Treasures / خزانه
This page is intentionally unsorted.
As with any treasure chest, half the fun is rummaging through the jewels.
Kaargaah-e-Sheesha Gari at Karachi Literary Festival 2012 || کارگاہ شيشہ گری
The writing of Urdu literature.
What is Urdu? What does it say to us?
Among its gems:
“Why do our children say that Urdu is difficult? Why do they not read Urdu literature? Its basic reason is that in order to take pride in a language, it is necessary to take pride in its heritage. We do not take pride in our intellectual and cultural heritage. If there was a time when British imperialism was if not godly, then certainly ungodly, now Arab imperialism is closer to godliness for us. So we search for our identity while remaining in an imperial prespective.”
The Everywhere War – Round-Table with Derek Gregory
A wonderful dissection of the war on terror!!
It discusses, among other things, how the ideas of ‘militant’ and ‘civilian’ that deployed to justify violence. not just on the level of who, juridically, constitutes a militant/civilian, but rather that we use these ideas at all, particularly in a time of Xe and Blackwater.
Tareekh aur Pakistan at Karachi Literary Festival 2012 || تاريخ اور پاکستان
A wonderful discussion of historiography in Pakistan.
“This relationship of history and territory always perplexes nation-states… In Pakistan, we are stuck in the historicity of territory and territorialization of history… And what history are we teaching? If we are teaching Salahuddin in ancient history; Quaid-e-Azam, and Khwaja Nazimuddin and Ghulam Muhammad in the history of the last 60 years, then this is at most a uni-dimensional, political history… We need to understand that history is of societies… We need to see what the role of laborers, farmers, clerks, nurses, lawyers and teachers was in the history of Pakistan. What were our regional movements…. This needs to be the content of Pakistani history.”
The Politicization of Muslim Caste
Urdu Adab and The Caste Question
How was Urdu Adab shaped by the printing press and literacy? How were many of the works we read now representative of caste differentiation?
An amazing talk by Ajmal Kamal at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2012.
Sacred and the City: Naveeda Khan, The Martyrdom of Mosques: Imagery and Iconoclasm in Urban Pakistan
As people protest yet another mocking portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad, raising numerous questions about the prospect of blasphemy, U.S. foreign policy, emergent democracies, religious tolerance and so on, iconoclasm as an identification and point of provocation of Muslim communities is again underscored. Yet, this identification negates the everyday circulation of images, broadly construed, within religious pursuits in Muslim everyday life. Furthermore, the uptake of these images within legal judgments and theological reasoning suggest another layer of transmutation of their affect and symbolization. In this paper I present the case of destroyed/desecrated mosques in urban Pakistan as they are spoken of, experienced and contained as images within everyday lives and legal and theological writings. I consider how relations between the city and sites of worship historically changed to enable mosques to acquire this imagistic potency and I end by questioning the glib association of iconoclasm with Muslim religiosity.
Karachi Press Club Interview of Poet Anwar Shaoor
The interview touches upon polyamory, love, substance use/abuse, in general issues that we don’t frequently hear being discussed in the context of Pakistan (here and there).
All seven parts show up as related videos in sequential order. If not, you can always search for them.
Native informers and the making of the American empire by Hamid Dabashi
Dabashi’s wonderful 2006 essay laying out his critique of comprador intellectuals. It is a must-read.
“Lacking internal support or external legitimacy, writes Hamid Dabashi, the US empire now banks on a pedigree of comprador intellectuals, homeless minds and guns for hire.”
Adam’s Mirror: The Frontier in the Imperial Imagination by Manan Ahmed
“To the centre of any empire, the frontier is a site of anxiety, of potential harm, of barbarians who could be marching towards the gate. The imperial imaginations of the medieval Arab dynasties, the colonial British, and now the United States have been dominated by this anxiety. We have to plant our historiographical feet in the frontier space of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and north India to see the concerns which emerge from within a regional imagination, in a regionally specific conversation and in regional stories. Situating ourselves in the frontier reveals varied perspectives that are invisible to the imperial eye. To pay attention to the localised production of history and memory is to decontextualise the only context that appears relevant — the imperial one. This shift in perspective reveals that the oft-designated “frontier” has a centrality all of its own.”
Malcolm X – Oxford Debate 1964 Dec. 3 – Text and Audio
Malcolm X’s precinct critique of the deployment of language in the service of empire at Oxford Union in 1964.
Imperialist Feminism Redux by Saadia Toor
“Ever since 9/11, there has been a constant effort to build a broad consensus around the need for a sustained U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In the early days ofthe war, the idea of retaliation and revenge for the attacks on the World Trade Center had an obvious appeal for a wide range of the political spectrum. The argument about protecting ‘‘our way of life’’ from a global network of Islamic extremists proved persuasive as well. All through this period, there was one claim which proved instrumental in securing the consent of the liberals (and, to some extent, of the Left)—the need to rescue Afghan women from the Taliban. As the United States begins to draw down its troops in Afghanistan, we have begun to see variations of the same argument emerge once again from a variety of constituencies both within the United States and internationally. In this brief paper I undertake to identify and analyze the deeply problematic position of one such constituency which locates itself on the left-liberal spectrum in the United States and consists of an alliance between self-defined left-wing feminists in the United States and prominent feminists from the Global South (specifically Muslim countries such as Algeria and Pakistan).”
India’s Vanishing Vultures
Home to the greatest concentration of vultures in the world less than a decade ago, the Indian subcontinent’s vultures are now verging on extinction. It is the fastest decline in a population in recorded history: more rapid than that of the dodo. The culprit is a Diclofenac, a cheap veterinary drug that is innocuous to farm animals, but deadly for vultures.
Vultures form a critical part of our biological and social ecosystems. In Bombay, the decline in vulture populations is threatening Pasri death rites.
Sadequain: Poetry, Poesy and Art
A presentation of the experience and logic of another force given in Islam, and dramatized in the life and oeuvre of postcolonial Pakistani artist, Sadequain. Through a range of effects – including a generous and dynamic display of striking images juxtaposed with ravishing lyric from both Sadequain, as well as the larger Indic-Muslim and affinate traditions of the pre- and post-colonial modern period – this lecture-film enacts the experience and logic of this other force in three dramatic scenes of a performative lecture by Nauman Naqvi.
Secularism and Feminism in Pakistan and Bangladesh
Hosted by Columbia University’s South Asia Institute on October 15th, 2011, the panel features:
Moderated by Janaki Bakhle (History, Columbia University)
Amina Jamal (Sociology, Ryerson College)
Dina Siddiqi (Women’s Studies, Hunter College, CUNY)
Afiya Shehrbano Zia (independent scholar)
This is perhaps one of the best conversations I have heard on the subject.
The Prose of Counterinsurgency by Ranjit Guha
Guha’s reminder that only imperial histories and accounts are recorded.
The Responsibility of Intellectuals by Noam Chomsky
Chomsky’s wonderful 1967 essay on the complicity of American intelligentsia in legitimizing the Vietnam war, and the responsibility of public intellectuals in providing a dissenting voice.