Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cap Weinberger...One of the Gipper's Team

Caspar Weinberger passed away. The Talk of the Nation piece on him makes mention of his being a WW II veteran and a fan of Churchill...which is not necessarily something that leaves a wholesome taste in one's mouth as a South Asian and person from the "Third World"... Also mentions his being a gentleman and treating the press well even if they criticized him. That's the kind of attitude we need to remember in this day and age.

Besides that, not much to say there that I can think of right away, except to trot out the post on Reagan's death...

RIP, Cap Weinberger.

Technorati tags applicable to this post:

Back from Hiatus...I Hope

I guess I have been in one of those periods of "Blogger's Block". Hopefully, I will post quite a bit along the way. There are a lot of topics to cover. The World Social Forum is being hosted by "my home city" (see http://karachiphotoblog.blogspot.com), the ban on Blogspot continues in Pakistan, there's a war going on in Balochistan (something we've been tracking on this blog for over a year), a couple of former Muslims (Dr. Wafa Sultan and Abdul Rahman of Afghanistan) are in the news--and that's just one country in one subcontinent. I've already discussed a possible Gore '08 candidacy, but race is starting up in earnest. And the immigration issue in the US is getting interesting and I want to talk about that--as an immigrant; as a person who was an offshore IT professional in 1994, before offshore software houses were all the rage and who went on to lose my first job to India back in 1998, way before Outsourcing was an issue; and so on.

Let's get to it.

Technorati tags applicable to this post:

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gore 08?

There seems to be a move to draft Al Gore into the race for the White House in 2008. See, for example:


And there's a website affiliated with the effort (not sure if it is "THE" site):


I was cooler than lukewarm on Gore in 2000. But given the evolution he's gone through since 9/11--and I pray it is real--he'd make quite a president. Just as long as he dudn'ta invite his previous running mate back on the ticket or something...

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - Technorati tags applicable to this post: -

Holi: The Festival of Color...and the Color of Mystical Truths

This is the season of Holi in South Asia. The festival itself is mostly seen as a Hindu festival, and mainly of Northern India--especially in these increasingly polarized and parochial times. But the theme of the festival itself and of colours, and of being coloured and painted in the hues of life and other truths is one that comes up often in Urdu poetry. Here's a post I just put up on Urdu ke Naam, a blog started out of Hyderabad, India, that I have the honor of being a contributor to:


Technorati tags applicable to this post: - - - -

Monday, March 13, 2006

Eve Teasing

In Pakistan, women will often tell you that just going shopping downtown is a gauntlet--especially if you're new there or haven't been there for a while.

About time someone took this up in a concerted manner. The only other thing I have heard of is the Delhi Police having an "Eve Teasing Squad" (excuse the grammatical oddity in the name). The problem is global, but we in South Asia do seem to have about the worst record (short of the Taliban and Saudi Arabia, of course) and the fact that we have our own very specfic name for the phenomenon is noteworthy.

Now folks in the blogosphere are stepping in. And notice that it's not just women at the meetings--always a good sign about the health of the effort in my experience:


Technorati tags applicable to this post: - - - -

Friday, March 10, 2006

What's Muslim for Democracy?

Often, especially since 9/11, folks have said, especially in the US press, that Muslims have never had democracy; heck! they don't even have their own word for it and use "Demokratiya" in Arabic. Now I am not an Arabic scholar or even a speaker of the language. (Though the fact that the last word in Libya's official name isn't that comes to mind: the People's Libyan Arab Gamahiriyya.)

But I do know that the Muslims of South Asia--fully half of the global Ummah, so to speak--have an answer to that question. Read more about, and a translation of a couplet from Allama Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal at: http://urdu-ke-naam.blogspot.com/2006/03/whats-muslim-for-democracy.html

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - - - - - - -

Pakistan's Blog Ban; an Update

As readers of this blog will be aware, there's been an instance of blocking a large raft of blogs from being viewed by people in Pakistan.

The campaign to highlight this issue is being coordinated by Pakistanis in Pakistan. The central website for the "Don't Block the Block" campaign is at:


We at WikiPakistan have set up a supplemental site to help gather information, resources, etc. in one place and to provide any and all Internet users with the opportunity to contribute. The page is at:


There is also a page to track the status of filtering and blocking for specific Internet providers, which we hope will track the issue beyond the current ban on Blogspot.com:


We've also started a page for more general Internet information about Pakistan at:


WikiPakistan, as mentioned before on this blog, is a relatively new Information Database about Pakistan, Pakistanis and the diaspora. The site is at http://pakistan.wikicities.com/ and background information can be seen at http://pakistan.wikicities.com/wiki/Pakistan:About . It is an open database that anyone can edit and is developed under a Free Document License. Contributors are encouraged to click on the "Create an account or log in" link in the top righthand corner of every page and create an account. You do not need to provide any personal information. The pages related to the Earthquake are still live and can be seen and edited at http://pakistan.wikicities.com/wiki/Earthquake_10-05

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - - - -

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Afghanistan called; they want their history back

Folks might be following the spat between Presidents Karzai and Musharraf over intelligence, etc. Here's one thing that have escaped you if you weren't following the Pakistani press. (Sorry I forgot to publish this here a week ago.)

Though it has to be said that if there's one country in that region outside of maybe Iran that can lay a claim to ancient history as being that of its state, it's Afghanistan. However, it is interesting to see a modern state claiming for its very own self a history that belongs to a region. According to the Daily Times of Lahore:
"Afghanistan has complained to Pakistan for naming lethal ballistic missiles and other weaponry after heroes of Afghan history. The Afghan information Makhdoom Raheen said that Kabul recently sent a letter to Pakistan over its use of names including Ghauri, a 12th Century Muslim conqueror who ruled in what is now Afghanistan. One series of Pakistan's ballistic missile is called Ghauri. The statement said that Pakistan is welcome to use the names – but for peaceful things like monuments, conference rooms and historical places."

[Snipped the daily news update courtesy of Media Solutions in Karachi. (www.mediasolutions.com.pk) If you'd like to receive a daily digest of Political, Economic, and other news from Pakistan, please drop me a line.]
You can see also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/24/wafg24.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/24/ixworld.html


Technorati tags applicable to this post: - -

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Strong Muslim Women

This has come up several times in just the last few days. Especially because the emphasis in the discussion about morals and religion turns to women and segregating them. One story someone forwarded today mentioned there being bearded "designated chaperones" being part of meetings between the two genders...in New York City.

The point is this:

The very first convert to Islam was an independent, professional woman. And independent, professional woman who ran a tradiing business and had no problem proposing to and marrying a person who happened to be her employee.

And The Prophet of Islam had no problem working for that independent, professional woman. And no problem marrying a woman who was independent enough to be the one to propose marriage.

That's the religion as I know it.

And what my family has practised. My mother was founding head of the "Women Arabic Teacher's College" in what is now the capital of the first state in Nigeria to "adopt Sharia" as state law. She later founded and ran a primary school of her own in one of Karachi's, shall we say, less privileged neighbouroods. And with a degree in Islamic History and a very strong and traditional faith, she is often in arguments with Maududists in the family about, for example, their trying to stop the music at weddings.

That's the strong Muslim woman I learnt the religion from.

PS, March 8: Happy Women's Day!

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - -

Monday, March 06, 2006

Happy Monday: Banned in Pakistan, the Oscars....

Reports are still coming in about Blogspot being blocked in Pakistan. The blogging community itself is using "anonymizer" services to view blogs. And there's a mailing list now for action on the issue which I just joined.

Didn't have 'Net access over the weekend, so I wasn't able to post much. I need to fix that. Also took notes about the Oscars that I need to finish up and post.

Will try to post when I can.

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - -

Friday, March 03, 2006

Pakistan Blocks Blogs

This is a developing story. But it seems the Pakistani authorities have entered the age of Web 2.0:


and for those who can read Urdu:


By way of background, folks might have been following my own efforts at covering and discussing the very robust blogosphere developing in Pakistan:


I am in touch with bloggers in Pakistan and let's see what those of us not behind the firewalls around Pakistan can do to help. Ironically, Pakistna Televsion has always quoted something our national poet, (who also wrote India's most popular national hymn, by the way), said:

sulthani-e-jamhoor ka athaa hai zamaana
joe naqsh-e-kohan thum koe nazar aayay mita dho!

comes, now, the era of the people's sovereignty
whatever sign of oppression you see, erase it!

Let's see if we can live up to that.

PS: 2:51 pm:

Thanks to Danial (http://danial.pixelsndots.com) for startling me into action on this. See:

BlogSpot Banned in Pakistan: http://danial.pixelsndots.com/archives/380
Pakistan Bans BlogSpot - Hysterical Censorship: http://danial.pixelsndots.com/archives/381

Technorati tags applicable to this post: - -