Flood relief: Beyond politics

Article published in Aman ki Asha page, Aug 25, 2010

Beyond politics

It is heartening to see efforts by Indians and others around the world to help Pakistan in its hour of need

Even as the deadliest floods in living memory rage across Pakistan – affecting more people than the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2006 Asian tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined – tensions between India and Pakistan can still obstruct efforts to help those in need. With over 20 million people affected – more than the population of Australia or several European nations – and about a quarter of Pakistan under water, some people still find time to play politics.

When India generously offered $5 million to Pakistan, cyberspace and media pundits exploded with negative comments. From Pakistan came comments like: “Too little too late” and “Pakistan should not accept because of the bloodbath in Kashmir”. From India came: “The PM should withdraw the offer if Pakistan doesn’t immediately accept it”, and “India should not offer aid to Pakistan because they sponsor terrorism”.

It is to the credit of both governments that they did not succumb to this pressure. Meanwhile, Indians at home and abroad, as well as others, are increasingly stepping up on a private level to help out with flood relief efforts in Pakistan. Continue reading

PERSONAL POLITICAL: Welcome home Mr Ghanshyam

Kathak dancer Babar with his Ustad Sheema's Ustad Mr Ghanshyam, and Iqbal Alavi of Irtiqa Institute for Social Sciences at the last day of Tlism. photo: beena sarwar

Karachi, March 27, 2010 – Personal Political column for Hardnews, India

Beena Sarwar

One thing is for sure. Life is never dull in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at the last minute backtracked from his support to the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Talk about bursting a bubble. Continue reading

Dance, drama and literature festivals, Karachi

Below, details of two exciting and significant cultural events in Karachi starting this weekend (for more events, visit the Danka website)


Venue: Arts Council Karachi. All programmes will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Rs 300/- available at venue (also has food and handicraft stalls). Contact Tehrik-e-Niswan tel: +92-21-35857190 email: tehrik@gmail.com. Programme details at Tehrik website,- also copied below. The festival is a tribute to Mr Ghanshyam, who introduced generations of Pakistanis to dance and yoga. See Sheema’s note below.
And the KARACHI LITERATURE FESTIVAL, Mar 20-21, 2010, 10 am – 7 pm, Carlton Hotel (next to Creek Club, D.H.A. Karachi).
Evening Performances start at 9 pm at the Karachi Arts Council

TLISM: Sheema Kermani writes: “Mr Ghanshyam was my first dance teacher and it is to him that I owe the success of my career as a dancer and performer. I learnt not only many dance forms from Mr Ghanshyam but also learnt what goes into making a good performer, choreographer and director. For almost 35 years Mr and Mrs Ghanshyam ran their training institute in Karachi where Classical and Folk dance, Classical Vocal and Instrumental Music and Yoga were taught. In 1983 they were hounded out of the country and sought asylum abroad. They are returning to Pakistan and I want this Festival to be a tribute to them.” Continue reading

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