POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 23, 2010 AT 23:38 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2010 23:38 IST

G. Parthasarathy, former high commissioner of India to Pakistan in the Asian Age: ‘Aid won’t change hostility towards India’

In the same newspaper, 81-year-old Abdul Sattar Edhi, Magsaysay Award winner, and founder of Edhi Foundation, the country’s largest social welfare network, points out: ‘Needy can’t tell if medicines are Indian or American’.

Vir Sanghvi explained the Indian and Pakistan reactions in the New Indian Express:

... the fate of the earthquake relief some years ago may explain many things. The Pakistanis did not use our relief materials. The only gifts that were distributed were the blankets we sent over. And even there, Pakistan deputed people to handle each blanket individually and to scissor out the label that read ‘made in India.’

This time around, New Delhi was not sure how the offer of aid would be received (with justification, as it turns out) and so took slightly longer than it should have to decide whether or not to offer aid. It does not suggest callousness on our part, quite the opposite. We were just worried about being snubbed. (As indeed we were when we did offer the money). 

Read on at the New Indian Express

MJ Akbar added:

Dr Manmohan Singh’s response to this gratuitous insult was a testament to his faith: he offered more. The best answer to visceral animosity is surely a civilised handshake, even if one may have to count one’s fingers after the hand has been shaken.

A caveat is essential. We must not confuse the Pakistani people with the Pakistan government. The government was playing politics with a crisis. The starving have no time for cynicism. The true victims of any such calamity are the poor, for the rich live above water. No poll has indicated that Pakistan’s flood-displaced would rather go hungry and roofless than eat wheat or take shelter under a tent purchased with India’s dollars.

Read on here

 In the Sunday Times of India, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar had, typically, the most novel suggestion after cautioning that "the Indian government  should not offer more than a modest amount of food and financial aid":

...recipients are rarely grateful for alms: they resent being supplicants, and suspect the motives of the donors: The US saved India from mass starvation after the twin droughts of 1965 and 1966 by giving record food aid. But this won the US very few friends and stoked resentment from many who felt India's independence was being compromised. The US will once again be the chief donor to Pakistan, but will gain virtually no popularity or gratitude.

If food and financial aid will not help much, how can India best help Pakistan? The best way will be for the Indian Army to unilaterally withdraw from the border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Read more: Aid flooded Pak by withdrawing Army 

And from Pakistan, of course, there have been usual conspiracy theories and other such usual suspects blaming India, but among the most evocative and powerful pieces for me, so far has been Mohammed Hanif  writing for the BBC:

....a journalist colleague of mine, chasing the flood, arrived in southern Punjab and reported back that the bridge over the river Cehnab resembled a giant set that might have been erected for a film about Partition, when India and Pakistan were prised apart.

A Partition set in Noah's time, I thought.


These areas are of no strategic interest to anyone because they have neither exported terrorism nor do they have the ambition to join a fight against it.

Their only export to the world outside is onions, tomatoes, sugar cane, wheat and mangoes.

The word terrorism does not even exist in Seraiki and Sindhi, the languages of the majority of the people who have been rendered homeless.

They belong to that forgotten part of humanity that has quietly tilled the land for centuries, the small farmers, the peasants, the farmhands, generations of people who are born and work and die on the same small piece of land.

And this time there are 20 million of them.

Read the full piece at the BBC


Also a must read, Manan Ahmed's heart-felt response to the above, joining issue with what he described as using "a cow as a crassly evocative narrative device", protesting against the denial of agency to the flood-victims, treating all of them as potential recruits to terrorism:

What is the point then? I cannot tell you anything that can change your mind. He is poor. He is easily bought by Wahabi or Opium money. He works hard for his meager food. He will swallow whole the dialectic of revolution or of Khilafa. He is traditional in his outlook, in his customs. He is a fundamentalist and a sectarian. He spent some time in the Gulf doing labor. He was indoctrinated with Wahabi ideology. He can recite Bulleh Shah or listen to the Heer for days. He what? He is a human being with a past, a present, a culture, a society, a vision of the good life, a sense of community, a method of belonging, a routine of daily practices, a collection of stories for his children, a corpus of songs for his friends, a set of possessions, a love for radio or tv, a daily grind and an early night. He is waiting to attack us in New York.

You see his suffering through your security, your strategy, your politics. You don’t see him as a human. Just as you don’t see me as more than cattle. You don’t know who he is, so he must be your worst nightmare. If you saw him as human, if you granted him agency, thought, you wouldn’t be so afraid. You would want to help him. Not because he might become Taliban, but because he is your kind, and he needs your help. [Read the full piece here: I Am A Bhains]

And, in between, some more of Pakistan's literary voices:

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 23, 2010 AT 23:38 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2010 23:38 IST
Follow us on Twitter for all updates, like us on Facebook for important and fun stuff

Post a Comment
Share your thoughts
You are not logged in, please log in or register
Must See
Daily Mail
Aug 29, 2010
11:06 AM
it is time for muslim brotherhood.

pakistan considers itself to be the sword of islam-
its people are in the forefront of the jehad against
the world.

let their much loved arab benefactors bail them out.

ofcource they will not. the usa and some european countries will step in. as gratitude their help workers will risk death.

indians have wanted to destroy pakistan.. failed in 1965, 1971, and last in the godess durga has stepped in.
dallas, United States
Aug 27, 2010
02:04 AM
We may pity for the innocent souls starving there. Its a known fact that Pakistani masses are held captive by their media that bands the tune played by ISI and its so called elected government. Their hate to India in fact is core to their blood and nerves. There is no point in bailing them out at this critical juncture.
Every society has to pay a price to correct its mistakes and to revisit the losses it occured in the past. Pakistan is going through such a phase. It already earned a bad name in the International community for its alleged support for Jihadists and double play on "war on terror".
All India need to do is to just wait and watch with more vigilance. Honey coated words and millions of offers are not going to help. They will end up in the pockets of ISI masters who enjoy the burecratic life.
Vasanth Srinivas
Chennai, India
Order by
Order by
Short Takes
click for more
recent tags
Aamir Khan
Neha Dixit
Rahul Gandhi
Uttar Pradesh
A. Sanzgiri
Boria Majumdar
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Freya Dasgupta
G. Rajaraman
K.V. Bapa Rao
Landing Lights
Maheshwer Peri
Namrata Joshi
Omar Ali
Our Readers Write Back
Outlook Web Desk
Outlook Web Desk
Prarthna Gahilote
Shefalee Vasudev
Srishti Gupta
Sundeep Dougal
Sunil Menon
recent comments
The Paris Climate Change Conference is all set to begin...
Poll Started on: Nov 28, 2015
Belgium may be famous for its chocolate, beer and for...
Srishti Gupta


OUTLOOK TOPICS:    a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   
Or just type in a few initial letters of a topic: