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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...

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...

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...

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...

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, 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...

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...

Reclaiming AJK For Her People [Video Segment]

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EXCERPT from "The Evolution of AJK Public Agency" "Before arriving here, I can confidently assert that I was neither a patriot, nor a nationalist or even a democrat. I was a journalist working in various conflict hotspots around the globe (Iraq and Afghanistan), had regular...

Call them “Mirpuris” please! A Case Study of Interminority Racism

I can recall quite vividly my first foray into the world of “anti-Mirpuri” racist dribble-dribble that still goes on in the world of social media. It began like this... People everywhere want to learn something about their past. I did too. I was born in the UK. The...

Preserving our ‘mother tongue’

Language is a miraculous ability unique to humanity, conveying culture and identity as a means of communication, among kith and kin as well as the wider world, to learn more about other nations and communities. However, in the modern era, it is tragic that...

Identity DIS Podcasts

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Google Search Results; "Mirpuris" Twitter Search Results "Mirpuris"

What are cultural spheres?

The term ‘cultural sphere‘ can be used in different contexts. At the core of the idea is the notion that a culture can be shared between people living in a clearly demarcated territory. There are three ingredients that I would like to explore in this...

Nation state fictions and imagining the past

A lot of us confuse our 'countries', and the technical term for what I'm describing is 'nation states', with ideas of historical continuity. We tend to confuse our countries delineated by their map-depicted borders as being the product of a natural timeline that connects...

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...

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...