Tag Archives: Beena Sarwar

‘Son, you outgrew my lap but never my heart’ – Fauzia Ansari in search of her son: Debangana Chatterjee

On August 14, 2013, Shivam Vij wrote in Kafila  about Hamid Ansari, a young Management Studies graduate from Mumbai who crossed the border illegally to Pakistan in November 2012, to meet a young woman, and has been missing since. At the time Shivam wrote the post, there were indications that Hamid had been picked up by Pakistani security agencies.

Beena Sarwar, Pakistani human rights activist, wrote in July this year about the possibility of ‘cautious optimism’, following the directive of Peshawar High Court to Pakistan’s defence and interior ministries to provide full information about the forced disappearance of Hamid Ansari and of 25 others, who are Pakistani nationals. Her account is worth reading in full, outlining as it does, the ways in which cross border solidarities of democratic forces consistently work to soar above and also to undermine the barbed wire fences of nation-states.

DEBANGANA CHATTERJEE, a Delhi-based MA student, met Hamid’s mother a few days ago, and wrote this piece after talking to her, outlining some new developments in the case. We have retained Fauzia Ansari’s voice as far as possible in this narrative.

The story of Hamid Ansari, a 28 year old IT engineer and management studies graduate, started unfolding when I came across his mother, Fauzia Ansari at a conference on ‘Challenges to Indian Democracy’ organized in Delhi by the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace a few days ago, on August 30-31. Fauzia Ansari is a lecturer of Hindi at a college in Mumbai. Like other mothers, Fauzia says she too had vibrant dreams of her son’s bright future. But a nightmare has unfolded instead. Continue reading ‘Son, you outgrew my lap but never my heart’ – Fauzia Ansari in search of her son: Debangana Chatterjee

Swat Flogging and Public Outrage: Beena Sarwar

[This article was first published in Dawn 12 April 2009. It is reproduced here courtesy South Asia Citizens Web. The recent reports of the most spine-chilling instance of flogging of a young woman by Taliban goons unleashed a wave of indignation across Pakistan. This comment by Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar is self-explanatory. For all the political illiterates and those given to anti-Muslim hate-speech in this country, this report and the innumerable discussions and posts on sites like Chowk, should indicate how much the Taliban and terrorism are hated and resisted by ordinary ‘secular’ people and women’s and human rights groups in Pakistan. They should indicate that ‘Islam’ and ‘being Muslim’ are themselves intensely contested ideas. But of course, we know that nothing can teach these hate-mongers anything, for they are the mirror-image of the Taliban. And as for us, as the old song goes: hum korea mein hum hain hindustan mein/ hum roos mein hain, cheen mein japan mein…And one might add: Pakistan mein bhi hain aur sare jahaan mein

(There we are in korea and in hindustan/in russia we are, in china and in japan/and in pakistan too we are, we’re in the whole wide world…)

It is people like us there who must fight the Taliban, and people like them here who must fight the Hindutva fascists  – always, relentlessly…Even when in the minority and especially when the political parties and leaders desert en masse. – AN]

Demo against womans flogging, courtesy LA Times
Demo against woman's flogging, courtesy LA Times

In the “flogging video’s” undated footage shot with a cellphone in Swat (judging by the language and clothes) a man whips a woman in red, her pinned face down on the ground and encircled by men. The leather strap strikes her back as she cries out in pain.

The video, circulated on the Internet before local television channels broadcast it, caused a furore both in Pakistan and internationally. What caused the outrage? The public punishment meted out to a woman — or the fact that it was broadcast?

Continue reading Swat Flogging and Public Outrage: Beena Sarwar