For me, a first year BA English Literature student at Kingston University in London, enclosed by quintessential Western atheism and hedonism, Bollywood bonanzas, Salafi, Sufi and Hizbut Tahrir skirmishes, Qadianis, Kozovo ‘Jihadis’ and Pakistani parental tribal expectations, the prospect of the Rihla was rather intriguing and daunting.Continue reading
Before I begin this second, extended memoir of the Aylesbury Asians saga, I must give an apology. All that is written here is but fragments from my flawed memory and perception, so I ask those whom I have missed out to forgive me, and to those who disagree with my version of things, you are more than entitled to pull me up. May Allah give us the wisdom to say what is beneficial and leave out the nonsense! Ameen! My intention in sharing these stories is to shine a light on the past, with the hope that it brings cheer and nostalgia, which enriches our present moments and futures. I would also like to thank all the people I have mentioned in these accounts for making our collective lives richer, funnier and greater, both then and now. Alhamdulillah, in Aylesbury, us Paks have grown up together, inhaled the same air, walked the same streets and chilled in the same parks. Long may it continue! Ameen!Continue reading
I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien. Sting
This is what I think it means to be a British Muslim today, who was born and bred in England but hailed from immigrant parents. To have an eclectic medley of voices swirling around in your brain. Living and constantly shifting between different worlds, religions, languages, cultures, traditions and voices, all competing for some kind of hold on your identity, on your spirit, your will. All this baggage, mixed-loyalties, competing face masks and fashions stuffed into a short-lived life, which, for many of us, typically consists of home, school, mosque and holidays to Pakistan and the holy lands or whichever country you hail from.
(Parental Advisory- bad language)
During the early 1990s, an amazing thing happened to the flourishing British Pakistani community in Aylesbury. An event, I am proud to proclaim, that I was part of.
So what was it?
A royal visit to the Pakistani ghetto? (Fleet Street, Havelock Street and New Street)
An opportunity to meet Pakistani cricketing icons like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis? (I’m sure some of the guys actually fancied Waqar…)
A chance to win free PIA tickets?