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...
It’s ‘Azad’ - 'Free'. Okay? It's Azad! Free! This is Pakistan’s official position on 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir! But ‘free’ of what exactly? According to the Pakistani state-enforced narrative, we’re free from Indian tyranny. Women aren’t being raped by Indian soldiers, and by ‘Indian’ they mean 'non-Muslim' soldiers, without failing to mention there are as many Muslims in India. Youth aren't being disappeared and we don't have...
Those who argue that Kashmir is really the Valley of Kashmir and that Kashmiris are really the ethnic Kashmiris of the Valley are engaged in deliberate disinformation. They want you to think that they are making ethno-linguistic claims about the people we call "Kashmiris" but they are actually making political claims about the territory we call "Kashmir". Historically, Kashmir has...
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...
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