an age of transformation to leave its marks on the history of Indian Cinema

Nineties was also declared as the Age of Designer Film: Chatterjee (2003) rightly declared the decade of 1990s ‘the age of the designer film’— a carefully packaged and branded product in which every little visual and physical detail; from the components that make up the backdrop to the attire and accessories of the stars, is of utmost importance. Indian Cinema flourished significantly with international appeal and gained unparalleled global recognition in the last decade of the 20th century;It was marked with creative edge and efficient marketing that ensures commercial success; Arrival of a new generation of directors with international exposure, professional training and an urge to take Indian cinema to new heights besides its state-level acceptance as a corporate industry were some of the most distinct and representative features of 90s; Pakistani viewers welcomed the new romantic family sagas combining modern, westernized life styles with sub-continent traditional value system as a wave of fresh air; The craze for Bollywood flicks also heightened due to the absence of active/functional local film industry; Influenced by the Indian hits of the decade, the young generation of Pakistan started adopting designer clothes, foreign cuisine and international brands as a fashion statement while they idolize Indian film stars as their icons.

Cable TV and Hindi Films Mania in 2000s: Kramat(2005) commented that the ease with which Hindi films currently India’s most potent weapon are overcoming the barriers that’ve separated the two nations since 1947 is astonishg<; Zuberi (2003) quoted official estimate according to which a little over 800 cable companies were operating in 2002-2003 in almost all cities and in some towns in the country which might have been doubled in number by 2010-12; Bollywood films, which have been banned in Pakistan for decades, can easily be obtained for a few rupees in any of the video/DVD shops in the country’s small as well as big cities; Indian TV and Video Channels through satellite and cable network and online movie channels also fulfill local viewers’ appetite for Indian films in the current decade.

Lollywood’s Deplorable State; According to the Pakistan Film Producers’ Association (2010), Pakistani film Industry in its current deplorable state hardly produced “61 films in 2000 (31 in Urdu and rest in Punjabi) The number of local productions further reduced to 41 by 2006 with only 8 releases in national language; There were hardly 45 cinema halls in Karachi in 2000-01.” Most of them were replaced with shopping centres and plazas and as per federal bureau statistics, only 32 cinemas were left by 2005-6; most of which preferred to exhibit Hollywood and Bollywood films which are filling the gap in the absence of quality local productions

Current Scenario: Around, 16 to 20 Indian movies are telecast daily on 24-hours movie channels on cable television; Besides a number of Indian movies are showcased in Pakistani Cinemas since 2006; after ban has been supposedly relaxed on the public release of Bollywood films in the country imposed after the Indo-Pak war of 1965; hundreds of Hindi films are released in Pakistan now every year; the big ones have the ability to do business of US $1 million (Rs 4 crore to 5 crore) or more, said Pakistani sources; Some experts say Pakistan is now one of Bollywood’s top five overseas markets and could soon rival the business done in Australia; On the other hand, Pakistan’s film industry was hardly able to release only 10 films last year and there is no that these numbers will go up by the end of the 2012.

The Last Reel of Pakistani Cinema;
The 64-year long history of Pakistani films has had its story of successes and failures; Films produced in Pakistan indicate that despite all odds, the local film industry has a lot of talent in every area of film production; Yet, for some reasons, successful combinations have not been able to sustain themselves long enough to contribute significantly. As a consequence, we have only been exposed to a few glimpses of rare productions in Pakistani film industry; Whenever filmmakers think out of box and introduce a novel concept in sets, theme, script, casting, music or technique, the local film lovers admire and welcome it with open arms.

Prime examples of these are illustrated through films like Armaan, Aina, Jeeva, Choorian,Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa, Khuda Kai Liyai, Ramchand Pakistani, Bol etc.; Film Critic Nawazish Ali says that the poor quality of films being produced in Pakistan deters viewers from visiting movies; Lack of vibrant ideas, proper storyline, suitable casting and ‘original’ titles, repetitive themes, absence of modern facilities of editing and cinematography, and the film industry’s infighting has thrown people into the lap of Bollywood and Indian television; Pakistani films have been suffering due to the inconsistency of its censor policy, which fluctuated from providing ample breathing space to smothering it completely, in accordance with the changing governments.

Lack of government patronage like India is one of the core factors of the uneven journey of Pakistani Cinema: Film experts say that the illegal screening of Indian films on cable, new electronic channels and pirated films have pulled away cinema audiences; According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics (2002), cinema houses in the country declined from 545 in 1994 to 445 in 2002;Lollywood needs to turn a new page ; Future Prospects. Battling because of its survival within the last couple of decades, Pakistan’s cinema industry has retrieved significantly, simply to emerge like a lucrative business seeing ‘biggest opening’. However, despite surpassing Rs1.5 billion annual turnovers the falls way lacking fully benefiting around the growing demand leaves an enormous scope for brand new opportunities within the sector. Cineplex the pioneer company building Pakistan’s first nationally branded Cineplex chain proved to be a breath of fresh air; It plans to have multiple cinemas in various urban cities, with a view to provide quality family entertainment and to draw decent audiences to the cinemas once again. Overall the current environment seems to be conducive to filmmaking in Pakistan which encourages new and qualified filmmakers to venture into the field with better projects.  Pakistan’s Cinema has gone through different transitional periods and in recent years, the realization of its conscious decline have stuck both cinema lovers and founders;

New institutions and academies are being formed with the aim to provide formal education in performing arts such as acting and direction whose efforts assisted in getting Indian movies to Pakistan – stated he setup Atrium Movie theaters Karachi trading Rs million last year and states he’ll surely recover his money through the finish of 2012. About 50 Hindi films release in Pakistan now every year and the big ones have the ability to do business of US $1 million (Rs 4 crore to 5 crore) or more, said Pakistani sources. All the top Khan films are sold for $200,000 to $300,000 (Rs 1 crore to 1.5 crore). Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar films go for $75,000 to $150,000 (Rs 37.5 lakh to 75 lakh), said experts;As the cinema business is continuing to grow significantly within the last couple of years, latest releases have damaged all previous records for ‘the greatest openings’ within the good reputation for opening week revenues for ‘Body Guard’, another Indian hit, came to Rs31.3 million, smashing the record of ‘Bol’. The most recent Bollywood release ‘Don 2’ made 36.9 million within the first week, breaking all previous records, he stated. The sources attribute the development in cinema business towards the import of Indian movies adoption of technology and also the growing middle-earnings class going to movie theaters cost for any three-dimensional movie tickets is Rs and despite the fact that people from middle-earnings places appear in huge amounts, he added. Considering the recreational needs and taste buds of the local cine-goers, Lollywood needs to explore the niche market and develop it on its cultural strength at a larger scale. The boom of the Pakistani cinema demands a multifaceted approach to improve simultaneously quality, quantity and economics of the situation.


Cinematic Violence and Society — Bollywood in Pakistan. my research article printed in the Research Journal of the London Conference on Film and Media Studies, 2012

This study aims at examining the possible relationship between increasing violence in Pakistani society and its excessive portrayal in popular Indian movies, ardently watched in Pakistan during the four decades (i.e. 1970s, 80s, 90s & 2000s). Firstly, five top grossing films selected through popularity charts and youth polls were analyzed from each of the four decades under study (following sampling techniques of Shipley & Cavendar, 2001). 1 Then Violence Index (as per adapted George Gerbner’s Formula, 1976) 2 was calculated to identify and compare the trends in the defined time period. Subsequently, four samples of one month issues of the largest circulated Daily Jang __ from each decade (1976-2006) __ were carefully content analyzed for crime news as an authentic daily record of social crime scene.

Results show that violence has increased both in Pakistani society and Indian movies during the forty years sampled but the increase is curvilinear rather than linear in nature. The very fact reflects that the impact of media messages on society is rather slow, gradual and subtle unlike the hypodermic needle or magic bullet theories of yesteryears. Besides there is a broad observation that strikingly popular Indian movies (which actually fill the cinematic vacuum in absence of sufficient quality local films) play a major role in transmitting patterns of conduct and defining role models in Pakistani society. Above all the desensitization effect of excessive violence in movies on mass audience is also identified widely.

Crimes and Violence is one of the major themes that have dominated the silver screen world over since its advent in the late nineteenth century, and thus raise researchers concerns about its damaging effects on vulnerable sections of society. In about three thousand studies conducted over the last four decades (1976-2006), researchers have identified that incessant and excessive exposure to onscreen violence often leads to antisocial and aggressive behaviors when complemented with hostile surrounding at home and in society.

Violence implies extreme form of verbal or physical aggression that has a significant risk of injuring their victims.
Crime, on the other hand, refers to breach of law. It is thus any act that breaks a criminal law.
Criminal acts are broadly divided into violent offenses (against persons) and nonviolent offenses (against property).

According to Social Change Theories (2011), “Change in external factors does not automatically produce social change. Rather when people redefine situations regarding those factors and thus act upon revised meanings, i.e. alter social behavior, and then there is social change.”

Stossel (1997, pp.1-14) added that change in attitude and behavior expresses only occasionally and is seemingly quite erratic so seems to be true in our results that correlate rate of crimes in movies and reported news.3
Besides as Jarvie (1970) pointed out in his study that film often depicts popular reality and project popular view of the issues and its implications than the reality itself which might contribute to the social reality but in an extremely slow and subtle manner.4

The current study heavily relies on Culture and Learning Theories assuming that onscreen violence might incite certain vulnerable segments of society to react violently especially when they come across similar situations as portrayed in fictional world of films. As Bandura (1986) indicated that most of us especially children learn and adopt behavior following striking role models both in real world and media.5

Moreover this study also investigates Inhibitory and Disinhibitory Effects of learning theories in the justification of criminal violence both on and off screen, hypothesizing that people learn and adopt deviant and even criminal behaviors as a ready reaction and quick solution to social injustice when they observe reward and positive reinforcement for deviant actions in media. Even when majority of viewers might not turn criminal in reaction to exposure to violent films, they might get converted into either desensitized or fearful human beings since they possibly take onscreen depiction of violence as a representative reality of its age.

The objective of this study is to evaluate if there is any correlation between the fictional world of violent crimes in highly popular Indian films and factual world of criminal violence in Pakistani society.

Motion pictures are declared the most lethal weapon of propaganda that can influence culture, perspectives and attitude of its viewers in a subtle but certain manner. Indian movies have wide appeal and addiction in Pakistan. Bollywood celebrities are equally worshiped by Pakistani fans and Hindustani rituals and fashion fads are readily adopted by local public as their own. In this scenario, one cannot overlook the possible detrimental effects of these violence ridden movies and TV Programs on the sense, sensibilities and behavior of Pakistani viewers especially in the context of the numerous studies conducted by various researchers such as Blumer (2000), Hauser (2001), Surgeon General’s Reports (1972, 1982, 2001), George Gerbner, (1976), {Singer and Singer (1981), Bryant Carveth and Brown (1981), Atkini (1983), as cited by Zuberi ,(1992), Huesmann, Lagerspetz and Eron (1986), Gosselin and Deguis (1997), Thersea Webb (2009), Vivian, Allyn and Bacon (2009) to name a few. These studies, adopting diverse research methods including content analysis, field surveys and lab experiments, have unanimously condemned films and TV for spreading aggression, propagating ‘mean world syndrome’ and above all desensitizing heavy viewers to real life crimes and violence.

1. Is there any correlation between the rate of violence in Indian movies and rate of crimes in Pakistani society as gauged through news coverage across the four decades (from 1970s to 2000s) in this study?
2. Is the Social Crime Scene has any relevance with the depiction of violence in films?

Content Analysis is adopted as a primary method in this research study as Kelinger (Dominick, 2005, p. 141) 6 identified the fact that these types of studies require analysis of movies and reported news in a systematic and objective manner to quantify the two variables.

To gauge the changes in frequency and depiction of violence and crimes both on and off screen during last four decades, a year’s worth of movies and newspapers were sampled from 1976 to 2006__ the period under study. Following the sampling model of Shipley and Cavendar’s study (2001), top five blockbuster movies were arbitrarily selected to analyze one year’s worth of films in each decade over a period of four decades. These movies were sampled from and other authentic websites and examined for their portrayal and prevalence of violent themes and acts. Since the second part of the study deals with reported news to evaluate if violence and crime rate increases in Pakistani society over a period of time or not, one month’s newspaper for crime reports were analyzed as a reflection of social crime scene in a sampled year from each decade.

Eventually, findings of the two studies were compared statistically to evaluate if one can anticipate a link between the real and reel life crimes and violence across four decades or not.
Violent Crime that is our subject of concern in this study is taken seriously since they include offenses against people. It includes homicide (murder), aggravated assault, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, auto-theft and arson which also come under the category of traditional or street crimes.

The present study adopts the definition of violence used in Fazal Rahim Khan’s study conducted on Violence in the Dramatized Entertainment of Pakistan Television.7 This definition further broadens the horizon and scope of our study and includes both:

Overt Expression of Physical Force
Dowd (2006) defined is as “the force (with/without a weapon) against self/others compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt/killed or actually hurting/ killing” as sampled in Cultural Indicator (CI) research as well.8

Verbal and Symbolic Violence
Verbal or Symbolic violence includes “verbal threats/abuse or gestures. This might be psychologically and physically injurious to a person such as yelling, shouting, showing off weapons to threaten, mostly used as a symbol of power” (Signorielli, Gross & Morgan,1982). 9 The inclusion of verbal and symbolic violence widens the scope of our study in comparison to CI and other such studies that were confined to acts of physical force only.

Violent Incident
According to the CBS definition, “one incident is not absolutely synonymous with an act rather it might include brief breaks in the violent action, as in a protracted chase scene, interrupted by pause for regrouping and reloading etc”

Overall this study fosters the results of around more than half of the British, American and local studies that contradict mass belief regarding the direct, necessary and sufficient detrimental effects of media violence on social crime scene.
On the contrary, it strengthens the rational revelation that media violence in nexus with several other personal, psychological and socio-economic factors in the environment might contribute to the formation of a volatile generation that often lead to a dangerous society as reinforced by other studies such as Berkowitz (193l), Geen and O’ Neal (1969), Frederick and Stein (1973), Josephson (1987), Bushman (1995), National TV Violence Study (1996-97) and Anderson and Dill(2000), Anderson and Bushman (2002) to name a few.

Eventually, it is vital to realize that even small statistical effects of media violence on aggressive behavior can have crucial social consequences due to the fact that it affects almost everyone across a large population, influence individuals psyche gradually and leaves lasting impressions on unconscious mind subtly through repetitive and continual exposure to onscreen violence over a period of time .Thus any single incident of violence in reel or real life can trigger the pent up emotions and results into extremely volatile reactions as evident in various recent incidents of brutality such as Sialkot lynching of Butt Brothers, Killings, stoning and burning of snatchers and burglars by mobs in Karachi, Lahore and other cities of Pakistan and violence during Lawyers’ Campaign in Pakistan to name a few.

Thus even a negligibly weak positive correlation of +0.20 between the incidences of violent crimes in movies and news reports found in the current study may be taken as an indication of serious social implications in the long run and inferences are to be drawn with caution in the wider perspective.

1. Is there any correlation between the rate of violence in Indian movies and rate of crimes in Pakistani society as gauged through news coverage across the four decades (from 1970s to 2000s) in this study?
Apparently the two factors do not show assumed direct and immediate link between the number of incidents in films and news reports during four decades for e.g. 1990s represents highest number of incidents in news reports i.e. 370 whereas it shows the lowest rate of violent scenes depicted in sampled films in the same period i.e. 62. Similarly, the decade of 2000s exhibits second highest number of violent incidents (i.e. 360) in reported news, with second lowest no of violence scenes on silver screen i.e.76. Subsequently, rest of the two decades of 1970s and 1980s reflect relatively lower figure of violent crimes as reported in Jang newspaper i.e. 76 and 275 compared to higher number of violent scenes calculated in the top five popular Indian films i.e. 80 and 94 respectively.

Percentage or Prevalence of Violence (%P)
Is the Social Crime Scene has any relevance with the depiction of violence in films?
Apparently the two media (Indian films and Pakistani newspapers) show somewhat peculiar and characteristic trends as far as prevalence of violence is concerned. While %P (percentage of hours containing violence in films) consistently decreases through four decades i.e. (from 29% in 70s to 25% in 80s and 16% in 90s) , it consistently increases in the real world of crimes news reports ( from 1% to 2% between 70s and 80s and 18% in 90s) with an exception of the last decade during which it decreased prominently from 18% to 3% in newspapers while raised markedly from 16% to 23 % in movies during the same period.

However, the findings indicate one possibility that the effects of media and film content are slow and gradual and it might take more than a decade to change the mindset of a generation as discovered by Psychology Professor, Leonard Eron’s longitudinal study (1960) by observing effects of violent TV on its subjects with eleven years gap in two stages from age 8 to age 30. 10

It was found that the heavy onscreen violence viewers were more likely to commit serious crimes, treat their families rather aggressively and punish their kids seriously than the non-viewers but the media violence took more than a decade to exhibit its effects in the conduct of its viewers. Lefkowitz’s follow up study ‘TV Violence and Child Aggression’ (1971) endorsed that exposure to intense TV violence and crimes led to aggressive behavior by the age of 18 especially in boys and so did the Centerwall’s research (1981) that noticed the dreadful TV influence on South African village within 12 years of its advent in the region.

Thus it seems that Indian movies affect rather than reflect the social reality especially that of the neighbouring country such as Pakistan, which we attempt to analyze through news and crime reports of a popular Urdu Daily Jang, spreading over 20 to 30 news pages (since number of newspapers’ pages are markedly increased in the last two decades). Moreover, a large number of real world crimes and violent acts remain unreported or simply sweep under the carpet, while the same acts and incidents are in focus and highlighted when projected on silver screen which are usually 2 to 3 hours long.


1. Shipley, W., & Cavender, G. (2001). Murder and Mayhem at the Movies. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 9(1) , 1-14.
2. Gerbner, G., & Gross, L. (Spring 1976). Living with television- The Violence Profile. Journal of Communication, 173-197.
3. Stossel, S. (1997, May). The Man Who Counts the Killings. Retrieved 2010, from The Atlantic. com: htm, 1-14.
4. Jarvie, I. (1970). Movies and Society. NewYork : N.Y.: Basic Books, Inc.Lewis,D. (1940), 1-394
5. Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thoughts and Actions: a Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 47-80.
6. Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2005). Research in Media Effects. In R. D. Wimmer, & J. R. Dominick, Mass Media Research- An Introduction (8th Edition ed., 141-143, 393-396, chapter VII). Wadsworth Publishing.
7. Khan, R. F., & Rashid, I. (1993). Violence in the Dramatized Entertainment of PTV. Research Journal Gomal University , (B)13 (2), 205-222.
8. Nancy Dowd, D. G. (2006). Handbook of children, culture and violence.
United Kingdom: Sage Publications.
9. Signorielli, N., Gross, L., & Morgan, M. (Vol 2; 1982). Violence in Television Programs- ten years later. Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the 80’s, 2 (Bouthilet and Lazars eds).
10. Eron, L. D. (1960). The Effects of TV Violence on Children…/…-

Why Elections 2013 in Pakistan are the matter of Life and Death …?

Why Elections 2013 in Pakistan are the matter of Life & Death for us…?


I represent common Pakistanis and half of its female population. I represent Pakistan’s youth, professionals and civil society. And being a representative of various important segments of society, I consider upcoming (May 11, 2013) Elections are a matter of life and death for myself, my family, friends and at large for my nation.

Why… Because we are living under constant threat. There are numerous threats to our lives, security, fortune, honour and future. We are left with little options to survive respectfully in this land of pure. Our leaders candidly commented that we can migrate to any other country if can’t bear lawlessness, corruption, inflation and injustice, since they are unwilling and incapable to resolve the issues.


In the past 66 years, we have tried Bloody Democracy and paid its price… We suffered under Long Marshal Law Regimes and subjected to presidential and Parliamentary systems in the name of national interest, Islamization and Democracy Jamhoriat and Emergency… but nothing worked for our shattered country and bewildered people.

Since the times of independence, we heard our leaders saying “The country is going through crisis!” mulk nazuk dor sai guzar raha hai” and there is no climax of that crucial period. Thus it sustains today even after more than six decades of independence.

We yearn and wait for a saviour (masiha), an angel, a messenger and a mard-e-mauman to come and save us and give solutions to our ailments, forgetting that problem lies within us and only we can cure it. No one comes from outside to lead and guide us, We are to identify a leader from within us.

So if I and many others like me believe and share that we are going to vote to bring change in Pakistan this time… it should neither surprise anyone, nor must ignore as a cliché.


We might not represent majority of country’s rural Population, its farmers, peasants and labourers but I’m sure they must also have a wish to choose  independently for a new and just social system. Thus, if we say that we consider a new party, an emerging leader who seems to be more honest, more daring and more progressive than the rest, it must not surprise the seasoned leaders and analysts. I’m not sure whether that new party will win the election or not, I’m also not sure whether they get majority from major cities, provinces and regions but I’m sure about one thing… People of Pakistan especially youth are ready to embrace change and these elections are the best times to bring that change which is the need of the time since it’s a matter of our existence and our survival.Pakistan_Elections_2013_ncefa_Pak101(dot)com[1]

Either these elections will make us or break us as a nation and as a Country. Choice is ours.Since this seems to be the last chance to live or die, to think and act or ignore and extinct. I have thus decided that either I will contribute through my free fair vote to construct my new, progressive Pakistan or leave the country for good.


Do you think alike…?


writer[1]I have been writing for around two decades… started contributing to mainstream press about 15-16 years back

I used to write for some leading English and Urdu newspapers and a few monthly magazines as free-lancer for several years

Then I quit when got busy in doing my PhD with a full-time job and demanding family life

After a long gap… i decided to resume freelancing  and started with an upcoming leading newspaper

Considering several burning issues, I came up with a thriving topic, scanned several issues of the newspaper for months to understand its format, gathered contact details of the concerned paper and section editor, discussed my topic with the relevant editor on phone and through emails and started writing after consensus and required brainstorming sessions

It took me a month to complete the feature with several revisions, edits, discussions and online interviews

Finally i shared my (masterpiece) feature with the  editor.

One week passed and no response…I gave a call to inquire about it after a week of my reminder mail.

I was asked to edit the article further, add some recognized people’s comments in the area and make it more pertinent and precise

As per brief, i reluctantly agreed to do another revision since i don’t want to let my hard work lost in files

And also because the editor assured to print the feature immediately after required changes

Another month lapsed after i sent the revised article with changes and there was complete silence

I lost my patience and sent a polite reminder

No response again…

Hesitantly i gave a call to the newspaper office to discover that the entire editorial team had been replaced and the new editor and staff found it difficult to trace my article in bulk mails.

“Why don’t you resend .. I will take a look and inform you then”, the new editor suggested me casually.

OK. I replied patiently and sent my feature again with previous correspondence details to share the efforts i made in writing, editing & revising the piece.

This time i was quite optimistic…

However again i got disappointed since there was no response, no acknowledgement

Finally i decided to give a final call .

On my follow-up, the concerned editor candidly informed me that she rather prefers investigative features based on field reporting, she might consider my feature when they will do a story on the topic and in the meanwhile i am advised to forget my feature for the time being.

I was totally demoralised by the blunt refusal. It took me months to think, research and write that feature and here is the editor who wants me to dump it completely.

But I didn’t give up, and send my the article with some editing to another newspaper for which i used to write for years

And it was taken readily with a promise for quick appearance in print

Life is like that and especially if you are engaged in writing or any other genre of creative and liberal arts that require expression and sharing with public,

you face the same challenges.It consumes you as a writer, artist, thinker, painter and poet completely. You put your heart and soul, pour your blood and sweat and invest all your energies to transform an idea into an expression and that expression into some form of sheer sharing

you want to hear and be heard, see and be seen, know and be known

you want to accept and be accepted,  appreciate and be appreciated

BUT. it is not an easy path…

patience, persistence and practice are the keys of success in this journey of expression

if you want to be a writer… it can be your passion but can’t be your profession

It can give you recognition, satisfaction and expression… But not a fortune, wealth and regular income at least not in our part of the planet

So friends if you want to be a writer, here is a piece of advice ….

Be Ready to face the failures patiently, and be persistent to put your message across relentlessly . And believe in what you write, create ans say

And one day you shall be heard, seen, appreciated and acknowledged… hopefully in your lifetime


The Constitutional Story of Pakistan in perspective of the month of March and upcoming General Elections

23rd March has a great significance in the history of Pakistan. It is the day when famous Pakistan Resolution was moved and passed in a  Lahore Session of  the Muslim League in 1940 which made it clear that the partition of  Indo-Pak sub-continent and set up of a separate Muslim State is the ultimate demand of the Muslims of India and thus it laid down the foundation of Pakistan. Later,  after the establishment of the country,  Minar-e-Pakistan was built at the same place where Muslim League passed the resolution and the day has been celebrated as Pakistan Day since then.

But very few people know the fact that 23rd March has  another big reason to be remembered in Pakistan’s history. The first constitution of Pakistan was enacted on March 23, 1956 And Pakistan got a position of the free Republican State from the dominion of the Great Britain.

No one can deny the importance of a constitution in the modern democratic world. The idea of constitution was first elaborated by Aristotle in his classification of governments  as monarchies, tyrannies, aristocracies, democracies and so on. In its wider sense, the term constitution means the whole scheme whereby a country is governed; i.e. the body of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle of a political state. In its narrowest sense, constitution means the leading legal rules usually collected into some document that comes to be almost venerated as “The Constitution.”

A symbol of a state’s independence and sovereignty,  constitution  clearly explains the division of power and functions among distinct branches of government including judiciary, legislature and executive as well as the relationship among the central and provincial units. So, on one side if it protects the civil rights and liberties, and on the other, it helps to rule out the political conflicts by maintaining a system of check and balance.

In some states such as the United States, the constitution is a specific written document; in others, such as the United Kingdom, it is a collection of documents, statutes, and traditional practices that are generally accepted as governing political matters.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, the task of framing a constitution was entrusted in 1947 to a Constituent Assembly that was also to function as the country’s interim legislature under the Government of India Act 1935, which was taken as the interim constitution with some changes. It was federal in form, with the Constituent Assembly and the a governor general at the centre and with provincial assemblies with governors of provinces on the provincial level. However, extraordinary wide powers were given to the governor general in establishing the power relationship among the various sectors of the country.

Pakistan’s first constitution was enforced in 1956 after nine years of independence. One of the lengthiest written constitution of the world, it provided for the federal , parliamentary form of government and allowed the president far-reaching powers to suspend federal and provincial parliamentary government. The 1956 constitution also included the “parity formula” by which representation in the National Assembly for East and West Pakistan would be decided on a parity rather than population basis.

This constitution failed to satisfy the different sections of the society and finally abrogated by the imposition of Martial Law in the country on  October 8, 1958. The then Commander in Chief, General Ayub Khan appointed a Constitution commission under the Chairmanship of Justice Shahab-ud-Din in 1960 to frame the new constitution.  A new and the second constitution  of the country was promulgated in 1962, provided for the election of the president and National and provincial assemblies by an electoral college composed of 80,000 members of local councils. Although a federal form of government was retained, the assemblies had little power, for, in effect, power was centralised through the authority of governors acting under the president. The constitution of 1962 remained in force till 1969. It  also could not accomplish the desired target of political stability and was superseded by martial law.

In April 1973,  a new constitution, the third in Pakistan’s 25-year history was adopted by the National Assembly and was enforced on 14th August 1973, which is still in practice.The present constitution of the country  is in written form, consists of a preamble , 280 articles and six schedules.Fundamentally federal in nature, it contains separate lists which explains the division of powers between the central and provincial governments. It also provides for the parliamentary form of government where the elected representatives of the people elect the Prime Minister who is the Chief Executive of the country and remain in power as long as he enjoys the confidence of the House. So it makes him responsible to the parliament and to the people for his activities.

The current constitution has for the first time established a system of two houses in the country. The lower House is known as the National Assembly where every province has representation on population basis and the members are directly elected by the public while the Upper House is  known as the Senate consists of equal representatives from all provinces. Reflecting the spirit of a welfare state,  the 1973 constitution ensure the protection of fundamental rights  including the right to life, liberty, property, freedom of expression etc., and also promise equal status to minorities and women.  It is partly rigid as the method of amendment to the constitution is both complicated and lengthy. A bill of amendment can be passed only when it is approved by the two-third majority of the national assembly and also by a majority of the senate along with President’s assent.

In short, the constitutional story of Pakistan is full of turns and moves Many amendments and chances have been brought in the constitution after 1973. The major one was the 8th amendment which was introduced in 1985 and gave discretionary powers to the President of Pakistan to dissolve the National Assembly. It was recently  canceled.

In fact,  the chief function of a constitution is to serve as the standard of the legitimacy by which governments may be judged. . It requires both stability as well as adaptability to the social, economic, technological, and other changes that are inevitable in the life of a state. But in case of Pakistan, most of the time constitutions were failed to meet the demand of the changing time and were often misused and misiterepreted by the various governments for  their purposes.As a politically aware and conscious youth of Pakistan, we are equally responsible to read and understand our constitution,   respect it and protect this scared document as only its protection can ensure the protection of our individual rights and national solidarity. And, of course, don’t forget that 23rd is not only  important historically but also constitutionally.