Oldest Sikh Temple in Victoria
Celebrates 100 Years
Pioneer families honoured as kick-off to week-long celebration
1912 - 1955
By Brendan Kergin DIVERSITY REPORTER STAFF
Victoria, Bc: The Sikh community of Victoria is coming together this week to celebrate a milestone. The gurdwara on Topaz Avenue and Blackwood Street is celebrating it's 100th anniversary on May 20th and the KhalsaDiwan Society is celebrating with events which started last weekend. Last Sunday the community honoured the pioneer families with speeches by notable members of the community and bestowed siropa on members and families of the community. “When the temple was opened in 1912 there was probably 100 members and today there's about 3000 members,” said Hardip Singh Sahota, a co-ordinator for the celebration. “We're honouring pioneer families today. A lot of the folks coming in are probably second to fourth generation members. This is to recognize them [the pioneer families] and their contributions to the society and to Victoria.” Sahota was also a member of the KhalsaDiwan Society, the society which is linked to the gurdwara. Raj Purewal, president of the KhalsaDiwan Society, arrived in Victoria in 1969 from India. He and the society are eager to give back to the community, especially during this special time in the gurdwara's history. The May 13th event drew much of the Sikh community together as many families are connected to the long time temple. Detail story on Page 4
stories on Page 17 to 22
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Immigration Museum CeO documents ‘rich stories’ of the women and men who built Canada
Wednesday May 16, 2012
remembering Pakistani writer Manto
AADAT Hasan Manto, the celebrated Urdu writer, is best known for highlighting hypocrisy and evils of the society through his short stories. SaadatManto is known to have written more than 200 stories in a span of not more than 2 decades. Toba Tek Singh, the story that captured the aftermath of the partition, is perhaps one of his most popular works even today. In fact, after 1947, Manto was accused of obscenity in what the government of Pakistan called pornographic writing. Amongst the works that he was prosecuted for, the popular ones include Thanda Ghost, Bu and Khol Do. Prostitution, sexual desires, partition mayhem, were issues close to his heart and he often shook society with his candour.
By Sarah Taguiam Located at Halifax’s Pier 21, Canada’s last surviving port where one million immigrants Museum of Immigration CEO Marie Chapman arrived between 1928 and 1971, the museum hosts galleries and special exhibits illustrating the stories of immigrant families who started a new life in Canada. “Our mission is not one of advocacy but of reflection and gathering,” Chapman said. “It’s our responsibility to reflect back to people who are here to share their experiences.” A mission, she added, that members of the ethnic media have helped them fulfill for decades. “Because of a lot of the work you’ve done in telling stories about immigration through different media outlets and your personal lives … it became a very easy message to spread,” she said. Chapman said that having access to ethnic media is a “key contributor to the feeling of belonging and self-esteem.” “It’s not only about receiving information, it’s the perspective of home and how here becomes home…. It’s giving immigrants the bridge to understand that they’re still part of something through the eyes of people who also immigrated here and are now part of the media.” Today, the museum is recognized as Canada’s sixth national museum and is visited by 60,000 to 80,000 people a year. It continues to expand its exhibits and programming to reach a wider demographic of Canadians from all walks of life. This summer, it’s organizing a traveling exhibit that will go across the country. “This was never just a Pier 21 story, it’s one that has a national resonance,” Chapman said.
Ironically, SaadatManto failed his matriculation exam twice, before going on to become one of Urdu literature's most prolific writers. Manto initially pursued his love for writing, by penning screenplays of almost a dozen films in Mumbai before leaving for Lahore, after the partition. At the age of 43, SaadatHasanManto succumbed to excessive liver damage. Cynical of society yet unapologetic of his opinions, it's not surprising that Manto wrote his own epitaph, a year before his death. "Here SaadathasanManto lies buried and buried in his breast are all the secrets of the art of story writing. Even now, lying under tons of earth, he is wondering whether he or God, is the greater short story writer." (Preeti Singh)
Moving B.C.’s immigrant and settlement services out of province is not a good move By maBle elmore British Columbia is a vibrant multicultural society, welcoming immigrants from across the globe. Our diverse communities provide rich cultural, artistic, spiritual and culinary experiences. When making the life-changing decision to immigrate, many chose our province for its wide array of opportunities – in education, employment and quality of life. We are fortunate that these opportunities attract educated and skilled workers to our province to help contribute to our economy. In fact, it is expected immigrants will be needed to fill about one-third of the one million jobs expected to open up in B.C. by the end of the decade, to meet labour market needs and continue to fuel economic growth. However, we need to be able to provide the supports for these immigrants to help them settle and become full members of their new home. That’s why the changes the federal government is making to B.C.’s immigrant settlement services are so astonishing. On April 12th, Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the federal government is centralizing settlement and immigration
services, pulling out of agreements with B.C. and Manitoba that provided shared provincial and federal services – agreements which gave these provinces the ability to maximize the impact of settlement funds through coordination and development of programs with the nonprofit sector. The B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, and Northwest Territories offices will now all be centralized in one office in Calgary. B.C. has long been praised as a leader in providing settlement services that cater to the unique needs of B.C.’s immigrant population – the largest in Canada, with over 42,500 new immigrants arriving each year. A variety of organizations provide a range of important services including language training, employment programs, housing programs, and other settlement services that cover everything from social and income assistance to public legal education. The federal changes, made with no consultation with stakeholders, mean B.C. will lose important controls over the direction of these organizations. They mean B.C. will lose the unique expertise and face-to-face service of workers in settlement services when the office moves to Calgary.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Oldest Sikh Temple in Victoria
Celebrates 100 Years
Jinny Sims named immigration critic in NDP shadow cabinet
Pioneer families honoured as kick-off to week-long celebration
By Brendan Kergin DIVERSITY REPORTER STAFF
Victoria, Bc: The Sikh community of Victoria is coming together this week to celebrate a milestone. The gurdwara on Topaz Avenue and Blackwood Street is celebrating it's 100th anniversary on May 20th and the KhalsaDiwan Society is celebrating with events which started last weekend. Last Sunday the community honoured the pioneer families with speeches by notable members of the community and bestowed siropa on members and families of the community. “When the temple was opened in 1912 there was probably 100 members and today there's about 3000 members,” said Hardip Singh Sahota, a co-ordinator for the celebration. “We're honouring pioneer families today. A lot of the folks coming in are probably second to fourth generation members. This is to recognize them [the pioneer families] and their contributions to the society and to Victoria.” Sahota was also a member of the KhalsaDiwan Society, the society which is linked to the gurdwara. Raj Purewal, president of the KhalsaDiwan Society, arrived in Victoria in 1969 from India. He and the society are eager to give back to
the community, especially during this special time in the gurdwara's history. The May 13th event drew much of the Sikh community together as many families are connected to the long time temple. Wally Oppal, a former BC MLA and Judge, grew up in Duncan and remembers coming down for celebrations in what was the centre of Vancuver Islands Sikh community. “As a very young boy I came here a lot,” said Oppal. “Victoria was a big city when you grew in Duncan, so it had a larger Indo-Canadian community than we had up there.” He also remembers coming to the island later on while attending UBC and playing in basketball tournaments during Vaisakhi. Other members of the island's Sikh community remember the gurdwara as an important part of their life when they arrived in Canada. In 1950 DarshanJohal immigrated to Youbo. After a few months working for BC Forest Products he decided to seek out more education at UBC and was then employed as part of the Capital Region Planning Board. A series of jobs with the UN kept him away from BC, but he's retired to the area now. As one of the speakers he talked about the advantages the community has now.
“The community has change in many ways,” said Johal. “We are able to advantage of more opportunities that are available now.” His advice to the younger generations was to seek out an education and work hard. Johal was the first of about 50 people to receive a siropa. While there has always been a temple at this location, a much larger one was built in 1969. Many attendees shared memories of growing up in the 1950s and 60s before the larger building was constructed. RanjeetJohal remembered this period in particular as her father was president of the KhalsaDiwan Society while fund-raising efforts were going on. During the summers of 1968 and 1969 many of the men travelled gathering donations for the project and most of the women and children gathered at the gurdwara. “Every weekend they [the men] were away. We had tons of water fights and picnics at Beacon Hill park and everywhere else,” said Ranjeet. “What was interesting was that a lot of them were businessmen and they were able to convince some of the local businesses, like BC Forest Products and Imperial Building Materials, to donate money based on the relationships they had. They were very good at being able to connect with all of Victoria.” MahindarKaur Berar also had many memories as a young person growing up around the neighbourhood. While she moved away in her early adulthood, it was important to her and her family to return for Sundays event. Berar was another of the speakers, representing her family as her father played a large role in the community. Some of her siblings were able to make it as well as many from younger generations. “My father served several terms as secretary of the society,” said Berar. “It was the centre of our universe. Three times a week we came here either for school or prayer.” The gurdwara is currently putting much of it's past on display in the dining hall with photos of of immigrants and members of the community ranging back as far as 1906. The display was open to the community before and after the ceremonies and will be open throughout the week. After the speakers many people headed down to learn about the communities history, reminisce and share langar while groups had photos taken outside to record the day for another 100 years.
ottaWa: Yesterday, Official Opposition Leader, Tom Mulcair, named Jinny Sims to his shadow cabinet as NDP Critic for Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism. The new portfolio was seen by many as a significant promotion for Newton – North Delta’s rookie MP. “I am honoured to have been asked by our new leader to serve in such a critical role,” said Sims. “I look forward to holding this government to account, when necessary, and proposing positive solutions to help newcomers to Canada.” Sims said her priority will be pushing the government to move towards a fair, efficient, transparent and accountable immigration system and an end the restrictive immigration measures based on secretive and arbitrary decisions by the immigration minister. “We have seen the mess our system is in first hand in our riding,” said Sims. “Families waiting years to be reunified with their loved ones, visitor visas rejected without cause and foreign credentials not being properly recognized are just some of the many problems we see on a daily basis.” Sims had been serving as the NDP’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic responsible for International Cooperation and Consular Affairs. She vowed to remain active on international issues while focusing on her new portfolio and the broad range of issues of concern to the communities of Delta and Surrey. “From Canada’s place in the world to the economic and physical security of our local citizens, I will continue to be a strong voice for our community.”
Minister slams US ads offering gender selection to Indo-Canadian couples ottaWa: The federal cabinet minister responsible for the status of women is condemning advertisements running in B.C. that offer gender selection for couples wanting a baby. Rona Ambrose says she's disturbed by the ads that target B.C.'s Indo-Canadian community. A clinic in Bellevue, Wash., offers pre-conception gender determination services for what the ads call "family balancing purposes". Ambrose says it's clear the ads are targeting cultural attitudes that perpetuate discrimination against girls. She says the ads run contrary to Canadian values where men and women are equal under the law. Ambrose says she condemns the practice of sex selection through in-vitro technology and is urging Canadian publishers to reject advertisements from clinics offering such services.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Honouring the Pioneer Families
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Khalsa Diwan Society Through the Lens
Special Thanks to Jagir Dhanowa (Island Video), Rajwant Singh Purewal (President, Khalsa Diwan Society Victoria) Daljit Singh Dhanoya (Secretary, Khalsa Diwan Society Victoria)
Have your say
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Coldplay delights Vancouver
BRITISH rock group Coldplay were in Vancouver for a pair of concerts in April at Rogers Arena. Over the last ten plus years they've taken the world by storm and haven't faded a bit. Right from the get-go they've been a top musical act. Releasing "Yellow" in 2000, they had an international hit. Their style is more than just soft rock, it's sensitive and emotional, chick rock if you will. That explains the gender ratio at the show, can you say estrogen-fest. To find a band that has embraced it's roll at the top of the heap more than Coldplay would be heavy task. They have endless causes they support: Fair Trade, Amnesty International and Make Poverty History to name but a few. They been on numerous political campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic and remain at the forefront of issues worldwide. They performed at Apple Campus Inc in Cupertino after the death of Steve Jobs. They have a long relationship with the powerful company, even having Apple work with them on marketing. Chris Martin and wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow even named their first child Apple due to the product line Coldplay performed a twenty song set lasting an hour and forty minutes, which is short in my view. Half of the set list was off the new album. The first single off the album was the shows last song, "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall." Other songs from their latest release "MyloXyloto"
performed included "Paradise", "Charlie Brown", "Hurts Like Heaven", "Don't Let It Break Your Heart" and "Princess Of China" featuring guest vocalist Rihanna. Her image and vocals were played through the sound system as the band played along on stage. Other hits included "Clocks", The Scientist", "Fix You", "In My Place", "Viva La Vida" and the aforementioned "Yellow". The stage was set up like a guitar where the main stage had an extension reaching out into the crowd. Well drawn up and thoroughly utilized, the stage had the edges lit up along with props resembling spiderwebs that had a neon glow to them. The kicker was all concert attendees were given a wristband that lit up when controlled by the lighting director. At a moments notice all 20,000 wristbands would start to blink on and off giving a fantastic effect. It was like looking at the stars in the sky on a clear night, but this was way more colourful. During the second song confetti shot through cannons covering the seats at the stages edge. It was strange to have confetti that early in a show. Shows usually build to those moments, but this time right off the bat.To be honest, it seemed rather early and outta place too be honest. Chris Martin, lead vocalist, pianist and guitarist had his hands full. He is the most prominant member of the band. From leading a sing along with the crowd during "Paradise"or "Fix You" to hopping, skipping and jumping out on the walkway deep into the audience he is the focal point. There was a makeshift stage up in the stands at the back of the arena. Two short songs were played there. All in attendance got a great view even if for a brief moment. The boys in Coldplay have a long career ahead of them and can go in any direction they choose. This latest album threw many for a loop and sent some questioning their direction, which is quite a silly criticism. They coulda just remade their previous records and played it safe, but where's the creativity in that? Where's the artistry? Instead, they have built on their impressive body of work with this new direction. They will make the record they want and it will be unpredictable, but it will still be Coldplay.
JHIMPIR WIND POWER: Pakistan’s first wind farm gets global recognition raWaLPiNDi: The first wind power generation project in Pakistan has recently been recognised by Project Finance Magazine. The financial magazine, in circulation for the last twenty years, is widely read by financiers, advisers, management consultants, stakeholders managing and developing projects globally and senior government officials. Turkish-based Zorlu Group showed interest to set up the first wind farm in Pakistan. To turn this into a reality, the company decided to open a subsidiary in Pakistan called Zorlu Energy. The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) played a crucial role in helping Zorlu Energy to initiate this project. The Alternative Energy Development was founded by the government in 2003. The purpose of AEDB was to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on hydro and fossil fuel based power generation by identifying alternative energy resources like wind, solar, biogas and micro based run of the river projects. The other major task of AEDB was to help foreign firms invest in this sector. AEDB had earlier identified that Pakistan has the wind power potential to generate 50,000MW from this free and clean source of energy. Unfortunately, there was no bankable wind data, the data available with the Met department was not at the required turbine hub height and the banks or the investors were not comfortable by these claims alone. AEDB came up with a novel idea of providing ‘wind risk’ data to the investors, making Pakistan the first country to provide such data. Zorlu Energy was the first company to move ahead with guarantees and assistance from AEDB in setting up the first wind turbine in Jhimpir area of Sindh. Zorlu Energy is investing $136 million in this pioneer wind farm project. The Istanbul-based company borrowed $38.1 million from the World Bank’s International Finance Corp., $36.8 million from the Asian Development Bank, $20 million from the Eco Trade & Development Bank and $16.2 million from Habib Bank Ltd. (HBL) of Pakistan for the project. Other investors like Fauji Fertilizer Company, China International Water & Electric Corporation have also keenly followed the progress of this project and have initiated projects in this lucrative new and clean energy generation sector. In recognition of its wind power project in Pakistan, Zorlu Energy Pakistan has received the “Middle East Renewable Deal of the Year” for 2011 by Project Finance Magazine. Attaining this prestigious award by Zorlu Energy demonstrates the ease and security of investing in the renewable energy sector in Pakistan. The government has been late in identifying the potential of free, clean and renewable power sources in the country. In October 2011, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority approved an Rs12.61 per KWh feedin tariff for foreign financed wind power projects. This tariff has been approved to encourage foreign financiers to invest in this lucrative energy sector in Pakistan. AEDB is expecting to achieve a target of harnessing renewable energy sources to produce 400MW by the end of this year. The target will be a record in itself as no country has been able to harness 400MW within six years of its first plant.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Minister Kenney Launches Ending the Canada-BC Consultations for a New ‘Start-Up Immigration Agreement - Why Visa’ for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Change a Winning Formula? toroNto, oNtario: Recognizing the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship as a driver of the Canadian economy, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney launched consultations today on whether to create a new and specialized program to attract immigrant entrepreneurs. The announcement is the latest in a series Minister Kenney has made about transforming Canada's immigration system into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and prosperity. "Our Government's top priority remains jobs, growth and long-termprosperity. Canada cannot afford to lose out in the competition for foreign entrepreneurs among immigrant-receiving countries," said Minister Jason Kenney. "We need to proactively target a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians." Economic Action Plan 2012 highlighted Canada's commitment to supporting entrepreneurs, innovators and world class research. It also announced the Government's intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system whose primary focus is on meeting the new and emerging needs of the Canadian economy. This will include changes to Business Immigration Programs, which will target more
active investment in Canadian growth companies and more innovative entrepreneurs. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) intends to consult with industry associations in the development of a "start-up" visa program for innovative entrepreneurs in the coming months. Linking immigrant entrepreneurs with private sector organizations that have experience and expertise working with start-ups will be important as newcomers often require outside assistance in successfully navigating the Canadian business environment. This "start-up" visa initiative is an example of the type of small-scale programs that would allow CIC to try innovative approaches to economic immigration. Under the proposed changes, the Government could create new, short-term programs under the Economic Immigration Class. These programs would be limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year and would end after five years. If a program proves successful during the five-year trial period and the Department wishes to maintain it, CIC would be required to formally introduce the new economic class in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. "Our Government is committed to strengthening the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada's economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future," said Minister Kenney.
VaNcoUVEr: BC’s immigrant service providers are dismayed about Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s surprise April 12 announcement that it is unilaterally terminating the Canada-BC Immigration Agreement, which gives BC the ability to develop and deliver immigrant settlement and integration programming based on unique provincial dynamics. CIC Minister Jason Kenney recognizes that BC has developed world-leading programs through theWelcomeBC framework to effectively support immigrant attachment to our communities and labour markets, and to build our collective capacities to be welcoming to new residents from around the globe. The CIC announcement, which took BC’s government and service providers by complete surprise, will claw back federal control of BC immigrant service. CIC states that the change is being made to ensure there are comparable services for immigrants in each province and territory. “There are no indicators that reasonably comparable immigrant services are not already being provided to newcomers across Canada”, said AMSSA Executive Director Lynn Moran. “If anything BC is slightly surpassing other provinces in the range and quality of immigrant services, so we aren’t clear what CIC wants to achieve here.” “Continued immigration to BC, and continued effectiveness in ensuring immigrants connect with our communities and labour markets, particularly through language
Govt of Canada Announces a More Efficient and Responsive Temporary Foreign Worker Program NiSKU, aLBErta: The Government of Canada is realigning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to better meet labour market demands and support the economic recovery. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, made the announcement today during a tour of Advance Engineered Products Ltd.'s manufacturing facility. "Our government's top priority is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That's why we are taking action to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program supports our economic recovery and effectively responds to local labour market demands," said Minister Finley. "Our government is looking at ways to make sure businesses recruit from the domestic workforce before hiring temporary foreign workers, while also reducing the paper burden and speeding up the processing time for employers that have short-term
skilled labour needs." Employers with a strong track record will receive an Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) within 10 business days to hire temporary foreign workers in high-skill occupations, including the skilled trades. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program will become more responsive to skills and labour shortages, employers will have less red tape and temporary foreign workers will benefit from enhanced protections. In addition, the Government of Canada will propose legislative amendments to further strengthen protections for temporary foreign workers and ensure that employers comply with program requirements. "This improvement is a direct result of consultations that were held with employers to discuss concerns with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and seek ideas on improving it. Going forward, our government will consider additional measures to
strengthen and improve the program, so employers can get skilled workers when no Canadians are available," said the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. "A fast and flexible economic immigration system combined with a strong Temporary Foreign Worker Program will sustain Canada's economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future." The Government of Canada will ensure that the employment of temporary foreign workers supports economic growth and helps create more opportunities for all Canadians. "As North America's premier manufacturer of bulk tank and vac equipment, our company's success relies on the availability of highly skilled tradespeople-particularly welders and trailer mechanics," said Ron Buchhorn, Vice-President of Human Resources at Advance Engineered Products Ltd. "We have been unable to recruit and train enough Canadians for our manufacturing and service facilities throughout western Canada because of the current highly competitive labour market. We strongly support this government initiative to expedite the hiring of skilled workers from other countries." "Today's announcement by the federal government is welcomed news. This plan addresses industry's immediate needs for skilled labour, but more importantly, by enabling projects to proceed, it fosters economic recovery and growth, while also creating permanent jobs for Canadians for decades to come," said Ron Genereux, chair of the Association for Construction Workforce Acquisition. Economic Action Plan 2012 also announced that the Government of Canada will work in partnership with the provinces and territories, and other stakeholders, to further improve foreign credential recognition, so that internationally trained workers are able to find meaningful employment and, in turn, contribute to Canada's economy and overall competitiveness.
training, are key to our economic and social future”, observed ELSA Net Executive Director Brenda Lohrenz. “BC stands to lose much in this surprising CIC-determined shift, which isn’t about costs-savings.” The CIC office which will oversee BC immigrant services will be located in Calgary, Alberta. CIC is combining BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, The Yukon and the Northwest Territories into a new ‘Western Canada’ region. BC is by far the biggest recipient of immigrants of any of the provinces and territories within this new CIC ‘super-region’, and is the third highest provincial recipient of immigrants in Canada. Ontario is the highest immigrant receiving province, and will remain a single CIC region. Quebec, the second highest receiving province, will retain full autonomy over immigrant services. BC will be the only one of the ‘Big Three’ immigrant-receivers managed externally. “This will ultimately have a negative impact on BC communities which have been working effectively within the current system to benefit from immigration,” observed Brenda Lohrenz. “BC has reached its status of immigrant service excellence through strong collaborative connections between government, communities, service providers, businesses, and other BC stakeholders”, concluded Lynn Moran. “It is hard to imagine how those connections will continue under this new CIC mega-region structure controlled from Calgary and Ottawa.”
Reform of the Interim Federal Health Program Ensures Fairness, Protects Public Health and Safety ottaWa : A federal program that provides healthcare benefits to protected persons, refugee claimants and others is being reformed to ensure fairness for Canadian taxpayers while emphasizing the need to protect public health and safety, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. "Our Government's objective is to bring about transformational changes to our immigration system so that it meets Canada's economic needs. Canadians are a very generous people and Canada has a generous immigration system," said Minister Kenney. "However, we do not want to ask Canadians to pay for benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that are more generous than what they are entitled to themselves." The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides temporary health-care coverage to eligible protected persons, refugee claimants and others who do not qualify for provincial or territorial health insurance plans. With the current benefit coverage, the cost of the IFHP grew to $84.6 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The current IFHP provides basic health-care coverage, similar to what is provided through a provincial or territorial health insurance plan, as well as coverage for supplemental health-care services, including pharmaceutical care, dentistry, vision care and mobility assistive devices. Most Canadians, however, do not have access to government-funded supplemental health care. The reformed program will end the coverage of supplemental health-care benefits. Medication and immunization may be provided in cases where there is a risk to public health or public safety. The program will provide health-care coverage for services and products of an urgent or essential nature for many IFHP beneficiaries. For more detailed information on the changes, please visit CIC's website. After the changes are implemented, cost savings are projected to be about $100 million over the next five years. "With this reform, we are also taking away an incentive from people who may be considering filing an unfounded refugee claim in Canada," the Minister added. "These reforms allow us to protect public health and safety, ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely and defend the integrity of our immigration system all at the same time." The changes will take effect on June 30, 2012, and will apply to all current beneficiaries, as well as those who apply after that date.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Wednesday May 16, 2012
After 14 years, Lollywood superstar
Shabnam returns to Pakistan KaracHi: After over a decade, famous silver screen actor Shabnam returned to Pakistan from Bangladesh on Monday night. She was warmly welcomed by hordes of excited fans and media personnel. Shabnam, accompanied by her husband, renowned music composer Robin Ghosh, expressed her joy at coming back to the country that brought her fame. The couple, originally belonging to parts in former East Pakistan, had shifted to Bangladesh at the end of the 20th century. “I’ll try to meet everyone,” the actor told the media on being asked whether she will meet her former colleagues in the country. She further expressed sorrow over the closure of Pakistani film studios. When asked if she would consider working for Pakistani films again, Shabnam didn’t sound too sure. On the insistence of some media personnel, Shabnam sang a line from one of the songs filmed on her. According to a report by Dawn, Shabnam is returning to the country to be a part of a show organised by Pakistan Television to honour the couple for their contribution to Pakistani films.
Rolling Stones studio-bound, says Ron Wood
Rock and roll veterans The Rolling Stones are heading back into the studio, according to guitarist Ronnie Wood. "We're going to get together to have a rehearsal and see what happens," Wood said at the opening of his new art show Faces, Times and Places in New York on Monday, according to Reuters. "We will be doing new material, but we haven't had a chance to chat with each other yet about what it is. Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] will get together on that." Some form of retirement for the rock legends has long been rumoured. The band's last successful concert tour ended in 2007, for the album A Bigger Bang. In 2010, the group reissued Exile on Main St. to coincide with the debut of the documentary film Stones in Exile, which explores the making of the band's classic 1972 album. So far this year, the band has since released a pair of live albums: L.A. Friday (Live 1975) and Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981). In March, the Stones announced a forthcoming documentary that will chronicle the band's colourful and lengthy history. It will be directed by Brett Morgen, but no release date was revealed. There have also been rumours of another world tour (potentially in 2013) to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary.
Kristen Stewart gets ‘swag’ in step after injury LoS aNGELES - a pesky foot injury can totally put the "swag" in your step. that is, according to Kristen Stewart. the ‘twilight’ star, who donned flats for a recent interview, joked that she lost all ability to smoothly walk on the stage after injuring her foot during ‘Breaking Dawn: Part 2’ reshoots recently. “i wasn't trying to have ultimate swag when i walked out," Stewart told Jay Leno of her stroll to her chair. "i hurt my foot. i wasn't trying to get out of wearing heels either. Puncture wound, promise.” the ‘twilight’ star was in Vancouver with the likes of on-screen and off-screen love robert Pattinson reshooting a few scenes for the highly anticipated fantasy flick earlier this week. and while Stewart didn't drop any spoilers while on the show, she did reveal the cast was there to reshoot "hunting" scenes. “it was more of the hunts in the beginning," Stewart said. "We all wanted more of it." the 22year-old actress also dished on what it was like to play a mom to newcomer McKenzie Foy, saying the 11-year-old is "the coolest actress i've ever worked with." Stewart also worked with a lot of "fake children" that looked like "chucky dolls" during the last ‘twilight’ installment, which we imagine wasn't as pleasant an experience. ‘Breaking Dawn: Part 2’ is set to hit theaters November 16th.
Friendship with Salman nothing to do with SRK: Aamir
shah rukh, Kajol to romance yet again MUMBai: Here’s some good news for all those who love to watch Shah Rukh Khan romancing Kajol on screen. According to the latest buzz, King Khan will play Kajol’s man in Karan Johar’s next. A source revealed, “Karan always works on one film at a time and he has just come back from Thailand after having wrapped up portion of his home production. Though he hasn’t announced his next film, it will most probably be with Shah Rukh. But the film won’t be announced before the end of the year and won’t begin rolling before early next year, the reason being SRK’s dates. He’s busy with his upcoming films with Yash Chopra and Farah Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’. He can only give dates in early 2013 now.” SRK and Kajol have shared a crackling chemistry ever since they were cast opposite each other in ‘Baazigar’. Since then the duo have worked together in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ and ‘My Name Is Khan’, all of which have been blockbusters. Kajol happens to be Karan’s lucky mascot, and hence she does make an appearance in most of his films.
MUMBai : Bollywood’s perfectionist Aamir Khan, whose debut TV show commenced on Sunday, is pretty excited and nervous about the same. With Aamir’s arrival into the world of small screen, speculations were rife that other Bollywood biggies were being roped in by rival channels to beat the star’s show. Reportedly, Salman was offered a mammoth fee to host a TV show that would be pitted against Aamir’s ‘Satyamev Jayate’. But the ‘Dabangg’ superstar chose friend Aamir over the tempting fee and declined the lucrative offer. Aamir too had recently expressed his equation with Salman. Aamir said, “Salman is a very dear friend, and we do catch up, but not to discuss people. Nor are we a bunch of schoolers to team up against anyone. My friendship with Salman has nothing to do with my equation with Shah Rukh or his equation with Salman. I have a lot of respect for Shah Rukh.” Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman are the three biggest names of Bollywood and it seems their success stories have always been intertwined with their professional and personal rivalries.
Wednesday May 2, 2012
rohini: My Family is the heart of my success By alexandra SKulTeTy
IKE lov i n g M o m s a c r o s s the country this week, Rohini Kapoor smiles after a quick phone call with her son about her lost Mother’s Day flowers. Family has been at the heart of her success for the past 25 years as a financial advisor,Regional Manager and now Managing Directorof Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network in Victoria and Surrey. Growing up in Kenya, she admired her father’s determination creating hisown transport business. He started with only one van, not unlike herself when she came to Victoria to start her own professional ventures. She rented office space on Broad Street and started with a single client. “I had parents who taught me hard work, discipline and honesty. My dad worked day and night; he was self made” she recalls of her earliest role model. Besides spending time with her husband Ash, two sons Shiv and Mehul, daughter-in-lawAarti, and dog Bobo, she has a long list of hobbies and community involvement initiatives from surfing and yoga, to working with the World Partne rship Walk that’s happe ning at the end of the month. From the time of her arrival in Canada in the mid 1980’s she’s been busy moving around the country living in Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria. Among raising her family and experiencing Canada’s cities, she decided to try financial advising, which a friend suggested she would be g ood at. Afte r he r first p osition at MetLife as an advisor in Burn-
aby, she clearly possessed the right stuff and never looked back. She made thejump to Vancouver as Director and Regional Manager for Freedom 55 Financial and is now the Managing Director of two branches of Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network where she not onlyruns an extensive team of sales and business managers, but loves helping young financial advisors get their start. Also added to her long list of accomplishments is Vice President of Meridian Merchant Capital Canada. She is well suited for living in Victoriaand and admits the cold was the hardest adjustment when first arriving in Canada. She remembers her shock at the harshness of 40 below temperatures in Winnipeg. Her husband’s uncle was at the airport to pick them up in March of 1985 and his car succumbed to the freezing conditions on the way home. As Rohini adjusted to the cold in Canada, her sons have embraced the warmth and beauty of Kenya. They have travelled there numerous times withthe same passion for outdoor adventure as their Mom, but will always call Canada home, “[My sons] love to go to Kenya to visit their cousins and go golfing and on safaris, but they would never move there permanently.” Both her sons have followed in her footsteps, with her youngeston his way to becoming a chartered accountant and his brother already working hard atone of his Mom’s branches. Like her own father was for her, Rohini has been a strong leader and role model, not only across the province and within the community, but for her family as well.
Wednesday May 2, 2012
Wednesday May 2, 2012
Wednesday May 2, 2012
Women in Focus.. Name: Hometown: Place of residence: award:
PoorviChitalkar New Delhi, India Ottawa, Canada IDRC Research Award (2010); Professional Development Award (2011) research Location: New Delhi, India PoorviChitalkar first became curious about the links between law and development while pursuing a bachelor of laws degree at Symbiosis Law School in Pune, India. “There is a lot of potential for law as a tool to contribute to human development,” she says. “At the same time, law is an important part of development itself. Legal systems, judicial systems, and peoples’ rights — they are not just a means to an end, but an end in themselves.” Chitalkar delved more deeply into the topic while working on a master of laws degree at the University of Toronto. She began exploring the idea of “institutional bypasses” — the alternative means used to address a community’s needs when the relevant institutions are not fulfilling their roles effectively. First, she examined the public education system in India, where private schools serve to “bypass” poorly functioning public schools. In 2011, she had the opportunity to look at the topic from a different angle when she received an IDRC Professional Development Award. This time, she explored another example of “institutional bypass” in India — public interest litigation, which was opening new
legal avenues for ordinary citizens. GrEatEr accESS to coUrtS Marginalized groups in India can gain greater access to the courts through public interest litigation than through traditional legal means. Rather than filing a formal petition, citizens seeking redress or organizations espousing a cause can send a letter or postcard to any high court or directly to the Supreme Court to request that a case be heard. The courts also assist litigants during this relatively simple and inexpensive process. “Public interest litigation has tremendous advantages,” Chitalkar says. “It allows people who are poor to take their issues to court and have them addressed. And that’s not insignificant in a country like India, where the majority of the population is still poor and extremely disadvantaged.” Public interest litigation began in India in the 1980s, and people are excited about what the courts are now doing for them, she says. But there has been little analysis of the effectiveness of the process, and she wanted to find out for herself how it was affecting people’s lives. LitEratUrE rEViEW Chitalkar began by reading about the topic from human rights, legal, and development perspectives. She reviewed numerous cases in Indian courts, and drew up a list of people to speak to in New Delhi. “It’s always so different to read something on paper than to talk to the people who are involved,”
says Chitalkar. “It’s two different worlds.” She wanted, for example, to interview a woman who used public interest litigation to pursue a sexual assault case. The woman feared that pervasive gender biases in traditional legal channels would prevent a fair hearing. After speaking with litigants, lawyers, and judges involved in a variety of cases, Chitalkar analyzed her data and reached some conclusions. Public interest litigation serves as a tool for people to fight for their rights, and can help individuals obtain justice, she says. But she also feels that more research is needed to determine how effective it is in bringing about broader social change. SHort-tErM GaiNS “Public interest litigation solves the symptom but doesn’t quite address the cause,” she says. “It creates the illusion that dysfunctional institutions don’t need to be fixed. Bypasses may lead to shortterm gains but sometimes come at the cost of longterm reform.” Chitalkar hopes that her findings will prompt more debate about public interest litigation and help scholars in other countries understand how it has worked in India so far. “For me, there would be value to my work if it could trigger a little more debate and critical thinking around these issues,” she says. Written by Ana Maria Meneses, a student of journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. This article won an IDRC-sponsored contest in international journalism.
iDrC Professional Development awards Name: Hometown: Place of residence: University: award: research Location:
Inna Platonova Kotovsk, Ukraine Ottawa, Canada University of Calgary IDRC Professional Development Award Cajamarca, Peru
“It’s interesting how NGOs are trying different ways to deal with energy poverty. Clearly there are government and market failures to provide energy to those most in need — people living in remote rural communities in developing countries.” iNNa PLatoNoVa Long before the United Nations declared 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All,” Inna Platonova had dedicated herself to that cause. “Energy is critical to sustainable development and poverty alleviation, yet 1.4 billion of the world’s people still lack access to electricity,” she says. This undermines provision of basic services, such as health and education, and limits income-generating opportunities, she explains. “People have to continue relying on sources such as kerosene for lighting, which
are inefficient, unhealthy, and also expensive. But there are solutions.” Platonova arrived in Canada from Europe in 2003 with two master’s degrees under her belt (one in political science, the other in European public affairs). An internship funded by the Canadian International Development Agency with the EnerGreen Foundation in Calgary first sparked her interest in energy as a development issue. She went on to work for more than five years with the Calgary-based NGO Light Up The World, coordinating community-based renewable energy projects in developing countries. PoWEr For tHE PEoPLE In recent years, much of her learning has been hands-on. In 2010, as part of an IDRC research internship, she studied off-grid energy solutions in developing countries and spent five weeks doing fieldwork in Costa Rica. During that time, she honed key elements of what would become the focus of her PhD in environmental design, which she hopes to complete in 2012. She is investigating renewable energy alternatives for people in developing countries not connected to the grid. She is also taking a close look at partnerships in this area between international NGOs and local communities.
In 2011, on an IDRC Professional Development Award, Platonova’s PhD research took her to the Cajamarca region of Peru. With two-thirds of its 1.4 million inhabitants living below the poverty line, it is the third-poorest region in the country. Only 40% of Cajamarca’s population has access to electricity. Peru as a whole, at 78%, has one of the lowest electrification rates in Latin America. As part of her fieldwork, Platonova conducted more than 40 interviews, many with rural residents — the Peruvians most likely to lack electricity, given the cost and challenge of extending the grid to remote areas. While they wait to be connected, many communities have turned to decentralized renewable energy sources. Many of these initiatives are driven by international NGOs, and Platonova is focusing on one of these — UK-based Practical Action — as a case study. StroNGEr toGEtHEr Since it opened a regional office in Peru in 1985, Practical Action has installed 60 micro-hydro stations and 60 wind generators in that part of Latin America. Platonova travelled to three communities in southern Cajamarca — Alto Perú, SuroAntivo, and El Regalado — where Practical Action has implemented renew-
able energy projects in the past five years. She found that these initiatives, undertaken with local community partners, improve people’s lives in many ways. Homes, schools, and health clinics have better, more reliable lighting. Students can study and teachers can prepare for classes after dark. Vaccines are kept refrigerated, radio stations start up, and isolated communities connect to the Internet. Indoor air quality improves, as traditional energy sources (such as kerosene) are highly polluting. Businesses also benefit, Platonova says. In El Regalado, for example, two carpentry workshops have been able to switch to power tools. “Before, one carpenter, using a gas motor, was spending the equivalent of CA$54 a month on energy. Now he’s paying only $9 a month for renewable energy — and he’s making double the income.” Platonova is intrigued by the dynamics of international NGO-local community partnerships. What factors can make these collaborations most effective at achieving development goals? Her research looks at the sustainability of these efforts, and what happens to a community when an international NGO leaves. It also explores the issue of scalability — to what extent a local venture can be replicated and expanded, to benefit other communities. Platonova has found that international groups like Practical Action increasingly are working with local organizations. “The focus is more on building local capacity to manage, operate and maintain the energy systems,” she says. “NGOs understand they cannot just go lighting village by village and home by home if they want to have an impact and to have the benefits of their projects last long after they leave.” Darien Yawching Rickwood is an Ottawa-based writer.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
First Cricket Tournament in Calgary ended successfully caLGary: Ace Enterainment and Media Group ltd with collobration of Sabrang Radio and iwebguy.ca hosted First Calgary Indoor Cricket Cup at the Genesis Center in Calgary NE on April 22, 2012. The tournament had 12 of Calgary’s best cricket teams and was a nail biter until the last bowl was bowled. The teams were St. John’s, United, Cavaliers, Canasia, Predators, Knight Riders, Gladiators, Hawks, Lions, Wolf Pack, Titans, and Unity Club . aiM oF tHE toUrNaMENt ● Our aim is to promote the Cricket, Cricketers at all levels among Calgary Youths. ● To encourage youth to engage in positive Healthy Lifestyles. ● Encourage and assist the development of community coalitions and programs in preventing drug abuse and bring various communities together which was evident with the above 12 team and the vast number of spectators that came to enjoy the games. After a very competitive Round Robin with these 12 teams, St. John’s, United, Caveliers and Knight Riders made it to the next knock-out round of the Tournament which included two semifinals. In the first semifinal, United and Caveliers took the field. Cavaliers won the toss and sent United to bat. United put on a mammoth total on the board of 84 runs with their captain Humza, who has also represented the country, scoring 50. Cavaliers put on a minor fight trying to chase 84 runs but were all out for 38. The second semifinal between St. John’s and Knight Riders was a tough game. St. John’s, bowling first,
started well with their Rajat taking two crucial wickets in the first over. Knight Riders were 26 for 4 after 4 overs when Tye started going after the bowling and help his team to get to 68 in 7 overs. St. John’s put on a good fight with everyone contributing in the batting line up but fell short by 10 runs at the end. The final game was between the favorites United and the underdogs Knight Riders. United
batted first and Humza again went after the bowling with some brisk runs. But losing wickets at regular intervals slowed United and at the end, they managed a fighting total of 58 runs in 7 overs. Knight Riders came to bat and being the underdogs, carefully played the first couple of overs and settled in. Knight Riders lost 2 crucial wickets soon after but Khurram stayed on fighting. At this point, Khurram decided to turn on the
heat and took the attack to United hitting some fabulous sixes. With a partnership with Nido, he brought Knight Riders close to the total. With 10 runs to get in the last over, Nido was run out hurting Knight Riders chances of winning. But Khurram was still at the crease and with 5 runs required in 2 balls, Khurram hit another glorious six to end the game. This gave Knight Riders the title of the Winners of the First Indoor Cricket Tournament. The tournament turned out as a very successful and exciting event. This was the result of the efforts by the lead organizers Rajesh Angral, Charles Dhami, Rajat Karval and Surendra Bhandari who put in countless hours in organizing the tournament. The tournament was also supported by the efforts of the volunteer that umpired, scored and performed various task all day. Dr. Anmol Kapoor from Advance Cardiology and Paban Dhaliwal from Calgary Police were the guests of honour who presented the awards to the players.. The next tournament will be soon in few months and will be a must watch event when Knight Riders come to defend their championship. ICICI BANK CANADA, ADVANCE CARDIOLOGY,ATB financial, Royal Canadian Pizza and Payless Printers were sponsors of this first CICC tournament . OMNI diversity Television recorded Final,Semi- finals and prize distribution ceremony as exclusive TV sponsor of CICC tournament. The organisers are thankful to media sponsors: Des Punjab Times, Sikh Virsa, Watnon Dur Punjabi, Pavasi Punjabi, Punjab post, Punjabi national, South Asian Times, Asian tribune for their contribution to make this event a success.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Third Letter to Uncle Sam 31 Laxmi Mansions Hall road, Lahore 15 March 1954 Dear Uncle, Greetings, I write this after a long break. The fact is that I was ill. According to our poetic tradition, the treatment for illness lies in what is called the elixir of joy served by a slender temptress straight out of the quatrains of Omar Khayyam from a long-necked crystal jug. However, I think that is all poetry. Not to speak of comely cupbearers, one can't even find an ugly servant boy with a mustache to play the cupbearer. Beauty has fled this land. While women have come out from behind the veil, one look at them and you wish they had stayed behind it. Your Max Factor has made them even uglier. You send free wheat, free literature, free arms. Why not send a couple of hundred examples of pure American womanhood here so that they could at least serve a drink as it is supposed to be served? I fell ill because of this blasted liquor--God damn it--which is poison, pure and simple. And raw. Not that I did not know, not that I did not understand, but what the poet Meer wrote applies to my condition. What a simpleton Meer is! the apothecary's boy who made him fall ill is the very one he goes to get his medicine Who knows what Meer found in that apothecary's boy from whom he sought his medicine when he knew he was ill because of him. The man from whom I buy my poison is far more ill than I am. While I have survived because I am used to a hard life, I see little hope for him. In the three months I was in a hospital's general ward, no American aid reached me. I think you knew nothing about my illness otherwise you would have surely sent me two or three packages of Terramycin and earned credit in this world and the next. Our foreign publicity leaves a great deal to be
desired and our government, in any case, has no interest in writers, poets and painters. Our late lamented government, I recall, appointed Firdausi-i-Islam Hafiz Jullandhri director of the song publicity department at a monthly salary of Rs 1,000.1 After the establishment of Pakistan, all that was allotted to him was a house and a printing press. Today you pick up the papers and what do you see? Hafiz Jullandhri bewailing his lot, having been thrown out of the committee appointed to compose a national anthem for Pakistan. He is one poet in the country who can write an anthem for this, the world's largest Islamic state, and even set it to music. He has divorced his British wife because the British are gone. He is said to be now looking for an American wife. Uncle, for God's sake help him there so that he can be saved from a sorry end. The number of your nephews runs into millions but a nephew like yours truly you will not find even if you lit an atom bomb to look for him. Do pay me some attention therefore. All I need is an announcement from you that your country (which may it please God to protect till the end of time) will only help my country (may God blight the distilleries of this land) acquire arms if SaadatHasanManto is sent over to you. Overnight, my value will go up and after this announcement, I will stop doing Shama and Director crossword puzzles.2 Important people will come to visit my home and I will ask you to airmail me a typical American grin which I will glue to my face so that I can receive them properly. Such a grin can have a thousand meanings. For instance, "You are an ass." "You are exceptionally brilliant." "I derived nothing but mental discomfort from this meeting." "You are a casual-wear shirt made in America." "You are a box of matches made in Pakistan." "You are a homemade herbal tonic." "You are Coca-Cola." etc. etc. I want to live in Pakistan because I love this bit of earth, dust from which, incidentally, has lodged itself permanently in my lungs. However, I will certainly visit your country so that I can get my health back. Barring my lungs, every other organ in my body I will hand over to your experts and ask them
to turn them American. I like the American way of life. I also like the design of your casual-wear shirt. It is both a good design and a good billboard. You can print the latest propaganda item on it every day and move from Shezan to Coffee House to Chinese Lunch Home so that everyone can read it.3 I also want a Packard so that when I go riding in it on the Mall, wearing that shirt with a pipe gifted by you resting between my teeth, all the progressive and nonprogressive writers of Lahore should come to realize that they have been wasting their time so far. But look, Uncle, you will have to buy petrol for the car, though I promise to write a story as soon as I have the Packard that I would call "Iran's Nine Maunds of Oil and Radha." Believe me, the moment the story is printed, all this trouble about Iranian oil will end and MaulanaZafar Ali Khan,4 who is still alive, will have to amend that couplet he once wrote about Lloyd George and oil. Another thing I would want from you would be a tiny, teeny weeny atom bomb because for long I have wished to perform a certain good deed. You will naturally want to know what. You have done many good deeds yourself and continue to do them. You decimated Hiroshima, you turned Nagasaki into smoke and dust and you caused several thousand children to be born in Japan. Each to his own. All I want you to do is to dispatch me some dry cleaners. It is like this. Out there, many Mullah types after urinating pick up a stone and with one hand inside their untied shalwar, use the stone to absorb the after-drops of urine as they resume their walk. This they do in full public view. All I want is that the moment such a person appears, I should be able to pull out that atom bomb you will send me and lob it at the Mullah so that he turns into smoke along with the stone he was holding. As for your military pact with us, it is remarkable and should be maintained. You should sign something similar with India. Sell all your old condemned arms to the two of us, the ones you used in the last war. This junk will thus be off your hands and your
armament factories will no longer remain idle. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is a Kashmiri, so you should send him a gun which should go off when it is placed in the sun. I am a Kashmiri too, but a Muslim which is why I have asked for a tiny atom bomb for myself. One more thing. We can't seem able to draft a constitution. Do kindly ship us some experts because while a nation can manage without a national anthem, it cannot do without a constitution, unless such is your wish. One more thing. As soon as you get this letter, send me a shipload of American matchsticks. The matchsticks manufactured here have to be lit with the help of Iranian-made matchsticks. And after you have used half the box, the rest are unusable unless you take help from matches made in Russia which behave more like firecrackers than matches. The American topcoats are also excellent and without them our Landa Bazar5 would be quite barren. But why don't you send us trousers as well? Don't you ever take off your trousers? If you do, you probably ship them to India. There has to be a strategy to it because you send us jackets but no trousers which you send to India. When there is a war, it will be your jackets and your trousers. These two will fight each other using arms supplied by you. And what is this I hear about Charlie Chaplin having given up his U.S. citizenship? What did this joker think he was doing? He surely is suffering from communism; otherwise why would a man who has lived all his life in your country, made his name there, made his money there, do what he has done? Does he not remember the time when he used to beg in the streets of London and nobody took any notice of him! Why did he not go to Russia? But then there is no shortage of jokers there. Perhaps he should go to England so that its residents learn to laugh heartily like Americans. As it is, they always look so somber and superior? It is time some of their pretense came off. I now close my letter with a freestyle kiss to HedyLamarr. Your nephew, SaadatHasanManto
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Our case against Manto Guardians of public morality and custodians of the Islamic Republic hit back at Manto on his centenary
By mohammed hanif
ONGRATULATIONS on your 100th anniversary. “What is there to celebrate,” you ask. “I am dead. And why are you, the judges of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, my eternal tormentors, celebrating my birthday?” We need to talk because you might be dead but your books are still published in many different editions, some on very fancy paper. I saw one edition with a price tag of 750 rupees. Now don’t start calculating how many pints of the good stuff you could buy with that kind of money. Not a drop, sir. Or maybe a quarter of that foul stuff that contributed to your demise. If you were writing today, and specially if you were writing in English, you could go to all the literary festivals and drink all the free booze you wanted. But they probably wouldn’t invite you because before and after drinking their booze you’d rant against the festival organisers, you’d raise questions about the sponsors’ parentage. Just like you maligned us judges. Having made your acquaintance while you were in the dock, and having familiarised ourselves with the filthy bits in your writings in the privacy of our chambers, we just wish to elaborate on the verdicts we handed down in those trials. No, this is not an apology on behalf of Islamic Republic’s judiciary, just some observations, clarifications – and we are sure you still hate it – some literary advice. Times have changed. If you were writing today we’d probably ignore your little blasphemies against good taste and national interest and would just book you for that half pint in your pocket. But since you are probably sipping some superior stuff in heaven, can we ask you what this obsession was with human anatomy and edible birds? Why write about plucked chickens? Why sir, did you like to peer at poor women’s armpits and describe them in gory detail? While describing Saughandi in your notorious short story Hatak you tell us: Her armpit looked as if a piece of plucked chicken skin had been placed there. Did it occur to you that you might be spoiling your reader’ s dinner? And although we didn’t mention it in our verdict, do you have any idea how offensive it sounds? You knew your language well so we are sure you knew that literary practitioners in Urdu language have perfected the art of describing human body parts as metaphysical entities and all you could come up with was a chicken skin? Plucked? Why couldn’t you have come up with some metaphor that might have involved pouring of some wine in the said body part and sipping it slowly as a tainted dawn hovered in the backdrop? You see a tired woman going about her day’s work. We see a woman with such an appetite that after sleeping with the local police inspector and drinking (a woman, drinking?) still wants some more. So according to your story, this Saughandi woman has had a pretty dreadful day, maybe the saddest day of her life and she still wants more. She cuddles her dog and goes to sleep with him. How were we supposed to read it, sir?
Your problem, Manto sir was that you weren’t satisfied with mentioning one haram thing per story. We do realise that in the world of short stories sometimes you have to describe bad things, things that our religion and our culture don’t approve of but couldn’t you have exercised a bit of moderation? As if having a prostitute as your main character wasn’t enough, you had to make her drink alcohol, and as if her drinking wasn’t bad enough you had to make her go to sleep with a flea-ridden dog. And I am not even mentioning the uncalled for description of her blouse where she stuffs her haram-earned money. Why did you have to do all that when you could have written about banana peels? Why writing about banana peels is vital to national interest Although people mostly remember you for your filthy stories, you wrote, with great verve, about your friends and contemporaries as well. We couldn’t have tried you for that but your friends did. How did it feel to be booed off the stage in Lahore? It wasn’t just what you wrote that offended them, it was also how you insisted on presenting it to them. Now there you are at Lahore YMCA, in a Halqa Arbab-e-Zauq meeting, you are reading a profile of Chiragh Hasan Hasrat and the subject of your essay wants you to shut up. You might have written the best piece anyone has written about their editor but Chiragh Hasan Hasrat was a Maulana, so did you really have to talk about the booze and the lies? Did you have to take us on a tour of kothas and dicey bars? Not only had you no respect for people who called themselves Maulanas, you didn’t even learn the basic fact that in Lahore you can only misbehave if you are rich or if your wife is not around. Everyone was relieved that your wife was present at the occasion and dragged you away. You were Maulana’s apprentice, didn’t you learn anything from him? Maulana wrote a piece called Kailay Ka Chhilka which students are taught in schools because as you know it’s sensible, gentle humour. You step on a banana peel, you fall, others laugh. Nobody gets hurt. So that is Maulana’s revenge on you, on us: His Kailay Ka Chhilka is part of the national curriculum. You, on the other hand, still continue to pose a clear and present danger to our collective morality. And after contemplating for half a century we have realised that it might have something to do with your insistence on calling a shalwar, a shalwar. the terror of the shalwar You seem particularly puzzled that why our honourable courts would object to your short story called Kaali Shalwar, in which a down-on-her-luck prostitute (again a prostitute, I think we need to update you on that), Sultana, wants a black shalwar to observe moharram. On a desolate morning, she sits outside her little shack, looking over the railway tracks watching railway engines bellow giant puffs of smoke that “float up like fat men”. It’s not the railway tracks or the colour black that we were objecting to. We didn’t have a problem with the fact that she wanted to observe ashura (although that would be a problem now, she might get killed before she can score that shalwar — and you thought you lived in turbulent times). It’s all about shalwar, stupid. You were born inPunjaband came back to live in Lahore. You should have had better sense. You should have just called it kali sari, or kali skirt. You might even have got away with a black gharara but when you say shalwar we immediately think of our sisters, our mothers, our wives and our neighbours’ daughters, sisters and their shal-
wars. Who wants to be thinking about their own women while reading a story about a prostitute? If you had said kali dhoti we could have lived with it. But shalwar is too close to home. And then you sound puzzled when my fellow judges decided to put you on trial for your shocker Khol Do. We were thinking what kind of impact it will have on our new nation’s moral fibre when they read Khol Do. Your rather flimsy defence obviously was that you were writing about horrors of rape or how people became insensitive to banal, everyday brutalities. That’s exactly what you wrote. You wanted to shock your reader. But all my fellow judges could see was a shalwar. And shalwars, as you know, have azaarband. My fellow judges thought if people read the word shalwar and the string that holds it up, it will drive them into bouts of reckless fornication. We foresaw hordes of impressionable teenagers reading this story and self-abusing themselves into premature blindness. You wondered how your most horrific, most graphic, foul smelling stories could turn anybody on? How could such horrors turn anybody on? Well, sir, it could give us ideas. A person no less than Justice Javed Iqbal, son of your fellow Kashmiri poet Sir Allama Mohammed Iqbal (the alleged dreamer of the dream we all live in), wrote that if people read Khol Do, they might be tempted to become rapists too. Now you get the point? You might have written a story about the trauma and tribulations of a woman. Some of us read it as a rape manual. We, sir, have become a rape-positive republic. Were you a dog lover or a dog hater? What’s with you and dogs? As mentioned earlier Saughandi goes to sleep hugging a dog. Then you take another dog to IndiaPakistan border and the soldiers from both sides shoot at him. We need clarification; the law might be the same but we tend to interpret it differently for those who love dogs and those who consider them haram and only use them as metaphors. You seemed very puzzled about what it was that we found obscene in the image of a ruined prostitute looking over the railway track and then finding comfort in the company of a flea-ridden dog? We didn’t object to the prostitute, nor to the railway tracks; our problem was with the dog, that flearidden mongrel, and the fact that she goes to sleep with that dog. That image haunts us. That dog’s fleas crawl over our skins. Are you supposed to entertain us, make us better human beings or make our skin crawl with the fleas of a haram animal sleeping with a woman who has just done many haram things? Why do you insist on calling a breast a breast? Were we not clear enough in our judgements that you kept bickering and insisting that you have the right to say the word breast? In Urdu. And your justification is what? That it’s there? Who do you think you are? Sir Edmund Hilary? This is a family magazine and despite your provocations, we’ll not allow a discussion on the subject of breasts. Can we just reiterate that it doesn’t matter whether that breast is attached to a mussalman shareef aurat, a Jewish awara aurat, a film star, a prostitute, a dead woman; we don’t care if it’s not even attached to its owner any more. It’s still a breast. Over the centuries, your favourite, and now our national, language has evolved dozens of ways of describing this bit of anatomy without actually naming it. Just look at the variety of soft fruits deployed by
your contemporaries in this context. And learn. We are the judges, you can’t judge us There were other writers who we put on trial but in the end we came around to accepting them, even celebrating them. We put Faiz Ahmed Faiz on trial but not for his poetry, for his extracurricular activities. We beat the hell out of a poet called Habib Jalib for his poetry. But now we can’t have a dinner party or political rally without shouting their verses. Even those who wear a taj and sit on a takht keep threatening: hum daikhain gai. We can live happily ever after with cuddly revolutionaries. You, on the other hand, cannot be trusted to behave in decent company even after you have been dead for more than half century. our Manto-esque world Yes, some youngsters say that when they come across a short story about body odour, violence that’s not sentimental or when they hear a story about a prostitute. Since you were so interested in them, I thought I’ll update you. Yes, we do have prostitutes in our Islamic Republic. We don’t know how many. But every night thousands are ferried across the country, mostly wearing hijabs, ordered and delivered like fast food. Why would a prostitute wear a hijab, you wonder? Simple, it makes the delivery safer and easier. Under the hijab they are properly dressed for work, some might even be wearing a thong. (No, I am not going to explain what a thong is.) What were we looking for in your house? When we ordered a raid on your house in Lakshmi Mansions Lahore, you wondered what the police were looking for. No sir, they were not looking for a wireless set or some anti-state propaganda. They were looking for that mysterious machine that constantly manufactured ‘doubt’. Because you, sir, were sowing doubts in people’s minds about their own humanity; you were holding them from the scruff of their necks and making them smell their own filth. And then you had to travel toKarachito face a trial. You didn’t have Ismat Chughtai with you then and only 10-12 bottles of beer for the 36 hour journey. And when you arrived for your hearing the judge turned out to be a fan of your work. But he sentenced you anyway. And when you wondered (that seemed to be your default mode, always wondering) if he liked your stories why was he imposing a fine. He said, he’d explain after one year. You didn’t survive that year. Consider this the explanation that our fellow judge promised. My fellow judge also asked me to ask you that… How are you getting on with your creator? Have you settled that old argument with your creator: Who is a better short-story writer? You do realise that that this kind of claim hurts people’s sentiments. Especially sentiments of people who don’t read stories, who can’t read stories or who think reading and writing stories was a perversion. I hope you understand why your family didn’t inscribe that God vs Manto argument on your tombstone as you had wished. Censorship even in my death, you protest. No Sir, just common sense. I hope that you are up there with your creator, being argumentative, still carrying on that debate about who is better at the storytelling game. (That kind of thing, by the way, is called a creative-writing workshop these days). If your old friend Ismat Chughtai drops by while you are having that debate, you and your creator should take a break from arguing and say to her: we’ll both go in the kitchen and make tea, why don’t you write us a story. How we live now There is no point telling you about what has been going on after you. You‘ll only gloat and say that Manto saw it coming, he wrote about it. Let’s just say that there is more material than you could ever handle. In your last days you said iss zillat ki zindagi ko ab khatm ho jana chahiye (this miserable life should end now). You should see us now. Your casual moan has become our national anthem. And we are not sitting there waiting for it to end; we have become very proactive. You should really see us now. Everyone walks around with a dagger stuck in their back. As a storyteller we wish you were here, as a citizen we are glad you are gone. In our desolate morning we sit and stare across the railway tracks, we watch the engines bellowing and smoke rises towards the sky “like fat men floating up.” Mohammed Hanif is a journalist and author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Our Lady of Alice Bhatti.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
He wrote what he saw – and took no sides Manto has recorded Partition violence for posterity like no other writer has done
By dr ayeSha Jalal
NY attempt to fathom the murderous hatred that erupted with such devastating effect at the time of the British retreat from the subcontinent, SaadatHasanManto remarked, had to begin with an exploration of human nature itself. For the master of the Urdu short story this was not a value judgement. It was a statement of what he had come to believe after keen observation and extended introspection. Shaken by the repercussions of the political decision to break up the unity of the subcontinent, Manto wondered if people who only recently were friends, neighbours and compatriots had lost all sense of their humanity. He too was a human being, “the same human being who raped mankind, who indulged in killing” and had “all those weaknesses and qualities that other human beings have.” Yet human depravity, however pervasive and deplorable, could not kill all sense of humanity. With faith in that kind of humanity, Manto wrote riveting short stories about the human tragedy of 1947 that are internationally acknowledged for representing the plight of displaced and terrorised humanity with exemplary impartiality and empathy. Manto’s Partition stories are a must read for anyone interested in the personal dimensions ofIndia’s division and the creation of Pakistan. Pieced together from close observations of the experiences of ordinary people at the moment of a traumatic rupture, his stories are not only unsurpassable in literary quality but records of rare historical significance. Unlike journalistic and partisan accounts of those unsettled times, Manto transcended the limitations of the communitarian narratives underpinning the nationalist self-projections of both Pakistan and India. There is more to Manto than his Partition stories to be sure, but there is no denying his remarkable feat in plumbing the psychological depths of an epic dislocation with telling insight, sensitivity and even-handedness. He did not create demons out of other communities to try and absolve himself of responsibility for the moral crisis posed by the violence of Partition. A cosmopolitan humanist, he rejected narrow-minded bigotry and refused to let distinctions of religion or culture interfere with his choice of friends. During a brief life that fell short of 43 years he lived in Amritsar, Bombay, Delhi and Lahore, forging friendships that survived the arbitrary frontiers of 1947. The constellation of friends he left behind in India included the trendsetters of progressive Urdu and Hindi literature, Rajinder Singh Bedi, KrishanChander, IsmatChughtai, and Ali SardarJafri as well as icons of theBombayfilm industry like Ashok Kumar and Shyam. Faced with a dramatic disruption in social relations along ostensibly religious lines, Manto rejected the communitarian modes of interpretation privileging religion over all other factors that have dominated explanations of Partition and its cataclysmic aftermath. “Knives, daggers, and bullets cannot destroy religion,” he had proclaimed in his semi-autobiographical story Saha’e, inspired by an exchange with Shyam after hearing the woeful tales of a Sikh refugee family that had fled the violence in Rawalpindi perpetrated by Muslims. Manto had asked Shyam whether he could kill him for being a Muslim to which Shyam replied: “Not now, but when I was hearing about the atrocities committed by Muslims … I could have killed you.” If a Hindu killed a Muslim, Manto wrote in Saha’e, he would have killed a human being, not Islam, which would not be affected in the least bit. Muslims who thought killing Hindus could eliminate Hinduism were equally mistaken. To make sense of the blood thirst that engulfed his own home province of Punjab at the dawn of a long awaited freedom, Manto looked into the inner recesses of human nature. What he saw of the violence and turmoil of 1947 and its lingering after-effects led him to conclude that it was neither religious zeal nor piety, but human greed and man’s astonishing capacity for bestiality that had brought the subcontinent to such a sorry pass. While creative writers have written more effectively on the human experience of Partition than professional historians, Manto excelled in this genre with his no-holds barred depictions of everyday life amidst chaos, simplicity of language and fast pace of story telling. He
gave as much attention to the perpetrators of violence as their victims, most controversially in ThandaGosht, the first story he wrote on Pakistani soil and for which he was charged by the newly formed Muslim nation-state under the obscenity laws of the departed colonial masters. The story centers on a homicidal Sikh, who is rendered sexually impotent after discovering that the young girl he had kidnapped with the intention of violating was dead. Manto was inspired to write the story not because of any perversity as his tormentors among the state censors suspected. He wrote passionately about the unconscionable humiliation and brutalisation of women by men of rival communities inPunjab. Which religion sanctioned such abominations? Who was responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people? These questions have tantalised historians ever since 1947. With his deft blending of reality and imagination, Manto as witness to history blurs the boundaries of fictional and historical narratives, turning his literary corpus into a treasure trove for the historian of Partition. He shares another commonality with the historian — a considered view of Partition as a process rather than an event with neither an end nor a beginning. Not an aberration to be dismissed as a fleeting collective madness, Partition for Manto was part and parcel of an unfolding drama that gave glimpses into the best and the worst in humankind. Through up-close and personalised representations modeled on real people, Manto used his admirable command of the short narrative form to lay bare the hearts and minds of his fictional characters. He is among the best practitioners of Partition storytelling not only because he questioned its wisdom – as in his acclaimed stories Toba Tek Singh, The Last Salute and the like – or wrote without malice towards any community. Manto’s stories are important sources for historians because they unsettle and disturb the dominant communitarian mode of analysing Partition violence. He knew how to sting and rankle. The success of his stories about the violence unleashed by the British decision to divide and quit can be measured in direct proportion to the discomfort felt by those used to perceiving and seeing things through the distorting prism of religious identities. In Tayaqqun, Manto derided the efforts of the two post colonial states to sew together the tattered pieces of women’s honour by rehabilitating those who were abducted during the communitarian frenzy in Punjab. The heartbreaking story revolves around a disheveled and crazed woman
who is desperately looking for her daughter. The liaison officer communicating the story tells the old woman that her daughter had been killed and she should accompany him toPakistan. She refuses to believe that her beautiful daughter could have been killed. One day she spots her daughter walking down the street with a young Sikh, who upon seeing her tells the girl, “your mother”. The young woman glances at her mother and walks away. The distraught mother calls after her daughter, only to drop dead when the liaison officer swears on God’s name that her daughter is indeed dead. Manto leaves it mystifyingly unclear whether the young woman had run away with the Sikh or, if she was kidnapped, had made her peace with him and no longer wanted to be reunited with her hapless and tragic mother. Combining facts collected from forays into refugee camps with elements of realistic fiction, Manto documented the multifaceted Partition miseries that have eluded professional historians due to the methodological limitations of their craft. Unencumbered by the statist narratives of two rival post-colonial states projecting their clashing national ideologies, he pierced the souls of the perpetrators and victims of violence without compromising his sense of humanity and reasonableness. Was Manto a better historian then, if by that term means someone with the ability to narrate the past in a manner that withstands the test of time? And did he realise that he was playing the role of both witness and maker of history? “I rebelled against the great upheaval that the Partition of the country caused,” Manto confessed, and “I still feel the same way”. But rather than wallow in despair, he came to terms with “this monstrous reality”. Falsely accused of being intemperate in his treatment of sensitive social issues, all he did was to plunge himself in the sea of blood to find “a few pearls of regret at what human beings had done to human beings … to draw the last drop of blood from their brothers’ veins.” He had “gathered the tears that some men had shed because they had been unable to kill their humanity entirely” and strung them together in a book called SiyahHaashiye (Black Margins), published in 1948, which was translated into English by Khalid Hasan and has a wide transnational readership, scholarly and general. Would Manto be the rage in the Western academy today without his Partition stories? The answer depends on how quickly his broader literary corpus is translated and disseminated internationally. Manto would still be Manto in the subcontinent if he had not written classics like
Toba Tek Singh and KholDo, such is the weight of his literary output. But it is an open question whether undergraduates in American and European universities would have known his name if not for these stories. While the non-Urdu speaking world has much to learn about Manto’s life and work, he remains untaught, misunderstood and maligned in his adopted homeland,Pakistan. Despite the lack of state sponsorship, the maverick whose name has been immortalised by his stories about murderers, criminals, prostitutes and pimps, as well as fraudulent men of religion, enjoys a large and dedicated readership in Pakistan. In India where his works are available in English but remain to be translated into regional languages other than Hindi and Bengali, Manto is well known in literary, intellectual and artistic circles. On his 100th birthday, Manto stands taller on the literary horizon than others who wrote about the mass migrations of 1947. Where he needs greater appreciation is in the role he played as a witness to history through his chilling narratives of Partition. In a country where history as a discipline has suffered from calculated neglect in the interests of projecting statist ideology, Manto’s Partition stories are an excellent entry point for enquiring minds eager to understand the past that has made their present fraught with such uncertainty and danger. The ever-percipient Manto had anticipated the problems of treating religion as a weapon rather than a matter of personal faith and ethics, which have over the past three decades surfaced with a vengeance in Muslim Pakistan. His words of warning have a resonance that is louder than when he said: “Our split culture and divided civilization, what has survived of our arts; all that we received from the cut up parts of our own body, and which is buried in the ashes of Western politics, we need to retrieve, dust, clean and restore to freshness in order to recover all that we have lost in the storm.” 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. It may then become possible for them to take the requisite steps towards recovering what has been lost by the myopic refusal of their respective nationstates to understand each other’s position, rectify past errors, and strike a mutually beneficial and sustainable historical compromise. Dr Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University and author of The Pity of Partition: Manto as Witness to History (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Who’s afraid of Saadat Hasan Manto? The Union of India is eager to embrace the great writer, whose 100th birthday falls on this week, as one of its own. But how would Manto have looked at India had he stayed on?
By garga ChaTTerJee
HE left-wing student organization I belonged to in my college days in Kolkata used to have a poster exhibition every year. This exhibition has begun to take place every year after the 1992 demolition of the Babri structure. One of them had those memorable words calligraphied red-black in a typical Bengali left-wing style - "The child noticed the coagulated blood on the road, pulled at his mother's sleeve and said, 'Look, ma, jelly'." That, I discovered, was a fragment of a very short 'story'; and to read the rest, I had to go to Manto. Why did he leave Bombay? india would have been so much of a 'natural' home for him, they say There is a lot of hushed and not-so-hushed lamentation in this year of SaadatHasanManto's birth centenary. Why did he leave Bombay? India would have been so much of a 'natural' home for him, they say. Somewhere between pronunciations such as these, so characteristic of the self-congratulatory strain of elite public-secularism and a second-hand appreciation of Manto's raw exposition of the chasm between our private and public lives, somewhere between those things lies the attitude with which we in India look at Manto. The Anglicized literati and their patron, the Indian Union, wants to own SaadatHasanManto. They are masters at making cages for living writers - some gilded, others iron-made. Some cages become sarkari mausoleums after the writer's death. Zoo tigers do not bite, generally. Clearly, the enthusiasm of some folks on this side of owning Manto comes from a hope that sooner or later, a suitably golden cage could be made for him in
100th birth anniversary of Manto celebrated ISLAMABAD: The 100th birth anniversary of prominent shortstory writer Saadat Hassan Manto was celebrated on Friday to pay tribute to his services in the field of literature. A number of literary activities were arranged to mark the day. Besides writing novels and short stories Manto also wrote script for radio and film. www.diversityreporter.com
the Union of India, for us to cheer and clap at. But I am not so sure. the anglicized literati of india want to own SaadatHasanManto. they are masters at making cages for living writers Today, in Delhi and other places, Manto is dramatized, commemorated, written and read, largely in English. Urdu's currency as one of the pervasive languages of the common public sphere (and not 'qaumi' affairs) of the Upper Gangetic plain has seen progressive ruin. Read primarily in English, would Manto resign himself to having a smaller following than, say, ChetanBhagat? Would Manto have loved this loss of readership, would he have wanted to be primarily remembered for getting a Filmfare award for "lifetime achievement" in writing stories for Hindi movies? I am not so sure. He might have written about the gosht the Union would serve up, not only mazhabigosht, but gosht from a thousand faultlines. He might have written about the garamgosht cooked up in Delhi in 1984, when Sikhs were massacred on that city's streets, or about the gosht of Muslims burned and killed in Ahmedabad in 2002, if he lived to be 90 years old. Would he, a "Muslim" writer in our times, not be accused of writing only against "Hindu" violence? I am not so sure. He certainly would have written about a lot of gosht served up in East Pakistan in 1971. He certainly wouldn't have had a postage stamp of the kind issued in 2005 with his image on it. Dying young has its benefits. read primarily in English, would Manto resign himself to having a smaller following than, say, chetanBhagat? He might have looked at the Saltoro range and the slow-killing heights of Siachen. He might have peered into that deathly whiteness, peered deep into
it and among the frostbitten parts of the limbs would have located the new coordinates of Toba Tek Singh. Not content with "obscenity", there might have been calls for him to be charged with sedition. That would have been true, irrespective of his leaving Bombay or not. He would have continued to write about the sensuality that permeates life in the Indian Subcontinent. Invariably, they would have intersected with more than one faith, belief and god(s), for they too pervade public life in the Union of India. Like MaqbulFidaHussain, that sterling admirer of the goddess Durga who liberated her from the patently mid-19th century blouse-clad look, re-imagining the holy mother in her naked matriarchal glory, Manto's runins with "public sensibilities" might just have been enough to eject him from Bombay. Almost surely, as it happened with MF Hussain, a robust on-theground counter to hate-mongerers would have been found wanting. Hardly being 'Pak', in the long run, perhaps he would have been easily pushed out of Pakistan also, where he "had only seen five or six times before as a British subject". He might have written about the garamgosht cooked up in Delhi in 1984, when Sikhs were massacred on that city's streets, or about the gosht of Muslims burned and killed in ahmedabad in 2002 The inner crevices of the human psyche, where the shadow cast by public stances, acculturated beliefs, socially learnt prejudices, as well as greed, eros and love, all come together; into that twilight zone, SaadatHasanManto looked critically, honestly, and compassionately. It is this vantage that makes him an equal-opportunity lover and an equal-opportunity destroyer. He writes in his 'Letters to Uncle Sam': "Out here, many Mullah types after urinating pick up
a stone and with one hand inside their untied shalwar, use the stone to absorb the after-drops of urine as they resume their walk. This they do in full public view. All I want is that the moment such a person appears, I should be able to pull out that atom bomb you will send me and lob it at the Mullah so that he turns into smoke along with the stone he was holding." Hindu fanatics are not amused by this, for they know, barring the specifics, that Manto would have been equally acerbic towards them. Manto stands tall, rooted in social realities, beyond the posturing selfflagellation of "progressive writers". Elite India's sordid attempt at appropriating Manto'ssanjhivirasat, with careless drops of French wine falling on ornate carpets in restricted entry programmes where Manto is performed and fashionably consumed as a marker of 'liberalism' and 'refinement', might also attract the lobbing of a thing or two. Descended from the Kashmiri brahmin caste of Mantoo, the despair of SaadatHasan the Bombayite after 1947 parallels in many ways the state of the greater community of the pandits, where circumstances slowly made them aliens in their natural home. This decentering by forces beyond their control is the story of Manto, and also the story of many in today's subcontinent. Cynicism and prejudice make better bedfellows than many would like to admit. Manto stares with irreverence at the examples of our reverence, at our Gujarats and RinkleKumaris, our Asia Bibis and IshratJahans. As we grow taller in our own eyes by fashionably 'appreciating' Manto, curled up in our beds, curtains closed, windows closed, our sad pretensions only become clearer. But there is no Saadat Hasan to chronicle our shamelessness.
A moment for Manto rafia ZaKaria His rebellion was directed at the demarcations that remain the curse of India-Pakistan relations even to this day Bishen Singh, the protagonist of Saadat Hassan Manto's most famous story “Toba Tek Singh” insisted that he wanted to be neither in Pakistan, nor in India, but in Toba Tek Singh. The story was a satire on the absurdities imposed by Partition, captured in the hapless confusion of a group of lunatics from Lahore who had to choose whether or not they wanted to go to India. May 11, 2012 marks one hundred years since the day the world welcomed Saadat Hassan Manto, the man who paused long enough in the fervid, heady intoxicating moment of the birth of two countries, to question the sense of their severing, the limiting of loyalty to location and geography to belonging. Manto wrote the short story “Toba Tek Singh,” two or three years after Partition rendered him eternally homeless, yearning for Bombay in Lahore and Lahore in Bombay in the pining way of all migrants assaulted by such choices. In both Pakistan and India, this past week leading up to Manto's centenary has been devoted to paeans to the deceased author; the versatility and foresight of his work; the timelessness of his pithy observations. But even as these words of praise for Manto inhabit slim side columns of newspapers in the two countries who are claimants to his legacy; massive unembarrassed others twice their size and length are devoted to fomenting hatreds that every word Manto wrote deigned to expose. Sir creek issue Six days ago, the governments of Pakistan and India announced that talks to tackle outstanding issues between the two countries would be held between May 14-16, 2012. One of the thorny issues they had planned to discuss was that of Sir Creek; an errant rivulet that has over the years of its parched existence in the Rann of Kutch, got the guts to move 1-1.5 kilometres from its original location dislocating thus the position of the border that lies somewhere inside the creek bed. Just when India and Pakistan seemed geared up to discuss the issue of the naughty troublesome Sir Creek whose course has been disrespectful of national boundaries, the plan fell apart. Citing “unforeseen circumstances” the talks were called off, some said it was because the more pressing issue of establishing a line of control on a melting glacier was deemed more important; requiring priority over the matter of the
wayward creek. Like many gripes between India and Pakistan; the issue of Sir Creek, has a history and a present. The history, a predictable story of contested claims and arbitral awards (one from 1968 numbering a weighty 579 pages) can be summed up in five words Manto ever the frugal wordsmith, would have appreciated: “it's ours…no its ours.” Caught in the midst of the Sir Creek squabble, impoverished fishermen from either side, the unlucky poor of Pakistani Sindh or the hardscrabble mariners of Indian Gujarat routinely wander into the wrong side of the border somewhere deep inside the creek; and end up in Indian or Pakistani prisons. So captured, they become like the confused lunatics asking for Toba Tek Singh in Manto's story, the human fodder for continuing experiments in nation building. Life imitating art, a resurrected Manto might say or absurdity transformed by time and clever rhetoric into history. In one event held to commemorate the Manto centenary in Pakistan, a group of writers were asked
why Manto, if he was doing well in India, moved to Pakistan. Their conclusion does not matter; but the question and its insistent insertion of Manto into the project of dividing up creeks and glaciers and fictional lunatics and dead writers is perhaps the saddest truth of the world Manto lamented then and we accept now. Saadat Hassan Manto's rebellion was against this very demarcation; his words a revelation of the futility of having to choose India or Pakistan as better or worse, right or wrong; a task now sold as the central tenet of patriotism to millions on either side. Taking a moment to remember Manto on his hundredth birthday means considering, even if only for a scant, fleeting instant in our carved up, suspicious present, that there was once a united past where a writer loving both and all did not believe that one had to choose. (RafiaZakaria is a PhD candidate in Political Theory/Comparative Politics at Indiana University, Bloomington. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wednesday May 16, 2012
TOBA TEK SINGH
By SadaT haSan manTo
WO or three years after the 1947 Partition, it occurred to the governments of India and Pakistan to exchange their lunatics in the same manner as they had exchanged their criminals. The Muslim lunatics in India were to be sent over to Pakistan and the Hindu and Sikh lunatics in Pakistani asylums were to be handed over to India. It was difficult to say whether the proposal made any sense or not. However, the decision had been taken at the topmost level on both sides. After high-level conferences were held a day was fixed for exchange of the lunatics. It was agreed that those Muslims who had families in India would be permitted to stay back while the rest would be escorted to the border. Since almost all the Hindus and Sikhs had migrated from Pakistan, the question of retaining non-Muslim lunatics in Pakistan did not arise. All of them were to be taken to India. Nobody knew what transpired in India, but so far as Pakistan was concerned this news created quite a stir in the lunatic asylum at Lahore, leading to all sorts of funny developments. A Muslim lunatic, a regular reader of the fiery Urdu daily Zamindar, when asked what Pakistan was, reflected for a while and then replied, "Don't you know? A place in India known for manufacturing cutthroat razors." Apparently satisfied, the friend asked no more questions. Likewise, a Sikh lunatic asked another Sikh, "Sardarji, why are we being deported to India? We don't even know their language." The Sikh gave a knowing smile. "But I know the language of Hindostoras" he replied. "These bloody Indians, the way they strut about!" One day while taking his bath, a Muslim lunatic yelled, "Pakistan Zindabad!" with such force that he slipped, fell down on the floor and was knocked unconscious. Not all the inmates were insane. Quite a few were murderers. To escape the gallows, their relatives had gotten them in by bribing the officials. They had only a vague idea about the division of India or what Pakistan was. They were utterly ignorant of the present situation. Newspapers hardly ever gave the true picture and the asylum warders were illiterates from whose conversation they could not glean anything. All that these inmates knew was that there was a man by the name of Quaid-eAzam who had set up a separate state for Muslims, called Pakistan. But they had no idea where Pakistan was. That was why they were all at a loss whether they were now in India or in Pakistan. If they were in India, then where was Pakistan? If they were in Pakistan, how come that only a short while ago they were in India? How could they be in India a short while ago and now suddenly in Pakistan? One of the lunatics got so bewildered with this India-Pakistan-Pakistan-India rigmarole that one day while sweeping the floor he climbed up a tree, and sitting on a branch, harangued the people below for two hours on end about the delicate problems of India and Pakistan. When the guards asked him to come down he climbed up still higher and said, "I don't want to live in India and Pakistan. I'm going to make my home right here on this tree." All this hubbub affected a radio engineer with an MSc degree, a Muslim, a quiet man who took long walks by himself. One day he stripped off all his clothes, gave them to a guard and ran in the garden stark naked. Another Muslim inmate from Chiniot, an erstwhile adherent of the Muslim League who bathed fifteen or sixteen times a day, suddenly gave up bathing. As his name was Mohammed Ali, he one day proclaimed that he was none other than Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Taking a cue from him a Sikh announced that he was Master Tara Singh, the leader of the Sikhs. This could have led to open violence. But before any harm could be done the two lunatics were declared dangerous and locked up in separate cells. Among the inmates of the asylum was a Hindu lawyer from Lahore who had gone mad because of unrequited love. He was deeply pained when he learnt that Amritsar, where the girl lived, would form part of India. He roundly abused all the
well. Soon you'll be moving to India. Please give my salaam to bhai Balbir Singh and bhai Raghbir Singh and bahain Amrit Kaur. Tell Balbir that Fazal Din is well. The two brown buffaloes he left behind are well too. Both of them gave birth to calves, but, unfortunately, one of them died. Say I think of them often and to write to me if there is anything I can do." Then he added "Here, I've brought some plums for you." Bishan Singh took the gift from Fazal Din and handed it to the guard. "Where is Toba Tek Singh?" he asked. "Where? Why, it is where it has always been." "In India or Pakistan?î "In IndiaÖno, in Pakistan."
Hindu and Muslim leaders who had conspired to divide India into two, thus making his beloved an Indian and him a Pakistani. When the talks on the exchange were finalized his mad friends asked him to take heart since now he could go to India. But the young lawyer did not want to leave Lahore, for he feared for his legal practice in Amritsar. There were two Anglo-Indians in the European ward. When informed the British were leaving, they spent hours together discussing the problems they would be faced with: Would the European ward be abolished? Would they get breakfast? Instead of bread, would they have to make do with measly Indian chapattis? There was a Sikh who had been admitted into the asylum fifteen years ago. Whenever he spoke it was the same mysterious gibberish: "Uper the gur gur the annexe the bay dhayana the mung the dal of the laltain." The guards said that he had not slept a wink in all this time. He would not even lie down to rest. His feet were swollen with constant standing and his calves had puffed out in the middle, but in spite of this agony he never cared to lie down. He listened with rapt attention to all discussions about the exchange of lunatics between India and Pakistan. If someone asked his views on the subject he would reply in a grave tone: "Uper the gur gur the annexe the bay dhayana the mung the dal of the Government of Pakistan." But later on he started substituting "the Government of Pakistan" with "Tobak Tek Singh," which was his home town. Now he begun asking where Toba Tek Singh was to go. But nobody seemed to know where it was. Those who tried to explain themselves got bogged down in another enigma: Sialkot, which used to be in India, now was in Pakistan. At this rate, it seemed as if Lahore, which was now in Pakistan, would slide over to India. Perhaps the whole of India might become Pakistan. It was all so confusing! And who could say if both India and Pakistan might not entirely disappear from the face of the earth one day? The hair on the Sikh lunatic's head had thinned and his beard had matted, making him look wild and ferocious. But he was a harmless creature. In fifteen years he had not even once had a row with anyone. The older employees of the asylum knew that he had been a well-to-do fellow who had owned considerable land in Toba Tek Singh. Then he had suddenly gone mad. His family had brought him to the asylum in chains and left him there. They came to meet him once a month but ever since the communal riots had begun, his relatives had stopped visiting him. His name was Bishan Singh but everybody called him Toba Tek Singh. He did not know what day it was, what month it was and how many years he had spent in the asylum. Yet as if by instinct he knew when his relatives were going to visit, and on that day he would take a long bath, scrub his body with soap, put oil in his hair, comb it and put on clean clothes. If his relatives asked him anything he would keep silent or burst out with ìUper the gur gur the annexe the bay dhayana the mung the dal of the laltain."
When he had been brought to the asylum, he had left behind an infant daughter. She was now a comely and striking young girl of fifteen, who Bishan Singh failed to recognize. She would come to visit him, and not be able to hold back her tears. When the India-Pakistan caboodle started Bishan Singh often asked the other inmates where Toba Tek Singh was. Nobody could tell him. Now even the visitors had stopped coming. Previously his sixth sense would tell him when the visitors were due to come. But not anymore. His inner voice seemed to have stilled. He missed his family, the gifts they used to bring and the concern with which they used to speak to him. He was sure they would have told him whether Toba Tek Singh was in India or Pakistan. He also had the feeling that they came from Toba Tek Singh, his old home. One of the lunatics had declared himself God. One day Bishan Singh asked him where Toba Tek Singh was. As was his habit the man greeted Bishan Singh's question with a loud laugh and then said, "It's neither in India nor in Pakistan. In fact, it is nowhere because till now I have not taken any decision about its location." Bishan begged the man who called himself God to pass the necessary orders and solve the problem. But 'God' seemed to be very busy other matters. At last Bishan Singh's patience ran out and he cried out: "Uper the gur gur the annexe the mung the dal of Guruji da Khalsa and Guruji ki fatehÖjo boley so nihal sat sri akal." What he wanted to say was: "You don't answer my prayers because you a Muslim God. Had you been a Sikh God, you would have surely helped me out." A few days before the exchange was due to take place, a Muslim from Toba Tek Singh who happened to be a friend of Bishan Singh came to meet him. He had never visited him before. On seeing him, Bishan Singh tried to slink away, but the warder barred his way. "Don't you recognize your friend Fazal Din?" he said. "He has come to meet you." Bishan Singh looked furtively at Fazal Din, then started to mumble something. Fazal Din placed his hand on Bishan Singh's shoulder. "I have been thinking of visiting you for a long time," he said. "But I couldn't get the time. Your family is well and has gone to India safely. I did what I could to help. As for your daughter, Roop KaurÖ" --he hesitated--'She is safe tooÖin India." Bishan Singh kept quiet. Fazal Din continued: "Your family wanted me to make sure you were
Without saying another word, Bishan Singh walked away, muttering "Uper the gur gur the annexe the bay dhyana the mung the dal of the Pakistan and India dur fittey moun." At long last the arrangements for the exchange were complete. The lists of lunatics who were to be sent over from either side were exchanged and the date fixed. On a cold winter evening truckloads of Hindu and Sikh lunatics from the Lahore asylum were moved out to the Indian border under police escort. Senior officials went with them to ensure a smooth exchange. The two sides met at the Wagah border check-post, signed documents and the transfer got underway. Getting the lunatics out of the trucks and handing them over to the opposite side proved to be a tough job. Some refused to get down from the trucks. Those who could be persuaded to do so began to run in all directions. Some were stark naked. As soon as they were dressed they tore off their clothes again. They swore, they sang, they fought with each other. Others wept. Female lunatics, who were also being exchanged, were even noisier. It was pure bedlam. Their teeth chattered in the bitter cold. Most of the inmates appeared to be dead set against the entire operation. They simply could not understand why they were being forcibly removed to a strange place. Slogans of 'Pakistan Zindabad' and 'Pakistan Murdabad' were raised, and only timely intervention prevented serious clashes. When Bishan Singh's turn came to give his personal details to be recorded in the register, he asked the official "Where's Toba Tek Singh? In India or Pakistan?" The officer laughed loudly, "In Pakistan, of course." Hearing that Bishan Singh turned and ran back to join his companions. The Pakistani guards caught hold of him and tried to push him across the line to India. Bishan Singh wouldn't move. "This is Toba Tek Singh," he announced. "Uper the gur gur the annexe the be dyhana mung the dal of Toba Tek Singh and Pakistan." It was explained to him over and over again that Toba Tek Singh was in India, or very soon would be, but all this persuasion had no effect. They even tried to drag him to the other side, but it was no use. There he stood on his swollen legs as if no power on earth could dislodge him. Soon, since he was a harmless old man, the officials left him alone for the time being and proceeded with the rest of the exchange. Just before sunrise, Bishan Singh let out a horrible scream. As everybody rushed towards him, the man who had stood erect on his legs for fifteen years, now pitched face-forward on to the ground. On one side, behind barbed wire, stood together the lunatics of India and on the other side, behind more barbed wire, stood the lunatics of Pakistan. In between, on a bit of earth which had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh.
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Wednesday May 16, 2012
Special Thanks to BBC Urdu Service, The Hindu, Dawn.com www.diversityreporter.com
Wednesday May 16, 2012