Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mera Bharat Mahaan

Pakistani scribe’s pro-India blog clocks numerous hits

Islamabad: A twenty-something Pakistani journalist’s pro-India blog, which charts the tumultuous relations between the two countries and lives of ordinary citizens, is making heads turn on this side of the border. Mehmal Sarfraz, an assistant oped editor with The Post newspaper, first blogged about India two days after Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day in 2005. “I never thought of these Indian neighbours as being nice or anything good, I had an inborn dislike for them. This was because of several factors, one of them being our history textbooks,” Sarfraz wrote in a post titled ‘Indo-Pak: The missing link’. “Our history talks about nothing but the Muslim freedom fighters who died in the freedom struggle. We’ve never had a chance to read about the struggle of Indian freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose,” Sarfraz added. She further writes, “Muslim freedom fighters like Abul Kalam Azad and others who wanted to remain with India are portrayed as traitors in our books.” Her first exposure to Indians was on an online network and the ‘myth of hatred was shattered after she got to know some of them really well’. After two years, Sarfraz started blogging on India and made her first trip to the country. She now considers India a ‘home away from home’. In her blogs, she writes about Indian leaders who she feels have not been properly represented in Pakistan. “Jawaharlal Nehru is another leader who has been utterly misrepresented in the Pakistani textbooks. He is cast as a ‘Chalaak Hindu baniya’ and someone who wanted to usurp the rights of the Muslims, she said. “The truth is that Nehru was a secular leader”. PTI

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