FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
No reunion, but union possible in subcontinent: Pakistani writer
Updated:Mar 29, 2012
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

By Madhusree Chatterjee

The subcontinent can become a paradise in the region by retaining cultural, social and political identities of countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, says former Pakistani Army officer, journalist, writer and commentator Abdul Rahman Siddiqi - an old "Dilliwallah" from Ballimaran in Chandni Chowk.

"I advise: don't touch Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. There can be a subcontinental union, but absolutely no reunion. The people of Pakistan have a deep love for India, but they love their Pakistan more...India can be a master of the subcontinent but not in the way you (India) want," Brigadier (retd) A.R. Siddiqi told IANS in an interview in New Delhi.

"After all, we are all very poor countries. And we are not apes, but humans in essence. But we have sold our freedom to the US,"  said 88-year-old Siddiqi, who retired in 1973 as the head of Inter-Services Public Relations.

Recalling India's reaction to the US post-9/11, Siddiqi said: "Jaswant Singh, the then defence minister, offered everything to the US, including naval bases, even before (then joint chiefs of staff committee) General Colin Powell and the US president telephoned India for help."

"But they called (then Pakistani army chief and president Pervez) Musharraf, after which he pledged support," Siddiqi said, pointing out the difference.

The writer, who is in India to launch his book, "Smoke Without Fire", a memoir of his pre-partition days in Chandni Chowk published by the capital-based Aakar Books, left India in 1947 for Pakistan to work as a journalist.

"I flew out to Lahore from Safdarjung airport in March 1947 in a chartered plane. It cost me Rs.98 (about $2 at current rates)," Siddiqi recalled. He then shifted to Peshawar before opting for the army.

An alumnus of St Stephen's College, Siddiqi is the author of "East Pakistan: Endgame: An Onlooker's Journal (1969-1971)".

Siddiqui said he was in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1965 with his "best friend General Osmani (known as Bangabir General MAG Osmani). Osmani, who had retired from the Pakistani Army in 1967 trained the Mukti Bahini and commanded it during the 1971 liberation war.

Commenting on the communal harmony inherent in Indian society, the writer said: "The culture is still Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb (the co-existence of Hindu and Muslim cultures of northern India)."

"There will be no improvement in relations between India and Paksitan till India tries to stop saying that Pakistan is responsible ... (for terror)," he said.

Siddiqi said Delhi has not changed much over the years because the people still relieve themselves under the sky. "My home is still there. I became emotional when I visited it, but I knew I couldn't stay there for more than a night. But there is no nostalgia left," he said.

Siddiqi said "his home in Ballimaran had one lavatory - without a flush - for the entire family".

"There were two mugs - one of which was to wash oneself. During the rainy season, we - the Siddiqi brood - ate a lot of spicy food like keema parantha and suffered from dysentry. My mother, a stickler for cleanliness, said why do you have to go to the toilet every day... I was perennially constipated," Siddiqqi laughed. "I still remember the day when the first flush toilet came to our neighbourhood. I gave a speech. I was barely 8-9 years old," Siddiqi said.

The Siddiqi clan of Punjabi Saudagar Muslims from Multan and Punjab, was the most affluent in old Delhi and lived in  Haveli Hissamuddin Haider - a Punjabi traders' citadel, the writer said.

Old Delhi has left an indelible mark in Siddiqi's early education. "I was getting proper education but I had to join the Oriental College at Fetehpuri Mosque (after his grandfather objected to his regular education), where I studied Persian, Arabic and Urdu. I was in the company of Pathan students and joined an akhada (wrestling club) for one and a half years," he recalled.

The publication and the launch of Siddiqi's book in India, an initiative of the Policy and Planning Group, is an attempt to bridge the divide between India and Pakistan, said Diljeet Titus, the Group's secretary.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

--Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 2) Post Comments Post Comment
Dr. Ravi Kumar Bhargava
16-Aug-2012
My dear Pakistanis(muslims), The problem with muslims (including Indian Muslims) that they they have discarted whatever was their own. Like religion, culture, language etc. They have adopted proudly (?) every thing forign (Arab/Iran/central Asean). These people have forgotten their origin and roots. The day they will accept the truth and realize who their ancestors were, most of their problem will be solved. How any one can become enemy of your own people ? Try to realize what you have got afterall ? Because of your own deeds you have been labelled as Fanatics/Terrorists/ Backward and what not ? My dear friends, No body is your enemy. Everything will change just try to change yourself. Just compare the way minorities are living in India and the way Pakistan treats its miorities ? If Pakistan and Pakistanis are not changed- Future is dark and bleak for Pakistan and probably even Godwill not help ?????? As far as Reunion is consered it may not be in the interest of India make union with- Fanatics/Terrorists/ Backwards ? Certainly after 65 years one can say with confidance that -"Creation of Pakistan was a blunder". With love from an Indian friend and brother.
Zainuri
22-Oct-2012
This is way better than a brick & mortar establismhnet.
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Morocco go back a millennium with the first recorded links dating to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta, travelled to India.
 
read-more
Stepping up action against terrorists attacking India, President Donald Trump's Administration has declared Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) a “global terrorist organisation” in an attempt to choke off financial and other support to it.
 
read-more
On 14 August 1947 Pakistan, consisting of East and West Pakistan, celebrated its independence. The 14th was chosen for the ceremony because Lord Mountbatten who came to Karachi as the Chief Guest had to later leave for Delhi where ot the midnight stroke India was to declare its independence.
 
read-more
The Doklam stand-off and a variety recent opinion pieces in magazines and newspapers draws attention to the poor state of defence policy preparedness and the lack of meaningful higher defence control in India. 
 
read-more
The two ideologically divergent ruling partners - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - in Jammu and Kashmir are headed for a showdown as the debate over the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution of India heats up.
 
read-more
At the root of the present Doklam crisis is China’s intrusion into Bhutanese territory for its road building projects. These connectivity projects are integral to President Xi Jinping’s dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India and Bhutan were the only two countries that did not participate in the first forum
 
read-more
It wasn’t so long ago that the whole world watched as Donald Trump sashayed on to the Riyadh red carpet and stole the show with his tough talk on Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
 
read-more
A vehicular attack to maximise casualties and spread panic is now a well-tested terrorist strategy in European cities.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive