Thursday, March 16, 2017

Arshia Malik's essays on Islamophobia; Kashmir, secularism and Indo-Pak peace

NB: Arshia Malik's essays on religiosity, communalism and geo-politics in the South Asian region are timely and thought-provoking. They deserve a wide readership. The best reaction to them I can think of is contained in two proverbs: 
The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you - Russian proverb
What you run away from, runs after you - Romanian proverb - DS

MARCH 05, 2017, 10:36 PM
Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in ...
FEBRUARY 11, 2017, 9:11 PM
What is it about criticism of religion that garners complete shutdown of civil discourse, or a grudging admission of the flaws and fallibilities of holy texts with the ever present "But"? As a human being existing in this world and gradually comprehending one's place in the tribal hierarchy, the ...
JANUARY 10, 2017, 7:33 PM
As the news about the missing activists and bloggers from Pakistan started to spread, I was reminded of the sustained covert and open war against bloggers, activists, dissenters, heretics, and civil society in general, across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran and the Maldives. Since ...
DECEMBER 05, 2016, 12:41 AM
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state – often a Caliphate - or an international organization with Islamic principles. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for ...
NOVEMBER 03, 2016, 12:51 PM
I am reminded of this story of  Cecil Earle Tyndale-Biscoe, a 19th-century, British missionary and educationist working in Kashmir. His Wikipedia entry writes: 'In the late 19th century, Kashmir was a princely state made up of a Muslim majority ruled by ...
SEPTEMBER 09, 2016, 1:14 AM
‘Islam’ literally means submission to the will of God and on earth, it is mostly imams and Muslim scholars who have taken it upon themselves to interpret the will of God to us commoners. I remember reading Tehmina Durrani's My Feudal Lord and quickly ordering her other ...
AUGUST 22, 2016, 1:22 PM
After World War II when nation states started emerging and many colonies threw the yoke of colonialism off, it wasn't entirely because of the ''indigenous'' struggles or people's movements on the ground but the fact that colonial powers had realised a people cannot be ruled or governed without ...
JULY 20, 2016, 2:31 AM
As I see the increasingly sane and rational voices of Pakistan protest the murder of Qandeel Baloch in such a dishonourable way for not conforming to the patriarchal values and attitudes of the country, I am thrilled that Pakistan has become a reality and not just a state of mind that we across the ...
JULY 05, 2016, 1:26 AM
Ramzan 2016 from June 6 to July 6 has been the bloodiest in modern history? This is disturbing for someone who grew up in 90s Kashmir when the Islamist factions would cease the shoot and scoot attack tactics against the Indian Army to uphold the holiness of the month in the freezing winters. That ...
JUNE 21, 2016, 7:44 AM
The recent controversy of a private school asking a female teacher to choose between her job and the attire of abhaya (long cloak-like robe covering the body with sleeves and a zipper or knotted over the casual clothes) with a hijab has brought up the debate on the  dress codes of educational ...
JUNE 14, 2016, 3:07 PM
Having been a teacher since 1994 I can sufficiently speak about the transformation that has occurred in the teacher-student dynamic from authoritarian and the coercion of corporate punishment to one of rapport and bonding with the students. These days we do not call ourselves as teachers but ...
MAY 28, 2016, 2:21 AM
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has proposed its own women protection bill, recommending ‘a light beating’ for the wife if she defies the husband.The 20-member CII is a constitutional body which gives recommendations to parliament regarding Islamic laws. However, the Pakistan ...
MAY 17, 2016, 10:44 PM
When a handful of scholars since the Crusades and throughout Europe's medieval period began translating, interpreting, editing, publishing and commenting upon the immense corpus of primary texts regarding the rise and expansion of Islamic Civilization, they more or less consciously endeavoured to ...
MAY 09, 2016, 11:16 PM
Whenever we talk about the medieval period, immediately our mind associates itself with brutality, ignorance, backwardness, superstition, illiteracy and plagues like 'Black Death' – the scourge of the medieval period in the West. At the same time, a Muslim fanatic, moderate and ever apologist ...
MAY 06, 2016, 12:06 AM
I see a lot of Pakistanis fighting the good fight. Against misogyny, bigotry, discriminatory laws, for a change of the theocratic constitution to a democratic one, against poverty, against ignorance and illiteracy, against the plague of radicalism that Zia's war room plans enabled the country to ...
APRIL 28, 2016, 9:54 PM
On 24 April, Omar Bataweel, a Yemeni teenager was abducted and shot in the head because of his open secularism and free-thinking posts on his Facebook page. Yemen, an Arab country in Western Asia currently in conflict is undergoing peace talks. Talks aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen are ...
APRIL 08, 2016, 12:37 AM
It is always the mothers who lose out in the end. In the conflicts raged by men the world over, it is always the mothers who pay a heavy price, losing their children either physically or in their minds due to trauma. Whether they have given birth to sons, daughters, transgenders, disabled, ...
MARCH 29, 2016, 10:29 PM
Islam pervades all spheres of life for a Muslim. From bathing rituals to thought policing to how one should treat or tolerate a non-Muslim often called an infidel or kafir in the holy text. There are reformers trying to sift between the peaceful Quranic verses and the violent ones, the authentic ...
MARCH 23, 2016, 2:43 PM
It's time the reformers declare jihad on the extremists hijacking their religion. It would be an act purely in self defense because the actions of a few are harming the majority who just want to live peacefully, according to the tenets of their faith. The concept of a higher jihad and a lower jihad ...
MARCH 21, 2016, 1:14 PM
Azar Nafisi, prominent author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of Imagination was targeted by a professor in Columbia University Hamid Dabashi, for what he called 'self-sexualising'  her memoir of the study group in Tehran (the theme of the book). In what is fast becoming a genre ...
MARCH 15, 2016, 11:20 AM
I don't think people understand the tragedy of an ethnic cleansing, or the pain of having to leave their homes with just the basic essentials and the clothes on the backs. I see a lot of empathy, sympathy, charity, help, and outrage pouring in at the pictures emerging from the Middle-East about the ...
MARCH 10, 2016, 11:00 PM
I saw a video of Nelson Mandela in a 2013 interview with Ted Koppel answering Kenneth Aldman on the question of the ANC's and Madiba's meetings with Gaddafi, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat whom he had praised. He was asked rather pointedly if he would want any one of them to be a future 
MARCH 06, 2016, 5:09 PM
The madrassas of yesteryear are gone. Gone are the makhtabs - the learning centres which used to be hubs of knowledge, research, scientific discoveries, and inventions. If you see the documentaries and movies on the lives of medieval geniuses like Ibn Sina, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Rushd, and others, you ...
MARCH 02, 2016, 10:05 PM
Kathleen E.Taylor is a research scientist in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. In 2005, she presented her research on brainwashing at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said ...
FEBRUARY 25, 2016, 10:04 PM
What do you do when you have a troublesome neighbour, or an irritating colleague at your workplace? You either try your best to hold a decent conversation, or maintain a decorum of a relationship and be cordial or you try to ignore him/her, if they still do not get the hint and wisen up their act. ...
FEBRUARY 18, 2016, 11:07 PM
"Orwellian" is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, ...
FEBRUARY 11, 2016, 11:20 PM
What do you do when you find yourself the custodian of a series of errors, ancient prejudice, ossified bigotry and ingrained misogyny? Chances are that 90% of the time your mind, your being, your essence will want to side with the tribe. It takes courage to call out your own parents/elders for ...
FEBRUARY 08, 2016, 12:25 AM
Women have started reclaiming spaces, rightfully belonging to them which by virtue of unspoken decree, misogynistic norms and the tacit patriarchal agreement they have been deprived of and continue to be barred from. Whether it be universities, religious and holy places, public spaces, or the roles ...
FEBRUARY 04, 2016, 11:39 PM
A bizarre case was filed in the court of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in Sitamarhi, north Bihar, India on 1 February against Lord Ram, the god from Hindu mythology in Hinduism, for cruelty shown towards his wife, Sita. According to the Indian Express, the report quoted the complainant as...
JANUARY 28, 2016, 12:43 PM

In J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter Series, there is a whole world of magic created by the author, and frankly due to the movie franchise quite believable. The non-magic world (the Muggles) are depicted as a typical society of our times and the magic world of those books suffers from the evil ...

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March 7, 2017, 7:57 PM 

January 17, 2017, 7:23 PM 

December 10, 2016, 3:30 PM 

November 2, 2016, 4:01 PM 

October 25, 2016, 11:21 AM 

September 13, 2016, 12:00 PM 

August 22, 2016, 4:36 PM 

July 19, 2016, 9:33 PM 

July 10, 2016, 4:19 PM 

June 20, 2016, 12:43 PM 

June 13, 2016, 8:38 PM 

May 20, 2016, 3:57 PM 

May 1, 2016, 8:21 PM 

April 6, 2016, 2:00 PM 

March 30, 2016, 11:34 PM 

March 15, 2016, 11:07 PM 

March 5, 2016, 10:20 PM 

February 20, 2016, 2:55 PM 

February 12, 2016, 8:42 PM IST 

February 5, 2016, 11:22 PM 

Also see:
The Broken Middle (on the 30th anniversary of 1984)