Some mass graves containing unidentified bodies were recently discovered in Balochistan. Who is buried there? the home minister thinks they are victims of the Indian secret service, but most people seem to think they are some of the hundreds of Baloch nationalists who have disappeared in the last few years. What IS clear is that nobody is really too bothered by this discovery. It has not made big news in Pakistan (for obvious reasons) or abroad…perhaps the reasons are less obvious in this case, but they may include: 1. A fuss in the Western media is more likely when vital Western interests are involved. Since the CIA needs Pakistan for a relatively peaceful exit from Afghanistan, the push to demonize Pakistan may be lacking in this case 2. There is no big expat Baloch population making a fuss. 3. Journalists are usually not allowed in Balochistan and with so many other big stories around in Pakistan, this one is easy to miss.
Anyway, to bring people a taste of what is happening, here is a set of videos from Balochistan. Notice that several are set to the same song. This is the theme song of the Taliban and their allies in the Lashkar e Jhangvi (the Shia-killer faction of the Jihadist network) and other Jihadist organizations. A look at these videos may give a hint about why Shia-killers are especially free to operate in Balochistan; Not just because its so weakly governed, but also because the state is using the same Jihadist groups to undermine “secular” Baloch nationalists. Dr Taqi sheds some light on this little known war in this piece. Its a hard world out there.
I’m sure everyone on Twitterstan (why are there so many Pakis on twitter btw) is condemning BBZ’s brave Sindh festival. Apparently the hoo-ha is caused by the fact that Mohenjardo has been scaffolded and used as a stage for the festival.
My own thoughts on the festival is that it seems rather ethnic and downmarket as opposed to cosmopolitan and pseudo-Western (let’s keep it real – the upscale Urdu-speaking Mohajers are now the core constituency of Guccistan, we like Urdu but prefer English), which is what elite should be trying to foster.
At any rate now half of Twitterstan is slinging at BBZ and his anglo allies for somehow desecrating Mohenjardo. Myra Macdonald made the good observation where were these Pakistanis when Bamiyan was being blow to bits. Also these are the same Pakis (middle class Urdu speaking Islam lot) that believe our history beings with Mohammed Bin Qasim & ends with Quaid-e-Azam.
Personally I’m glad I stay out of Paki politics (I have to since it’s doctrine for us to remain strictly non-partisan) but Pakistan seems to be uniquely affected by Tall Poppy syndrome (which deeply affects the Old Commonwealth; contrast the US & Canada) and also the developing world problem of vicious, aggressive cut-throat competition for the limited space.
Bilawal is what promises for a Hereditary Princeling of Pakistan these days; he and his sisters are a localised version of a fumbling royal dynasty. Let them indulge their passing fancy because there aren’t many other good representatives of Pakistan (their cousin Fatima is of course stunning but then again she’s only quarter Paki, far too caught up in a blood feud & doesn’t have that feel for Pakistan that a Guccistani should naturally have).
Pakistanis sadly make so little use of Mohenjardo and other such sites that at least a good send-off in some forgettable festival isn’t the best way to mark the true end of 5,000 years of Indus Civilisation. Since these very same critics of Bilawal (the Urdu speaking Punjabi Islam middle classes) are the very same one who’ll happily put on Burka & Dishdasha to make sure that Pakistan finally becomes the Arab-Muslim country that Quaid-e-Azam may or may not have promised us.
Zack Ajmal has closed comments on Harappa DNA. Though they were amusing, they had gotten out of control. But that doesn’t mean that his blog still isn’t a comment worthy. The data is still there. I check in on it every now and then, mostly because Zack’s sample has populations which you can’t find elsewhere. It can also answer some questions which I’ve always wondered about. So three things are now clear with his sample sizes/constituents
1) Like Tamils, Bengalis exhibit a dichotomous distinction between Brahmins and non-Brahmins genetically. By and large Bengali Brahmins seem only moderately effected by the distinctive East Asian admixture found in other Bengalis, and are rather like North Indian Brahmins. The other Bengali samples are very similar in having elevated East Asian admixture, and lower fractions of “Northwest” Indian affinities than the Brahmins. This is in contrast to the situation in Uttar Pradesh where there are non-Brahmin high castes who have similar genetic profiles to the Brahmins (e.g., Kshatriya).
2) The Jatt samples are unique and distinctive, and have more European-affinities than almost any other South Asian samples Zack has (more than Punjabi Brahmins, for example). And, they are relatively uniform in this pattern. To me this does suggest that these populations have a more recent infusion of ancestry from outside South Asia.
3) Syrian Christians have told me for years that their ancestors were Brahmins. Not necessarily all Syrian Christians, but their ancestors. This was so common I assumed it was false because there are about ten times more Syrian Christians in Kerala than Brahmins. The Harappa DNA results show that Syrian Christians are probably not descended from Brahmins, probably none in Zack’s sample. But their genetic profile often matches that of the Nairs, and also other various castes. Unlike Bengali Brahmins, or Jatts, this implies to me that multiple communities have moved into the Syrian Christian category over the centuries.
Since most of our contributors haven’t been enabled yet it’s pretty much me manning the fort. Two always riveting pieces from Centre India (lest I deviate from a “Brown” Topic) . The below is from Harsh Gupta who I follow on twitter and it touches on Indian identity, which is an apparently inexhaustible topic (like Israeli identity) since they have to at least nominally some measure of inclusion (purport to be liberal democracies) yet also chauvinism (such is the way of nationalism).
The Indian centre-left tries to co-opt Christians, dalits, tribals and the “very poor” into a coalition that is electorally sustainable. In 2009, large sections of the urban middle class too went with them. But they are now coming back towards the BJP, which has grown from middle and upper castes in North India to a broader coalition.
The Muslim percentage of population of what is now India is about half of what it was in 1924, because of the partition, despite faster population growth amongst Indian Muslims. The 2011 census results as far as I know have not yet been broken down by religion, but the Muslim population should be around 15%, higher than 13.6% in 2001. This would mean the Indian Muslim population is around 180-190 million Muslims. The 250 million number peddled by fanatics – both Hindu and Muslim – is simply inaccurate. Sikhs and especially Christians make significant religious minorities as well. A Letter to Indian Muslim Youth
India and identity – In ten piecesVarshney’s writing (‘Why India must allow hyphens‘, IE, Feb 13) that “If Indians can be Gujarati Indians or Hindu Indians, why can’t there be Muslim Indians or Christian Indians?”, is a strawman. Nobody is saying Indians cannot see themselves and fellow citizens as belonging to any group. The argument is simply for the government to not see Indians as Hindus, Muslims, and Christians or so on… 9. Against entrenched identities – Indian Express
…it is high time the Indian state breaks from Nehru’s construct of seeing religious minorities as “separate from us” and stops indulging in the “soft bigotry of low expectations” from certain communities.
So it seems that we are exiled from our old home where more than 3yrs of memories (and arguments, discussions, opinions) reside.
I of course have always been more comfortable with blogger than Word after all my first blog has always managed to eke out a home here.
I’ve never known whether BP still has a space despite an exploding twitter conversation on the Sub-continent. Are we marked out for extinction or does there exist a hazy middle ground between snap 140 character opinions and prestige journalism.
I guess it’s up to us to find out. Welcome back world..