Update on Hindu "back-top" newspaper publisher in Pakistan: how to help


Earlier this week here on Boing Boing, I posted a video by former BB guestblogger Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick—an incredible little vignette about a father of 6 in a poor community in Pakistan who publishes a Hindu newspaper for the minority Hindu community there, with a message of intercultural peace and tolerance. What amazed me, and BB readers, about the story most? The guy is a shoe-shiner who taught himself how to use computers and do desktop publishing by himself, and he is using a massive, older desktop computer and literally carrying this huge PC on his back to the city, where the newspaper is printed.

Some readers wanted to help out, either with cash donations or by sending a laptop or flash drives, something to make the process easier for him. I asked Bassam, and he writes, "Sabeen Mahmud heads up Peace Niche and she is the one that people can send donations to. People can send her an email at sabeen@peaceniche.org."


  1. In case anyone is wondering the machine pictured is an IBM ThinkCentre. The hand grip at the top front and the blue release key at the top rear are dead giveaways. I have a crusty P4 version sitting behind me that still runs as a great workstation.

  2. That desktop isn’t really that old. I’d guess 2006 from the DVI connector on the video card. I used to carry a desktop around from place to place (in 2000). It had a heavy steel case and I bolted a handle to the top of it and carried it around like a suitcase or guitar amp. It was robust enough to take on the bus, even. Anyplace I went with it there was a monitor and peripherals to use, so it worked as an option.

    But yeah, get this guy a 2nd desktop and a flash drive. He is vulnerable to losing his newspaper every time he caries that thing around. I have found that if you plug and unplug PC connectors frequently, the computer treated thusly can fail prematurely.

    Come to think of it though – does he have to carry it with him so he can guard it? Is he at risk of losing the machine if he leaves it at his place of work or at home? Didn’t think about that (can’t watch this vid at the moment).

  3. Thank you, Xeni.
    Wish I knew more about the software he was running (looked to be Windows 32-bit of some flavor).
    I wonder if he’d be open to Linux?

  4. [I wonder if he’d be open to Linux?]

    I can guarantee you, no. Windows is available here for almost free (pirated).

    [does he have to carry it with him so he can guard it?]

    He could easily use a USB-drive that costs like Rs.100.

    I think the problem is the printing press doesn’t run the same software he has.. or something.

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