MOST COMMENTED

Rumi’s Ramadan Poem

O moon-faced Beloved, the month of Ramadan has arrived Cover the table and open the path of praise. O fickle busybody, it’s time to change your ways. Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah how long will it be the halvah you desire? Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker has made...

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...

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,...

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...

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 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...

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...

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,...

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, you're probably living in some idyllic wilderness (that's a good thing), and you can skip this post. If you have, anti-semitic propaganda has become...

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...

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...

The Pahari language of ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir

The Politics behind Linguistic Identities Aside from popular conventions in how we would transliterate words from one language into another, no corresponding practise exists for the Pahari language as spoken throughout 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir. Usually Pahari expressions, phrases, and words are transliterated into English...

I’m a person who can talk

I can dance, I can sing I only do my thing I can run, I can hide I take myself with pride Because I only have one life Sometimes I’m organised, sometimes I’m just a mess, and I know I will always try my very best Shout out your opinions to me Cuz...

A Message from Kashmir

Dear British Paharis I speak to you through this medium as a brother from Indian Occupied Kashmir. I speak to you for our shared homeland, history, and continuous struggle against oppression and aggression. We are the children of hills and mountains. We fought collectively against...

Protected: Contextualising prejudice within its social and political settings; the phenomenon of “othering”

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 members of our community, the British-Pahari community, otherwise less popularly known as the 'Azad' Kashmiris, but...

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...

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...

Protected: The Mirpuri “Villain” of the Pakistani Imagination

There comes a point for members of any community to stand up and be heard. And that time has come for members of my community, the British-Pahari community otherwise known incorrectly as the ‘Mirpuris’. For far too long, our absence from the discourse on...