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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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

A quiet triumph for humanity

Politics and politicians herd us like sheep into a protective ‘national’ net that restricts and exploits us rather than allow us to utilise our strengths. It has now been nearly three months since my naani (maternal grandmother) reunited with her brother and sister. They were...

Who will win the fight against fundamentalism in Pakistan?

Vali Nasr, author of ''Forces of Fortune - the rise of the new Muslim Middle Class and what it will mean for our our world" said, "The truth is that that the West's best ally against fundamentalism and extremism in Pakistan is not, and never was, that...

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...

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...

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...