South Asia

 
 

Sindh’s Mohajir card: on its last legs

Qandeel Khan

Politics | South Asia

 

Pakistan is a surprisingly ethnically diverse country. Urdu, its official language, is spoken by only 8 percent of the population. Pakistan’s abject failure to glue different nationalities, languages, politics and religious beliefs upon its creation has triggered a host of issues for the nation today. Former capital Karachi is the arena for one of the most interesting: the rise and demise of Mohajir politics.

5 minute read

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Islamic Warriors: Pakistani soldiers in Arab armies

Benjamin Clarke

Politics | South Asia

 

Every year thousands of Pakistanis leave their homeland to take up arms in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, enlisting in the armed forces of their wealthier Islamic neighbours. Driven by historical, economic and religious forces, Pakistan is now the world’s most prolific exporter of military personnel. So what drives them to do so, and how does the phenomenon benefit Pakistan’s foreign policy?

4 minute read

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Seeing the elephant

Economics | South Asia

 

“Seeing the elephant” is a 19th century American saying, meaning the gaining of world experience at a significant cost. It originated from travelling circuses, where curious people would pay exorbitant sums to literally, see the elephant.
Today there is an altogether different sort of elephant, one for which the cost is incurred when it is not seen. The identity of this pachyderm is, of course, India.

4 minute read

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Facebook: A coercive political actor?

Marco D’Alessandro

Society and culture | South Asia

 

If Facebook could stack an election against the likes of Pauline Hanson or Donald Trump, would you want it to? Would you want it to quash the threat of global terror by employing algorithms to censor content which demonstrates partiality to flagged organisations or individuals?

Facebook may seem to be an innocuous and convenient communication platform, however it has become apparent that Facebook has the means to transform these questions into reality. In the majority of situations the only mechanism capable of constraining Facebook is corporate morality.

5 minute read

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Bhutan, body counts and beauty

Harrison Rule

Society and culture | Asia

 

In elegant white cursive, the words “mountains, monasteries and magic” accompany an image of a picturesque Buddhist temple delicately balanced on the edge of a rugged cliff face.

This is the scene chosen by travel guide giant Lonely Planet to encapsulate what the Himalayan hermit kingdom of Bhutan has to offer visitors, as one of the guide’s “Top experiences in Asia.”

Though the company behind the iconic blue spine travel guides has always been criticised for homogenising and euphemising myriad cultures and societies, Lonely Planet’s most recent glossy depiction of Bhutan seems more fitting for a clichéd corporate motivational poster hanging above the water cooler in a dreary office break room.

In reality, the land of the Thunder Dragon is definitely no Shambhala.

3 minute read

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