Tedx Talks By Pakistanis That Everyone Should Hear

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To get the conversation going is perhaps the biggest obstacle for women in Pakistan. We rarely talk about their achievements, and even more rarely about their fears, failures, and the lessons learnt through them. Today, we bring to you our hand-picked selection of five moving Tedx Talks and the tales they hold, to address some of the unspoken queries of young Pakistani minds.

‘On Being Young, Unmarried And Female In Pakistan’ By Yusra Amjad

“Being a single 20-something in Pakistan is a lot like being in the hospital, everyone keeps asking when are you going to get out or else, when are you going to get married.”

Yusra Amjad, a young Lahore based poet, and a member of Auratnaaktakes us down a 14 minutes ride through the life of young and unmarried Pakistani females, the criticisms they counter, and the challenges they face. As Yusra discusses several questions raised for females similar to herself, most can relate to the way a young girl’s entire personality is shaped by taking away her individuality. “Why are you indulging yourself as an individual? You are not an individual, you are half of a whole.” Through her poem Assumptions, she highlights several misconstrued views. “Not only do we assume that marriage is and must be part of every woman’s future, but we also have this very specific idea of what marriage looks like.” Perhaps these words sum up the crux of her entire conversation. She continues on to discuss the queries of young minds and her interactions with them as an educator.

‘What If Girls Were Included?’ By Sabah Bano Malik

“If we empower girls from a young age, if we encourage the culture around their upbringing, to be more focused on creating them as individuals as opposed to creating them as someone’s spouse, what would Pakistan be today?”

Carrying forward the same perspective, Sabah Bano Malik raises an important question around the topic of the upbringing of young girls. The Pakistani-American writer, RJ, and comedian at Auratnaak, shares snippets of her journey about navigating through the community. Using these as a tool, she puts forward several lighthearted but thought-provoking phrases that highlight the dilemma of gender-biased values that are ingrained in our youth. It is these that form the foundation of gender-inequality. “If young girls were told to be bold, go out and take over the world, Pakistan would be stronger, their families would be stronger and they would be stronger.”  Saba sums up her powerful speech with the importance of individuality and its impact on one’s life. “No-one stopped me from living my life. No-one stopped me from making mistakes… I was allowed to be me first.”

‘The Right Ring Revolution’ By Noor Aftab

“Small actions create big results.”

Investment Banker by profession, an author, a speaker, and a finance expert, Noor Aftab makes use of four simple powerful real-life stories to spark the idea of a revolution. From the tale of Rosa Parks to the one of her own household and more, she speaks of the need to step on that accelerator and truly bring about a change. Recognising challenges and acknowledging the need for change are two crucial steps, but are only the first ones. To understand what power a household has in building a better tomorrow for the 52% of the population is something we need to make an effort to understand. “Unless we have the push from home, it will never happen. The push starts from home.” Noor discusses the concepts of tough love, patience, and persistence, touching upon the need to cognise with the art of rebound. Women need to understand that ‘tomorrow is unpredictable’ and so they have to ‘say no to free lunches’ and ‘be your own hero.’

‘How To Build A New Tomorrow For Yourself’ By Sidra Iqbal

“When we talk about failure, we have misunderstood it. We see it to be the opposite of success. Failure in fact is part of the journey, you fail when you are trying to avoid failure. It is important to come up with a strategy where you are able to actually bounce back.”

Sidra Iqbal, a well-known journalist and media strategist, recognised internationally for her work in the field, starts off by looking back at her journey. But her narration does not only speak of the victories, it highlights several stages that are a part of failure, the latter being a part of success itself. Sidra terms the act of seeking societal acceptance as self-sabotage. She acknowledges the immense power words can hold and sums it up to the need of focusing on serving the larger community. That is what gives you access to the “infinite resource of zeal, insight, and inspiration,” and “with an attempt that glorious, even failing is amazing.” Sidra’s last words draw a crucial analogy between desires and the pathway to them, “if you want to shine like the sun, you first have to burn like the sun.

‘How To Invest In Yourself’ By Meenah Tariq

“At seven, I thought I was invincible, I thought I was already a star. At twenty-four, I was much less sure. I still had ideas, but I wasn’t sure what the ideas were worth anymore.”

Meenah Tariq, gives the perfect closure to our thoughts by enlightening us about her journey of entrepreneurship to becoming a venture capitalist. Behind her may be what is termed as a string of business failures but in fact, they all contribute to the individual she is today. Meenah revisits the self-doubt that haunted her at age twenty-four: “I had seen nothing of the world and somewhere along the line, I had lost the will to do so.” But the truth is, in a society that “does not encourage this school of thought”, this is what sets one apart. Perhaps there is a need to rephrase and reconsider the usage of “lack of focus.”What if the focus was to reinvent yourself constantly? What if the focus was to become such a complex mix of ideas that there is nobody else like you being churned out of this academia and this society?” Failure can in fact be synonymous with continued investment. The real investment in yourself does not lie in the returns it gives off. It is in the time you spend learning everything that makes you, YOU!

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