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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Same data, different results











Same data, different results

How often a club established to promote Urdu language, conducts its meeting in English?  How often do you see a moderator painstakingly develop a certain theme of a literary evening only to be refuted later, the carefully crafted theme torn to pieces by the person presiding over the literary sitting?
You should have attended the last meeting of the Urdu Academy of North America to see the anomalies.

The Poets of ‘Partition’
The Urdu Academy of North America holds its monthly meeting on every third Sunday of the month at the Chandni Restaurant in Newark, California.
The July meeting of the Urdu Academy was moderated in English by Dr. Priya Satia, a history professor.  The poetry recitations by various Urdu Academy regulars were woven around a slide show presentation based on an over 10,000 words long write-up titled ‘The Poets of Partition’ written by Dr. Satia.   Dr. Satia's article originally appeared online, in January of this year.  An earlier presentation of 'Poets of Partition' took place on March 20, 2016 in Atherton.
The presentation given by Dr. Satia in the July 17 meeting of the Urdu Academy of North America implied that from Faiz’s ‘Dasht e Tanhaee’ to Sahir’s ‘Chaklay’, poetry of most of the Urdu poets writing around 1947 was in opposition to the ‘partition.’  Some in the audience just smiled at the incredible implication, others listened passively, but Dr. Khwaja Mohammad Zakariya presiding over the meeting was less charitable. At the end of the presentation when he was asked to speak, Dr. Zakariya said he had spent time with several poets mentioned in Satia’s presentation, and Satia was reading too much into their poetry; the results she drew were wrong. Yes, the poets of that era didn’t like the violence associated with the 1947 events, but no they did not want to see a ‘unified’ India.

The P Word
It seems the Indian and Pakistani scholars have very different views about what happened in 1947.  The Indian and Indian-descent scholars call the cataclysm of 1947, the ‘partitioning of India’, implying there was a millennia old country called India that was partitioned by the wily British when the colonial masters left South Asia. 
To the Pakistani scholars this very idea of ‘Partition of India’ reeks of the ‘Akhand Bharat’ theme.  For the scholars on this side of the border the British India was an artificial political entity bundled together for the administrative convenience of the colonial masters; that at the conclusion of the colonial rule a political restructuring took place and India and Pakistan came into being. 
Yes, the British Indian province of Punjab and Bengal were partitioned during the political re-structuring, but no ‘partitioning’ of India took place in 1947 as the Union of India came into being as a result of the events of that year.





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