India, personally…

Fishing in Troubled Waters, launched in Delhi, Aug 13, 2013

Fishing in Troubled Waters, launched in Delhi, Aug 13, 2013

Update: See ‘A half-full glass‘ on the Singh-Sharif meeting at UNGA (and the ‘dehati aurat’ brouhaha), published in the Aman ki Asha page in The News on Oct 2, and in my column at TOI blogs.

This is a long-pending post, compiling articles, video and photo links (below) following my recent, brief trip to India at a time when tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) were running high. The Programme for Social Action (PSA) and the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) had invited me to a seminar on Aug 13, where they launched two publications. (I took the direct Karachi-Delhi PIA flight both ways, which has since then been discontinued — apparently not enough traffic because it’s so difficult to get visas; credit where credit is due – PIA is the only Southasian airline to fly to all the regional capitals and more).

Siachen bk

Siachen – End to the Impasse? (wishful thinking, but have to keep working for it), launched in Delhi, Aug 13, 2013

The panel included Mani Shankar Aiyer, Karamat Ali, Bharat Bhushan, fisherfolk representatives and Motup Chewang from the Siachen area – see report at the SACW website, and reports in Economic Times and The Hindu. (Sadly, Balraj Kumar, President of the PIPFPD Delhi chapter, who had made the closing remarks, passed away recently, just before the national convention last month. Still looking for photos of him).

The following day Karamat and I went to talk to students at Ramjas College (Delhi University) about “Democratic Transition in Pakistan: Implications for Indo-Pak Relations” for a series on South Asia. I also gave a talk and participated in a discussion at the Observer Research Foundation later. Below, some articles I wrote subsequently:

Karamat Ali at Ramjas College

Karamat Ali at Ramjas College

My monthly column in Hard News, India about the fishermen issue, Look at life from both sides now; in monthly Newsline, Pakistan For Humanity’s Sake, written at the end of August about the ongoing tensions at the Line of Control. A column for The News, also published later in the Times of India blogs and other places – India, Personally

Senior journalist and old friend Bharat Bhushan (who presented an excellent paper at the PSA seminar on how to resolve the Sir Creek dispute and the fisherfolk arrest issue) had invited me to participate in India’s World, a half hour long show he hosts for Rajya Sabha TV (Incidentally, this is something Pakistan should look at, and perhaps emulate). This episode was on how the Line of Control in Kashmir has become the Line of Conflict.

IE Aug 25 2013 Idea ExchangeIndian Express editor Shekhar Gupta invited me to participate in their Ideas Exchange series. The discussion was later published as a full page interview headlined ‘Modi’s rise is being seen with as much apprehension in Pakistan as you guys see Hafiz Saeed’, a title which drew much flak from Modi supporters. Here’s the op-ed I wrote in response, ‘The Other, for us and them‘, standing by my statement but also examining the cause of the knee jerk reactions, which I argued were due to the black-and-white, rather than nuanced view of each other that Indians and Pakistanis often perforce hold, due to lack of interaction and understanding.

I took the overnight train to Allahabad and participated in a seminar organised by the PIPFPD (see photos at this link). More on that trip later. Meanwhile, here are some short videos I took from my cell phone during the seminar.

Prof. Lalit Joshi on India Pakistan relations and role of the youth- Allahabad, Aug 15, 2013 from beena sarwar on Vimeo.

Prof. Alok Rai on India Pakistan relations, Allahabad, Aug 2013 from beena sarwar on Vimeo.

Utpala Shukla and Anshu Malviya – India Pakistan peace seminar, Allahabad, 2013 from beena sarwar on Vimeo.

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