Sunday, January 13, 2008

64 = 65 ?

Could it?

It could...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Delhi, 1857

Delhi before the rebellion of 1857.

Printed (1860)

click for a larger image

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy 2008 and Bilawal

Happy 2008! Hope all your new years was as good as mine, yup 11 glasses of water, Jools on telly and fireworks - can't beat it!

It's hard to blog these days, blogging is something that can be only done in leisure it seems, although not in leisure now, but posts with not a great deal of input from me does not take much effort...

The recent Bhutto fiasco brought about, what is typical of Southasia, and really most of the world, the emphasis on hereditary ties. It was truly comical to see Bilawal Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's only son, be announced the natural successor to his mother and to the Pakistan's People's Party (PPP). And naturally, his father was made the deputy leader, who will in the meantime run the party while his son finishes off his education. The greatest moment came when Bilawal gave his speech and in the heat of the moment roared (well, quoted), "democracy is the best revenge!". So naive and so paradoxical...

Here is a post epitomising my sentiments of the whole situation. Musab Bora on Comment is Free (Guardian):

In Bilawal's footsteps

Just as Benazir Bhutto's son is stepping into her role as party leader, I am following the path my father once took: to Sheffield

January 5, 2008 10:00 AM

Dear People of Sheffield:

It is time for me to take my rightful place in the heart of your community. It has been my destiny since I was born. My father served your - I mean, our - community well by being an imam at the mosque and advice worker at the Citizens Advice Bureau. Many knew him well, and I hope to do him, and you proud.

I claim my hereditary right to do the jobs my father did, having the good fortune to share half of his genes. In fact, like most of their generation, my parents were related before they were married, so you can be confident in the knowledge that I probably have more than half of my father's genes, making me even more qualified to work as he did.

I have been on a momentous journey, yet that journey is only beginning. Last week, I was walking in East London, smiling at the foreign throng, when a sign appeared in front on me: "There is no hard work, no education, just luck." I took this sign as a sign that I should look to my birthrights and see how the fortune of my birth would bring me here, to take my place with you and your northern ways.

I have been groomed for these positions since my birth. Some of you may remember how proud my father was that he finally had a son who could take on his role after he had died. Though we moved away from Sheffield when I was still a child, it was merely to expand my cultural and social horizons and make me truly deserving of the momentous role I am about to play in your lives. Since getting married, I have been further groomed - as has my hair, with my beard neatly trimmed, putting clear distance between me and others, whose lower mandibles are more hirsute.

Now some of you may think in this age of democracy, meritocracy and digital piracy, that these values may be outmoded. I say to these naysayers, I nay back at your nays, for your nays are negative feedback that must be neutralised. Forget your Bilawal Bhuttos and your Prince Charlies, this principle is as old as Cain and Abel, and runs through our society, from George W Bush, to James Murdoch, to Norah Jones and Liza Minelli.

Now to those who rightly ask what meaningful change I can bring to the mosques and advice bureaux of South Yorkshire, I say this. Any gaps in my considerable, if not directly relevant, life experience will be enhanced by my strong team of close friends. These are people who through stupidity, desperation, bad luck or a perfect storm of all three, have stuck by me through these years. Their loyalty to me shows how imaginative, creative and hopeful they are.

In my new role as co-chairman of Sheffield Sons of Sermonisers and Symposiarchs (SSSS), I aim to bring my fresh perspective and clean slate to the myriad of problems brought before me. Having obtained the required mediocre Oxbridge degree, I am now taking further lessons in the Yorkshire accent, by listening to Ian McMillan and William Hague on YouTube. In the near future I shall also be visiting a coal mine for a fact-finding mission. Until my education is complete and things become more settled, my mother is taking on my role in the SSSS for the time being.

Although our family home has been in Leicester, my links with Sheffield remain as strong as ever. I frequently drive past Meadowhall shopping centre on the way to visit relatives in Scunthorpe.

So, when my education is finished, what will be my vision for the future? I am a safe pair of hands, and in the light of my appointment, you can be secure in the knowledge that it is not an individual who is joining you, but a lineage. I promise you all that should anything happen to me, my six-month-old son has been groomed for over a year to lead you all through the 21st century.