A Pakistani at a Mumbai café

Published: September 1, 2012
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The writer is head of programming at Express News

The writer is head of programming at Express News

I’ve been to Mumbai and Pune several times. But my trip to India this May was life-altering in an entirely different way. This time, I was part of a 14-strong delegation comprising members of the Karachi and Hyderabad press clubs who were visiting India as part of a peace initiative.

My last visit to Mumbai must have been at least 12 years ago. Although the city has changed to some extent, I recognised the ‘heritage sites’ and the smell of the pavements. Standing in front of the famous VT Station (now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), I knew that places like Flora Fountain, Colaba and Taj Mahal were nearby.

It was this familiarity that made the restrictions on our movement more onerous. (Of our delegation, however, only I was chafing at the restrictions; the rest appeared content with the hospitality of our hosts and the omnipresent — and possibly armed — ‘escort’.) On day one, my solo flight in quest of a bottle of shampoo earned me the status of  ‘An Enemy of the People’. But day two made even this epithet worthwhile.

With the help of two Mumbaiker journalist friends, two Pakistani delegates and I managed to ditch both the delegation and the escort. Wandering along Colaba, we found ourselves at Leopold Café.

I was with DawnNews at the time of the Mumbai attacks. As the militants held the entire nation hostage, I could only look at the footage aired by the Indian media in grief, outrage and disbelief. “I know this place … I’ve been there … this can’t be happening …” was the constant refrain in my head. As the broadcast media is wont to do at such times, elements within the Indian press corps came out with jingoistic outbursts and immediately pointed fingers at Pakistan. And I clearly remember the angry faces of some colleagues who wanted to respond vehemently to the allegations. “Phaar do (tear them apart)” was the war cry of one of my particularly militant senior colleagues. (Thankfully, the then editor was a far saner individual who managed to prevent the imparting of misleading and unconfirmed information). And then we found out the identities of the attackers; all were Pakistani.

But till the night I visited Leopold Cafe, I never really comprehended what the attacks have done to Mumbai and to India. Standing in front of the bullet-hole punctured wall of Leopold Cafe brought to life the visuals I’d seen on TV: two young men indiscriminately spraying bullets, mowing down 10 people of the 164 killed. “Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist (in India) is a Muslim,” is what most Mumbaikers believe according to my Indian journalist friend. As journalists, we’re trained not to generalise. But the sentiments of my Indian friend echo those of most Mumbaikers I met.

That night, when we went back to our hotel, I was on the receiving end of a long harangue from one of the leaders of our delegation. Apparently, our visit to Leopold Cafe had generated shockwaves within our security detail since the cafe is a no-go area for Pakistani journalists.

During the rest of our stay in Mumbai and Pune, there were many speeches about the love between India and Pakistan. We all spoke of the warm welcome we’d received in each other’s countries and we all promised to improve relations between our countries. Despite my inherent cynicism, I want to believe all this. My sister married an Indian 36 years ago and lives in India. When her husband died four months ago, I wanted to console my sister in person. I have some wonderful friends who happen to be Indian; I want to be able to visit them. I want to believe that these peace-building efforts are real and not just oratory.

But when I put myself in the shoes of friends who spent a lifetime living in and loving Mumbai, I don’t find any warmth in me for guests from the Karachi and Hyderabad press clubs. If my Pakistani friends who were part of this delegation put things in perspective, they’d also conclude that we were treated far too nicely.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (86)

  • Truth
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:38PM

    Hope at least now people understand the pain that was caused by the attacks not just to Mumbai, but to whole of India.

    Recommend

  • Sep 1, 2012 - 10:43PM

    You have captured the mood perfectly. – there is no real constituency in India that favours no-strings attached friendship with Pakistan.
    It is laughable when people talk of retreating from siachen. I just went to these border areas and saw how well entrenched the indian army is – there is no question of us retreating now. The army simply does not trust Pakistan and that is echoed throughout India.

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  • Diogenes
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:47PM

    The two nations are locked in a bitter, malicious struggle, with blows dealt over the course of decades. India behaves callously and heartlessly when it comes to water, to Kashmir. And Pakistan behaves heartlessly when it comes to Mumbai 26/11. The intent is to hurt, to strike blows at each other, to rend at each others’ souls. And this is the way things are going to be.

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  • shashi bhushan
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:54PM

    there are 56 islamic states in the world. Not one of them has escaped from terrorist including saudi where prophet mohammed was born. This says a lot about muslims about their culture,religion and rational thinking.
    when pakistani hindus were being attacked in last three weeks there was no coverage in western media(christian and jews). There was no coverage in islamic media. there was no condemnation either from UN, USA, christian countries or islamic countries.
    As a hindu i want a a country for hindus only for my secirity. I want india to become a hindu state as soon as possible by exchanging muslims from india for pakistan hindus.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Thank you for writing honestly and from the heart.
    The evidense has only mounted for past 65 years. The Pakistan policy towards India is rooted in dishonesty and deceit. The so called trial of 26/11 attacks is a brazen charade. You think Indians don’t know that ?

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  • shashi bhushan
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:57PM

    secularism in india is becoming anti hinduism as islamic population is increasing. there r more muslims india than pakistan.Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:03PM

    Thank you Sir. It is a shame that we cannot enjoy the benefit of neighbors like you without the rest of your co-travellers.

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  • Majid sheikh
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:10PM

    Over the last 3,000 years the sub-continent has fragmented seven times, each time to be relatively reunited by foreign invaders starting with the White Huns. Only the British consciously did not want to remain here after having dried it of it’s riches. Now if we consciously want to develop into a rich sub-continent, we have no option but to form a secular confederation of sub-continental States based on education, knowledge and toleration. If in this we fail, we will remain like we are at the moment.

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  • Bala
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:11PM

    Until Pakistanis take some action and bring some kind of closure to Mumbai attacks, Pakistanis are not welcome to Mumbai, even though you can still come as un-invited guests.

    @Diogenes:
    You are not very trueful. Pakistan have always (most of the time) been the provacator. And Pakistan is damn lucky to get Indus Water Treaty (there is no comparison anywhere in the world where a lower riparian state has got so much share). Kashmir is the one true sticking point but the way you handle your side of kashmir and the state of pakistan in general (look at what you did to GB), I think Kashmir is far beter off being Indian or independent.

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  • Ashvinn
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:20PM

    @Diogenes:
    Before you talk about Kashmir try to hold on to FATA, as for water try building some dams dont waste water you have

    @author Mumbai attacks have left a scar, the scar reminds us who terrorised us, wounds heal scars remind us of who was responsible for them, all this peace love is too flaky

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  • no one
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:20PM

    @shashi bhushan:
    You are not an Indian…Period.

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  • aksh
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:29PM

    @shashi bhushan:
    Are you from India?

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  • Mirza
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:43PM

    A very pragmatic and thought provoking Op Ed. Thanks for being open and honest about the problem that nobody wants to talk honestly.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 1, 2012 - 11:44PM

    welcome.

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  • Roy
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:03AM

    Very honest piece of writing. In my opinion, 26/11 has forever divorced Indians from Pakistanis. The very idea of 26/11 was to instigate India into a war with Pakistan, and embarrass the United States for having got India the nuclear deal. Good sense prevailed in India and we avoided the deadly trap of war. Also, the catching of Ajmal Kasab was critical as it removed any doubts that it was Pakistanis who masterminded & carried out this vicious operation with the help of some radicalised Indian muslims. After 26/11, Pakistanis will always be treated as outsiders and this explains the excessive niceness that outsiders normally feel as guests. The sense of being one people divided by nationality, will never ever come back, thanks to 26/11.

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  • shabbir
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:15AM

    @shashi bhushan: if your are an Indian, we are going to throw you out for such crass remarks. India is for everybody who is fair and tolerant … folks like you do not belong in there. What is the difference between you and the Taliban folks?

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  • Riaz Khan
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Attackers on Mumbai must be punished!

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  • shabbir
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:44AM

    @author: don’t beat up yourself so bad on this. all we want is understanding and acknowledgement of the issue from educated folks like you. When the 26/11 attacks happened, there were continuous denials of any sort of Pakistani involvement. Even after Headley confessed and was sentenced in a US court, you guys keep saying Kasab is a Hindu and not a Pakistani. Even the existence and killing of OBL in Pakistan is termed a fable of the worlds imagination.

    I don’t blame regular people like you for 26/11. I know you do not control or sympathize with the extremists. But I want you to sympathize and empathize and feel sad for the havoc these guys make everywhere in India. We want outright condemnation of such acts.

    India is not a fairy land with everything perfect. We have our own issues. But as a society and government, we do not condone extremism, intolerance, violence and bigotry. We want Pakistan to be peaceful, liberal and tolerant; a neighbor we can visit to dig up our own roots; a place which would remind us very much of how basic life and culture is in India;

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  • Vikas
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:49AM

    Haafiz Saeed, your turn is next after Kasab.

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  • antanu
    Sep 2, 2012 - 1:02AM

    @shashi bhushan:
    this is the reflection of your biased attitude towards minorities in india….and you still have the guts to tell ithers that you are better than them.shameRecommend

  • BKhan
    Sep 2, 2012 - 1:30AM

    Killing of thousands of muslims in India ( not just Gujarat, Assam or Kashmir) is not terrorism but termed as a communal violence. Didn’t see any coverage of such events in western media or mainstream Indian media. Hindu community in Pakistan are just as flourishing and have rights as any other pakistani citizen. Couple of years ago Justice Rana Bhagwandas retired as Chief Justice of Pakistan. Danesh Kanaria is also a world class test cricketer. They are not consider 2nd class citizens as muslims are considered in democratic India.
    The issue between Pakistan and India is not that simple and please don’t try oversimplify them.. there is a history and it is there for a reason.

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  • cosmo
    Sep 2, 2012 - 1:36AM

    @Diogenes:
    No, the two example you quotes are completely different. While water issues for Pakistan are nothing more than diatribes, while Mumbai attack was witnessed by the whole world. The proof is there in-front of you, if only u care to accept it. While Pakistan has no basis for water issue, if you had then why all international arbitrators rule in favor of India and why Pakistani government have not published any, i mean an iota of proof. Have you seen any proof that India is stopping your water, other than political diatribes by Hafiz Sayed and your all so loving and caring politicians?? You want to live in dark and ignorance, well be my guest, but for your own Allah’s sake do not try to convey that you do understand our pain. You can never do that.

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  • cosmo
    Sep 2, 2012 - 1:38AM

    @Riaz Khan:
    Thank you.

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  • amit
    Sep 2, 2012 - 3:17AM

    @Author, thanks for the sensitivity shown, which is sorely missing in majority of Pakistani columnists and commentators. Really appreciate it.

    If Pakistan does its own sincere investigations, hand over the voice samples and bring the attackers to justice, then InshaAllah we will have peace between our two countries.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:27AM

    My kudos to author for articulating a lot in few words.

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  • ram prasad
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:28AM

    The number of Indians visiting, watching and commenting on Pakistani newspapers and televisions indicates how much they have hurt by the events of 26/11. Before 26/11 nobody really cared what’s happening in Pakistan and we don’t know the newspapers..etc of it.But after it most of us are trying to understand the state of minds of common Pakistanis on India and trying to analyse the nature of majority of Pakistanis.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:31AM

    @BlackJack:
    It is a privilege to get visa of a country and one has to earn it and not demand it.

    Recommend

  • A. Nabi baloch
    Sep 2, 2012 - 5:40AM

    Again, the partition of India becomes topic of contention, jinnah’ s Pakistan only two benefited two ethnic groups, those who migrated from UP and Eastern Punjab. Rest of the People got raw end of the deal.

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  • Pk
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:31AM

    I am Mumbaikar and thank you Sir for nicely and accurately detailing what a common Mumbaikar thinks about Pakistan. Mumbai attacks has totally changed my view about Pakistan. When It is crystal clear that attack was planned by Pakistani, I have pain, anger to see all our leaders shaking hands with Pakistani, inviting cricket team to India even though there is no progress on Mumbai attacks case or delaying tactics being played by Pakistan authorities. I do not like MNS but I support them to oppose Asha Bhosle’s program with Pakistani singers. The only solution to change my perception is to bring those responsible for Mumbai attacks to justice. But I don’t see any light at the end of tunnel as that thug Hafeez comes out without any problem and openly spits venom against India.

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  • Kumail
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:40AM

    @shashi bhushan:

    Hey thanks for showing us the real face of India mate. Most Indians I have met are like that which is why I’m always surprised at how some of the Indians on these articles comment. Fact is that despite strong economic growth and being “THE WORLD’S LARGEST DEMOCRACY” indians still have such a cast-bound mindset as to hate other communities for acts commited by mobile extremists. Thank God we separated, that’s 1 taliban out of 2 taken care off.

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  • nitish
    Sep 2, 2012 - 6:43AM

    @shashi bhushan: I agree with you.Situation is very alarming.In some places of india we started tasting the smell.They dont even let you do pooja freely at the religious places where ever they r in majority.

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  • nitish
    Sep 2, 2012 - 7:07AM

    @aksh: People living in large cities consider whole india india think like them.Go and visit villages and rural areas where situation became very alarming.

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  • Feroz
    Sep 2, 2012 - 7:38AM

    Leopold Cafe captures the spirit of Mumbai better than most places. Have been there often to enjoy the atmosphere and chill out over a beer. A place where students, salesmen, hippies, artists, junkies and suited booted bankers hang out. It was never ever too expensive and entry was never ever restricted no matter how skimpily one dressed or how one looked – of course signboard said dogs not allowed. Within a stone throw of that place everything on earth was available, with the exception of mother and father. A wonderful and charming setting that is simply irreplaceable. That the same Zorastrian Irani family runs the place for generations makes a trip there both nostalgic and worthwhile.

    Recommend

  • Sep 2, 2012 - 8:19AM

    “But when I put myself in the shoes of friends who spent a lifetime living in and loving Mumbai, I don’t find any warmth in me for guests from the Karachi and Hyderabad press clubs. If my Pakistani friends who were part of this delegation put things in perspective, they’d also conclude that we were treated far too nicely.”

    That will change, I guess, when Pakistan sincerely takes ownership of the Mumbai Massacre, apologizes, pays families compensation, and fulfills its duty under international law to eliminate terror havens, terror training camps, and terrorist financing from Pakistani territory. Then Pakistanis will be able to walk into the Leopold Cafe with their heads held high: “Look what we Pakistanis have accomplished in improving ourselves both morally and politically!”

    Recommend

  • Murthy
    Sep 2, 2012 - 10:05AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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  • Rakib
    Sep 2, 2012 - 10:41AM

    @Author:

    Then there are days of despondency when one wants to give up since one feels nothing good will ever come out of attempts at people-to-people contacts or cross-border dialogues and then one reads an amazingly sensitive piece like this written in the language of the heart, and one’s faith in humanity is restored.

    Recommend

  • Sep 2, 2012 - 10:42AM

    We the people of India and Pakistan are powerless in front of those who are scheming day and night to sow and cultivate theories of bleeding by thousand cuts, strategic depths and nuclear wars. WE the billions of people are totally helpless in front of those who for the sake of personal power and wealth are bent upon dividing us.

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  • Deepjyoti Gogoi
    Sep 2, 2012 - 10:42AM

    @shashi bhushan: I am with you. Secularism has brought me close to cultural extension. The Congress Party has flooded my home state with Bangladeshi Muslims and Indian Muslims go ballistic every time there is talk about evicting these illegal aliens. I believe Indian Muslims chose ummah over Nation. Events is Mumbai, Lucknow, Allahabad prove my point.

    I want India as a Hindu state.

    Recommend

  • Aryabhat
    Sep 2, 2012 - 12:52PM

    Thank you Mr Sayani. You have truely captured our emotions in this one.

    I am a Mumbaikar and yes, I would be extra nice if I had a Pakistani guest. However, true to my heart, would I feel welcoming to him, even if he was the most moderate one? Would I take him to Leopald Cafe for Coffee or Taj for Dinner unless I wanted to give him a piece of my mind?

    Like a human, Mumbai as a society, needs closure for 26/11. Pakistan can help of this – better late then never – and be at least “Fredex” as 26/11 has divorced us truely.

    Again, thank you for the courage and honesty in writing this article. I wish Pakistan was full of people like you Sir! Thank you ET for printing this!

    Recommend

  • dud
    Sep 2, 2012 - 3:19PM

    @antanu:
    @shashi bhushan:
    two false flag alert.

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  • Sep 2, 2012 - 3:43PM

    @Majid sheikh:
    I think you are being far too optimistic. My dad was a mumbaiyite and I speak Marathi, Hindi, Urdu and Arabic [as I have lived in the middle east for 10 yrs and consider it my second home]. I have yet to come to terms with what has happened in Mumbai. The Arabs used to say that we [India and Pakistan] should become friends again, but after the Mumbai attacks they have stopped. Does it mean anything to you?

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  • Sep 2, 2012 - 3:48PM

    @Roy: The plan was that all of them should die fighting the Indian police/commandos/army, but unfortunately for the masterminds one of them was caught by the Mumbai police. I have great respect for Mumbai police, not because I am a Marathi, but because they do their job well, inspite of being underpaid and overworked. Jai Maharashtra! Jai Hind!

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  • Sep 2, 2012 - 3:52PM

    @Aryabhat: Yes thanks to ET for this article.

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  • Prakash
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @shashi bhushan:
    Is your real name Raj Thackeray?

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  • Rajesh
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:25PM

    @Kumail: – There are regions in West Bengal where a Hindu cannot celebrate Durga Puja because it offends Muslims. Recently, in Kerala two ABVP activists were killed in a college campus for celbrating Saraswati Puja. When Hindus carry their idols through a street where there is Mosque, they are hurled petrol bombs. There are hundreds of localities in cities and towns across India where a non-Muslim dare not enter. And you have the audacity to call us Taliban and say “Thank God we separated”.

    Recommend

  • Ashvinn
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:29PM

    @Pk:
    I share your pain, we must send a clear message in our next election to our political class, problem is we do not have leaders who can lead our country in such hostile neighbourhood

    Recommend

  • Ashvinn
    Sep 2, 2012 - 4:35PM

    @ram prasad:
    Well most Pakistanis are anti India. Sometimes I getting the feeling they are irrational and violent people

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  • nitish
    Sep 2, 2012 - 7:47PM

    @Prakash: And what is your real name Digvijay,Sachar,lalu,nitish,mulayam.teesta,bhusan……….

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  • Jason
    Sep 2, 2012 - 7:52PM

    The idea of Pakistan was born the day the Arab caliphate conquered the erstwhile province of Multan and Sindh and converted its residents to Islam as a political tool to obtain allegiance to Arabia. Pakistanis today remain stripped of all their native identity and use an aquired non-indegenous religious following “muslim” tag to identify themselves. They assume Arabic names, use Arabic scripts, follow Arabic religion etc. This has reduced them to a subservient and secondary status in the world today.

    On the other hand, India is a primary civilization where all things are native to it. Most of Indians (@ 72%) are Indo-aryans who will never tolerate an significantly inferior Arabic people and culture ever. Hence, the question of Pakistan in its current ever being “close” to India will never happen.

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  • indian
    Sep 2, 2012 - 8:58PM

    @Deepjyoti Gogoi:
    i disagree with you. I want India with Indian-first mentality. and kick out others.

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  • Vinit
    Sep 2, 2012 - 9:18PM

    The Hindu Muslim divide exist even in secular India.It has existed since last 1000 years before the partion. I do not believe Pakistan and India can ever come close.Never…

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  • Indian Catholic
    Sep 2, 2012 - 10:05PM

    After reading this article and its many comments, why do I get the feeling that the author while Pakistani, is an Indian… and some of the commenters here while Indian, are Pakistani?

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  • An Indian
    Sep 2, 2012 - 10:13PM

    I wish for peaceful coexistence and friendly relationship with everyone.. lets not blame each other anymore but rather accept each other as they are. Past should not take everyone hostage about future..

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:07AM

    All Indians who are asking Pakistan to eliminate terrorists networks:

    The right person to contact is Sanjeev Tripathi, RAW Headquarter, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. With a stroke of his pen, 75% of the terrorist networks in Pakistan and in the region can be eliminated. You don’t believe me, do you? Here are the responsibilities officially assigned to RAW:

    “The primary mission of RAW includes aggressive intelligence collection via espionage, psychological warfare, subversion and sabotage.”

    >@All Indians who demand that Pakistan punish the masterminds of Bombay terrorists attacks

    As soon as India punish the Indian masterminds behind daily bombings in Pakistan, I am sure Pakistan will feel obliged to do the same. Involvement of RAW in training, arming, and funding terrorists organizations need no proofs. RAW did it in East Pakistan using Mukti Bahini, in Sri Lanka using LTTE, and now in Pakistan using TTP and BLA. You cannot expect flowers in return while you inflict every possible harm to others and cause tens of thousands of deaths in your neighboring countries.Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Sep 3, 2012 - 1:37AM

    @Jason:

    “On the other hand, India is a primary civilization where all things are native to it. Most of Indians (@ 72%) are Indo-aryans who will never tolerate an significantly inferior Arabic people and culture ever. Hence, the question of Pakistan in its current ever being “close” to India will never happen.”

    The level of ignorance and the false sense of pride born out of low mentality of Indian commentators is astonishing. Even though Islam forbids discrimination based on ethnicity or color of skin and declare all humans equal, but as you think that Aryans are a superior race I am using this argument. While 72% of Indian are of Aryan origin and the rest Dravidian, almost all of the Pakistanis are Aryan by race. Similarly, all the native Arabs including Iranians are also of the Aryan race. So how the Arabs become inferior. By all standards they look much superior than any Indian. They do not come to India to clean your toilets (which, by the way, only a third of the lucky Indians enjoy this luxury) or remained your slaves for a thousand year.

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  • John Whitakker
    Sep 3, 2012 - 4:16AM

    Any terrorist who carried out attacks in Mumbai should be punished, having said that Pakistan is suffering mini Mumbai attacks on daily basis across Pakistan. Not all but many of these attacks are funded and supported by RAW!, thats also a reality, while every Pakistani has to take the blame for Mumbai attacks, Indians cleverly has been avoiding taking blame for terror in Pakistan.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 5:47AM

    The only way warmth and goodwill will return towards Pak is when some intolerant bigoted, twisted ideological and violent condoning mindsets are undone by taking steps in being honest and accountable, rather than being insincere and vindictive.

    We absolutely should bring those culprits to book who were behind the Mumbai massacre, on our own initiative and admit our deception, and do away with this evil and insane deluded hate, spite and extremism through all mediums against our neighbours and the world.

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  • nitish
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:47AM

    @Lala Gee: Pakistanis r illegitimate son of Arab and Indians…………….now happy

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  • aksh
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @Lala Gee:
    I am not a racist I do not judge human being based on their race.
    I do not agree to this Aryan Dravidian concepts.
    The Harappa civilization was proto-dravidian.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyN0zs_tBRY
    Talking about Arabs, they are racist as they consider themselves as the preferred one & the rest i,e converted Muslims as miskeen.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/389166/going-miskeen-in-saudi-arabia/
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/103165675/Arabs-are-preferred-by-Allah-over-other-Nations
    Talking about economics of Arabs,once the oil fields dries up,they will be back to the camels & donkey days.
    Regarding India’s economic condition,well, a citizen of a failed state who are being labelled as pathological liars should not comment about it.

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  • aksh
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:44AM

    @Lala Gee:
    I hope you are not one of those Arab wannabees Pakistani who think they ruled India once.
    I am not sure if you had read my comments in our previous discussion.

    During partition some people were walking with placard shouting about independence. One Muslim asked a lower cast person who had just converted to Christianity what’s going on and the reply came” Sadde thoun Azadi Manng Rahiye hain” -These people are asking for independence from us.

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  • aksh
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:57AM

    @Lala Gee:
    During our last discussion you discussed about your mother remembering horrors she faced during the time of Partition.
    You are much elder to me & you are still in that partition hangover, & people conducting such crimes like 26/11 have the same mentality.
    Tell me which community or people did not suffer during Partition.
    This is a new world, a globalized one where economy & market drives political decisions.
    Think about European countries.They had fought wars among themselves for hundred of years.
    Now they are sitting together with euro.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 9:51AM

    @Pk: Dear Pk I beg to differ from you. The fact is that most of the people of Pakistan and India like each other and tied by centuries of relationships. The problem is because of the policy of hate, bleeding by thousand cuts and strategic depth being pursued by people in power in Pakistan. For this reason why be intolerant to the singers coming from Pakistan.

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @shabbir:
    Very well said brother. We need to dump him in bay of bengal!!!! Everyone must realize that India is not the republic of Taliban. Period.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:48AM

    @nitish:

    “@Lala Gee: Pakistanis r illegitimate son of Arab and Indians…………….now happy”

    You can only talk about your own legitimacy with certainty. Only an illegitimate person can talk like this.

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  • Indian
    Sep 3, 2012 - 11:35AM

    @ the author:
    Thanks for appreciating the pain we Indians suffered…. Hope it percolates to other fellow countrymen of yours…

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  • nitish
    Sep 3, 2012 - 12:03PM

    @Lala Gee: The country who deny their legitimate right over their ancestry,terming themselves as follower of arab decedent ,if you awarded the term like “illegitimate” what is wrong in it.Though your ancestor arab deny to recognize you ,calling yourself as converts. Regarding my legitimacy be assure i could name my 7 following ancestor and the chain is endless.No confusion about ancestors .Thats why in hinduism we dont allow conversion.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 1:02PM

    @Lala Gee:

    So the better man wins. India RAW is doing an excellent job when compared to the ISI. Why crib?

    India is the next Super Power and is very very stable. Hardly any Terrorist attacks take place, specially when compared to Pakistan.

    Lets just agree that India is better and get on with our lives?

    While I am saying this, I do not believe, nor does any one who has impartial brain, that RAW or, for that matter, CIA, do not have anything to do with Pakistan’s Terror problems. Its all Pakistan’s own mess of raising snakes to bite the neighbour.

    You put in some really sane comments on other topics in the past few days. I guess when India is mentioned all saneness goes down the drain and Xenophobia enters, along with irrationality.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 3, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @aksh:

    “@Lala Gee: I hope you are not one of those Arab wannabees Pakistani who think they ruled India once.”

    Apart from your joke, isn’t this a fact that Arab, Afghan, Turkish, and British people ruled India for over a thousand years. If this fact should be shameful for me, it must also be equally shameful for you as well.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:00PM

    @VINOD:

    “The fact is that most of the people of Pakistan and India like each other and tied by centuries of relationships. The problem is because of the policy of hate, bleeding by thousand cuts and strategic depth being pursued by people in power in Pakistan. For this reason why be intolerant to the singers coming from Pakistan.”

    As I always point out, you need to read the comments of Indian and Pakistani commentators and decide yourself who is more hateful, malevolent, and disrespectful. Better yet, visit TOI website and read the comments to exactly know the kind and magnitude of hate mongering of Indians. Secondly, you need to look in your own house for the same evils you are blaming Pakistan for. Didn’t you mess up in East Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sikhim, and now in Pakistan. What did you do to Kashmiri Muslims, Indian Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians. I fail to understand what problem Indians have with the strategic depth concept, which, by the way, is blown out of proportions. Is that strategic depth in some Indian territory.

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  • atta rasul
    Sep 3, 2012 - 3:22PM

    Dear sir; I am glade there is realization that Pakistan and India should have better relations and I support the move from my heart, but plz also try to find ourt some times how Indian Muslims are being treated there?

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  • Truth is out there
    Sep 3, 2012 - 5:26PM

    As Mumbaikers felt on 26/11, Pakistanis have felt the same every day for the past 65 years. 26/11 was not an event, it was an outcome of how India has evaded to resolve the ‘real’ issues between Pakistan and India. The lack of trust is on both sides, in both armies.
    Today Indians can rejoice when terrorists attack Pakistan, tomorrow Pakistanis will celebrate an attack on Indian cities. Indians will keep spilling Pakistani blood and Pakistanis will take the revenge. The more India will drag its feet, it will have to pay the price with the blood of its innocents. Call it poetic justice or karma. What you sow so shall you reap.

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  • Rakib
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:24PM

    @Truth is out there:

    26/11 was not an event, it was an outcome of how India has evaded to resolve the ‘real’ issues between Pakistan and India.

    And that tactic will firm up India’s resolve and so on & the lethal ping pong game will go on. For those Internet warriors that are not directly affected by ravages of violence nothing will matter except to issue unsubtle threats encased in hollow words. Both countries sincerely believe that only The Other is the initiator of any real or imaginary wrongs and among both the desire to get even is quite strong. Both should realise that if Revenge is our character built over centuries, so is Reconciliation that the common folk ensure over time & that should be allowed to work.. Author Faisal Sayani by sharing his experience & opinion makes out a case to act on our natural instinct for Reconciliation. Such men are not rare but rare indeed are those that have the honesty & ability to articulate like him. With him lies the hope & future of this troubled landmass.

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  • Vikram
    Sep 3, 2012 - 7:32PM

    @Lala Gee: This can be easily tested with matching DNA of Pakistanis with Arabs. Arabs consider pakistanis as slaves or servant class and don’t allow arab women to marry Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:15PM

    @Lala Gee:
    RAW did it in East Pakistan using Mukti Bahini, in Sri Lanka using LTTE, and now in Pakistan using TTP and BLA. You cannot expect flowers in return while you inflict every possible harm to others and cause tens of thousands of deaths in your neighboring countries.

    Pakistani army killed 3 million people in East Pakistan. 93000 Soldiers of Pakistani surrundered. Indian army made sure all 93000 returned to Pakistan.

    If Pakistani army had 93000 Hindu soldiers they would have killed each of them.

    Pakistan has created its own problem. You guys are also killing Shias and Ahmadis.
    Your imams want to get rid of Christains and planting torn pages of Quran to terrorize Christians.

    You guys destroyed Afghanistan by creating talibans. Your country is known as hub of terrorism.Recommend

  • manish
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:31PM

    @Lala Gee: Not sure from where pakistanis get a notion that muslims ruled india for 1000 years. Perhaps from the version of histroy they read in the school books. Below is the berief history of muslim conquest.
    711 AD : Conquest of Sindh by Arabs (Bin Qasim)
    738 AD : Defeat of Arabs in Battle of Rajasthan.Following their defeat the remnants of the Arab army fled to the other bank of the River Indus. The Muslim conquest of Persia by Arab forces in a short space of time contrasts sharply to the defeat of the Arab armies by the Hindus
    Real muslim rule started with the establishment of Slave Dynasty in 1211 AD and officially lasted till the end of mughal dynasty till 1736 AD when Marthas distroyed one of the powerfull empires. So it was effectively 500 years of rule on Delhi. Also leaving aside Akbar and Jahangirs rule India was not a peacefull place to rule. Rajputs fought, Sikhs Fought , Marathas faught. They faught against muslims,India as country fought against british to get freedom.

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  • Amd
    Sep 3, 2012 - 8:52PM

    Post Colonial Abyss India and Pakistan: We Indians & Pakistanis, still find our selves in the depth of abyss, where our colonist placed us with respect to each other, It’s about time we ascend, above the cause effect rationale by gracefully pulverizing manifestations of “Hate” purported by institutions wielding control over commons. Colonial tools of interventions have been successfully carried forward by the neo colonist. we need to collectively gather resources to encounter the distortions of the past for a promising self sustaining future of sub continent ………………….. cheers

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  • Pakboy
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:33PM

    @Bala:
    Your kind of people are not welcome all over Pakistan let alone any city. Thank you

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  • Rohit
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:47PM

    @Lala Gee:
    FYI, Arabs are Semites, not Aryans.

    Arabs never ruled India. They were squarely and decisively defeated by India Rajputs in 738 AD. The only “muslims” who occupied India were Turkic invaders from northern Iran (Delhi sultanate) and Uzbekistan (Mughals). The combined period of these @450 years, not 1000 years. It was the territory of Multan and Sindh now Pakistan, that was occupied by “muslims” beginning with the Arab caliphate 711AD for 1000 years, not India.

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  • Priyabrata Tripathy
    Sep 4, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Sometime I wonder, how can I suggest a silver bullet to end this decades of hatred between the two brothers who witnessed a very vitriolic separation in 1947. Some time when I saw the picture of Gandhi and Jihna standing together…I ask myself why could not they stand together. Sometime when I see Khan Abdul Gafar Khan towering over the frail figure of Gandhiji, I ask myself have we cheated the great peace maker, the frontier Gandhi?

    I know there is no straight and easy answer to these questions as when ever we start dissecting the issue, we are become Pakistanis or Indians. Can any day we all can think alike?

    This side of mine is my emotional aspect. The other side questions such weak person in me.

    It talks about practicality…it repeatedly draws my attention to the aspect of Pakistan which forced its way away from the confluence of the Indian Sub-continent. Jihna probably thought his action would make the case of an empowered Muslim minority with in a possible future power sharing structure between Hindu dominated India and Muslim dominated Pakistan. I am not cent present sure about my assessment of his intention…but some how I decode this man like this. in that context, I can safely say that the Pakistanis let their founder down.

    My request to the right thinking…Pakistanis to increase the peace constituency of your county. We, Indians, in this side think emotionally…we wo’t have any difficulty to embrace you if you give us the confidence that your country is in the right direction. I know there are elements on each of our sides which are up in arm against each other. But can we both make the strong pitch to reduce their influence on our lives. Allow me to be little partial…but Thakreys any day are thousand times less venomous than such elements in you country. We can control them easily.

    Wish we love each other….amen….

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  • Sep 4, 2012 - 5:36PM

    @Lala Gee:
    What ever hateful comments are pasted by ‘some’ persons on this board, the truth is that majority of people of India and Pakistan like each other as bound by history and culture. The problem is with handful of self serving politicians who unfortunately control the destiny of common people. When you talk about Bangladesh it is again not the people but a few self serving politicians and politician generals who kicked out Bangladesh from the folds of Pakistan. It was a self goal. Not an scheme of India. The story of Kashmir could have been totally different if, within a few months of Independence, in its eagerness Pakistan would not have raided Kashmir in the grab of kabailis . If we all would have given time and space to people of Kashmir to decide then picture could have been different. In this case also, in hurry to grab by a surprise attack, Pakistan pushed the state of Kashmir in the lap of India. So please do not be led by propaganda. Read what the world and history says.
    Best Regards.

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  • Assad
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Does the history only go back till the Mumbai attacks? Yes those were atrocious attacks that should not have happened, however the history goes back to other events as well that have impacted the Pakistani psyche just as bad as those of the Mumbaikers. Remember the separation of Pakistan by means of force? Remember the use of terrorists by the Indian establishment that resulted in the murders and deaths of thousands of Pakistanis before the Indians militarily, against all UN conventions, invaded another independent country?

    So why is it that only the Indian grudge counts? The terrorists who took part in the Mumbai attacks had no sanction from the Pakistani state. Most Pakistanis despise what they did by killing so many innocents. However the rape and pillage of Pakistan in 1971 is celebrated by the Indians.

    Lets get the perspective right. It takes two hands to clap. By trying to make Pakistan feel guilt for the actions of few, without first accepting your own (Indian) transgressions against Pakistan won’t take you too far. Trust is earned when there is sincerity of heart on all sides.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:47PM

    @VINOD:

    See this is the problem, even a decent person like you is so much brainwashed that he is unable to see things neutrally and put all the blame on Pakistan. You say Bengali rebellion was due to the follies of Pakistani generals and politicians only – no doubt they provided the basis – but refuse to accept the Indian role and her years long conspiracies to manipulate, instigate, and organize armed rebellion and finally illegally attacking a sovereign country without any UNSC authorization. Would you still say the same if Pakistan had militarily liberated Khalistan (of course for that military capabilities had to be switched). Now come to Kashmir. For that you have to carefully observer the historical events that took place just after partition. There was a large scale massacre of 235,000 Muslims in the Jammu district with the collusion of police and Dogra army (the very same pattern which existed in anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and anti-Muslims riots of 1992-193 in Ayodhya and Bombay, and 2002 in Gujrat). The ‘Kabailis’ intervention was to save the lives of their besieged relatives in Jammu (no doubt Pakistan also played role in facilitating their movement, but remember the British Pakistani Army Chief refused to take any direct action). Later on the intentions of India were made very clear by her military occupation of the Junagadh state after her accession to Pakistan on the basis of Hindu majority population. States of Hyderabad Deccan, Bhopal, and Goa also met the same fate. Later on the same game was played in Sikhim. Indian malice and hegemony didn’t stop here. In the recent path Sri Lanka was the victim of Indian ambitions and now Pakistan is facing her malevolence in Balochistan and elsewhere. This has to stop someday but who would? If people even like you are not willing to accept truth and reality.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:11PM

    @Rohit:

    “@Lala Gee: FYI, Arabs are Semites, not Aryans.”

    My search on the internet shows that the Aryan and Semite races are in fact one same race and the distinction between Aryan and Semite is made only on the basis of the group of language, Indo-European or Semitic, they speak. In this particular argument, the main point was the superiority of one race over the other (genes vs. genes) rather than languages. This is what wikipeida entry for “Aryan Race” says:

    “Rand McNally’s World Atlas International Edition …..The other nine groups are depicted as being the Semitic race (the Aryans (850,000,000) and the Semites (70,000,000) are described as being the two main branches of the Caucasian race)Recommend

  • Mr X from Bombay
    Sep 5, 2012 - 12:57AM

    @shashi bhushan: Thankfully not many Indians think like you. I love and cherish relationships with my muslim brothers as much as any other citizens of India.
    @Author : Good job and sorry you and quite many Pakistanis have to lift this burden of guilt. But I assure you sir, progressive thinker like you are always welcome and I wish our government at least makes lives of common people of India and Pakistan a bit more easier.

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  • Sep 5, 2012 - 2:13PM

    @Assad: Dear Assad Sahib, You have said “Remember the use of terrorists by the Indian establishment that resulted in the murders and deaths of thousands of Pakistanis before the Indians militarily, against all UN conventions, invaded another independent country?” Which country you are talking about? Please clarify. 1971 was a doing of Pakistani politicians who refused to accept the mandate of an election and some generals who tried to force their way. India had nothing to do. It was a self goal by Pakistan.

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  • aativas
    Sep 19, 2012 - 2:31PM

    Your writing is very honest and heart touching.

    However, the news that a member of official delegation from Pakistan can ditch escort and move around in Mumbai with the help of Indian friends – gives me cause for worry.

    Nothing personal against you. I understand your excitement and I fully appreciate trust your Indian friends have in you. But well, …. I wish life could be that simple for all of us!!

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