Posted on December 6, 2013 by beenasarwar
Mahesh Bhatt’s forthcoming play is creating a media buzz
My article in the Aman ki Asha page of The News, Dec 4, and in the TOI blog
Play for peace: Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Milne Do’
A behind-the-scenes look at what is driving a veteran film producer and peace activist’s fourth stage production, coming up
By Beena Sarwar
It was Google’s “Reunion” ad released on the web that pushed Delhi-based actor Imran Zahid to move on an idea that he has been thinking about for some time, creating waves in the media.
Last week Imran messaged me, asking for story ideas for a stage play “to promote Aman ki asha and the concept of ‘Milne do’ (let them meet) to be staged in various cities of India and Pakistan in association with Mahesh Bhatt Saab”. (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: Activism, aman ki asha, Arvind Gaur, Imran Zahid, India, Mahesh Bhatt, milne do, Pakistan, Peace, theatre | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 7, 2013 by beenasarwar
Like father like son: Samir and Kshitij Gupta
My article published in The News oped, TOI blogs and Aman ki Asha on Monday, Nov 4, 2013
“Why are India and Pakistan at war?”
Some days ago I got a call from my friend Samir Gupta, on his way home after picking up his son, 14-year old Kshitij, from a Delhi train station late at night. Kshitij was returning from a school trip with some 30 other students from Delhi Public School, Ghaziabad. They’d taken an early morning train to Amritsar and watched the flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah Border.
Samir, a passionate advocate of peace and good relations between India and Pakistan, asked Kshitij about the trip. (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: India, Pakistan, Peace activism, Samir Gupta, wagah, war | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 24, 2013 by beenasarwar
By Samir Gupta
Published in Aman ki Asha, Oct 8, 2013… Justice Katju may be controversial but his sincerity to peace and humanity is unmistakable, finds a young activist at a breakfast meeting
I was bit nervous when journalist Beena Sarwar invited me to accompany her to meet Justice Markandey Katju for breakfast in Delhi. Justice Katju had retired as a judge at the Supreme Court of India and was appointed Chairman of Press Council of India. He is known for his controversial statements, including his comment “Pakistan is a “fake” country “created artificially by the British” – that I had also ridiculed. He sounded like a retired person far removed from reality.
Justice Katju: A strong, secular, democratic vision. Photo: Beena Sarwar
Beena, editor Aman ki Asha Jang Group Pakistan, insisted that he is a sincere friend of Pakistan and a champion of peace between India and Pakistan. She wanted to talk to him about his calls for re-unification that are causing unnecessary controversy and diverting from the real issues at hand. This was going to be interesting.
On the day, I met Beena outside his majestic bungalow near Parliament House in New Delhi. He was much taller than I expected, and very warm in welcoming us. As we sat for breakfast, he regaled us with stories of his days as a judge in Allahabad, meeting his counterparts from Pakistan in Delhi, his views of what ails India and his views on Pakistan.
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: #SouthAsianUnion, Beena Sarwar, katju, Samir Gupta, Southasia | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 2, 2013 by beenasarwar
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).
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: Allahabad, Alok Rai, Bharat Bhushan, Fisherfolk, India, Jatin Desai, Karamat Ali, Lalit Joshi, loc, Loc tensions, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Pakistan, PIA regional, PIPFPD, Raja Mohan, Ramjas College, Siachen | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 25, 2013 by beenasarwar
Photo: Maha Sarwar Shahid
Something I wrote for Aman ki Asha after a magical trip to Tharparkar last weekend…
The Rana and Rani of Amarkot (Umerkot) urge a liberal visa regime between India and Pakistan
By Beena Sarwar
“The people-to-people contacts idea or vision initially came from the Indian side, when we were stuck, unable to move forward. My country had taken the position that Kashmir has to come first, that no dialogue was possible until that issue was resolved,” says Rana Hameer Singh, head of the Hindu Sodha Thakur Rajput clan in Pakistan, in Umerkot, former capital of Sindh.
Umerkot is famous as the birthplace of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, after Sher Shah Suri ousted Humayun. Had it not been for the succour that Rana Prasad, the Hindu Sodha Rajput ruler of Amarkot provided, there would have been no Mughal empire, no Taj Mahal or Agra Fort for the world to wonder at, point out the Sodha Rajputs of Pakistan. Amarkot was later re-named after Umer, king of the Soomro dynasty (Umer-Marvi folktale fame). (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: Amarkot, Hindus in Pakistan, Rajput, Rana Jagir, Rana Sodha, Sindh folk tale, Sufi, Umer Marvi, Umerkot | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 15, 2013 by beenasarwar
‘Bowl out polio’: Pakistani cricketers Younis Khan and Imran Farhat give polio drops to a child at a UNICEF event in New Delhi, Jan 2013. Photo: PTI
Here’s something I wrote for Aman ki Asha recently, published in the June 5, 2013 edition:
India and Pakistan are working together against a common enemy. Pakistan’s new government must take up the baton
Over the past year, Pakistan has been studying how India dramatically eradicated polio, with the World Health Organisation striking it off its list of polio endemic countries in February 2012; the last case was recorded in January 2011. (more…)
Filed under: Health, Pakistan-India | Tagged: CDC, Dr Hamid Jafari, India, Pakistan, polio, Rotary, Shahid Afridi, Ulema | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2013 by beenasarwar
Tracing a peace sign together via a giant web-cam
Here’s something I wrote about how a soft drink giant creatively connected Indians and Pakistanis with ‘the other side’, with a three-minute video that was easily the most shared link on the Aman ki Asha facebook group last week (not that it’s going to get me to start drinking Coke, or any other soda); published in the Aman ki Asha page in The News, May 22, 2013
Quenching the thirst for peace
An innovative idea connects Indians and Pakistanis with ‘the other side’
“It saddens me that we have neighbours that we can’t even go visit.”
“The perception is that they’re the bad guy. But when you actually meet them you realise they’re just like me.” (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: coca cola, csr, India, Pakistan, Peace | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2013 by beenasarwar
Screenshot of Sanaullah from a TV report last year, on Indian and Pakistani prisoners participating in a kite-flying festival together. “It’s really nice, I feel like a child myself,” Sanaullah told the reporter.
Tragically, Sanaullah, the Pakistani prisoner whom a fellow inmate had attacked in prison in Jammu in Indian administered Kashmir on May 3, finally succumbed to his injuries on May 9. The attack took place on the day of the funeral of Sarabjit Singh, the high profile Indian prisoner who died on May 3, after being in a coma following an attack by fellow inmates in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore on April 26 – ironically, the day that Indian members of the India Pakistan Joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners landed in Pakistan to inspect jails and meet Indian prisoners. The Committee’s recommendations have been made public, and if implemented, will go a long way towards alleviating the plight of cross-border prisoners.
Here’s a link to the note I wrote, published in the weekly Aman ki Asha page in The News last week – Condemnable attack on unarmed prisoner. A followup note regarding Sanaullah was published in the AKA page of May 8. I sincerely hope this is the end of the series. (If you’re on facebook, feel free to ‘like’ the AKA page and join the AKA group - both managed on a voluntary basis) (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: India Pakistan, judicial committee on prisoners, prisoners, Sanaullah, Sarabjit | 2 Comments »