January 2003




JANUARY  2003 Contents


 Peace in South Asia
 - Is it attainable?
 Read what they have 
 to say:


 Swami Agnivesh &
 Rev Valson Thampu

 Ardeshir Cowasjee

 Lt. Gen Arjun Ray 

 Raju Narisetti

 Waheguru Pal Singh 



 Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
 - 50 years of sarod


 Secular symbols of
 Sri Lanka

 2002 Round-up

 Books 2002

 Sports 2002


 Raju Nasiretti

 Mahreen Khan

Real Issues

 Corruption vs. NGOs


 Letter from Pakistan


 'India in Slow Motion'
 - by Mark Tully

 Serialisation of  'Knock at every alien 
 door' - Joseph Harris



 South Asian Events in
 London &  Washington DC

 Editor's Note

 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in










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Peace in South Asia - elusive or attainable?


We are two years into the millennium. There is only violence and more violence to describe these two years. Our collective karma has bestowed us with 'soft-brained leaders' - elected and inflicted - determined to eliminate their own species and the environment they live in. Anarchy, chaos, and eventual self-destruction ..... not happy thoughts. Could a miracle redirect us to more pleasant goals and give us true leaders? Could we dream of peace in south Asia? Is peace in south Asia elusive or attainable? These are some of the questions we asked Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee, Swami Agnivesh, Rev. Valson Thampu, Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray,   Mr. Raju Narisetti, Dr. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, and members of South Asia's 'Sufi Rock' band 'Junoon' - all respected and responsible citizens of the world. 

As I write these lines, Palestinian and Israeli teenagers  are killed;  innocent people are killed every few days by militants in Kashmir - all in the name of religion - a religion devoid of  spirituality. Maybe one day religion will no longer be a State matter. Maybe one day we will have universal text books in schools, teaching Faiz, Prem Chand, Lennon, Dylan and many others.  Maybe one day we will have a truly multi-faith secular prayer. Maybe one day we will have the ability to trust and be trusted. Maybe one day  'We' will attempt to understand 'Them'. Maybe "I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the great poets of last century, put the entire issue of our times in two simple lines (one a statement, and the other a question), written on his return to Pakistan after visiting the newly independent Bangladesh:

"Hum ke thehre ajnabi itni madaa raaton ke baad

Khoon ke dhabe dhulenge kitni barsaaton ke baad."

I have neither the courage nor the ability to translate these lines. 

Ardeshir Cowasjee, the highly respected journalist from Pakistan, in one of his articles titled 'For What Do We Fight?', recalls: "..... our physicist, the Ahmadi, Professor Abdus Salam, my contemporary. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1979, he was recognized and lauded as a Pakistani and a Muslim, although the 1973 Constitution did not admit to the latter. When I met him in the mid-1980s, I asked him whether he was still considered to be a Pakistani and a Muslim. He held my hand, smiled, and replied, "Does it matter?" But, then, I was talking to a profoundly educated human being."

We thank Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee, Swami Agnivesh, Rev. Valson Thampu, Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray,   Mr. Raju Narisetti, Dr. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, and members of 'Junoon' for sharing their views with us - on matters so close to our hearts. Happy and a Safe 2003 to all our readers.

Roopa Bakshi



















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