If the House of Islam were a family

The Arabs would be the venerable, schizophrenic and impotent patriarch.

Iran would be the ageless, beautiful but bitter bride, constantly scheming and harlotting where she can.

The Turks would be the valiant general with whom Iran has carrying on with for the past millennia shortly after her Arabian rape.

Pakistan would be the 20-something sub-altern to the general desperately trying to win the respect of the Patriarch and love of the Bride; to the amusement of all 3.

The Afghans would be the angry teenage chowkidar (gatekeeper) pushed around by the sub-altern after he’s been slapped around.

The Kurds and Berbers would be the angry adopted kids constantly plotting to break up the House but never really getting anywhere except for minor victories. They win a bedroom here and there but they aren’t able to make their own house; no funds, no love, no real friends.

The Indians & Bangladeshis would be the next neighbours over wondering why the sub-altern prefers to be a servant in that house rather than a friend in theirs.

The rest (Malays, Africans) are distant cousins who come over once a year for an Eid reunion and visit the ailing Patriarch.

Someone should make a comic strip about the Ummah; I’m sure it’ll be a blast, no pun intended..


Tarek Fatah is a fu*king moron

Pardon my French!

The shooter’s name was Nasim Eghdam, who anyone would know was Persian.

In fact she turned out to be a Bahai (like me)! Also there are some Persian surnames that are predominantly or disproportionately Bahá’í in origin because Iran adopted surnames in the 20’s/30’s. Eghdam did sound like a Bahá’í surname..

Of course it seems she had some sort of mental illness and I apologise on behalf of our faith (any violence is forbidden). There could have been no justifications for her action and her father did warn the police. Thankfully no one was killed (3 were unfortunately wounded) and it really does seem like mental illness.

I’m really shocked that a Bahá’í could do something like this but I’m sure there are many learning lessons for the community in this (what do we do with isolated believers etc).

Finally Tarek Fatah is a fool and a half. Anyone with common sense would know that this was a Persian name and that Persians won’t do Terrorism in the name of Islam. I’m beside myself with fury at his blatant Islamophobia; not that I’m an apologist for Muslims in any way.

As one can contrast my approach and apology about a Bahá’í shooter (the genuine shame that she brings on the Faith & the sadness that the Faith was not there for her) in contract to the constant defensiveness of Muslims about terrorism done in the name of Islam.


How did I handle casual racism in Los Angeles? Awkwardly

I am trying to avoid the “P-word” in BP but my wife assures me that after the Shahid Afridi controversy that if BP were to simply be about that “topic” we’d get a million viewers a day (I was telling her the readership views). I’ll probably crack from the moratorium but in the meantime let’s read on the sublime Romesh Ranganathan (his sense of humour is just wicked).

Before I first arrived in the US, I had been bombarded with advice from my friends about the nightmarish experiences that anyone brown faces at immigration, and warned that I should steel myself for a thorough interrogation and a cavity search. This turned out not to be the case, as I was welcomed by the officer at immigration and wished well on my new journey. He then started discussing astrology with me, which I couldn’t give a shiny shit about, but obviously had to feign interest to avoid immediate deportation.

It was only a couple of weeks later that my attitudes towards racism were once again brought under scrutiny. My family and I were at a restaurant having dinner with an all-white family (I mention this because it’s relevant to the story, not just because I want to show off that I have white friends) when an older woman approached our table.

“I have been watching you all evening, and I have to say how wonderful I think you are.” Nobody at the table had any idea what she was talking about, but, I have to admit, a small part of me hoped I might have been recognised so that I could demonstrate to my wife that I did in fact have some profile over here and this move to the US wasn’t a complete waste of time. My dreams were immediately shattered, however, when she announced to most of the restaurant: “This is what America is all about. Families eating together regardless of colour! This makes me so happy. And I’m saying this as a Republican!”

I sat in astonishment as my wife and friend discussed how nice that was and what a positive experience we had just had. I firmly disagreed. I made the point that we were just sitting having dinner and that we should be able to do that without it being commented on or misinterpreted as some sort of social statement. My wife and friend, however, felt that this woman might have felt like she had made some progress in her attitudes and that her approaching us to share that was something to be celebrated.

On both of these occasions, I felt that my response to what was happening was insufficient and that perhaps I have a responsibility to tackle these beliefs to help combat discrimination. But, mostly, I just want to have a quiet Mexican meal with my token white mate.


Was there an “Aryan Invasion?”

I’ve been fairly busy recently with work but I read a very good comment right now about semantics.

An Indo-European migration is a very different term to an “Aryan invasion”; the latter seems simply to be a Euro-colonialist divide & rule tactic.

I confess I don’t know much on the matter but I don’t see how the recent genetics somehow justifies anything more than a population movement.

Until there is more evidence of an “Aryan invasion”; I don’t see why such hurtful terms need to be bandied about (it only accentuates unnecessary divisions, which do have modern-Day political consequences).

We should be wary of external narratives foisted on a vulnerable Subcontinent; South Asians have a worrying propensity for ideology that has already cost so much in terms lives, prosperity & prestige..


Happy Lahore day

Good to see one of the greatest Lahoris honoured in Pakistan. It’s time Pakistan start to own its history (in a collaborative not confrontational way). I liked his saying though:


Paki Pundits

I’m responding to Kabir’s concerns that this blog is becoming far too Islam-focussed and not in a nice way.

I have been very busy so I’ve been following the threads quite lightly. Furthermore my perspectives are beginning to align online and offline (the advantage of blogging under your own name – difficult to troll).

So while I can appreciate why ethnic Pakistanis such as Kabir & myself may constantly refer back to Pakistan as a reference point, it’s becoming a bit obsessive on this blog.

If the whole point of Brown Pundits is for some commentators to bash Pakistan & Islam then that calls for introspection.

While there can be a healthy debate on whether the Islamic conquests, Partition and Islam are positive or negative influences on South Asia; the contention that Islam is the source of all misery is simply bunk.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Sri Lanka are probably the least Muslim regions in the Subcontinent since Islam was brought there by traders rather than conquerors. One could argue that it has much higher HDI than the rest of South Asia (Kerala & SL) but it hasn’t been all that more peaceful (Tamil politics in both countries has been turbulent).

One could of course counterclaim that the modern day polity of India was sullied by long periods of medieval Muslim rule. However Indonesia, Malaysia and even Turkey provide examples of very vigorous & even forward-thinking Muslim polities.

I’m not giving Islam or Muslims a clean chit but to dwell on them excessively, especially when one is not of the culture, smacks of Islamophobia. We have had some interesting discussions on Sri Lanka, caste politics, voting in Gorakhpur and other myriad topics however if the commentariat wants to obsessively continue to discuss Pakistan & Islam then let’s rename this blog to Paki Pundits so that we have a very clear focus..


Indian Diplomats in Pakistan harassed

New Delhi: Some Indian High Commission officials out for shopping in Islamabad’s main business district were aggressively followed and abuses hurled at them, the Foreign Ministry complained to the Pakistan government today. 

This is the second incident of Indian diplomats being intimidated and harassed over the last three days, Foreign Ministry sources said in New Delhi.

An Indian diplomat and his family on their way to a restaurant in Pakistan were chased by two men on a motorbike on Thursday this week, hours after India had called “harassment the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad”.

Pakistan: Land of the Impure Continue reading “Indian Diplomats in Pakistan harassed”


Shocking Sexism towards Kareena Kapoor

My wife alerted me to this shocking 20 second clip:

Such an extraordinarily offensive question by Rajdeep Sardesai. He basically asks Kareena if she’s educated and whether she was intimidated in joining the Pataudi family, who apparently are Rhode Scholars & Oxford. A few obvious observations:

(1) I was at the memorial conference for Pataudi Snr in London a few years ago. The handlers had to ask the press not to focus on Kareena, who was there with Saif & Sharmilla. She’s like the Ash of the Bacchan family, her star eclipses the family she’s married into entirely (that’s why Amitabh omits her quite obviously and Shweta/Ash have a hate-hate relationship).

Where is Ash in this tribute? Continue reading “Shocking Sexism towards Kareena Kapoor”