Ground zero


The world was stunned today as nuclear devastation fell on the Subcontinent. Enormous areas of Mumbai, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Delhi were reduced to radioactive rubble in the early hours of this morning. Both Hyderabads have been obliterated, as have Sargodha, Bahawalpur and Jaipur, by weapons thought to have had a yield of about 40 kilotons (the Hiroshima bomb was less than half that).
An Indian strike against Karachi failed, when nuclear-armed Su-30 aircraft had to take evasive action and released their bombs about fifty miles east of Pakistan’s largest city – but then prevailing winds drove massive clouds of radioactive sand across the entire urban area and far along the coastline.
Ground zero for Pakistan’s nuclear missiles aimed at New Delhi appeared to be symbolic: India Gate, the city’s business area, centred round Connaught Place, no longer exists, and destruction was total in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri and north to Civil Lines, perhaps further.
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SUBCONTINENT: WHEN THE NUKES CONFRONT!!! 

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by Brian Cloughley

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Note for WoP readers:  The following post is a stark presentation of the nuclear Armageddon, a scenario which could beome a reality if sanity between India and Pakistan did not prevail. The war mongers in both the nuclear armed neighbours seem to have absolutely no idea of what a nuclear confrontation could entail between these two nations of the subcontinent. Or perhaps they intentionally have their own axe to grind, oblivious to what could happen to the vast multitude of humanity all across the subcontinent.

Agreed there are differences between the two. This is quite natural. Even when there are two persons, its not always the foregone conclusion that they will have the same opinion on every issue that comes into the orbit of their interaction. Simialrly countries too have differences. But to sort out opposing opinions, differences there is a civilised way. Fighting wars for territories, ideas, hegemony and economic interests is the most brutal way of sorting out such matters for a war in most cases brings nothingg but death and destruction.

India and Pakistan have been having differences on many issues right from the day both countries got independence when they came out of the yoke of British empire in 1947.

Instead of fighting a war which will result in no Kashmir, no India, no Pakistan, leadership in both the neighbouring states need to sit together and seriously make a bid to sort out their differences. If the leaders are sincere in settling the disputes, there will be a solution. God forbid if there is no solution, there will be nothing to discuss, nothing to rule, nothing to take pride of being Pakistani or a proud and patriotic Indian….. [Nayyar]


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The World’s Most Dangerous Border – KASHMIR



According to a Rand Corp study, an Indo-Pakistani nuclear exchange would immediately kill two million living souls, injure or kill 100 million later, pollute the Indus River and send clouds of radioactive dust around the globe.
That is the excellent reason why we should keep a weather eye on Kashmir and press India and Pakistan to make a fair settlement of this exceptionally dangerous 66-year dispute. In other words, no military solution to the long standing dispute over Kashmir. Let diplomacy have its way over stupidity of war games in Kashmir.
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TO AVERT A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST,  WORLD MUST FIND A SOLUTION FOR KASHMIR 

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by Eric Margolis

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ISTANBUL –  Reports of fighting along Kashmir’s  cease-fire line don’t normally receive much attention in the western media.  Last week, for example, saw  a series of clashes on 8 and 10 January that killed both Pakistani and Indian troops.

One of the Indian soldiers was decapitated, provoking fury across India and calls from its extremist Shiv Sena Hindu party for a nuclear attack on Pakistan.

Gunfire is common on the 1947 cease-fire line known as the Line of Control that divided the beautiful mountain kingdom of Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions. Fighting in that tense region always has the potential to quickly escalate into a  major war – or even nuclear conflict.

Having been under fire numerous times on the LOC, I used the experience in my first book, “War at the Top of the World” to illustrate just how dangerous the simmering Kashmir dispute remains. 

A dispute that went from bad to critical after India and then Pakistan acquired and deployed nuclear weapons.  This, I wrote, was the most dangerous strategic threat facing the globe.

India and Pakistan have fought three  wars and some very large battles over Kashmir. Both claim the entire mountain state.  Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, has waged a long covert campaign to insert guerillas into Indian Kashmir to aid a series of spontaneous rebellions  against Indian rule by the state’s Muslim majority.

This writer has joined mujihadin fighting their way across the lethal Line of Control which is defended by Israeli-constructed fences, electronic sensors, minefields and Israeli-supplied drones. Losses  run very high among those trying to cross the line.

Muslim Kashmiris have been in almost constant revolt against Indian rule since 1947 when the British divided India. Today,  500,000 Indian troops and paramilitary police garrison rebellious Kashmir.  Some 40,000-50,000 Kashmiris are believed to have died over the past decade in uprising.

India blames the violence in Kashmir on “cross-border terrorism” engineered by Pakistani intelligence. Human rights groups accuse Indian forces of executions, torture, and reprisals against civilians.  Large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs have fled strife-torn Kashmir after attacks by Muslim Kashmiri guerillas.  It’s a very bloody, dirty war.

The Kashmir conflict poses multiple dangers.  First is the very likely chance that local skirmishing can quickly surge into major fighting involving air power and heavy artillery.  In 1999, a surprise attack by Pakistani commandos into the Indian-ruled Kargil region provoked heavy fighting.  The two nations, with more than one million troops facing one another, came very close to an all-out war.  I have on good authority that both sides put their tactical nuclear weapons on red alert.  Angry Indian generals called on Delhi to use its powerful armored corps to cut Pakistan in half.  India’s cautious civilian leadership said no.

Second,  the Kashmir conflict also involves India’s strategic rival, China.  Beijing claims the entire eastern end of the Himalayan border separating India and China, which Chinese troops occupied in a brief 1963 war.  China also occupied, with Pakistan’s help, a high strategic plateau on the western end of the Himalayas known as Aksai Chin that was part of historic Tibet.

China is Pakistan’s closest political and military ally.  Any major Indian attack on Pakistan would risk intervention by Chinese air, ground and missiles forces in neighboring Tibet.

Third, in the midst of all these serious tensions, India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons – delivered by air and missile – are on hair-trigger alert.  This means that during a severe crisis, both sides are faced with “use it, or lose” decision in minutes to use their nuclear arsenals.

The strategic command and control systems of India and Pakistan are said to be riddled with problems and often unreliable,  though much improvement has been made in recent years.

A false report, a flight of birds, and off-course aircraft could provoke a nuclear exchange.  By the time Islamabad could call Delhi, war might be on.  A US Rand Corp study estimated an Indo-Pakistani  nuclear exchange would  kill two million immediately, injure or kill 100 million later, pollute the Indus River and send clouds of radioactive dust around the globe.

That is the excellent reason why we should keep a weather eye on Kashmir and press India and Pakistan to make a fair settlement of this exceptionally dangerous 66-year dispute.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2012

More from Eric Margolis on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Dangerous war games in Syria 2. Egypt headed for an explosion 3. Facing the Writing on the Wall in Kabul  4. Nuclear missile Viagra for India 5 Obama does the right thing in Afghanistan 6. Will the US back real democracy in Egypt? 7.The man  who prevented World War III
Eric Margolis is an American born journalist and writer. He is contributing editor to the Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, writing mainly about the Middle East, South Asia and Islam. He contributes also to the HuffPost & appears frequently on North American tv channels.

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On seeing the film garm hava for the third time



Garm Hava (Scorching Winds) is one of the best Indian films made yet and is likely to remain so into the foreseeable future. It takes a most sensitive, gentle and dignified look at the travails of a Muslim family which sought to stay on in post-Partition India when many others around them were leaving for Pakistan one by one.
The nearly 150-minute film directed by M.S. Sathyu is exquisitely well acted by the entire cast led by the late Balraj Sahni, one of the greatest actors and film personalities of India. He perfectly fills the role of Salim Mirza, a small time shoe manufacturer. 
Gita Siddharth, A.K. Hangal, Shaukat Azmi and others with their subdued, understated performances lend credence to the tale, which despite some tragic turns, ends on a note that inspires hope and exhilaration hope that alas has been betrayed.

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GARM HAVA: INDIAN FILM WITH A DEEPLY HUMANISTIC MESSAGE

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by N. Jayaram

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Garm Hava (Scorching Winds) is one of the best Indian films made yet and is likely to remain so into the foreseeable future. It takes a most sensitive, gentle and dignified look at the travails of a Muslim family which sought to stay on in post-Partition India when many others around them were leaving for Pakistan one by one.

The nearly 150-minute film directed by M.S. Sathyu is exquisitely well acted by the entire cast led by the late Balraj Sahni, one of the greatest actors and film personalities of India. He perfectly fills the role of Salim Mirza, a small time shoe manufacturer. 

Gita Siddharth, A.K. Hangal, Shaukat Azmi and others with their subdued, understated performances lend credence to the tale, which despite some tragic turns, ends on a note that inspires hope and exhilaration hope that alas has been betrayed. (more…)

Celebrating with the People of Pakistan



Countless have been the accounts I’ve read over the past many decades, by Indian journalists, academics, civil society activists, film-makers as well as people in the official establishment, of immense generosity that was showered upon them in the Pakistani street as well as in air-conditioned altars of the genteel bourgeoisie.
Almost all have spoken of being treated courteously, restaurateurs refusing payment for tea, snacks or meals on learning the diner was from the other side of the border, and countless similar gracious gestures.

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JIYE PAKISTAN, LONG LIVE PAKISTAN, PAKISTAN ZINDABAD !

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by N. Jayaram

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Since I chanced upon the Tweets and Facebook updates a few days ago of Beena Sarwar, a leading journalist, artist and filmmaker in Pakistan, I have been feasting on a rich repast of articles, blogs and commentaries that show how vast is the constituency of Pakistani people who harbour cordial feelings towards Indians, how many of them desire nothing but peace and mutual well-being and how generously they acknowledge the positive sentiments Indian visitors to their country express.

I am deeply grateful for this. Because, for many years, whenever I’ve come across the words “failed state” and Pakistan in the same sentence, I’ve fidgeted, thinking that surely one simply cannot equate a people – and so many warm-hearted people – with as amorphous a concept as “state” and throwing out, if I may use an ancient cliché, the baby with the bathwater.

And warm-hearted the people of Pakistan most reputedly are. Countless have been the accounts I’ve read over the past many decades, by Indian journalists, academics, civil society activists, film-makers as well as people in the official establishment, of immense generosity that was showered upon them in the Pakistani street as well as in air-conditioned altars of the genteel bourgeoisie. Almost all have spoken of being treated courteously, restaurateurs refusing payment for tea, snacks or meals on learning the diner was from the other side of the border, and countless similar gracious gestures.

Professor Jagannath Azad was asked by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founding Father of Pakistan, to compose the national anthem. It was approved but subsequently abandoned. some activists want to resurrect it. (Photo from http://www.jagannathazad.info/)

Professor Jagannath Azad was asked by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founding Father of Pakistan, to compose the national anthem. It was approved but subsequently abandoned. some activists want to resurrect it. (Photo from http://www.jagannathazad.info/)

We live in an era of complex loyalties. Many men throughout the world have fanatical attachment to some football teams in corners of England or continental Europe. Almost everyone sides with teams from their own “country” or “nation”, often without questioning how old – or strongly identified with – that country is or nationhood is.

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Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun


Bulleh Shah, one of the most acclaimed Sufi poets of Punjab was a humanist and a philosopher. His poetry represents him as someone providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world as he lived through it, describing the turbulence his motherland Punjab was passing through, while concurrently searching for God.
Bulleh Shah’s poetry also highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Maarfat (Union). The simplicity with which Bulleh Shah has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity is a large part of his appeal.
Thus, many people have put his kafis to music, from humble street-singers to renowned Sufi singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pathanay Khan, Abida Parveen, the Waddali Brothers and Sain Zahoor, from the synthesized techno qawwali remixes of UK-based Asian artists to the Pakistani rock band Junoon.

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DIFFERENT CONTINENTS, DIFFERENT CENTURIES, ONE DREAM

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by N. Jayaram

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Every year, an urs or commemoration of the death of a Sufi philosopher-poet-singer, takes place in the Pakistani city of Kasur, in the month of August, and that month someone posted a few lines on Facebook from a beautiful poem anyone – atheist or believer – can identify with.

Baba Bulleh Shah’s poem, Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun (text and youtube links below), has particular resonance in the context of a great deal of xenophobia and distrust of the other that we are witnessing in many parts of the world, including India.

In my southern Indian city, Bangalore, rumours recently led to the exodus of thousands of people originally from Northeastern India. The rumours were blamed on another minority in the city, the Muslims, who then felt obliged to host extensive rounds of Iftar parties (breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan/Ramzan) and dinners, inviting people from Northeastern India living in Bangalore, so as to reassure them that neither posed any threat whatsoever to the other.

It was apposite that just as the city began to recover from that ignoble trauma, the urs for a humanistic saintly figure began in another part of the subcontinent, where too large numbers of Pakistani civil society activists were energetically denouncing attacks on minorities and outrageous allegations of blasphemy. The troubles in India itself had started because of exaggerated rumours and false pictures depicting the fate of the Rohingya minority in Burma. And what is far worse, there have been clashes in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, pitting tribal people against presumed ‘outsiders’ from Bangladesh.

Who are outsiders and insiders among human beings who have been constantly migrating for thousands of years, whose DNAs can be traced back, according to overwhelming scientific evidence, to an African mother and whose languages, philosophies and religions are so interlinked? What earthly basis is there for this Auslaender raus (outsider out) thinking?

The poem by Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) contains many lines acutely relevant to the present times. This version is taken from the singer Rabbi Shergill’s websites.

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