It’s true that appearances can be deceiving. Let’s consider rickshaws, a three-wheeled motorized taxi commonly used in Pakistan. A rickshaw may look like a creaking box on wheels, but this vehicle does more than just give a ride to fatigued pedestrians.
There is no denying that hostile militant activity, sectarian violence, and political instability have left Pakistan swathed in discontent over the past few years. However, by looking at Pakistan through a despondent narrow light, people restrict themselves from appreciating the region’s innate beauty. Pakistan’s grandeur can be found in its spectacular northern mountain ranges, rich heritage, vibrant culture, delectable food, and a booming art market that has grown to become a foundation of national pride.
Since 1947, Kashmir has been subjected to three full scale wars between India and Pakistan. The last one occurred as the two nations were poised to become nuclear powers. Until the late 80s, the nature of tension in the valley between these full scale battles can be viewed as latent violence. This period was dogged by rigged elections, corruption, dissent, and awry political coalitions, which led to shaky governments. It was in 1989 that the armed militancy broke out. Since then a burgeoning Indian military presence has been engaged in counterinsurgency policies.
Short of traveling the world, the best way to learn about other people and cultures is through literature. Yes, yes, yes… the news, nonfiction, movies, and other media are fine conduits for showing us glimpses into the lives of others. But nothing delves into the essential psychology of people like literature does. Nothing can get into the hearts and minds of the beautiful and dastardly people of this world like good fiction. Literature allows the time and space necessary to really mine a person’s psyche, the context of a situation, and the dreams and nightmares of people and places so far… far… away.
This powerful panel, during the second session of Left Forum, dealt with the historical and ongoing struggle for equality and rights of Afghan and Pakistani women. After the viewing of Kathleen Foster’s documentary on the subject, Fahima Vorgetts of Afghan Women’s Fund and Dr.
by Hassan Malik. Originally published by our partner site, World Policy Blog.
Recent events in Pakistan have highlighted the best and worst of the country’s politics and society. News outlets worldwide have been running an all-too-rare story about a rich, powerful man of privilege who risked everything to defend a poor woman on the fringes of society from a public lynching. Sadly, this story was revealed through reports of the man’s murder at the hand of his own security guard.
Recently, six of us Mantle bloggers were asked to discuss the one story we were going to keep an eye on for 2011. Because of space restrictions I could not fully explain the reason for my choice, that is, Arundhati Roy's stance toward Kashmir. Here then, is that explanation.