Masood Hasan: A man who represented all that is good and decent

Masood HasanGrieved to have had to write this. Published in The News today.

Columnist, humourist, cricket and jazz buff, advertising doyen and connoisseur of the finer things in life Masood Hasan, 72, passed away in his beloved Lahore on Sunday, June 1.

Sunday was the day of his popular column ‘Over the Top’ in the op-ed page of The News, where it has been published since the launch of weekly The News on Sunday (originally The News on Friday) in 1994. Continue reading

Want to help families displaced by the Badami Bagh attack? Here’s how…

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

This family refuse a tent so they can squat in front of their home. Photo: Nadia Jamil

In the midst of the despair and anger caused by the insane, cold-blooded attack on the Christians of Joseph Colony (also known as Esa Nagri), in Badami Bagh Lahore, it is heartening to see Pakistanis come together not just to unequivocally condemn the attack, but also to help those who have lost everything. Please join this effort. Friends that I trust are working with the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, run by Cecil and Michelle, whose father the late Sqdn Ldr Cecil Chaudhry I knew as a wonderful human being, and a dedicated peace activist and educationist (although he was more famous for being a war hero). Please see below for information on how to help, as well as photos and updates. Continue reading

“They looted everything, we have nothing left”

RT @Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

@Norbalm: Where are the blasphemy charges now?

“Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack…”
King Lear

See this brief, heartbreaking video below documenting the damage done by the criminal mob at Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, Lahore. All efforts must be made to rehabilitate them and provide them with justice. When is enough enough? Or have we still not reached the breaking point? Also see my earlier article on the ‘blasphemy’ laws and the dangers of ignoring malicious intent when accusing someone of this crime.


Joseph Colony Arson Attack from Saad Sarfraz Sheikh on Vimeo.

Planned attack on Christian properties in Lahore; protest demonstrations Sunday

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians' homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Demonstration in Karachi against the attack on Christians’ homes in Lahore. AP Photo/Fareed Khan

Another day, another bout of madness in Pakistan. On Saturday, a mob torched Christian houses in Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, after allegations of ‘blasphemy’ against one of its residents. This was clearly no spontaneous ‘riot’ but a well-planned and orchestrated move. Because of the warnings received ahead of time, the residents were evacuated so that there was no loss of life (though the alleged blasphemer’s 65-year old father was beaten up). Small mercies.

Locals say that the land mafia was behind this attack. No surprise. Malafide motives (property, debt, rivalry etc) have been behind all accusations of ‘blasphemy’ investigated so far. Continue reading

A Hundred Years of Manto

Great post by the Indian journalist and blogger Shivam Vij in Kafila.org, compiling information from several articles, interviews and videos:  ‘A Hundred Years of Manto‘. Excerpt:

Where would we be without Manto? He died in 1955 but lives on in the hearts of millions of people in both Pakistan in India because his work has by now helped generations understand, and if I may say so, come to terms with the Partition of 1947 whose ghosts haven’t left us yet. Manto’s centrality in understanding Partition remains despite a growing body of historical research on the subject…

Good news from Pakistan (besides the Oscar award): LUMS to create Abdus Salam Chair

Exciting news from Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of LUMS – for those who don’t know him, Dr. Adil Najam was the Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy at Boston University and served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), work for which the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore. He left BU (where his office had the most gorgeous view overlooking the Charles River) to head the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Continue reading

Once more for the Spinal Beetle and Southasia connectivity

Spinal Beetle with its Nepali eyes arrives in Pakistan

Here’s the latest report of the Southasian journey undertaken recently by my friend, civil rights activist, writer and journalist (editor Himal SouthasianKanak Mani Dixit, his wife Shanta (a teacher) and son Eelum (an actor, and yes, his name derives from ‘ilm’ which means knowledge, named by his dada, Kanak’s father who is a prominent writer).

Eelum, Kanak and Shanta Dixit: A great drive

The family started their 1100-mile odyssey in Kathmandu, Nepal, ending in Peshawar, Pakistan, to raise funds and awareness about the need for spinal injury rehabilitation. Those who have been following this issue would know that Kanak injured his spine in a trekking accident a decade ago. He survived, making a near miraculous recovery, and started the Spinal Centre Nepal in 2002, inaugurated by the late Sir Edmund Hillary. The coverage they’ve got on this journey has helped publicize their drive tremendously but the required funds have not arrived, and they are well short of their target. This is a personal appeal. Please donate what you can for this important cause. And do read this riveting account of their journey, includes important insights and information… Continue reading

A Spinal Beetle update: striking a blow for Southasian land connectivity

Kanak collecting the earth from Fatehgarh Sahib outside Sialkot, the childhood village of 96-year-old Barkat Singh 'Pahalwan' of Jalandar, India at his special request.

I’m sure the Dixits – Kanak, Shanta and Eelum – have soon share photos, video and stories about their Spinal Beetle fundraising drive from Kathmandu to Peshawar but meanwhile, this brief update.

Many things about their journey were striking and moving. There’s the romance of driving from Kathmandu via Lucknow, Delhi, Agra, Amritsar, Lahore and Rawalpindi to Peshawar, much of it along the ancient Grand Trunk Road that dates back to the Maurya Empire (3rd century BC), later extended by Sher Shah Suri in the 16h century, from Calcutta to Kabul. Continue reading

Update and info: The Great Nepal-India-Pakistan Spinal Beetle Fund-raising Drive

The President graciously comes down to meet the people who came to see the Beetle off / SpinalNepal fb page

Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav flagged off the Spinal Beetle on its journey this morning. Great photos here. Below: the press note with planned itinerary and local contacts in India and Pakistan:

After his near miraculous recovery from a spinal  injury in 2001, Kanak Mani Dixit, a prominent journalist and civil rights  activist in Kathmandu started Nepal’s first Spinal Injury Rehabilitation  Centre, together with friends and family. The Centre, inaugurated by the late  Sir Edmund Hillary in 2002, runs entirely on private funding. It now needs to increase its service from 38 beds to 51. “The Great Nepal-India-Pakistan  Spinal Beetle Fund-raising Drive” (1100 miles)  - and all for a good cause – is being made on a 1973  Volkswagen Beetle, raising funds at USD 100 per mile. Continue reading

The Great Nepal-India-Pakistan Spinal Beetle Rally: A SouthAsian fundraising drive (literally)

A small car with a big task

Calling all those interested in post-disaster care, spinal injury, Southasian connectivity, people-to-people contact, VW Beetles…! 

Kanak Mani Dixit, a journalist (Editor of Himal Southasian) and civil rights activist, made a near-miraculous recovery from a spinal injury received during a trekking accident in Nepal.

Kanak being arrested at a pro-democracy rally in Nepal, 2006. Photo by Shehab Uddin

Being Kanak, he threw his considerable energy and vision to launch a Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Nepal, inaugurated in 2002 by none other than the late, great Sir Edmund Hillary (facebook page SpinalNepal; twitter: @spinalnepal).

Kanak’s latest attempt to raise funds for the project as well as build linkages with like-minded institutions in Southasia is: The Great Nepal-India-Pakistan Spinal Beetle Rally
A fundraising drive across SouthAsia for spinal injury rehabilitation
USD 100 per mile, a journey of 1100 miles
Starting Nov 4, 2011: Kathmandu-Lucknow-Delhi-Amritsar-Lahore-Rawalpindi-Peshawar

Details >>… Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 492 other followers

%d bloggers like this: