Bats with God

A little over an year ago, I wrote about Mohammad Yousuf ne√© Yousuf Youhana’s conversion to Islam. In the post, I was a bit ambivalent about the symbolic force of that personal decision. A few months later, by happenstance, I ended up chatting with Yousuf over IM. He seemed geniunely excited and happy. And said that he felt a greater peace than ever before.

Well, that greater peace has enabled him to score more runs in any one calendar year in the history of cricket – at the astounding rate of 99.33 runs. Greater even than the great Viv Richards. The spin, in news stories everywhere, is that it is his faith that has enabled him this record-shattering run. God has helped me break this record, he says. Islam has helped him focus his skills and shaped the way he trains, supports his coach, Bob Wollmer.

Those who follow American football – or basketball etc. – are familiar with such stories of new-found religiosity impacting on-field performance. Kurt Warner, the rags-to-jesus quarterback for the St. Louis Rams* comes to mind. But, I cannot think of any other example from Cricket.

To my uninitiated mind, Muhammad Yousuf had a straight bat even before he found the straight path. Either way, it really is a remarkable feat and my heartiest congratulations to him.

update: dk pointed out Rob’s brilliant comment to my last post. I just re-read it and must now reproduce it here for all.

Cricket is a religion that needs no other. Come to think of it, it might just be the perfect religion. It has a ritualistic, mystic charm which often orbits around seemingly-ordinary objects that are elevated exclusively through the context in which they are put to use; a dense web of doctrine, initially impenetrable to outsiders but which believers are always all-too-happy to explain to potential converts; and a proud sense of its own history and great events that often focuses on the most evenly-matched sides. It’s not afraid to ask the big questions, often retrosopectively. “How was that onnnne?” Not just this, but it also boasts a plethora of god-like figures who regularly turn out to be reassuringly flawed. This provides great grounding to believers.

Imams at the Airport

Six Imams walk into a Terminal…and then they stay right there. They were deplaned from a US Airways flight after bring found suspicious. CAIR is, rightfully, asking for investigation.

I received an email from our teacher, Naim Sahib with an oped he wrote to the Chicago Tribune. With his non-explicit-permission, I am reprinting it below the fold.

Continue reading “Imams at the Airport”

Meeting People is Easy

On Saturday, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, conceded that the president had not come into direct contact with ordinary Vietnamese, but said that they connected anyway.

“If you’d been part of the president’s motorcade as we’ve shuttled back and forth,” he said, reporters would have seen that “the president has been doing a lot of waving and getting a lot of waving and smiles.”

Only the Chosen One can avoid people in Asia – perhaps, an even more quixotic mission than the one in Iraq.

Also, see Lady Bush check out a “old book” in Singapore. Doesn’t look too old from the binding and does look like a Qur’an.

All Tied Up in Knots

I wish to inform you that in the past few weeks, I should have written the following:

  • A review of Jonathan Lear’s brilliant Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation.
  • My thoughts on Sudhir Venkatesh’s talk at the IHouse. He is the author of Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor.
  • The inevitable Borat post.
  • The next post in the Polyglot Manifesto series – which is the paper I presented at Madison.
  • About Zotero.
  • What I have learned – and hope to put into use – from teachers of postcolonialism at Chicago.
  • All India Muslim League – a conference we organized recently.
  • My Thomas Paine project.
  • A snarky post about how tone-deaf the major conferences are – in this case, AAS – to standard internet practices. Even ones dedicated to computing, AAHC, need work.
  • A really snarky post about 8 kinds of wrong in Faisal Devji’s ISIM article Global War on Terror as De-Militarization [pdf link].
  • A really really snarky post about Sayyid Qutb and the experts of GWOT and Islamism.
  • A post about the up-heavels in Pakistan on all fronts. Nuts, really.
  • A review of Dirks’ The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain.
  • Insane YouTube clips of songs from the Golden Age of Hindi cinema, break-dancing, and mujras from Pakistan. You can see some that I added to my favorites.
  • A post about the Annual Cliopatria Awards for best of the history blogosphere. Telling you to go nominate your favorites.

HOWEVER, I confess that I haven’t done any of the above. You don’t need reasons, gentle readers. You and I go back – way back. You are indulgent. I will just mention that my hunt for a professorship, my somewhat increased biodegradability, and my work are to be blamed. I miss CM. The good news is that I can see the end of the insanity. Soon.

Perma Smirk

Young Cheney, smirking in autumnIt’s election week and thinking about all our favorite politicians across the land keeps us up at night. After so many years of Republican rule it’s hard to imagine anything like a victory tomorrow, especially when a perpetual slide-show of Dick Cheney’s perma-smirk dances in our heads. Chapati Mystery’s medical expert, Dr. Haroun, reports that some of his colleagues believe that Cheney may suffer from Bell’s Palsy, which would explain permanent tilt to his facial features. Perhaps he is only able to lift the muscles on the left side of his face and that is why he looks so scary. Further research by our staff has shown that no such ailment has been publicly reported for Cheney (surprise!), although it has been for Ralph Nader. Dr. Haroun points out that Bell’s Palsy is not permanent and therefore it could not be an explanation for the smirk, which evidently has been a fixture on the Cheney visage for the last thirty years or more, judging from the little gallery we have put together for you. Dr. Haroun suggests instead that the President of Vice may be afflicted with some more permanent variety of neurological damage, such as the type that his colleague and former hunting partner, Harry Whittington, may now suffer from after his face was sprayed with executive quail shot in February.