The Standing Member From Lahore


Khushwant Singh 17 in 1932
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A PAGE FROM THE DAYS OF RAJ

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 by Bachi Karkaria

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Ahhh, all these sohni damsels. How they haunt my painful nights—and much of my day too. ‘Sweet Seventeen’. Sure, you could call it that. But how would you describe that to an awkward banda like me with out-of-control hormones? There are many strapping, self-confident chaps at my new college who don’t seem to suffer any of my inadequacies.
I’ve yet to bed a girl. If only the real thing would be as easy pulled off as in my fantasies.

And to top it off, I’m anxious over moving out of home and going to Lahore. Was I right in leaving Stephen’s after my intermediate earlier this year, and coming here—to Government College—for a BA? It may be most sought-after for its sports and academics. My backhands are getting better, but I am a bilkul so-so in the latter. I just about managed a second division, whereas that show-off Mangat Rai had topped in several subjects. Yes, yes, he’ll become a successful diplomat, with his smooth talk and foppish clothes, but he’ll always be a pompous gasbag. I am still completely in awe of him though, and was all puffed up when he spent weekends at our home. It was most unfair of Principal Mukherjee to listen to the rumours about him being a homo, and gating him in the hostel on holidays. Mangat wept when I told him I was moving to Lahore, and he still writes me long letters telling me what I’m missing out on at Mission College. Ki pharak penda, I am now stuck in Lahore. I’m sure we’ll meet again. Theek hai, so long as I and not he wins the hand of the comely Kawal, who I have been in love with since Modern School. Nahin ji, all those other kurhis are okay to pretend to screw, but she’s The One.


Photograph by T. Narayan

Praise be to the Guru for my having been born into a life of privilege. I could simply walk into Government College thanks to Ujjal Chacha. He took me for the admission interview, and since he’d once captained the college hockey team and is now a member of the Punjab Legislative Council, none of the board members bothered to ask me any questions. They chatted with uncle ji about the good old days, and what would happen to the country if and when the British left.

Papa ji had this ajeeb-sa reason for my move. True, all those greedy lawyers are squeezing his balls, but what makes him think I can take their place? But he’s the man with the money, and if he wants a lawyer in the family and thought I should familiarise myself with Lahore where he will later set me up in legal practice, what choice did I have? Anyway, I have my trusty ajs on which I rode the 300 miles from Dilli to Lahore in eight hours. And now, I have even moved out of uncle ji’s house on Jail Road. Oh, it was grand enough, but during those four months, it was like living inside Kashmiri Gate station—thanks to all the aana-jaana of politicians, campaign managers and other sundry worthies. Naturally, I am not staying in the Quad with the hoi polloi, but in New Hostel. The zamindars’ sons there may look down on new money. But I don’t care a pi-dog’s penis for them and their decadence. Besides, my father is a Sir, as was his father, Sujan Singh. Money can buy anything.

I share a corner suite with my cousin, and my wayward member almost stood up and saluted when I found that our window looks down on the very spot where Bhagat Singh fatally shot Saunders. I will never forget how that strutting Sir Sundar Singh Majithia flung my autograph book with Bhagat Singh’s photo in it across the room during my uncle’s tea party at Davico’s in Simla. Sir Sundar was the Sikh minister, and he rudely denounced the man I worshipped as a ‘renegade’ because Bhagat Singh had cut off his hair and beard. I had broken down at this insult to my hero, and my own humiliation.

Our window also looks out on the courts—and the sight of lawyers and litigants pissing on the walls. Filthy Indians. They’ll never improve. But, barely a furlong away from the college beckons the exotic Anarkali bazaar, and then Hira Mandi is only a courtesan’s wink away. May all the 10 Gurus forgive me for the thoughts I have about its taut-bosomed inmates. Forget the houris of jannat, I’ll be in heaven if one of these women steals my virginity. Sex on my mind, fear in my heart. When will I grow up?

Bachi Karkaria is an Indian journalist and columnist. She is working on a biography of India’s famous writer Khushwant Singh.

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Published in: on 01/11/2012 at 1:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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Dialogue with a Giant [2 of 2]


All India Congress believes its “India” and since Congress never tires of repeating that India is one and indivisible, they imagine that any attempt to divide it is illiberal, reactionary, and generally sinister. They seriously do believe this. I know that it is muddle-headed, but then a democracy such as ours, which has to make up its mind on an incredible number of complicated issues usually is muddle-headed. What they have to bar is that the only liberal course, the only generous course, the only course compatible with a sincere intention to quit India and hand over the reins of government…and the only safe course, you might add, is…Pakistan!
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DIVIDE AND QUIT

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by Beverly Nichols

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He handed me the book. It was a faded old volume, The Speeches of John Bright, and the date of the page at which it was opened was June 4th, 1858. This is what the greatest orator in the House of Commons said on that occasion:

Bright, John, English politician (1811-1889) In July, 1843, he represented Durham in Parliament, and at once began to establish a reputation. After the first bid for independence in 1857, John Bright favoured transferring Indian possessions to the Crown. His death in 1889 caused universal regret, since not only was his eloquence greatly admired, but all parties had learned to value the moderation of his opinions in later years, and to respect the sturdy independence and sincerity of his character. As an orator he ranks high for the singular purity of his language and nervousness of style.

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Dialogue with a Giant [1 of 2]


When Ireland was separated from Britain, the document embodying the terms of separation was approximately ten lines. Ten, hues of print to settle a dispute of incredible complexity ! All the details were left to the Future—and the Future is often, an, admirable arbitrator. In context of Pakistan, well! I’ve already given the world a good deal more than ten lines to indicate the principles and practice of Pakistan, but it is beyond the power of any man to provide, in advance, a blue-print in which every detail is settled.  Say, where was the blue-print, when the question of Burma’s separation was decided? Where was the blue-print when Sind was separated from Bombay? The answer, of course, is * nowhere. It didn’t exist and it didn’t need to exist. The vital point was that the principle of separation was accepted; the rest followed automatically.
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DIALOGUE WITH A GIANT

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by Beverly Nichols

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Note for WoP readers: On May 2, 2012, we put up a highly thoughtful post titled Significance of Pakistan’ by K. Hussan Zia. Interestingly Zaheer-ud-din Jeddy also published this on his weblog ‘the Treasure Chest’. Those of you who regular;y browse through pages of this weblog know that Zjeddy also runs an email circulating net. I being a recipient of these emails, too get such mails right in my email inbox every time a member puts up something [it could be anything such as opinion, brief comment, some off or on hand remark or even a somewhat witty, somewhat satirical but friendly remark to another friend].

This time too I received an email from Jeddy’s through which I learned of the post on his weblog and then a pertinent comment by Zahid Majid, along with a sizable extract from chapter III of Beverly Nichols remarkable book published in 1944.

The chapter details the interview Nichols had with the Qaid in 1943. Now when you read this interview, it at once clears up one’s mind why Qaid -e- Azam who was once declared an apostle of Hindu Muslim Unity was forced to take a great leap forward to demand for a separate nationhood for the Muslims of India and ask for what was then and even now aspired as a land of the pure people.

I thank Zahid Majid, who has done a good job by reproducing this piece from Beverly Nichols’ book. Though Nichols called this a verdict [on India] back in 1944, yet this VERDICT on the history of the subcontinent still holds as true as it was in the mid 1940′s.

The anti Pakistan forces, individuals, groups and parties may think whatever they have in mind as their truth but the facts stand to approve the statesman-vision of the Qaid.

Zahid Majid is right when he says, “Mr. Jinnah was the kingpin for Pakistan’s future and development as a nation. After his demise, no leader of any consequence emerged from among the Muslims to even follow up on what he built. All subsequent leaders were mediocre at their best, intellectual pygmies, corrupt, extremely self-centered and rode on the slogan of “democracy” without understanding even its meaning! “

This is the very dilemma that we as a nation have been facing right after the Qaid departed from here to eternity.

Zahid Majid calls these post Jinnah politicos [what to speak of the fauji jernails, who in their fortified offices and cantonments are always embedded in their strong disciplinary rotes and order is order culture] as intellectual pygmies. But I think they were mere pygmies and no intellectuals for had these nincompoops the slightest semblance of intellect in them, we would never have come to the impasse we are in now.

But again to equate this state of affairs with a question mark on the vision of the Qaid or on the very basis of Pakistan’s creation as an independent, sovereign nation state, is like putting the circle of history back to the point from where we started our journey as a nation.

Pakistan was bound to emerge this way or that way. Its geographical contours might have been different than what they are today. But the way the history was unfloding in those turbulent and last days of the Raj, Pakistan was bound to appear on the surafce of this earth. Jinnah accelerated its momentm and became the prime vehicle to bring such a change in the geopgraphical boundaries of the apparently ‘united’ but intrinsically ‘ununited’ Hindustan.

The problem arose only when that visionary, that great leader Jinnah left us and we as a nation were orphaned.

Now having spent almost 65 years in this wildeness, we are encountering another very serious challenge to our national fabric in the form of this religious intolerance. A psyche that slowly but steadily is creeping into our very national character. Again the reason for this has been lack of vision that characterised the post Jinnah leadership in Pakistan [if at all those bunch of nincompoops can be called a leadership] [Nayyar]

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Understanding Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and Islam


 
Non violence in Islam is a matter of deeper conviction and not of mere convenience. In the strife torn Arab society, the prophet [pbuh] preached for Brotherhood and Sisterhood, a novel concept in the society divided along hostile tribal lines. While building the Islamic community, the holy prophet was conscience enough that there should be full freedom of faith for those not following Islam. And so the adage; to you your religion, to me mine i.e. there cannot be any compulsion in matters of religion. Violence was a strict no for him except as a last resort in self defense. All battles fought by Prophet were defensive battles.
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THE PROPHET OF NON VIOLENCE: SPIRIT OF PEACE, COMPASSION AND UNIVERSALITY

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 by Ram Puniyani

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Book review (The Prophet of Non Violence: Spirit of Peace, Compassion and Universality in Islam by Asghar Ali Engineer, Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Limited, New Delh, 2011, pages 246, Rs 395, HB)

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