Sunday Thoughts


I have made Kabir author again (at his request). He writes very well on culture & music and it would be a shame to lose him (and his authentically PakAmerican voice). I can also make people authors (I just realised that two days ago lol) so since Omar is super-busy just hit me up if you want to make a meaningful contribution to BP.

BP is not a safe space

I just want to reiterate (more to my mate K than anyone else) that BP is not a safe space. I do eventually want to write on the Pakistani psychosis; I may say some things that seem Islamophobic from time to time but BP is what it is, we are muddling through. As long as we’re not abusive & personally insulting (ad hominem attacks etc) then it’s all good. While I believe in the divine station Prophet Muhammed (PBUH); I encourage blasphemy to its fullest extent against all religions (including my own) as it pushes the extremities of intellectual thought.


As an aside I seem to have triggered a trend of resignations among the contributors. But just as I have returned (and iA so has Kabir) I’m hoping Slapstik (I can never remember if there is a c or not) and Vikram will return and share their unique voices. All perspectives are welcome at BP and I also realise I can be a self-righteous (and pretentious) twat at times; if I am mea culpa, I apologise ..

I am elastic, I am in the habit of contradicting myself

Like Walt Whitman I contain many contradictions and I disagree with my views last week. This is why I deeply dislike the IQ fanatics; for my human nature is fluid and there’s always a chance to grow. I’m very attached to the elastic mindset and my growth is experiential rather than educational. I could have avoided the hullabaloo if I had listened to Vidhi and used my computer more, my mobile is my mistress, I would have realised I was actually an admin. Anyway to reiterate; I don’t think there should be sensitivity to any perspective.

Kay Khusrau

As an example I personally found Razib’s comments about Emperor Khosrow* (or was it Kay Khusrau) rejecting the modern Persians & Iranians as his children to be jarring.

I obviously disagree but at the same time it gave me food for thought*.. I don’t want my sensitivities violated constantly but the occasional prickles does wonders to shock the mind and stimulate personal growth. If it ever did get much then the onus is on me to privately disengage for a little while and come back to BP; not vice versa.

The Last Mughal

This is probably equivalent to how Kabir feels about his Prophet since I like to joke I am the last Mughal. Like Akbar I have my own religion, have a Persian mother and a Hindu wife and am very open to new cultures (I’m somewhat Waspified irl but I can’t get over how much they drink so there is always the wine line I can never cross).

the Muslim Question and the state of the Ummah

Islam & Muslims are one of the great issues of our time. No matter what the faults of the West & the rest may be; the Ummah has forgotten an important axiom “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

Palestinians, Kashmiris, Chechnyans and many other Muslim oppressed minorities don’t do themselves any favours in my opinion.

The Bahá’í example

I’m not fully informed but when I contrast them to the Bahais of Iran where our leadership was imprisoned for the past decade (grandmothers are finally released after being in jail for 10yrs) I just see that we Bahai’s play the ultra-long game to win it. I actually don’t agree with the Bahá’í leadership on this since I see there is a double standards in our resistance to the Iranian government and complicity with the Israeli one (Gaza is an open air prison).

From being seen as British-Russian agents (Babis were overly represented in the 1909 Majlis Revolution) there is now such an overwhelming sympathy for the state of Bahais in Iran; that our patience has turned out to be a coup.. I have seen this first hand in Tehran where it’s pulsating with an extraordinarily active Bahá’í community that has only been strengthened by its suffering.

Where is the Internet Pakistani?

Also Pakistanis simply aren’t very interested in online blogging. There are only 4 Paks on BP (K, myself, Omar & AbdulM) and between us we have to represent the views of 200mm people. There is Riaz Haq, 3qd & South Asian ideas but we don’t really have the Internet Mughal willing to scour the internet to proclaim the greatness of Akbar and his civilisation.

Vidhi wants to go to Karachi

Finally on a personal note I’m going to have to be far more circumspect in what I have to say since Vidhi has decided yesterday that she wants to visit the land of her ancestors and visit Karachi in the winter. Sindh for Sindhi Hindus is a bit like Kosovo for Serbians; their homeland shrouded in mists and occupied by an alien people. Thankfully it’s only Karachi, in this our tastes accord since I have no interest in any other part of Pakistan (maybe the Northern areas but those are too dangerous for now).

The challenge is going to have to be in getting my Hindu wife, with an Indian citizenship (her contention is that if she ever does win a Nobel, it should be for India) a visa to our Muslim Republic.. fun times ahead!

* Khosrow I is known for saying a philosophic quote that follows:

We examined the customs of our forebears, but, concerned with the discovery of the truth, we [also] studied the customs and conducts of the Romans and Indians and accepted those among them which seemed reasonable and praiseworthy, not merely likeable. We have not rejected anyone because they belonged to a different religion or people. And having examined “the good customs and laws of our ancestors as well as those of the foreigners, we have not declined to adopt anything which was good nor to avoid anything which was bad. Affection for our forebears did not lead us to accept customs which were not good.[39]

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6 years ago

I’m so glad Lady V wants to go to Karachi. Please come to Lahore as well. Since you are into the Indo-Persian Mughal heritage, you must come to Lahore. The Fort, The Badshahi Mosque, Kamran ki Baradari. Lahore is probably the most “Mughal” city in Pakistan.

I understand Islam can be criticized on BP. I’m cool with that. I just want the criticism to be based on a little bit of research and not just Muslim-bashing. But I will learn to ignore things that I find stupid or offensive. Also, I don’t represent Pakistan. I represent only myself.

But I will primarily be on my own blog because as SS said on one of the threads “creative control” is important for me. Also, I want to write about topics that I am interested in and actually get responses from people who are interested in those topics as well. I’m not into ginning up controversy to get clicks.

6 years ago

But you do raise an interesting question: Why are there not more Pakistanis writing on blogs? Perhaps blogs don’t pay. My parents for example write occasional columns for DAWN (not for free). My mother has written a book. There are regular columnists who have a dedicated spot every week. They get paid by the word.

I invited Waseem (my Kashmiri friend) to contribute to BP. He immediately wanted to know if he was going to get paid. Granted, journalism is his profession, so it’s not an entirely illegitimate question. I’m writing for free right now but the goal is that people will commission me to write and then pay me. Like Pankaj Mishra is paid by NYRB and LRB. BP is a labor of love but otherwise writers don’t write for free.

I also think most Pakistanis are not trained in writing or in humanities. Probably writing English is not easy for them. My dad trained me to write one page a day. He didn’t care what the topic was but he insisted that one page be written every day, even if it was just a diary of the day. Writing is a learned habit.

Are you a Pakistani citizen or do you also need a visa to enter Pakistan (don’t answer if you think its too personal)? I have a card for Pakistanis of foreign citizenship so I can enter the country without a visa. It’s basically dual nationality.

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