Kartarpur Diplomacy Stays On Track

India and Pakistan on Thursday agreed to work “expeditiously” to operationalise Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and decided to hold a meeting of the technical experts on March 19, which will be followed by another round of talks on the issue on April 2.

“The first meeting to discuss the modalities and the draft Agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor was held today at Attari, India in a cordial environment. Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartapur Sahib Corridor,” read the statement.   

“It was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah on 2 April 2019. This will be preceded by a meeting of the technical experts on 19 March 2019 at the proposed zero points to finalize the alignment,” further read a statement.  

An eighteen-member Pakistani delegation arrived in India on Thursday. The Indian delegation was led by S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Pakistan delegation was led by Mohammad Faisal, DG (SA and SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affair 

Meanwhile, The Indian delegation is scheduled to visit Islamabad on March 28, according to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Kartarpur Corridor is a long pending demand of Indian devotees which have been a matter of discussion since 1999 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Lahore. It also figured in discussions in composite dialogue, where Pakistan was asked to make Kartarpur part of 1974 protocol as one of the holy shrines in 2005, sources said.



#PulwamaRevenge – ‘Son’s Death Avenged’

bhandara’ (a community feast) if he clears it. This time too, before going to Kashmir, he had said he would organise another bhandara on his next visit home. No one was expecting a funeral. Amit nurtured the dream of joining the paramilitary forces since he was 18. He gave numerous exams and failed at them miserably. But he never gave up. My wife and I were frustrated. My wife wanted him to take up a different vocation. Each of his brothers had chosen a different vocation — electrician, photographer, accountant, teacher. Amit had four good options but he chose the uniform services above all. He was a brave soul fascinated with military discipline. His mother died before she could see his son smartly dressed in his uniform. I cannot imagine how she would have reacted to the news of her son’s martyrdom. No parent should be subjected to this grief. But despite the deep vacuum Amit left in the family, I have no qualms in admitting that I am proud of my son and I will not hesitate to send my other four sons on the line of duty if it necessitates. Amit had reported to work, a week before the fatal incident. Just a day before the attack, I spoke to him and he had assured that he will be back soon. He was 29 and we were on the verge of finalising his marriage. I am thankful to the government for the help that has been extended to us. Last morning when I heard about the Air Force attack on Jaish camps deep inside Pakistan, I felt like crying. We feel my son’s martyrdom had shaken the government out of slumber. I can sleep as a man in peace. Amit’s supreme sacrifice has inspired several youngsters from our village and other neighboring areas.  People here are demanding that a recruitment camp should be organised in the village, and we promise that we will produce the best of jawans for the service of our country. I am old, but I too am ready to go to the border and sacrifice my life for my nation. My son’s dream has taught so many others to dare to dream and fight for the nation.]]>

Manto’s Relevance In Freedom Of Expression

‘Thanda Ghost”(Cold Meat), he did not have Rupees 300 to pay as fine. Utter his name today and many people shrug. They question his relevance. But few have surpassed his art of short story writing. He started by translating the works of Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky. Emulating these masters, he outgrew the South Asian mindset. Like Maupassant, he needed very little space to be able to create a world. Perhaps, he fell between the two stools. He scandalized the conservatives who shunned him, while the ‘progressives’ of his era espousing Marxist-Leninist ideals, thought he was needlessly and sensationally stirring the society’s sewerage. Bombay beckoned him in 1936 when he was 24. For the next 12 years, he churned out poetry, short stories, plays and film scripts. He wrote of sights and sounds of the big bad city, with biting satire, and sly humour. Sometimes, he told his story in no more than a paragraph or two. Manto surfaces only intermittently as India forgot him because he wrote in Urdu, dubbed the “enemy’s language” by a section of political and literary class. Pakistan, where he migrated but was never really comfortable, has been unable to digest him because his material, wherein he predicted military rule and religious extremism, was essentially anti-Pakistan. His presence is grudging and his prophesies are recalled by liberals as part of self-criticism His anguished writings on the Partition are soul-wrenching reminders of those times and to the conscience of anyone with a sensitive mind. “Either everyone’s life matters, or no one’s does” Manto wrote during the Partition. But he found it impossible to preach ideals amidst mindless violence. Bombay had, indeed, triggered his creative juices and offered him great avenues. But he left the beloved city in a pique when he found that the sectarian virus had afflicted even those he held dear. He quit after Shyam, a rising cine-star and a friend, told him when confronted by marauding rioters that he could “kill every Muslim in sight.” Pleadings by Ashok Kumar, the superstar of the day and a family friend were of no avail. Shyam caught up with him in Lahore later in the early 1950s and said Bombay wanted him back. But a heart-broken, penury-struck Manto never returned. “This is not the dawn we longed for,” Manto said upon hearing of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. And when Pakistan’s founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah died, he wrote exhorting people to hoist the flag, not just of Pakistan and Islam, but also of humanity. It is difficult to identify the films Manto wrote for in his lifetime. But his writings have been made into films. BBC filmed Toba Tek Singh in 1987, but amid controversy it triggered, re-named it “Partition’. Manto-inspired Indian and Pakistani films include Mrinal Sen’s Antareen (1994), Fareeda’s Kali Shalwar (2001), and Toba Tek Singh by director Afia Nathaniel in 2005. Pakistan honoured him belatedly with a posthumous Nishan-e-Imtiaz Award (Order of Excellence) in 2012.  Sarmad Khoosat paid him homage with a 2015 biopic, himself playing Manto. It was later developed into a TV series based on his short stories. In India, after being confined for long to literary and theatre circles, actor-director Nandita Das has resurrected Manto with a biopic. It has received rave reviews in film festivals abroad. Amid the current India-Pakistan mood that is hostile and given the sensitivities of Manto had to say of the country where he died, it is unclear if it will be shown in Pakistan. Critics say Das has made a ‘dark’ film about a complex man. For, she doesn’t idolize Manto: indeed, she is irreverent and much as she revers him, even cruel in portraying him. This is where she differs vastly from the huge number of biopics Bollywood has produced recently ranging from cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni, boxing great Mary Kom, Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt and many others. That, perhaps, explains its poor earnings. Her Manto, performed exceedingly well by Nawazuddin Siddipui, is not larger-than-life. He has all the human frailties compounded by the intensity with which he reacts to people and situations he confronts. Das amplifies his liberal voice by maintaining an artistic distance. It’s her restraint that gives the film the soft edge. Notably, the film underlines the continued relevance of Manto’s words whether to do with Hindu-Muslim unity or freedom of expression. Only Manto, the writer, could defy God and dare to write his own epitaph while still in Bombay: “Here lies Manto and with him are buried all the secrets of the art of short story writing. Under mounds of the earth, he is still wondering which of the two was a greater story-teller: God or he.” While this epitaph was not used on the grave of Manto, Manto, the story-teller, has lived on. (The author can be reached at mahendraved07@gmail.com )]]>