Irtiza Shafaat Bokharee

  • TIt is an understated reality that political governments have an extremely hard time trying to translate their initial policy promises successfully into practical solutions, in the Pakistani context. A chequered legacy of military rule, amongst other factors, has acted as a facilitator for curbing ...

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  • TIt is midsummer in Pakistan, and for the last decade, that has meant that television screens and social media spaces are filled with the customary onslaught of corporate music shows. Coke Studio released their yearly promotional number, a hopscotch rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s legendary ...

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  • TThe eastern classical music form relies heavily on myths and rituals. It often baffles modern audiences when they are told tales of “ragas” (roughly, very particular notes or melodic movements, or distinctively phrased melodic sequences, which delight the listener) being able to effect ...

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  • TAs the customary grief and adulation which accompanies the demise of great public intellectuals and human rights warriors such as Asma Jahangir starting pouring in from all sections of the Pakistani, South Asian, and international society, many noteworthy points of deliberation emerged which need ...

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  • TThe sheer naiveté, or miniscule intellectual quotient, of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his elite coterie of advisors, was exposed, once again, when the Danish School project was announced, and later, operationalised, with minimal success. The basic normative ideal upon which the ...

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  • TIn the context of the health of the democratic consolidation process in Pakistan, the shockingly brutal assassination of the two-time elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in mysterious circumstances in Rawalpindi at the tail end of 2007, was a devastating event, with injurious consequences. The ...

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  • TOne of the more typical takedowns of contemporary vocal recordings is the auto tune argument. While the use of auto tune has become all the rage, and can be used to discredit or delegitimise singers, few actually understand the intricate processes behind autotune and pitch correction, specifically, ...

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  • TWhen an English daily erroneously classified Ustad Fateh Ali Khan (UFAK), one of Pakistan’s prime exponents of the “khyal” vocal form, from the Patiala lineage, as a “qawwal,” it was both infuriating, for classical purists, and embarrassing for music practitioners, to ...

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  • TAli Sethi’s rendition of the Ahmed Faraz/Mehdi Hassan classic, “Ranjish Hi Sahih,” in Coke Studio Season 10, has polarized public opinion on social media spaces. Music criticism, as a form of serious inquiry, is a task fraught with roadblocks, considering the subjective nature of ...

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  • TAamir Zaki’s untimely demise literally broke my heart. But this is not going to be a sob story – a trap many critics fell for while writing his obituaries, and I aim to celebrate his sheer genius instead. For children from the 90s, his music was literally our first taste of blues rock ...

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  • TImran Khan managed to draw massive crowds at protest rallies around the 2013 General Elections but that support could not be translated into the numbers game in the National Parliament. His dream to become Pakistan’s Prime Minister still remains unfulfilled after over two decades of active ...

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  • TPolitics, most certainly, is the art of the possible. In a nascent democratic setup like Pakistan’s where the extra-constitutional preponderance of the military establishment over civilian spheres has been the historical norm, the space allowed for democratic politics is meagre, at best. Add ...

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  • TAllow me to situate myself as honestly as it is possible in my socio-political circumstances before I can problematise sex positive feminism, especially how its operationalisation in the apparent “third world” is understood. I am a male, belonging to a relatively privileged section of a ...

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  • TIf you are a Shi’a, by virtue of birth or if you adhere to Shi’a theological dictates, you find yourself in a rather tight spot. Anti-Shi’a bigotry is at an all-time high. Everybody is suddenly curious as to why the Shi’as self-flagellate (beat up their chests, rip apart ...

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  • THuman beings, by and large, are not a very gracious lot. In an outrageously large number of historical instances, they have lived up to their potential of acting in contemptuous and downright brutal ways against fellow human beings who, by sheer chance, happened to be born in what was perceived to ...

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  • TFor a novice (ataayi) like me, navigating through the intricacies of the eastern classical music tradition will seem like a daunting task, especially in Pakistan. The disappointing lack of formal institutions geared toward imparting knowledge on the subject and meagre opportunities for music ...

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  • TThere should be no shame attached to reconciling with the reality that Islamic identity in the 21st century is not monolithic. It is a polylithic mosaic and no matter what Zakir Naik et al would want to have you believe, this fact remains unchallenged. Paradoxically, the position that there are no ...

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  • TThe theme that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was one of the most powerful leaders of Pakistan persists across many Pakistani textbooks and seminal works in constitutional and political history of the country. It is claimed that he was powerful enough to be able to alter the nature and direction of state ...

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  • TThere is a fascination amongst the intelligentsia of Pakistan with change – upsetting the status quo and age-old political traditions and structures. And for good reason. Clearly, what we’ve got in Pakistan is not very functional, effective and capable in terms of delivering according ...

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  • TThere is a dire need to debunk a myth often propagated in popular reality TV music competitions and music society auditions which has severe, adverse implications. “The ability to partake in music performance only comes naturally for a gifted few; you’re better off doing something ...

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  • TThe Pakistan People’s Party was completely overrun by the PTI and PML(N) in the 2013 elections in the Punjab province – where it genuinely matters, where the real battle for the federation takes place and where any political party with even a minute, superficial semblance of a liberal ...

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  • TIn a classroom setting, a liberal arts teacher should not aim to be a messiah or a guru. Perhaps later, the teacher can step into the public/private sphere and then debate political matters and there is nothing wrong with doing so, but within the institutional confines of the lecture hall, you need ...

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