The discussion on Muslim birthrates is verging on the obscene. As I’ve mentioned before the problem with multi-ethnic multi-religious liberal democracies is that people start tracking population data. One strong about the autocratic and mercantile Khaleej Gulf Arab states is that they are simply indifferent to their population; you are either a citizen or not. I can see the Rise & Rise of Dubai as a enlightened despotic trading entrepot for Indians, Pakistanis and other Asians.
Vidhi made the very important to me in our discussions that as a Sindhi, she has an interest in her homeland. But she also made the critical point (I’m the only Punditeer who’s married to the enemy; the rest of you encounter them online whichever side your on) that she wouldn’t be able to dress as a Hindu
The importance of Khorasan to Turan, which I will expand on in future posts. There were two great Persian dialects in the middle ages; Sabk-e Khorasan and Sabk-e Hind. One of the great mysteries is what contributed to the intense “Persianiasation” of Khorasan; when it was originally Parthian/Eastern Iranian and “Aryan”.
The vagaries of the Iranian borders is such that we conceive “Iran” as being the modern Republic. But it’s very clear that Iran is bifurcated by the two great deserts; Dasht-e-Lut and Dasht-e-Kavir. One can even spot out the “Baluchistan territory”. Geography is probably the most important determiner of ethno-linguistic faultlines. One noticeable aspect of Iranians is that they hug mountains fairly well. Of all the Iranic populations I can’t think of one that’s lowlander. Iran was an ancient power and as her political hegemony retreated, we retreated to the mountains for refuge. The Ossets, the Kurds, the Pashtos, Persians and even the Baluchs are all mountainous folks (in fact Iran can be thought of as cities on life-giving mountains interspersed with deserts).
The demographic transition of Turan to “partially” Turkic (Uzbekistan is the most populous country and there the Tajik population could be as high as 50%) is because of the destruction of the qanat system in the Mongol invasions. It’s the same process in how the Maghreb Arabised; it was the rapacious of the Banu Hilal who tipped the region (hundreds of years later in the 900’s) both into Arabisation and Islamicisation.
I’ve been pondering over what happened in the early Muslim ages that forever tipped the original core around Medina into Muslim-majorities. Islam as an ideology fused with the Arabic culture and the capitulation of ancient cities like Damascus, Cairo & Baghdad (or Ctesphion; the Sassanian capital) just created a perfect storm.
The Sykes-Picot is of course wholly artificial and is a Coloniser invention. However it does speak to a very strong reality in the Middle East; the division between Syria & Iraq (Damascus and Baghdad). Rome & Parthia, Byzantine & Sassania (these wars are what allowed the Arab-Muslims to surge through) and their successor states Ottoman & Safavid both contested this region. However in the immediate aftermath of the Arab-Muslim invasion it created a temporary unity in the great Mahsreq landscape. Combined with a dextrous language, dynamic (indigenous faith), it create a high prestige Arab-Muslim civilisational complex that in turn transformed the entire Islamic world (from Morocco to Malaysia).