Tick Tock IV

Griff Witte’s Musharraf’s Military Reaches Deep Into Pakistani Society, WaPo, June 27: “Yet in a country where the military has long been immune from criticism, its extraordinary power is now drawing open contempt from civilians. A campaign against Musharraf that began three months ago, following his suspension of the chief justice, has exploded into a full-fledged movement to oust the armed services from civilian life and send the generals back to their barracks.”

Carlotta Gall’s As Pakistan’s Chief Looks Ahead, Army Holds the Cards, NYT, June 28: “Asked if the corps commanders might tell the general he had to go, he answered, “We may be coming to that stage.”

There used to be a time when the biggest “social program” Pakistani intellectuals hammed about was de-feudalization. The wave of the future: de-militarization.


zibahposter.jpgOmar Ali Khan – an aficionado and connoisseur of the weird and macabre lollywod/Punjabi cinema – has released his first directorial effort: Zibahkhana [literally, Slaughterhouse]. I hope that it gets out on DVD etc. as well. Our ChiTrib recently had Kim Barker’s report, Zombies breathe life into film, that I read and railed against [It is not Pakistan’s first horror film and ‘serious’ is not how I would characterize any of Pakistani cinema and the ‘slasher genre’ reached Pakistan soundly by the time of Wahshi Jatt or the masterpiece Maula Jatt]. Oh well. I remember, as a teenager, watching this awesome horror movie called Zinda Laash/Living Dead] during some cricket tournament and yelling juggats at the tv screen [Also catch the Bollywood version – Bandh Darwaza/Closed Door]. I hope Zibahkhana is as fun.

South Asian Studies at ASPAC

Guest Post by Jonathan Dresner

Sepoy has graciously agreed to let me guest-blog my conference experiences again, this time about South Asian studies at the Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast Conference (ASPAC).

I’m a complete conference geek: I hate missing panels, and I love talking about the panels afterwards. My biggest complaint about this conference, thinking about it now, is the same one people have had for years about traditional conferences: too little time for Q&A, discussion, and too little time to think about the presentations before the Q&A starts. They did try to fix that a little bit: in exchange for filling out a general meeting proxy, we got cute Oracle USB drives with the meeting abstracts and some of the papers on them, so in theory we could pre-view the materials.1

Before I get to the panels, though, the biggest news out of the meeting was the formation of a new annual conference on the west coast devoted to South Asian Studies: The South Asian Studies Alliance (which I think is going to become the South Asian Studies Association, but don’t quote me on that) had its first conference about six weeks before ASPAC and was reportedly a great success. The organizers are ASPAC leaders, including board members Bill Vanderbok, Deepak Shimkhada and Ram Roy, who see the AAS as failing to attract or represent South Asian scholarship in representative numbers, and who don’t think the conference in Wisconsin is accessible enough to the bulk of South Asianists to serve their needs. ASPAC provided the seed money, and both conferences will be sharing e-ASPAC as a peer-reviewed outlet. However, SASA will be fully independent once it gets organized, not a subgroup within ASPAC or AAS. Great opportunities for scholars young and old!

Now, to the panels!

Continue reading “South Asian Studies at ASPAC”

  1. Unfortunately, many presentations didn’t go much beyond the abstracts, so after reading the abstract I was kind of bored by some of the actual presentations. Something to think about as we prepare for our January roundtable. []

Sir Christopher Bayly

Christopher Bayly, the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, author of several books including the seminal Empire and Information: Intelligence gathering and social communication in India 1780-1870 (1996), a doyen of the Cambridge School of historiography, is now a Knight Bachelor for services to History [pdf].

I met him in Cambridge this past September and found him to be utterly nice and generous. He refused to say in public, or in private, how much my paper had sucked. For which I remain grateful. I know a number of his students who all sing his praises for his dedication to their careers and the efforts he expends on their behalf – high praise indeed.

In his comments he stated: “I regard this not only as a great personal honour but, as an historian of India, as recognition of the growing importance of the history of the non-western world.”

Hear, hear! Also, some other writer got Knighted too and people in homistan are kinda pissed about it. So, what’s new? Let’s celebrate History and historians instead. Congratulations to Sir Bayly. [HT to Arvind]