The Jahanara debate & how Desis must dress

By Xerxes the Magian 34 Comments

In the last podcast I was struggling with pronouncing the name, Jahanara.

The first is a Pakistani friend:

The second is an Iranian friend:

How Jahanara pronounces her name:

My pronunciation is in between the first two. There is some overlap between Persian and Pakistani (Indo-Persian) names of course. So I usually pronounce the name in the way I first heard it or heard it most.

Of course the “Hindi” pronunciation is different where the N in Jahanara is nasalised rather than pronounced.

The personal name “Jahan” seems to have retired from Persian and instead migrated to Hindustan. So I’m inclined to defer to the Urdu version of the name but nasaling the N is very unnatural to me as it reminds of the time at Urdu class. One of the students was counting the Urdu numbers with a Punjabi nasalisation and the teacher  started chuckling.

I dropped the Urdu class after one semester even though I was making the fastest progress; Persian & Urdu are simmering languages for me, it’s easy to get to fluency but English almost always takes over.

As a final note; Urdu, by any other name would be just as sweet, but Persian is sweeter (I’ve mauled Iqbal & Shakespeare in a single sentence).

The irony is that Urdu was called Hindi since Urdu was initially used to refer the Persian of Shahjahanabad. Urdu is the regularisation of a Hindustani standard that came about through Amir Khusrao but was obviously was called Hindi as it was the local language.

As a final aside it is just astounding the extent to which India’s medieval history is in Persian. I *knew* that the official language was Persian but never understood what that meant entirely. The Indo-Muslim rulers were copious writers and along with their monuments left mountains of documents (Shah Alam’s unfinished Perso-Urdu verse ran to 600+ pages).

The reason Pakistanis and Urdu-speakers go on and on about Middle Eastern forebears is because their ancestors were certainly in that milieu for centuries. It’s a vestigial memory that has persisted.

Origin Myth of Urdu & Hindi by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

Of course one can never deny Pakistan’s aristocratic heritage when our dear Captain decides to wear a cheesy Shalwar Kameez in an audience with HM the Queen:

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

When meeting Royalty one should at least be aware of the sartorial graces. It looks like something he would wear to a shaadi in the Pind. Also Virat Kohli may be brash but his socks, shoes and pants do not go together at all!

If anything learn from the wonderful Noorie Abbas in how to dress:

Image result for noorie abbas

ISI/RAW have trained this vixen well. Interestingly though the choice of a Sari was very unorthodox; Pakistan girls her age will never wear a Sari to a formal event. I know that the older generation in Pakistan wear it (one socialite NGO makes a point of wearing it everywhere) but it’s pretty much died down; I wouldn’t be surprised if Noorie has inadvertently kick started it.

Her pastel shawl and gray-blue top set off extremely well. It was an interesting thing in the Prof. Devji podcast that the main gripe Hindutva had against Muslims pre-1947 was their “aristocratic connotations”. After Independence when most of these people went across to Pakistan; the image of the Muslim changed to gangster and poor.

Pakistan’s structural inequality, which we explored in our educational podcasts, means that even though there is a very high National Asabiyah (in core Pakistan; East of the Indus); the Islamicate class structure is very much dominant.

So you have these extremes in Pakistan, which are not so apparent in other countries. Since Bangladesh shackled the yoke; it’s made tremendous strides since it seems so much more egalitarian (it may also be that Perso-Urdu culture is inherently hierarchical considering its origins despite a strong socialist tradition of Urdu Poetry).

The rest of the Pakistan nation is as lemmings off a cliff:

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34 Replies to “The Jahanara debate & how Desis must dress”

    1. Yup, first time I am hearing of “Jahan ra”. This shift happened a long time ago, and its weird to try and undo it now.

  1. Ms. Abbas looks like a fine young articulate woman.

    But she doesn’t seem used to wearing a sari. (Either that or she is starting a trend.)

    1. Arjun,

      She sure is not used to wearing on a Sari on a daily basis.
      Obviously she is very fashion conscious and has good taste.

      But she is not the type who keeps rearranging, patting the dress so that it looks like it was just put on.

      She is more interested in what she has to do (debate) than to keep the saree picture perfect. i.e. Thinks the message /brains are more important than dress; a Nerd?.

  2. Viraat Kohli has some remarkably skinny pants on. The whole ensemble looks misplaced in that environment, not to mention really dated for a dude has access to all the best stylists in India.

    1. He might be plugging in his personal brand ‘Wrogn’ which is essentially about doing fashion wrong.

  3. “Of course one can never deny Pakistan’s aristocratic heritage when our dear Captain decides to wear a cheesy Shalwar Kameez in an audience with HM the Queen:”

    I respect the Pakistani cricket captian for wearing the Salwar Kameez. Even though I agree it looks silly with the blazer.

    I notice Pakistani men seem more likely to wear their traditional clothing than Indian men, who only seem to wear it for weddings and when running for political office.

    Sad to see well to do businessmen in South Mumbai sweating it out in European style wool suits, jumping from one AC building to another, in the middle of the summer, in the hopes of impressing each other with their refined sartorial sensibilities.

    1. Recently, sadguru(jaggi vasudev) made a comment, ” when you can’t dress sensibly in 40 C, how do I expect you to run a company?”. I think sadguru’s onto something.

  4. The true embarrassment is the pants Kohli is wearing. Didn’t anyone tell him he was looking weird?

      1. It makes sense to seat the queen between the captains of the two countries she is the head of state of – Australia and England.

        As for height, the Australian captain Aaron Finch is the same height as Virat Kohli. Might even be shorter. Check their pictures together. Some camera angle thing going on here to make the queen look bigger.

  5. Not sure that the white guys are better looking than Kohli..that might just be a subjective preference ( whites preferring the white guys vs Desis for Desi’s)

      1. This Indian team is pretty short period . Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin didn’t make the cut, so most of the chaps in the squad that was sent to England would be dwarfed by the typical Northern European woman. This is contrast to the WC team of ’83 — Sandeep Patil, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Mohinder Amarnath etc, who were all comfortably over 6 feet tall.

        Representation matters. The image of the Indian man is a rather sorry one in the eyes of the west because of media representation (and all the boffins we export in the diaspora). One would have hoped that the one sport India excels at would produce some fine physical specimens, but like baseball, it’s not exactly a gladiatorial sport, so you can be short or fat (or both) and still compete at the highest levels.

        Also, batsmen are not usually shortish — only Indian batsmen tend to be midgets. Look at the great batsmen of Australian, Pakistani, West Indian lore to see…

        1. I think the team is closer to average Indian height, so that way its representative. Also India does pretty poorly in sports which needs physical attributes. Perhaps the only outlier is Tennis and that too doubles , where skill overpowers stamina/strength somewhat.

          Haryana which houses less than 2 percent of India’s population brings around 1/3rd of Indian Olympic/Commonwealth medals, so perhaps they are doing something right

    1. According to stats
      Virat Kohi 1.75 m (5′ 9″)
      Sanath Jayasuriya 1.70 m (5′ 7″)

      I think Sanath Jayasuriya is shorter than that.
      Maybe looks short because he is rotund.

      Apparently Sanath has a big black thing though.
      Jayasuriya video with girlfriend (he is married) was leaked by girl friends friend who was sleeping with the GF’s husband.

      Sanath is a good candidate for examples of people who look like the Onge.

      1. “I think Sanath Jayasuriya is shorter than that.
        Maybe looks short because he is rotund.”

        I think even Kohli is perhaps shorter than what his stats say. Or because he looks so lean that he “looks” shorter.

        “Jayasuriya video with girlfriend (he is married) was leaked by girl friends friend who was sleeping with the GF’s husband.”

        LOL. How hasn’t it been turned into daily soap opera in SL already?

        But man , he pulverized our bowlers so much (Prabhakar took pre mature retirement after that) , i felt he was like real life manifestation of Ravana. I distinctly remember crying my eyes out, as a kid, in 96 WC semi final.

        1. Anushka Sharma is 1.68m (5’6″) and Kohli appears to be taller than her in most pictures of them together.
          So you could put a lower bound on his height.

          “But man , he pulverized our bowlers so much”

          One of my saddest cricketing memories is of watching him score 189 against India, with Russel Arnold of all people. And then the Indian team got all out for 54.

          Those were dark days. The finals jinx and all.

          1. Dude did we even have a team back then? It was like Tendulkar and 10 random folks. One of the matches i can’t forget was India vs Pakistan (in Jaipur i think) , where Pakistan chased 200 odd runs in 25 th over or something !
            And this was in the 90s , completely unheard of.

          2. Prats

            useless info?:
            Russel Arnold is a full Jaffna Tamil (protestant). Think he is some kind of relative to me. All these christian Jaffna tamils claim to related to each other (nambada-aal). Russels Father and my father had issues over property.
            Though the general opinion of Sri Lankan/Jaffna Tamils is that they are nerds, quite a few excel in sports and academics. However, most, somewhere along the line drop sports for academics.

            SP
            last name was epic like a Sri Lankans. I mean, who wouldn’t want the last name Dharmasena?
            You need to be short, shorter you are you have a long name.
            Still common for full name to be like this;
            Karunarathna Rajapaksha Mudiyanselage Thilakarathna Karunarathna

            Saurav
            came to know that there is a country called Sri Lanka after 96 only.
            You will be surprised how many Indians think Sri Lanka was part of India in the past. Want to get a Sri Lankan agitated, just ask that question.

      2. Damn Sbarrkum, yet another mental image I can’t unsee after reading one of your comments ?

  6. Ah man, that 96 WC semi… what a disgrace the Eden Garden crowd was… on a lighter note though, as a kid I always wished my last name was epic like a Sri Lankans. I mean, who wouldn’t want the last name Dharmasena?

    1. I came to know that there is a country called Sri Lanka after 96 only. I used to think its part of India (along with lot of tamils, i suppose )

  7. You must be really young, Saurav, if in the mid nineties you thought Sri Lanka was just another part of India 🙂

  8. LOL, till my late teens i was confused as to whether Sikkim or Bhutan was part of India (i knew one of them was) . Also visited Nepal when i was a child, my mom told me its part of Bihar (filled with “Chinese” folks) .

    I blame my family for all this 😛

  9. lol Indian men are mostly short. And cricket doesn’t require much raw athleticism. So makes sense the athletes look like what they look like for a skill game

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