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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...

Fake News, False Narratives and Identity Politics, Silencing Dissent through Digital Media and Search Engine Manipulation

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 stories - “dad’s visit to Israel” - when a...

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 Authoritarianism, Digital Media & Pseudoscience

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...

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...

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's the place from where our forebears originated, before...

How Mirpuris were invented by ethnonationalists opposed to Kashmir’s Independence

People everywhere want to learn something about their past. I did too. I was born in the UK. The first member of my direct family to come here was my maternal grandad. He was a veteran of the British Indian Army. Terms can be...

The Feudalism of the Western Himalaya and Myths of Caste Identities

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with some local guys consuming 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 as...

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

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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...

Reconciliation for divided Jammu & Kashmir; working towards peace

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At some point in the not too distant future, Commander Farooq of Mong and Dr Karan Singh, son of the last Dogra Jamwal Rajput ruler of Jammu & Kashmir, could (and should) meet in Mong, auspices of the people of “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir. This...

Bandwagon Britain and the Deluded BME 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 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...

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...

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...

Pakistan’s Occupied Azad Kashmiris

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 rather a defined area that is internationally...