Watandost in Urdu, Turkish and Farsi means "friend of the nation or country". The blog contains news and views about Pakistan and broader South West Asia that are insightful but are often not part of the headlines. It also covers major debates in Muslim societies across the world.
Introducing Sindhi Studies Group - An Informative and Educational Blog
Blog: Sindhi Studies Group:Society, Culture and Territory in India and Pakistan
The aim of this scholarly blog is to develop a platform bringing together social scientists interested in Sindh, a region located in southern Pakistan, and its diaspora, mainly in India. The goal of our study group is to share and disseminate a wide range of information on the evolution of Sindhi society while exploring the interrelated dynamics in the religious, political and cultural arenas.
Book launch in Karachi,
November 7, 2011 By Rémy Delage
The book by Michel Boivin, Artefacts of Devotion. A Sufi Repertoire of the Qalandariyya in Sehwan Sharif, Sindh, Pakistan, was launched on 28th of October 2011 at the Alliance Française de Karachi (AFK). Read the book description from the official website of OUP in Karachi:
“Sindh, the land and the river which gave its name to the subcontinent, is a region rich in history with a distinctive cultural heritage. It is the first base of Islam in the subcontinent but can be defined in religious terms as independent and more flexible. As a result, Sufi Islam took root here and spread across the Indus region attracting Muslim and non-Muslim devotees alike.
In this book, Michel Boivin, who has devoted much of his time to the study of Sindh, takes his readers to Sehwan Sharif’s shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, one of the Sufi icons of Sindh. Shahbaz Qalandar, of Persian Asian descent, is described as one of the unconventional qalandars who was accepted as ‘one of the sons of Sindh’; his ‘kalam’ made him ‘a symbol of daring authenticity during times of stifling conformity’ to quote the author. Boivin has produced a volume that explores and explains ‘the Sufi repertoire’ as he terms the monuments and artefacts of devotion, particularly in the Qalandariyya context, and is enriched by painstakingly researched and striking images. Through the four main chapters and the Excursus, the reader is introduced to the description, history and significance of each aspect of the artefacts and of the shrines in the Indus region, mainly Sindh. The book is supported by a comprehensive glossary, a list of illustrations, bibliography and an index.”
Inside Story about Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle Hassan Abbas: September 24, 2006
General Pervez Musharraf’s memoir In the Line of Fire is expected to generate a lot of debate and discussion in the days to come. Except some western journalists and Musharraf’s close friends (three ghost writers) hardly anyone has had a chance yet to read the book from cover to cover. The excerpts of the book leaked through Indian media and General Musharraf’s statements to some American media outlets however have already created some controversies. In the United States, controversy is considered a positive thing, so the book is bound to become a bestseller here, but in Pakistan probably the opposite is true.
This article is not a review of the book (as I haven’t got hold of a copy yet), but it endeavors to throw some light on the widely reported Musharraf comment about the Armitage threat conveyed through Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed, the then Director General of the ISI. I had done research on this speci…
Confronting Extremism Through Building an Effective Counter-Narrative This article was originally published in the Development Advocate Pakistan on April 25, 2016.
While Pakistan is using kinetic means to push back terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), it is still struggling to find an antidote to religious extremism and bigotry that provides space for extremist thinking and consequent violence across the country. The ideas of pluralism, religious harmony and openness to diverse political views have slowly given way to narrow mindedness, sectarianism and intolerance. The democratic experience is equipping Pakistan to revive its balance in the socio-political domain, but it is a fact that the social space in the country today is highly contested between extremist and progressive elements of society.
The blame for these trends within the media and policy circles of Pakistan is often directed towards regional confli…
Daily Times, February 9, 2006 Zuljanah, O zuljanah, come to my house!’ By Ali Waqar
LAHORE: Zuljanah, a pet horse symbolically named after Imam Hussain’s (AS) steed, is a major source of inspiration for mourners recalling the martyrdom at Karbala.
“Zuljanah, O zuljanah, come to my house,” children chant, waiting for the sacred horse on the processional route or outside their houses. The tradition of brining a zuljanah to selected houses in Muharram 10 processions is still practiced in many Pakistani towns, but in large cities like Lahore, the zuljanah has gradually been decentralised.
The procession is usually taken out on Muharram 9 and 10, to commemorate Imam Hussain’s (AS) martyrdom at Karbala 1,368 years ago. The tradition began in the subcontinent about 800 to 1,000 years ago, with Taimurlane’s arrival. It was gradually adopted throughout the subcontinent and became a religious icon, becoming a fundamental part of Muharram 10 processio…