971-50: mehreen kasana
what’s your favourite smell?
Lahori fog and sabz chai. The winter in Lahore is beautiful partially due to the distinctive fog that settles once the season begins; It’s cold, fresh and very Desi. Combine that with the aroma of sabz chai with honey and you are bound to fall in love with Lahore—like almost everyone does. Old books and petrichor.
what are you listening to lately?
A haphazard yet enlightening combination of Sven Lindqvist’s lectures along with Stephen Sheehi, Saba Mahmood and a few others like Angela Davis and some spoken word by Warsan Shire and Suheir Hammad. My podcast is a conference hall and moshpit on the go. Some Mono (Japanese post rock band) alternated with Urdu and Farsi poetry further punctuated with Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine, Meshuggah, Gojira.
do you think of Dubai as part of the Global North or Global South?
A tad conflicted here. Dubai, in racial dynamics and from the vantage point of the West that maintains a hegemonic control over cartography and more, is always going to be the Global South—with the various connotations such a label creates. But if I were to think as an immigrant South Asian doing labor in one of the Khaleeji states, I would see Dubai as the Global North considering its economic influence. I’m sticking with Global South.
what’s the future of print?
Alive. As long as there are people—which there will always be for an amalgam of reasons—without access to electronic forms of literature, news and entertainment, print will continue to live. I doubt that the expansion of e-media and e-journalism or even e-books will ever put print out of business or out of power. “Dead-tree format” is here to stay—despite whatever cynical bespectacled doomsayer says behind their laptop screens. I think it is also important to state that the “dying relevance” of print in the West is not necessarily felt in, say, villages in the East. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. I think it’s beautiful how people up in my mother’s village in northern Punjab still love buying the “akhbar” (newspaper) for 30 to 50 rupees, they still loving sitting in the intersection of the street (the “chowk”) in the evening when there’s less commotion and they still love reading headlines aloud to each other in varying tones of skepticism, shock, awe and admiration. Print isn’t going anywhere.
what will 2070 look like?
Crowded yet still disconsolate.
Mehreen is an American Pakistani Muslim culture/politics enthusiast with a penchant for disciplines of history, genocide studies, indigenous, colonial and post-colonial studies, as well as historical geography, politics, sociology, international relations, political science, cultural and gender studies, philosophy – and everything in between. @mehreenkasana
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