Sunday, 03 April, 2011
Holding thy neighbour’s hand The magic of the meeting between us two neighbours, Pakistan and India, had us thrilled. Now let us re-examine our relationship By Hashim bin Rashid
There is no alternative to peace:
“You see, there is no alternative to peace. You must eventually sit across the table and discuss things,” Kuldip Nayar said in an interview to Pakistan Today during his recent trip across the Zero Line. There is a reason to bring this quote in before we dwell into matters on the field of the match. What reason, you would ask. I would answer, because in the larger context the result of the match was marginal, so to say. Of course, it would have been brilliant to win. The crisis of nationalism being suffered by Pakistan needs a boost. But perhaps for the better, we lost. A loss allows a collectivity to put some perspective into itself. A sense of perspective that ‘Shining India’ has been struggling to get to terms with. An urbanising India has been the foundation for rather sombre rural poverty, a form of rural poverty that has not crept into Pakistan’s mainstream (Sindh’s haris being an exception) yet.
In fact, the loss of perspective has been severe enough for the party that proclaimed ‘Shining India’ (the BJP) in its last election campaign, got booted out by the electorate. But then the electoral circle in India is powerful because the voter is powerful and lies get exposed. Our (Pakistan’s) irony, however, has always been that the electorate has never had a say. A mature electorate (not that India, or, the world’s most developed democracy has achieved it), but the electoral system in Pakistan has not had stable time enough to develop a mature electorate. There are three things to learn from the Indian post-colonial experience: a national electorate can be trusted (Indian democracy), local identities must be respected (the concept of linguistic states) – and, counterintuitively, communities disrespected will resist (the Naxalites and Kashmiris). The State structure both began with
Why, when and how the match was lost? Here is a ‘stream of consciousness’ list of reasons behind the most recent defeat; the refrain ‘we lost because’ may be excused for its emphasis By Khawaja Manzar Amin
od, how it hurts, the semi-final defeat to the Indians. The world seems strange and different the morning, or mourning, after. A wild disorientation, a dull numbness in the brain, as also a physical pain as if one had been hit by a hammer blow, or drunk mao-tai, which comes to the same thing, one hears. The thin veneer of civilised platitudes, of the gentlemen’s game, of sporting spirit, of winning and losing taking second place to a thrilling contest quickly vanish and the snout of the beast reappears. All that remains is the loss, the dashed hopes of glory, the pain and the terrible feeling of
inevitability, of yet another setback in a people who have become synonymous with this unenviable condition. One would think that the players are only the sum total of what they do on the cricket field on any particular day. That is an erroneous assumption not based on the facts. They are also citizens and part of a society whose circumstances and events impact them as much, if not more, than other members of that society. After all, they are the ones in action, while the rest are mere spectators, critical ones too, whose gaze all too often turns into a glare. Success in such high- pressure events demand, apart from skill, a high degree of mental strength and self-belief, a lack of inner contradictions and the muchclichéd but real ‘feel good’ factor. So, here is a ‘stream of consciousness’ list of reasons
Combined with the absence of any hope for the future under the prevailing circumstances we have become increasingly defensive and vulnerable to pressure behind the most recent defeat. The refrain ‘we lost because’ may be excused for its emphasis. We lost because we are ourselves lost people, sad and whining people, instead of counting our blessings. We lost because the Interior minister opened his big mouth at an inopportune moment. We lost because we have an unstable, controversial president who is always chasing his demons, real and imagined. We lost because the aforementioned
appointed a crony as the chairman of the cricket board. We lost because of Raymond Davis, his shocking capers and quick getaway. We lost because of the cold-blooded murders of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti. We lost because of the preferential and partial treatment of their killer. We lost because of the killing of Akbar Bugti.
2 Tale of Lahore’s transformation into a modern metropolis 4 The past is another country
akistan and India met 154 miles from the Lahore border at Mohali. The meeting brought us all together. The meeting ended. Some said, we lost in cricket. And we felt like the world had end. But others said, we had won in politics. It was as if the world had just begun. The world of opportunities between us conflicting neighbours had just opened up. And while we celebrated the encounter between India and Pakistan on the Mohali field the entire day until the final moments, we forgot to celebrate the encounter in the stands between the elected leaders of the two countries. Some said they even got to hold hands. In fact there were pictures to prove that they had done so. The captain of our cricket team wished them a victory in the final. The magic of the meeting was such that we came together in droves to watch it. There is a strange way in which sports can bring together conflicted
nations. There is a strange way in which sports can resolve conflicts between nations. These are the two potentials this game that brought.
Tale of Lahore’s transformation into
a modern metropolis
Glover has dealt with the subject with sensitivity and empathy. It is a rigorous intellectual exercise, yet it does not lose sight of the human dimension By Javed Asghar
hen the British annexed The Punjab in 1849, Lahore consisted of the walled city, with scattered settlements and abandoned monuments outside. From here, William J. Glover takes us on a journey through time spanning over half a century, and we see Lahore transforming into a modern metropolis. A brief account of the trip is given below. The British wanted a contented citizenry so that they could rule with a minimum of arm-twisting. This required improving the living conditions of the “natives”, giving them opportunities to lead useful lives, and raising a well-educated middle class who will cooperate with the British to make Lahore modern. For this purpose construction was started in the suburban area of a few square miles outside the old quarter. Emphasis
was first placed on providing facilities like education, health, a recreational park, and railway service. Punjab University and Government College began teaching in 1863 and 1864, respectively. The colonial rulers were impressed by the Mughal monuments, and desired to also create a similar long-lasting impression on the people. They utilized the genius of the populace, and the finances of the provincial aristocracy, to construct grand buildings like Lawrence and Montgomery Halls, Punjab Chief Court, Chief ’s College etc., whose architecture was a synthesis of Indian, Islamic and European traditions. A mini revolution was brought about by the locals themselves in the alterations and constructions of houses, in response to new technologies, new attitudes towards public health, enforcement of rules conducive to hygienic living by Lahore Municipal Corporation, and new assumptions about the house and the status of its residents. New localities were developed by the people with broad streets lined with multistory row houses (with shops on the
ground floor on the major arteries. The localities also provided for schools, places of worship, and other amenities. Krishan Nagar, Gowalmandi and Farooq Ganj are examples of such zones. However, for most people, living conditions did not improve much. The author quotes Lala Kashi Ram, a resident of Lahore who wrote a sanitary primer for Indians in 1884, as follows: “They (the people) in four out of five cases, live in separate huts, but owing to the dearness of the ground the huts consist merely of one small room with courtyard about 10 feet square, often the floor of the dwelling is below the level of the street. In this room and courtyard, a family consisting of from three to five persons, sleep, eat, cook, work, and perform the offices of nature.” The heart of the newly-constructed part of Lahore was coextensive with the “bungalow area”. The bungalow was a new concept in housing developed especially for the Europeans, with sprawling lawns, verandahs, and large rooms with high ceilings. However, a retinue of servants was needed to run these estates. The
Steeped in Sufi tradition
Light and the Moth
The paintings of Rahat show a revolving journey from figures to portraits, from portraits to objects, from objects to metaphor, and from metaphor to forceful strokes of abstract renderings By Nadeem Alam
Illustrated & Designed by Babur Saghir
Sunday, 03 April, 2011
02 - 03
foreigners’ cherished privacy, thus such an arrangement was a source of anxiety for them. This anxiety is shown by Kipling in his short story “The House of Shadows” (1887). An extract from it as quoted by Glover is partly recorded below: “At breakfast, in the full fresh daylight, I am conscious that someone who is not the ‘khitmutgar’ (butler) is watching the back of my head from the door that leads into my bedroom; when I turn sharply, the ‘purdah’ (curtain) is dropped and only I see it waving gently as though shaken by the wind…” Glover explains the designing and construction of public and private structures in great detail. He further explains how this architecture was generated by the joint “imagination” of the ruler and the ruled: that is by jointly viewing the city as it ought to be. Cityscape and cultural dynamism become a dynamo propelling the city towards modernity. Glover has dealt with the subject with sensitivity and empathy. It is a rigorous intellectual exercise, yet it does not lose sight of the human dimension. Hard facts
ahat Naveed Masud is the daughter of this soil that has absorbed the nectar of Sufism and Bhakti (the Hindu path of achieving salvation) since ages. She is inspired by the Persian Muslim tradition of expression through illuminated manuscripts personifying subtle sentiments with innocent symbols and blameless detail. She might have run her fingers along the free flowing lines of the miniatures of Shahnama, Hamzanama, Kalila-o Dimna or Sherin Farhad to immerse her paintings in the same rhythm and surge in form. While the themes of Rahat’s painting suggest that she may well have listened to the anecdotal aspect of these mentioned manuscripts as well, however, she has her own voice and own lines. Rahat is not a miniature painter as far as her technique goes, but thematically, she can be found as mystic, as paradoxical
and as intoxicated as the Persian or Mughal miniature painters were in their own times. She is an artist of contemporary epoch, an artist with unique and précised approach towards life. She has got a peculiar doctrine to focus on life to extract passionate truth and rational spirituality out of it, and then converting it into a visual experience through her art that can touch viewers’ wisdom and emotions at the same time. Keeping in view Rahat’s earlier work of art, one can find the murmurs and peeps of fragility, often associated with women of this part of the world. She has always looked upon a woman’s physical and emotional world with an eye of a woman, which a man could be deprived of because of gender sensitization or gender itself. In the recent show however, under the title of ‘Ishq Series’ the painter has groped the physical and metaphysical world with an inner eye mostly associated with mystic school of thought and spirituality. Aside from the figurative work, Rahat
also put on display, few frames of abstract or conceptual nature. A large painting with blue paint applied vigorously in a circular movement around a very delicately rendered golden square, could lead a viewer to the quadrangle balance that the Muslim ideology expresses in the concept of Jannah (the paradise) or in the concrete appearance of the Ka’aba. The gyrating brushstrokes, in blue, may also be linked to the circular movement of Tawaf (an essential part of Hajj) in relation with the black cube; Ka’aba. Along with the abstract frames, the figurative canvases were in company of the symbols and objects, you may find traditionally in the Persian literature and art. A painting titled as ‘The Burning Moth’ seems as a true expression of the centuries old concept of the love of a moth for the burning candle, which is actually a symbolic reference of a human as a moth for the ultimate love of his Lord (Allah), for Whom the adjective of light or Noor is vastly used. Another painting of this show, named as ‘the Light and the Moth-2’, is found
The Burning Moth
bridging the worldly and mortal life of human beings with the eternity and holiness that have always been longed for by the mortal man. The beauty of this painting is the style and interpretation of many unspoken feelings normally associated with the woman of the East. Here in this frame, the combination of a young and emotionally vulnerable woman and a fragile moth is quite remarkable. The reclining posture of the young lady is not familiar with the western portraitures of the reclining woman; this painting clearly shows the true attitude and position of the woman of South Asia, as she lies on her belly with her hair locks going across her back over the scapulas while dreams, tightly captured in fists letting ajar eyes remain empty. The barrenness of the eyes again attracts the onlooker’s eye in ‘the Deluge’ where the same South Asian young and fragile woman is painted sitting in a balcony or a window. In this painting, her dreams are shown, in a very artistic and conceptual deception, sunk in deep waters of the flooded terrain in the background
Musings of a sensitive, modern poet Sheba’s ghazal is an artistic assimilation of feeling and rhythm besides the intensity of passion characterizing its formulaic genesis; its cerebral undertones are, however, its distinctive feature Title: Making Lahore Modern Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City Author: William J. Glover; Publisher: Oxford University Press, Karachi; Pages: 201; Price: Rs 895
about sociology and material structures have been juxtaposed with descriptions of ordinary lives, their despondencies and hopes, interspersed with anecdotes. Photographs, maps and plans have been employed extensively, and supplement the text admirably. The prose is lucid and flows naturally. This book also provides an object lesson for our present rulers: channels of getting feedback from the public should always remain open, so that the way the district is “imagined” by the residents and the leaders, remains synchronized. Presently, the chann els appear to be clogged, otherwise a Ring Road would not have been built, and construction of the flyover across Kalma Chowk would not have started.
where only minarets of a mosque and tops of the sunken trees are obvious. In this painting, the artist has expressed, very skillfully, the sense of being deluged emotionally after the torrent around. The golden lining on the rear silhouette of the woman causes the luminosity that adds a devout touch to this frame. The use of gold in Rahat’s paintings is not only suggestive of a relationship of these frames with the traditional Muslim Miniatures, but it also advocates the gleam which is directly associated with holiness and purity; light as opposed to the darkness. In this show, the artist also presented a video in connection with the title ‘Ishq’. That video featured the life and activities of Malangs and Darvishes at various shrines of Lahore. It was an interesting clip regarding life style of these self-indulged Malangs who claimed to be burning in the fire of true love or Ishq. Interestingly, the video did not feature any woman contrary to the series of paintings where image and imagery of woman seemed pivotal. In 2007 at the annual show of Artists’ Association of Punjab (AAP), Rahat displayed a painting of abstract nature which was different from the signature figurative work she was well known for. That was a nonfigurative frame with a golden square in the center of a well painted crimson canvas titled as ‘the Square’. It was quite a big transformation of style, keeping in view the usual style of Rahat, though she had been inserting few geometrical and floral elements and objects which ultimately served a sense of spiral-continuity through her entire work. The Ishq series, if seen in its own capacity, can make a viewer go astray with the force of emotional discharge the painter has exercised in few of her frames. However, if you would look on this display as the continuation of the previously conceived ideology and thoughts, you may find yourself, accompanying the artist, revolving around the centripetal idea of human yearning for eternal love and eternity. The paintings of Rahat show a revolving journey from figures to portraits, from portraits to objects, from objects to metaphor, and from metaphor to forceful strokes of abstract renderings.
By Syed Afsar Sajid
apunzel is a German folk tale with a romantic tinge, symbolizing a damsel in distress. Sheba Traz, a well known Urdu poet and editor of the prestigious literary magazine Tajdeed-e-Nau, seems to have conceived the title of her second verse collection (the first being Jheel Jheel Udasi) on this analogy with a view to venting the woes and yearnings of her gender in a male-dominated social set up. She has dedicated her work to womenfolk in general, with all their hopes and aspirations. Jan-e-Alam and Hameeda Shaheen have commented on the form and content of the book in their respective ‘afterwords’. The former is of the view that the relationship between man and his Creator forms the quintessence of Sheba’s poetics. Uthai thee kahaN say mayri mitti Kahan maeN ashkara ho gai huN It is a universal theme which
reinforces her faith in the feasibility of a possibility opening unto her infinite vistas of optimism, self-awareness and spiritual discernment. Na ghabrao khala ki wus’atoN may Kai rastay banay haiN aasmaN may Hameeda Shaheen, in her analysis of Sheba’s poems, traces the dominance of the elements of selfawareness and contemporaneity in
Title: Rapunzel – a collection of Urdu verse Author: Sheba Traz Published by: Tajdid Isha’at Ghar, 695/F, Johar Town, Lahore Pages: 209; Price: Rs.250
it and opines that the latter seems to have encountered enormous difficulties, and sufferings too, in her continuing efforts to rediscover herself and her milieu. According to her the poet knows that some dreams abort even before they are cherished but she cannot abdicate them or withdraw from the expectation of their fruition. The book contains both ghazal and nazm. The poem titled Rapunzel is the centerpiece of the collection. It is a monologue of the distress and dismay being experienced by the speaker (a woman in love!) in her forced isolation in the face of an apathetic indifference from her male counterpart. Mohabbat kay bahut oonchay manaray par Koi khidki nahi khulti KahiN rasta nahi milta Andhayra, lafz kay qadmoN may baitha hai Abhi to zindagi ki qaid baqi hai Sheba’s ghazal synthesizes its tradition with the zeitgeist. It is an artistic assimilation of feeling and rhythm besides the intensity of passion characterizing its formulaic genesis. Its cerebral undertones are, however, its distinctive feature. Mray khayal tu aa, alam-ewujood may aa Qalam ki noke pay aa, lafz ki namud may aa
Tu jaan lay usay, pahchan baad may ho gi Mray sha’oor tu idraak ki hudood may aa AnkhaiN kahiN haiN, dil hai kahiN, dhiyan hai kahiN Undaikhay rabtoN ka koi silsila to hai Shaam-e-ufaq pay aaj bhi likhti hai kya shafaq YaadoN may pa barahnah koi qafla to hai The titles of Sheba’s poems (nazms) are varied but self-expressive. Khud Shanasi, Maut Undar say Shuru Hoti Hai, Qurb-e-Qayamat, Jaltarang, Naey Hadsay ki Talash, Jungle Sun Raha Hai, Dead End, Tamanna kay Jazeeray ka Doosra Kinara, Jantari, Sub Kuch bhi MaeN aur Kuch NahiN, After Effects, Daikhnay say Pehlay Toot Janaywala Khwab, Zindagi, Agla Waraq, Dahshatgardi, Munafiqat, Last Stroke of a Painting, Nautanki, Amarbail et al. These poems apart from amplifying the modernistic trend in the contemporary Urdu verse, project Sheba as an accomplished sensitive artist upholding human values in an otherwise bleak socio-cultural scenario. Hamara jurm bus itna tha Kay hum …..! Guzartay mausamoN par baat karna chahtay thay Zaigham Rizvi’s illustrations including the dustcover tend to enhance Raypunzel’s aesthetic appeal.
From page 1
Mohali’s legacy: Holding thy neighbour’s hand (despite the claimed weaker state in the Pakistan area) was fundamentally the same. The State must construct the idea of the citizen while respecting the citizen for who he is. This was an early lesson of the Indian state, whom under Nehru decided to create linguistic states. The path that Pakistan took was counter such, with the ascribed founder of the State declaring that Bengalis had to adopt Urdu as the official language (and not a linklanguage). Enough dwelling over the postcolonial legacies of both neighbours, let’s dwell on the match.
The magic of the match:
Frankly I am not too much of a nationalist. There is a stable connection of the heart with the people that inhabit the State-created boundary declared Pakistan. Thus to connect with this match, and the Pakistani team, was to be faithful to the people around me. Cricket is magical. There are moments where it is able to transcend the deepest of divides by being able to reveal the artificiality of their construction. Not that I cannot list the history of conflict between India and Pakistan. Not that that conflict has ended with the end of the match. But the ability of it to bridge the divide, at the Mohali stadium, and in our hearts, was magical. Meeting in a Cricket World Cup semi-final was all that was required
to realise we are not so different, and, well, in a different sense, not so similar either. Glued to the screen we cheer on the Greens, glued to the screen they cheer on the Blues. But both are cricket mad nations. And this madness is not replicated elsewhere. What appears ages ago, India’s 1955 tour to Pakistan, the BCCI President Maharajkumar said, “Where politicians have failed, we have succeeded by coming nearer each other.” This series brought the biggest movements of people across the border after the partition, 10,000 Indians came to Pakistan, as fans to cheer on their team. Five-thousand Pakistanis are said to have been granted a permit to go to India for the match. A move unprecedented in the security driven relationship that has marred the two neighbours for so many years, and, especially since 26/11 in Mumbai. Of course, it would have been wonderful for the same fans to have traveled to Mumbai, to cheer the Pakistani team on. It would have been wonderful to remove the wounds of 26/11 and amicably visit the city that blames Pakistan (the truth does not matter) for the horror conducted in its midst. In 1960, when the Pakistan cricket team paid India a visit, captain Fazal Mahmood observed, “India is not a foreign country to me.” There was a second thing he said, of equal if not more value, “national prestige and other such things are being
“It’s a great sign for both countries that cricket brings them together. I’m a cricketer first then a diplomat and I’m happy with that.” –Shahid Afridi, Before the match “I would like to congratulate the Indian team and the whole nation, they deserved to win.” –Shahid Afridi, After the match unnecessarily involved in cricket”. It was a lesson learnt by the graceful duo of PM Gilani and captain Shahid Afridi, who wished India the best for the final. But it was a lesson not learnt by the likes of Rehman Malik (telling the team not to ‘fix the match’) and Shahbaz Sharif (promising large tracts of land to the players).
The bridges of Mohali:
Politics and cricket did meet at Mohali. If the two Prime Ministers were sitting together, how could they
not. But on the field cricket was left to dominate. And to its credit cricket dominated the politics. Cricket said Pakistan and India can compete – with grace and not rancour. Politics followed and said Pakistan and India can come close and talk in a civil manner to seek solutions to the issues that have festered for far too long. Put in context, that the cricket team lost was a minor event in the day’s festivities. Our cricket team, brilliant as it was during the World Cup, did overachieve. And it is to the credit of its spirit that it was able to do so. But the real power of the cricket team lay in the bridges it built. At Mohali, before the match began, the music for the Pakistani national anthem sounded out. A flag of Pakistan was found fluttering to the Indian winds. And the few Pakistanis in the crowd, and PM Gilani got to sing out, in India, the words of the national anthem: Pak sar zameen shad bad Kishwar e haseen shad bad (The pure land remains fovever The host to the beautiful remain fovever) It is this that is the legacy of Mohali. That India and Pakistan came together, as equals, on a playing field. Both respected each other. One won, one lost the battle on the field. But both won the war outside it. Now it is up to us and to politics to keep Mohali’s legacy alive.
Sunday, 03 April, 2011
By Anum Yousaf
eta, taalay toh dil ki tassalli kay liey hotay h a i n … Lutaray toh warna joh chahay loot latay hain” (Son, these locks are for our own sake..they don’t stop looters from looting) This is what Kuldip Nayar’s mother told him when she locked her precious shahtoos shawl as they departed from Sialkot to India at the height of Hindu-Muslim tensions during the Partition of the subcontinent. And this is one of the many incidents that the seasoned journalist shared with a panel of students and former ambassadors headed by Mr Shahryar M Khan and Babur Ali Syed at LUMS last week. Kuldip Nayar was visitingPakistan with an Indian delegation as a goodwill mission to meet and greet people on this side of the border and this short talk at LUMS was part of this cultural exchange. As Mr Khan put it, the aim was to facilitate meeting with civil society members and have Mr Nayar address students interested in foreign affairs and student activisim. Mr Nayar started his talk with fond reminisces of his time in Pakistan before they migrated to Pakistan and said that no matter where he lived, his hometown Sialkot had a special place in his heart. The town of Sialkot had 70 percent Muslims and 30 percent Hindus, almost all of which migrated in parts before, after or during the Partition. He recounted that his parents came later and they were boarding a train from Narowal when a Muslim boy stopped them and said that “yeh sab kat jai gi” (This will be carnage). That boy took Mr Nayar’s parents home, gave them boarding and lodging for a couple of days before leading them to a train which was sure to reach India safely. At the beginning of the talk, Mr Shahryar Khan posed a question, which he said his students kept repeatedly posing to him, to Mr Nayar who then used it as springboard for his entire talk and used it as a framework to discuss India-Pakistan relations and the outstanding issues that are hindrances in amicable relations between the two countries at loggerheads. The question was that France and Germany have fought many bitter wars and have a much longer history of animosity than Pakistan and India. Yet they had learned to love with their differences and co-exist not only cordially but have increased their bilateral co-operation over the years. Kuldip Nayar then narrated that the same example was quoted by Jinnah when he visited Mr Nayar’s college while he was still a student of law. Kuldip Nayar, then a young man, had wondered outloud to Jinnah if Pakistan and India could ever be friends to which Jinnah replied that France and Germany were the worst of enemies but they are now the best of friends. We, too, shall be best of friends. We shall be like the USA and Canada. But Kuldip Nayar appended this anecdote with the fact that Jinnah did not live long and this
The past is another country was one of the major reasons why India-Pakistan relations turned out as they did. Liaquat Ali Khan was also assassinated and the problems of Pakistan after that are well-documented and continuous interruptions from military rule did not let a Pakistani leadership take shape. According to him, Pakistan’s crisis of leadership was a huge factor because the vision of the country died with its leadership and it is the leadership of the country which provides it with direction. To illustrate, he quoted Gandhi who said “Hindus and Muslims are my two eyes in my system” and Nehru who used to say that “India cannot be a democracy if it is not secular.” He stressed that he was not whitewashing over India’s mistakes as a democracy (such as
as a country afford seccession, whether its Tamil Nadu, Khalistan, the Valley or any other state. He then made a proposal for the solution of the issues. Indianheld Kashmir and Pakistancontrolled Kashmircould be given full autonomy as autonomous regions except for the portfolios of defence and foreign relations. The autonomous regions could even have trade, independent currencies etc. The LOC would be a soft border allowing Kashmiris from both Kashmirs to cross easily into the other side. He further stated that Pakistan-held Kashmir would have a representative in the Indian Lok Sabha whereas Indian-held Kashmir would have a representative in the Pakistani parliament. This would ensure that the system functions smoothly
rioting, discrimination etc) but he wanted to highlight the fact that the democratic experiment had continued unabated there and was allowed to take root. He then moved on to discuss the two thorniest issues in PakIndia relations: Kashmir and the water dispute. Beginning with the Kashmir issue, Mr Nayar said that he blamed Pakistan for the problem. There was a slight ripple of discomfort around the room filled with bleeding hearts but Mr Nayar went on to explain. He said Pakistan had exhibited more impatience than India with regards to the issue of Kashmir. He said that the argument that Kashmir was a ‘Muslim’ state did not hold sway as India was constitutionally a secular democracy and a judicial decision protected this status and not even the Lok Sabha could overturn India’s status as a secular democracy. He said, according to India, Kashmir had legally ceded to India and Sardar Patel had made some kind of offer to Pakistan as well which didn’t pan out and all of this is history now. What he stressed was that India has so many Muslims, probably more than in Pakistan. Thus, the fact that Kashmir was a Muslim state is an argument that didn’t hold sway with the Indians. He said that India will never give up Kashmir as it cannot
and the autonomous regions can raise their voices in a legitimate manner in the highest forum in the other country. He said that this solution would be a hard-sell to everybody. But he kept stressing that the past is in the past and both countries had a hard time of letting things go. They keep fixating on the fact that Partition took place, wars took place, the genesis of the Kashmir dispute etc. He said that but those were all matters bygone now and it is the right time to move forward. Since his generation had made so many mistakes, he said that it was the turn of the youth in both countries to step up to the mantle and stop being angry young men about things past. Talking about the Indus Water Treaty, he said that it was the fruit of long hard labour by many intelligent technocrats but it had some serious flaws. Stressing that water is a global not a local issue, he proposed that the best longterm solution would be integrated development of the Indus Basin. Why share three and three rivers amongst ourselves when both countries can benefit from all the six together and help the entire region develop. He said that Indian democracy had its shares of warts too but it was the best system for a pluralistic country like India. While he was stationed as Indian
High Comissioner in London, Ms Thatcher told Mr Nayar that her country’s problems were out of her hand. He then proudly told her that look at India; so many different castes, religions, ethnicities and yet it was functioning. When she pressed for a straighter answer, he said that India existed in shades of grey instead of black-and-white. He again stressed that there was a lot of discontent in India and communal harmony was often disrupted but the spirit of democracy persisted. He said that a society that lets people get away with murder was badly affected and both India and Pakistan must learn this to establish better relations. He said he met Benazir Bhutto a few months before her assaination and she asked him what India could give Pakistan and vice versa? Mr Nayar replied that Pakistan could give India secularism and India could give Pakistan democracy. He said that she had expressed her desire to make South Asia borderless but that is not going to take place anytime soon where the security paradigms and military spending in both countries persists. He concluded with the hope that the young generation could bury the past and take up the issues since his generation had failed. Responding to a student who brought up the mistakes of his generation, he said that that was precisely his point. The new generation needs to move forward and those that blame the elder generation has given up before they have even tried. He said that he was one of the few people who lit candles at Wagah for peace 17 years ago and was ridiculed as a ‘senile Pakistani agent’ but now, people showed up in droves to do it. He said that his generation might not live to see it, but South Asia may yet become like the EU. The ifs and buts of history need to be forgotten. Whereas the talk was a great initiative by the organisers and Mr Nayar, it felt like the same old broken record. Maybe that’s because this rhetoric has been recycled so much that it stands the danger to lose it potency. This people-to-people contact may be great for relations as young students nodded fervently when Mr Nayar talked of peace and moving forward. But there can be no progress without leadership and implementation. The recent meeting between the two Interior Secretaries and the Prime Minister at the semifinal in Mohali has been constructive to say the least. But the two countries are in a habit of taking a step forward only to be followed by a two-step regression not much later. Let’s hope the process now underway is here for the long haul.
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Why, when and how the match was lost? We lost because of Asma Jahangir’s strange statements against the Supreme Court judges. We lost because of the ‘multiple offenses’ of Shoaib Akhtar for which he was fined $2000 and his brawl with Kamran Akmal after the New Zealand match. We lost because of the ‘Brothers’ and Misbah-ul-Haq, who earlier could do no wrong. We lost because our politicians are incorrigibly corrupt and greedy selfservers, who pay no taxes and care nothing for the nation’s prosperity. We lost because we have lost the moral high ground. We lost because our economy is doing so badly. We lost because of Kargil and Mumbai 26/11. We lost because of the rampant inflation and unemployment. We lost because we have no self-respect and are sunk in depression and fearfulness. We lost because we no longer have the will to win, and experience the joy of victory. We lost because we have banned Basant, that great relaxant. We because we have lost our way – the way so clearly delineated by the Quaid. We lost because we are selfcentered, with gigantic egos, and seek personal glory instead of the collective or the national. We lost because we think the individual is everything, the nation is nothing. We lost because of the fanatics who are running amok in our land. We lost because of the demoralising load shedding and gas shortages. We lost because of long queues and waiting for everything from sugar to CNG. We lost because of our blood and gore Punjabi movies. We lost because of our VIP culture. We lost because of our complete lack of honesty and ethics. We lost because of the hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. We lost because of the serious and rapidly deteriorating situation in Balochistan. We lost because of the unabated target killings in Karachi. We lost because of the unchecked brutality of our police force. We lost because of our (longlost) missing persons. We lost because we are the stooges of decaying foreign super-powers. We lost because of General
Musharraf ’s decade-long rule and the evils it bequeathed us. We lost because of our lust for wealth, ever more wealth, by hook or by crook. We lost because we imprisoned most our great men of letters, poets and writers. We lost because we have no social conscience and cannot look beyond our own noses. We lost because we have developed a caste system based purely on material worth. We lost because of our divided families and divided selves. We lost because of 1971: ‘the humiliation of a shameless capitulation can never be erased. This drop of poison in the blood of a nation is passed on and undermines the strongest of the future generations’. We lost because of the superfloods and the guilt that the affected people are still suffering. We lost because of our inability to build the Kalabagh Dam. We lost because of the terrorist attacks on our cities, mosques and shrines. We lost because of the drone attacks which mock our sovereignty and kill innocent civilians. We lost because both our ‘Houses’ did not speak out unequivocally against the killers of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti. We lost because we repeatedly use brute force against our own people and brethren. We lost because we ignore our one Nobel Prize winner. We lost because of the horror spread by the suicide bombers. We lost because of the all-pervasive corruption in our society, both moral and intellectual We lost because of our double-speak (with a forked tongue) and hypocrisy in everyday life. We lost because of the growing sectarian divide fracturing our society. We lost because of the ethnic ruptures and the use of so called ‘cards’. We lost because of the Hajj scandal involving the highest in the land. We lost because of the lack of merit in our society. All these things have debilitated our minds and bodies and warped our personalities. Combined with the absence of any hope for the future under the prevailing circumstances we have become increasingly defensive and vulnerable to pressure. That is why we lost. And of course, there was the more than usual dreadful fielding and the irresponsible moronic batting that also contributed to the latest downfall…