Promised Land’ for cricketers, a ridicule of democracy


Hundreds of millions in both countries continue to suffer from poverty, ignorance, disease, and disasters. Yet not many of them come out when undemocratic decisions are made, especially when it is about cricket – the opium of the Indo-Pak region.
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PROMISED LAND FOR CRICKETERS, A RIDICULE OF DEMOCRACY

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by Karim Khan

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In May 2009, the Punjab government shocked over a million people out of their senses by announcing a scheme for building a national park on land stretched over more than 200 villages, occupied mostly by poor inhabitants who were to be driven out of their homes by government orders and left with a nominal sum of money by the government to find somewhere else to live, if they could.

This expansionist plan of the government was busted by the popular TV show News Beat which revealed the horrors of the oppressive plan meant to serve the ‘hunting’ penchant of the political leader of PML-N. After the media reported the plan, Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, sensing the stormy protests that were coming by the enraged poor people, quickly announced the withdrawal of the plans. And now another great ‘prize scheme’ by Mr. Sharif. Hundreds of acres of cultivable land in Punjab will be awarded to players of the Pakistani cricket team in case they beat the traditional rival India in the quarter final match of the Cricket World Cup 2011!

The news of Mr. Sharif’s announcement has been included today in some Pakistani and lots of Indian media today. In a news conference held yesterday, Mr. Sharif was quoted as saying “My government will give 25 acres of fertile land to each member of the team as a prize if they beat India. This in a province where a series of suicides due to extreme poverty have already shaken the conscience of the nation, though not of the Punjab government, simply because the latter doesn’t have any such thing. This is the government that has been elected by the votes of the millions of people in the province who expect their elected leaders to provide them relief from their sufferings. And this ‘democratic’ is proving its democratic spirit by openly violating public’s right to earn bread for their children from fertile land, which may be thrown into the possession of rich players who are paid handsomely whether or not they perform well. Is this government democratic? If yes, then it’s ridiculously so.

Both Indian and Pakistani media have created a senseless hype about a cricket match, making it sound like it’s another decisive war if the Kargil fiasco was not enough. Hundreds of millions in both countries continue to suffer from poverty, ignorance, disease, and disasters. Yet not many of them come out when undemocratic decisions are made, especially when it is about cricket – the opium of the Indo-Pak region.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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Published in: on 31/03/2011 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pakistan Loses A Match, Wins Rare Unity


Mosques, churches, Sikh gurdwaras and Hindu temples were united in special prayers for the national team. Party flags disappeared in favor of the national flag, and Pakistanis learned a valuable lesson: an over-politicized nation has better things to do than watch boring politicians shouting on equally boring talk shows.

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PAKISTAN LOSES A MATCH, WINS RARE UNITY

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by Ahmed Quraishi

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Many Pakistanis were struck by the scenes they saw on the streets of Islamabad and Rawalpindi today: smiling shopkeepers, courteous car drivers and jolly passersby. The scenes were almost similar in Pakistani cities like Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Azad Kashmir capital Muzaffarabad. Teenagers painted their cheeks in the colors of the Green and the Crescent, and shops and offices displayed homemade and professional banners in support of the national team. Muslim,Christian,Sikh andHindu places of worship acrossPakistanwere on the same page today. A nation demoralized by political and economic mess and beset by the disaster of fighting someone else’s failed war was suddenly transformed in the days leading up to today’s match. (more…)

Published in: on 31/03/2011 at 8:05 pm  Comments (12)  
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India’s Saffron Terror: Can it be tamed?


Image above: Nirendra Modi (India’s chief saffronist and head of Gujrat state government in India) is idolised by Sangh loyalists. Drawing sword though is a norm, yet drawing such ceremonial sword that is used for beheadings is something bizarre but that goes well with Modi.
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INDIA’S SAFFRON TERROR: CAN IT BE TAMED?

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by Bibhu Prasad Routray·

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SYNOPSIS

The arrests of individuals linked to fringe Hindu groups for involvement in several terror attacks present an opportunity for the Indian government to show that it is not soft on terror.

COMMENTARY

THE REALITY of terror attacks by Hindu groups is gradually registering in the minds of Indians, although the extent of the damage potential of these fringe formations remains a matter of debate.

According to available information, persons associated with the Hindu terror groups, such as the one ironically named Abhinav Bharat (Modern India) and the other Sanatan Sanshtha (Eternal Organisation), carried out explosions in several places across the country. Prominent among them were two blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra state in 2006 and 2008; an explosion targeting a train that runs between India and Pakistan in 2007 in Haryana; a blast in the Sufi shrine of Ajmer Durgah in Rajasthan in 2007; and a blast in a mosque in Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh in 2007. Collectively these five attacks claimed the lives of at least 126 civilians, mostly Muslims. (more…)

Aman ki Asha: World Cup Semifinal between India and Pakistan


Are the players motivated by the hate and hype which fans from India and Pakistan are harboring? The truth is players from both the sides are closer to each other off the field than with players from other international cricket teams.
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AMAN KI ASHA

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by Faisal Caesar

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As the subcontinent dances to the music of cricket, the battle drums can be heard from Mohali when India and Pakistan lock horns in the mother of all cricket battles – the showpiece event of the 2011 World Cup.

The thrill, excitement and drama in an India-Pakistan game are unsurpassed, given the troubled past of the two nations. Recent events like the 26/11 attacks have been a blow to the relationship between the two countries on many fronts, including the game of cricket. And in the result blame game, the game of cricket became a casualty. The world of cricket was deprived of seeing heart-stopping battle of skill and will between Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar, Virender Sehwag and Umar Gul, Yuvraj Singh and Shahid Afridi. And also deprived was the opportunity to foster peace and restore normalcy between the two nations through the medium of cricket.

Are the players motivated by the hate and hype which fans from India and Pakistan are harboring? The truth is players from both the sides are closer to each other off the field than with players from other international cricket teams. They may slug it out to the hilt on the field of play, but off it, they jell as friends – many of whom speak the same lingo as well. Much like it is for millions of Indians and Pakistani who live abroad. They have much more in common with each other than with the English or Americans or South Africans – the countries in which they co-exist. Some of the fondest memories Pakistani cricketers have are of the times that they have toured India and of the love and affection of the Indian teams. The same goes with the Indian team.

If the Kolkata crowd was stupid in 1999, the standing ovation to the Pakistan cricket team by Chennai cricket fans – after Pakistan had beaten India in an epic battle – left the cricketing world speechless. India’s outstanding success in 2004 earned enough praises and they were showered with love wherever they went. There were mini battles of words on the field, but they ebbed away with the winds of love and affection.

The longer the fans bang the drums of war, the longer they will demonize each other. The sooner they dance together, the more the trust and goodwill. We must allow the players to play without subjecting them to needless pressures and sit back and enjoy the epics painted on the cricket canvas.

If Pakistan wins on the green canvas of Mohali, let them be applauded in the true spirit of cricket. And if India loses, let their fans not get wild on the Men in Blue. The same should hold true if the results were otherwise.

An India-Pakistan match is not war. It’s a game which just scripts epics and thrillers. It’s a way to bring together the brilliant talent of the two nations in the world cricket, a way to unite two nations torn by a history of wars. Brothers may fight, but still they are brothers after the fight.

Let Pakistan convey the message of love in India, and let India hug their brothers across the border with love and affection. Let peace prevail in India and Pakistan through cricket. Let fans not be intoxicated by doubts and rumours. Let Mohali send a message of peace, goodwill and harmony. May the best team win.

(Faisal Caesar is a doctor by profession whose dream of becoming a cricketer remained a dream. But his passion is very much alive and he translates that passion in writing about the game).

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.


Published in: on 30/03/2011 at 3:07 pm  Comments (3)  
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Thousands throng Mela Chiraghan in city


Mela Chiraghan or Festival of Lights is a three day annual festival to mark the urs (death anniversary) of the Punjabi Sufi poet and saint Shah Hussain. It takes place at the shrine of Shah Hussain in Baghbanpura, on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan, adjacent to the Shalimar Gardens. The festival used to take place in the Shalimar Gardens also, until President Ayub Khan ordered a ban in 1958 on holding the mela in the historical Shalimar Bagh of Lahore.
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THOUSANDS THRONG MELA CHIRAGHAN IN LAHORE

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by Shahnawaz Khan

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Mela Chiraghan, the festival of lights that marks the birth of Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Hussain, began on Friday night. Nearly half a million people from around the country are expected to attend the three-day event.

Syed Saeedul Hassan Shah, the Punjab minister for religious affairs, inaugurated the three-day urs by laying a floral wreath at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Hussain (also known as Madhu Lal Hussain). The Punjab Auqaf Department organised a Mehfil-e-Samaa to discuss the legacy of the saint.

The roads approaching the tomb are dotted with stalls, some which have set up television sets showing dances performed at stage shows to entertain pilgrims. All sort of food items are on sale: gol gappas, fruit chaats, qatlamas, sweetmeats and even bhang-laced papparhs.

During the festival, devotees light thousands of earthen lamps to honour the saint at his shrine, which is situated near the Shalimar Gardens. Each year, the saint’s followers, especially transvestites and eunuchs, spurred on by hashish and qawwalis, dance the night away.

A large segment of the festival crowd comprises young people. Most of them seem to be smoking hash-laced cigarettes. Pilgrims toss candles into a large bonfire (mach) as legend has it that anyone doing this would be granted their wish by God. Some believe that their prayers would be granted if they sit close to the fire.

Shah Hussain (1538-1599) lived during the era of Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir. It is said he adopted the name of his Hindu disciple Madhu Lal to immortalise their friendship

Traditionally, Shah Hussain’s urs was held in Shalimar Bagh and marked the start of a four-day festival. On the second day, Baisakhi was held to celebrate the start of wheat crop harvest. The third and final day was reserved for women. Horse raisers used to bring their horses for sale to the festival.

During the British rule, the Raj turned the selling of horses into a separate event that became the Horse and Cattle Show.

In 1958, President Ayub Khan banned the celebration of the mela in Shalimar Bagh. Over time, the festival shortened to three-days and began to comprise only the urs.

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Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.

 


Published in: on 29/03/2011 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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