Governing the tongue…


Cotton Mather, the famous 17th century Puritan minister from New England used to stutter in his early years and overcame this impediment to speech through a great deal of effort in his early twenties. When he discovered that his efforts had bore fruit and he no longer stuttered, he was exuberant. He had found the ‘freedom of […]

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Reading Tariq Ramadan: Political Liberalism, Islam, and “Overlapping Consensus” [Full Text]


Political liberalism allows for a wide range of disagreement on moral matters and does not insist on Muslim assimilation to all aspects of liberal culture. If it is true that the liberalism of most modern European and North American societies is more “Rawlsian” (pluralistic and neutral between conceptions of the good) than “Voltairean” (committed to […]

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The Salafi Moment


The certainty that FP, and other publications like it, bring to these subjects is seemingly admirable. But they keep getting it wrong all the time. Here they go again: Painting a picture of a new “Salafi crescent” ranging from the Persian Gulf to North Africa, she worries that this bodes ill for newly won freedoms […]

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Future of Blasphemy


Came across this critique of ‘criminalisation of personal blasphemy’ by UN and European Court of Human Rights, which I thought was a good example of Judith Butler’s argument about critiques as already bound up in the normative frameworks. The following critique involves defending an ‘ethical model of blasphemy,’ from within the normative framework of political liberalism and […]

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Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech


I have just started reading this fascinating conversation between Talal Asad and Judith Butler among others. The title of the book is Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech. The begins with a contribution from Talal Asad, followed by Saba Mahmood and response from Judith Butler followed by replies from TA and SM to JB. A snippet below of TA’s contribution from Wendy […]

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J.S. Mill on Blasphemy


Below is a brief passage from an essay written by J.S. Mill against application of Blasphemy law in England. The essay is occasioned by the prosecution of Richard Carlile and was published in 1883. Notice the rhetoric of Mill’s argument against the prosecution of Blasphemous in England. Defending Christianity against blasphemous prosecutions, he does not […]

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Mother of Sanskrit and related languages was spoken by Turkish farmers, says new study – The Times of India


NEW DELHI: Ma (Hindi), mater (Latin), mutter (German), mere (French), madre (Spanish), madar (Persian), matka (Polish) – these are words from different languages but they all mean ‘mother’. There are many words like that common to languages from Iceland to Sri Lanka, including many (but not all) Indian languages. All these languages – about 494 […]

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BBC News – English language ‘originated in Turkey’


Modern Indo-European languages – which include English – originated in Turkey about 9,000 years ago, researchers say. via BBC News – English language ‘originated in Turkey’.

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Blasphemy etc.


Blasphemy law is again coming into focus in the wake of arrest of a minor child on charges of Blasphemy in Pakistan. Once again, Pakistani political elite, including the much-touted movement for justice is quite over such [ab]uses of a law that is almost certainly nothing more than heritage from British Raj and it has fallen […]

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Algebra: to teach or not to teach?


Once upon a time, learning math was not everyone’s privilege. Then things changed. After nearly a hundred years of public education, in the late 1980s, the rhetoric was ‘mathematical power for all.’ Later in the early 2000s it was ‘mathematical proficiency for all.’ Is it now drifting toward, “Should we even teach it to everyone?”…That’s […]

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