Tag Archives: Tariq Ali

An Article On Tahira Mazhar Ali

I recently came across this brilliant feature by Shehar Bano Khan on Tahira Mazhar Ali – Tariq Ali’s mother and Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan’s daughter.   It is a very interesting account coming from the daughter of one of the most influential politicians of Punjab.  Her association with the Communist Party, her meetings with Nehru and Jinnah and her recollection of partition makes her part of our collective heritage.  Published 5 years ago in Dawn, we are reproducing it here for the benefit of our readers. -YLH

She is blunt to a fault. Her brusqueness has not lost its sharp edge with time, neither has her witticism surrendered to old age. At 80, Tahira Mazhar Ali’s vivacity, her political ripostes, and her tirades against capitalism define her originality.
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Rebuttal to a Mullah of Another Kind

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

I am not a Marxist of any kind. Far from it. However I have the greatest respect for Marx and his singular contribution to humanity. I also respect Lenin and the architects of the Bolshevik Revolution. Continue reading

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The Other Side of the Story

Agha Hasan Abedi- the brilliant banker

With Clive Owen’s “The International” being Hollywood’s latest attempt at Slander,  it is about time we revisited the BCCI Scandal controversey.  This is a review of Tariq Ali’s screen play “BANKER FOR ALL SEASONS” from the Newsline.

Student leader, Trotskyite, historian, journalist and playwright manqué, Tariq Ali reached iconic status for his raucous, rabble-rousing anti-Vietnam protests. We, who much to the mocking mirth of our friends, marched in solidarity into Grosvenor Square, looked on with no small measure of pride, as this handsome Pakistani took centre stage. That was the year of the protests in Chicago at the Democratic Convention and of the birth of the famous Chicago Eight. Throughout the intervening years, Tariq Ali has produced a shelf load of historical fiction, essays, TV films and is a much sought-after speaker. In all this time he has maintained his radicalism, even if it is inevitably mellowed and measured.

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News Media Vs Angry Young Londonistanis

By Bradistan

Sometimes truth and compromise cannot be accommodated within a single sentence no matter how hard one tries. In US there is a syndrome known as celebrity journalism (courtesy Ann coulter and Thomas L friedman ), Journalistic showbiz personalities always looking for media spot for right or wrong reasons, this problem is slowly but surely creeping into UK.

In celebrity journalist clan top priority is the pay cheques and bank balances, but this makes the truth and the professional integrity a lesser priority. People like “world is flat” (china India slave sweat shop theory) bandwagon, knowledge gurus (Mr. Copra selling spirituality in a disposable bottle), champions of selling successful business model of WTO free market neo liberalism to people of Africa and India.  This model of free market  capitalism led  to sub prime consumerism into an end product which is hegemonic imperialism. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Books, Colonialism, culture, Democracy, Europe, Imperialism, India, Islam, Islamism, journalism, Religion

History and Interpretations:Communalism and Problems of Indian Historiography 3

This is the third part of the history’s diverse interpretations and their contribution in understanding the world. Indeed, we are not bound by any, nor is any particular version a gospel of truth but as analytical tools these approaches enable us to make sense of the mess that we know, preach and live with as History. Readers are encouraged to comment and indicate examples that validate or challenge the various ways of interpreting History. [Raza Rumi – Ed]

Shaheryar Ali

we have explained, the “critical” turn of “Modern History”, we have covered, the debate of Marxism and History, the various models, the critique of Nationalism as a philosophy, the advent of “Orientalism”, “Post-colonial critique”, the “critique of modernism”. Critique of “civilizing missions”.

The project of modernity, including the “Enlightenment” have come under critique, the new historiographies focus on the “oriental” and “euro centric” mind set of Modern thinkers. Tariq Ali for examples says:

“How many citizens have any real idea of what the Enlightenment really was? French philosophers did take humanity forward by recognising no external authority of any kind, but there was a darker side. Voltaire: “Blacks are inferior to Europeans, but superior to apes.” Hume: “The black might develop certain attributes of human beings, the way the parrot manages to speak a few words.” There is much more in a similar vein from their colleagues. It is this aspect of the Enlightenment that appears to be more in tune with some of the generalized anti-Muslim ravings in the media. (Tariq Ali in “This is the real out rage”)

Here we see the usefulness of Marxist historiography, the belief in “Purposefulness of History”. When George Bush started his War on Terror, what were the philosophical justifications? It was once again, the good old “modernizing mission”. The war to preserve “civilization” from old backward “barbarians”. Hence the term “Neo-colonialism”.

Ali is trying to make a connection between modernism and neo-colonialism and imperialism.

I want to address yet another question, for the sake of clarity here. We live in epoch of confusion and hyper-reality. Capitalism in form of imperialism has created the greatest propaganda system that ever existed, the “free media”. Continue reading

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Mullahs and Heretics

by Tariq Ali found here

I never believed in God, not even between the ages of six and ten, when I was an agnostic. This unbelief was instinctive. I was sure there was nothing else out there but space. It could have been my lack of imagination. In the jasmine-scented summer nights, long before mosques were allowed to use loudspeakers, it was enough to savour the silence, look up at the exquisitely lit sky, count the shooting stars and fall asleep. The early morning call of the muezzin was a pleasant alarm-clock.

There were many advantages in being an unbeliever. Threatened with divine sanctions by family retainers, cousins or elderly relatives – ‘If you do that Allah will be angry’ or ‘If you don’t do this Allah will punish you’ – I was unmoved. Let him do his worst, I used to tell myself, but he never did, and that reinforced my belief in his non-existence.

My parents, too, were non-believers. So were most of their close friends. Religion played a tiny part in our Lahore household. In the second half of the last century, a large proportion of educated Muslims had embraced modernity. Old habits persisted, nonetheless: the would-be virtuous made their ablutions and sloped off to Friday prayers. Some fasted for a few days each year, usually just before the new moon marking the end of Ramadan. I doubt whether more than a quarter of the population in the cities fasted for a whole month. Café life continued unabated. Many claimed that they had fasted so as to take advantage of the free food doled out at the end of each fasting day by the mosques or the kitchens of the wealthy. In the countryside fewer still fasted, since outdoor work was difficult without sustenance, and especially without water when Ramadan fell during the summer months. Eid, the festival marking the end of Ramadan, was celebrated by everyone. Continue reading

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