All India Muslim League, 1906-2006

On December 30, 1906, a group of Muslim leaders gathered in Dhaka and proposed a political association for the Muslims of India, with three aims: to protect Muslim interests, to counter Congress influences, and to support the British administration. The first meeting of this proposed entity, named the All India Muslim League happened in Karachi on December 20th, 1907. The next decades of Muslim League in Indian nationalist politics can only be described as tumultuous – as it tried to work with, against, the All India National Congress and the British. It trained, groomed and gave a platform to generations of Muslim leaders on local, national and international arenas. But, even as the party and its ideologies gained significance in the Indian nationalist scene, it had to go through various evolutions in its struggle to unite dueling agendas and hopes for the millions of Muslims in India.

To truly understand its impact, one would have to examine the intellectual history of the Muslim League from Syed Ahmed Khan to the two partitions Рthe creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This history of the Muslim League is of particular relevance in today’s world. The oft-heard refrain about the lack of democracy and democratic practices in the Muslim world deserves a sustained critique through this 100 year history of charted and documented practice of Muslim democracy in India

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Friedman, You Are a Racist Idiot

I don’t read Friedman, or any other NYT columnist, thanks [wholeheartedly] to TimeSelect. However, his column from 12/20 is so beyond the pale. The Arabist has the full column but short Friedman: Arabs are a tribe of lying, conniving, cheating, haters who are genetically unable to stop their lying, fighting, cheating and hating – esp. when it comes to Palestine. So, being a Great Power we shouldn’t have gotten involved with Small Tribes.

Oh, the burden of imperialism. Go ahead and substitute “Jew” for “Arab” in that column [hey, they both Semitic people!] and let me know how that goes. That such racist pablum is published in our paper of record is indicative of how this country feels about Muslims and Arabs. Virgil Goode, have a Merry Christmas.

Barack Obama II: Audacity of Hope

I don’t usually read anything written by politicians during their run-up to declaring candidacy or elections. Hence, I have missed out on this or this or that, etc. etc. (you get the point and I am tired of searching on Amazon for Richard Nixon’s campaign books). And yet, a few days ago, I walked into a bookstore and plunked down cold hard plastic for Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. Apparently unmollified by such a brash act, I proceeded to read the whole thing over the next few days and I even got a little teary-eyed.

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TIME to come in for dinner

Not the person of the yearTime Magazine is hunched over its dad’s computer in the den, learning how to personalize the desktop, search for pornography and make small-time day-trading deals online. It likes the den, it likes choosing the sound the computer makes when a new email comes into the ‘mailbox’. Time has plenty of cheetos and gatorade for snacks. Time Magazine doesn’t like to get up from the leatherette armchair and come in for dinner with the grownups and talk about icky things like fiery Venezualan bad boy orators and business-casual Iranian Holocaust-deniers, or even glitteringly sophisticated Californian grandmothers of five. But, sadly, no, Time Magazine, that is not US on the cover of the magazine, that is YOUR cool new screensaver.

Barack Obama I: Style Icon

First in a series of posts on the junior senator from Illinois.

Gary Cooper: Perfect. It’s a matter of fact. Everything about you is perfect.

Audrey Hepburn: I’m too thin and my ears stick out, my teeth are crooked and my neck’s much too long.

Gary Cooper: Maybe so, but I love the way it all hangs together.

Love in the Afternoon

Gary Cooper just can't resist the mysterious ingenue

Like Cooper’s character in Love in the Afternoon, we’re terribly jaded: we’ve lived the capitalist high life and rolled with all sorts of exotic dames, Swedish twins, Spanish princesses, you name it. Frightened Republicans, cranky pessimistic Democrats and The Main-Stream Media alike may ridicule us for our sudden infatuation with the new pair of ankles in town, but what they don’t understand is that like Ms. Hepburn, Senator Obama is the real deal. You can get to Hepburn’s waif-weight on a steady diet of club-hopping, methamphetamine and cocaine cut with strawberry Quik, or you can get there by gnawing on tulip bulbs in the basement during the Dutch Famine. You could achieve the grace and poise of Hepburn by hiring a personal trainer and doing pilates every day or you could get there by cutting short your training as a professional ballet dancer due to poverty-induced malnutrition. Similarly, you could give speeches as well as Obama by hiring a stable-full of professional speech writers, or you could get there by spending a lifetime reading literature and honing the craft of writing. You could adopt a message of hope, non-partisanship and reconciliation after consulting with a team of highly paid pollsters, or you could hold such a message as a conviction, a lesson learned through personal experience and public service. Continue reading “Barack Obama I: Style Icon”