What is in a Name? Al Qadir University

40 Comments

Dear leader (aka Imran Khan) was in Sohawa laying the foundation stone of “Al-Qadir University” and he gave a speech that is a good summary of his (childish, Aitchison college and Pakistan studies) worldview. The guy introducing him mangles one of Iqbal’s finest urdu poems and then Imran Khan takes it from there.. He manages to mangle Ahle suffa, Roohaniyat, history, sufism and science in this speech.. worth a listen.

But today I am not concerned with his worldview (which at least has a certain childish sincerity about it), I am just concerned about the name “Al Qadir University”. We are told that this university is named after Abdul Qadir Jilani. Supposedly Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Maneka came up with this name. But why? Why the “Al”? Al-Qadir just means “THE Qadir”. If it is named after Abdul Qadir Jilani then there is no reason to call him “THE Qadir”. Why not “Abdul Qadir Jilani University”? or just “Qadir University”?

Al-Qadir is one of the names of Allah. It would make sense if the university was named for Allah, but dear leader himself says it is named for Abdul Qadir Jilani. Hence the confusion.

I suspect that this name is an example of the neo-Punjabi tendency to add “Al” to anything they want to Islamize or make attractive by making it sound Arabic. Hence we have “Al-Bakistan”, Al-Mashhoor Fried Chicken and Al-Sultan Shoes and suchlike. It looks like the name of this university is another example of this (unfortunate) practice.

This short blog post is my personal contribution to improving the naming traditions in neo-Punjab. May Allah bless our efforts with success.

Image result for bushra maneka

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40 Replies to “What is in a Name? Al Qadir University”

  1. Somebody said Pakistan is decidedly in south Asia. I would like to believe so but for these Al’s.

    Arabic on subcontinental languages is like a well dressed lady with a nail for a brooch.

    1. No amount of Arabization can change geographical and historical facts. People can call the country “Al Bakistan” but it doesn’t change reality.

        1. The geographic fact is that Pakistan is a South Asian country. Historically, it was part of India. Ethnically, the majority of the population is of subcontinental stock. No amount of people trying to Arabize themselves can change this reality.

      1. Is “Pakistan is S-Asian” vs “Al-Bakistan” the new AIT vs OIT on this blog? On Every post we seem to be fighting over it

        1. I’m not fighting anyone. I do think it is ironic that as the person with the most links to Pakistan, I am advocating accepting our South Asian identity while others want to move us towards the Middle East. Ultimately it is for the Pakistani people to decide our identity and so far there is no grassroots movement away from Urdu.
          As for what is “immutable”, you cannot change people’s ancestry. 100 million Punjabis are not going to suddenly become Middle Eastern, no matter how much some people want to pretend otherwise.

          1. “As for what is “immutable”, you cannot change people’s ancestry.”

            It has already happened. The Punjab province government website states as much:

            “On account of its strategic location in the Indian sub-continent, wave after wave of migrants poured into the area and settled on its fertile lands and today, although originally belonging to the Aryan stock, the people of Punjab are descendants of the Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs who came individually or in groups.”

            https://www.punjab.gov.pk/about_punjab_people

          2. “As for what is “immutable”, you cannot change people’s ancestry. 100 million Punjabis are not going to suddenly become Middle Eastern, no matter how much some people want to pretend otherwise.”

            It has already happened. The Punjab province government website says as much:

            “On account of its strategic location in the Indian sub-continent, wave after wave of migrants poured into the area and settled on its fertile lands and today, although originally belonging to the Aryan stock, the people of Punjab are descendants of the Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs who came individually or in groups.”

            https://www.punjab.gov.pk/about_punjab_people

          3. “As for what is “immutable”, you cannot change people’s ancestry. 100 million Punjabis are not going to suddenly become Middle Eastern, no matter how much some people want to pretend otherwise.”

            It has already happened. The Punjab province government website says as much:

            “On account of its strategic location in the Indian sub-continent, wave after wave of migrants poured into the area and settled on its fertile lands and today, although originally belonging to the Aryan stock, the people of Punjab are descendants of the Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs who came individually or in groups.”

            https://www.punjab.gov.pk/about_punjab_people

            (Sorry if this is a double post, website is a bit wonky on my end at the moment)

    2. I don’t think this is specific to Pakistan. In Bangalore, I see a lot of street food stalls, and even small eateries serving meat, with the “Al-” prefix. Association with Arabia, however fake, seems to be becoming a matter of prestige for Muslims in different parts of the world.

      1. In bangalore, a lot of muslims genuinely do have connections to parts of the arab world and west asia, through work, worship and trade. Its not exactly on the other side of the globe and from a southern/western perspective, its the nearest “abroad”. Tamils might feel this way about malaysia/singapore, but for kerala/konkan it is look west. For some reason this arabophilia comes under a scrutiny that other cultural affinities don’t. Indians who’ve experienced the gulf also have stereotypes on the various types of arabs, eg “saudis are cruel, egyptians are belligerent, palestinians are arrogant”. Likewise the emiratis know the difference between a mallu project consultant and an odiya guy pouring concrete.
        On a tangent, there are quite a few good syrian/lebanese, yemeni, and persian eateries in north bangalore, its a significant subculture with its own dynamics. I’ve increasingly noticed the presence of an older generation , perhaps some of the students who have stayed on to start businesses have brought their parents. I wonder if some of india’s big employment hubs are likely to pull increasingly from other parts of asia.

        1. Agree with what you say. A few years ago, I quit my job and decided to ‘find’ myself. I chose to travel around the western Ghats in between Mumbai and Bangalore.
          Came across a number of shawarma shops and all these businesses with ‘Al’ prefix in places like Chikmagalur. This was very different from my previous experience with Muslim culture up north in Delhi, UP, and Bihar, where the aspirations were much more informed by Central Asian and Urdu culture.
          (One of the most famous restaurants in Delhi is called Bukhara)

          One major difference was in cuisine – popularity of shawarma in KA vs kebabs in Delhi. In fact, I had never had shawarma in Delhi before that point.
          Also, noticed far too many women in burkhas than I was used to.

          There are some regions in Bangalore (like Kamannahalli) that have significant population from M-E and Central Asia. One of my friend’s neighbour is an Uzbek lady, who’s allegedly a mistress to a wealthy businessman.

          There’s also a pretty popular Bangalore based Indo-Jordanian YouTube channel called Jordindian: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLS9TSah19IsB8yyUpiDzg

          1. In the recent search operations, 500 odd Islamic priests were deported for overstaying visa. ME, Pakistan and India I think. Another 2,000+ people overstaying visas were also deported. Not much reporting of this though.

            Its easy to come to SL on a Tourist visa but no path for long term stay even thru marriage. Maybe upper end white collar job or money. USD 100,000 investment + USD 1,500/month income.

            I wonder if India will take a page off SL’s book and quietly deport Islamic preachers.

        2. Yeah, my observations were of North (or NNE) Bangalore, where I live and work, an area that was apparently “developed” only in the last decade and a half. Given the number of visible Muslims in the area (along with the ubiquity of women wearing headscarves; hardly any burkas though), I imagine these must have been Muslim villages not too long ago. Incidentally, the public infrastructure is still at village level; crappy unmaintained roads and frequent power cuts.

          As you and Prats note, there are a non-trivial number of ME and CA folks in the Kalyan Nagar/Kammanahalli area. But they are dwarfed by the number of Africans (many of whom look like students). They don’t seem to be Muslim for most part; the women can be dressed in quite risque clothing compared to the average local.

      2. One of my favourite restaurants to order kebabs from is this place in HSR Layout in Bangalore called “Al Daaz”.
        (Mainly because they’re super cheap. If you can afford and are a meat eater, I’d suggest you try Samarkand on Infantry Road)

  2. It will still be acceptable if this infatuation were mutual. As it stands this is purely unrequited love. Arabs treat their al-bakistani brothers no better than trash. Ask anyone who has worked in the Gulf.

      1. Shahenshah, Al-Sauds are not from Hejaz. They trace their origin from Najd. This is the same region which was known as Yamamah in antiquity. (at least parts of the two regions overlapped).

        What is more interesting is that their origins can be traced to Banu-Hanifa tribe of Muhammad’s time. This was the tribe of legendary Musaylima. So it is something of a poetic justice that likely descendants of Musaylima are ruling the holy cities of Muhammad.

        In evolutionary terms, Muhammad was a loser. No male descendants. Female descendant line likely died out. (which of course means that all the sayyeds of the muslim world are fake).

  3. This is not really a good example as Gulf countries treat all their low-class laborers like trash, whether they are Pakistani, Arab, or Asian.

    In environments where both parties are present on an even playing field (like America), Arabs and Pakistanis are quite close. In my experience, they hang out with each other more than any other group (aside from their own of course), and intermarriage is not uncommon.

    1. I understand and actually empathise with why Arabs & Persians find Pakistanis so annoying.
      Pakistanis want to pretend that they are Middle Eastern without actually adopting a key aspect of the culture, which is the language.
      If our elites swapped English for Persian, it would enhance Pakistani standing in the ME.

      I don’t know how many people on this blog are *actually* familiar with Pakistani but the thinnest and highest crust communicate almost exclusively in English and throw Urdu in for effect (local languages simply do not register on this strata, except perhaps in esoteric social gatherings).

      As the Indo-Persian Islamicate state it is Pakistan’s obligation to simply replace/supplant English for Persian otherwise it simply has no credibility.

      Kabir seems to be simply a defender of status quo; nothing more.. Halflings like myself are necessary to reconstruct Pakistan’s broken links..

      1. Why don’t you run a movement for changing the national language? I don’t think it is going to fly over here. We settled this issue long ago.
        And if we are going to change, why Persian? We are a Sunni- majority country and Arabic is our liturgical language. This whole demand to change our national identity just opens up a Pandora’s box.

  4. What’s up with the headgear that the woman sitting next to Imran Khan is wearing? Seems intense.

      1. Goodness, I thought he was more modern and Western. I guess given how much Western liberal women paradoxically love Islamic headgear as a symbol of feminism, it kind of is modern and Western.

        1. She is his third wife and was apparently his spiritual leader. His first wife was Jemima Goldsmith and the second was Reham Khan, a relatively liberal Pakistani woman. With each marriage the wife becomes progressively more conservative and “Islamic”.

  5. “But today I am not concerned with his worldview”

    On the upside, we all know he doesn’t make the decisions. Why get unduly worried about all this ?

  6. Note that usage of the article al- in loanwords is not bad per se. After all many Pakistani names have al- in them (what are all the Abd-uls and Zia-uls etc?)

    The silliness mentioned by Omar is careless misapplication of it. Indians are guilty of this sort of thing too — cf. my recent “vande bhArat” peeve on twitter. The saving grace in India is that we do this shit with Sanskrit, and fortunately for us, it is our language too. Unlike Arabic in Pakistan.

  7. A Christian from Pakistan, Asia Bibi, who spent eight years waiting for a death sentence for blasphemy to be executed before the Supreme Court overturned her sentence, left Pakistan and went to Canada where her children are.

  8. I don’t understand the propensity of the pakis to associate themselves with the mlecha desert dwellers! Hai Rama!!

    1. Mlecha is a term first used by the Aryan invaders to describe the native peoples of Punjab. Its thought this is a corruption of the word Meluha which is what the IVC peoples were known as.

      Even after the Aryans moved east and settled in northern-India, later Vedic literature still identifies the area west of the Sarasvati as mlecha territory (modern-day Pakistan basically).

      I suppose Mlecha’s prefer the company of each other rather than that of Aryanized Indians.

      1. Meluhha was a Sumerian word, plausibly referring to the IVC people, but not known to be as you assert. It refers to one of Sumer’s principal trading partners. I think there’s a possibility it refers to BMAC cultures (though people who know more about the archaeological record can correct me if this doesn’t make sense.)

        It would make more sense for BMAC to be Meluhha if must we associate the word with Mleccha. The incoming Aryans probably had a fight with their cousins back in Central Asia and kept the disdain for them alive in their memories.

        1. Meluhha/Melahha attested in Sumerian is almost certainly the Indus Valley Civilisation, or a part of it.

          Mleccha/Milakkha/Milakkhu was also used to describe people in India who did not speak a ‘good’ Arya tongue like the tribals and probably Dravidian speakers in the later Vedic age.

          It later became a word to describe foreigners outside of India.

        2. Mleccha (Mleča) is an old Serbian-Aryan word. It is related to those who do not live upon Aryans’ laws (both, outsiders/foreigners and locals). In Europe, since its establishment until now, among Serbs (and others) was more used the alternative name for the Republic of Venezia – Mleccha Republik and for the Venetians – Mleccha, because these people were converted to Catholicism and they were not living anymore according to original Christian (i.e. Orthodox) rules.

          There is a recorded dialog between monastery (Aryan) brothers and the ruling prince who were inclined to recognize Jesus as a God’s son, while Jesus was still alive, where prince says to brothers: ‘’Isa (Jesus) will go to Mleccha to teach them a law”.

  9. The prevailing theory is that Meluhha refers to the IVC. Obviously this isn’t known for certain, but its far and away the leading theory.

    The Aryans referred to various peoples as Mlechas. IVC peoples, Central-Asians, Iranians, and other Aryan peoples who showed disregard for the Vedic religion.

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