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The Feudalism of the Western Himalaya and Myths of Caste Identities

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with some local guys consuming copious amounts of alcohol to the backdrop of a varied playlist, and it dawned upon me that my opposite number were unaware of the caste titles they were fondly using as...

Fake News, False Narratives and Identity Politics, Silencing Dissent through Digital Media and Search Engine Manipulation

Digital Media particularly through interactive platforms like Wikipedia and Social Media, are vehicles of disinformation and political propaganda. Whatever the nature of an online conversation, be it a family’s travel vlogs, pictures, fashion tips, food stories - “dad’s visit to Israel” - when a...

Appraising Mirpur’s documented history, the story of Kashmir before and after 1846

Mirpur was the name of an historical settlement in the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir (1846 – 1947), variably known as Kashmir State, Jammu Kingdom and/or the Dogra Raj. The name Mirpur postdates the principality’s alleged founding in the 1600s. Centuries later, the...

Ethnic tokenism in electoral politics and the laws of unintended consequences

There was a time when you could walk into any local Labour Party branch meeting in the densely populated Pakistani constituency wards of England, and you would realise that something was breathtakingly afoot. The room would be overcrowded. Almost entirely male-dominated with the usual...

The Curious Case of Authoritarianism, Digital Media & Pseudoscience

Don't trust everything you read online. You'll be duped into believing utter tosh. This holds true for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Had it not been for authoritarianism and control freaks, these spaces would have been wonderful places to learn...

The curious case of the anecdote becoming narrative

Internalising the negative perceptions of out-group members is not proof that there’s something inherently wrong with your in-group identity. This has happened to lots of people who have been ‘othered’ through a combination of factors that include inaccurate media portrayals, native informants and unjust social...

Contextualising prejudice within its social and political settings; explaining why and how Pakistanis demonise Mirpuris

The following post was updated 30 October 2020 https://youtu.be/97IES3jFOg0 There comes a point for members of a community to stand up and be heard. And that time has now come for British Azad Kashmiris, otherwise less popularly known as the Kashmiris, but selectively as the Mirpuris.   For...

Pakistan’s Article 370 Delusions; the Free State that is not Free!

It’s ‘Azad’ - 'Free'. "Okay!?" "It's Azad Kashmir!" "Free!" This is Pakistan’s official stance on 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir. But what is Kashmir ‘free’ of? According to the Pakistani state-enforced narrative, Azad Kashmiris are free from Indian tyranny. Women aren’t being raped by Indian soldiers, and by Indian they mean non-Muslim...

Understanding Disinformation and Propaganda on Kashmir

Those who argue that Kashmir is the Valley of Kashmir and that Kashmiris are the ethnic Kashmiris of the Valley are engaged in deliberate disinformation. These sinister interests want you to think that they are making ethnolinguistic claims about the people we call Kashmiris, but...

Whose Kashmir is it? Conflict, Territorial Claims & the Abuse of Myths

As in my earlier post on Israel and competing myths of exclusive origin, Kashmir serves as a good example of national myths and territorial claims. But unlike Israel, Kashmir has a special place for us. It's the place from where our forebears originated, before...

Why do anti-Semites say “Israeli Jews are not real Jews?”

You must have heard the claim that modern-day Israel is a country with another people’s language and religion?  If you haven’t, antisemitism has become so common these days (I’m speaking of hatred against Jews, and not criticism against Israel), that you’ve probably come across multiple...

How Mirpuris were invented by ethnonationalists opposed to Kashmir’s Independence

People everywhere want to learn something about their past. I did too. I was born in the UK. The first member of my direct family to come here was my maternal grandad. He was a veteran of the British Indian Army. Terms can be...

Muslim Ummah Syndrome and Identity Politics

Some years ago, Saudi Arabia proscribed its male citizens from marrying the citizens of four nationalities. Pakistanis were included on this list. The Monarchy had its reasons, no doubt, good or bad; the preponderance of such marriages was given as the primary reason. Apparently, marriages...

Pakistan Has Criminalised Independence for Kashmir According to UN

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Preliminary questions to think about…? How does propaganda work? General Context? How does propaganda work in Kashmir? Specific Context? Who benefits from propaganda? How do some people, unwittingly, spread the propaganda even when the propaganda has been designed to undermine their interests? What is...

Imprisoned for 22 years, wrongfully; the fight for justice goes on!

This is a summarised account of my imprisonment in the UK for a crime I did not commit. I was imprisoned for 22 long years as a prisoner of conscience. I first wrote about my experiences in 2009, in a book entitled 'Dastan-e-Azam' (A...

Oh Kashmir, who did you offend!?

Oh Jammu & Kashmir, what was your crime? Who did you offend that they long to punish you? Are you not a people, old as the nations of the world, older than the straight borders of colonial maps? Nay, nay, you are not a nation!...

Learning the difference between Group Identities and Identity Politics

Having been born and raised in the UK, whilst ascribed an ethnic minority status from birth, I discovered that identities are complicated things. Being ascribed a group identity is one thing, but not feeling part of it is another thing altogether. We can have...

Understanding the Kashmir Conflict, the international narrative

I've included the following account to give an idea of how skewed international representations of the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir's are, not least because they almost all entirely rely on a small pool of 'native' actors committed to extolling the history and political priorities...

The Solitary Journeyman

The needle has struck, the hour has come, and the open road unwinds. With a heavy heart,  I place my soul’s keeping  into nature’s lair for the journey ahead. Of human depredation, her foibles, her impatience, I know her...

The same tired mantras, the same bandwagons

Apparently, if you read the Guardian, Britain is a racist society. White writers aren’t saying this, BME writers are, because the leftwing Guardian doesn't do divisive politics, it just does identity politics, which needs the right identities to express the ubiquitous grievances. Where there are...