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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Letter from Pakistan: January 7, 2002


Buk Mai

'Gul Terre' & Roses

GTERR-WCUTR.jpg (90410 bytes)


Celebrated Eid in Lahore; there was much exchange of flowers; roses and gladioli were in full bloom on Dec 6 and filled our living rooms with much needed joy after the month of fasting –Ramadan. Managed to get a close encounter with the singer Ibrar-ul-Haq at his FLWR-SHOP-ISL.jpg (86650 bytes)brother’s house in Lahore at the last Iftar party with the local tents [ tamboos ] and coal fire heaters and of course the kababs and chicken karahi and naan bread The day before I had read an interview of Ibrar with the Herald magazine about his effort to set up a new Hospital project at Kasur with his own donations. He says that people from Pakistan are encouraged to send their donations to their website [ www.Sahara for ] . The good thing about what he said is to ignore the government and just get on with our work by ourselves.

The New airport in Lahore beckons Pakistanis abroad and locally, to a happy and    LHR-ARPT.jpg (56251 bytes)       comfortable welcome, which they need after traveling in the skies. It looks impressive and is situated opposite the Garrison Golf course near the old airport runway. It is scheduled to open by March 2003.

The Lahore Gymkhana has been expanding its buildings; a new swimming pool and a Golf Building are currently under construction and the four squash courts have been enclosed in a brick building .The Lahore Garrison Golf club too has had various modifications to its jogging track and golf fairways; its old tree house still remains nestled in the branches and the main trunk of a huge banyan or pipul tree.

Land Prices have rocketed up as Pakistanis are being hassled by the new immigration regulations in USA. Land prices in the suburbs of Islamabad , Defence Housing Society in Lahore and Karachi have doubled since 2001. One canal can vary in these cities and areas from 35 lakh rupees to about 40 lakh rupees.

The winter Fruits – red blood oranges and kinoos [the original name was kinow mandarin after a professor at UC Davis] are in full cry. Dry fruit such as almonds, pistachios, " chilgozas" or pine nuts, roasted peanuts are to be seen being sold on carts and the smoke from the peanut vendors flavors the evenings on the streets here. On sale also are exotic kilims and carpets from Baluchistan. Carpets and their designs speak and tell marriage-band.jpg (63630 bytes)of stories from the past of the tribes & women who make them. The music wallahs sit around on the sidewalks of Murree road near Satellite Town in Rawalpindi waiting for their turn to blast music onto the wedding parties. Wedding parties are in full swing and every evening one has to attend more than one wedding. Young men & women flaunt their youth and beauty in their gorgeous eye catching dresses .

The new year came in with a lot of fireworks in the major cities; Christmas was celebrated with great fanfare and the Christian communities made merry with the rum cakes and father Christmas with his gifts. Murree has not really had a strong snow, although Islamabad and Lahore have had their first winter showers about a couple of weeks ago .The dust is settled and roses are in full bloom at the nurseries.

Lahore and Karachi will soon have high speed Internet access via Cable Modems and Cable TV with 80 channels to blow your minds out on. The project is being carried out by World Call Telecomms and Salman Taseer has roped in Khaled Jufali from Saudi Arabia. It’s IPO on the Karachi stock market was oversubscribed and raised about Rs Under-19 cricket team.jpg (64849 bytes) 250 million locally.The Karachi Stock market keeps going up [ 2700] like the NASDAQ used to go up in the era in 1997 – 2000. Our sports juniors won the World Squash Championships at Chennai beating England 2-1. [ see photos ] Also the cricket juniors won the Asia championships at Sharjah beating Sri-Lanka – and latest news flash is that the Pakistan under-19 also are into the British Squash finals.

GTERR-WCUTR.jpg (90410 bytes)In the midst of the urban madness, I went to the Buddhist caves at Shah Allah Ditta, a small village nestling at the foothills of Margalla west near Pir Wadhahi in Islamabad. There I met with a man in his nineties saying his prayers at the mosque through which a spring gurgled. Further as we came to the caves and wandered in and out collecting rocks with fossils embedded in them , I came across a wood-cutter with his axe and his guard dog . I asked the man what breed the dog was and the Pathan taxi-driver said – "Gul Terre " What the name was actually is a bull-terrier. I took the photograph of the wood-cutter and his dog. Later on examining the result it was the quiet and utter serenity of the man and his dog and the murmuring springs cascading /splashing gently by that I remembered. It was no wonder that the Buddhist monks made this their home for their meditation and prayers in the monasteries on the other side of these hills in a place called Taxila.




'Letter from Pakistan' - December 2002

'Letter from Pakistan' - November 2002

'Letter from Pakistan' - October 2002










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