Stories about history

No, this is not Jinnah’s Pakistan

I am writing this piece with reference to Mr Yaqoob Khan Bangash’s article of March 18 titled “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. Notwithstanding the fact that the writer is a chairperson of the history department of Forman Christian College, I would, like to highlight few contentions that I have with his conclusion: “Jinnah’s Pakistan is an Islamic state, which defines who a Muslim is, excludes those Muslims it does not like and is not very democratic.” Anyone acquainted with history would not disagree with the fact that the struggle for Pakistan was certainly couched in religious terms. A lot of historians have also argued that ...

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Is it democracy you fight for?

In the biting, freezing, numbing cold Men, women and children collect together Fired up with the zeal, energy and adrenaline Coursing through their veins To support….   A vague thought, a very hazy concept. Democracy? Ideals? Hope for a better future? Security? Few know, understand or comprehend themselves   The reason That makes them fervently chant the names Or raise the collective voice That they are chanting and raising. Or the rationale behind why they have put   All their cards on the table, so blindly, Yet again. The leaders, however, merrily play With human emotions, feelings and pride.   For sport, it seems. They gleefully gamble with the frail hopes And fragile confidence That these masses have in these new sailors Who vow ...

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I met with the Mayans; they said the world isn’t ending anytime soon!

I am sorry to disappoint you folks, but the world is not going to end on 21.12.2012 because the Mayans never made an apocalyptic statement alluding to a complete end to this world. It is quite amusing to see people go into bouts of vigour, stocking up on essentials, sharing Facebook statuses and creating panic about this notion. I took matters into my own hands and decided to investigate this rumour further, by travelling to Mexico and meeting the Mayans themselves to gain a better understanding of this situation that has gone viral. Needless to say, it was one of the ...

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Defence Day: Does it really matter who attacked first?

It was September 6 two days ago ─ just another day in London, the country I am currently living in. However, in my home country, this date was marked in red on many calendars. Until around a decade ago, Defence Day used to be a public holiday. However, as the wave of ‘enlightenment’ hit the country and we became workaholics, this date on the calendar was replaced with the usual colour. The only sign of the importance September 6 had in our history is now the special editions of the newspapers and some TV shows, or to some extent, verbal and ...

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Can the PPP actually win the next general elections?

President Zardari, during his visit to interior Sindh, claimed that his party will win the next general elections and will form governments in all the provinces. Political commentators are discussing  several theories to explain this rather surprising statement by the President. Some believe that the outcome of the by-election in NA-151, where Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated Shaukat Bosan, has given President Zardari this confidence. According to others, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson is banking on a divided opposition to win the next elections. Regardless of the basis of his claim, it has triggered a debate in Pakistan and most people seem to ...

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From Sudan: Thank you Pakistan!

This blog is not just based on my interest and respect for Pakistan. It is a personal thank you from a Sudanese person living in the United Arab Emirates for all the things Pakistan has done for my nation. The two countries share a very strong, special bond that I wish would strengthen further over the years to come. For 13 years I have lived in the UAE; a home to over 130 different nationalities, working and living together striving for a better life for themselves and their families back home. South Asians constitute 42 per cent of the population. Of them, ...

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Happy birthday President Asif Ali Zardari!

Back in 2007 as the lawyers’ movement gained momentum, it attracted abrupt attention of a youth brought up in the ‘prosperity bubble’ of a military regime. With little sense of our history and politics, many (including me) got carried away in the sway of events that followed. More in sheer aversion for a uniformed dictator than in admiration of a principled man in robes. Putting out the fire of secessionist sentiments in Sindh after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the garrison city of Rawalpindi was met with utter disregard by the self righteous urban bourgeoisie and their corporate ...

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Bhagat Singh the intellectual

A lesser appreciated aspect about Bhagat Singh, who was executed on March 23, 1931, was his intellectual prowess. In the greater context of subcontinent politics and history, Singh’s socio-political understanding showed a very nuanced and detailed insight into the future of India and the importance to transform society. The tragedy, in the context of a Pakistan that lacks an academic culture, is that Singh’s legacy has been used to reaffirm the state narratives set in place. For some reason or another, history before 1947 has been studied in limited scope within Pakistan. In reality, Singh’s writings should be seen as ...

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For economy’s sake: Can India and Pakistan forgive and forget?

When geography and history become prisoners to politics, it’s destiny that becomes the real victim. A realisation is dawning on South Asian countries that by pandering to narrow political vision they have invited misery, backwardness and suffering for their own people. Their potentiality has become stilted at the altar of political bickering which stunts the economic growth of the region. How can these historical shortcomings be overcome? How can we rewrite a new history of economic integration? Representatives from all the South Asian countries gathered, in New Delhi recently, to mull over a new destiny for the region that shares ...

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I speak Punjabi (but my kids might not)

‘Ik Sutti Uthi Dooji Akhon Ka’ani ’- Do you understand what this Punjabi idiom means, or do you need a translation in English first? The literal translation may be “one just woke up and the other one is partially sighted!” but that isn’t what it means.  This funny phrase refers to a person who has just woken up and then on top of their disheveled appearance is cross-eyed as well. It is used “icing on the cake” in English. Most people wonder why everything in Punjabi sounds so comic? Maybe our ancestors just appreciated humour. If you belong to a Punjabi speaking family and couldn’t ...

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