Tag Archives: Subcontinent

Rewriting the Pakistani script

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

A few words about the parade…why must the accompanying commentary be so hysterical? I put on the TV at about a few minutes to eleven but the commentary, male and female, was just too much, going on and on without a moment’s rest, much too loud and indeed deadlier than any of the weaponry marching past. If the military can’t be made to learn the uses of brevity what hope for the rest of the nation? Thanks to the commentary, two minutes of the parade was all I could stand. There was also the charismatic visage of the president. On this subject what more is there to say?
Continue reading Rewriting the Pakistani script

Mujh Mein Hai Tu! – the common capital of India and Pakistan

By: Khuda Bux Abro

It was not just the land that was partitioned. Hearts, minds, behaviours and emotions had been partitioned long before so the final division could be made ‘smoothly’, and it went as smoothly as expected. The ground was pulled from underneath someone’s feet, while the sky was pulled away from another’s head! Millions of people neither belonged here nor there, only those who were to lead the new states remained. The new leaders had not only been involved in dividing the state but also dreamt of ruling the new countries in the name of religion and nationalism. A single announcement managed to create a border that cannot be seen anywhere except in books, files and maps.

It was as if a wall was erected in the courtyard of a large, lively house. Those who lived and played together would sulk one moment and reconcile with each other the next. Their hearts beat together as one. If they liked a certain tune, they all sang it together. If they got drunk, they danced in harmony with each other. Their souls were fragrant with the scent of the soil; their breaths were perfumed with the same culture. But the formation of the wall of hate and treachery neither divided nor affected their breaths, their heartbeats.

It doesn’t matter whether the leaders belong to this side of the wall or to that side. They have always sowed seeds of hatred within the divided hearts of their nation in order to prevent the demolition of the wall erected within their hearts and minds so that not only their rule would be established but their sustenance is guaranteed, as well as their luxuries.

Continue reading Mujh Mein Hai Tu! – the common capital of India and Pakistan

Confessions of a war reporter

Confessions of a war reporter – June 2001

By Barkha Dutt

During the Kargil War, Barkha Dutt’s was a familiar face on the television screen, bringing live action on the Star News channel. But she was not telling us the complete story. Now she does.

I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black – it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. Before I could react, the show was over. A faded gunny bag appeared from nowhere, shrouded the soldier’s face, the brown of the bag now merging indistinguishably with the green of the leaves. Minutes later, we walked past the same tree where the three soldiers who had earlier unveiled the victory trophy were standing. From the corner of his eye, the colonel exchanged a look of shard achievement, and we moved on. We were firmly in the war zone.

It’s been two years since Kargil, but even as some of the other details become fuzzy, this episode refuses to fade from either memory or conscience. A few months ago, I sat across a table with journalists from Pakistan and elsewhere in the region, and confessed I hadn’t reported that story, at least not while the war was still on. It had been no easy decision, but at that stage the outcome of the war was still uncertain. The country seemed gripped by a collective sense of tension and dread, and let’s face it – most of us were covering a war for the first time in our careers. Many of the decisions we would take over the next few weeks were tormented and uncertain. I asked my friend from Pakistan, listening to my anguish with empathy, what he would have done in my place? He replied, “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Continue reading Confessions of a war reporter

Indo-Pak peace: Pak orders release of all Indian fishermen

KARACHI – SINDH: Pakistan has ordered the release of all Indian fishermen imprisoned in the country. According to the Interior Ministry, all imprisoned fishermen in Pakistan will be released along with their ships, adding that the process will begin soon. …

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-84908-Pak-orders-release-of-all-Indian-fisherm

Catch-44: Takfiri intolerance and Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Mujahid Kamal Mir

Pakistan’s 65-year history of missed opportunities seized by other rapidly developing nations like Korea, Turkey, etc, tainted by military coups, political infighting and a form of crony capitalism that has stifled its economy were enough of the destablisers, and when it seemed like it could not go any worse, the cat dragged in the leviathan of religious and ethnic terrorism. The barbaric acts of cruelty against Christians, Ahmedis and in particular Shiites this country has witnessed over the past few years, all in the name of religion and God, can bring the likes of Ivan the Terrible and Attila the Hun to tears.

Literati and commentators blame the former military dictator General Ziaul Haq for making it a state policy to fund and arm Wahabi groups in the 1980s. It is an established fact that the general used these organisations primarily against the Shiites at the behest of the state financier, Saudi Arabia. Shiites had natural sympathies with Iran because of religious and emotional proximity and there was no doubt that Saudi Arabia was supporting Wahabi groups through General Zia to kill Iran’s support in Pakistan, and hence Pakistan became a battleground for the war between two states striving for regional hegemony. In retrospect, this war did not actually start in the 1980s as per the famous Indian writer, M J Akbar. He states the animosity between the Sunni majority and the Shia minority in the subcontinent dates back to the Mughal era where the Mughal Emperor Humayun became a converted Shiite when he returned from Iran along with Shia preachers, which resulted in a mass conversion of Hindus to Shiite Islam. In later years, Aurangzeb persecuted Shiites, who by that time had grown in numbers. In short, this animosity has always been embedded in the very fabric of the subcontinent for hundreds of years, but always remained confined to discussions and dialogues among the religious clergy, popularly known as ‘manazara’, and were never militant.

Continue reading Catch-44: Takfiri intolerance and Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Mujahid Kamal Mir

Indian Supreme Court’s poignant footnote in Kasab Judgment

From Indian Kanoon:

“[45] It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel.

Mr. Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai.

One wonders what Quaid-e-Azam would have thought of the terrorist attack on his favourite city in the subcontinent and especially on Taj Mahal Hotel, with which he had a personal relationship of a very intimate kind.”

Read more » Pak Tea House

http://pakteahouse.net/2012/08/30/indian-supreme-courts-poignant-footnote-in-kasab-judgment/

Kuldip Nayar’s new book on Jinnah, Shastri, Nehru India & Pakistan

Jinnah amputated India and inflicted a permanent bleeding wound on a 5,000-year old border less society, turning friendly neighbours into cannibalistic monsters, hellbent on feeding frenzy over each other’s corpses.

More » Out Look

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281456#.T-8SOS96nz0.facebook

Via – TK’s facebook page

What’s Wrong with Pakistan?

Why geography — unfortunately — is destiny for South Asia’s troubled heartland.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Perversity characterizes Pakistan. Only the worst African hellholes, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Iraq rank higher on this year’s Failed States Index. The country is run by a military obsessed with — and, for decades, invested in — the conflict with India, and by a civilian elite that steals all it can and pays almost no taxes. But despite an overbearing military, tribes “defined by a near-universal male participation in organized violence,” as the late European anthropologist Ernest Gellner put it, dominate massive swaths of territory. The absence of the state makes for 20-hour daily electricity blackouts and an almost nonexistent education system in many areas.

Who orchestrated the exodus of Sindhi Hindus after Partition?

By Haider Nizamani

Excerpts;

….. The lone source Ajmal sahib has cited is not a thoroughly researched book but a ‘polemical brochure’ written by the then-secretary of the Sindh Assembly Congress Party, PV Tahalramani, in November 1947 to persuade the Indian state to intervene in Sindh. Let’s look at the role the Sindhi leadership in the days immediately following Partition and compare it with the role of some key figures of the central government on the matter of anti-Hindu riots. Because of space constraints I will only briefly refer to the political leanings and the role of the Sindhi Hindu leadership of that time in facilitating the migration of Hindus from Sindh. The exodus of Hindus from Sindh cannot be seen in isolation from the influx of refugees in Sindh and the setting up of the central government of the newly-founded state of Pakistan in Karachi, Sindh.

Sindh’s governor, Francis Mundie, described Sindh in the days leading up to Partition as a place which “characteristically carries on almost as if nothing had happened or was about to happen”. It changed when, according to Hamida Khuhro, Karachi rapidly became “a vast refugee camp”, making Jinnah “extremely worried about the mass exchange of population which was taking place and the bloodshed that accompanied it…. In fact Jinnah told Ayub Khuhro, premier of Sindh, categorically that he expected to retain the minority communities in Pakistan. Khuhro fully agreed with Jinnah. Hindus, he felt, ‘were an essential part of the society and economy of the province’. The events took an ugly turn in Karachi and Hyderabad (where) the new arrivals were entering and occupying houses where the owners, particularly Hindus, were still living, and throwing out the owners”.

Congress leaders advised Hindus to leave Sindh which was viewed by the Sindhi Muslim leadership as a ploy to deprive Sindh of its merchants, bankers, and sanitation workers. According to Brown University’s associate professor of history Vazira Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007): Ayub Khuhro, the premier of Sindh, and other Sindhi leaders also attempted to retain Sindh’s minorities, for they also feared a loss of cultural identity with the Hindu exodus.” The Sindh government “attempted to use force to stem” the exodus “by passing the Sindh Maintenance of Public Safety Ordinance” in September 1947. On September 4, 1947 curfew had to be imposed in Nawabshah because of communal violence. It turned out that the policies of a local collector resulted in the exodus of a large Sikh community of Nawabshah to make room for an overflow of refugees from East Punjab. The Sindh government took stern action to suppress the violence.

The Sindh government set up a Peace Board comprising Hindu and Muslim members to maintain order in the troubled province. PV Tahilramani was secretary of the Peace Board. He is the one who rushed to Khuhro’s office on January 6, 1948, at around 11 am to inform the chief minister that the Sikhs in Guru Mandir areas of Karachi were being killed. According to Khuhro, senior bureaucrats and police officials were nowhere to be found and he rushed to the scene at around 12.30 pm where he saw “mobs of refugees armed with knives and sticks storming the temples”. Khuhro tried to stem the violence and Jinnah was pleased with his efforts.

The prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was angry with Khuhro when he went to see him on January 9 or 10. Liaquat said to Khuhro: “What sort of Muslim are you that you protect Hindus here when Muslims are being killed in India. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!In the third week of January 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan said the Sindh government must move out of Karachi and told Khuhro to “go make your capital in Hyderabad or somewhere else”. Liaquat said this during a cabinet meeting while Jinnah quietly listened. The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on February 10, 1948, against the Centre’s impending move to annex Karachi. The central government had already taken over the power to allotment houses in Karachi. Khuhro was forced to quit and Karachi was handed over to the Centre in April 1948.

The above facts made me write that the violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. I will happily withdraw my claim when furnished with the evidence to the contrary.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/388663/who-orchestrated-the-exodus-of-sindhi-hindus-after-partition/

Manto and Sindh – Excellent write up of Haider Nizamani, it helps to understand why Sindh is tolerant and secular society in nature.

Punjab at the time of partition in 1947.

Manto and Sindh

By Haider Nizamani

SINDH has no equivalent of Saadat Hasan Manto as a chronicler of Partition. And the absence of a Manto-like figure in Sindhi literature on that count is good news. It shows the resilience of Sindh’s tolerant culture at a time when Punjab had slipped into fratricidal mayhem.

While Amrita Pritam called out for Waris Shah to rise up from the grave to witness the blood-drenched rivers of Punjab, Sindhi woman writers such as Sundari Uttamchandani were not forced to ask Shah Latif to do the same.

The tragedy of Partition inflicted different types of pain on the Punjabi and Sindhi communities and these peculiarities shadowed and shaped post-Partition communal relations between people of different faiths who traced their roots to these regions. What Manto endured and witnessed in 1947 and afterwards, became, through his eloquent writings, simultaneously an elegy and indictment of Punjab losing its sense of humanity at the altar of religious politics. The political air in Sindh was filled with religious demagogy but it did not turn into a communal orgy.

Urdu literati and historians interested in Partition and its impact on the subcontinent have used Manto’s birth centennial, that was recently observed, to remind us of his scathing sketches of lives destroyed by Partition. Ayesha Jalal in her essay ‘He wrote what he saw — and took no sides’ published in the May issue of Herald, writes Manto “looked into the inner recesses of human nature…” to “fathom the murderous hatred that erupted with such devastating effect” …in “his own home province of Punjab at the dawn of a long-awaited freedom”.

There was no eruption of murderous hatred between Sindhi Hindus and Muslims. They did not lynch each other en masse as was the case in Punjab. The violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. As result of varying trajectories of interfaith relations during the Partition period, the intelligentsia of Sindh and Punjab evolved and adopted different views towards Hindus and India.

The collective memory of the Partition days in Punjab is marked more by the stories and silence of the victims and perpetrators of violence. Even the journey towards the safer side was fraught with danger. People who survived had bitter memories of the ‘other’.

The Sindh story is not the same. Ram Jethmalani, a leading lawyer in India today and a member of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was a young advocate in Karachi in 1947. His senior partner was none other than A.K. Brohi, a right-wing Sindhi lawyer who became federal law minister during the Zia period.

Jethmalani has no compunction in saying that there was no love lost between the two because of Partition. Jethmalani stayed back in Karachi and only left for Mumbai in 1948 when Brohi told him he could not take responsibility for his safety as the demography of Karachi had changed with the arrival of migrants from the northern Indian plains. That arrival was accompanied by violence against Sindhi Hindus.

Kirat Babani, a card-carrying communist, chose to stay in Sindh after 1947 and was thrown in prison in 1948. Released 11 months on the condition of leaving Karachi within 24 hours, Kirat took up a job with Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi, pioneer of the peasant struggle in Sindh. The administration pressured Jatoi for harbouring an atheist. Jatoi advised, much against his desire, Kirat to go to India. Even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that groomed L.K. Advani, a native of Karachi who later became India’s deputy prime minister, acknowledges that Sindhi Muslims did not push Hindus out of the province.

Continue reading Manto and Sindh – Excellent write up of Haider Nizamani, it helps to understand why Sindh is tolerant and secular society in nature.

If there is a birthday present Pakistanis and Indians can jointly give Manto, it is to admit the reality of the problems he spelt out in his writings on partition

Curator of a hollowed conscience

By: Ayesha Jalal

Saadat Hasan Manto, whose birth centenary is being celebrated in Pakistan and India today, once remarked that any attempt to fathom the murderous hatred that erupted with such devastating effect at the time of the British retreat from the subcontinent had to begin with an exploration of human nature itself.

Continue reading If there is a birthday present Pakistanis and Indians can jointly give Manto, it is to admit the reality of the problems he spelt out in his writings on partition

Manto

Hindi and Urdu: Sa’adat Hasan Manto

by Shivam Vij

This is MUHAMMAD UMAR MEMON‘s translation of an article by SA’ADAT HASAN MANTO. The translation first appeared inThe Annual of Urdu Studies.

The Hindi-Urdu dispute has been raging for some time now. Maulvi Abdul Haq Sahib, Dr Tara Singh and Mahatma Gandhi know what there is to know about this dispute. For me, though, it has so far remained incomprehensible. Try as hard as I might, I just haven’t been able to understand. Why are Hindus wasting their time supporting Hindi, and why are Muslims so beside themselves over their preservation of Urdu? A language is not made, it makes itself. And no amount of human effort can ever kill a language. When I tried to write something about this current hot issue, I ended up with the following long conversation:

Continue reading Manto

Nawaz Sharif calls for Pakistan to unilaterally abolish visas for Indians

Pakistan should unilaterally abolish visa regime with India, says Nawaz Sharif

LAHORE: Main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan should unilaterally abolish the visa regime with India immediately as people-to-people contacts can accelerate the bilateral peace process.

Sharif urged the government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to “step forward and take the initiative of abolishing the visa regime” to facilitate the people of both countries.

He made the remarks during an interactive session with an Indian trade delegation at his residence in Lahore last night.

“Pakistan should move ahead with the decision of abolishing the visa regime unilaterally even if India hesitates to reciprocate the initiative at this point in time.

“I believe India will be forced to follow suit once Pakistan breaks this barrier. In my opinion, this step can go miles in bringing these two nuclear powers closer,” Sharif said.  …

Read more » The Economic Times

Via – Twitter

Bulleh Shah, the great Seraiki poet

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

Bulleh Shah, the great Seraiki poet, was a contemporary of Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Lateef … Bulleh Shah was born in Uch Sharif in Bahalwapur and is buried in Kasur where he had moved with his father … though he was a contemporary of Shah Latif, his thoughts could be compared with Sufi Secular poet Sachal Sarmast … both Bulleh Shah and Sachal Saieen openly opposed orthodoxy … Secular Sufi poet Sachal was a direct descendent of Caliph Umer Farooq, but he never took pride in his ancestry …. his forefathers had moved to Sindh with Mohammed bin Qasim…. Bulleh Shah’s family “claimed to be direct descent from Prophet Muhammad” (peace be upon him)…. in this video Sarangi Maestro and Sufi Fakir Lakho Manganhar of Rajasthan, India, is singing Bulleh Shah ….

Courtesy: adopted from facebook

Why Korea produces semiconductors and India produces Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra, Basharat Peer and Arif Lohar

By Omar

I have been unusually busy at work, so less time to spend on postings (but still more than Brother Zachary who seems really caught up in his presentation). But to make up for it, here are a few random thoughts for Monday:

1. Postcolonial rant of the day. I saw a piece by Basharat Peer …boilerplate “india not shining”, aimed at Westerners and Westernized (left-liberal-westernized, not the other type) Indians and apparently finding its mark, since “Foreign Affairs” leapt to publish it.

And another by Pankaj Mishra (boilerplate “Pakistan not as sick as X imaginary Western reporters think it is”) that made me wonder why these two well educated people are so confused about what they want (never mind what is actually happening, they are confused even about what they want to see happening)? Basharat is unhappy that India has not progressed to Chinese or American levels but is also very unhappy with the idea of capitalist progress in India (thats not exactly what he said, but then again, what exactly DID he say?). Pankaj bhayya goes one step further. He wants to tell his readers that reports that Pakistan is failing to become modern/capitalist are exaggerated..that in fact, things are not as bad as they are said to be and business is booming and much capital is being made, only not in the above-ground economy. Does he mean capitalism is OK when its truly unregulated and undocumented? Who woulda thunk Pankaj Bhaiya was such a hardcore libertarian?

Continue reading Why Korea produces semiconductors and India produces Pankaj Mishra

India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar

In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.

Both countries mean business

In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:

  • Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
  • India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
  • Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
  • The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
  • A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.

Opportunities and gains

Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.

Continue reading India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

India & Pakistan will sign a “liberalized visa agreement” next month in Islamabad

Soft Pak-India visa policy to be signed in May: Krishna

NEW DELHI: Indian’s Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna Wednesday said India and Pakistan will sign a “liberalized visa agreement” in May this year when secretaries of the two countries meet in Islamabad.

Speaking at the Lok Sabha on the April 8 daylong visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to India during which he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over lunch, he said Pak-Indian secretary level talks are set in May in Islamabad, where liberalized visa policy will be given a go-ahead.

According to India media, the traders from the two sides of the border will be entitled to receive multiple visas for one year.

Also under the fresh policy, the traders from the two countries may receive visa of ten cities in the respective countries.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV

Via – twitter

Indo-Pak Borders blur as experts brainstorm on education

Borders blur as experts brainstorm on education

The Aman ki Asha Education Committee met in New Delhi last Thursday to decide on ways in which India and Pakistan can collaborate to bring about reforms in education on both sides of the border. The Indo-Pak Education/Skills Development Committee is one of the six committees formed after the Aman ki Asha Business Meet in May 2010, to take forward cooperation in the areas that delegates had identified as having the greatest potential for cooperation – Education/Skills Development, Textiles, Information Technology (IT), Agriculture, Energy and Healthcare.At a day-long meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), The Times of India, the Jang Group, and Pakistan India CEOs Business Forum at India Habitat Centre, luminaries from both countries shared problems and achievements in their education sectors followed by some brainstorming for effective solutions. ….

Read more » Aman Ki Asha

India-Pakistan: Zardari-Singh Meet and Beyond

By: Aparna Pande

Excerpts;

….. Ideological states can only be countered by attacking their ideology from within. While the U.S. followed many policies to counter the Soviet Union, the most effective one was whereby people in the country were convinced that their system did not work and it had to be changed. Pakistanis are fighting an ideas battle within their own country: whether to move Pakistan towards a civilian democratic country at peace with its neighbors or continue to remain an ideological state where jihad plays a role in foreign policy.

India would benefit by getting out of the trap of reciprocity in the case of Pakistan to gain strategic advantage. India’s unilateral moves may not convince the hawks and conspiracy theorists in Pakistan about India’s intentions and capabilities. However, if it helps re-ignite and provide fuel to a debate within Pakistani society on ties with India and the future direction of Pakistan, India will have strengthened its hand just as the U.S. did in dealing with the Soviet Union during the era of détente.

Read more » Huffington Post

Tribute to Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Sobho Gianchandani is a prominent Sindhi revolutionary who remains a source of inspiration for many generations of Sindhi activists, writers and social reformers. Mr. Gianchandani, known lovingly as Comrade Sobho, has been associated with many political  and campaign groups, including the Indian National Congress and Khudai Khidmatgar and is the founder of many progressive, democratic and nationalist campaigns in Sindh. After the partition, Pakistani authorities pressured himlike millions of other Sindhi Hindus — to leave Sindh and migrate to India, but Sobho refused, and in consequence he was forbidden to travel abroad until 1998. Sobho was imprisoned for more than a year during the British rule, and after the partition, he fell under the wrath of Pakistani establishment and has many jail sentences to his credit, including one in 1971 for opposing military sponsored genocide in Bangladesh. Comrade Sobho and G. M. Syed were close associates and comrades in different aspects of the Sindhi rights movement. The G. M. Syed Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on Mr. Gianchandani in appreciation of his life-long struggle for emancipation for Sindhis and other oppressed peoples of South Asia and in recognition of his grass-roots efforts to promote tolerance, justice, communal harmony and peace. …..

Read more » ChagataiKhan

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More » THE MAN FROM MOEN–JO-DARO – Interview with Comrade Sobho Gianchandani

Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

A clique of hoodlums, urchins and loafers came out on streets of some wild gang-infested areas of Karachi, the bustling capital city and business-centre of Sindh. These nefarious and abominable elements gathered in groups, pasted and posted some slogans and posters on the walls of shops and houses and raised shrill slogans for the creation of a ‘Muhajir’ province. No Sir, it is not me who call them ‘Muhajirs,’ they themselves, call ‘Muhajirs,’ meaning ‘refugees’.

These belonged to a hitherto unknown wicked fraternity known as “Mohajir Sooba Tehrik (MST), which translated in simple English means, “Refugee Province Movement.” Is there any such parallel example anywhere in the world, where the ‘refugees,’conquer and demand a separate state within a state for themselves?

The numerous nations that formed a Federation of Pakistan were Bengali, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, Seraiki, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Each of these nations had their own language, culture, heritage, history, arts, music, norms, traditions and historical land.

Millions of innocent lives were lost during unfortunate partition of the sub-continent of south Asia and then the urdu Language was imposed as a national language on the Nations who had formed the federation of Pakistan. This created restlessness in Bengal and after sacrificing millions of innocent lives on the question of language, Bengal became Bangladesh, a Sovereign, Independent and Free nation – free from unfair  rule of the security establishment of the deep state . Today, Balochistan is on the same path which was taken by East Pakistan (Banglades) yesterday. The security establishment of the deep state continuously working on its policies with their subjugation of Sindh and Balochistan and trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs into minority in their historical lands.

Gullible Sindhis who gave them shelter on their historical land but unfortunately it seems that they had no respect whatsoever, Sindh gave them honour and dignity. Sindh accepted them as her own children! Sindh called them ‘Sindhis’ not ‘Muhajirs!’

65 years on – they still have not adopted the language of Sindh. They had never respected and appreciated the glorious and peace loving Sufi culture, norms and traditions of Sindh.  They are remain thankless, ungrateful, unappreciative towards Sindh and calling themselves ‘Muhajirs’ and asking for the division of the land of Sindh which is providing them shelter and living.

Now, let me give a piece of advice to them: “Go read the glorious History of Sindh!” Many  conquerors entered in Sindh and each time the valiant sons of Sindh fought and sacrifice their lives for their beloved Motherland Sindh and then those tyrannical invaders all left with their tails tucked. If any one doesn’t adopt Sindh and calling and think themselves as invaders then the Sindhis will really treat them and would play their historical role as sons of the soil and sacrifice their lives for the defense of their motherland.

The Indus civilisation is centuries old  and the borders of this glorious, illustrious and exalted land of Sindh are historical and inviolable! If any one tries to violate this sanctity of Sindh, or any other force including the conspirators of the deep state, then it will destabilize whole of the region! Therefore, the loyal and filial children of Motherland Sindh are reminding those individuals, “Don’t think about the division of Sindh because it is better for them not to do so.”

Continue reading Why are they calling themselves Mohajirs (Refugees)?

Sufism [Sindhyat/ Humanity] binds millions of hearts in subcontinent: Abida Parveen

Sufi legend Abida Parveen, who is on a trip to New Delhi for the Jahan-e-Khusrau festival said Sufism binds millions of people in the subcontinent and that the forthcoming festival is an effort to create a spiritual mood. The 10th edition of the three-day festival starts March 2 in New Delhi at Humayun’s Tomb. “Sufism has evolved from the beginning of this universe. It bridges the gap between the hearts. This festival brings different colours together. This is a message from heart to heart. This is an effort to create a spiritual context for the common people,” she said. Organised by the Rumi foundation and designed and directed by filmmaker-painter Muzaffar Ali, the three-day festival was announced by Ali and Abida Parveen and Sharmila Tagore-members of the Rumi Foundation. Parveen had been a part of the festival since its beginning, but couldn’t attend the festival last year due to health reasons. Jahan-e-Khusrau 2012 will see performances by Abida Parveen, Ali Zafar, Hans Raj Hans, Andrea Griminelli (Italian flautist) and will also introduce new faces like Indra Naik, Vidhi Sharma, Rajesh Pandey, Vidhi Lal, and Shivani Varma. Reminiscing on her long association with the festival, Parveen said that whenever she comes to perform for Jahan e Khusrau “an extraordinary noorani (blissful) process begins. The Rumi Foundation knows how to collect different colours and create an atmosphere which is so pure and durgahi that no difference is felt between the one who’s singing and the one who’s listening. Even if one person gets attached with the Sufi saints in such an atmosphere, it’s enough to break all barriers of faith and territorial boundaries,” she said. “Tasawuf (a Sufi term that means focusing on one’s relationship with God) is God’s name. We don’t need any language or identity to understand Allah,” added the singer. Celebrating 10th year of Jahan-e-Khusrau, Muzaffar Ali maintained that the journey of Jahan e Khusrau began with the thought of bringing all pure souls together on one platform in Delhi, a city of great souls and saints. Over the last decade, Jahan e Khusrau has presented rare poetry of the mystics of the sub-continent. It has showcased Sufi singers, dancers and musicians, including Azam Ali, Masood Habibi, Shubha Mudgal, Shafqat Ali Khan, Shubjaat Hussain Khan to introducing fresh promising talent such as Zila Khan, Archana Shah, Indira Naik and Rajesh Pandey among others.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

ALAS! we don’t know when Nawaz Sharif will learn from history and will understand history and politics!?

Zulfiqar Halepoto of Sindh Democratic Forum, strongly condemn Mian Nawaz Sahrif’s recent statement in favour of more provinces on the basis of administrative lines during his visit to Bahawalpur district. Main Saheb’s latest move is to divide Siraiki Wasaib to Siraiki soba supporters and Bahawalpur state supporters.

The biggest tragedy of Nawaz Sharif is that he is unaware of historical realities and context of geographies and nations living in Pakistan.

The other tragedy is that he (Nawaz Sharif) is surrounded by fundamentalists who came from religious parties and especially Jamait e Islamai to control PMLn and who are ignorant of historical national rights and sovereign federating units.

Bahawalpur was a Princely state and princely states were the worst bribes of colonial powers to suppress peoples movements in Sub Continent. Those who sold their conscious (zameer), ideology, land (WATAN) and people (QOUM) were given lands and states as compensation of their treachery and GHADAREE.

Bahawalpur was, is and will remain part of Siraiki soba.

ALAS we don’t know when he (Nawaz Sharif) will learn from history and will understand history and politics.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 8, 2012.

On Bhagat Singh, his vision and Jinnah’s support for his struggle

A few days ago, Irfan Habib, a noted researcher and author of TO MAKE THE DEAF HEAR – Ideology and Programme of Bhagat Singh and His Comradessent his thoughtful piece on the legendary Bhagat Singh.

Incidentally, Bhagat Singh was hanged on Pakistan’s Republic Day – March 23 though nine years prior to that – in Lahore – thereby adding another dimension to the symbolism of March 23 for Pakistanis. Bhagat Singh for his principles, struggle for just causes and valour is a shared hero.

I am quoting some of the passages from Habib’s article below. Citing a Tamil newspaper editorial of 1931, Habib writes:

Continue reading On Bhagat Singh, his vision and Jinnah’s support for his struggle

Genesis of the failure of Islamist militancy

Failure of militancy

by Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt;

…. Political Islam’s consequent failure to produce the desired results that its intellectuals had promised, and also its doctrinal involvement in the armed “jihad” in Afghanistan, generated the creation of modern-day Islamic militancy.

This militancy too faced the same problems in trying to triumph with a singular concept of Islam and the sharia in the face of the social and religious complications that run across Muslim countries.

So much so that by the late 1990s, Political Islam had devolved into what we now call “Islamic fundamentalism,” and/or stripped clean off its intellectual moorings and reduced to being an ideology of pure terror and having a myopic and narrow understanding of Islam and of the West. Entities like the al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban and the many militant outfits that were active in Kashmir (Harakat ul-Mujahedeen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba), are clear examples.

So it was heartening to hear Kashmir leaders like Bhatt and Yasin distancing themselves from those aspects of the movement that have caused nothing more than bloodshed, pain and chaos, more at the cost of the Kashmiris’ rather than their ‘occupiers.’

Read more » DAWN.COM

The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

BY Mohammad Hanif

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate (Thorri Phaatak) in rural Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

Continue reading The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster