10/10/2014 is a very unique date in the history of both India and Pakistan, when the only two Noble Peace Prizes of the year have been awarded to Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafai (Pakistan). Congratulations to the people of both the countries for this feat! The celebrations have already begun in both the countries; social media and news channels is full with the congratulatory notes to both the winners.
But the ironical part of this victory is that while the world might want to acknowledge these countries for peace, the Prime Ministers of both these countries have opened guns against each other. On one side of the border is PM Narendra Modi whose party is facing elections in two states and he has to prove his ability to meet his pre-poll promises of national security and integrity. And on the other side is PM Nawaz Shareif who is being blackmailed into getting off his post and has to prove his mettle to be prepared for an election, just in case. And what better way than to fight at the border.
I watched a very nice movie – Haider – very recently and have been thinking ever since that in this constant fight of political forces, the ultimate sufferers are the people of Kashmir – Jammu & Kashmir in India (Indian Occupied Kashmir) and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafai have something in common – both have fought for the rights of children in their own way. Isn’t that a responsibility of the governments and the armies of both these countries to help forward this cause? Isn’t it more sensible for both the countries to spend this money on child education, child welfare, healthcare and infrastructure development, rather than showing muscle to each other?
I would like to congratulate both Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafai on the great work that they have done in their own capacities. And it’s my urge to the people and politicians of both these countries to listen to these two great personalities and help them spread their message to the world.
Karva chauth is a traditional festival in India where the wives fast for a whole day without consuming food or water, to pray for a long life for their (respective) husbands. The fast ends at night when the wife sees the moon. Husband gives her the first glass of water and first bite of food (and then she never stops ;-)). I’ve been witnessing this for last 24 years in India, but this was the first time I was about to see Karva Chauth being celebrated outside India, in Singapore.
After my dinner (my girlfriend thinks I was also fasting for her ;-)), I asked Sid to go for a walk when we saw our friends crowding in the park. Just for curiosity sake, we also went and joined the crowd. But what I saw there was nothing short of a shocking surprise, though a pleasant one. Priyani, the only married girl from our batch was there with all her make-up and traditional suit on, waiting for the moon to rise so that she could end her day-long fast. Honestly speaking, I saw her for the first time in a traditional salwar- kameez suit, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
The surprising part of the entire process was the use of technology to overcome the hindrances created by distance. Priyani’s husband is based in Delhi, but if Priyani wanted to continue to live on food, she must see the face of her husband and then the moon on the night of 7th October. That’s where a technology called Skype comes in. With Priyani on her husband’s screen and he on Priyani’s screen, the hurdles distance were overcome instantaneously. To give it a final touch, Priyani’s mother-in-law extended her right foot towards the web-cam and Priyani touched the screen to indicate touching her feet. J I could not resist but to call this “technology aur sanskriti ka abhootvpurna mishran” (an incredible mixture of Technology and Tradition.)