Nov 29, 2008 - Uncategorized    31 Comments

Homogeneity is over rated.

In another life when I was a journalist, I had an intern named Nadir. Anyone who has ever held a responsible professional position had to endure an intern or two in their lifetime. Some interns are bright and promising, some are average Joes and some are downright dreadful. I have had the pleasure of working with all types and more. In addition, I have had the distinct honour of having worked with over hundred intern/volunteers at one point in time, so I am quite an authority when it comes to working with youngsters.

The reason I have singled Nadir out was because he was not like any teenager I have ever met in life, For starters, he had a really cool dad who goes by a single name, Danishmand (The IBA grads might know him. Mr. Danishmand is the director of Pakistan’s premier business school IBA). I don’t know anyone apart from Madonna, Bono and Queen Elizabeth who goes by a single name. He was the only teenager I know who reported for work in a business suit. No one in the whole editorial section of the newspaper ever wore a suit in the two years I have worked there. It was funnier because I am the queen of casual and would go to work in red trainers and fluorescent yellow socks. But these were the minor quirks, what fascinated me about Nadir was his ethnic and racial background. One of his grandmothers was Burmese and the other one was Kurd. His own mother is African American. His brother in law is Irish German and his sister in law was Latin or something. He looked African American but spoke perfect Punjabi which he learned from his father’s servants.

I recently met Aanya and she truly is the citizen of the world. Not only she has travelled extensively, her ancestral background covers six continents (no one lives in South Pole anyways). Aanya’s heritage should be recorded by Anthropologists across the world. Her ancestry is as diverse as it gets and includes parents, grand parents and great grand parents from places as far as Fiji, India, Russia, Brazil, Ireland, Lebanon and Kenya. She herself can pass as Eastern European, Turkish, Iranian, Arab, Indian or Pakistani depending upon her clothing and speaks 6 languages. For someone like me whose four grandparents were born within the radius of 150 kilometres and who only dreams about learning a foreign language (For Indians and Pakistanis, English is not a foreign language), that’s fascinating like hell.

I think people, at least those who come in contact with people from other countries and races, should be open to idea of falling in love with people from completely different background. Not only it would lead to genetic diversity, it would lead to a relatively more harmonious world, something we all crave at this point in time.

In any case, homogeneity and racial purity is over rated.


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  • Just an observation: Danishmand was the director of IBA. He is not anymore. I think that he is associated with MAJU nowadays.
    Other than that, spot on!

  • Thanks Jdee

    I stand corrected. Although i still think Danishmand is way too cool for an institution that calls itself MAJU??????

  • Danishmand, the name, or Danishmand, the person?

  • Your blog reminds me,2-3 years ago in a Latino Movie Awards held in USA,the moderator mentioned this:”do you know why we,latinos are so different, we are black, white ,chinese,etc….because we sleep with everyone!”

  • Well, I see where you are coming from, we people from the subcontinent are probably among the most inbred in the world, although that is changing in urban India somewhat, but not much.

    Judging by trends in the west though, I would say that diversity is overrated, especially when judged by people’s appearances and backgrounds. There seems to be such a large variety of people at my university that often we end up emphasizing our ethnicity and ‘culture’ more than what we are personally.

  • Down with inbreeding!
    I know someone who goes by a single name, except on occasions when people force her second name out of her, still on papers she has one and only one name!

  • And here I’m having a hard time convincing a Punjabi bandi to marry me X D

  • my dad is pakistani and mom is half chinese and i remember as a child I would be bracing myself for some nasty racial attacks in my home every time they had a tiff!! i wouldnt call that harmonious tazeen lolz. Even my indian husband and myself sometimes find it impossible to resist a racist remark when we’re not on good terms 😀
    So in conclusion, marriage seldom leads to harmony 😛 A harmonious world will only exist when people stop thinking too highly of anything related to themselves be it race, heritage, religion, possessions, looks etc etc

  • maju is m.a.jinnah university i think

    what ethnicity are you tazeen? 😉

  • Ersalan,

    Make her read my blog, I am sure it will do wonders for your future 🙂


    I agree with your analysis. Thats why I said people should fall in love with people outside their ethnicity/nationality 🙂 I never said they should also get married to them.


    Its ironic, isn’t it. I mean we are not a homogenic states like Germany or France yet we tend to inbreed.


    Yes, I know what MAJU stands for and i still think it is lame.
    And I am beyond ethnicity.

  • this will lead to teh South PArk version of future… where all languages are mixed and all people are now a single colour… BEIGE 😀 !!!

    Though interesting… I have to say… it can cause problems 😛 !!!

  • I say go for it specially if they are eye candelicios 😛 On a serious note, society in Pakistan I dont really think is ready for it specially where the girls are concerned. and marriage is strenuous enough without the added burden of different cultures and societies, but like I said for each his own

  • Nadir was the head boy at Grammar. By far, he was the coolest head boy ever. I love Nadir. I think he headed off to UVA, now my neck of the woods as well. Wonder what happened to him?

    PS: I had no idea he spoke Punjabi. Such a cool critter.

  • Inter-racial marriages also produce interesting looking progeny. Keanu Reeves? Barack Obama?


  • Saadia,

    Be it Keeanu or Obama, they both are seriously HOT.


    such a small world we live in. Nadir was pursuing his undergrad somewhere in US when he interned with us and i was the freshest employee there. If you had been to Dawn in those days, it looked more like a geriatric ward than a newspaper office. 85% of the staff were over the age of 65 and counting. You had no idea how happy i was during the summers when i actually had people my age running about the corridors of Haroon House.

  • Hello Tazeen

    you have a lovely space here 🙂
    i’m blogrolling you, and i promise to come back for a thorough read very soon 🙂

    happy blogging!


  • Tazeen…this post made me smile…I can’t recall (and I;m too lazy to check) if you read one of my earlier posts…but I stated that I’m quite the thorough-bred mixed breed myself…

    My ancestral blood hails from Ireland, India, Scotland, Afghanistan, France, Pakistan, Malaysia, Portugal and Indonesia.

    I’ve been asked hundred of times if I’m: Arabian, Egyptian, Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Brazilian, Greek, Morroccon etc. etc…it
    s largely dependant on what I’m wearing and how my hair is styled but people generally can’t pin point my ethnicity …and I LOVE it. I love that in a sense there are no labels and boxes to fit into 😀

  • hi tazeen?do you really think obama is hot?astonishing.

  • i’m sorry for being annoying, but i have to take offence to this idea of danishmand being cool.

    reason being that his reign of terror coincided with my time there.

    already IBA was not exactly a hotbed of intelligence or exuberance, but this guy was intent on making it into a gulag.

    at one point, he announced to the professors that he had run pak-suzuki for 25 years, and in his opinion there was little difference in churning out motorbikes and churning out business graduates.

    sorry, but this new revamped image of him got my goat.

  • Tazeen – Responding to the lighter points in your post, how about Brazilian footballers as ‘one namers’: Pele? Ronaldo? Ronaldinho.

  • not to forget mr 10 percent… zardaari… lol

  • i find myself continually wanting to wed a spanish, russian or south american boy. racial purity is way over rated. i’m all for the harmony

  • hello ..:)

    In our region racial purity is vital like you cant imagine .. if a man lets say marry a girl who is not soo ‘pure’ they’re family might not accept them or he/she will keep the marriage a secret ,, but hopefully everything is going to change as long as the person is good, kind and has a good reputation then I see nothing wrong with mixting culture as long as its from the same religion

  • khatmal,

    I wouldn’t know much about Danishmand being uncool, but I personally think its pretty cool to go with just a single name.


    But these are footballers’ surnames I think.


    Why do I have a feeling that the Russian and Spanish men you want to marry have something to do with tennis?

  • The same goes for cities. I would rather live in a cosmopolitan city for the same reason. It’s much more fun

  • Wow.. Tazeen, that was an interesting Hodge-podge of races…
    but its kool isnt it… i mean inherited so many things from different sides… such ppl are generally quite genius…

  • “I think people, at least those who come in contact with people from other countries and races, should be open to idea of falling in love with people from completely different background. Not only it would lead to genetic diversity, it would lead to a relatively more harmonious world, something we all crave at this point in time”

    For someone who has traveled extensively what have you done to make the above possible? Hypothetically speaking off course..

  • ooo i wonder why i landed on this post of urs soooo late!!!!!!!!!!
    i cudnt agree with you more..
    such mix of ethnicity and all is AMAZING!!! i honestly agree with you on genetic diversity!! 😀
    my ancestors were not only born in Lahore,,they didnt even have to migrate from the Indian side and i always found that boring :p

  • interesting concept, though I don’t know how many people would be open to it.

  • I’m all for less homogenity 🙂 My mother is from Bangladesh and my dad is from Pakistan, and although I spent my more formative years in Pakistan, I’d like to think my mix, especially given the history between our two countries, has given me a unique outlook on life and conflict situations in general. It allowed me to look beyond the black-and-white of the world.

    In terms of who we choose to love, in today’s globalized world, it gets increasingly hard to remain homogeneous – and as lame as this sounds, you don’t fall in love with someone because of their nationality but because of the person they are. It’s ridiculous to me when I see first generation Indians or Pakistans living abroad whose parents force them to get married not just to someone from their same nationality, but to someone from their same province, sect, etc. Too many boundaries can never be a good thing in an increasing boundary-less world 🙂

  • I think I agree with this idea! Being from India – which in itself is probably more diverse than Europe itself.. I used to believe that if the Intelligence and Emphasis on Education of South Indians, the Fearlessness of the Punjus and the artistic and poetic miinds of the Bengalis and Eastern Indians could merge it would be one heck of a mix in one family! But the migrations were not so common. One of the unintended side effects of IT revolution has been that people from Delhi are working in Bangalore, people from Kerala are found in Calcutta..
    etc. They fall in love.. and some marry as well. That is actually great for national integration.

    Of course, if that could be extended then that would be great… but to think that what would now be a Marriage of Diversity – between a Pakistani and an Indian or Bangladeshi and Pakistani.. was 60 years back.. just part of one national identity.. makes you think if we have to erase the follies at the personal level that we end up committing at the group level?

    Alignment with an identity creates a need for “sponsorship” for an idea.. and a sponsored or copyrighted ideas always clash. Open Source ideas – with no sponsorship – rarely ever clash. I wrote something about this topic here:

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