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Posted: 3/22/2010 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: politics
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We talk about minorities in India but are strangely unaware of the existence of the same in neighbouring Pakistan. Even before Independence Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jews and Christians existed in undivided India. There was large scale migration/exodus post partition (gadar) on either side. Despite being unofficially classified as ‘terror state’, where cricket with India is played on a war level and religious tensions abound (even among Muslims like Ahmediyas, Baha’i, Muhajirs and Shia-Sunni), there is a section among minorities that has carved out a niche for themselves and contributed to the making of Pakistani state and bringing it honours. The country too has honoured them.
 
“Hindu” is derived from Sindhu (Indus river considered holy) in Pakistan. The land has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. Hindus may be small numerically (once 20%, now they are mere 1.85%) but Pakistan has fifth largest population. Sindh played an important role in Mahabharata. Legend has it that Lahore city was founded by Luv and Kasur by Kush (both sons of Ram). Cities Peshawar and Multan have Sanskrit roots. Hindus’ contribution towards the making of Pakistan can never be negated.
 
Bollywood actors like Prithviraj Kapoor (Samudri, Faislabad), Raj Kapoor (Peshawar), Dev Anand (Shakargarh, Gurdaspur, Punjab), Sunil Dutt (Khurd, Jhelum, Punjab), Raaj Kumar (Balochistan) were born in Pakistan. Indian politicians Manmohan Singh (Gah, Punjab), IK Gujral (Jhelum Punjab) and LK Advani (Karachi) too were born in Pakistan. Cricketer Lala Amarnath was raised in Lahore.
 
Recently Kareena Kapoor (great grand daughter of Prithviraj Kapoor) set a new benchmark by being the modelling face of Pakistan. She charged a cool Rs 3 crore to Firdaus Cloth Mills to launch their lawn summer collection shot in Dubai. Money makes her face west to her ancestors’ birthplace. Even Bollywood movies have paid their own tribute to Pakistan apart from the war and sports sagas. Consider Lahore (1949, Nargis, Karan Dewan), Lahore (2010) and Shoot On Sight (2008, Om Puri). Pakistanis too made Khuda Ke Liye (2007, Naseeruddin Shah) and Ramchand Pakistani (2008, Nandita Das).
 
The founding fathers of Pakistan had their ancestral roots in Hinduism, who were all converts from Hinduism. M A Jinnah (71, I Governor-General of Pakistan) was born to Mithibai and Jinnahbhai Poonja, who moved from Gujarat to Sindh. His grandfather was Poonja Gokuldas Meghji, a Hindu Bhatia Rajput from Paneli village, Gondal state, Kathiawar. Jinnah's ancestors were Hindu Rajput who converted to Islam.
 
Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s (60, national poet of Pakistan and writer of Saare Jahan Se Achchha) father Shaikh Nur Muhammad was a prosperous tailor. His grand father Sahaj Ram Sapru moved to Sialkot after conversion to Islam.
 
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (51, PPP founder, 4th President, 9th Prime Minister) was born to Khursheed Begum née Lakhi Bai and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. Sir Shah, the son of Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto, was born into a Rājpūt family that had accepted Islām.
 
Minority Hindus have played a significant role in making a name for themselves and bringing laurels to the country historically, culturally and politically. Anop Ravi (cricketer), Bherulal Balani (politician), Rana Bhagwandas (former acting Chief Justice Of Supreme Court), Krishan Bheel (politician), Ashok Chandwani (India-born, Pakistan-bred, Canadian journalist), Anil Dalpat (first Hindu to play test cricket), Brojen Das (East Pakistan first Asian to swim across English Channel four times), Dhirendranath Datta (East Pakistan lawyer politician), Sobho Gianchandani (social scientist, writer), Khatumal Jeevan (politician), Jogendra Nath Mandal (first Minister of Law & Labour), Danish Kaneria (cricketer), Lal Kumar (cricketer), Amar Lal (Prime Minister’s advisor to minority affairs), Ramesh Lal (PPP politician), Deepak Perwani (fashion designer), Naveen  Perwani (amateur snooker player), Rajesh Ramesh (cricketer), Haresh Sharma (playwright, born in Singapore to Pakistani parents), Rana Chandra Singh (politician), Rana Prasad (Soda Rajput ruler) and Surendar Valasai (first journalist in English).
 
Harcharan Singh is the first Sikh officer to be recruited in the Pakistan Army on 27 October 2007. Raja Tridev Roy is a former raja of the Chakma tribes Chittagong in Bangladesh and a Pakistani writer, religious leader and politician. He is a federal minister for life and lives in Islamabad and leads the Pakistani Buddhist community. Prominent Parsis, who have contributed towards Pakistan are Byram Dinshawji Awari (businessman),  Minocher Bhandara (businessman), Ardeshir Cowasjee (columnist), Aban Marker Kabraji (biologist, scientist), Jamsheed Marker (diplomat), Deena M Mistri (educationist), Dorab Patel (former Justice of Supreme Court), Bapsi Sidhwa (author) and Godrej Sidhwa (religious instructor).
 
Pakistan's first Christian Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court was Justice A. R. Cornelius. Distinguished fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force is Peter O'Reilly. Cricketer Yousuf Youhana has recently converted to Islam and is called Mohammad Yousuf. In Britain, the Bishop emeritus of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali is a Pakistani Christian. Anthony Theodore Lobo (bishop), Joseph Coutts (bishop), Joshua Fazl ud Din (bishop), Jia Ali (model, actress), Martin Bashir (journalist), Cecil Chaudhry (fighter pilot), Michael Chowdry (businessman), Alvin Robert Cornelius (Chief Justice of Supreme Court), Antao D’Souza (cricketer), Gulshan Esther (author), Rachel Gill (model, actress, TV host), Mekaal Hasan (musician, record producer), Irene Perveen (singer), Esther John (nurse), Suneeta Marshall (model), Michael Masih (footballer), Wallis Mathias (cricketer), Mervyn L Middlecoat (fighter pilot), Indu Mitha (Bharatnatyam exponent), A Nayyar (singer), Julius Salik (activist) and Duncan Sharpe (cricketer) are other prominent Pakistani Christians. Karachi synagogue’ leader Abraham Reuben became a councilor on the city corporation in 1936.
 
Did it ever strike us that both countries could unite and be one just like before Partition. (Just a humble thought away from war and towards peace.) Remember, Germany was once divided but finally unified. Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai. Hindu Muslim Bhai Bhai. Hai Naa.

 

Posted: 4/30/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: politics

 

Top 10 Power Women Politicians of India
 
The top 10 women power politicians of India have nothing to do with Indian women populace. They may not even be aware Indian women exist. They may not have done anything for Indian women. There may not be any change in the status of women in the Indian society. But still they find themselves in this power list. They have not only survived in this male bastion, they have carved a niche for themselves. They have beaten men at their own game. Remember Maya – Mulayam, Jaya – Karunanidhi, etc etc. Some rose due to their mentors, some by virtue of being close to the powers that be and some are grassroots one especially Mamata Benerjee. These women have the staying power by striking poses and courting media. Of course, being Miss Moneybags too. They have left men far behind. They are wooman.
 
Mayawati Naina Kumari: (53) Undoubtedly, Behenji is numero uno. Born a Dalit, she got educated to be a teacher. But destiny had other plans for her in the form of her political mentor Kanshi Ram and she joined BSP in 1984. Rest, as they say, is history. Her rise has been meteoric. She is the highest tax-paying Indian politician. The last heard of, she had paid 26 crore only in taxes. But then, she ends up making a neat packet of around Rs 75 crore. Let’s not talk about corruption here. She is present day’s Indira Gandhi. She rules with an iron hand. Never one to give in, she showed Mulayam Singh the stuff she was made of. This woman of steel has been the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh four times. And the fifth time, she may as well be the Prime Minister of India. You have come a long way baby. What say others?
 
Sonia Gandhi: (62) In her country of birth Italy, she may not be well known but in her adopted country India, every son/daughter of the soil will know her. All due to her being married into the most powerful political family of India. No patch on Indira, she is here by her sole matrimonial virtue. And her contribution to Indian politics is Ottavio Quattrocchi. She is so close to Q that in April 2009 the Interpol removed the red-corner notice issued against Q after a request from the CBI. Q is the key to billions in Bofors kickbacks. But let’s not talk about corruption. Were it not for Rahul, she may end up proposing Massimo (Q’s son) as the future PM. (Indians, do you read this?) Massimo visits India frequently, and runs an office in Bangalore. India has been ruled by foreign powers most of the times - Mughals, British and now de facto (corrupt) Italians! She claims to have assets worth Rs. 1.38 crore and she paid under Rs 6 lakh in taxes. She doesn’t even own a car or a house. But why should she? She owns the Indian National Congress.
 
Sheila Dixit: (71) No doubt, she has scored a hat-trick by being the CM of Delhi for the third time. Extremely well-educated and wedded into an influential family, one wonders how she survives in dirty politics. But then ‘yes madaming’ Sonia Gandhi has its own benefits. Dixit has improved Delhi roads but then she doesn’t have a clue about law and order in Delhi. Crime has risen especially against women. Doesn’t reflect much on this ‘woman’ CM. And let’s not talk about money and taxes here. Ms Dixit may not know them.
 
Sushma Swaraj: (57) BJP’s most prominent female politician, much was expected from her. Sadly, she became a petty rabble rouser. Otherwise, she has pretty clean record. Of course, she was the first woman CM of Delhi. She should be given the lifetime achievement award for threatening to shave her head, don a white saree and eat groundnuts (symbolically mourning) if Sonia Gandhi became the PM. How the ‘mighty’ fall?
 
Mamata Banerjee: (54) She is the founder of Trinamool (Grassroots) Congress Party. Simple, sober and clean, she should be the right choice to occupy the top slot. But then didi doesn’t believe in top but the roots. If she could cut down on her innumerable protests, she could lead the nation with her clean image. It matters big time.
 
Vasundhara Raje: (56) Everything was handed to her on a platter by virtue of being born in a royal family. She didn’t have to struggle. Good. Otherwise becoming the first woman CM of a feudal Rajasthan would have been an achievement worth lauding. Now as an ex-CM, wonder what the future has in store for her? National politics, eh!
 
Uma Ragini Bharti: (50) The sexy sanyasin too has come a long way. She played a prominent role in Ayodhya movement. From being the CM of Madhya Pradesh to Hubli riot case, she has been there, done that. Breaking away from the BJP has been neither here nor there. So, what next! Perhaps, Ram Ram Japna. Think about it, Uma.
 
J Jayalalithaa: (61) Her name spelling changes with the rise and fall of her political fortunes. Amma remains unmatched in corruption. Probably, Maya will give some decent competition to Jaya on this score. Never mind, corruption was never an issue. How could it be? It’s part and parcel of these great women’s lives. Despite formidable opposition, chiefly from Karunanidhi, this booty queen trampled it ruthlessly. She doesn’t brook any interference. She broke all records of money-making and lavish spending when she became the CM of Tamilnadu for the first time. From jail to Assembly hall, her journey has been marked with many ups and downs. And Amma’s second name is vengeance. Beware.
 
Rabri Devi: (50) She is mainly here because she has been a rubber stamp de facto first woman CM of Bihar. What else she could be when Lalu was guiding her from across the jail. It is no small wonder that she lasted three terms as the CM. Can anyone lay claim to such a marvel? With no political acumen and nil education, she had the entire administration assisting her. Hats off, Rabri. You are cho chweet!
 
Pratibha Devisingh Patil: (74) She is the first woman President of the Republic of India. Indeed an honour but does she deserves it? She wouldn’t have become the President without the strong backing of Sonia Gandhi. Patil’s credibility was always in doubt and her name has figured in several financial scams and other crimes. But then again, corruption among politicians shouldn’t be an issue anymore. She is definitely not the people’s choice. The less said the better about the gaffes she has made. It should be a matter of pride to write about the first woman President of India. Alas, that is not so.
 
These are the ‘mighty’ women of Indian politics. Thank God, there are less than 10% of women in politics. One would be considered regressive to wish Indian women not to join politics at all considering these examples. (After all, we should encourage women to come up in all spheres of life.) But one wouldn’t mind being called regressive. Or we will forget what truly being a woman is? They should lead by example.