Is our youth westernised?

Cover Story

By Ali Suleman and Arsh Azim

Our youth is well-informed, well-educated and well-prepared to face the challenges of life. They are capable of participating in any competition – academic exams or sports, or any other field for that matter. As the literacy rate has grown exponentially, the number of well informed youth has also increased. From Beethoven’s Septet to the Temple of Apollo, and from the Easter bunnies to the Shakespearian plays, our youth have enough general knowledge about the world. Even our forward emails and text messages contain quotes by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. That is an achievement! We must be proud of ourselves, shouldn’t we?

But what happens when our young people are asked the simplest of questions about our own culture, history and art?

Read on to find out!

1- What is ‘harissa’ or ‘hareesa’?

Nazish: I think it’s a female name.

(Oh, when are you adopting it then?)

Aini: Name of a bird?

(Marine bird, right?)

Rasheed: It’s a traditional matka – pitcher.

(Made of cement?)

Zia: It’s some kind of a turban.

(Delicious turban!)

Arsalan: Mom? What’s harissa?

(Ask your dad instead!)

Ans. ‘Harissa’ is a Kashmiri dish.

2- There’s a famous bazaar in Peshawar called Qissa Khwani Bazaar. What is it famous for?

Zia: Chapelli kabab.

(Zia, have you had your dinner?)

Arsalan: Colourful khussa and clothes!

(Come on! You can do it!)

Nazir: Pick-pockets.

(Experience speaks!)

Aini: Chocolates!

(Qissa Khwani and the Chocolate Factory?)

Qainaf: I went to Peshawar when I was six, so nope! Don’t know about the bazaar!

(Next time, try going when you’re seven or eight then.)

Ans. Qissa Khwani is famous for Peshawari chapel, historical stories and metal and kundan work.

3- What do you think is ‘Keti Bandar’ ?Arsalan: I think it’s a big gorilla-monkey from Africa.

(How sweet!)

Nazir: It’s a street dog without a tail, as the name indicates.

(In which language? Zulu?)

Mariam: It is a kite-flying monkey.

(I hope you didn’t mean ‘a kite, flying monkey’!)

Aini: It’s an Indian dish made by a number of fruits and vegetables.

(Sorry, I’m a vegetarian.)

Qainaf: Well, it can be a good nickname for a nauseous friend.

(Good idea! Let’s begin with you.)

Ans. Keti Bandar is a former seaport in Thatta, Sindh.

4- Pathanay Khan has been a legendary folk singer. In which language did he sing?

Qainaf: Um, Pashto?


Rasheed: Pashto.


Nazish: Punjabi?


Nazir: Who is he?

(World heavy weight champion!)

Aini: Uh?

(Err… where exactly is this language spoken?)

Ans. Pathanay Khan sang in Saraiki.

5- Do you know the total number of gates to Lahore city?a

Nazish: Umm… 12?

(yAre you sure you counted each of them?)

Mariam: Eight!

(Good. Almost there!)

Qainaf: Uh, no idea

(Even being a Lahoriite?)

Aini: I never counted them.

(You really saved a lot of your precious time!)

Waleed: One.

(Khyber gate?)

Ans. There were 13 gates in the Mughal era, but today only six remain.

6- How many days are there in Rabi-ul-Awal – 30 or 31 ?

Nazish: 30.


Zia: 30.


Arsalan: 31!


Maham: 30.


Waleed: None of the above.

(Over smart!)

Ans. There are either 29 or 30 days in an Islamic month, depending upon the sighting of the moon.

7- What are the dictionary meanings of the word ‘Pakistan’?

Maham: La Ilaha Ill Allah.

(In Arabic?)

Mariam: Pak means Pak, I don’t know the rest.

(WOW! How did you know that?)

Zia: Pa for Punjab, K for Kashmir, S for Sindh and Sarhad, Tan for Balochistan.

(And what are the encyclopaedia meanings?)

Aini: I think, the nation of Pukhtoons.

(And what does ‘Pakhtoonistan’ mean?)

Rasheed: The word is not in any dictionary.

(That was fast!)

Ans. The dictionary meaning of ‘Pakistan’ is ‘The land of the Pure’.

8- How many paisas are there in an

aana ?

Mariam: Twelve.

(=> 192 paisas per rupee)

Zia: Ten.

(=> 160 paisas per rupee!)

Waleed: Five.

(=> 80 paisas per rupee.)

Qainaf: 1/12

(=> 1.33 paisas per rupee.)

Nazish: There are no paisas in an aana. If you say there are, then I’ll opt for 100.

(*math error*)

Ans. Four paisas = one aana || Two dhailaas = one paisa || Three paisas = two paisas || Two paisas = one taka.


9- Who is the chocolate hero of our film industry?

Zia: What exactly is a chocolate hero?

(Willy Wonka!)

Nazir: I never heard of this chocolate hero. Can we eat him?

(Well, there’s no harm trying.)

Nazish: Shaan.

(I said chocolate, not lassi!)

Waleed: Shan.

(Same goes for you!)

Aini: Rainbow.

(Err… I would take it as an answer)

Ans. Waheed Murad

10- What is the ‘takhallus’ of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi?

Nazish: Qasmi.


Mariam: Qasmi.


Aini: Qasmi.


Zia: Qasmi?


Waleed: Umm, Ahmad?

(Umm no!)

Ans. Nadeem

11- Patras Bukhari was one of the biggest geniuses of Urdu literature. Why was he called

‘Patras’ ?

Arsalan: He was born in Patras.

(In Greece?)

Mariam: It was his family name.

(I would love to see his family tree!)

Zia: It was his name.

(Quite a unique name, isn’t it?)

Waleed: It’s a place. He was born there.

(In Siberia?)

Qainaf: I will go for literary title.

(And I will go for ‘no’!)

Ans. It was his adopted pseudonym.

12- What do you understand by ‘Sadequain’ in Pakistani Arts?

Arsalan: Boutique of Sadia Imam!

(Our sympathies are with you, Arsalan.)

Qainaf: The truthful!

(How truthful!)

Rasheed: Progeny of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddeeq

(You really made Us speechless!)

Nazish: Hey, I know this one. I’ve heard it, but I have forgotten. Some brothers, right?

(No, they were sisters; the Scissors Sisters, you know!)

Mariam: The truth speakers!

(Truth speakers? in Pakistani arts?)

Ans. Sadequain Naqqash was an iconic figure in painting and calligraphy

13- Who do you think was ‘Jaun Elia’?

Qainaf: A girl.

(Well, that shortens the list down.)

Nazish: A chemist!

(Jaun Elia. Not John Dalton!)

Mariam: I think a singer or a country’s president.

(Why do you even think?)

Aini: Hollywood actress.

(Acted in The Mummy, right?)

Rasheed: Aha! I know this! She was some freedom fighter during the Pakistan Movement, right?

(Not for no reason did Jaun Elia himself say “koi mujh tak pohoncha nahi sakta || kitna asaan hay pata mera”)

Ans. He was a famous Urdu poet, who passed away in 2006.

14- Whose qawali is “bhar day jholi meri ya Muhammad”?

Qainaf: Never heard of it!


Nazish: Nusrtat Fateh Ali Khan.

(The only qawal you know of, I guess.)

Mariam: Some female singer!

(Imprecise, but incorrect also.)

Zia: I knew it… forgot! Some Qadris maybe!

(Yes, Owais Qadri!)

Arsalan: Syed Rehan Pudre.

(Your uncle, is he?)

Ans. The Sabri brothers sang it.

15- ‘Waris’ was a legendary drama of Pakistan Television (PTV). It was about the life story of Sain Waris Shah, right? Can you tell me, who played the role of Waris Shah in that play ?

Nazir: Who watches PTV?

(We need another article to answer this question.)

Arsalan: Humayun Saeed.

(Just because someone is your favourite, it doesn’t mean he acted in Waris, does it?)

Zia: Qavi Khan?


Waleed: I just remember Maria Wasti.

(And I just remember Angelina Jolie!)

Aini: Obviously Waris Shah himself!


Ans. The play was not about the life history of Peer Waris Shah. It was written by Amjad Islam Amjad, casting Mehboob Alam, Abid Ali, Uzma Gilani, Firdous Jamal, Aurangzeb Leghari, Tahira Naqvi, Agha Sikandar, Jamil Fakhri, Munawar Saeed, Samina Ahmed and Shujaat Hashmi.

16- What was the name of the first Pakistani coloured movie ?

Aini: Devdas.

(Starring Shan as Deva and Saima as Paro?)

Arsalan: Mughal-e-Azam.

(Starring Maummar Rana as Saleem and Meera as Anarkali?)

Nazish: Teri Yaad.

(By Ali Zafar or Jal?)

Nazir: Sangam.

(Couldn’t you come up with a later one?)

Mariam: The first Indian coloured movie was Pakeeza I remember. Maybe Pakistan’s was the same.

(So the incident dates back to pre-1947 India, right?)

Ans. The first Pakistani coloured movie was Naila.


17- Faiz Ahmad Faiz got a Lenin Peace Prize for literature, or chemistry?Qainaf: Literature.

(One, love.)

Nazish: Chemistry

(One all!)

Nazir: Literature .

(Two, one.)

Zia: Poetry!

(Two all)

Aini: Literature

(Three, two! literature wins!)

(Ans. Lenin ‘Peace’ Prize is usually given for Peace.)

18- Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the hero of the Muslim educational revolution in the Indian subcontinent. Is ‘Sir Syed’ his family name, or a degree ?

Qainaf: It’s his family name.


Mariam: He might have got the title of ‘Sir Syed’.


Nazir: It’s a degree.


Zia: Degree. It wasn’t a family name.


Arsalan: I think he was called ‘sir’, because he had many students.

(We appreciate your courage, dear.)

Ans. Sir is a title given by the British government. Syed is his cast.

19- Who constructed the GT Road?

Arsalan: Benazir Bhutto.

(Keep trying, buddy. Who knows you will appointed a Federal Minister!)

Maham: Alexander, I guess.

(Alexander Fleming?)

Mariam: Not the faintest idea!

(We appreciate your honesty, Mariam.)

Waleed: Some Shah Suri I guess.


Nazish: Abrar-ul-Haq. Remember, he even mentioned it in one of his songs? :p

(And Sajjad Ali deposed the Chief Justice, right?)

Ans. Sher Shah Soori

20- Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad was a prominent name during the Indian Freedom Movement. What was his post in the Muslim League when the Partition took place?

Arsalan: As the ‘captain’ of the League!

(And Mountbatten was the Vice-Captain, right?)

Mariam: Maybe some molvi or imam?

(No, that was Pandit Nehru, Mariam!)

Nazir: Who is Abdul Kalam?

(I suggest you read the question again.)

Waleed: He wasn’t alive then.

(Same goes for you!)

Aini: What do you want me to say?

(And for you, too.)

Ans. He was a member of the Indian National Congress. He had strongly opposed the formation of Pakistan, and stayed in India. He even served as the first Indian Education Minister after the Partition.

21- Dr Abdus Salam was the only Pakistani to win the Nobel Prize. For which book did he win it?

Zia: No idea.


Arsalan: Physics.

(For ninth grade?)

Maham: It was some chemistry book.

(Which gained him a Physics Nobel Prize!)

Mariam: I know this one. He had two, three books, and got the prize for them.

(And you think you knew this one?)

Nazish: It wasn’t for a book. It was for some atomic bomb’s idea.

(Must have been a ‘mind-blowing’ idea!)

Ans. It wasn’t for any book. It was for the electro-weak theory, which he presented along with Sheldon lee Ghashow and Stephen Weinberg.

22- Who was Muhammad Shah Rangeela ? A stage drama actor or an Urdu novelist ?

Zia: Rangeela was an actor.

(Muhammad was a soccer player, and Shah was a fashion designer.)

Nazir: Stage drama actor.

(I really think he might have been one, if he wasn’t who he was!)

Maham: Urdu novelist.

(No, actually they don’t usually have such decent names.)

Arsalan: Urdu poet.

(Wrote ‘Musaddis-e Haali’, did he?)

Aini: No, he was a singer, wasn’t he?

(And he sang ‘Billo day kaar’, right?)

Ans. He was the Mughal emperor of India between 1719 and 1748.

23- Which new city was established by Muhammad bin Qasim?

Waleed: Multan.

(You’re heading the right way!)

Arsalan: Rohri.

(Keep going…)

Zia: Karachi!

(Almost there.)

Mariam: Sindh.

(Big people build big cities!)

Nazish: I just studied the sub-continent in my book, didn’t study this one in the book.

(‘Your’ book? not surprised then…)

Ans. Mansoora.

24- Who wrote the national anthem of Pakistan?

Arsalan: Jagan Nath.

(Did I tell you that your name will be published along with your answer?)

Nazish: By God I know this one. There is ‘choti ye’ in his name, yar. It’s in my mind…but not on my lips.

(Umm… Jim Carry?)

Waleed: I remember it, dude, but doesn’t click right now.

(Prescription: crushed almonds with milk…)

Aini: No idea!

(Good. We like honest people.)

Nazir: Hafeez Jalandhari.


Ans. Hafeez Jalandhari

After going through the survey, it’s time for you to answer this question. Is the western media really ruling us? Just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would be enough…

Folks, taking interest in the foreign culture is not abominable in itself. Do read about western culture, but stick to your roots. Read everything. But live your life the way you’re supposed to live.

Akbar Ilahabadi satires,

Chor literature ko, apni history ko bhool ja

Sheikh o masjid se taaluq tark kar, school ja

Chaar din ki zindagi hay, koft se kia faaida?

Kha double-roti, clerky kar, khushi se phool ja!

(Akbar Ilahabadi)

Happy living!


Muhammad Arsalan (Engineering Student)

Nazish Nawab (BA Student)

Waleed Hassan (CA Student)

Rasheed (Engineering Student)

Muhammad Nazir (Pre-medical Student)

Qurat ul Ain Sabir (Bachelors Student)

Maham Asfandyar (Intermediate Student)

Mariam Farooq (Pre-engineering Student)

Qainaf Najam (A Level Student)

Shazia Abid (Mass Communication Student)

Zia ud Din (Engineering Student)

Share your opinion because it matters here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.