We are All Revolutionaries Here: Militarism, Political Islam and Gender in Pakistan

Books

Aneela Zeb Babar

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    Preface

    This project is but a response to all the statements starting with ‘But Why Would Pakistanis…’ I have heard over the years. Let us just say that I got tired of explaining why Malala Yousafzai continues to face so much fak from certain Pakistanis (and ‘good Muslims’ and/or conspiracy theorists elsewhere), or why would any Pakistani woman justify the Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology' section to allow men to ‘lightly beat their wives’. Perhaps one day I became nervous about how I felt generations of South Asians were condemned to repeat history, or that the more things changed for the region, the more our neighborhood was eager to make sure they remained the same.

    Perhaps it was when I walked amongst the ruins of a Dhaka temple that was eternally condemned to live as a temple of tents and tarpaulins, marvelling how a Ramna Park once and a Ramna (suburb) again, waited out for an elusive dawn with ‘Operation Searchlight’ (March 1971) and ‘Operation Sunrise’ (July 2007) linking the love and lives of the cities of Dhaka and Islamabad forever. And there is a sun rising over Delhi and conversations about that makes it ever so important that I look inwards and share some tales. Or perhaps it will be two decades to a particular moment in Pakistan and India's history and as another generation grows in the mist of a nuclear cloud, it is important to remember how certain militaristic exercises shaped and molded our very gendered definition of peace and conflict avoidance.

    I learnt a new word ‘Taaq-e-Nissian’, very late in my life; and now I make sure that I should never forget it. Taaq-e-Nissian can be translated as a ‘niche’, a shelf in the wall to consign what one has to, and to give oneself permission not to recall it for a while. I am sure there are families, families like ours in the region, whom you continue to question with a how do you go through this?—families who have trained themselves to place their memories, each day of December, whether it is of Dhaka or of Peshawar in a Taaq-e-Nissian of their own. My particular Taaq-e-Nissian had some essays and episodes from academic exercises in other lives, and one day Yoda Press felt it was time to share an abridged version of them with you, dear Reader.

    What I should let you know, at the outset, that the following pages will not tell you the tale of all who resist the state narrative, there will be no stories of the valiant heroines and the superwomen in the everyday every person. For even as the state clamps down and conformism reigns supreme; there is the everyday Pakistani who resists and marches on to a different piper. But this project is not that forum—though there are days I am tempted to identify and acknowledge not just tales of who led and listened or who destroyed independent thought but rather who saved whom, who made sure that there continued to be spaces that resisted and inspired. Rest assured, Pakistani women continue to lead and inspire.

    But for the next six chapters, I will share with you my stories of other women and other lives. But then again, this is a very subjective journey and a route map is quite disjointed. The faults that plague the text are all mine. For that I warn you now.

    Acknowledgements

    Many people have supported and assisted this project in a variety of ways and many more have allowed me to forget about it and live a little.

    Arpita Das and the team at Yoda Press for their tenacity and stubbornness that would rival the toughest production unit, when I, like the reluctant first-time director, sat on the film reels for quite a while claiming that there were still some final shots remaining.

    Sonjuhi Negi, Nishtha Vadhera and Ishita Gupta for their fine editorial skills, an eye on the bigger picture and getting all the signatures when I was knee deep in words and jump cuts and had no idea where everything was to go. The faults that continue to plague the project are entirely my responsibility.

    My mother, Mariana Babar who like an excellent critic, which she is, has already pointed out a dozen places where I missed the plot and so now none of the reviews are going to hurt.

    The families and brilliant women without whom this project would have never been possible. Though they must remain anonymous, I would like to thank them for their support and assistance.

    Parul Sharma and Kiran Manral for a friendship ‘beyond the call of duty’ and for being good spirited listeners to my endless stories. I hope they never hold the Internet against me. Sabbah Haji, Babur Majid, Raheel Khurshid for Gheebat Hellfire—I will meet you there. Lubna, Saima, Aisha, Maria for being good witches.

    Archita Chanda Ray, Abanti, Devapriya Roy and Dipali Taneja for cheerleading duty. Natasha Badhwar, hail ogre well met. Tanveer Shahzad, the good soul who arranged for the copyright-mukt images at the last minute.

    Ayesha, Sakeena, Raahym and Shahram for allowing me to disappear in ‘script and voice’ from their lives and continuing to be the pillars of strength they are. Saba Khattak for pushing me that extra mile and the dire warnings of aging film stars playing college students.

    My late grandfather Habib, for our bargain the summer that he lost his eye glasses, that he would teach me my prayers and I would read him Rushdie at night. Somehow he put everything in perspective. Mahjabina, for being my moral compass.

    Gaurav, the financier for always being confident and making it all look so easy. And finally, Arhaan the trusted audience to the constant theatre of my life—though at one stage he too warned me ‘It Looks Like You Are Quite Addicted To It’.

    The Ideal Reader who will now finally let me go out and play.

    And finally the good people of Pakistan, our million follies and foibles but twice as much fun—for assuring me ki picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.

  • Bibliography

    Abu-Lughod Lila (1990), ‘The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power through Bedouin Women’, American Ethnologist 17 (1), pp. 4155.
    Abu-Lughod Lila (2002), ‘Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Refections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others’, American Anthropologist 104(3), pp. 78390.
    Ahmed Akbar S. (1986), ‘Death in Islam: The Hawkes Bay Case’, Man, New Series, 21, No. 1.
    Ahmed Durre S. (2002), ‘Introduction: The Last Frontier’, in Anwar D. (ed.), Gendering the Spirit: Women, Religion and the Post-colonial Response, Zed Books, London and New York.
    Ali Mubarak (1998), ‘History and War’, In the Shadow of History, Fiction House, Lahore, pp. 3234.
    Ali Saleem (2005), ‘Islamic Education and Conflict: Understanding the Madrassahs of Pakistan’, Washington Draft Report Submitted to the U.S. Institute of Peace Report, 2005.
    Anderson Jon W. (1999), ‘The Internet and Islam's New Interpreters’ in Eickelman Dale F., and Anderson Jon W. (eds) New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere, Indiana University Press, Indiana, pp. 4156.
    Armstrong John (1982) Nations before Nationalism, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
    Babar Aneela Z. (2001) Texts of War: The Religio-military nexus in Pakistan and India, Bangkok, Asian Institute of Technology.
    Bahri, and Vasudeva (ed.) (1996) Between The Lines—South Asians and Postcoloniality, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.
    Bhabha Homi K. (1994) The Location of Culture, Routledge, New York.
    Bhattacharjee Annanya (1997), ‘The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community’, in Alexander M., and Mohanty C. (eds), Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, New York, Routledge, pp. 30829.
    Bouhdiba Abdul W. (1985) Sexuality in Islam, Routledge, Kegan and Paul, London.
    Chatterjee Partha (1993) The Nation And Its Fragments: Colonial And Postcolonial Histories, Oxford University Press, Delhi.
    Chaudhry Muhammad S. (1991) Women's Rights in Islam, Adam Publishers, New Delhi.
    Cobin Henry (1987) Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn' Arabi, Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series, Princeton.
    Cohen Phil (1988), ‘The Pervasions of Inheritance: Studies in the Making of Multi- Racist Britain’ in Cohen P., and Bains H. S. (eds), Multiracist Britain, MacMillan, London, pp. 9118.
    Cohen S. (1990) The Pakistan Army, Himalayan Books, New Delhi.
    Dalrymple William (1999) The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters, Flamingo, London.
    Dietrich Gabriela (1997), ‘Women and Religious Identities in India After Ayodhya’ in Bhasin K., Menon R., and Khan N. (eds), Against all Odds: Essays on Women, Religion and Development from India and Pakistan, Kali for Women, New Delhi.
    Doxiadis Associates (1960) Programme and Plan, Vols 1 and 2, Capital Development Authority, Rawalpindi.
    Ellis Carolyn, and Bochner Arthur P. (2000), ‘Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject’, in Denzin N., and Lincoln Y. (eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research, SAGE, California, pp. 733768.
    El Saadawi Niwal (1997) The Nawal El Saadawi Reader, Zed Books, London.
    Esposito Richard (2009), ‘Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to “Kill and Die” and Become Famous’, retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=6385015&page=1
    Fremson Ruth (2001), ‘Allure must be Covered: Individuality Peeks Through’, in New York Times, 4 November, pp. 414.
    Gardezi Fauzia (1997), ‘Nationalism and State Formation: Women's Struggles and Islamisation in Pakistan’ in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 1, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, 1997, pp. 79110.
    Göle, Nilüfer (2002), ‘Islam in Public: New Visibilities and New Imaginaries' in Public Culture, 14 (1), Duke University Press, pp. 17390.
    Guindi Fadwa (1999) Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance, Berg, Oxford.
    Haroon Anis (2001), ‘“They Use us and Others Abuse us”: Women and MQM Conflict’, in Manchanda Rita (Ed.), Wome, War and Peace in South Asia: Beyond Victimhood to Agency, SAGE Publications, New Delhi, pp. 177213.
    Hassan Riffat (2002), ‘Islam and Human Rights in Pakistan: A Critical Analysis of the Positions of Three Contemporary Women’, Dawn Review Magazine, Karachi, 7–14 November.
    Hegland, Mary Elaine (2002), ‘The Power Paradox in Muslim Women's Majales: North-West Pakistani Mourning Rituals as Sites of Contestation over Religious Politics, Ethnicity, and Gender’, in Allen C., Saliba T., and Howard J., (eds) Gender, Politics and Islam, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 95132.
    Helie-Lucas Marieme (2004), ‘The Construction of “Muslim Women's” Sexuality and the Political use of Tradition and Religion’, presentation at the workshop on Muslim Women and Sexuality at the 2004 World Social Forum, retrieved from http://www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd%5B157%5D=x-157–41086 (Accessed on 30 November 2005).
    Hull Matthew (2003) Paper Travails: Governance, Graphic Artifacts, and the Built Environment in the Islamabad Metropolitan Area (1959–1998), PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago.
    Hussain Akmal (1993), ‘The Dynamics of Power: Military, Bureaucracy, and the People’, in Hussain A., and Hussain M., Pakistan, Problems of Governance, Konark Publishers, Delhi.
    Hussain Neelam (1996), ‘Women in Pakistani Context: An Overview’ in Malik M., and Hussain N. (eds), Reinventing Women, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, pp. 1121.
    Hutnyk John, McQuire Scoot, and Papastergiadis Nikos (1990) (in conversation with G. Spivak), ‘Strategy, Identity, Writing’ in Harasym S. (Ed.) The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, Routledge, New York.
    Imam Ayesha M. (1997), ‘The Muslim Religious Right (‘Fundamentalists’) and Sexuality’, Women Living under Muslim Laws, Dossier 17, WLUML Publications, pp. 725.
    International Crisis Group Report (March, 2006) Pakistan: Political Impact of the Earthquake, ICG Asia Briefing No: 46, Islamabad/Brussels.
    Jalal Ayesha (1992), ‘The Convenience of Subservience’ in Kandiyoti D. (ed.), Women, Islam and the State, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.
    Jalal Ayesha (2002) Self and Sovereignty, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore.
    Javed Tazeen (2009) A Reluctant Mind, http://tazeen.net/2009/09/16/gift-of-gall-or-permanent-lapse-of-reason/ (Accessed on 1 October 2009).
    Kandiyoti Deniz (1992) Women, Islam and the State, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.
    Kazmi Fareed (1994), ‘Muslim Socials and the Female Protagonist: Seeing a Dominant Discourse at Work’ in Hasan Z. (Ed.), Forging Identities: Gender Communities and the State, Kali for Women, New Delhi, pp. 22643.
    Khattak Saba (1994), ‘A Reinterpretation of the State and State Discourse in Pakistan (1977–88)’ in Khan N., Saigol R., and Zia A. (eds), Locating the Self: Perspectives on Women and Multiple Identities, ASR Publications, Lahore, pp. 2240.
    Khattak Saba (2010), ‘Inconvenient Facts: Women and Political Representation under Military Regimes’, Democracy Asia, http://www.democracy-asia.org/casestudies_studies_saba_gul_khattak_p2.htm.
    Khattak Saba (1997), ‘Gendered and Violent: Inscribing the Military on the Nation- State’ in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 1, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, pp. 3852.
    Knott Kim, and Khokher Sadja (1993), ‘Religious and Ethnic Identity among Young Muslim Women in Bradford’, New Community, Vol. 19, pp. 593610.
    Lalarukh (1997), ‘Image Nation: A Visual Text’ in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 2, Simorgh Publications, Lahore.
    Leblanc Robin (1999) Bicycle Citizens: The Political World of the Japanese Housewife, University of California Press, Berkeley.
    Macleod Arlene E. (1991) Accommodating Protest: Working Women, the New Veiling, and Change in Cairo’, Columbia University Press, New York.
    Majid Anouar (2002), ‘The Politics of Feminism in Islam’, in Saliba T., Allen C., and Howard J. (eds), Gender, Politics and Islam, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 5394.
    Manchanda Rita (2001) Women, War and Peace in South Asia: Beyond Victimhood to Agency, SAGE Publications, New Delhi.
    Maududi Syed A. (1930) Aljihad Fil Islam, Islamic Publications, Lahore.
    Meijer Roel (2007), ‘Yusuf al-Uyairi and the Transnational Expansion of Salafi Jihadism Expansion’. Conference abstract, Kingdom without Borders: Saudi Expansion in the World, Conference programme and abstracts, September, http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/trs/research/certap/archive/kingdom.pdf (Accessed 2 June 2011).
    Mernissi Fatima (1991) (translated by M. J. Lakeland), Women and Islam, Basil Blackwell Ltd., Oxford.
    Metcalf Barbara D. (1994), ‘Reading and Writing about Muslim Women In British India’, in Hasan Z. (Ed.) Forging Identities: Gender, Communities and the State, Kali for Women, New Delhi, pp. 121.
    Metcalf Barbara D. (1996), ‘Introduction: Sacred Words, Sanctioned Practice, New Communities’ in Metcalf B. (Ed.), Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 127.
    Minault Gail (1986) Voices of Silence: English Translation of Hali's Majalis un nissa and Chup Ki Dad, Chanakya Publications, Delhi.
    Moallem Minoo (1999), ‘Transnationalism, Feminism, and Fundamentalism’ in Kaplan C., Alarcon A., and Moallem M. (eds), Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and the State, Duke University Press, Durham and London.
    Moghadam Valentine M. (1992), ‘Patriarchy and the Politics of Gender in Modernising Societies: Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan’, International Sociology, 7(1), pp. 3553.
    Moghissi Haideh (1999) Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Post-modern Analysis, Oxford University Press, Karachi.
    Mumtaz Khawar, and Shaheed Farida (1987) Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, Zed Books, London.
    Mumtaz Khawar (1994), ‘Identity Politics and Women: ‘Fundamentalism’ & Women in Pakistan’, in Moghadam V. (Ed.), Identity Politics and Women: Cultural Reassertions and Feminisms in International Perspective, Westview Press, Boulder, pp. 22842.
    Naipaul Vidya S. (1998) Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, Viking, New Delhi.
    Naqvi Muneeza (2000) On Air, Oxford University Press, Karachi. Newsline (2001), February and April issues, Fazlee Sons, Karachi.
    Papanek Hanna (1982), ‘Purdah in Pakistan: Seclusion and Modern Occupations for Women’ in Papanek H., and Minault G. (eds), Separate Worlds, South Asia Books, Delhi, pp. 190216.
    The Pearls of Wisdom (2004), Al Huda Publications.
    Rahman Fazlur (1984) Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
    Rahman Tariq (1998) Language and Politics in Pakistan, Oxford University Press, Karachi.
    Rouse Shahnaz J. (1997), ‘Gender(ed) Struggles: The State, Religion and Civil Society’, in Bhasin K., Menon R., and Khan N. (eds), Against All Odds: Essays on Women, Religion and Development from India and Pakistan, Kali for Women, India, pp. 1634.
    Rushdie Salman (1984) Shame, Picador, London.
    Rushdie Salman (1991) Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991, Granta Books, London.
    Saigol Rubina (1995) Knowledge and Identity: Articulation of Gender in Educational Discourse in Pakistan, ASR Publications, Lahore.
    Saigol Rubina (1997), ‘Introduction’, in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 1, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, pp. 128.
    Saigol Rubina (1997a), ‘The Gendering of Modernity: Nineteenth Century Educational Discourse’, in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 1, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, pp. 15586.
    Saktanber Ayse (2002) Living Islam: Women, Religion & the Politicization of Culture in Turkey, I. B. Tauris, London.
    Sardar Ali Shaheen (2001), ‘Misogynistic Trends in Islamic Jurisprudence—A Feminist Perspective’, in Naheed K. (Ed.), Women: Myth and Realities, Hawa Associates, Lahore, pp. 142158.
    Shamsie Kamila (2002) Kartography, Oxford University Press, Karachi.
    Shamsi, Amber Rahim (2002), ‘Unveiling Pakistan’, Herald, Issue (1) Dawn Publications, Karachi, pp. 14043.
    Siddiqui, Maleeha Hamid, and Shah Sherazi Zahir (2009), ‘The Caste of Faith’, Herald, Dawn Publications, Karachi, January, pp. 8487.
    Suleri Sara (1992) The Rhetoric of English India, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
    Taleem-ul-Quran Diploma Brochure, (2002) (Brochure for Enrolling in Al Huda Diploma Classes) Al Huda Publications, Islamabad.
    Taleem-ul-Quran Parah 4, (2002a) (Audio-cassette of Hashmi's commentary of the Quranic Surah 4 Al-Nisa), Suniyay Aur Sunwaiyay Products, Al Huda Publications, Islamabad.
    Thanvi Ashraf (2002) Behishti Zewar (translated by Darul Ishat), Matba'al Rasheed, Karachi.
    Toor Saadia (1997), ‘The State, Fundamentalism and Civil Society’, in Hussain N., Mumtaz S., and Saigol R. (eds), Engendering the Nation State, Vol. 1, Simorgh Publications, Lahore, pp. 11146.
    Vertovec Steven (2000), ‘Religion and Diaspora’, Paper presented at the conference on ‘New Landscapes of Religion in the West’, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
    Werbner Pnina (1990) The Migration Process: Capital, Gifts and Offerings among British Pakistanis, Berg Publishers, Oxford.
    Werbner Pnina (1996), ‘Stamping the Earth in the name of Allah: Zikr and the Sacralizing of Space among British Muslims’. Cultural Anthropology 11(3), University of California Press, pp. 30938.
    Werbner Pnina (2002) Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims, School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.
    Yuval-Davis Nira (1997), ‘Ethnicity, Gender Relations and Multiculturalism’ in Werbner P., and Modood T. (eds), Debating Cultural Hybridity, Zed Books, London, pp. 193208.

    About the Author

    Aneela Zeb Babar is a researcher and consultant working on Islam, gender, migration and popular culture. Over the past eighteen years she has been pursuing a career within the academic, research and development sector being employed with universities and non-governmental and international developmental agencies in South and South-East Asia and Australia. She has a strong track record in advocacy of development, governance, gender and cultural issues.


    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website