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Book: The Romance of Raja Rasalu and Other Tales

By Raza Rumi Story telling has been a primordial urge, never quite expressed in its fullest measure, but always lingering and floating like life. There was a sub-continent before the colonial interaction that brought in its wake an aesthetic hardened by the industrial revolution and its uniformity of life and space. This was a world rich with myriad identities, of whispers and tales all interlaced in a peculiarly complex kaleidoscope. Since the 19th century that particular aspect of folk story telling and transfer of generational accounts gave way to what is now known as education and knowledge – instruments and reflections of power and a linear world view set elsewhere but adapted awkwardly to the local context. This is why Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre in Lahore, under the leadership of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arts and Crafts, Books, culture, translations

Media must not be used to pressurise Pakistan

Media must not be used to pressurise Pakistan

by Bilal Qureshi It has been obvious for a while now that the war in Afghanistan is not going well. After years of presence there, the Americans and NATO forces still face danger and attacks on daily basis. Some experts even suggest that the Taliban are becoming stronger, more brazen and are engaging allied forces more aggressively. So, what is the solution to this complex problem? “Pakistan is not doing enough” is the tried and tested … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, war

The way we are treated at US airports

Word of advice for Washington – in your efforts to win the battle against the terrorists, don’t humiliate your friends, says Bilal Qureshi After spending about a year in Pakistan, I arrived back home, that is back in the States last night. Well, as I was at the last stop before exiting the immigration area at Dulles Airport, I was asked to come to a separate area without giving me any reason for it. I went to the separate area and there were dozens and dozens of people from Pakistan, India , Bangladesh , and couple of families from Africa. First, I was confused as I had been traveling for about 24 hours (without any sleep) and because I was tired and fatigued, it took me a while to grasp that all of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, USA


Frank  Huzur has sent this interesting piece from London where he is busy writing a biography of a famous Pakistani “… in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again.” – Anne Frank In a grey dapper suit slinking down his robust fifty years old shoulder, denim jeans and a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, violence, World

Linguistics and Islam

Kim Stanley Robinson’s  alternate history novel,”The Years of Rice and Salt” posits a world in which an overwhelming majority of Europeans are decimated by the Black Death in the 14th century thereby Christinaity and the white race never get the chance to shape the world as we know it. History of the world, thus, is informed by dominant cultures of the day; the Islamic world, India and the Far East. One of the qualities that sets this novel apart from other novels of the what-if genre is the  intelligent observations, commentary and inquiries the writer makes into the nature of Islam. The following extract is taken from a book within this book entitled “Mohammed [pbuh] Meets Confucius”.    Zia Ahmad … Read entire article »

Filed under: Books, Fiction, History, Islam, Literature, Religion

From Lashes To Strokes

By Nadeem Farooq Paracha The lingering Islamisation milieu put together by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship got a beating recently. In May this year, in an unprecedented move, the Federal Shariat Court declared that the consumption of alcohol in Islam was a (comparatively) lesser crime. The court duly overturned the punishment of applying 80 lashes to the seller and consumer of alcohol (with a whip) and replaced it with light ’strokes from a stick made from a palm tree leave.’ … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Cabinet Mission Plan "What if"…

Ashok Mitra writes in The Telegraph Calcutta: The Cabinet Mission did not concede Mohammad Ali Jinnah his Pakistan. But what he got was enough; he was sure of controlling Group B and reasonably confident about Group C. He accepted the plan; his sole reservation was regarding the composition of the interim government where he demanded parity of representation with the Congress. The Congress leadership, on the other hand, hemmed and hawed. Yes, formally the integrity of India was preserved. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Jaswant's Book And Partition

Yasser Latif Hamdani writing in The News:  Jaswant Singh’s book “Jinnah India — Partition Independence” has elicited interesting reviews in Pakistan. They are interesting entirely because of how off the mark they are which shows how little our country’s so-called intelligentsia understands the finer points of political science, constitutional law and history, especially those deep wells from which Jinnah himself professed to have drunk. Much has been written about the book – including the justified criticism that has been levelled at it for terrible punctuation and grammar. If Jinnah was calling, from beyond the grave, for his definitive biographer, the definitive biography now calls for an able editor. However, not many critics have addressed the political theme which has made it so famous. … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, India, Jinnah, minorities, movements, Pakistan, Partition, Politics

Rhythm of Soul

Source: RAO DILSHAD HUSSAIN and AREEBA IMTIAZ talk to Sain Zahoor Ahmed about Sufi music and his mission Sufi music has its root in different genres of music like qawali, kafi, sufiana qalams and many other regional genre of similar cultures. Sufi music started in the sub-continent by the great saint Hazrat Amir Khusru in the 13th century. Since then sufi music is being followed by composers and musicians of the subcontinent. Initially it was used for the sole purpose of spreading the Islamic norms and values. Sufi music also highlights the teachings of the sufi saints like Baba Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, Mohamad Bukhsh and Shah Hussain etc. Sufi singing is considered to be a symbol of love and affection. It gives the message of peace and harmony. Now sufi music … Read entire article »

Filed under: Music

Jinnah, Nehru, and the Ironies of History

Courtesy SouthAsian blog, we are cross-posting this extremely insightful piece that adds to the debates that have taken place here. RR Varun Gandhi is reported to have said some strong things about Muslims in India. So, I am told, did his father. Let me use this as a peg to say something about Varun’s venerable great-grandfather whose maturity Varun seems unlikely to emulate. But beyond that, let me speculate about some neglected dimensions of the political history of the subcontinent. Two remarkable statements made around the time of the partition of British India continue to intrigue me: Here is Mohammad Ali Jinnah, addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in August 1947: You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Pakistan Army’s Corrected Approach to Deal with Taliban Thugs

This is a heartening brief published by CENTER for RESEARCH and SECURITY STUDIES ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN Taliban were thugs and a strategic burden from the beginning: The army and civilians alike were shocked and alarmed in early April when the TTP militants taking cover under a controversial peace deal, began occupying strategic locations in Buner, Mingora, Malam Jabba and other parts of Malakand. Their worries multiplied when Taliban militants abducted four Pakistan army commandos in the mountainous Buner valley and eventually executed them. “When the pet develops rabies and starts biting its own mentors, it must be put to sleep, no way around it.” This statement that a senior general involved in military operations in the Northwestern Frontier Province (NWFP) told CRSS in late April suggested a definite new realization — if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Eid Mubarak

Pak Tea House wishes all its readers and visitors Eid Mubarak (Raza Rumi and the editors) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The Blasphemy Law Debate

By Yasser Latif Hamdani This has been repeated many times – notably by A G Noorani the lawyer and journalist par excellence from India- that when a blasphemy law, to punish those elements who passed remarks to insult religions or prophets, was being introduced in the British India Central Legislature,  Jinnah sounded the following advice on 5th September 1927: “I thoroughly endorse the principle that while this measure should aim at those undesirable persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attack upon the religion of any particular class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion, we must also secure this very important and fundamental principle that those who are engaged in historical works, those who are engaged in the ascertainment of truth and those who are engaged in bona fide … Read entire article »

Filed under: Activism, Islam, minorities, Pakistan

Another time, another anthem

Beena Sarwar writing for the DAWN Most people are unaware that prior to Hafeez Jullundhri’s Persianised lyrics being adopted as the national anthem in the 1950s, Pakistan had a national anthem — commissioned and approved by no less a person than Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The lyricist was the Isa Khel (Mianwali)-born Jagannath Azad, son of the renowned poet Tilok Chand Mahroom (who won accolades for his rendering of naat at mushairas). A few bloggers have made mention of this in the past but I learnt of it recently through an unexpected source — an article on the history of Pakistan’s flag and national anthem in PIA’s monthly Hamsafar magazine (‘Pride of Pakistan’, by Khushboo Aziz, August issue). … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Govt should do more

Bilal Qureshi I have noticed strange things in Pakistan during my recent stay there, but two things stand out for me. One, it is the unbelievably weird ability of Pakistanis to connect every bad thing to American and how America with Israel and India is relentlessly trying to destroy Pakistan, but Pakistan is surviving against all odds. Second, it is the unusual talent of Pakistanis to ask the government to solve all there problems, do more, and more and more, without being specific. For example, prices of daily commodities go up, and the people start repeating the same thing: government should bring down the prices … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Economy, Pakistan, Zardari