Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Refuse to Inherit The Hatred - India Pakistan Amity

My last post was about how I landed up at a meet discussing -India Pakistan Amity across the border .
Interesting bits from the panel discussion :
Javed Anand moderated the session.Faiyyaz Ahmed regaled the audience with his wit and shayari. Mr Mazhar a film maker spoke about the role of audio visual medium in projecting the sentiments from either sides. Films like Bol did make a bold statement he pointed out.We could not agree more.A brilliant film indeed !Mr Javed Anand and Mr Firoz Ashraf touched and explored the humane side of the society in India and Pakistan while Mr Nawazudden, and Mr.Surferaaz dissected the political scenario.

As I took the mike,I simply had to share my earliest memories with the audience ,when Pakistan was just a place in my backyard. As a very young child,during our summer vacations to a small town in Rajasthan,every morning we would hear our grandfather announce to no one in particular,-'Haan bhai, Pakistan ja kar aate hain zara' .This was before I was introduced to History and Geography , so for me, the toilet situated at the far end of the ancestral property WAS Pakistan. People had to visit Pakistan every single morning.

 We grew up surrounded by stories on partition,experienced the blackouts during 1971 war and the hatred swelled up to take the shape of an enormous giant.There was one thing which never failed to intrigue me though..the curiosity around a Pakistani in India .Oh! he is a Pakistani (suspicion), but he is so gentle,so talented (pleasant surprise) !  Mr Firoz Ashraf  spoke about similar experiences on  his visit to Pakistan and remembered fondly his interactions with the simple rural Pakistani folk in a remote village.Breaking bread with them he did not once feel that the human connect was broken anywhere..Another speaker however was not able to see it with rose tinted glasses and felt the tension while interacting with a group in Lahore.The fact is that the animosity  which took birth due to politics,echoed as popular public sentiment for years and politics fueled it further instead of diffusing it. 

Having said that, the issues between the two countries, have escalated to the point from where the return seems very difficult if not impossible.As Mr.Surferaaz said, -" Mayoos hain , naummeed nahin " I however disagree from the general opinion there,that of the countries becoming one again.A thick quilt of  suspicion,hatred and many betrayals has covered the region for decades.The naked face beneath the quilts is ugly and sadly no one wants to see it.Not yet ..

People in the meet talked about the famous wall that divided and united Germany .When it comes to us,it is not just  a concrete wall that separates the two countries. From where things stand today,the logistics will be very difficult to work out. We have, perched on our pretty noses,glasses with a dark tint of suspicion.Everything that the other does is viewed with suspicion.In such a scenario,obviously the administration will be worried. What if the lax visa rules are misused? We have suffered at the hands of global terrorism enough to know better and so has Pakistan. The hate campaign governed by politics on both sides is effective because there is hardly any interaction at  the common man's level.

 Extensive ,well planned cultural ,educational and music related tours need to be planned across the border . What ever this generation from either side knows about the issue,has been fed ,fodder laced with the deadly poison of hatred.Let the youth interact without the above mentioned agenda and the difference will be all too obvious.When people are matured and  sensitized to being open with each other without a trace of inherited malice,we can may be move and discuss the issues but we will see that there will be no need for such discussions anymore.The border will be just a line on the map.

I see hope when I hear my UK based friends sharing much more than language,physical features and food with their Pakistani friends.Once during  India Pakistan cricket match in UK, this group realized that supporters of one country in their group outnumbered the other .The mixed crowd split into two ,one supporting each country ,had their fun during the match and later, popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate the win together. Sugar laden story ? But true!
 I decided for myself one day , that I refuse to inherit the hatred , the anger and the animosity from my forefathers.My refusal to confine myself to a particular religion and rituals was a natural progression and came much later in life. I am playing my bit  in not passing on this inheritance  to my children and when they know not to hate..I am at peace to know that it shall not be carried to the generation hence.If every Indian and Pakistani decides to not pass on this inherited animosity to their descendants and if this continues unhindered for the next few generations both nations stand to only reap the benefits of peace in the region.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Saturday to remember.

Last Saturday was one of those special ones I have begun stealing lately for my soul from myself,where I am away from work doing something interesting other than dentistry ,my much loved profession.I received an invitation for a book launch at Observers research foundation Mumbai. The same day,we the spirited ladies at Indiblogeshwaris decided to meet for lunch and Friday I got invited to the formal launch of Vinspire ,a company promising to dedicate themselves towards transforming lives.Three different events back to back at three different venues across Mumbai .I felt suddenly very important .I consider myself more than lucky that it involved travelling in one direction starting from Juhu closer to where I live to Santacruz for lunch and then to Churchgate.

Half past ten in the morning, I reached Ramee Guestline hotel at Juhu and was pleasantly surprised to see that they started bang on time.Brownie points earned right at the beginning .A training initiative for teens,parents and teachers,Vinspire was being launched .The MC, a young girl began the journey followed by the founder members and then the mentor.The cheif guests,Juhi Babbar and Anup Soni unveiled the logo and  launched the website.Juhi and Anup both spoke very well ,keeping the talk crisp and to the point. Everything went well till one of the speakers decided to hijack the mike and I thought,-there goes the schedule!! Some people just can not stop talking about themselves.How can a respected educationist stand on a public platform and brag about how much respect he/she gets from the society? Much as I would have loved to stay till the end and participate in their survey etc,I had to leave for my next appointment. I wished the lovely lady behind the endeavor. It is always a pleasure to see all the hard work turning a dream to reality. I  think that the idea is brilliant and wish they implement it well with the right amount of dedication,commitment and commerce. I will checkout a few workshops to sharpen my skills very soon.

It was the second day for the new driver on duty and I was a little apprehensive but thankfully all seemed okay on that front.For me,if I am not conscious of his driving,he is good.There was no parking around Willingdon  Gymkhana  and I must say that driver S was smart enough to find one with  ease a little further down the lane. One of  our earlier drivers  had put us through much embarrassment with his habit of leaving us in the lurch while he WITH  our car would drive back to our garage and doze off. After searching in vain and many missed calls later we would cab it home much to the amusement of others. Haan toh kaa karein saahib,parking nahin naa mila....bahoot paresaani ho gaya, dekhiyega.. !!

Sorry, I digressed ! Coming back to the much awaited lunch with IndiBlogeshwaries ,I reached in time for the fun afternoon. Although a topic for the meet, ( Zee explained this later ) namely,Women's empowerment was pre-decided to break the ice , there was no ice to begin with and as usual , as soon as the ladies met ,all hell broke loose.Giggles galore,we smoothly jumped from one topic to the other and time just flew .Vivacious V ,calm and serene C and Z ,evergreen S,pretty J quietly observant T and M,a gritty  blogger Aj and energetic and bubbly A made my day special.We felt 'empowered' without the talk actually and soon realized that the staff at the restaurant had begun winding had been shut, a few chairs were being stacked a little but very visible distance away,indicating that it was indeed time to close . Good food, good company,good conversation = bliss. Simple math  I like. It was 3.15pm and A assured that I could reach Churchgate in 45 min. I was not sure as more often than not,Mumbai traffic manages to delay you .We left together,A and I and giggled and gossiped some more in the car on our way to town .Lovely girl this A..

 My last,most important appointment was at 4pm and I was running 3min late. Thankfully, chai-paani was in progress as I entered. Could not even look at the food, having had enough for the day at lunch.Tea was forced into my hands by the organizers.Actually two books were to be launched by a father daughter duo.Veteran journalist and awe inspiring role model,Syed Firoz Ashraf's popular Hindi column compiled into a book 'Pakistan- nama' and his daughter Farhana's English debut novel 'My soil My soul'.  I was invited to read and review Farhana Ashraf's 'MySoil My soul'. I had bookmarked the paragraph and prepared myself for the event. I was to realize a few minutes later that I refuse to learn from my own past experiences .You see,when ever I have been well prepared and comfortable ,Murphy,my purana dushman, raises his  head .

This day was no different. with other dignitaries on the dais, the book was unveiled.The proud author spoke brilliantly and then a few dignitaries took the mike.The difference this time was simple yet stark, no one cared for the time.They were simply a treat to hear.The language,the poise,the absolute command over the subject and the in depth study ( research in fact) was amazing to say the least .I was completely lost when I heard my name being called out as one of the panelists about to discuss India Pakistan Amity- across borders. I was ushered to my seat on the dais and I had no time to think while things moved fast and furious around me.
 What happened next and how I was enlightened after I heard the stalwarts,  is a subject matter of another post altogether.
I shall write and share ....very soon.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

हसरतें Hasratein

हसरतें जज़्बा-ए-इश्क गर तो इश्क जुज्व -ए-हस्ती है 
मिलने का क्या रोना यारों बस फ़ुर्कत इश्क की मस्ती है

 हसरतों के दर्द ता उम्र जो छुपाये  सीने में
अब आलम ये है के, न हो दर्द  तो जां हो परेशां 

जुस्तजू हमने की ,ख्वाबों की तनहाइयों में तेरे होने की.. 
इश्क तक बात आये ये न थी हमारी हसरत 

है ये दिली हसरत,उस लम्हा हो तमाम ये सफ़र ..
के बेफिक्रे हों जिस पल हम , तेरी बेक़द्री या बेवफाई पर .

है तुझे छू कर गुजरने वाली हवाओं से हैरानी 
तेरे गेसुओं को भिगोती बूंदों से परेशानी 
मेरी हसरतों का एहसास तुझे है या नहीं,
हजारों ख्यालों की सिलवटें लिए बेहाल है  मेरी पेशानी 


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