The Indus raga: From Bulleh Ki Jana Mein Kon to Tarrin Paunda

BY NADEEM F. PARACHA

The Indus is one of the oldest and longest rivers in Asia. Though it originated in the Tibetan Plateau in China, much of it flows across Pakistan.

Over the centuries, a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions have sprung up on both sides of the Indus.

Five thousand years from the moment the first major civilisation emerged along the Indus, till the creation of Pakistan in 1947, various religions and cultures have thrived here: Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. Each of these religions were indigenised.

Even though Islam has become the major faith along the Indus in the last 500 years, the dynamic history of the region has kept cultures largely heterogeneous and varied. A commonality was not attempted on the basis of a homogenous or monolithic idea of faith and culture here.

Rather those preaching Islam in the region — especially from the 12th century onward — absorbed existing cultural traditions that had evolved for thousands of years along the river, and, in turn, expressed them through the more esoteric strands of Islam (Sufism).

Historically, the strand of Sufism which emerged on the banks of Indus (especially in Punjab and all the way across Sindh), consciously eschewed religious orthodoxy and, at times, even rebelled against it.

The poetry and music that emerged from Sufi circles along the river is therefore largely a result of the theological, political and social tensions between Sufis and the orthodox ulema and clerics.

This is still the case, as we shall see while reviewing a series of songs related to the historical Sufi tradition along the Indus.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1253300/the-indus-raga-from-bulleh-ki-jana-mein-kon-to-tarrin-paunda

What I Learned Having Sex as a Young Woman in Pakistan

By Zahra Haider

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic with the highest porn-watching population in the world. That statement in and of itself signifies a particular aspect about Pakistani culture: we are horny and desperate for sex, but God forbid we actually engage in it. Sex in Pakistan is considered a taboo topic. Men generally aren’t judged for it in our patriarchal society but if a woman from a middle-class family or underprivileged background is caught having premarital sex, serious shit goes down.

Women from poorer backgrounds could be victims of various forms of premarital punishment. Punishing women for premarital sex started with former President Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship or “Islamization,” which incorporated Zina (stoning to death), andHudood (punishments such as whipping, amputation, honor killing) into Pakistani law. His government dismissed women’s rape accusations, instead labelling them as fornicators and sending them to jail. These draconian forms of punishment are slowly dying out, but still linger in the mentalities of fundamentalists, imams, and police officers. Shariah Law can also be blamed for many gender discriminatory policies in Muslim societies, such as the lack of support for freedom of speech, women’s rights, and, ultimately, human rights.

Even though I had engaged in sexual relations with almost a dozen people before coming to Canada for college in 2012, it wasn’t something I was open about, and looking back I realize my sexuality was still pretty deeply repressed. Due to all these restrictions on us during the horniest years of our lives, in statistically the horniest country (see the above porn stats) in the world, we were forced to get creative during post-pubescent adolescence.

Read more » Vice
See more » http://www.vice.com/read/what-i-learned-having-sex-as-a-young-woman-in-pakistan