Shia as the ‘Other’ in Pakistan

This post originally appeared here


January 10th, 2013 marked one such episode of Shia genocide in Pakistan when two bomb blasts targeting the Hazara Shia community, killed almost 200 people in a busy marketplace in Quetta. The Hazara Shias, who have been systematically and ruthlessly killed for almost a decade, refused to bury their dead and sat alongside with their bodies on the streets for three days and nights, through torrential rain and cold weather. Such a heart-wrenching protest, which drew an overwhelming nationwide response of sympathy from not just from Shia communities but from Pakistanis of all religious affiliations. Protestors sought to highlight the injustices faced by the Shia community and the lack of state response, which can be judged from the fact that none of the perpetrators have ever been arrested or prosecuted in the last decade. One reason for the apparent inability and inaction against the Sunni extremists, seems to be a general confusion and a lack of consensus among the mainstream Sunnis themselves, regarding ways in which to respond to such incendiary vitriol spewed by such militant groups.

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‘Life as Politics’

Asef Bayat ‘Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East. Stanford University Press. 2013.


Bayat’s ‘Life as Politics’ is noteworthy for various reasons. Amongst other factors that distinguish this work is the way in which Bayat highlights the emergence of a ‘new public’ in the Middle East, marked by a ‘post-national’, ‘post ideological’ and a ‘post -Islamist’ sensibility and orientation(p.267). Equally novel is the way in which he posits  this new public as being engaged in ‘urban subaltern politics’ under the constraining conditions of globalization (p.46), and how such politics are informed by a  ‘popular surge of energy’ seeking to over throw ‘unjust structures of power’ (p.1).  Continue reading

Reconstruction of Raziya Sultan’s Memory in the Indian Cinema (Part 2)


This analysis will use two reconstructions of Raziya Sultan’s history in the Indian cinema, to examine the ways in which the historical memory of her rule is invoked in the present times. The narratives of both films reveal multifarious historical inaccuracies and can be identified with the genre of ‘historical fiction’. Although Raziya’s persona is clearly being only used here as a vehicle to project fictional imaginaries, however such reformulation of Raziya’s rule can also be seen as valuable since ‘all narrative reconstructions of the past and the methodologies that they employ are historically constituted’ because they are ‘engaging with a past that is at once distant and dialectically continuous with the present’ (Flood 2009: 14). Continue reading