Pakistani writer’s social media project bags journalism award in India

The project is focused on showing an unconventional image of Pakistan to the world.

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Everyday Pakistan represented by Rohan on our behalf at SM4E 2019 Awards as Anas Saleem could not obtain a visa.

 

  • Everyday Pakistan is a social media project focused on defying Pakistan’s stereotypical image. 
  • With over 70k followers, this project by Anas Saleem is aimed at changing the country’s conventional image through pictures. 
  • It was declared a winner in the Citizen Media and Journalism category at the Social Media for Empowerment 2019 awards, New Delhi.

 

Anas Saleem, with his innovative social media project Everyday Pakistan, is changing the country’s conventional image through the lens. Beautiful, cultural and colorful pictures of Pakistan that paint Anas’s Instagram newsfeed show a picture contrary to the grim portrait painted by the international media – and that is what the world is celebrating him for.

”Inspired by Everyday Mumbai, an Instagram project that curates images of life in India’s financial capital, Saleem realized there was no similar account for the cities of Pakistan. So he created one on his own, launching Everyday Pakistan”, wrote Quartz India, describing Anas’s project.

Belonging to Faislabad, Anas, a free-lance writer, kickstarted this project back in February 2018. In a short span of one year, not only has the social media project managed to leave a mark at the heart of Pakistanis but also on international forums. Everyday Pakistan was declared winner Citizen Media and Journalism category at the Social Media for Empowerment 2019 awards, New Delhi.

The contest is by co-organised by New Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation and Facebook. It celebrates “platform that identifies, recognizes and honors initiatives that leverage the power of social media to bring about a change.”

Here are some of the beautiful snaps from Anas’s feed:

 

 

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Sweet Dreams. Photo @zoralnaik #karachi #everydaypakistan #everydayeverywhere

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The Pink Riders is a growing initiative to encourage and teach women how to ride motorcycles in Karachi, Pakistan. The idea is to give women the opportunity to have some autonomy in their daily commutes to promote economic independence. A majority of women rely on third party ride share services, such as Uber or Careem, or their male relatives to commute around the city. A female rider is often never the case. In fact, when a woman is on a motorcycle, she is almost always sitting ‘side saddle’ behind a male relative. The stigma surrounding female riders is in part due to a deep-rooted patriarchal culture partly influenced by European tradition. Sitting aside results from a misunderstanding of the concepts of virginity and modesty. The Pink Riders are actively working to dismantle these misconceptions. Riding aside on a horse can be traced back to 14th-century when it was thought it could preserve a woman’s virginity by keeping the hymen intact. This misconstrued idea spread, and riding astride became a taboo. Since then, the fear of the hymen tearing and the social consequences paired with it permeated colonial circles. It was deemed indecent for women to ride horses, bicycles, motorcycles, or do any physical activity that risked this perceived virginity. As such, this practice spread to South Asia with the expansion of the British Empire. In fact, Mughal portraits from before colonization show women riding horses astride, hunting, and even playing polo. Today, in Pakistan, women ride aside on the back of motorcycles, often with their children in hand. The Pink Riders are taking a progressive step to overcome restrictive and misinformed social structures. Founded by Payyam-e-Khurram, he and the Pink Riders meet every Sunday on a long stretch of open road to practice riding motorcycles. Fitted with helmets, elbow and knee pads, women from all over Karachi come to ride. They begin with simple balance skills on a bicycle and gradually progress on to learning the clutch and gears of a motorcycle to learning to ride in traffic. Since they were founded a year ago, the Pink Riders have successfully taught around 750 women how to ride. Photos @mustafahussainofficial

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Three men enjoying tea in the streets of Raja Bazar in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Photo by @akadirm #everydaypakistan

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Locals from Balochistan making Lute. Photo by @irfan_turi_photography #everydaypakistan #everydayeverywhere

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How it touched the neighbors’ hearts:

When Anas posted a photo of infamous Katas Raj temples, he was reached out on Instagram by a follower in India, who said his 85 years old grandfather wants to speak to him on phone. The conversation, that started in English but ended up in Punjabi, narrated many pre-partition stories as the elder shared how he used to live on this part of the border and made many trips to the site.

“He shared with me stories from before 1946 when, as a youngster, he used to visit the Katas Raj Temple. He expressed a desire to visit his hometown in Pakistan, but due to the political situation, it was difficult…” Anas shared.

However, the phone call had a lasting impact on him and he was surprised by the impact he was able to create through his platform.


Also See: Meet The 10 Years Old Hafiz-E-Quran Who Won AI Award In The US


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