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...Their ancestral village. It was the same in Boston on June 18, 2016 at the E-5 Center where Amardeep Singh gave his 42nd such talk. He understands the response all too well. After all, he too once had the same “myopic” reasons, as he says, for wanting to go to Pakistan, which he considers his “homeland”, being the land of his ancestors and also where Sikhdom’s holiest sites are located, like Nanankana Sahib, birth place of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru. But when Singh did finally fulfill his dream to visit the country in October 2014, he had an epiphany halfway through his solitary trip that changed the meaning of his travels. It also changed the course of his life. He realised that reducing Pakistan to religion was doing a disservice to the country, its people and the larger cause of humanity. ...TOI on Aug. 7, 2016, 2:01 p.m.
...Sabri was one of them – the dwindling tribe of Pakistan’s gharanas or clans of Sufi singers, custodians of a centuries-old classical tradition and art form. “Believe me, we didn’t feel like performing that night,” Rauf the eldest of the four Saami brothers tells me me as we stand, united by sorrow in the sunlit atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, just north of Boston. His younger brother Urooj nods. “I saw him grow up before my eyes,” says their father Naseeruddin Saami quietly when we meet later. A slim, tall, ascetic looking man, he points upwards as do his strongly built sons when asked how they feel about going back to Karachi. I sense the steely resolution and determination behind his frailty, and their sparkling eyes. ...TOI on July 1, 2016, 7 a.m.
...The venue, a book-lined room in the Encuentro 5 (e5) a collaborative project and space for progressive movement building run by Massachusetts Global Action (MGA) and TecsChange: Technology for Social Change. Born in Gorakhpur, India in 1966, Singh is a Singapore-based former banker who has also lived and worked in Hong Kong. He began his talk by expressing his gratitude to the Pakistan government for granting him a non-police reporting, 30-day, countrywide visa that enabled him to travel around the country with no restrictions. He said he had experienced “nothing but love” during his 2013 visit to Pakistan. He urged audience members to make the trip and experience the country and people for themselves, beyond religious pilgrimages and organised tours. ...TOI on June 24, 2016, 3:55 p.m.
...Can Pakistan's intellectuals and human rights activists survive the "intellecticide" being perpetrated?When the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) announced that it was organising a seminar titled "Un-Silencing Balochistan" on 9 April 2015, it reminded me of the "Unsilencing Pakistan" initiative of the summer of 2011. Some of us had drafted a statement endorsed by several progressive voices-well-known journalists, lawyers, singers, musicians, doctors, entrepreneurs and others-condemning "the continuing harassment, torture, and killing of progressive thinkers, journalists, and activists in Pakistan. ...NDTV on May 19, 2015, midnight