Jimmy Engineer: The artist, his inner voice, the lion story and a dream

Jimmy Engineer stands with protestors at the 4th monthly remembrance for Peshawar school massacre, in Boston. Photo: Ehsun Mirza

Jimmy Engineer stands with protestors at the 4th monthly remembrance for Peshawar school massacre, in Boston. Photo: Ehsun Mirza

An article I wrote for The News on Sunday about the artist, humanitarian and peace worker Jimmy Engineer, The artist and more, May 3, 2015. Reproduced here with additional links and photos.

“There is a long list of people who are activists and who take up causes who get killed. It’s an endless list, and it’s a senseless list,” says Jimmy Engineer.

I’m talking to this Pakistani artist and philanthropist on the phone, having him met a few times in the Boston area. Based in Karachi, he’s visiting the USA, currently in Houston where his parents live. I’ve called to ask if he heard about the murder of activist-entrepreneur Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi.

He puts the tragedy in perspective as part of the perennial struggle between good and evil. “There will always be those who try to improve things and raise a voice to create awareness. There will always be those who want to destroy them. This happens everywhere in the world. Nature also takes its toll. Along with all the positive, there’s always a negative, like the Nepal earthquake.”

Sabeen herself well understood herself and exemplified this philosophy, accepting that negativity and evil exist but yet continuing to strive to do what is possible on a personal level. Life is a never-ending struggle and we each need to do what we can. Continue reading

India, Pakistan: Build on goodwill, not hate

A student in Chennai prays for those killed in Peshawar. Schools across India held a two-minute silence on Wednesday. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/ PTI

A student in Chennai prays for those killed in Peshawar. Schools across India held a two-minute silence on Wednesday. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/ PTI

I wrote this for The News on Sunday’s Jan 11, 2015 issue:

Build on goodwill, not hate

In the wake of escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, people on both sides of the border continue to express solidarity through peace initiatives

In an unprecedented and heart-warming gesture from India to Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Modi requested schools in his country to observe a two-minute silence to commemorate the children and teachers killed in the horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on Dec 16, 2014.

In another unprecedented, spontaneous show of solidarity, Indians began tweeting with the hashtag #IndiaWithPakistan, started by Indian columnist Tehseen Poonawala who tweets from the handle @tehseenp. …  [Read more]

 

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).

Continue reading

Dr Khalil Chishty is back home – three cheers for candle-light peaceniks

Ajmer: Dr Chishty talks with his family after his release from jail in Ajmer on May 9, 2012. PTI Photo

A post by my Delhi-based journalist friend Shivam Vij in Kafila but he modestly leaves out his own role in this – it was his idea to get President Zardari briefed about the Dr Chishty case before he left for Ajmer. Thanks to Farahnaz Ispahani for getting the information to President Zardari, following up via Bilawal Bhutto who accompanied the President, and ensured that the matter came up when they met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It was after this meeting and their discussion of the case that things began moving forward. Perhaps that was what gave the Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court of India the confidence to make this unprecedented judgement – though not without cautioning that it should not be seen as a precedent! Shivam’s Kafila piece: Dr Khalil Chishty is back home – three cheers for candle-light peaceniks.

Mumbai journalists visit Pakistan: a sign of hope; a warm welcome but no cellphone roaming

Mumbai for Peace: "SAY NO TO TERROR AND WAR! SAY NO TO VIOLENCE!"

Below, my comment in The News about the forthcoming visit of Indian journalists to Pakistan (The News also carried this report on their visit based on their press statement). As I wrote earlier, just one of these journalists has ever visited Pakistan before. A CORRECTION to my comment below: the Mumbaikars who formed the human chain on Dec 12, 2008 numbered not in the ‘hundreds’  but thousands. “Nearly 60,000 people including several celebrities… formed a 50 km long ‘human chain for peace’,” according to this report in The Indian Express (I found it after filing my story). One of the people behind this event, organised by ‘Mumbai for Peace’, was the journalist Jatin Desai, spokesman for the current delegation to Pakistan.

Situationer: Mumbai journalists’ visit: yet another sign of hope

 By Beena Sarwar

 The journalists from Mumbai landing in Karachi on Monday will arrive to a warm welcome – and no cell phone roaming. India and Pakistan both deny this facility that millions today take for granted, to each other, as foreign correspondents, businesspeople and others who travel in the region know all too well. Continue reading

Rajasthan Home Secretary, PUCL, join hands for Dr Chishty

PUCL General Secretary Kavita Srivastava: fighting for a cause

Note: Report compiled from information sent by Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary PUCL, to Dr Chishty’s family and those engaged in working for his release.

With the sympathetic involvement of the Government of Rajasthan and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), hope rises for a Pakistani prisoner, retired virologist Dr Khaleel Chishty, 78, who has been under trial for nearly 19 years before an Ajmer sessions court finally pronounced sentence in January this year, convicting him to life imprisonment (14 years). Continue reading

Aman ki Asha and a daughter’s appeal

Ajmer, Jan 2011: Unable to walk, Dr Chishty is carried to the courtroom. Photo: TOI

In humanity’s name: Aman ki Asha has been campaigning for clemency towards cross-border prisoners – young boys who stray across by mistake or in search of ‘Bollywood’, fishermen who cross the maritime border, families who have committed minor transgressions, long-term prisoners incarcerated for years on either side, until their story is taken up by human rights activists and media…. See articles compiled at the Aman ki Asha website at the link ‘In humanity’s name‘. Four articles, including the one below, published today, available at this link.

A campaign is building up in India for the release of an elderly retired Pakistani professor detained for over 19 years

By Beena Sarwar Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: