Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Interesting research from IMN Country Representative in Pakistan:' The aesthetics of multiculturalism in Pakistan"

The aesthetics of multiculturalism in Pakistan

Ph.D, Mirza Muhammad Zubair Baig, 
Assistant Professor
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan is situated at the cross-roads in Asia and is home to more than 180 million people. The land where Pakistan was carved on the map of world on 14th of August 1947 has been equally attractive for the invaders in the past and now for the tourists because of its unique landscape, cultural diversity, multiethnic multilingual speakers and variegated geographical terrain. Mohiuddin notes that Pakistani civilization dates back to prehistoric times as the relics of tools excavated in Siwalik Hills in northern Punjab, paintings on rocks
in Rohri Hills in northern Sindh and Mehrgarh culture of Balochistan (7000-2000 BCE) testify, and are “precursor” of Indus Valley civilization that rivals Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations (p. 34). The land was invaded by Aryans from Central Asia(200-1500 BCE), by the Greeks, Mauryans, the Kushans, the Huns, and the Guptas (500 BCE-700 CE), by the Muslim conquerors like Muhammad Bin Qasim, the representative of Ummayad caliph of Baghadad(711), Mahmud of Ghazni (979-1030), and Muhammad Ghauri(1179). Even the Alexander led his Macedonian army to this land (p. 36-40). The land was ruled by the Mamluk dynasty (1211-1290), Khiljis(1290-1320), the Tughlaqs (1320-1413), the Sayyids (1414-1451), and Lodhis (1451-1526), the Mughals (1525-1707). It even attracted the colonial powers like British Empire and gained its independence after the World War II (pp. 41-73).
Syed(2012) identifies that “in Pakistan, cultural differences, although they do exist, tend to be physically invisible; we have South Asian multiculturalism – people’s skin color and fashions are the same, but their religions, social classes and languages are different” (p. 10).Paracha (2015) tries to define Pakistani culture with the help of Faiz Ahmed Faiz,a renowned Urdu poet and journalist, and finds thatPakistani culture was a combination of cultures — driven and energised by the individual cultures of the various Islamic sects and ethnic groups present here. He added that Pakistan’s culture was also being contributed to by elements of Western culture inherited by the country from the region’s colonial past; and by the distinct cultures of various minority groups residing in Pakistan. To him Pakistan’s culture was naturally pluralistic and not monolithic.” The major ethnic groups of Pakistan are Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Seraikis, Muhajirs, and Balochis while smaller groups are such as Kashmiris, Hindkowans, Kalash, Burusho, Brahui, Khowar, Hazara, Shina, and Balti. Culturally, Heiden (2011) terms Pakistanis “a colorful nation” wearing Western-style clothes to traditional shalwar-Kamiz (loose trousers and shirt). The best-known music in Pakistan is qawwali (Sufi devotional music) (p.79). Pakistan is also known for its Coke Studio, a Pakistani music television series, that includes eastern classical, folk, qawwali, ghazal, bhangra, Sufi and contemporary hip hop, rock and pop music.
Geographically, Pakistan boasts of having world’s most beautiful and majestic mountain ranges of Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindukush. It houses World’s 2nd highest peak K-2. It has its deserts, plains, the best arable land in Asia, large water reserves and river systems extending to Arabian Sea. Over 300 dialects and languages are claimed to be spoken in the country (“The Languages of Pakistan,” n.d.). Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. English along with Urdu are the official languages. The regional languages include Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu and Balochi.
Many Pakistani writings in English likeThe Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammad Hanif,  Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam, Kartography by Kamila Shamsie, My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto, The Blind Man’s Garden by Nadeem Aslam have acclaimed fame and discuss the contemporary cultural and geopolitical challenges to Pakistani society.


Heiden, P. (2011). Pakistan. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub. Co.
Mohiuddin, Y. N. (2007). Pakistan: A global studies handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Paracha, N. F. (2015, March 29). 'Pakistani culture': Who made who? Retrieved November8, 2016, from http://www.dawn.com/news/1172225
Syed, K. T. (2012). Through white noise: Autonarrative exploration of racism, discrimination and the doorways to academic citizenship in Canada. Rotterdam: Sense.
The languages of Pakistan.(n.d.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.uh.edu/~sriaz/thecountry/languages/

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