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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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, 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

I can recall vividly my first foray into the cyber world of racist dribble dribble against Azad Kashmiris courtesy of a small group of ethnonationalists fighting over Kashmir. It began like this. People everywhere want to learn something about their past. I did too. I was born in...

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...

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...

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 spoken throughout the so-called 'Azad' or the 'Free' Territory of Pakistan Controlled Jammu & Kashmir. Usually Pahari...

What exactly is “cultural heritage”?

What do we mean by the term ‘cultural heritage’? For my British-Pahari readers, I have compiled a series of short posts to educate them about their cultural heritage, as a means of showing them that modern identities have never been around since time immemorial. Identities...

The Governance Dilemma in so-called “Azad” Jammu Kashmir

This footage makes an attempt to summarise the effort of Mahmood Ahmed Musafir in light of his herculean effort to address the near absence of governance in AJK. #ajk #AjkMagayAzadi DAY 53 Quote of the Day “I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my...

The Dilemma of ‘A’JK State; trying to understand its cogs and bolts

From Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's search for modern-day governance in 2018 to the Maharajah's dream of a neutral state in 1947. How can we connect the sham democracy of AJK with our diaspora living in a mature democracy in the UK. DAY 47 #ajk #AjkMagayAzadi Quote of the Day “It...

Understanding the Kashmir Conflict, the international narrative

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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...

What’s in a name? A brief look into place names of Azad Kashmir

Unknown (or often untold) stories live on in the names of villages and towns in the Pahar region of divided Jammu & Kashmir. Variably known as the 'Pahari Ilaqah', or the 'Pir Panjal' region, this area has a rich cultural heritage. The names of...