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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 is the place from where our forebears originated,...

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 Feudalism of the Western Himalaya; Patronage, Caste Myths and Colonialism

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with some local guys as they consumed 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...

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

I’ve said on this site, at various places, that 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...

Propaganda and Digital Media; the curious case of Authoritarianism and Online Bullshit

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 facts and create vibrant friendships. Sadly,...

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...

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...

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

It’s ‘Azad’ - 'Free'. "Okay!?" "It's Azad!" "Free!" This is Pakistan’s official stance on 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir. But what is Azad 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...

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...

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...

Reclaiming Azad Jammu Kashmir For Her People

The Evolution of AJK Public Agency Citizen’s Opinion + Citizen’s Resources = Citizen’s Control of Public Policy The most important aspect of modern-day governance is a consensus on public narrative, which is derived from an orderly aggregate of genuine public opinion. As the citizens of Azad Jammu...

Are Azad Kashmiris bonafide Pakistanis?

What's the difference between 'Azad Kashmir' and Pakistan? Mainland Pakistanis By the term, ‘mainland Pakistanis’, I am strictly referring to Pakistanis from areas that constitutionally make up the territory of Pakistan. I am not speaking of nationality laws that apply to the citizens of Pakistan, but...

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...

Protected: Fleeing poverty and becoming poorer; the truth of dispossession

Recently, given my father’s imminent demise, he is terminally ill with leukaemia, I started to ask him about his life in the land of his native birth, erstwhile Jammu, now split between India and Pakistan. I was quite startled about his individual story of...

Mangla’s Waters

And here lived, beneath the receding waters of Mangla, my people, once upon a time. As her waters recede, and the green grass shimmers in the full glory of the sun, we are taken back to the memories of our forebears, only...

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...

Protected: Who taught Pakistanis to hate themselves?

Nearly a decade and a half ago, I got married to a Canadian in Toronto. My mother's incessant demands, innuendoes, emotional breakdowns, insults and 'third party' interventions finally got the better of me. And so I decided to get married in Canada. Little did I...