Posted on June 12, 2016 by beenasarwar
My column in Himal Southasian, published 10 June 2016 – Harsh Mander on why we should raise our voice against injustice
By Beena Sarwar
Harsh Mander: Committed, consistent and soft-spoken. Photo: Beena Sarwar
Cross-border solidarity isn’t exactly a new idea. The rallying cry, “Proletarians of all countries, unite!…” that emerged in 1848 from The Communist Manifesto has resounded around the globe in many forms since it was first articulated.
Meeting Harsh Mander, one of India’s foremost activist-intellectuals and a courageous former civil servant, again revived the idea for me, but this time, beyond workers. I had first met the soft-spoken Mander in Karachi, when I worked for Geo TV. He had been part of a small delegation from India visiting Pakistan in early 2004, a visit aimed at improving understanding between India and Pakistan, organised by the social-cultural group Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD). Continue reading
Filed under: Freedom of expression, Gujarat 2002, Human rights | Tagged: #StandWithJNU, anhad, Arundhati Roy, Bhaghat Singh, gujarat 2002, harsh mander, Islamophobia, JNU, Modi, Trump | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 23, 2015 by beenasarwar
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]
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: #IndiaWithPakistan, #PakWithIndiaNoToLakhviBail, 26/11, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Ahmed Shaikh, APS attack, Dear Neighbour Movement, Jatin Desai, lakhvi, Modi, Mumbai attack, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, peace calendar, peshawar, Praveen Swami, Raja Muzaffar, Tehseen Poonawala, terror boat, two-minute silence in India schools, velfie | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 29, 2014 by beenasarwar
Manoj Mitta speaking at MIT. Credit: Beena Sarwar
– As senior Indian journalist Manoj Mitta was testifying before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress last month about mass violence and impunity in India, President Barack Obama escorted India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Martin Luther King Memorial.
“They were just three miles away,” Mitta told IPS, commenting on the irony of this coincidence, remembering that the United States had banned Modi’s entry on the mass violence on his watch in 2002 leading to the killing of about 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat state. Continue reading
Filed under: Gujarat 2002, Human rights | Tagged: 1984 Sikh carnage, 2002 Gujarat, Human rights, impunity, inquiry commission, Kultar's Mime, Manoj Mitta, Modi, rule of law | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 17, 2014 by beenasarwar
Pakistan has a million Malalas: My interview in Times of India, Oct 15, 2014
Beena Sarwar is a Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker. As an Indian and Pakistani together win 2014’s Nobel peace prize, Sarwar spoke with Anahita Mukherji about the joint award, tension at the LoC – and how Pakistan has a million Malalas:
Will Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel inspire more Pakistanis now — and enable her to return to Pakistan? Continue reading
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: democracy, democratic political process, dharna, India, LoC firing, Malala, Modi, Pakistan, Sharif | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 6, 2014 by beenasarwar
Ashis Nandy: incisive, if controversial
As the hoopla and hype about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s triumphalist trip to the USA and United Nations General Assembly dies down, this may be a good time to re-visit Indian politics from another angle. The online publication Scroll.in recently published an interview of the noted political psychologist Ashis Nandy about his views on Modi. Good and bad. Worth reading in full; here’s an extract:
Q. The Swachhta pledge doesn’t even mention open defecation, which is a huge problem. Doesn’t this mean his campaign emphasises on urban priorities and is guided by a certain sense of aesthetics?
A. Absolutely. What will the foreigners think? What will NRIs think? How would they feel when they go to these areas and feel a sense of inferiority about their country? He is brightening the face of the NRIs, as the Bengali saying goes. This is an NRI government. The NRI consciousness dominates this government. Continue reading
Filed under: Satire | Tagged: Ashis Nandi, badri raina, expats, Modi, NRIs, Scroll.in, UNGA | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 26, 2014 by beenasarwar
May 25, , Puri beach, Odisha: Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik’s image of India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made in sand, with the message ” Peace gets a chance’.
I don’t have any great expectations from Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Delhi for PM designate Modi’s inauguration but it’s good that he’s going (despite all the pressures) and that contact is being initiated. Hopefully this contact will lead to steps being taken to implement agreements that have already been signed (re: trade, travel) that are in limbo. In that spirit, a re-plug for the Aman ki Asha petition against visa restrictions. Please sign and share if you haven’t already. Also, a very positive step ahead of the Modi-Sharif meeting is that, as a goodwill gesture, Pakistan has ordered the release of over 150 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, from Pakistani prisons. And for the first time, they are also releasing fishing boats. This is the first time in years that any side has decided to release fishing boats – kudos to Pakistan for taking the lead in this direction.
PIPFPD welcomes fishermen’s release, participation of Sharif in Modi’s swearing in ceremony
Modi’s invitation to Nawaz Sharif – a welcome move: Justice Markandey Katju Continue reading
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: boats, fishermen, fishing boats, India, Modi, Pakistan, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, PIPFPD, Sharif | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 17, 2013 by beenasarwar
In this important article sent for publication to this blog, Justice Katju argues that those clamouring for Narendra Modi must realise that equal respect and treatment for all communities is the only way forward, and appeals to Indians to not make the same mistake which Germans made in 1933 by electing Hitler. Continue reading
Filed under: Gujarat 2002 | Tagged: ehsan jafri, gujarat, katju, Modi, Zakia Jafri | Leave a comment »