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Rickshaw and truck poetry from Pakistan

My old friend Raza Bokhari sent me these golden lines used by our rickshaw & truck drivers to express their angst, emotion and sense of humour in a hostile environment. Before I post them, a little on the image on the right (borrowed from
The rickshaw on the right has street poetry on love, trust, doubt, prayer and jealousy. There is a sale/discount incentive on the left. As a mark of respect, the Ustads (mentors who must have coached the driver or helped him procure the rickshaw are also mentioned on the bottom left and bottom right). […]
February 19th, 2010|Arts & Culture, Pakistan, Pakistani Art, Personal, South Asian Art|8 Comments

The Speech of Mr. Sris Chandra Chattopadhya (Opposition to Objectives Resolution, Constitutent Assembly of Pak, 12 March 1949)

This is a historic speech and a document that posterity will re-examine. Seldom has one piece of legislation caused so much trepidation. Thanks to my firebrand friend Usman Qazi, I got to read this speech that I had heard about from many people. Here is the  text of the address of  Sris Chandra Chattopadhya (Opposition to Objectives Resolution, Constitutent Assembly of Pak, 12 March 1949).

Mr. Sris Chandra Chattopadhya (East Bengal : General) : Mr. President, I thought, after my colleague, Mr. Bhupendra Kumar Datta, had spoken on the two amendments on behalf of the Congress Party, I would not take any part in this discussion. He appealed, he reasoned and made the Congress position fully clear, but after I heard some of the speakers from the majority party, viz, Muslim League Party, the manner in which they had interpreted the Resolution, it became incumbent on me to take part in this discussion.
I have heard Dr. Malik and appreciate his standpoint. He says that “we got Pakistan for establishing a Muslim State, and the Muslims suffered for it and therefore it was not desireable that anybody should speak against it”. I quite agree with him. He said; “If we establish a Muslim State and even if we become reactionaries, who are you to say anything against it?” That is a standpoint which I understand, but here there is some difficulty. We also, on this side, fought for the independence of the country. We worked for the independence of the entire country. When our erstwhile masters, Britishers, were practically in the mood of going away, the country was divided – one part became Pakistan and the other remained India. If in the Pakistan State there would have been only Muslims, the question would have been different. But there are some non-muslims also in Pakistan. When they wanted a division there was no talk of an exchange of population. If there was an exchange of population, there would have been an end of the matter, and Dr. Malik could establish his Pakistan in his own way and frame constitution accordingly. It is also true that the part of Pakistan in which Dr. Malik lives is denuded of non-Muslims. That is clear.
Dr. Omar Hayat Malik: On a point of order, Sir, I never said that. He has understood me quite wrongly.
Mr. Omar Hayat Malik: I never said that Pakistan was denuded of non-Muslims. My friend on the opposite has misunderstood me. […]

February 12th, 2010|governance, History, India-Pakistan History, Islam, Pakistan|4 Comments

Sub-Continent’s Berlin Wall

I am posting Shivani Mohan's article where I have been quoted with reference to the recent folklore festival held under the aegis of SAARC. Another piece on the folk performances can be accessed here. This fortnight saw the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. So liberating and decisive, when a vast multitude of people chose to see sense and forget trifles that generally incense mankind, when the similarities between two peoples became more important than the differences; when cultural affinity conquered meaningless rivalry

November 22nd, 2009|Arts & Culture, Guest Writer|0 Comments

Of saints and sinners

James Astill writing for the Economist says that the Islam of the Taliban is far removed from the popular Sufism practised by most South Asian Muslims

Declan Walsh

“NORMALLY, we cannot know God,” says Rizwan Qadeer, a neat and amiable inhabitant of Lahore, Western-dressed and American-educated, eyes shining behind his spectacles. “But our saints, they have that knowledge.” […]

January 2nd, 2009|Sindh, Sufi poetry, Sufism|13 Comments

Is it just cricket? Indian team should have come to Pakistan

“The tour’s cancellation means that terrorists have won; this is what they wanted to achieve.”

I was quoted in a piece published by Hindustan Times

Cricket is not just a game. It is also a standard to measure the tense relationship between India and Pakistan at any given moment. With India’s tour of Pakistan being called off, fans have been deprived of a rollicking good time. But not many players are complaining. The reason being the Mumbai terror attack. […]

December 21st, 2008|India, Indo Pak peace, Journalism, Peace|4 Comments

Raza Rumi on NQR Radio

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by DCMediaGirl and co-host Nail ‘em Up by NoQuarter Radio . Got a chance to rant on several issues here. The recording is available here.

Slightly narcisstic of me post it here – but then you can choose to ignore..

October 30th, 2008|India-Pakistan History, Personal|2 Comments

Delhi and Islamabad blasts: Deadly tale of two cities

A reader directed me to this lovely post.
13/09/08: A series of bomb blasts ripped through the crowded market places of Delhi claiming a number of lives and shattering the lives of many survivors.
20/09/08: A powerful bomb blasts takes place outside Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani city of Islamabad. From initial news coming out explosive laden dumper truck has wreaked this havoc. Some 40 people have already been declared dead.
If it were not for the difference in the Hindi and Urdu ticker running at the bottom of the television screen one could have mistaken scenes of one city’s mayhem for the others. Before Delhi it was Ahemdabad in India and Peshawar/Karachi in Pakistan.
September 23rd, 2008|Indo Pak peace|1 Comment