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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...

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...

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...

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,...

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 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...

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,...

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...

Protected: Fleeing poverty and becoming poorer; the truth of dispossession

Recently, given my father’s imminent demise, he is terminally ill with leukaemia, I started to ask him about his life in the land of his native birth, erstwhile Jammu, now split between India and Pakistan. I was quite startled about his individual story of...

Kashmir’s Occupied Rivers

And here lived, beneath the receding waters of Mangla, my forebears, once upon a time As her waters recede and the green grass shimmers in the full glory of the sun We are taken back to the memories of our ancestors, only just buried...

India, Pakistan, and “Kashmir” – the Economist explains…!

This is how the Economist explains the "Kashmir" conflict using the colonial label of 'Hindus' and 'Muslims' - these are 'constructed labels' however common-sense they seem to us today! There is a huge scholarly body of knowledge that demonstrates that before the emergence of...

Bandwagon Britain and the Deluded Diaspora

Bibi and Deedee are two characters that I hope my fellow travellers on the path of enlightenment, and by that I mean students of the English language and Creative Writing, can help develop into storytelling. Without getting into debates about what constitutes a story,...

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...

Identity DIS Podcasts

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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...