Imagined Identities Reiss Haidar -
You must have heard the claim that modern-day 'Israel' is a country with another people's language and religion? If you haven't, you're probably living in some idyllic wilderness (that's a good thing), and you can skip this post. If you have, anti-semitic propaganda has become so common these days (I'm speaking of hatred against ordinary Jews, and not criticism against...
I am writing this post in response to requests from members of my community from 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir about the words 'Kashmir' and 'Kashmiris'. They are confused about their origins to a piece of territory disputed between India and Pakistan. This is understandable not least because their parents were similarly born in the UK and have become alienated...
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 settlements preserve rich etymologies and meanings, but this form of history is rarely recorded. Numerous...
The immediate thoughts which sprung to mind when faced with the word ‘history’ were recollections of sitting in a high school classroom making notes on British monarchs. However, it is only after following the dictation of the National Curriculum, I found myself with a genuine interest in learning about history - only this time, it was about my own...
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 the number of languages on the brink of extinction ranges somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000....
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 separated in October 1947. Witnessing the two sisters meet for the first time after that,...
This is our first attempt at making a documentary in 'A'JK with 'bells and whistles'. Many thanks to all my co-citizens for taking part. Some of the background music was borrowed from Shigeru Umebayashi: Yumeji's Theme (In The Mood for Love) Courtesy of Emotion Music Co., Ltd. Official site : http://www.inthemoodforlove-wkw.com/ The other background music is a local remix,...
'Azad' Jammu Kashmir Reiss Haidar -
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 well before we became a settled community in the UK. Like Israel it is a...
Why do some of us lose our tongues in the face of social and political injustice? Is it because we want to appear ‘inoffensive’ to people who we look up to, or do we value their ‘social connections’ so much that we think we could get ahead in life by ingratiating ourselves to them? We think by telling them...
Over the past century, many 'Britons' for want of a better term have had a fraught relationship with ethnic minorities. This is not a controversial point although it can be emotive depending on your view of race-relations in the UK. I’m from an "ethnic minority", and so clearly I’m speaking from my own experiences as someone vested in that...
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