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aman ki asha Destination Peace
AN INITIATIVE OF THE JANG GROUP AND THE TIMES OF INDIA
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
ook out for the new initiative with narratives focusing on love and romance that are all set to cut across borders in South Asia, with Indirom a joint ebook publishing venture by Naheed Hassan, a Pakistani, and Shanti Dominic, an Indian, being launched this Valentine’s Day. The two met in South Africa, where they connected over a love of books, and decided to nurture budding talent to produce home grown love stories and romance for the south Asian soul. The Indirom website launches on Feb 14, 2013 and will showcase 25-30 new authors and their e-books, featuring authors primarily from India and Pakistan, as well as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
ROMANCE FOR THE SOUTH ASIAN SOUL
can be downloaded anywhere in the world and read on various devices including mobile phones. Through these stories, the Indirom founders aim to create windows into the lives and loves of people in South Asia that are so similar and yet so different. Love is the same everywhere, across borders and class structures, but South Asian love is unique in its perception of love.Indirom hopes “to take these stories beyond South Asia, to a global audience,” says Naheed Hasan. She points out that mainstream romance and love have always been the domain of western publishing houses, translated and distributed far and wide, with a global audience of millions. “We plan to offer this market an alternative in the form of a South Asian perspective of love and to create a new trend and following, by taking local love stories global”. The venture also builds on a universal trend of changing reading habits, with more and more content consumed on electronic reading devices. Indirom publishes its books in electronic format only, and is poised to be at the forefront of the e-books phenomenon in South Asia. Unlike traditional publishers that are looking to convert their existing inventories for online reading, Indirom works with authors to create a reading experience customized for the modern reader. It is through this, and other innovations, that Indirom is trying to carve out a niche for itself in an extremely competitive industry. Naheed is most excited about how Indirom books will impact the region, by
Indirom founders Naheed Hassan and Shanti Dominic: chick-lit, ‘desi’ style. The stories, as diverse as the authors, are set in a variety of milieu ranging from slums to havelis to retirement homes. The books are all priced at under Rs 100 and
giving authors — young and old — an opportunity to express themselves, to reflect the changing and evolving world around them and create their own following. Today, the web offers authors the ability to connect directly with their audience and to engage with them. Indirom feels that the dynamism of this connection is one that will change the way stories are written and read everywhere and will be a powerful tool for building bridges. Through this, the founders hope, they will be able to get their readers to focus on the common threads — cultural and historical — that have the potential to bring us together more than separate. Of course, we say Amen to that asha! —aka
Rekindling Aman ki Asha in Dallas, TX
Hey, I am Anis Rehman, visiting family in Dallas, TX, USA. If you live around the suburbs of Dallas, you will know about the South Asian community there - they love to visit a IndoPak Supermarket and Café. As you enter the market, you will hear greetings of Namaste and Asalaam-u-Alikum at the same time. While going through the grocery racks, you will find all kinds of spices √ from Indian pani puri to Shan Masala for Chicken karhai. Besides groceries, they also have a great café with both Pakistani and Indian food. I tried Samosa Chaat, which reminded me of Karachi and then Bhel Puri, which had a great Indian taste. The experience was mesmerizing, as I had a chance to have some great Indian and Pakistani food in the same place. It was a perfect example of how the Indian and Pakistani community lives together in United States, rekindling Aman ki Asha.
Anis Rehman, MD
By Zeenat Mahal
Despite The Odds
By Jazz Singh
By Madhuri Bala
By Zeenat Mahal
Shades of Pink
By Ektaa Rupani
By Hiba Khan
t's the 1970's in Jalalabad, an erstwhile princely State in Pakistan. Chandni, a orphan brought up by her grandmother. She is rebellious, headstrong and beautiful. When Taimur enters the closed universe of the Haveli, that seems to revolve around this tempestuous beauty, he is smitten, but won’t admit it. A heated and passionate face-off follows. Will these two stubborn people give in to love?
n a wet rainy night, Sanhahira is divorced and ew-in-town Tanya and usiness baron Shom yza moves back to her jana slips, and is almost O S the mother of a seven N suave New Yorker Arjun home in Karachi after 12 A is married to B Garware run over by Abhimanyu. Headyear old boy. She has lost evyears, when her fiancé dies in make an instant connection, strong and independent, she refuses his help, but over time ends up losing her heart. To complicate matters, she, although immensely talented, is an ordinary girl from a small town, while he comes from the world of the rich and famous. It doesn't help that his mother dislikes her intensely. Can they overcome the odds? Will love conquer all? through exchanged Blackberrys. Arjuns’s mother, Indu Ben, has premonitions of Tanya becoming her bahu, but Lily, his fiancée, isn’t planning on letting him go. Will Arjun choose to maintain the status quo, with Lily? Or make the switch… to Tanya? erything and everyone and when she gets a rather unusual proposal, she accepts it for the sake of propriety. But things are never what they seem, and her husband of convenience is turning out to be quite the nuisance. Can Shahira ever trust enough to let herself love again? the gorgeous Shloka. He wants to indulge her and give her the world. But Shloka, who was a top model and is still getting offers, has other plans. She does not want to give up her hard earned achievements. Will love triumph over their differences? an accident. Fahad, her nextdoor neighbor, tries to bring back the fun loving girl he once knew by playing tricks on her like he used to do when they were younger. Slowly Ayza emerges out of her sadness and laughs again. Will she discover love and a new future for herself with her old ‘enemy’?
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Faiz Amn Mela
he Faiz Amn Mela will take place on Feb 17, 2013, at the Open Air Theatre, Baghe-Jinnah (Lawrence Gardens) Lahore, from 1-6 pm. The event includes a mushaira with Faiz poetry sung by Jawad Ahmad, Adeel Burki, Laal Band, Toheed Malik, Nida Faiz and others. Entry is free and open to the public. “All are invited with families, to get together for a message of peace and prosperity,” say the organizers, Faiz Amn Mela Committee along with Awami Workers Party.
Indo-Pak Short Films Fest
Sangam Uni»s AKA talk show
B R I E F S
he Third Annual National Students' Short-Film Making competition at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi goes pan-subcontinental, jointly organised this year for the first time by students of SPA and students of the National Collge of Arts, Lahore. This Indo-Pak students short-film making competition “Beta Movement”, a part of SPA Delhi's annual college fest, is open only to students. Films may range between 3 o 20 minutes. The last date film submissions is Feb 20, 2013. For details see the Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/Yn2sNb
tudents at Sangam University, Bhilwara, Rajasthan organised a talk show on the India Pakistan relationship on Feb 9, with a focus on Aman ki Asha - Hope for Peace – at the La Union Dance Drama Music Triveni festival at their university. “One of the most important item in La Union was the talk show on Indo Pak relations which should see beyond the thorny Kashmir issue and nagging terrorism related ones,” said B.R. Natarajan, Vice Chancellor Sangam University. “The focus must shift to cultural exchanges, sporting events for cricket and hockey, food fests, music fests, film fests etc leading to conducive environment for better trade and commerce. Youth of both nations must lead the change.”
Marriages strengthen family ties across the LoC
By Javed Aziz Khan
tiq ur Rehman Beg, 32, and Farah-ul-Ain, 26, are first cousins. But growing up hundreds of miles away from each other, he in Peshawar and she in Srinagar, across a hostile border, they had never met until February 2011. That’s when they got married, in keeping with their families’ wishes. Their story finds resonance among many divided families across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Families on either side often betroth their children to each other to cement relations, which remain strong despite the well-guarded border between them. They had to wait for two years once the decision was made – that is how long it took for Farah, a graduate of Women's College Srinagar (English Literature) to get her Indian passport. This being a digital age,
they got to know each other well during that time, exchanging pictures and talking on the phone, Skype, facebook and email. It was a chilly day in February when the bride travelled from Srinagar to Amritsar by road along with an entourage of 45 people, all armed with their Pakistani visas. That part of the journey alone took two days. Then came the train journey to Lahore, crossing the Wagah border. On the Pakistan side, the bridal party was met by Atiq and about a hundred of his relatives, who had driven down from Peshawar. The meeting at Wagah border was a grand family reunion for the two families settled in Peshawar and Srinagar. It is only at such rare events like weddings or other family occasions that they manage to meet. Many of those coming to attend the wedding with the bride were in Pakistan for the first time. The joint entourage drove to Rawalpindi where Atiq’s elder brother and several other relatives live. There, the week long wedding festivities began, including the mehndi – complete with Urdu, Pashto, and Kashmiri songs sung to the accompa-
niment of the dholak by girls from both sides. The nikah (marriage contract) took place on Feb 11, 2012, and the walima after that, also in Pindi. The post-wedding scenario consisted of a chain of dinner receptions for the visitors from Srinagar hosted by their long-lost relatives in Pakistan, in keeping with the traditions of hospitality that mark this region. It was more than 65 years ago that Atiq ur Rehman
permanent stay. The new, disputed border cut him off from the family in Srinagar but over the decades, both branches have maintained ties through inter-marriages. Like his father, Atta ur Rehman, and his older brothers and sisters before him, Atiq was born and raised in Peshawar, where the family runs an electronics shop. Atiq’s parents are first cousins. His mother is from Srinagar and came over in 1971 to marry his father;
Atiq ur Rehman Beg’s grandfather travelled from Srinagar to Peshawar to sell his Kashmiri shawls and ended up staying. Over the decades, both branches of the family have maintained ties through inter-marriages.
Srinagar and Peshawar: Cross-border couple Farah and Atiq Beg’s grandfather travelled from Srinagar to Peshawar to sell his Kashmiri shawls in the market there. Then the country was partitioned, and he ended up staying, the business trip turning into a she is also Farah’s aunt (Phuhi, father’s sister). Atiq’s elder brother, Khalil ur Rehman, now father of three, got married in 199 to a cousin from Srinagar who is Farah’s first cousin (their mothers are sisters). “My family wanted me to marry someone from our family back in Srinagar to further strengthen our relationship. I agreed and so did my wife” Atiq tells Aman ki Asha at his home in Peshawar’s Saddar Road. “We have been living happily together since we got married on February 11, last year. We had never met each other before but we have de-
veloped a good understanding.“ Farah’s family in Kashmir used to worry about the law and order situation in Pakistan, but after visiting, they found the situation to be not as bad as it seemed from far away. The couple is planning to leave for Spain in the near future where Atiq has been living for some years and runs a cellular phone business, but Farah “believes we will have a happy life if I settle back in Pakistan,” says Atiq. “Our marriage was aimed at strengthening the relationship of our families living in Peshawar and Srinagar. We want the relationship to continue in future generations,” the purdah-observing Farah told this writer on the phone. She is living in Pakistan on her Indian passport, duly stamped with a Pakistani visa. Indian nationals like Farah who marry Pakistanis and live in this country are initially granted a one-month visa that they have to apply to extend if they intend to stay on. The visa extensions, for 3-6 months, or more are usually granted in a routine manner, until the person takes on Pakistani nationality, which can take some time.
This is also the case with Pakistanis married to Indians, although India has the facility of a Long Term Visas for Pakistani spouses married to Indian nationals living in India. When Farah returns to visit Srinagar, as she is planning to do soon, she must report to the Pakistani authorities that she is leaving. For her relatives with Pakistanis passports, it takes “six months to get an Indian visa, even in case of emergency,” she says, hoping that the visa process between the two countries will become easier so she can easily visit her mother and other relatives and they can come visit her in Peshawar. “Pakistan and India should end their differences and develop better relations. The people of both countries want to live a peaceful and happy life,” says Atiq. The couple hope that the revised visa policies will ease cross-border travel for the people of the two countries, so that families like theirs can meet more often than at the occasional wedding. Javed Aziz Khan covers KP and Fata for The News. firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @storyTeller147
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A peace initiative whose time has come... ‘Destination Peace’: A commitment by the Jang Group, Geo and The Times of India Group to create an enabling environment that brings the people of Pakistan and India closer together, contributing to genuine and durable peace with honour between our countries.