Daily Archives: December 2, 2008

Bombay, India and Pakistan: Open letter to all Indians

Our regular contributor Yasser Latif Hamdani has written this letter addressed to all Indians and it is worth a read for its directness and sincerity. We hope that our Indian readers would take note of this and reconsider their jingoistic tunes that have been drummed up by an irresponsible media and the collective, shared menace of domestic misgovernance. Raza Rumi (editor)

Dear Indian,

I write to you as a Pakistani who has always wished for peace and prosperity of the entire subcontinent.   We might not see eye to eye on history, but I have always maintained that violence between Pakistan and India negates the raison d’être of Pakistan.  This is why it is in our interest to have peace with India and get down to the task of building a prosperous and peaceful Pakistan at peace within and without.

Horrified by the violence in Bombay (the city was renamed Mumbai by right wing Hindu fanatics in your country I know but I reject such name-change be they in Pakistan or India- for me Faisalabad is Lyallpur, Sahiwal is Montgommery,  Kolkatta is Calcutta and Mumbai is Bombay),  I began writing an article which spoke of Bombay’s common heritage for both India and Pakistan,  of Jinnah’s long connection to it (he famously told the Indian High Commissioner in 1947 “Oh I love Bombay and long to be there”), of Bombay’s status as the premier Asian city embodying the values of secularism and multi-ethnic cultural ethos and so on.  I quoted Pakistan’s current President who said “there is a little Indian in every Pakistani and a little a Pakistani in every Indian”.  I seconded Adil Najam’s “Today I am a Mumbaikar too” sentiment (except that I amended to “Bombaywallah”) but just before I finished the article, I happened to turn on the news.  After two minutes of the news, I deleted the article and I am glad I did. Continue reading

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