Independence Day Special
Look for the silver lining
Sunday, 14 August, 2011
Let joy be unconfined and unconditional on this auspicious day, you chattering classes, pack up all the whining, the complaining and the troubles ‘in your old kit bag’, and savour the joys of liberty and freedom
By Khawaja Manzar Amin
surprisingly, ‘mistakes, mistrust and hateful error dogged their every move’ always to the country’s detriment
the people crave for a genuine Quaid, not the ersatz one’s we have gotten used to of late. Due to pygmies heading the country and their mistaken policies over the years, the federating units have not been able to gel, in fact they can be at daggers drawn at a moments notice. Sindh, KP and the Punjab fight like sworn enemies over the issue of division of water resources and building the Kalabagh Dam, while some in Balochistan are fighting for independence, their grievance stemming from a raw deal at the hands of ‘Islamabad’. To be true, the Centre (remember One Unit) always felt that ‘mere anarchy would be loose’d upon the world’ if the provincial autonomy granted by the Constitution was permitted in practice. But now such one-dimensional perceptions are slowly beginning to change and the National Finance Commission Award of 2010 was a welcome first step in ensuring provincial autonomy and placing more financial resources at their disposal. However, the failure to achieve a consensus on the pivotal Kalabagh Dam is a serious setback, and this mistake, crime or sin, is likely to turn Pakistan into a seriously water-stressed country in the not too distant future, especially with the unchecked Indian buildup(of dams) in the upper riparian areas. We see here the familiar apathy at the highest level of leadership, a failure in peacefully resolving internal disputes through the political system (in fact, this is why political parties exist) and of vital national interests being sacrificed on the altar of political point scoring. And today, ‘every morn and every night’ the ordinary citizens are tormented by the body and soul-destroying load-shedding whether scheduled or unscheduled, summer and Ramadan notwithstanding. Industry (such as it is) and the workers also suffer financially. Belatedly, some effort is being made towards remedying the shortage of dams and hydel power, but the work needs to be accelerated at a breakneck speed. The ailing state of the economy and rising doubledigit inflation have played havoc with the lives of the working man and the middle class. This state of affairs is likely to continue, because our leaders cannot comprehend the meaning of ‘austerity’ believing it to be a Greek or Latin word, something foreign to their vocabulary and mentality. Their motto (or hopefully epitaph) is or ought to be an Oscar Wilde epigram on the lines of, ‘I am dying as I have lived… beyond my means’. However, exports have picked up somewhat of late and show great promise for the future, provided some Continued on pg 6
2 On today’s Pakistan, a sane western voice 8 Jewel in the crown
The first and most glaring deficiency has been, is and looks to remain, the lack of benevolent leaders, possessed of political vision and insight. Not
money from already pinched wallets), their cycles and motorbikes (and modest houses) bedecked with the green and white colours, and all their troubles forgotten in a spontaneous surge of happiness. The armies of hot-blooded youngsters in their own strident way of celebration, irritating to all but themselves, remove the silencers on their motor cycles and ‘flagdrive’ through the streets from dawn till late into the night. But how many will afford to ‘put a tiger in their tank’ this year considering the prohibitory cost of petrol and the recent increase in the gas prices. One assumes they will manage somehow, and put up their annual shrill show, which ends in tragedy for some overly reckless natures. But, once again reality intervenes and one knows that in parts of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (KP), Independence Day will not be celebrated as such. The malaise affecting, or infecting, us has reached epidemic proportions. How have things come to such a sorry pass? The first and most glaring deficiency has been, is and looks to remain, the lack of benevolent leaders, possessed of political vision and insight. In the towering figure of the Quaid-e-Azam who single-handedly mapped out Pakistan, and the tragic person of Z.A Bhutto, who rivalled him in intellectual gifts and farsightedness, if not in integrity and restraint, we seem to have exhausted our stock of leaders. The posts of president and prime minister (as well as two out of the four Governor-Generals) for the most part present a grotesque gallery of the power-hungry, the rapacious and the outright corrupt. Not surprisingly, ‘mistakes, mistrust and hateful error dogged their every move’ always to the country’s detriment. Today, the hated VIP culture not only lives, but flourishes as never before. Repeated takeovers by ambitious generals and legal jugglery at their behest by the superior judiciary of the past (‘the Doctrine of Necessity’ their one great juristic invention, by which dictators were also allowed to amend the Constitution) have also left their traumatic scars on the country. But now, though some may spiritedly dispute it , the apex court is displaying a vibrant independent spirit, checking corruption and illegality, keeping the brown sahibs in their place, and hopefully, discouraging the adventurers on horseback from straying outside their own profession. History is replete with examples of how leaders (both elected and of the ‘Man of Destiny’ sort) drastically changed the fortunes of their nations with their pragmatic policies, nationalistic zeal, integrity and hard work. But this was apparently too tall an order in our Republic, and today more than anything,
Illustrated & Designed by Javeria Mirza
ndependence Day is no doubt a joyous occasion for any country, but August 14, 2011 frankly finds Pakistan in its worst shape ever since it was founded 64 years ago after much heroic effort and human sacrifice. This year, the most distressing aspect is the gradual erosion even of that great illusionary crutch, hope, and the simultaneous rise of a universal mistrustful cynicism on all matters. Another is the continued indifference of the ruling elites, wallowing in luxury and corruption, in bringing about much-needed radical reforms in the unfair socio-economic order. Our society has become one of ‘every man for himself’ and self-preservation has been carried to an extent that breeds a lordly contempt, if not actually a seething hatred, for the less fortunate of our compatriots, even at the family level. Hence the rising number of suicides caused by poverty, depression and man’s inhumanity to (lesser) man. This untenable situation, in which a small fraction enjoys (not reaps or earns) the fruits of power, status and wealth, while the have-nots and the marginalized struggle to survive against heavy odds, is not exactly conducive to an effusive outburst of joy on this Independence Day. And yet, as in the past, they will come out to the streets, parks and gardens in their thousands, the little people, with their children proudly holding the national flag (bought lovingly with precious
Independence Day Special
On today’s Pakistan, a sane Western voice Excerpts: Pakistan, A Hard
Country By Anatol Lieven Introduction: Understanding Pakistan
hese excerpts are taken from Anatol Lieven’s book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, published in 2011. The author’s credentials for this work are excellent: he was a journalist for the The Times in this amazing country and extensively interacted with the high and the low of all the provinces for his research material. This makes for a realistic appraisal of the country and its people, and also a more charitable one as compared to the single-groove propogana of the neo-cons to which we had been accustomed. Anatol Lieven is presently professor of International Relations and Terrorism Studies in the War Studies Department of King’s College, London.
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Sunday, 14 August, 2011
Land, People and History Janus-faced Trying to understand Pakistan’s internal structures and dynamics is complicated; for if there is one phrase which defines many aspects of Pakistan and is the central theme of this book, it is ‘Janus-faced’: in other words, many of the same features of Pakistan’s state and government which are responsible for holding Islamist extremism in check are at one and the same time responsible for holding back Pakistan’s social, economic and political development. Pakistan is divided, disorganized, economically backward, corrupt, violent, unjust, often savagely oppressive towards the poor and women, and home to extremely dangerous forms of extremism and terrorism ‘and yet it moves’, and is in many ways surprisingly tough and resilient as a state and a society. It is also not quite as unequal as it looks from outside. Pakistan contains islands of successful modernity, and of excellent administration – not that many, but enough to help keep the country trundling along: a few impressive modern industries; some fine motorways; a university in Lahore, parts of which are the best of their kind in South Asia; a powerful, welltrained and well-disciplined army; and in every generation, a number of efficient, honest and devoted public servants. The military and police commanders of the fight against the Taleban in the Pathan areas whom I
met in Peshawar and Rawalpindi in 2008-9 struck me as highly able and patriotic men by any standards in the world. The National Finance Commission Award of 2010, which rebalanced state revenues in favour of the poorer provinces, was a reasonable if belated agreement. It demonstrated that Pakistani democracy, the Pakistani political process and Pakistani federalism retain a measure of vitality, flexibility and the ability to compromise. None of these things is characteristic of truly failed or failing states like Somalia, Afghanistan or the Congo. –Pg 4
Overdependence on the Indus This dependence on the Indus is the greatest source of long-term danger to Pakistan. Over the next century, the possible long-term combination of climate change, acute water shortages, poor water infrastructure and steep population growth has the potential to wreck Pakistan as an organized state and society. Long-term international aid projects in Pakistan should be devoted above all to reducing this mortal threat, by promoting reforestation, repairing irrigation systems and even more importantly improving the efficiency of water use. Human beings can survive for centuries without democracy, and even without much security. They cannot live for more than three days without water. The extent of the water crisis that is already occurring will be described in the chapters on Sindh and Balochistan. As two of the authors of the World Bank’s very worrying 2004 report on Pakistan’s water situation write: “The facts are stark. Pakistan is already one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, a situation that is going to degrade into outright water scarcity due to high population growth. There is no feasible intervention which would enable Pakistan to mobilize appreciably more water than it now uses ... “There are no additional water resources to be exploited and agricultural water use must decline to enable adequate flows into the degrading Indus River Delta. Pakistan’s dependence on a single river system makes its water economy highly risky... “Groundwater is now being overexploited in many areas, and its quality is declining... There is little evidence that government (or donors, including the World Bank) have reengineered their capacity and funding to deal with this great challenge. And
here delay is fatal, because the longer it takes to develop such actions, the greater will become the depth [beneath the earth] of the water table.” According to a 2009 study by the Woodrow Wilsom Center drawing on a range of different works, by 2025 population growth is likely to mean that Pakistan’s annual water demand rises to 3 3 8 billion cubic metres (bcm) – while, unless radical action is taken, Pakistan’s water availability will be around the same as at present, at 236 bcm. The resulting shortfall of I96 bcm would be two-thirds of the entire present flow of the Indus.” –Pg 30-31
Structures – Justice Not quite as bad as it looks Re-reading this chapter, I feel that it needs a certain correction. Naturally a description of a country’s criminal justice system will focus on crime, but it would be a mistake to draw from the above the idea that Pakistani society is in a state of permanent chaotic violence. A number of things need to be kept in mind. The first is that the jirga and panchayat mechanisms described in this chapter are explicitly dedicated to regulating and containing violence, and usually do so successfully. Local saints and their descendants also play a part in this regard. As Stephen Lyon has pointed out, one also needs to watch out for local hyperbole. If you believed all the stories you hear concerning violence in the countryside, ‘there would hardly be a man left alive or a women left unraped’;” Political violence aside, most of Pakistan is not in fact very violent or crime-ridden by the standards of many US cities, let alone those of Mexico or Brazil. In fact, given levels of poverty, the level of ordinary crime (as opposed to crime stemming from politics, religion or ‘honour’) is in many ways remarkably low… Finally, the rather miserable picture of the police and courts painted in this chapter is equally true of by far the greater part of India; indeed, because of caste divisions, parts of India are considerably worse as far as police atrocities are concerned. The same is true of the
dominance of customary law. In fact, throughout most of this chapter (except, obviously, those parts dealing with the Shariah), I could, without any substantial inaccuracy have substituted the words ‘Indian’ or ‘South Asian’ for ‘Pakistani.’ –Pg 121-123
The Provinces – Balochistan The question of just how much wealth lies underneath Balochistan is subject of crazed nationalist mythmaking, with stories abounding of Balochistan ‘having more oil than Kuwait’, and so on. Having talked to geologists, the truth appears to me to be that Balochistan probably has very little oil, and few major new gas fields left to discover. What it does have, however, is very large amounts of copper, together with lesser amounts of gold. The Chinese corporation running the Saindak mine as of 2010 processes around 15,000 tonnes of ore a day. Informed (as opposed to mythical) estimates for the Reko Diq field near the borders with Afghanand Iran range up to 16 million tonnes of pure copper and 21 million ounces of gold, which if developed would make Pakistan one of the world’s largest producers of copper (though still far behind Chile), and a serious gold producer. A joint Canadian-Chilean consortium (Tethyan Copper) plans to invest up to $3 billion in Reko Diq’s development (leading to the inevitable paranoid headline on the pakalert
bsite, ‘Reko Diq Mystery: Why Neocons and Zionists are after Balochistan?). Reko Diq could be of great benefit to Pakistan and Balochistan – or it could lead to explosive disputes between them, and among the Baloch themselves, as has been the case with both Sui Gas and Gwadar Port. The most obvious solution to distributing the benefits of mines like Reko Diq would be something like the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invests a proportion (in effect 11 per cent) of the proceeds of Alaskan oil for the long-term benefit of the population of Alaska, above all in terms of investment in infrastructure, services and water conservation. –Pg 367-68
Conclusions Pakistani State: Troubled, but tough It should be clear from this book that Pakistan, though a deeply troubled state, is also a tough one; and that, barring catastrophic decisions in Washington, New Delhi – and of course Islamabad – it is likely to survive as a country. In the long run, the greatest threat to Pakistan’s existence is not insurgency, but ecological change. However, Pakistani farmers are also tough and adaptable, and while some areas like the Quetta valley are likely to suffer disastrous water shortages in the near future, in the country as a whole, drought will take several decades to become truly catastrophic; floods, though devastating in the short-term, can also be controlled and harnessed given determination, organization and money. This allows time for human action to ameliorate the impending crisis, if the West, China and of course Pakistan itself have the will to take this action. The rest of the world should work hard to help Pakistan, because, as I have emphasized, long after Western forces have left Afghanistan, Pakistan’s survival will remain a vital Western and Chinese interest. This should encourage cooperation between Beijing and Washington to ensure Pakistan’s survival. By contrast, a Sino-US struggle for control over Pakistan should be avoided at all costs, as this would add enormously to Pakistan’s destabilization… No conceivable short-term gains in the Western campaign in Afghanistan or the ‘war on terror’ could compensate for the vastly increased threats to the region and the world that would stem from Pakistan’s collapse, and for the disasters that would result for Pakistan’s own peoples. Though many Indians may not see it this way, the collapse of Pakistan would also be disastrous for India, generating chaos that would destabilize the entire region. Western and Indian strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan should therefore be devised with this fact firmly in mind This should include recognition, at least in private, that it has above all been the US-led campaign in Afghanistan which has been responsible for increasing Islamist insurgency and terrorism in Pakistan since 2001. By this I do not mean to advocate a humiliating US and British scuttle from Afghanistan nor to suggest that a Western with withdrawal from Afghanistan would end the extremist threat to Pakistan, a threat which has long since developed a life of its own. Nonetheless, concern for the effects of the US military presence in Afghanistan on the situation in Pakistan is one of the strongest arguments for bringing that presence to an end as soon as this can honourably be achieved and against conducting more wars against Muslim states under any circumstances whatsoever. This also implies that the US should observe restraint in its pressure on Pakistan. Drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas have killed many Taleban and Al Qaeda leaders, but they have not noticeably impaired the Afghan Taleban’s ability to go on fighting effectively, while causing outrate among Pakistanis – especially because of the very large numbers of women and children who have also been killed by the attacks. The US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, discussed the risks of the drone strategy in a cable sent to the State Department in 2009 and revealed by WikiLeaks. She acknowledged that drones had killed ten out of 20 known top Al Qaeda leaders in the region, but stated that they could not entirely eliminate the AI Qaeda leadership and, in the meantime: “Increased unilateral operations in these areas risk destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership and provoking a broader governance crisis within Pakistan without finally achieving the goal (of eliminating the Al Qaeda and Taleban leadership)”.
Beyond the crisis state Dr Maleeha Lodhi
a k i s t a n is at the crossroads of its political destiny. It can either remain trapped in a quagmire of weak governance, politics-as-usual, economic stagnation and crumbling public faith in state institutions; or it can take advantage of social changes underway to chart a new course. Representational and electoral politics have remained stuck in an old mode and increasingly lagged behind the social and economic changes that have been altering the country’s political landscape. The economic centre of gravity has been shifting but politics has yet to catch up with its implications. Already members of a growing and politically assertive urban middle class are using the opportunities created by globalisation and technological change to demand better governance and a greater voice in the country’s politics. Although estimates of the size of Pakistan’s middle class vary depending on the criterion employed, if Purchasing Power Parity is used as the yardstick it can be put at around thirty million people.’ This includes educated, professional groups as well as middle-income employees in state and business enterprises… But governance challenges are multiplying. These include daunting problems of security, solvency, mounting energy and water shortages, and an increasing youth bulge-representing a mass of unfulfilled expectations-in an environment of economic weakness. Catastrophic floods that swept the country in the summer of 2010 compounded the country’s woes. They sharpened questions of whether Pakistan’s political and governance structures-and the quality of leadership-are capable of addressing and surmounting the gravest challenges ever faced. Can Pakistan acquire the means to govern itself better…?. ...The economic and military assistance received through various phases of these alignments created an official mindset of dependence. As discussed earlier this set up perverse incentives for internal reform... The issues of religion and regionalism have persistently tested both the nature and purpose of the state… religion and regionalism would perhaps not have been such enduring sources of discord had efforts to establish a functional state been successful-one that met the economic and social needs of its people. Poor governance created the breeding ground for religious schisms and for provincial/ethnic sentiment to acquire political potency.
Concluding Note The contributors to this volume have offered a number of policy recommendations that address Pakistan’s systemic and fundamental challenges to assure the continuing viability and vitality of the state. These may, it is hoped, prove to be
key elements of a reform agenda that will help Pakistan’s leaders to turn the country around and guarantee its long-term stability. Effective governance is what makes the difference between successful states and struggling ones. Improving the quality of governance is therefore central to the effort to move Pakistan beyond the ‘crisis state’. This volume has identified both short and longer-term reform measures needed to enhance the capabilities of public institutions, institute checks and balances and create a more competent civil service. Yet none of these policies can be undertaken without articulating a vision and the mechanism to implement it. What this book has also emphasised is the need to bring the country’s politics in sync with the social, economic and technological changes that have been transforming the national landscape and creating a more ‘connected’ society. Stable civil-military I don’t dispute for a second that these r e l a t i o n s are hard times. Thousands of us died are essential last year in terrorist attacks. Hundreds for political of thousands were displaced by military stability to be operations. Most of us don’t have access maintained. to decent schools. Inflation is squeezing The armed our poor and middle class. Millions forces can are, if not starving, hungry. Even those contribute who can afford electricity don’t have it towards a half the day. Yet, despite this desperate viable national suffering, Pakistan is also something of polity by a miracle. It’s worth pointing this out, subjecting because incessant pessimism robs us of an themselves important resource: hope. to civilian Taxes are the big hope for Pakistan. It isn’t complicated. Anyone oversight and who says we can’t solve our problems or afford to give our people control. This a decent standard of living isn’t telling the truth. We can afford it. will have to be We’ve just chosen not to… matched by And perhaps rampant inflation and a dozen hours of loadcivilian leaders shedding a day are making even many formerly comfortable and who should tax-averse citizens more amenable to change. abide by the –Excerpted from the book, Pakistan, Beyond the Crisis State, Constitution Edited by Maleeha Lodhi and refrain from dragging It is also critical to address the challenge the army to settle political disputes. The goal of economic revival will of a rapidly growing population and youth have to be comprehensively targeted with bulge by implementing a mix of policy emergency actions, short term measures measures that include a programme to and long term reforms, all of which will have reduce fertility and a far reaching literacy to be pursued simultaneously… the state has campaign focused on the rural areas and to play a central and active role to create an women to achieve higher primary school enabling environment for economic growth enrolment. Its priority goals should include and job creation. A coherent strategy to revive the promoting peace in Afghanistan through agriculture sector should include new an inclusive political settlement based on investment in the rural infrastructure, that country’s realities while working to end appropriate pricing and incentives, terrorism and extremism within Pakistan land reclamation, focused research and and the region. A modus vivendi with development, application of modern India should be sought which maintains technology, and utilization of international Pakistan’s policy independence including for Kashmir’s legitimate aspirations and market rules and opportunities. The highest priority needs to be given to preserves credible conventional and nuclear human development. A crash programme deterrence while exploiting the potential for should be implemented to educate Pakistan mutually advantageous trade and economic and meet the target of achieving universal relations. –Excerpted from the book, Pakistan, primary education in the next ten years through higher government spending and Beyond the Crisis State, Edited by Maleeha Lodhi public-private partnerships.
Why Pakistan will survive
Independence Day Special
A literary construction of Muslim nationalism
It seems as if the ideas of these Muslim men of letters were taken up by the Muslim League in its ultimate demand of a separate Muslim state in India. Masood Ashraf Raja’s work highlights this indebtedness of politicians to the litterateurs By Basharat Hussain Qizilbash
asood Ashraf Raja’s ‘Constructing Pakistan’ is unique as it tries to construct the evolution of Indian Muslims’ nationalism from 1857 to 1947 out of Muslim literature penned down during this period. He has admitted in the beginning that he is just a literary critic and not a trained historian; thus the work should be viewed as a literary effort rather than a political history. Several questions arise in this regard. One, it is not a study of all the works of all the Muslim litterateurs rather he has selected just eight of them. These are Ghalib, Azad, Hali, Nazeer Ahmad, Shibli Naumani, Akbar Allahabadi, Allama Iqbal and Maulana Mowdudi. Two, he thinks it is a representative sample, others may argue that he should have included some more poets and prose writers. Three, he has selected a few works of these litterateurs – in some cases just one or two – while ignoring the bulk of their writings. For example, while analyzing Ghalib, he totally ignores
his poetry and just focuses on his diary narrating the life in the city of Delhi, when it was under the control of the Indian ‘rebels’ who had overthrown the British authority in 1857. The central idea of the author is an old proposition but quite novel in the sense that the sources researched to prove the proposition are literary and not purely political. In the aftermath of the 1857 war, the immediate concern of the Muslims was how to define their relationship with the British and the Hindus, particularly the former as they had become the rulers. Masood thinks that the new situation was a ‘problem’ for the Muslim upper class or whatever other terms we may use for them such as elite, aristocracy, etc. This class had lost power, perks, privileges and prestige. It wanted to regain its socio-politico-economic status. To do this, it devised various strategies depending upon the prevalent circumstances. Again, take the example of Ghalib, who is presented as a spokesman of this class. Ghalib distances the Muslim aristocracy from the rebels during the ‘mutiny’. In fact, he equates the plight of this aristocracy, whom he calls ‘shurafa’ with that of the British during this crisis. He denigrates the actions of the ‘rebels’ for overthrowing the ‘just’ British rule by stating that ‘throughout the day the rebels looted
the city and at night they slept in silken beds’ while ‘in the noblemen’s houses there is no oil for the lamps (p 11)’. He goes further by stating that not all Muslims ‘rebelled’ against the British. In fact, they were loyal to the Englishmen: “A few poor, reclusive men, who received their bread and salt by the grace of the British…. These humble men, peaceful people did not know an arrow from an axe; their hands were empty of the sword … I was one of these
Constructing Pakistan Foundational texts and the rise of Muslim national identity (1857-1947) By Masood Ashraf Raja Published by Oxford University Press, Karachi Pages: 156; Price: Rs495 (hardbound)
Of some prose miscellanies A trio of books on linguistics, research and critical essays is well worth a read by the connoisseur with casual interest
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Sunday, 14 August, 2011
Linguistics in Pakistan
By Syed Afsar Sajid
hree recently published miscellanies form the subject of this review. Linguistics in Pakistan contains diversified research articles on linguistics. The Annual of Urdu Studies (a bilingual journal) carries articles, translations and views by writers and scholars, past and present, working on Urdu humanities, around the world. Essays in Urdu Criticism is an English version of Dr. Syed Shabih-ul-Hasan’s Urdu critical essays on the work and style of some old and new literary writers.
The book (dedicated by his pupil editors to that doyen of linguistics and language teaching in the country, Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, formerly of the BZU, Multan, is a collection of papers on different aspects of linguistics viz., lexicography, critical discourse analysis, orthography and syntax by some committed young researchers. Of late, the common reader’s awareness of and curiosity in linguistics, in our academia, has evinced a sharp rise thanks to the parallel enormity of learning and research work on the subject being assiduously pursued at and disseminated by various universities, both here and abroad. In this perspective the publication of these papers in book form augurs well for all those who would wish to acquaint themselves with a smattering of the subject enabling them to apprehend its mechanics in the practical implications of their routine academic or non-academic exercises like consulting/using a mono or bi-lingual dictionary, use of the language of the metalanguage
(‘the texts of definitions, grammatical codes, abbreviations and labelling of usage etc.’) in a bi-lingual dictionary, sociolinguistic study of media, study of learning pronunciation through dictionary, orthography (system of spelling in a language) of English in short messaging service (SMS) in Pakistan, grammatical classification of Urdu compounds, and analysis of a political discourse on a specific TV talk show. The research carries authentic facts and figures appertaining to the semantics of the target languages.
The Annual of Urdu Studies (Number 25) This is the maiden Pakistani edition of the journal a la The Annual of Urdu Studies published under the banner of Readings and Ilqa Publications, Lahore. The issue is a potpourri, as it were, of some original creative/critical writings in English and Urdu together with numerous translations in English (prose and poetry), of an aura of selected Urdu classics. The bulk of the translated work owes itself to the fluent but accurate pens of Muhammad Umar Menon, Faruq Hassan and M.A.R. Habib. Other translators
include Ian Bedford, Adeem Sohail, Faisal Siddiqui, Christopher Kennedy, and Mi Ditmar. Names of Anna C. Coldfield, Alison Safadi, Tariq Rahman and Ali Hashmi are no less noteworthy in the contribution list. The authors whose work has been translated and included in the issue are Muhammad Hasan Askari, Khvaja Saiyid Muhammad Asar (Khvaja Mir Dard’s younger brother), Akhtar Hussain Raipuri, Saadat Hasan Manto, Zaheer Kashmiri, Aziz Ahmad, Naiyer Masud, Zakia Mashhadi, Shafiqur Rahman, Mohsin Khan, Siddiq Alam, Mirza Ghalib, Kaifi Azmi, Miraji, Ali Sardar Jafari, and Zeeshan Sahil besides the original contributions, in Urdu, of Naiyer Masud, Najeeba Arif (verse) and Fahmida Riaz (prose). The indigenous publication of the journal is likely to promote Pakistani literature in Urdu, English and regional languages in the comity of world literatures side by side with updating our writers on the contemporary global literary scenario. Essays in Urdu Criticism (Vol. I) Dr Syed Shabih-ul-Hasan is a prolific writer. The book now being
helpless, stricken men” (p 9). Through such narrative, he tries to explain the common sufferance that the British and the Muslim ‘ashraf’ had to endure at the hands of the rebels portrayed as the common riff-raff. The author exposes the moral bankruptcy of Ghalib by pinpointing that he “attended the Mughal court frequently during the revolt of 1857, fully shared the jubilation of the Indians on the fall of Agra (p 18)”. Next, Masood analyses Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s text entitled ‘Asbab-eBaghawat-e-Hind’ and highlights that it pointed to the British “the need for a comprador class: a class of natives who can translate the local culture for the British administrators (p 24)”. Where did the Muslims stand in this gamut? They were a permanent minority whose interests were threatened by the Hindu majority with the introduction of Western democratic institutions in the subcontinent. Naturally, they looked towards the British rulers for protection of their rights and thus be looked upon as an ally and not an enemy. On the heels of Sir Sayyid’s writings came WW Hunter’s ‘The Indian Musalmans’. It suggested the likely approach that the British were to adopt towards the Muslim community. Although the British had successfully quelled the ‘revolt’ and 13 years had passed since then, he was fearful of the Muslim potential to shake the Raj, again. The source of likely threat could be their puritan religious leaders; therefore, Hunter suggested a twopronged strategy: one if the empire were to sustain itself in India then the Muslims had to be included in the British hegemonic project. Two, there was a need to contain the puritans. This could be done by coercive means as well as by fulfilling their duties as rulers because “as long as the doctors of Islam see the British as fulfilling their contract as rulers, the Muslims need not rise against them to fulfill their sacred duty (read jehad)” (p 44). As the threat of a Muslim backlash under the leadership of the religious leaders loomed large on his mind, Hunter proposed that this threat could be neutralized “by detaching from it the sympathies of the general
Muhammadan community.” In other words, a wedge had to be created between the popular and the religious elite. This could be achieved if the British duly addressed the Muslim grievances by accommodating them in the institutions of the government as partners. Strangely, this was exactly what Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan had been proposing to the British and that is why he emerged as the key figure in the discourse of Muslim exceptionalism in India i.e. they were a distinct community and thus be treated differently. Masood builds his thesis a little further by dissecting Muhammad Hussain Azad’s ‘Aab-e-Hayat’ and Altaf Hussain Hali’s ‘Musaddas-eHali’. Both these poets changed the purpose of poetry. The classical Urdu poetry primarily dealt with the affairs of the heart and was heard in exclusive ‘mushairas’ (poetic gatherings), Azad and Hali thought that it must serve a public function and so must deal with real-life issues. To popularize their poetry among the Muslim masses (because both wrote exclusively for Muslims) they required a public platform. In Punjab, this platform was provided by the Punjab government through the establishment of ‘Anjuman-e-Punjab’, whose one of the five stated goals was to explain public good works of the government, enhance national loyalty and advise the government about the wishes and demands of the people. Hunter had emphasized upon the inclusion of the Muslims in the administration of the government. The Muslims could become eligible for employment if they received Western education whereas the sources of their education were the madrassas teaching religious and other disciplines in Persian and Arabic. They had to be encouraged to study Western education imparted in state institutions. Hali’s ‘Musaddas’ served this purpose well. He reminded his readers that Muslims: Went to every wine shop to fill their cup Went to every stream to quench their thirst Followed every light like a moth They kept in sight Prophet’s
instruction: Consider knowledge a lost treasure and When found, gather it into yourself as your own. The author avers that by this stanza, Hali desired that Indian Muslims should approach the current Western knowledge with the same kind of zeal and a quest which is sanctified by the Prophet (PBUH) (p 62). While Hunter advised the British government to create opportunities for Muslims’ inclusion, Hali was telling them how they could made the best out of what was offered by the British: The government has granted you all freedoms The ways of progress are totally open It is being heralded all around: The king and people alike are happy There is peace all over the lands No path is closed to the caravans. While Hali was trying to popularize his mentor, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s approach of acquiring Western knowledge, others continued to oppose this approach as is visible from Abdul Ghaffar Khan alias Badshah Khan’s narration of a Pushto chant against modern education: Sabaq de madrase wai para de paise wai Jannat ke bai zai navi dozakh ke bai ghase wahi (Those who learn in schools They are none but money’s tools In heaven they will never dwell, They will surely go to hell.) After this analysis of Muslim poetry, the author switches to the study of Urdu novel, keeping in view Benedict Anderson’s observation that “it is in the pages of the novel that we see the ‘national imagination’ at work… that fuses the world inside the novel with the world outside.” He cites two novels of Nazeer Ahmad to explain how this genre was used “in articulating a particular Muslim identity, its attempt at creating a hegemonic relationship with the British, and its drive to reconcile the supra Muslim identity with its particular Indian variant.” After Nazeer, Masood picks the works of two neo-traditionalist writers of the time, i.e. Shibli Naumani and Akbar Allahabadi. Neo-traditionalists
generally approved of some of the achievements and methods of Western science and rationalism but utilized modernism to mobilize people socially and politically for traditional ends. These two neo-traditionalists also produced literature which contained pan-Islamic ideas but at the same time criticized the British as well as their loyalists such as Sir Sayyid, Hali, and the likes in spite of the fact that one of them – Maulana Shibli Naumani – was closely associated with Sir Sayyid as the Head of the Department of Theological Studies at the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College. Through his prose and poetry, Naumani tried to respond to the Western works critical of Islam as well as emphasised upon the revival of Muslim Ummah in the modern age. This emphasis was due to his personal experiences as he had not only visited Istanbul in 1893 – the seat of the Ottoman caliphate – to receive a medal from Sultan Abd-al-Hamid II but also established contacts with Shykh Muhammad Abduh in Cairo, who was a co-worker and disciple of the legendary Jamal al Din al Afghani. Like Hali, Naumani also composed a ‘Musaddas’ entitled “Spectacles of loss: A Qaumi Musaddas” in which like a true neo-traditionalist, he tried to stir the Indian Muslims into action by reminding them of their glorious past: Though we try our best to forget it, but We sometimes do recall the glories of this nation We wiped out Caesar from Rome And caused great upheavals in Europe Unlike Hali and Maulana Mohammad Hussain Azad, whose focus was on reforming Muslims through education, Naumani’s literature was overtly political and particularly critical of European atrocities against the Muslims anywhere in the world: The pages of the book of Islam are being scattered For how long would these winds of Kufr last? For they may, if they continue like this Touch the fabric of the harem (Holy Ka’aba) Here, the poet reminded the Indian
Muslims that they were a part of the global Muslim community and thus whatever happened to the Muslims around the world had a direct impact on the Indian Muslims. A question arises that if the Indian Muslims were a part of the global Muslim community then where was their centre located and what was their status in India? Masood tries to find answers in the texts of Dr Iqbal and Maulana Abul A’ala Mowdudi. The former identified the centre of the Islamic world in Hijaz – Makkah – whereas the latter in Volume I of his 1937 essays titled ‘Tehrik-e-Azadi-eHind aur Musalman’ laid down that the subcontinent was inhabited by Hindustanis and Muslims in which “our problems are completely related to us. And no other nation shares them with us.” These ideas were also a representation of the Indian Muslim exceptionalism. For Maulana Mowdudi, Islam must aspire to be a world system and it could not be made subservient to any mode of territorial or ethnic nationalism. Moreover, in the subcontinent, the Muslims could not afford to live as a large minority with few privileges under the family law; therefore, to realize the role of Islam in the public domain, it was essential to have a sovereign Muslim state. In 1938, he published three proposals as the solutions to the Hindu-Muslim problem: One, a federation of nations (Hindus and Muslims) in which each nation should have complete cultural autonomy and the combined activities of such a state must be on equal partnership. Two, if such a federation was not possible then these nations must be given territories to create their own states with a time of twenty-five years for the exchange of populations. Three, separate states for Hindus and Muslims and if they desired, they could form a loose confederation (pp 133-134). It seems as if the ideas of these Muslim men of letters were appropriated by the Muslim League in its ultimate demand of a separate Muslim state in India. Masood Ashraf Raja’s work highlights this indebtedness of politicians to litterateurs. Email: email@example.com
as well as those reviewed carries a translated version of his Urdu critical essays on the person and art of Nasir Kazmi, Mehmood Nizami, Mustafa Zaidi, Ahmed Fraz, Allama Talib Jauhari, Khalid Iqbal Yasir, Ashfaq Hussain, Irfana Aziz, Akhtar Hashmi, Naseem Syed, Wasi-ul-Hasan Naqash, Javed Siddiqui, and Zia-ur-Rehman Faruqi. Dr Shabih’s critical stance is mostly expository in the line of Noam Chomsky who believes that “perhaps literature will forever give far deeper insight into ‘the full human person’ than any model of scientific inquiry can hope to do”. Thus his essays purport to examine ‘writings of certain Urdu writers and poets to explore what kind of truth or revelation they tend to offer through their prose or poetry’. Dr Shabir correlates most of his subjects to poetic themes like universality, sensuousness, introversion, prophecy, romance and revolution, structural beauty, contemporaneity, classicism, artistic distinctivity, spontaneity, panegyric, modernism and aesthetics. The translator has done well to ‘reproduce’ the content of the original work in his first attempt. His receptivity to learning and improvement vis-a-vis the art of translation seems to be beyond doubt.
Title: Linguistics in Pakistan (A Book in Honour of Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal) Editors: Ali Ahmad, Rana Faqir M. Aslam, Masroor Sibtain Published by: Beacon Books, Urdu Bazar, Lahore/ Gulgasht, Multan Pages: 116; Price: Rs.250/-
Title: The Annual of Urdu Studies (Number 25 – 2010) Salnama Darasat-e-Urdu Editor: Muhammad Umar Memon, Department of Languages & Cultures of Asia, Univ. of Wisonsin, Madison, USA Published by: Ilqa Publications (An Imprint of Readings), Lahore. Pages: 360; Price: Rs.650/-
Title: Essays in Urdu Criticism (Vol. I) Author: Prof. Dr. Syed Shabih-ul-Hasan Translated by: Tahir Abbas Syed Published by: Izhar Sons, Urdu Bazar, Lahore Pages: 192; Price: Rs.200/-
Independence Day Special
Beggars and Birkins No, it’s not about the BAG, it’s what it represents and 187 million people whom it doesn’t By Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq
here was a photograph in one of the national newspapers the other day showing an old woman and a young girl, around nine maybe, carrying a bag of flour each, while hundreds of other women queued up for their share. Now, compare this with the numerous images of our foreign minister, a short while back, plastered all over newspapers and the internet, carrying her infamous Birkin bag! Now isn’t it nice to have a constitution in your country which places an obligation on the state to promote social and economic wellbeing of the people? And isn’t it nicer still to have it named, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? The state is responsible, among other things, to “secure the well-being of the people, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race, by raising their standard of living, by preventing the concentration of wealth and means of production and distribution in the hands of a few to the detriment of general interest and by ensuring equitable adjustment of rights between employers and employees, and landlords and tenants”, as well as to “provide basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief, for all such citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race, as are permanently or temporarily unable to earn their livelihood on account of infirmity, sickness or unemployment” and to “reduce disparity in the income and earnings of individuals”. It doesn’t require a genius or an economist or an expert analyst to figure out which way things have gone for the ordinary people of Pakistan. Talk to anyone on the street or to yourself for that matter and the reality is stark. The middle-class is struggling to make ends meet and the poor have been pushed further down the poverty
line. People have to line up to get subsidized food items, which reach the hoarders more than the general public. The humiliation of waiting and literally begging to get a bag of flour or a kilogram of sugar can only be truly felt by those who actually experience it. The drama created by the State of making ‘income schemes’ and then pretending to give Rs.1,000/- as ‘relief’ to widows and low-income households is another sham. Let the State functionaries give up their entitlements and try to get by on Rs.1,000/- a month. I really want to see how they are even able to afford municipal water on this handout let alone maintain a decent basic living standard. The State has miserably failed to prevent concentration of wealth rather it has striven to ensure the exact opposite. The rich have gotten richer, the poor poorer and as to the middle class they are busy reckoning up the ever rising cost of electricity bills, the petrol and their children’s school fees, so much for the reduction in disparity of income! A few days ago I read in the newspaper that Rupees 35 billion had been misappropriated by the federal government, including the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. The Audit Report 2010-2011 pointed out this ‘discrepancy’. Now, I am the average Pakistani, and it boggles my mind that whilst women and children, the old and the infirm, stand in queues and beg for flour and sugar, the supposed representatives and servants of the State, misappropriate and divert our hard earned money on their private revels? And then they have the audacity to teach our children, through
their approved textbooks at school, narrating stories s u c h
indulgences of our rulers. There have been allegations that the Foreign Minister is being victimized just for being a woman and the bag is just an ‘accessory’. A Hermes Birkin bag starts at $9,000 and goes up, reportedly, to $150,000. The minimum wage is fixed at Rs7,000/- for the average Pakistani worker. Ms Khar is a foreign m i n i s t e r
as Caliph Hazrat Umar(RA) going around at night to ensure that no one among his people had slept hungry? We do not deserve to be called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islam is not only about Oneness of Allah, praying, fasting, performing Haj and giving Zakat. It is about ensuring that the Zakat and charity gets where it is needed the most and the Prime Minister’s Secretariat sure doesn’t qualify. It is about making sure that the State fulfils the concept of an Islamic welfare one by putting the needs of its people first. It is about making sure that no one sleeps hungry and all have equal access to medical treatment and education. It is about being answerable to God. A lot of fuss has been made by the media about the Birkin bag. Some say that the PM’s Armani suits should also make the headlines and others quip that so should all the other expensive
representing the people of Pakistan and claims to belong to the Pakistan Peoples Party. I guess the words ‘People’, ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Birkin’ are synonymous. No, it’s not about the BAG. It’s what it represents and 187 million people whom it doesn’t. Anyone is entitled to buy what she or he desires with their own money. Everybody has a right to spend it as they wish, be it on Armani suits, Rolex watches or designer bags and shoes. The question is, do these people sitting in our assemblies, bound by our Constitution to ensure our social and economic well-being, have the right to represent us, by brazenly and unashamedly flaunting the disparity, be it between their top-of-the-line, bullet proof cars, paid for by us and the ordinary, open to the elements, barely road worthy, public bus or a Birkin bag worth thousands of dollars and an ordinary bag of flour?
corruption, incompetence, official neglect, unmerited cronyism and what we lamented over in the beginning, woeful leadership. But every cloud has a silver lining. The country has a still unutilized capacity for export of agro-based goods and services to all parts of the world: wheat, cotton, rice, sugar, fresh fruits and vegetables (our prized mangoes hit America earlier this year), poultry and meat, fish and other marine products found amply in our long coastline and mangroves. Perhaps we need more MBAs in marketing than MBBS’s in the immediate future. Or, to attain laid-down economic and social targets, we should revert to the Five Year Plans, but carry them out with the planning, efficiency, energy and implacable ruthlessness of the founder of these plans, Joseph Stalin. Pakistan’s population is or soon will, comprise largely of youth at the age of entering the job market, which would readily complement (as labour, white collar workers, engineers and specialists) our growth strategy for agriculture and industry (if any!). This is hence an ideal opportunity, a make or break affair, for an economic take
off, one which comes at rare intervals in a country’s history. But first jobs will have to be provided to those flooding the market and this is where the familiar uncertainty and unease arises again… Our geopolitical position is also not to be slighted, in fact, it can bring solid returns with the Gwadar Port running at peak capacity, or if the various link-up schemes with China or the Central Asian states, including a rail service, materialize in the future. The mineral wealth and natural resources of Balochistan are immense in themselves, the biggest plus point in the country’s future economic prospects. But for all that to happen, narrow mindsets and tunnel visions will have to change, and expressed in a just and generous resolution of the troubles plaguing the largest but least populated of Pakistan’s provinces. So, let joy be unconfined and unconditional on this auspicious day, you chattering classes, pack up all the whining, the complaining and the troubles ‘in your old kit bag’, and savour the joys of liberty and freedom, which remain only a distant dream for many in a pitiless world.
Look for the silver lining
06 - 07
Sunday, 14 August, 2011
From page 1
modicum of political stability and consistent economic policies is upheld. But, on the whole, our business and trading classes, along with our senior bureaucrats will have much to answer for in the court of Heaven. The bureaucrats behave with even more curtness towards the general public than their Raj predecessors, but unlike the latter, are mostly lazy and corrupt, seeking shortcuts to success in their careers by selling their souls to their political masters. And, apart from regularly overlooking to pay their due taxes, the captains of industry and big business have (with some honourable exceptions), exhibited a Scrooge-like miserliness in ploughing back some of their enormous profits to their society by funding universities, museums, libraries and other social uplift projects for the less fortunate. Sad to say, even the monopoly-oriented ‘robber-barons’ with their dubious money making methods, who built up the industrial and economic might of America in the nineteenth century (like the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts and the Carnegies), gave up most of
their wealth to social, cultural and educational causes in later life, much as Bill Gates is doing today. However, the most ruthless are the power-drunk feudal lords, whose shameful deeds in the rural districts are well documented by the television channels, and who look down upon the ‘bloody civilians’ (whom they refer to as ‘kammis’) with as much contempt as you know who, and also forbear to pay any tax whatsoever on their astronomical incomes. Also a matter of deep concern are the repercussions of the over a decade old war on terror and the uncertain geo-political situation, unemployment, the abject neglect of education and its upshot, bigotry and religious extremism, the frightening law and order situation, the bloody turf war in Karachi, the apparition of sectarianism, the lack of health and hygiene facilities, and the financially dehydrated condition of huge public sector organizations (formerly enterprises) such as the Pakistan Railways and the Pakistan International Airlines, among a host of others. The latter are a dying testimony to the mammoth
“There’s an error in my bill. You accidentally sent it to someone who has no money.”
closing bell GARFIELD
The spread shows that you might be starting to think about the possibility of moving forward. It is a good idea to start thinking about your future home. Try to explore your options without involving a whole lot of other people. Realize that your goals and ambitions could be within reach if you are willing to work hard and more carefully.
You may be on the verge of making some changes regarding some work or health issues. You could be very close to taking some decisive steps forward, but just be aware that the moment to leap into action may not have arrived just yet. You could be receiving some very interesting news before the end of this week.
Advertising professionals will have to take some bold initiatives to gain good results. Your quick decisions coupled with strong determination would definitely bring success. Keep yourself engaged in helping others to drive out your loneliness and solitude, this would develop a sense of cooperation in your besides bringing the joy.
This is a good week from health angle as too much workload may not even tire you. Continue care for your health. But you need to take a complete rest to regain your energy that would be a perfect solution of aching limbs and frenzied mind.
Spread indicates that work will be frustrating since no progress is likely on any front. Do not feel a failure just recognize that achievements will come later on. Don't be wary about what you might discover. Remain open minded to all the various possibilities and options that should be available to you.
The spread shows that everything should start picking up speed, including some opportunities for additional education or training that could help to prepare you for a much better future. Take the time to carefully examine your most important relationships.
Some personal and financial issues may seem a little up in the air this week, and you might be called upon to be a little more flexible and adaptable than usual. If certain loved ones seem to be giving you a bit of a hard time, just be sure that you exhibit grace under pressure and try to keep moving forward.
Your spread indicates that you will be little emotional early in this week, but things should start to settle down. Lots of new relationship and partnership opportunities could be crossing your path, so pay attention and make sure you are prepared to leap into action.
Spread indicates that you may be feeling that others are a little more in control of your destiny. Realize that few things could be changing, particularly around your workplace, and you ought to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities to improve your situation.
The spread indicates that your dynamism would help you to achieve your goals. It could also open new avenues for success/career enhancement. Make some serious efforts to keep your love fresh like precious things. You can accomplish the most by keeping your eye on the future and trying to move things forward.
Spread indicates that you may have some little fears in the back of your mind, but you need to put any uncertainties to rest. Just try to proceed as if there are no problems or doubts. You can probably accomplish a lot if you just focus on what really needs to get done.
Your spread indicates that family matters will probably be occupying your attention much more than anything else. You are bound to want to spend some time with your family and might even think about having a few people over to your house. Spend as much time with your family as you can right now.
1. the deep 2. again 3. leader 5. upheaval 6. border 7. plea 8. revulsion 9. useless 13 dishonest 15. aim 16. detest 19. that is… 20. cut 21. mantric word 22. malfunction 25. depraved 29. in motion 31. incursion 32. diseased 33. slay 35. amends 36. birds 40. acronym. rupee 42. not 43. signal 44. acronym. Energy transfer partners 48. acronym. House of lords
Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, column and each of the squares contains all the digits. The object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once.
chESS White to play and mate in 3 moves 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 A
1. slumber 4. burning city 10. plunge 11. before a vowel 12. perform 14. unskilled 16. before noon 17. acronym. Extended play 18. backhander 20. couch 23. sticky black substance 24. useless minister 26. acronym. Opportunistic infection 27. repulse 28. attack 30. old 31. madness 34. terrible 37. couple 38. trepidation 39. shred 41. supremacy 45. and others 46. acronym. Naval engineer 47. adolescent 49. defy 50. substitute
how to pLAy
SixTY FOur YEarS TOO Small a TimE FOr a NaTiON TO DEvElOp BuT GOOD ENOuGH TO SHOw wHaT iT iS maDE OF
1.Nf7+ Rxf7 2.Ne5 Bd6 [2...Rff8 3.Rxc7] 3.Rxc7 wins *
Sunday, 14 August, 2011
Pictures by the Author
Jewel in the Crown With the advent of British influence, the Nawab was quick to learn modern ways. One of these was to build a summer getaway
By Salman Rashid
nder the p l a c i d waters of the lake formed by the damming of the Sindhu River at Tarbela, there repose, among others, the water-logged remains of two ancient settlements. The one called Amb on the west bank and the other Darband on the east. It was from Darband that the chief of Amb ruled over a largish fiefdom that spread partly along the west bank of the Sindhu and largely on the east side. The plain area of modern Haripur district east of the river being known as Tanaval, the family favours the cognomen of Tanoli for itself. Their own history, fawning and full of flaws and misrepresentations (not unsurprisingly written by a Tanoli), makes them conflictingly either Pukhtuns from the vicinity of Ghazni or Turks of the Barlas sub-clan. In both cases it takes the line back to the prophet Joseph as an explanation for their good looks. Painting the family in the most glories of martial colours, this document brings the Tanoli family to the trans-
Sindhu territories about four hundred years ago. Having taken over the level tract of Haripur district, the family, it is recorded named it after Tanal, a mountain pass between Kabul and Ghazni. Interestingly, all of the several maps (both modern and from the 19th century) consulted for confirmation of the existence of this pass turned up blanks. It consequently appears that the name Tanaval pre-dated the arrival of this family and that they simply took the name from the area. The Gazetteer of the Hazara District-1883, looks upon the Tanolis as a peaceable and industrious agricultural lot. It also says that they make ‘fair soldiers.’ The extensive Glossary of Tribes, Castes and Clans of Ibbestson, Maclagan and Rose while agreeing with the Gazetteer regarding the Tanolis’ habits, makes them neither Pukhtun nor Turk, but Aryans of Indian stock and Olaf Caroe (The Pathans), similarly places them unequivocally outside the Pukhtun circle. Be that as it may, there is no reason to doubt that the Tanolis have held the area of Tanaval for close on four centuries. Their seat of power was at Darband on the east bank of the Sindhu, but with the growth of Sikh power under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and their farranging sallies, the seat was moved to Amb to use the river as a barrier. Although there are no 19th century or earlier travellers’ accounts of Darband and Amb, the Tanolis tell tales of two fairly impressive little towns. In June 1841 when the
Tanolis under Painda Khan were fighting against the Sikhs under Arbel Singh, a mighty flood swept down the Sindhu River. While it obliterated a Sikh encampment near the fort of Attock, it also washed away both Amb and Darband. This was on the second day of June and nearly two decades later Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen was to confirm that the Biafo Glacier in Baltistan having extended itself across the Braldu River (that emanates from the Baltoro Glacier), had dammed up the river creating a small lake. When the dam burst, a huge wall of water went roaring down the gorge of the Sindhu destroying everything that stood in its way. Evidently the revenue of the Nawab of Amb was sizeable for shortly after this cataclysm, both the destroyed towns were rebuilt. Little did he known that in a hundred and thirty years these towns would again be laid low by the filling up of the Tarbela reservoir. But back then, with the advent of British influence, the Nawab was quick to learn modern
ways. One of these was to build a summer getaway. It is not hard to imagine that one midsummer a passing British bigwig entertained by Nawab Akram Khan commented on the stifling heat of Darband. Smack on the river bank and at a height of no more than five hundred metres above the sea, it would indeed have been a rather muggy sort of place. The spot for the appropriate summer retreat was quickly pinpointed: outside the little village of Shergarh on one of the byways leading from Darband to the Kashmir highlands. Here at a height of about 1600 metres above the sea, in a rolling landscape amid fine stands of blue pine, was
an old fort where the Tanolis kept a small garrison. The fort, so ordained Nawab Akram Khan, was to be reordered into a residential palace. The family maintains no records of expenditure, architects, masons, time of beginning and completion of this project or any other detail. In one of the rooms, however, a broken marble plaque records another similar construction project. In Nastaliq script it mentions in Urdu the name of the ‘Builder and Supervisor,’ as Rahim Baksh Overseer Gujrati. The bottom line records the commencement of the project in 1935, but for some strange reason the year of completion
is obliterated as if on purpose. Nawabzada Jehangir Khan, the custodian of this romantic place, says the elders used to mention one Rahim Baksh Bhatti as a builder long associated with the family. He does not know however where the plaque was actually installed. The year 1935 was the advent of the reign of the last chief of Amb, Major Sir Farid Khan. The broken plaque therefore refers to some work undertaken on his orders. Though the family is not certain, it appears that the portion known as the Raees Khana or hostel for the Nawab’s guests and above it the dera where he entertained them was constructed at this time. Sir Farid Khan ruled until 1969 when the country’s princely states were abolished. The revenue and judicial system of Amb was amalgamated with the State of Pakistan. The family was only permitted to retain their properties. –Salman Rashid, rated as the best in the country, is a travel writer and photographer who has travelled all around Pakistan and written about his journeys.
Published on Aug 12, 2011
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