Diaspora culture are often more conservative

Zach made a comment below about conservatism and Diaspora cultures. There are two trends one has to highlight here. One the one hand Diaspora cultures often exhibit synthesis with host cultures and can be quite novel and innovative.

But there is another trend which is a cultural universal: Diaspora cultures often exhibit archaism and crystallize old-fashioned norms and practices. To give a concrete example foot-binding persisted the longest, down to the 1970s, in the Chinese communities of Borneo. The French of Quebec is peculiar in part because it preserves characteristics of older French dialects. The same is true of some Anglo-American English dialects.

Accents of Leaders

What happened to South Asia’s leaders. The last one to have a decent accent in the English language was Benazir Bhutto. Bandaranaike, Nehru & Jinnah sound like Princes (via Anan).


In other sad news (this is a very old article from 2013) the last Mughal heiress lives in a Calcutta slum. How the Great have fallen..

And the last tragic news of the day, “Karachi becoming a killing field for new born girls.”

A few people found a baby at the door step of a mosque in Karachi and they handed the baby over to the prayer leader. The cleric decried that this is an illegitimate baby therefore he should be stoned. Resultantly the baby was stoned to death. I tried to register a case against the cleric but nothing happened”, narrated Kazmi.

Universal House of Justice elected

The members of the Universal House of Justice are, from left to right, Paul Lample, Chuungu Malitonga, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Hall, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Birkland, Juan Mora, and Praveen Mallik. The House of Justice was elected by delegates to the 12th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa.The members of the Universal House of Justice are, from left to right, Paul Lample, Chuungu Malitonga, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Hall, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Birkland, Juan Mora, and Praveen Mallik. The House of Justice was elected by delegates to the 12th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa.

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — The results of the election of the nine members of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Baha’i Faith, have been announced. Yesterday, delegates to the 12th International Baha’i Convention cast ballots to elect the House of Justice.  Members are elected for five-year terms.

I created a new handle (Dastan Aryamehr – Hero of the Aryans lol) to write more openly on matters with regards to the Faith but then I deleted it again.

It’s very difficult to maintain different handles but then that means I need to exercise judgement/restraint in what I write.

Omg this is huge for all Pakis

First BME to ascend to one of the Four Great Offices of the State.

as a friend quipped: Sons of Pakistani bus drivers are doing very well…with the London Mayor AND the Home Secretary!

As an aside it’s interesting to note just how conservative the British Asian community is compared to the Home Countries. Westernisation/Westoxification is the acid that burns through traditional culture (is it always a bad thing; I don’t know, no comment) but among the diasporic communities (which moved as families) they have been remarkably resilient against it.

It’s not a good thing as we have casteism and honour killings in Britain but it strikes that Bollywood has hauled India into the post-modern age while in Britain we have happily recreated 1970’s Jullundar/Gujarat

Humsafar & Shakespeare

I would answer those feminists who find Humsafar regressive by pointing out that the serial shares many elements with Shakespeare’s Othello. Of course, Shakespeare’s tragedy takes place in the 16th Century, an era that was  much more patriarchal than our own, while Humsafar is set in contemporary times. However, one can account for this by pointing out that Pakistan is a deeply conservative and patriarchal society, which in many ways is comparable to the Europe of 400 years ago. Like Othello, Ashar is manipulated into believing that his wife has been unfaithful to him. In Othello’s case, the “proof” of his wife’s betrayal is the presence of her handkerchief in someone else’s room while in Ashar’s case the proof is his wife’s dupatta in the hands of another man. In both stories, the male lead does not question his suspicions and is driven into a jealous rage. The differences in the two plots lie in the motivations of the manipulator as well as the reactions of the innocent wife.


Will India and Pakistan Learn from the Historic Korea Summit?

The gradual process of mending ties through sports, cultural exchanges and the historic meet presents a lesson for several sparring countries across the world. This is particularly true for India and Pakistan, as the South Asian neighbours were also partitioned from one region and share a historical, socio-cultural and linguistic inheritance, as the two Koreas do.

So the question remains of whether India and Pakistan be rid of their adamant attitudes and restart the athletic and cultural exchanges that have been on pause for years. This is a lesson they could take from the historic meeting in the Korean peninsula, which has witnessed much more violence and bloodshed than the Indian subcontinent in the last six decades. Over 12 lakh people are estimated to have been killed in the Korean War, as compared to over a lakh in the Kashmir conflict, the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

Will India and Pakistan Learn from the Historic Korea Summit?

My quibble is that the two Koreas are more akin to the two Punjabs or Bengals than they are to Indo-Pak.

India and Pakistan now have very different national traditions where the modern states are built on a rivalry with one another. Pakistan much more so than India but as Kabir says there is far too much blood under the bridge (I’ve butchered that saying) that the best we can hope for is normalised relations.

I don’t know much about Korean history but there is another different; unified Korea is a bit like unified Germany there is one national narrative. But think Anschluss (Austria + Germany) would it be the Catholic Hapsburg or Protestant Prussians (let’s set aside the last example of Anshluss) that would define the hypothetical Germanic state.

Similarly would Indo-Pak reunification be Akhand Bharat or the Mughals resurrected since I imagine no one has the appetite for the Raj.

LV on Indira response

Rahul Sinha, lives in India

Question asked: Why did Indira Gandhi declare emergency in India? What exactly did happen during that period?

Lets put first things first. So, in this the first thing is what’s the emergency?

Emergency is a state where your fundamental rights used to be suspended. It means that state can take any action and people have no rights to oppose the orders. During emergency, thousands of people arrested and put behind the bars without trials. The media has  no rights to report. Mass sterilization were conducted. And, States policies completely implemented with the force. So, this is what emergency state is.

Emergency was declared in India for 21 months (1975-77). Fakruddin Ali Ahmad was the President & Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India.

Continue reading LV on Indira response

LV on Indira


This woman, was the most respectable electoral choice India has ever made for PM. Just compare her to PM Modi who cannot hold a candle to her charisma, intellect and pedigree. Indian democracy has gone backward in 30 years, Modi cannot even express forget defend himself because he can’t speak English. ?

Vidhi asked me to contextualise my thoughts in addition to hers. I would hazard that Indira was India’s best PM; she basically destroyed Pakistan.

If it had been Nehru or Shastri or even Modi instead of Indira there would have been an East Pakistan Wing. It took Indira’s grit and steel to shatter India’s more persistent enemy once and for all.

Ps: I just finished the video and I found it thrilling. Indira reminds me of Benazir but an even grander more formidable figure; a living Mother India.

I love the way Indira, as Durga, dispatched the arrogant white male journalist.

“It’s a question of whether I want to be PM.”

“Unlike Britain, which is a tiny country India is not.”

“The future of India is for us to decide.”

Her pithy response at the end, “because I am not guilty.”

The poncy journalist thought he would be taking Indira to task but instead she smashed him and his pretensions to smithereens!!

Eclipse of the Turkish Armed Forces

From Dr Hamid Hussain

Eclipse of Turkish Armed Forces

Hamid Hussain

“In Turkey, we have marriage of Islam and democracy.  The child of this marriage is secularism.  This child gets sick from time to time.  The Turkish armed forces are the doctor which saves the child.  Depending on how sick the child is, we administer the necessary medicine to make sure the child recuperates”.   General Cevik Bir; former Deputy Chief of General Staff of Turkish army

Turkish Armed Forces (known by the Turkish initials TSK – Turk Silahli Kuvvetleri) have gone through a dramatic change in the last two years.  In July 2016, a faction of TSK tried and failed to bring back TSK on the center stage of Turkey.  This failed coup attempt was the result of rapidly deteriorating relations between ruling Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials AKP – Adalat ve Kalkinma Partisi) and TSK spanning over fifteen years.

TSK assigned itself the role of the guardian of the state and Kemalist tradition.  TSK had a key role in making decisions about national security, economy and foreign relations. Supreme Military Council (known by its Turkish initials YAS – Yuksek Askari Shura) was the instrument used for military’s dominance.  Civilian bureaucracy and judiciary dominated by secular elite were junior partners of TSK

In 1997, TSK forced removal of Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan what was later called ‘post-modern coup’.  In 2000, AKP came to power and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan gradually increased his power while avoiding direct conflict with powerful army. There was now conflict between two power centers.   AKP didn’t have qualified cadres to control state bureaucracy. Erdogan made an alliance with cleric Fethullah Gulen.  Gulen’s organization Hizmet has been focused on excellence in education for three decades.  Gulenist sympathizers joined state bureaucracy especially police and judiciary.  Repeated electoral successes of AKP with control of legislature combined with penetration of state structure by Gulenist sympathizers strengthened the civilian hand.  They now felt confident to confront TSK and snatch back some powers.

Gulenist sympathizers in police and judiciary embarked on an ambitious plan of state restructuring by clipping the wings of TSK.  Several former and later serving officers were accused of plotting coups.  Hundreds of officers were charged, arrested and prosecuted in two notorious alleged conspiracies; Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer). Later, hundreds of officers including high ranking officers were convicted and sentenced to long prison sentences.  TSK was gradually losing its internal cohesion due to emergence of various factions.  Senior officers lost the confidence of junior officers for failing to protect officer corps from real and imagined conspiracies propagated by pro AKP and pro Gulenist media houses and large-scale arrests of officers.

A group of second and third tier TSK officers decided to strike before Erdogan further clipped TSK wings in upcoming August 2016 YAS meeting.  Elements from major army formations, special forces, army headquarters, air force and helicopter pilots and naval officers were involved in the coup attempt.  TSK senior brass was not in the loop.   Headquarter of coup plotters was at Akinci air force base.

On 15 July afternoon, a helicopter pilot Osman Karaca went to MIT headquarters to warn about impending coup.  MIT chief Hakan Fidan informed head of military police and later army chief General Hulusi Akar.  General Akar issued orders banning military flights over Turkish air space and prohibited movement of armored vehicles.  This upset the original coup launch time of 3 am July 16.  Coup plotters moved the time to 8:30 pm July 15.  This proved to be a fatal error as streets were bustling and Erdogan was able to rally his supporters.  Major General Mehmet Disli of strategic planning branch at General headquarters went to Akar’s office informing him that coup was in motion and asking him to take charge.  When angry Akar refused, he was arrested and flown to Akinci air base.

Coup plotters bombed Turkish parliament building and police headquarters.  Erdogan made the courageous move of flying back to Istanbul and asking his supporters to come out in streets.  Protestors confronted soldiers on the streets.  Coup attempt failed in few hours and government forces quickly restored order.  Erdogan on landing at Istanbul airport declared that ‘if we accept that everything happens for a reason, then this uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be the reason to cleanse our army’.  He truly cleansed the armed forces by sacking and arresting thousands of officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs).  Almost half of flag rank officers of Turkish army, air force and navy were sacked.

Deeply suspicious of the army, Erdogan closed all military colleges and academies and transferred several military institutions including hospitals and business interests of TSK to civilian control.  To counter military’s coercive power, he has strengthened police special forces, paramilitary forces and civilian intelligence.  In Syria, during recent operations against Syrian Kurds, army was used only initially especially tanks but later police special forces and Gendarmerie were deployed on Syrian territory. Erdogan has also expanded the role of private security contractors to fill the security gap. He hired retired Brigadier Adnan Tanriverdi as his military advisor.  Adnan was retired in 1997 on suspicion of having Islamist leanings.  In 2012, he started a private security firm SADAT.

In the aftermath of the coup, Erdogan had two choices. A transparent trial of accused officers and strict punishments or using failed coup attempt to silence all opposition.  Unfortunately, he embarked on the later course with large scale sacking and arrest of not only army personnel but civilian bureaucracy, police and judiciary.  In addition, all opposition including Gulenist sympathizers and Kurds are on the receiving end.  Hundreds of academics were sacked and many journalists have been arrested and large media houses taken over by the government.  This has divided Turkey right in the middle.  Half of Turkey hates and other half loves Erdogan.  This is a recipe for long term instability.  In this environment, it is inevitable that this polarization will affect TSK.  It will take more than a decade to restructure TSK on professional grounds while at the same time keep it under civilian control.

 This article is based on author’s talk at The Democracy Forum in London on 19 March 2018.  

Hamid Hussain


 Defence Journal, May 2018

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