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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

What’s in a name? A brief look into place-names of the Pahar

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

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...

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...

Colonial myth making and the Martial Races

Heather Streets, author of "Martial Races; the military, race and masculinity in British imperial culture, 1857 - 1914" said, "...the savage representations of masculinity that lay at the heart of martial race ideology* were a crucial imaginative site upon which Anglo-Indian military elites responded to,...

Race fallacy and social relationships

Steven Garner, author of "Racism, an Introduction" said, "'Race' is a fiction that we turn into a social reality every day of our lives. It lies at the heart of the complex, historical and multifaceted sets of social relationships to which we attach the label...

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...

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...

Social media is destroying young people’s lives

Meedi Mydi Media Mo...! Meedi Mydi Media Mo I scour the pages of friends and foe Night and day, a restless soul I cascade into a virtual hole  Betwixt my Egyptian sheets My body aches, my eyes bulge  Fingers scaling, skin peeling My head vibrates, ping pong po   I voyageur into a universe...