We lost terribly in 1965 war, Pak historian says

KARACHI: Pakistan “lost terribly in the 1965 war” with India, a Pakistani historian has admitted.

Dispelling “the victory myth”, historian and political economist Akbar S Zaidi said there cannot be a bigger lie as Pakistan had lost terribly, Dawn reported on Saturday. Zaidi said people are unaware of this fact because the history taught in Pakistan is from an ideological viewpoint. Zaidi said, “Students are not taught the history of the people of Pakistan. Rather it is focused on the making of Pakistan.”

Zaidi, who teaches history at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, added, “With the celebration of the victory in the 1965 war round the corner, there can be no bigger a lie that Pakistan won the war. We lost terribly in the 1965 war,” he said.

The remark comes with Pakistan just two days away from observing Defence Day to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war.

On when was Pakistan created, he said one obvious answer is it did so on Aug 14, 1947 but he read out an excerpt from a Pakistan Studies textbook in which it was claimed it came into being in 712AD when the Arabs came to Sindh and Multan. “This is utter rubbish!” he said, rejecting the textbook account.

Zaidi also acknowledged that Parsis and Hindus contributed hugely in the educational development of Karachi and in a similar manner the Sikhs in Punjab.



5 life lessons Krishna teaches us

The Bhagvad Gita offers ample lessons in life about handling crises situations, managing people and paving the path to success.

5 lessons the Bhagvad Gita teaches youWe often run a Google search on the top industrial honchos to learn from their words of wisdom.

However, we seem to have lost touch with our own rich intellectual heritage.

Why not go back to our own roots, and learn from words of wisdom that are truly eternal?

Our great epics (religious or not), surely have quotes that stand true to the modern times, even better than ever before.

I am sure many of us must have explored or heard some great treasures hidden in ancient scripture Bhagvad Gita.

Below are a few shloks which I tried to decode.

I hope it will help entrepreneurs take away something from them.

#1. Do your karma

“KarmanyeVadhikaraste Ma PhaleshuKadachana,

Ma Karma PhalaHeturBhurmaTeySangostvaAkarmani”

Translation: Do your duty and be detached from its outcome, do not be driven by the end product, enjoy the process of getting there.

A lot has been said and heard about ‘karma’, but the true essence lies in these two simple lines.

Every entrepreneur should focus on their work i.e. karma without anticipating the result or outcome.

You should not concentrate so much on the final product and just enjoy the process of reaching there.

We get swayed by our vision and rely on its success too much.

We forget it is pivotal to enjoy the whole process rather than just hoping for something that you know is anyway uncertain.

Remember, having hopes or being optimistic is not wrong, but without actions, your path will be dreadful.

The art lies in walking the tightrope and enjoy doing it.

If the guy who walks the literal tightrope is scared or too excited, he will certainly fall.

The trick to his success is that he enjoys it while he walks in order to reach the other end successfully.

#2. Master the art of adaptation

“vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya

navani grhnati naro ’parani

tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany

anyani samyati navani dehi”

Translation: As a man shedding worn out garments, takes other new ones, likewise, the embodied soul, casting off worn-out bodies, enters into others that are new.

It is easy to say versatility and adaptation are the keys to success. But the biggest lesson for any entrepreneur is learning to adapt to changes quickly.

Do not get stuck with your initial vision.

Learn to adapt, innovate and implore new opportunities.

Pave your journey like a traveller, who is not attached to the city he visits or the hotel he stays in but enjoys the experience of it all.

Do not be adamant; be innovative, open minded and ready to absorb experiences like a sponge.

The faster you adapt to a change, the better it is.

Remember, change is the only constant.

#3. Manage your anger

“krodhaadbhavatisammohahsammohaatsmritivibhramah ‘

smritibhramshaadbuddhinaashobuddhinaashaatpranashyati ””

Translation: From anger comes delusion; from delusion, confused memory; from confused memory the ruin of reason; from ruin of reason, man finally perishes.

It is imperative for all entrepreneurs to have control over their anger.

With anger goes away our ability to reason and we tend to become delusional.

The confusion and chaos generated by anger leads to memory loss.

The individual is moved away from his purpose and goals.

Anybody who seems to have forgotten their goals or lost their clarity of thought cannot succeed. Therefore, it is important for people to free themselves from anger.

A simple solution to this problem is focus.

Never lose your focus and never underestimate the virtue of patience.

#4. Detach yourselves

“tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara

asakto hy acaran karma param apnoti purushah”

Translation: Go on efficiently doing your duty at all times without attachment. Doing work without attachment man attains the supreme.

Inculcate the habit of being open to everything and being attached to nothing.

Attachment does give strength to work and love beyond ourselves, but it also limits us and makes our journey and growth difficult, especially if the object of our desire is taken away from us.

Too much desire can be bad, as it turns into greed.

Greed takes you away from your true calling and dream, be it to achieve, create or innovate.

Do not be super attached to your work, as it makes your journey as an entrepreneur difficult and closed.

You cannot wear binoculars and run the rat race.

You have to keep an open mind about the ever-evolving market changes, adapt to them.

Keep a close eye on your goals but do not get obsessive.

#5. Do not be misled

“dhumenavriyate vahnir yathadarso malena ca

yatholbenavrto garbhas tatha tenedam avrtam”

Translation: As fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust and embryo by the amnion, so is knowledge covered by desire.

This simple shlok has the deepest meaning.

It is like a dissuading curse — as everything pure has a covering that can often be misleading.

For example, fire is covered with smoke, which prevents us from nearing it and if a mirror is covered in sheen, we cannot see what it is reflecting before removing the sheen.

Similarly knowledge is covered with desire that we must ignore or get rid of.

We must ignore the curtain of desire in order to imbibe knowledge that will help us grow.

This isn’t as easy as it looks but wise man is one who knows what to avoid and what to select.

The author Atul Pratap Singh is the co-founder and director of V Spark Communications, a branding agency for start-ups.


Hip yoga literature written by Westerners is leaving India out

Today, modern yoga—once considered the esoteric pursuit of Indian ascetics—has fans all over the world. The global yoga industry is valued at $5.7 billion, with an estimated 15 million devotees in the US alone professing to some sort of yoga practice.
But yoga isn’t important just because it helps practitioners find health, wellness or spiritual depth. Increasingly, yoga also allows people to tell new stories about themselves and how they fit in a globalising present.
In recent decades, a “yoga fiction” genre has begun to crop up in English-language bookstores. As yoga memoirs, also known as “yogoirs”, yoga chick lit, yoga comedies and yoga murder mysteriesflood the literary marketplace in the West, they change the way we think about one of India’s most popular cultural exports. These yoga fictions paradoxically make India both more and less visible in a globalising world.

Yogis were hungry for power. They were fearsome creatures on the border between the human and the supernatural.

Stories about yoga, and yogis, have a long tradition in Indian narrative, folklore and oral culture. In many accounts, the scholarDavid Gordon White shows that yogis were the classic villains of adventure tales. These fictional yogis didn’t spend too much of their time in complicated physical postures or in deep meditative breathing. Instead, they tended to be spies and soul-stealers. They worked close to kings. Yogis were hungry for power. They were fearsome creatures on the border between the human and the supernatural.
In the early 20th century, as yoga began to take the shape familiar to most of us today, influential Indian gurus who wanted to spread yoga around the world decided to start telling their own stories. Spiritual memoirs, they thought, could help them publicise their goals for a broad international audience.
Paramahansa Yogananda was one such guru. After a long period of religious training in India, Yogananda was sent to the US in the early 20th century. In 1946, he published Autobiography of a Guru, which became a hit with spiritual seekers for decades.
In this autobiography, written in English, Yogananda sought to portray the Indian identity as both timelessly spiritual and fully compatible with modernity. For instance, in passages that evoke Indian supernatural stories about yogis, Yogananda liked to call attention to the mind-reading powers of his guru.
But he suggested that these occult powers were really highly sophisticated forms of modern technology. Before the wireless had even made it to his part of India, he argued, his guru was a perfect human radio. Yoga allowed Indians, and India with them, to seem traditional, futuristic and authoritative all at once.
Fast forward to the present moment. In the 21st century, new visions of India are taking form in Western popular fiction about yoga. These new fictions include ironic memoirs, comedies of manners, self-help novels, and searing autobiographies.
Many of these writings conspicuously jettison yoga’s historic roots in South Asia. One popular American yoga murder mystery series, for instance, quite literally seeks to kill off the practice’s associations with the subcontinent. In this series, written by Diana Killian, control over a yoga empire shifts from an Indian-trained American to a heroine who can only teach yoga for dogs.
Yoga chick lit, as in the self-help fiction of Meryl Davids Landau, assures nervous beginners that they won’t have to struggle through any supposedly scary Sanskrit to gain the benefit of the practice.

Yoga allowed Indians, and India with them, to seem traditional, futuristic and authoritative all at once.

Novels like these suggest that India’s authority over yoga is now quite fragile in a Western popular imagination. Such a possibility alarms the Indian state, which has recently embarked on a major campaign to restore India as the primary cultural steward of yoga. Last December, India’s prime minister appointed the country’s first national yoga minister.
Challenging both the idealisation of India and its erasure is a new and increasingly vocal literary presence: the Indian diaspora. The late Indian American poet and essayist Reetika Vazirani, for example, poignantly showed how yoga could illuminate the difficulties of her family’s move to America. The US of Vazirani’s youth, she reveals, both exoticised and distrusted nonwhite immigrants.
Her essay, The Art of Breathing, brings to light the contradictions of globalising yoga. Why can Westerners enthusiastically embrace a cultural practice from the subcontinent, while their societies remain decidedly uncertain about actual people from India? When Vazirani hears Sanskrit mispronounced in her yoga class, it feels like violence. It reminds her of the ways in which she is disconnected from India and treated as a foreigner in her new homeland.
Through these different and competing stories of yoga, India takes on many identities. In some threads, yoga promotes an idealised India that need not choose between tradition and modernity. In others, yoga figures India as eminently dispensable—the nightmare of the Indian state.
And in yet other visions, yoga invites us to question the complex dynamics of power, racism, and even violence that shape globally circulating ideas of India. Yoga’s difficult positions, it turns out, are not just physical.The Conversation
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read theoriginal article. We welcome your comments at ideas.india@qz.com.

Modi effect! Pakistan-occupied Kashmir wants to be part of India

PM Narendra Modi’s style of governance has raised alarm bells for Pakistanas the residents of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) are now openly advocating to be a part of India.
Impressed with the Indian government’s response during the 2015 earthquake and 2014 floods, the region is witnessing pro-India sentiment.
Chairman of the Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool, Moulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi, who recently toured PoK said that people residing in the region want to be a part of India.
According to Dehlavi, the people of the region are distressed with growing extremism in Pakistan and want to lead a peaceful life. Given the opportunity, they would want a referendum so that they can vote to join back India.
The chairman of the Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool also said that the people in PoK think have a high opinion about India and, if given a chance, they will definitely opt to be the Indian citizens.
Dehlavi says that people living in Balochistan and Karachi also want to have cordial relations with India.
He further said that the PoK residents are highly impressed with PM Modi’s good governance style.
PoK these days is abuzz with pro-freedom slogans and this has made Pakistan nervous. Even the Pakistani media is widely reporting the issue.
On September 7, 2014, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the flood-affected areas of PoK. He was greeted with slogans “Go Nawaz Go”, which reflected the frustration of the people with regard to the apathy of the federal government of Pakistan in dealing with the very critical situation.
Conscious of the deteriorating situation in PoK, PM Modi made an offer of all possible help to the people there, when he visited flood affected area of the Kashmir Valley last year.
The PoK people are fed up with the atrocities committed against them by the Pakistani establishment for decades. The region has always been neglected by Islamabad and used for nurturing terror camps.

Nehru was as much to blame as Jinnah for Partition

Vaihayasi Pande Daniel

‘Nehru had multiple chances to make compromises, that would have preserved a united India, and he chose not to…’

‘There was a particular mutual dislike between Nehru and Jinnah. Probably their personalities were so different… They were very similar in some ways. They were complete opposites in many other ways,’ Nisid Hajari, who wrote Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition, tells Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com
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Nehru Jinnah and Mountbatten

IMAGE: The conference in New Delhi where Lord Louis Mountbatten disclosed Britain’s plan for the Partition of India. Left to Right: Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Ismay, adviser to Mountbatten, Lord Mountbatten, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images.
Nisid Hajari spent a decade overseeing Newsweek’s coverage of post 9/11 Afghanistan.

In the course of supervising that reportage, as the foreign editor — and since he had subcontinental roots — he was often asked to interpret Pakistan’s role in the crisis.

“I kept getting a lot of interest from people. And questions. ‘Why does Pakistan do this? Why? And I kept saying there is this story (of Partition) you don’t know,” recalls Nisid, who is currently based in Singapore, whose Gujarati Hindu parents grew up in Mumbai.

Those perplexing riddles seeded the idea of doing a book on Partition. “It grew out of the work I was doing.”
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Hajari felt there was a direct connect between a string of incidents in Pakistan’s often murky present and its blood-soaked, tumultuous birth in the monsoon of 1947. That cause and effect was something the world now might be rather interested in since it was no longer just a regional tale for Indian and Pakistani school textbooks.

It was the 70-year-old chapter of history, he believed, that was responsible for the build up of an explosive situation that has the potential to rewrite world events, quite comparable to Gavrilo Princip shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his duchess in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, or the never ending, bitter Palestine-Israel conflict, or Kim Jong-un building a rogue empire.
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When Newsweek changed ownership in 2013, Hajari was looking for a change. He decided to take two years off from nine-to-five journalism (if there is such a thing) to write a book on Partition.

He spent the next 18 months hopping between the cavernous archives, on three continents, digging up as many key documents, accounts and records of the turning points that led to Partition.

Those crucial footnotes of history — letters, diaries, telegrams and memoirs — were gleaned to construct, and flesh out, new profiles of the main players of Partition, and bring them back to life.

Over, finally what turned out to be three years, he constructed, what he felt was, a fresh perspective on Partition, taking time to re-evaluate historical roles, snipping and weeding out redundant biases. In the bargain, offering coverage befitting of what he considers to be a landmark happening in the history of the 20th century.

Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in June.

History ought to be examined, and re-examined, threadbare, before nations have the capacity to move on, is Hajari’s contention. Only then maybe Partition and its overstaying ghosts can be laid to rest, eventually maybe, optimistically, leading to better relations between India and Pakistan.

“The only persons this current situation serves is the Pakistani army and Indian television channels,” says Hajari, who now works with Bloomberg in Singapore. In his previous stint atNewsweek, he spent 10 years in New York. He has also lived in Seattle, Hong Kong, New Delhi and London.

Hajari has been surprised by the praise Midnight’s Furies received from Indian intellectuals, who picked up his book, not thinking they would be reading anything new and told him they ended up learning a lot.

He received some criticism too — on Twitter of a different kind from people who had clearly never read his book and believed him to be Muslim — for what they felt was his going easy on the British over their role in Partition.

Nisid Hajari was in India for a rapid two-city book tour in July and spoke to Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com about Midnight’s Furies and Partition.

In your book, you came up with a lot to incriminate Jinnah. And plenty to blame Nehru for too. You seemed to have found Jinnah a troubling, polarising, egotistic character, known for his vindictiveness and his negligence of the human cost. That leads to the most important question those of us in India have: Who would you apportion the blame, chiefly, for the perilous path the subcontinent took in 1947?
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It would be hard to assign a number or figure, percentage wise. I thought Nehru and the Congress leaders were equally to blame. Actually, I feel, and I hope it comes across, that I had a bit more sympathy for Jinnah then most Indian accounts of Partition generally have.

Jawaharlal Nehru
IMAGE: On the occasion of becoming prime minister of the new Union of India, Nehru asked members of the Constituent Assembly to take a pledge of loyalty to the new nation. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images
But through your book, Nehru sounds much more charming, giving us insight into the Peter Pan side of the statesman that Jinnah often spoke bitterly about saying, ‘Peter Pan who never learns or unlearns anything.’

Personality-wise, Nehru was more charming than Jinnah; even Jinnah’s friends would admit that.

But in terms of who is responsible for the mistakes — and ruining the chance of political compromise — I think, in that case Nehru was at least as much to blame as Jinnah.

Jinnah was arguing the case like the lawyer he was. Nehru had multiple chances to make compromises, that would have preserved a united India, and he chose not to.

He may have been more charming personally. Personally, he might have been the person you wanted to have dinner with! He was a flighty, impractical, emotional politician, who was operating at some level of high principle, that was not very pragmatic.

I think Jinnah had very good reasons not to trust Nehru and the Congress and that is Nehru’s fault.

Refugees from West Punjab at the Wavell Canteen
IMAGE: Refugees from West Punjab at the Wavell Canteen in Delhi taking their meals before leaving for various refugee camps, September 1947. Photograph: Photo Division, Government of India
Nevertheless, do you think that Jinnah was aware that his politics was akin to riding a tiger, which he would eventually not be able to get off?

I am not sure any of them were. They were all doing it. Gandhi and Nehru, as well.

There was as much vicious anti-Muslim behaviour going on, as the opposite. And these people were followers of the Congress. Gandhi didn’t realise it. There was (for instance) that scene of Noakhali (the riots in October-November 1946, in Chittagong district in un-partitioned Bengal in which 5,000 Hindus were killed) in the book.

Gandhi did not understand that some of the things he was saying there were inciting Hindus to go kill Muslims.

In Bihar?

Exactly, in Bihar (riots broke out in Chhapra and Saran districts in late October 1946, as a reprisal for the Noakhali riots, killing anywhere upwards of 5,000 Muslims; the death toll figures varied widely).

At the very, very top level, all these people — Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi — were so distant from their followers. They were in Delhi. They were just in drawing rooms, with each other, negotiating and they were so used to the kind of rhetoric you would use in a courtroom.

The things they would say, the things they would write in the press. I don’t think they quite realised the impact those words would have at the ground level. In that case, I would hold all of them guilty.

So they were all guilty of riding that tiger?

They all didn’t understand that the negotiations they were doing — the kind of brinksmanship, the hard line positions they were taking, all part of negotiations — were happening against the backdrop of these increasing tensions all around the country.

They were too focused on what was happening in their little room and didn’t understand this was having an impact elsewhere.

You describe that Nehru admitted, when discussing the Partition of Punjab, for instance, that they had not gone into any great detail about how it would actually happen.

So Nehru’s wrong doing was not just alienating his rival Jinnah but also not understanding the nitty-gritty of how Partition would unfold? They were all, perhaps, guilty of being vague about the details?


About the ground realities?

Yes, yes. About the mechanics. None of them were administrators. None of them had ever held executive positions. They were all trained as lawyers and had become politicians.

So if you asked Nehru: ‘Okay you want to split the Punjab — how are you going to divide the education part of that?’ he would have had no idea. (Or about) the police force, the administration. All stuff that the British had handled till that point… They again didn’t understand the reality of the impact of the things they were doing.

So in your view, would you equally apportion the blame? You wouldn’t say perhaps Jinnah was more to blame? And also do you think if the Congress knew about Jinnah’s poor health, the formation of Pakistan could have been avoided?

This has come up all the time. His illness (Jinnah was suffering from tuberculosis since the 1930s). He wasn’t hiding anything. He had been a sick man for many years. And in 1946-1947 he wasn’t any more sick than any other time. He didn’t get really sick until 1948.

But he had tuberculosis?

He had had it for years. In 1947 he had to take a whole month off, and recuperate in some village outside Karachi. The year before, he had done something similar.

But wouldn’t it have made a difference if people knew?

Impossible to say. Let’s say he had died in 1947. Who is to say that whoever came after him, in the Muslim League, wouldn’t have been more radical? How do you know, somehow, that this would have been better for India?

Mountbatten addressing the Independence Day session
IMAGE: Mountbatten addresses the Independence Day session of the Constituent Assembly, August 15, 1947.
Let me give another analogy. Supposing you are having a child and you know you are not going to be around, some time after the child is born. You are frail. You would definitely think a little more about how things would happen in your absence? Pakistan, in a sense, was Jinnah’s child.

I have come across nothing to suggest that he thought he was about to die.

I think he thought he was going to live for a long time and continue to lead Pakistan.

Even in the pictures taken on Pakistan’s Independence Day he looked very frail.

Oh yes, he was a sickly man. But a lot of sickly people think that they are healthy.

As described in your account, in the days after Independence, as Nehru and Patel grappled with controlling the rioting, one might feel that Patel understood the reality better. He seemed to have his finger on the pulse, even if he was a hardliner.

Yet at the same time, one had to admire Nehru’s dashing spirit in trying to go out there and discipline mobs single-handedly, in a sort of romantic Lochinvar style. Or was it more for show? Has your research shown he was really that kind of man?

That was his genuine personality. I don’;t think he was showing off for anyone.

That captures both what’s admirable and frustrating about him. It is admirable, that in a cinematic sense, he would risk his life.

It was also exactly the wrong thing for a leader to do. A leader, in order to effectively control the riots, should delegate and order the army to go there.

This is what frustrated Jinnah no end. He is sitting in Karachi, while these riots are happening. He’s getting biased reports, but he is (still) getting reports of what is happening.

Jinnah is sitting and thinking: Why cannot Nehru and Patel — they have this powerful army, police, a government in place — why can’t they control this? It is because instead of trying to control it Nehru was running around…

Looking for his father’s pistol to fight the rioters with?


But those sort of vignettes you don’t have about Jinnah?

Right, right. He was a different kind of man.

What did you like best about Jinnah?

The way people have treated Jinnah in modern Indian accounts is just to demonise him. The inherent assumption is that demanding Pakistan was the wrong thing to do.

I tried to come at the subject with an open mind. Maybe partitioning was the wrong thing to do, maybe it was right, but Jinnah at least had legitimate support for his demands. He’d just had to prove that democratically, through provincial elections. And it was a demand, that up until the very last minute, he was willing to negotiate.

Until the spring of 1946 he was still willing to accept a united India, under the right political conditions.

If you just look at that, then there is no reason to demonise him. He was a leader, leading his people. He happened to do it in a way that a lot of people found abrasive, and Nehru in particular loathed.

You are a lawyer arguing a case. You should be able to do it in whatever way that is appropriate.

Jinnah was on the political scene, first, before Gandhi. Nehru came along later and both sort of stole Jinnah’s position. Was Nehru’s primacy in the Congress under Gandhi responsible for making Jinnah more bitter that his ambitions had been thwarted?

He (Nehru) had a great deal to do with it. Jinnah was also frustrated by Gandhi, Patel and all the Congress leaders.

But there was a particular mutual dislike between Nehru and Jinnah. Probably their personalities were so different. I don’t think they could really understand each other and what (each was) trying to do. They were very similar in some ways. They were complete opposites in many other ways.

Of the three leaders you portray — Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah — Pakistan’s future Quaid e Azam is the most fascinating, in that what could have made an alcohol-drinking, (reportedly) pork-eating man take the right turn that he did?

Well, he definitely kept drinking. I don’t know if he kept eating pork or not.

In his personal life I don’t think he changed that much. He became more of an Islamic, Muslim figure. He did this on purpose to broaden out his appeal.

A fascinating man?

Definitely fascinating. Extremely frustrating to research. Unlike Gandhi and Nehru — who wrote everything down and it has all been collected; there are letters and diaries, a ton of material to work with — with Jinnah that just wasn’t what he did.

He just didn’t write. His letters are all very formal, business like. He kept no diaries. He kept people away from him. There was nobody close to him who could write a memoir and say this is what Jinnah was like when no one else was around.

Even his sister (Fatima Jinnah), her book (My Brother) about him is written… everything written about him is such a hagiography, that no real picture of the man comes out. I did the best I could, but it was very hard as a researcher…

So you are saying there was a lot more to the man, but not enough material one can lay one’s hands on to construct a kinder or more fascinating view?

Yes. He is clearly a complex figure. Getting at the heart of that complexity is difficult.

In one of the reviews of your book I read that it remained unclear how much Jinnah really wanted Partition. Or whether he pursued the idea more as a tactic to increase Muslim clout within a larger India? Also in your view, what could have been done to avoid Partition?

This is the famous debate — whether Jinnah was demanding Pakistan merely as a bargaining chip, or not. The honest truth is that no one knows.

My best guess is that it started out as a bargaining chip, and at some point, probably very late in the process, probably as late as 1946, it became something more.

During the course of the war, the demand for Pakistan became more widely popular than maybe even Jinnah might have imagined it would. After the war, he was both pushing the demand and was also being carried along by it.

Nisid Hajari
IMAGE: After working for Newsweek in New York for a decade, Nisid Hajari now works with Bloomberg in Singapore. Midnight’s Furies is his first book.
Up until the spring of 1946, a political compromise that would have preserved a united India, was still possible. The Congress — Nehru in particular — would have had to grant the Muslim areas that (eventually) became Pakistan more autonomy than he was willing to grant, and have had to accept a weaker Central government than he wanted.

Abandoning that compromise was the fatal mistake.

You (Nehru) couldn’t just dismiss this demand as illegitimate and say you weren’t going to deal with it. You had to accommodate it somehow. And as the larger, more powerful party it was their responsibility to accommodate it. You don’t ask the weaker party to make the concessions. You have to be generous.
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Nehru for his own reasons chose not to.

I think that was the last real chance to avoid Partition. Maybe it could have still happened later, no one knows, but at that point it was really possible to preserve a united India.


Stalling India

On the night of August 10 Barkha Dutt was vociferously asking BJP member OP Sharmawhy he had called Alka Lamba a “drug addict”. The man replied that the behaviour of Lamba at his sweet shop made him believe she was “under influence” of some drug or alcohol. It’s a hyperbolic answer but what is interesting is that the questions were being directed at Sharma instead of to the one who committed the crime. Alka Lamba, for whatever her problems in life, had no business barging into a shop and damaging cash registers and other items. This Goondagiri first started in the media as an attack on her (with which she later played victim with frivolous fake bandages) till the CCTV exposed both Lamba and the media. Just imagine what would have happened if the CCTV footage wasn’t available:
1. Alka Lamba CCTV

The woman claims she was hit by a stone on her head. Though no major injuries were visible in the pics circulated on Twitter she bandaged herself and refused to undergo a medical test offered by the Delhi Police. And she also claimed her vandalism was reaction to her injury. Seriously, if one gets injured he or she would attack property inside a shop? One would have thought Arvind Kejriwal & Co. would be more sober after getting a huge majority in the Delhi assembly. On the contrary, their MLAs seem to indulge in more lawlessness than ever before. Here’s what MJ Akbar wrote sometime back and Iquoted him earlier too:
2. MJAkbar AK chaos

AK is less interested in delivering on promises (500 schools, colleges, more hospitals, power, water etc.) and is now talking mundane crap like getting a Film City in Delhi. The AAP hunger for more and more power to be concentrated in their hands is never-ending. The greed is insatiable. Confrontation with LG, PM and others seem to be the order of their lives. At another corner, former member of AAP, Yogendra Yadav, was on his own trip of street agitations with tractors. One doesn’t really know what his problem in life is either – other than being out of news for long.
RahulKanwal Kabrastan

The media also went on another trip of kicking and screaming over the hanging of Yakub Memon as if India had hanged a freedom fighter or hero. The I&B ministry has sent notices to a few channels on their coverage of the event. Although this may not amount to much it is clear that a new regulatory body is a must. Self-regulation by media is as much nonsense as Tihar prisoners wanting to have their own set of wardens from among the inmates. Rahul Kanwal of India Today even relays message on behalf of the terrorist to assemble at his funeral, with the time, while agencies are keeping a watch. If this is not inciting some kind of untoward incident or violence, what is it? This, and others, claim GOI is imposing another Emergency on media. This cannot pass under any journalistic license. I don’t see why inciters like Rahul Kanwal shouldn’t be arrested:
3. MC Rahul Sushma Fin

The idea is to create a climate of chaos in the country – to make the world believe that India has gone into deep disrepair under a new dispensation when the facts indicate otherwise. That was AAP which is now in power in Delhi; imagine when they’re out of power. In another corner of Delhi, the two ChineseGandhis are doing more than all these put together to ensure India doesn’t move forward, India doesn’t get reforms and are doing all they can to stall India through their rioting in the Parliament. They don’t have any genuine cause to disrupt parliament. Even as they claimSushma-Lalit Modi is an issue, it certainly doesn’t warrant such extended disruption of parliament. The only thing hanging in the balance for Congress is the bruised ego ofSoniaG and her duffer son RahulG. The major political and electoral losses the Congress has suffered in the last year or so has left this duo clueless on how to revive the party. Sample this nonsense from the little moron:
4. LS Bills Pending

Pappu says SS must reveal her financial transactions with Lalit Modi. And the BJP or SS are supposed to answer such stupid, imaginary nonsense? If he has any information, it is for RG to table that and demand answers. There were many media reports on billions worth of assets of SoniaG. The Congress and its lawyers worked hard to have those articles deleted when there isn’t any such article published yet about SS or her financial deals with Lalit Modi. So these bogus excuses are used by Sonia and Rahul to stall the parliament. And the headless wonder even calls SS a “criminal” for no reason other than empty blabber. I have no hesitation in making this statement:

“Sonia and Rahul want India to fail”

They want India to fail because of their extreme contempt for Narendra Modi and their unbearable loss of power at the Centre and in many key states. Of course, the poor, the farmers and all are just there for them to exploit not to serve. They are behaving like monkeys whose bananas have been taken away. One can find many faults with the GOI but not one single issue claimed by the Congress is really worth holding up the parliament for. And the objective is simple – don’t allow any Bills to be passed. And I have stated this many times earlier SoniaG doesn’t want any Bills to be passed whatsoever. And her duffer son, who is mostly abroad, goes around and agitates with FTII students or some group while ignoring dying farmers in the Congress state of Karnataka. Beyond street-theatre these two have nothing to offer to our parliament or to our country. They offered nothing to our parliament even when Congress was in power. Here is a summary of some major Bills held up in parliament, of a total of 64:
5. Jaitley Blame Sonia

On August 10 Arun Jaitley slammed the Chair in Rajya Sabha on the latter’s inability to conduct the House properly. It is true that both Kurien and Ansari have not shown the slightest wish to discipline the house. The LS Speaker at least took the step of suspending 25 rioting members of Congress. I use the term rioting for these members because they weren’t at their seats shouting and protesting. They had carried placards like a street rally into the Well of the house. This is nothing short of rioting on a daily basis. They did so even when a Bhutanese delegation was in parliament to witness proceedings. And the BJP has an equal amount of blame to share because they have all along treated these ChineseGandhis with kid-gloves and ignored how vicious and vindictive they really are. It is time that the PM and his party realised that these folks are only interested in their favourite “poison” called power. Without power, they have shown what gutter-levels they can stoop to. If the BJP has made a start then they must continue exposing the misdeeds of these Gandhis every week.

Now then, the question that comes up in mind is why these Gandhis are into such belligerent, lumpen behaviour. I have no doubts whatsoever that some of the Congress MPs and other members of the party would be embarrassed by their churlish behaviour. I consider SoniaG the “Congotri” of corruption which has destroyed India. Many other actions of hers which were anti-majority have also caused social ruptures in a decade. In rioting the way these two Gandhis do like spoilt kids what do they lose? NOTHING!They lose nothing but they are making sure India loses a lot.

Since the LS2014 verdict there isn’t much by the way of electoral victories to show for the Congress. And what is in store in the near future for Congress? The upcoming elections in Bihar this year, Bengal next year and even UP in 2017 have absolutely a SIBAL in store for Congress. They have no stakes in these states and they know it well. Last time in Bihar they got a high of 4 seats. So even as these Gandhis know public opinion is turning against them for destroying the parliament they know they have nothing to lose and absolutely nothing to win. That drives their motivation to agitate and disrupt and ensure no bills are passed in parliament. They probably hope the public will forget all this in 2-3 years. I estimate this nonsense will not last forever. Already the SP and some other parties have seen through the fraudulent disruptions and backed away from the Congress. As public anger grows it will be the Gandhis who will pay the most. Of course, they have no stake in India’s progress as their behaviour has shown. The only objective with which they work now is stalling India. That devious motive is destined to bring more failures to them.




A ‘counter-radicalisation’ strategy is not adequate to combat the threat of global jihad against India. It is vital for India to ensure that the IS is unable to spread its tentacles and influence in the Afghan-Pakistan region
It has been widely reported in the American media that the Islamic State has a grand design of uniting the numerous Afghan and Pakistan terrorist groups to forge a new ‘army of terror’ based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and to trigger a war in India to provoke the US. The revelation is based on a 32-page document in Urdu that talks about the future battle plans of the IS in pursuance of its ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate, a common goal of all globaljihadi terror outfits. It urges the Ummah, the entire global Muslim community, to recognise the Islamic State’s head Baghdadi as the sole ruler of the world’s Muslims under a religious empire ‘caliphate’.
It also reveals its focus on armed uprisings in the Arab world. The document reveals that preparations for an attack in India are in full swing and terms it as a “final battle” leading to the victory of good over evil, something similar to the Ghazwa-e-Hind announced earlier by the Al Qaeda and supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Al Qaeda also released a video titled ‘War must continue, a message to the Muslims of Kashmir’, late last year.

The Government of India has acknowledged the growing threat of radicalisation of the Muslim youth and they, being motivated by the IS ideology. A Home Ministry official said, “Attraction towards radical ideology of any religion is a matter of concern.” The Government maintains that the appeal of the IS in India is confined to a few radicalised youth from the minority community and there is no direct threat from the organisation. Also, the Government has decided to put in place a strategy of ‘counter radicalisation’ for de-radicalisation of the youths, attracted by the idea of jihad, to combat the IS threat in India. National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has termed the waving of IS flags in Kashmir as “a mere expression of anger and frustration by the youth who want to wake up the nation”. Is the IS threat to India so trivial or is it time to wake up and smell the coffee?
Frederick W Kagan, a renowned American expert, has described the IS threat as “the greatest evil of our time that has taken its root in Iraq and Syria”. He adds, “The IS is not a terrorist organisation. It is an army of conquest that is destroying all traces of civilisation in the lands it holds. It slaughters innocent civilians. It loots ancient sites for profit and demolishes what it cannot steal. It has declared its intent to conduct genocide against all Shia Muslims and follows through whenever it can. It has re-established slavery and distributes captives as property among its troops and allies. It encourages its soldiers to rape, including through forced ‘marriage’, women who fall into its hands. It boasts of the most brutal methods of murdering its hostages.” Mr Kagan has aptly summed up the medieval outlook and thought process of the dreaded outfit.

According to the IS, anybody who does not subscribe to its interpretation of Islam is not a Muslim and needs to be killed. The IS is the richest terrorist organisation in the world. It occupies swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria (equal to the size of Jordan) and runs its own Government. It possesses oil wealth, generates revenue and imposes taxes on non-Muslims. It’s a state of non-state actors. It is best poised for the re-establishment of a caliphate. It has no dearth of recruits, both domestic as well as global. Its core cadre of fighters comprises erstwhile Sunni tribal groups, Baathists officers and soldiers who are well-trained. It has sophisticated war-fighting machinery. The IS has mastered the use of social media and uses it effectively to not only spread its ideology but for brainwashing and radicalising the young minds to motivate them for jihad.
It also uses social media for international scouting of fighters. The IS also exports terror to the civilised world through the return of thousands of indoctrinated, trained and battle-hardened fighters to their respective home lands.

India has been on the radar- screen of globaljihadist, Sunni-Islamist terror outfits since a long time. Though the IS rose to prominence only a just more than a year back, it has been focusing on India since the very beginning. Khalifah Ibrahim alias Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in his message at the eve of holy month of Ramzan last year released a list of ‘enemies of Islam’ nations and India figured in the list. In his message, he commanded the Muslims to revolt against the Government and wage a holyjihad. Parts of North-West India were included in the map of the proposed caliph.
A number of Indians were motivated to join the IS ranks and were reported to be fighting alongside the IS in Syria. The IS further renewed its effort in India by translating online training literature in three Indian languages. It considers India as a fertile ground for recruitment. Recently, a group of Indians was detained before it could fly out to join the IS. Some of the Indian fighters are also reported to have died in Syria. Those who are alive, can be used to join the proposed ‘army of terror’ to fight in India.

The death of Mullah Omar has minimised the challenge posed to the IS by the Afghan Taliban. Many factions ofjihadists in the Afghan-Pakistan region have already announced their loyalty to the IS. Al Qaeda is also facing a severe financial as well as manpower crisis. The launch of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent with much fanfare has turned out to be a damp squib. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS supremo, has no rival to his self-proclaimed title of Khalifah (Caliph) after the death of Mullah Omar. The stage is set for the IS to move into Afghanistan and to form the ‘army of terror’ to launch the ‘final battle’ in India.
A ‘counter-radicalisation’ strategy may to some extent be capable of preventing radicalisation and alienation of the minority community youth, but is it adequate to combat the threat of globaljihad against India? The physical threat to India from the IS may manifest only after it is able to firm up in the Afghan-Pakistan region. It is critical for India to ensure that the IS is unable to spread its tentacles and influence in this region. With the ground situation in its favour, Baghdadi will soon try to wrest the initiative in Afghanistan. It will attempt to coerce or lure Pakistan’s ISI to join the bandwagon.
To this, include the ISI’s plan to extend the arc of terror and revive Sikh militancy. Recent terrorist acts at Dinanagar, Udhampur and Basantgarh, and renewed violence in the Kashmir valley, are enough indicators of its intent. If the IS and the ISI join hands, globaljihad, led by the IS and fully supported logistically by the ISI, will be at our doorstep. India has to prepare itself to meet this threat. It requires a matching counter-strategy formulated by professionals who have ground experience and not by arm-chair bound bureaucrats. India needs a separate Ministry of Homeland/Internal Security by clipping the Ministry of Home Affairs.
(The writer is a retired Army officer and security and strategic affairs analyst)



Sandhya Jain

On July 16, the Srinagar Bench of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court set a dangerous precedent by ruling that the State Legislature and not the Parliament of India, is sovereign. This poses a serious threat to national sovereignty and territorial integrity and calls for an immediate challenge in the Supreme Court. This offers an opportunity to bury the pernicious Article 370 that has only fanned separatist tendencies in Jammu & Kashmir, along with its artificial tail, Article 35A, that was never brought to Parliament but smuggled into the Constitution as Appendix II.

Political consequences apart, Justices MH Attar and AM Magrey have paved the way for financial anarchy by inhibiting banks and financial institutions from recovering money from borrowers. In Bhupinder Singh Sodhi and others vs Union of India and others, and Santosh Gupta vs Union of India and others (OWP No 530/2007 and OWP No 1031/2004), the Jammu & Kashmir High Court ruled against the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, which aims to facilitate and ensure immediate recovery of finances/money which was/is due to financial institutions from borrowers.

The counsel for some petitioners argued that the authority created mechanism prescribed by Section 13 of the Act is, in essence, a judicial authority, and hence, beyond the legislative competence of the Union Parliament, and should be declared illegal. Another counsel said that the mechanism prescribed under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, for application of laws to Jammu & Kashmir, has not been followed. Hence, the State of Jammu & Kashmir has itself filed a writ petition in Jammu Wing of the court, objecting to enforcement of the SARFAESI Act.

All counsel insisted that as Section 13 of the SARFAESI Act has the potential of transferring the interests in the immovable property of State subjects to non-State subjects, as the bank is a juristic person and most banks who are not banks of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, whose Head Offices /Corporate Offices are located outside and whose Board of Directors comprise of non-State subjects alone, it is not permissible for them under State laws to create interest in immovable property in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

As long as such cussed interpretations of law are invoked, the Centre should order all nationalised banks to withdraw from the State and all financial institutions to cease lending to these pampered ‘State subjects’. Little wonder the State is unable to attract meaningful investments that generate local employment.
The Jammu & Kashmir Bank counsel argued that under Entry 45 of the Union list, Parliament is competent to legislate the said Act, and that the Union Government amended the rules and prescribed that while enforcing the Act of 2002, the interests in the immovable property can be transferred only in favour of the State subject. He added that huge sums have crystallised into non-performing assets and withholding huge amounts by borrowers is directly and adversely affecting the State’s economic growth.

The Assistant Solicitor General of India and counsel for other respondent banks insisted SARFAESI was capable of being enforced in the State and did not impinge upon the federal structure of the Constitution of India or the State Constitution.The High Court relied principally upon the Supreme Court verdict in Prem Nath Koul vs State of Jammu & Kashmir (AIR 1959 SC 749), which deals with Maharaja Hari Singh and specifies (Clause 8) that nothing in the instrument of accession effects continuance of the Maharaja’s sovereignty in and over his State, save as provided by or under the instrument of accession (viz defence, external affairs, communications and ancillary 20 matters).

In 1948, under pressure from the Government of India, the Maharaja appointed an interim Government under Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. The proclamation (Clause 4) enjoined the Council of Ministers to convene an Assembly to frame a Constitution for the State, based on adult franchise and representation from each voting area in proportion to its population. Yet, to this day, Jammu province remains grossly under-represented in the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly. The Maharaja also nominated four persons to represent Jammu & Kashmir in the Constituent Assembly framing the Constitution of India.

In June 1949, under pressure from the Centre, the Maharaja entrusted all his powers to Yuvraj Karan Singh and left the State. On November 25, 1949, the Regent issued a proclamation declaring that the Constitution of India shortly to be adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India shall, in so far as it is applicable to the State of Jammu & Kashmir, govern the constitutional relationship between the State and the contemplated Union of India and shall be enforced in the State by him, his heirs and successors in accordance with the tenor of its provisions. The provisions of the said Constitution would supersede and abrogate all provisions inconsistent therewith which were then in force in the State.

On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force. Thereafter, the President of India issued the Constitution (application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1950 (CO 10) on January 26, 1950, in consultation with the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and in exercise of the powers conferred by Cl (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution.

It is baffling why Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru insisted on imposing Article 370 in the Constitution of India. Even after Sheikh Abdullah unilaterally abrogated the monarchy in August 1952, and was arrested in August 1953 to prevent him from declaring independence, Nehru persisted with the separate State Constitution (implemented January 1957) instead of bringing Jammu & Kashmir straight into the Union.

If the folly of taking the Pakistani aggression to the United Nations is a reason, it was all the more imperative to ensure that the State Constitution conformed totally to the Constitution of India. Instead, the nation was left writhing in a labyrinth of convoluted legislations. Unless there was a secret accord with the departing British rulers, it is inexplicable that a sovereign nation would allow a constituent part to assume quasi-separate status. This deserves an explanation.
The nation’s hopes now rest in the Supreme Court. Article 370 specifically applies to the Government constituted by the Maharaja (ie Sheikh Abdullah). Abrogation of the monarchy made Article 370 infructuous; all powers retained by the Maharaja after accession lapsed to the Union of India. Moreover, the constitutional provisions to amend Article 370 are void as the Constituent Assembly of the State was dissolved in 1956. The Supreme Court should cut through this Gordian knot by declaring Article 370 ultra vires the Constitution of India.

Independence Day, Three Questions and Answers

Balbir Punj

Even on the eve of the 68th Independence Day, three controversies are waiting to be resolved. First of these, who got us freedom ? Second, was partition inevitable and the third, how have we fared since independence? Gandhiji, his fasts and mass movements indeed carried the message of freedom to the common man. However, much before Gandhiji’s entry on the national political scene in 1914-15, revolutionary groups were active in the country and they continued to be a thorn in the side of beleaguered empire till it packed off. The dare devil operations of the revolutionaries and their sacrifices surely inspired common men and women. And Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s raising of INA (out of Indian POWs of the second world war) and successfully leading them against the British shook the confidence of the colonial rulers.

Incidents such as the Navy revolt in Mumbai in 1946 further added to their sense of insecurity and discomfort. The British rightly concluded that they could no longer control India with the help of ‘loyal’ Indians. Moreover, after the second world war, global map was being redrawn, power equations were changing, communism was fast emerging as a new creed promising freedom and equality and colonialism was going out of fashion. The British public opinion too was no longer in favour of continuing with colonies. Along with freedom, came bloody partition of the country in which over two million innocents were killed and about ten million were rendered refugees. Was the tragedy of partition a result of an ego clash between an ambitious and arrogant Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was frustrated with Congress? Or was it a product of British conspiracy and machinations?

In the ‘secular’ narrative, answer to both the questions is ‘yes’. There is little doubt that the British did play dirty. After crushing the uprising of 1857, they followed a policy of ‘divide and rule’ and exploited the fault lines within the Indian society. Some of the fault lines they identified and arduously worked on were: The sensitive nature of Hindu-Muslim relations, Hindu-Sikh equations, Caste Hindus versus the rest, Aryans versus Dravidians, north versus south and princes versus their subjects.

The willy British worked, simultaneously, on all the six, achieving varying degrees of success. Probably the only man who saw through their sordid game was the Mahatma and he valiantly fought against their roguish designs. Of all the fault lines, the easiest for the British to work on was the 700-year-odd Hindu-Muslim ties, mostly soaked in blood.

The invaders, who subsequently made India their home, converted the locals to their faith under the threat of sword, destroyed and desecrated their places of worship, and trampled upon their icons. The victims, Hindus, retaliated and, over a period of time, regained control of most parts of India before the British take-over. In fact, Delhi was annexed by the British after the East India Company forces led by General Gerard Lake defeated the Marathas in 1803 in a battle, fought at the outskirts of the city in an area, now known as Noida. Till then, the Moghul emperor was a pensioner of the Marathas. After the Marathas lost, he happily accepted a dole from the British and this arrangement continued till 1857. After successfully putting down 1857 uprising, the British played on the injured pride of the defeated Muslims, their insecurities and invoked Islamic theology. To continue with their stratagem, they formulated a paradigm, best articulated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (founder of Aligarh Muslim University) in a speech delivered at Meerut on March 16,1888. Excerpts: “Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations – the Mohammedans and the Hindus — could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable.”

“This thing — rest on God’s will. But until one nation has conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land.” And the one where he exhorted to the community, “We ought to unite with that nation with whom we can unite. No Mohammedan can say that the English are not ‘people of the Book’. No Mohammedan can deny this: that God has said that no people of other religions can be friends of the Mohammedans, except the Christians. He who has read the Koran and believes it knows that our nation cannot expect friendship and affection from any other people. Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore, we should cultivate a friendship with them, and should adopt the method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis.”

Sir Syed’s brain-child, AMU created a record of sorts. Normally, countries establish universities. In case of AMU, the university created a new nation – Pakistan. Sir Syed’s doctrine became the signature tune of Muslim politics in years to come and continues to motivate a large section of Muslims in the sub-continent till date. Most of the Indo-Pak problems and Hindu-Muslim chasm in the sub-continent can be traced to the mindset generated by Sir Sayed’s credo. In order to wean away the Muslim psyche from this poisonous weed, Gandhiji bent backwards, supported khilaft in 1920 but failed miserably.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, a non-practising Muslim and a ‘secularist’ and a leader without followers till 1930s, emerged as the sole voice of Indian Muslims; but only after he started speaking for partition and against the Hindus. The seeds of partition were ingrained in the Muslim psyche of those times. The British exploited this mindset for their own ends. The communists, provided all the intellectual arguments which Muslims needed to justify their demand for a separate theocratic state. If Jinnah had dropped his demand for Pakistan for some reason, the Muslims surely would have disowned him and found some other Jinnah to do their bidding. Was it possible to prevent vivisection of India? Yes, it was, provided the then national leadership had opted for a civil war (like Abraham Lincoln did on the issue of slavery) and not for a truncated India. May be in such a scenario, the net loss of lives and property could have been much less than what the sub-continent suffered during the partition riots.

We have done well for ourselves since independence. But we could have done even better. We are the only stable and a secular democracy in the entire region. Ask any Indian: will he like to migrate to any of the countries in the neighbourhood? Likely answer: no. We have a lot to celebrate and improve upon as well.

The Author is a Delhi based commentator on Political and Social issues.

Why this 50-yr-old makes India proud

Read on to learn how Raju Dabhade created history…

Raju DhabadeDo you know this man?
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No? Even I didn’t, till I met him.

Now that I have, I will never forget him.

He is a man who makes India proud.

No, he is not a celebrity or a sportsperson who has won medals for the country.

Fifty-year-old Raju Dabhade is the creator of the game of roll ball that will see its third World Championship in December, 2015, in Pune.

The first Roll Ball World Championship, held in 2011 in Pune, was won by Denmark; India was the first runner up.

The second World Cup, which India won, took place in Kenya in 2013.

“Roll ball is so named because it is a fast-paced game where the players use skates and the ball is always rolling, says Dabhade, who is also the general secretary of the International Roll Ball Federation.

Roll ball is a combination of basketball, handball, throwball and skating that requires balance, speed, accuracy and teamwork.

It is played between two teams; the objective is to score the maximum number of goals within a stipulated time.

So how did someone who, as young a boy, made ends meet doing odd jobs like working in a tea stall and delivering newspapers door-to-door end up inventing an international sport?

We asked Dabhade himself:
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Raju Dabhade

How did roll ball begin?

As a Physical Training teacher in Pune’s MES Bal Shiksha English Medium School, I used to train and take players from different games for interschool competitions.

During the matches, I was always curious about the origin of these sports.

So I researched about them in detail — I used books from our school library and the internet.

I found out how different types of sports such as basketball, judo, hockey, football, etc, started, their history, playing techniques and strategies, different types of balls, etc.

Then, I began to wonder if it was possible to create a new game and started working on it.

Once in 2002, while teaching skating to students, a ball from the basketball court came bouncing over and I saw a student on skates bouncing the ball back to the players.

That’s how the idea of roll ball began.
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It took one year to finally create the game with proper rules and techniques.

Raju Dabhade at the International Roll Ball Federation in Japan

How did roll ball get international recognition?

I took the idea of roll ball to the school’s then principal, Dr Sunitha Bhagwat.

She was very encouraging and talked to the students’ parents about it. I also contacted people I knew.

In February 2003, the official demonstration of the game was organised before the Sports Authority of India.

They liked it a lot and guided us on how to get the game recognised by the government.

We started working on the procedure and I personally went many times to New Delhi for this purpose.

After roll ball was recognised by the Indian government, we obtained a copyright certificate from the USA in March 2003.

Thereafter, first we contacted people in India and held matches here.

Once roll ball got national recognition, we started contacting the neighbouring countries and so on.

Dr Bhagwat adds: “PT teachers usually fall into a routine and are least motivated about getting involved in activities that are not within that routine or interacting with students. But Raju was different. He was an honest person who was good with people and went out of his way to help others.

“Initially, parents of his students funded expenses like transportation that were required for the game’s development.

“He had no financial or social support and lacked communication skills. Yet still, he never came to me with a problem.

“He would say that this is what he had found and needed to see how it works. Hence, I allowed him to use the school grounds for roll ball practices.

“All the support that he has is due to sheer goodwill.”

Raju Dabhade training students for Roll Ball

Can you tell us about your early days?

We were a financially poor family.

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I was 15 when I lost my father. So I started earning early through odd jobs like working in a tea stall and door to door newspaper delivery.

I completed my education through night school and finally found a job as a PT teacher at BSEM school.

It has been 15 years since I stared working here and I am indebted to its people for having believed in me at the first go.

I am grateful to that newspaper delivery job which helped me feed my struggling family.

I now have a newspaper agency where I provide employment to poor boys.

You won the national level skating championship at school. How did that happen?

I wanted to learn skating but did not have enough money as my income went towards supporting my family.

Somehow, I managed to save some money and bought the basic skates with iron wheels.

I polished them well and covered them with rubber.

I learned skating on my own.

Later, a friend gave me a pair of good quality skates and I put my soul in practising with them.

I competed at the national level between 1980 and 1985. Then I got a job and couldn’t continue.

It will be the third world cup for roll ball. The game’s reach is surpassing the resources available to manage it. How has this been handled now and initially?

I am lucky. Behind the immense moral and financial support of the school management, friends and parents of students is perhaps the reputation I have earned over the years.

I was a punctual, fair and dedicated teacher, who was a mentor-cum-friend to students.

Fortunately, I have a very supportive wife.

My family never questions me about my whereabouts.

That is their faith in me, perhaps because I’ve never indulged in any wrong doing.

People like local businessmen and associations have also helped after seeing the matches.

Recently, we put up a sports stall in Russia.

As we couldn’t afford LCDs, I took the television set from my home and attached a pen drive to it.

We continuously played match videos and had many people stop by our stall.

What are your success mantras and advice to young Indians?

Work hard and don’t give up till you succeed.

Keep calm and be positive.

Pursue your passion and own your work.

Do something different and innovative.

Everyone gets the opportunity to succeed. Don’t miss it.

Make your nation proud.

Photographs: Kind courtesy Raju Dabhade