Tag Archives: september 11

Bittersweet Gujarat: Reena Patel

This is a guest post by REENA PATEL

I looked around the room and my gaze was met with the kohl lined eyes and stares of bewilderment and distrust. My heart pounded as I listened to three Muslim women describe their latest attempt to find their father and brother after they disappeared in the riots. They were speaking to Rahidbhai* from a local NGO who was accompanying me into the Ahmedabad relief colonies for the first time. Why was I so scared? Why was my heart pounding? The eldest woman of the home disrupted my thoughts, she asked me for my name. I looked around and looked at Rahidbhai, who looked back uneasily. “Mera naam Reena hai.” I said, almost choking on the words, knowing what the next question would be. “Aap ka surname kya hai?” The room grew thick with silence. “Patel.”

As far back as I could remember, I was taught to regard Muslims differently from the rest of the general population. My parents, both from Surat, Gujarat moved and met in the United States in their twenties. They both lived in England and spent time in Gujarat, and had families that were deeply involved in the Gujarati community. My brother and I were born in Long Beach California. I went to Gujarati school on Sundays, went to every function, picnic, and cultural show put on by the Leuva Patidar Samaj in Southern California. Many of my family members were apart of the organization. In fact, my great grandfather Vallabhai Patel was one of the first Patels to land upon the shores of the United States, now estimated at a population of over 140,000. We went to religious camps that were meant to teach us about Hindu ideology, handed out saffron prayer books and modeled how to become ideal Hindu men and women for our communities.

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Militant Rationalities: Ali Usman Qasmi

This is a guest post by ALI USMAN QASMI

Stark indifference of various religious organizations and scholars over suicide bombings and the recurrent target killing in Pakistan during the last few years is appalling. Woefully the mainstream print and electronic media deems it enough to issue the obligatory bland statements signifying absolutely nothing in condemnation of killings of innocent civilians. The act of terrorism in itself is relentlessly condoned, although the lost lives of civilians evoke some reaction which too is quite guarded to say the least. Even while expressing sympathy over the death of civilians,  the ‘atrocities’ of the Western powers in general and USA in particular are invariably referred to as the catalyst resulting in all the mess that the Pakistani people find themselves in, at the moment. Thus, unequivocal condemnation of those responsible for all the mayhem in the country is conspicuously missing, which amounts to a tacit approval of these terrorist acts. Far more tormenting than the devil may care attitude of religious parties and their leadership, is the role played by writers of the right wing persuasion, particularly in the Urdu media. While the mass appeal of the religious parties is considerably thin, nevertheless, right-wing ideology is widely shared and adhered to. Continue reading Militant Rationalities: Ali Usman Qasmi

Osama and Obama: Or How Much Work Can One Death Do…

Yesterday Osama Bin Laden was killed in an operation by American troops in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Barack Obama addressed the American nation in a televised address at 11:30 P.M. at night. It is a curious address. You can watch it below.

Continue reading Osama and Obama: Or How Much Work Can One Death Do…