PESHAWAR

Today was heartbreaking.

Let us remember the victims and there families. And let us also remember the Taliban exists because western powers funded, armed, and trained them, and corrupt governments deprived them of education, by stealing public money. Let us remember how complex this issue is.

-M

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BOLLYWOOD LET ME CALL YOU OUT REAL QUICK: RELIGIONISM AND ETHNICISM IN BOLLYWOOD

(Disclaimer: I wrote this like months ago, in case something I say doesn’t make sense time-wise.)

I hope religionism and religionist are actual words…

White privilege, Gandhi, man—I’ve been going HARD lately. So I was like, I should definitely do something light-hearted this week. But then I figured, I might as well get it all out, you know?

BOLLYWOOD.

Cheerful…

chandnichowk9

Scenic…

b1f03-veer1


Romantic…

soulmate

And overall just a hoot, right?
handsup




Mhmm. It is all of those things. But, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes, bollywood gets a little bit offensive.

Just…

sinb1

A tad…
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rude.
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When portraying minorities. The minority I’ve noticed being discriminated against the most is Sardars, who are Sikh men who wear turbans. Sardars are almost always portrayed as drunk, irrational, uneducated men. Some infamous offenders are Jab We Met and Veer Zaara (although Bachchan isn’t actually wearing a turban in Veer Zaara). Also, Sikhs are often shown doing things that are blatently against Sikhsims, such as idol worship, and, overall,  Bollywood mixes Hinduism and Sikhism. A lot.  And I have a couple issues with that.

First, the whole drunk thing. An argument I hear for this very often is, “But it’s true!! Sikhs ARE drinkers!” Okay, I get it. It is true. But…it’s true to the point that it’s like, an issue. Like, the biggest issue for us, basically. Drugs and alcohol are killing Panjab. 73% of Panjabi youth are addicted to drugs. Not just users. Addicts. I have family members who have had to recover from serious drug problems at very young ages. And yes, Sikhs are known to drink. Fine. But does that mean that Bollywood has to portray Sikhs as alcoholics all the time? Think about little Sikh boys and girls. When all they is  see Sikhs portrayed as is drinkers, that’s what they’re going to think is expected of them. And so how can we ever progress? We can’t. And Bollywood’s not concerned about it.

Now when Sikhs are somewhat reasonable people in Bollywood, it’s great! But, it’s also not, because, the more reasonable they are, the more the movie makers want us to believe they’re actually Hindus. They do pooja, worship idols, have Hindu weddings, and do other things that I don’t even know what they’re called, because as a Sikh, I never learned them. Also, characters who are Hindus often wear karas. This I just don’t get. Like, I was thinking about it the other day–karas were given to Sikhs so they could be identified as Sikhs on the battlefield. And so I was thinking, I get that religious traditions blend together sometimes, but karas are for ride or die Sikhs, like, literally. When I was in India, I noticed how there isn’t really a line between Sikhs and Hindus, and that scared me a little. We make up just 2% of India’s population, making it totally possible for us to kind of get washed away. And seeing so much Sikh-Hindu confusion in Bollywood seems like a symptom of this. Even Rocket Singh, which is the best portrayal of a Sikh-Sardar Bollywood has ever done, shows Sikhs praying to pictures. This even got my grandma heated. So you know it’s not just me, a rebelious youth. Also, there’s the fact that the Indian constitution says that Sikhism is part of Hinduism. SO YOU KNOW, THERE’S THAT.

Indianconstitution

Look, I love watching B-wood movies. And I’m not trying to turn anyone off of them. I just feel like we need to be aware that they don’t portray minorities, like Sikhs and Muslim, well. I don’t think anyone should stop watching them. But when you do watch them, and you see that the only Sikh and Muslim characters are the rickshaw drivers or something like that, notice. Just notice. And if you want to stand up in the theater, declare the movie ethnicist or religionist, walk out, and hold a picket-sign protest, feel free. If you feel like sending a strongly worded email to Karan Johar about how, while you have marathons of his movies every rainy day, they are damaging the image of minorities in front of an international audience, be my guest. Or blog about it heatedly. Either one.

See you next time, hopefully engaged readers,

-M

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Breaking: College Is a Pretty Time Consuming

…but I still find time to miss blogging 😦

Today is Gurpurab! It’s the birthday of the first prophet of Sikhism, who was quite the feminist:

gurpurab

So happy happy gurpurab to all!

Other than that, I’m not sure if I have nothing to talk about, or so much to talk about that I don’t know where to begin.

Oh OMG.

I’m doing a talk on Sikhism in my World Religions class :O

WTH SHOULD I SAY EVEN. HELLO, I AM SIKH, HOW ARE YOU. BOLLYWOOD PORTRAYS US BADLY. NICE TO MEET U???

Jk, I have a pretty solid outline. I’m just afraid I’m going to bore people. Also I want to bring in Sikhi-related snacks?? Like I’ve been googling “Khanda Shaped Cookies,” and “Sikh treats??” All to no avail. I would make some but A) Idk if you’re allowed to bring in homemade things, and B) this one time I pranked my brother by making him think I was giving him a glass of carnation milk, but really it was a glass of water and salt. And I feel like whatever I make would probably taste something like that.

ALSO

I have been so into South Asian high fashion lately.

Some of my favorite stuff:

Neeta Lulla

Neeta Lulla

Beige embroidered anarkali set with studded waist belt

Malasa

Obviously these things would cost roughly my first child. But it’s fun to window shop! Also, I realized what I like about high fashion things compared to…not-high fashion things? is that they’re kind of more understated. But I’ve discovered that I can make knockoffs by pairing dresses from Forever 21 and salwars I have laying around 😀

Anyways, I have to write a paper :/ I have Microsoft Word open and it’s literally glowing like “why aren’t you writing me you procrastinating failure” so imma go. BUT I’LL TRY TO BE BACK SOON, OK!?

I love u

M

PS- Thoughts on the new theme? I love the concept but is it too cold? Ok bi

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The world right now, let me tell ya. #NorthWaziristan ft. #Palestine

First of all, Falasteen Zindabad.

Apartheid is happening in Palestine right now. To me, arguing about it doesn’t even make sense at this point. It’s a fact that hospitals, schools, children, and elderly people in Palestine have been targeted in huge numbers, to the point that this “conflict” is completely one-sided. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for any arguments against this anymore. If you still feel like this is a two-sided conflict, all I can tell you is to get a new, less-biased news source in your life. Obviously, #IStandWithPalestine.

Moving on to something that has been in the news literally never.

Okay not literally, thanks to Al Jazeera.

But almost never.

North Waziristan, Pakistan.

The Pakistani government has launched a huge air and ground offensive in north western Pakistan, particularly the North Waziristan province, in an attempt to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban. As proud as I want to be of the Pakistani government for doing this, some people have been questioning the motives behind this attack, with claims of various conspiracies. I mean, I would think the government is putting their genuine effort into this, especially after the attack on a major airport in Sindh province that happened recently. But as I don’t know a whole lot about the government aspect of this, what I will speak on is the sacrifice of the people of North Waziristan. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes, to avoid becoming casualties of this air strike, many into Afghanistan. And like, they’re not even mad, because they know it’s for a good cause. But it’s summer right now, and it was also just Ramadan. So conditions haven’t exactly been ideal. Not that conditions are ever ideal for fleeing your home. Some families have returned to find destroyed homes. And my thing is, why hasn’t this been in the news more? These people are leaving their homes for our safety. The Pakistani Taliban is not just a danger to them, but, when looking at it’s roots and long term effects, to the world. In Pakistan, these IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), have gotten more attention. The Panjab government has pledged at least 2,000 new houses to the IDPs. Which is nice. Really really nice. Unfortunately, there are  more than 2,000 IDPs. There are actually more than 700,000 IDPs from this situation. That’s .7 million.

Al Jazeera has some stuff on this whole thing: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/07/pictures-pakistan-offensive-co-2014714133154188322.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/07/pictures-pakistan-troubled-tirah-20147114547630421.html <–This one mentions the Sikh community in the area 🙂

My heart is with Palestine and Pakistan ❤

-M

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The Sheesh Mahal

I cry a lot. I’m a tear machine. When I’m sad, happy, angry, hungry. It’s a nuicance to my family. In India, I cried when I got my first glimpse of Pakistan, probably when I saw the mustard fields, in Amritsar, idk, like every other day. I’m telling you this so that you see me as an emotional artist, obviously. But also to add emphasis to the fact that, among all of this sobbing,  there’s only been one time in my entire life I’ve cried because something was just so beautiful.

Most of my trip to India was in and around Panjab, but we made a day trip to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal was the most beautiful man made thing I’ve ever seen. On our way to Agra Fort after seeing the Taj Mahal, I was pretty certain that Agra Fort would not come anywhere near as amazing as the Taj Mahal. I was really wrong. Agra Fort was beautiful and huge. Our tour guide was beautiful too, but he quickly child-zoned me when he happily told my family I could get in for cheaper because “she is looking under 15.” I received the message, we moved on.

BUT OKAY. AGRA FORT. So beautiful. We were chilling in this freaking ancient Mughal fort that actual Akbar lived in. Then our tour guide was like, it’s to bad I can’t show you Noor Jahan’s bathroom, it’s exclusive. And we were like, yeah, darn, no toilet for us LOL. Or at least I was. But the rest of my crew was like, no, we should totes pay extra to see this, and I was like aight, I’ll go with the flow. I only really started getting really interested when we started going to a part of the fort that was below everything else, where we were the only ones, and our guide started speaking in whispers. The sun was setting, and it was already breathtaking. We weren’t even at the toilet yet.

So we go inside this little area, and it’s dark. Like pitch dark, and I’m with my grandparents, so I’m trying to make sure no one falls, you know?  I’m in a dark old bathroom with my grandparents and nothing is luxurious at this point. Until I start realizing that this “bathroom” is huge, and no one else is around except my family. And child-zoning man. Who had seen us all trip multiple embarassing times all up and down that fort at this point, so was basically family too. The thing is, it was pitch dark. It was called Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), because it was supposed to be decorated with a lot of mirrors. BUT IT WAS DARK. WE COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING. 

However, our guide soon walked over to a corner of the bathroom, and held a lit match close to the wall, and told us all to look up. I looked up, and was confused. Remember how, when we went in the Sheesh Mahal, the sun was setting? Well, it seemed night had fallen, as I looked up and wondered why Noor Jahan was okay with a bathroom without a roof, because all I saw when the tour guide lit the match was a star-filled night sky. It took me maybe 30 seconds of staring at the twinkling stars before the tears came, because that’s how long it took me to realize we weren’t looking at the sky.

We were looking at the roof of the Sheesh Mahal.

It was covered in tiny mirrors, that were all reflecting the flickering flame that child-zoner was holding in the corner, so that each one was reflecting the flame. Each reflection looked like a twinkiling star.
 

 

 

I’m just so moved, to this day, by the fact that I actually thought I was looking at the sky, like actually, without a doubt. I didn’t look up and wonder, “Huh. Is that the roof or the sky?” I looked up and instantly assumed it was the sky. When we see amazing artwork, we say, “Wow, it looks so real.” YOU JUST DON’T GO UP TO THE MONA LISA AND START ASKING THE LADY WHY SHE’S SITTING SO STILL. NO OFFENSE LEO. We’re never actually fooled into believing we’re looking at, like, real, natural objects, that we just happened upon. At least, I had never been. Not until this amazing, winter’s night in Agra ❤

 

When we came out of the Sheesh Mahal, the sun had almost set, and there were NO TOURISTS LEFT IN THAT PART OF THE FORT. It was just me and my blood, walking around a fort built in the 11th century,  where the Koh-i-Noor was taken by the Mughals, where Jodha and Akbar lived in inter-religious harmony, and, as Wikipedia describes it, is more of a walled city. I couldn’t believe we were all alone in that place, which I later learned is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. I unthinkingly made the decision not to take any pictures, so that I could be 100% in that once in a lifetime moment, and I don’t regret it. The picture above, which my bro took, is beautiful, but I’m sure it goes without saying that that moment could have never truly been captured, you know? You have to make the decision–do you want understating photographs to look at afterwards, or do you want a fuller memory? Is this offensive? To photo-takers? I hope not. I take a lot of pics too, don’t get me wrong. I guess, for me, it’s just about finding a balance. That being said, I’m so glad my brother took a picture of the roof. 

 

Also we had two dinners that night, it was magical. 

 

Aight, reader, imma wrap this up. Have a great night/day.

And if you’re ever in Agra, make sure to drop by the Sheesh Mahal at sunset : )

 

-M

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There definitely was NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A POST JUST NOW. PLEASE.
IGNORE

#TeamAnarkaliSuits VS #TeamPatialaSuits

*do yourself a favor and do not read any of this*

I am Anarkali, and I am superior. 

 

 

Girl, please. You are nothing compared to me #TeamPatialaSuits4Lyfe

Are you kidding?? Uhh firstly, I’m named after a Mughal courtesan, so.

 

That’s nice. I’m named afted a prinCELY STATE. SO. 

 

 

I am perfect for twirling.

 

Well I’m practically designed for bhangra.

 

K well I’ve been trendy for like, the past 11 seasons. 

 

Your mainstream fashion shows mean nothing to me. MY TRADITIONAL CHARM IS TIMELESS.

 

 

Tradition? Have you ever heard of the Mughal Empire. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN PAKEEZAH? 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes anarkali. Everyone knows you’re B-wood’s favorite. But I’ve had my moments in the spotlight too-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUYS. 

 

Stay out of this, M!

 

This is our battle!!

You guys. Don’t you think that, instead of fighting, you could maybe try to work together??

Work together?!

ME AND THIS DIVA?!?

Sorry M. Not going to happen. 

Oh. So are we just going to pretend like Payal Singhal at Lakme Fashion Week 2013 never happened?

….

Hello??

M, I don’t…

We don’t know what you’re talking about!

Really? You “don’t remember” that time when the two of you worked together, and it was beautiful??

 

A PATIALA SALWAR WITH AN ANARKALI??

NEVER, M. IT. NEVER HAPPENED. OKAY?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….

……

What happened to you two? Don’t you remember what it was like to be together? Joined in fashionable harmony?

That…that was one time, M.

We were drunk. 

 

You’re clothes, you can’t get drunk!

WE ALSO CAN’T ARGUE. BUT THAT DIDN’T STOP YOU FROM WRITING THIS MESSED UP POST, DID IT?

….

…..

This never happened. 

-M

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1984

Guys. I live in North Carolina, right? The most Panjabi thing here is…me. We RARELY get Panjabi movies down here on dvd. We don’t even have Disco Singh yet. BUT TOMORROW. GUESS WHO’S DRIVING (5 hours) TO GO SEE 1984…IN AN ACTUAL THEATER????

 

YA GIRL. YA GIRL AND HER MOM. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

 

That’s right. Diljit’s new movie 1984 is playing a few towns over, and me and my momma, who has become a huge Diljit fan, btw, are going to go see it. I can’t believe we’re actually able to see a Panjabi movie in theaters. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Okay, so real quick, 1984 is a film based on the true events of the Sikh genocide of the 1980s and 90s. Thousands of Sikhs were killed, robbed, and raped during this time, mainly at the hands of the Indian government. For the past 30 years, we’ve been silenced about it. At the time, India banned foreign journalists from entering the country, to prevent the rest of the world from seeing the atrocities India was committing. Even today, Sikhs are denied visas into India for speaking up about the genocide. Only recently has there been some aknowlegement of what happened to us at the time, while we have been reeling from it for decades. The fact that movies like this one are starting to come out is huge. It’s long past time for our story to be told.

So if you live in a random place like me, hope is not lost! If there’s a showing near me, there’s definetly a possiblity there’s one near you too. I encourage EVERYONE to go see it, Sikh or not, Panjabi or not, brown or not.

To see if it’s available near you:

http://www.fandango.com/punjab1984_174015/movieoverview

 

-M

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