Archive | Independence Day

Happy Independence Day

Posted on 11 August 2016 by admin

Mr. Jinnah’s presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan

August 11, 1947

You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.

The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing the future constitution of Pakistan and the second of functioning as a full and complete sovereign body as the Federal Legislature of Pakistan.

The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize is this: remember that you are now a sovereign legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions. The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.

The second thing that occurs to me is this: One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think our condition is much worse – is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so.

Black-marketing is another curse. A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes.

The next thing that strikes me is this: Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil, the evil of nepotism and jobbery. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any any influence directly of indirectly brought to bear upon me. Whenever I will find that such a practice is in vogue or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it.

I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of everyone of us to loyally abide by it and honourably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all. But you must remember, as I have said, that this mighty revolution that has taken place is unprecedented. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done, A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it, but in my judgement there was no other solution and I am sure future history will record is verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem. Any idea of a united India could never have worked and in my judgement it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be on end to the progress you will make.

I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

This speech has been edited.

Gandhi’s The “Quit India” Speech in 08-08-1942

Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a nonviolent fight for India’s independence.

{Gandhiji addressed the A.I.C.C. at Bombay on 8-8-42 outlining his plan of action, in Hindustani, as follows:

Before you discuss the resolution, let me place before you one or two things, I want you to understand two things very clearly and to consider them from the same point of view from which I am placing them before you. I ask you to consider it from my point of view, because if you approve of it, you will be enjoined to carry out all I say. It will be a great responsibility. There are people who ask me whether I am the same man that I was in 1920, or whether there has been any change in me. You are right in asking that question.

Let me, however, hasten to assure that I am the same Gandhi as I was in 1920. I have not changed in any fundamental respect. I attach the same importance to nonviolence that I did then. If at all, my emphasis on it has grown stronger. There is no real contradiction between the present resolution and my previous writings and utterances.

Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a nonviolent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially nonviolent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country. The Congress is unconcerned as to who will rule, when freedom is attained. The power, when it comes, will belong to the people of India, and it will be for them to decide to whom it placed in the entrusted. May be that the reins will be placed in the hands of the Parsis, for instance-as I would love to see happen-or they may be handed to some others whose names are not heard in the Congress today. It will not be for you then to object saying, “This community is microscopic. That party did not play its due part in the freedom’s struggle; why should it have all the power?” Ever since its inception the Congress has kept itself meticulously free of the communal taint. It has thought always in terms of the whole nation and has acted accordingly… I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far away we are still from the ideal, but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat. I have faith, therefore, that if, in spite of our shortcomings, the big thing does happen, it will be because God wanted to help us by crowning with success our silent, unremitting Sadhana1 for the last twenty-two years.

I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. I read Carlyle’s French Resolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by nonviolence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.

Then, there is the question of your attitude towards the British. I have noticed that there is hatred towards the British among the people. The people say they are disgusted with their behaviour. The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people. To them, the two are one This hatred would even make them welcome the Japanese. It is most dangerous. It means that they will exchange one slavery for another. We must get rid of this feeling. Our quarrel is not with the British people, we fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture It is not a happy position for a big country like India to be merely helping with money and material obtained willy-nilly from her while the United Nations are conducting the war. We cannot evoke the true spirit of sacrifice and velour, so long as we are not free. I know the British Government will not be able to withhold freedom from us, when we have made enough self-sacrifice. We must, therefore, purge ourselves of hatred. Speaking for myself, I can say that I have never felt any hatred. As a matter of fact, I feel myself to be a greater friend of the British now than ever before. One reason is that they are today in distress. My very friendship, therefore, demands that I should try to save them from their mistakes. As I view the situation, they are on the brink of an abyss. It, therefore, becomes my duty to warn them of their danger even though it may, for the time being, anger them to the point of cutting off the friendly hand that is stretched out to help them. People may laugh, nevertheless that is my claim. At a time when I may have to launch the biggest struggle of my life, I may not harbour hatred against anybody.

This speech has been edited.

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Remembering 1947: India and Pakistan’s Independence Day

Posted on 14 August 2013 by admin

Kanwal Rafiq

Sometimes, Canadian South Asians need something like the Pakistani or Indian Independence days to remind us of our ancestors’ original heritage. Amidst our busy lives, these days help us to take out the time to celebrate our identity and how we came to carry this identity in particular.

Living our Canadian luxurious lifestyle, we sometimes forget the sacrifices made by people generations ago to create countries like Pakistan or India. And more importantly, we forget the struggles being faced to sustain or develop these countries today.

So let’s begin by briefly reminding ourselves with how these countries came to be in the first place.

The Independence days of India and Pakistan come from the withdrawal of the British Empire from India, coinciding with the division of India into two separate nations mainly due to religious differences.

Famous leader Mohandas Gandhi had created a peaceful “Quit India Movement” before the Second World War to gain independence from British rule. In response, British authorities had jailed Gandhi and several of his followers.

However, tensions after World War II grew as most of India held anti-British protests demanding the departure of British colonial authorities.

On August 15, 1947 the Indian Independence Bill came into effect, ending 200 years of British Raj.

But Pakistan gained independence from India a day earlier. In the June of 1947, the Indian National Congress party had finally reached an agreement with the Muslim League to create a sovereign state named Pakistan.

However, the partition between India and Pakistan proved to be one extremely violent mass migration. Thousands of people were massacred. Children lost their parents, wives their husbands, brothers their sisters, and vice versa. All of which occurred on both sides of the border.

Hence the bloodshed and sacrifices made by our people to develop the identity we so freely carry today should be remembered. It may be difficult to remember events we haven’t seen with our very own eyes, but believing that they took place should be enough, as the two countries stand today as a proof.

 So this Independence Day, let us not only celebrate, but thank those who lost their lives or families, and think of ways we can help our country even if we’re living in Canada to make it a better place for those living there.

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The Meaning of Independence

Posted on 14 August 2013 by admin

Kabeer Sethi


Independence as a concept is difficult to define.

August 14th and 15th will mark the 66th anniversary of independence for Pakistan and India respectively. A time of reflection and pride for both nations. However, it is important to note that such freedom came at a tremendous loss of human life and a divide that still echoes across both countries. It is this very bittersweet nature of obtaining independence that has forever intertwined the destinies of India and Pakistan.

The aftermath of World War 2 was nearly as volatile for the British Empire as the war itself. With depleted funding and a weary army, they were faced with an enormous task in keeping India. For years prior to the war, India had been non-violently resisting and boycotting British rule. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, this revolutionary movement known as Satyagraha led to increased pressure upon England to relinquish their rule. Muslims were insisting on a land of their own, and eventually a treaty was signed that would declare India and Pakistan as separate, sovereign nations.

The decision was met with bitter communal riots and uproar. An estimated 500,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs died during this period, though many studies put the number of casualties well in the millions. Nearly 30 million people were left homeless, while many were trapped behind and separated from loved ones. This dark period is referred to as Partition, and its effects are felt to this day. Independence during the initial years was a bloody struggle as the new countries sought to establish an identity and a working system.

It is this grim beginning that makes what followed all that is more remarkable. India became the world’s largest democracy, a title it still holds. Both countries established themselves as nuclear states and continue to offer top-level engineers, scientists and technology professionals to the world. In a relatively short span of time, both countries have managed to forge their place in the world and command international acclaim and respect. The journey is far from over, and both nations face challenges of high populations, illiteracy and poverty.

However, at this point in history, a generation of citizens can look back and reflect on the true ideal of independence, a concept that thousands gave their lives to uphold. The 66th anniversary is special, because it is at this point when both countries are trying harder than ever to mend ties and celebrate their similarities rather than fight over their differences.

Those who sacrificed themselves envisioned a free land for the coming generations. The bloodshed and horror of the struggle should never be forgotten. On this special occasion members of both communities should feel pride and raise their respective flags high. However, they should also reflect on the martyrs and freedom fighters that came before in order to truly understand the meaning of independence.

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Muhammad Ali Jinnah – the Founder of Pakistan – Speeches and Statements

Posted on 09 August 2012 by admin

Responsibilities of Youth

Speech at Islamia College, Peshawar: April 12, 1948

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am indeed very happy to be present here today and to have the privilege of meeting and addressing the students of this great Dar-ul-Ulum, who are the future builders of Pakistan.

.. I must warn you not to allow your actions to be guided by ill-digested information or slogans and catch-words. Do not take them to heart or repeat them parrot-like. Take advantage of your period of training that this institution offers you, by equipping yourself to become leaders of the future generation..

.. Our duty to the State often demands that we must be ready to submerge our individual or provincial interests into the common cause for common good. Our duty to the State comes first; our duty to our Province, to our district, to our town and to our village and ourselves comes next..

.. You must now realise that fresh fields, new channels and avenues are now being thrown open to you where you have unlimited opportunities, namely, you must now direct your attention to science, commercial banking, insurance, industry and technical education. You must be reading newspapers and knowing how Pakistan is moving fast..

 Remember to win is nothing, it is the effort and the spirit behind the effort that count: : Advice to Athletes at the opening ceremony of the First Pakistan Olympic Games on April 22, 1948

It has given me great pleasure to come here today to perform the opening ceremony of the first Pakistan Olympic Games. I agreed to become the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Olympic Association in the realization that the success of our people in all walks of life depends upon the cultivation of “Sound Minds”, the natural concomitant to “Sound Bodies”. To the athletes and youth of the nation I bid welcome. My message to you is: build up physical strength not for aggression, not for militarism, but for becoming fighting fit, all your life and all the time in every walk of life of your nation wherever you be and always to be a force for peace, international amity and goodwill. After these games you shall go to the World Olympiad at Wembley Stadium, London, representing us as messengers of our goodwill and my best wishes will go with you. Remember to win is nothing, it is the effort and the spirit behind the effort that count.

Jinnah’s Statement at the Occasion of First Eid in Pakistan on August 18, 1947

This is our first Eid immediately following in the heralding of free independent, sovereign Pakistan having been established. I wish on this auspicious day a very happy Eid to all Muslims wherever they may be throughout the world – the Eid that will usher in, I hope, a new era of prosperity and will mark the onward march of renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals. No doubt we have achieved Pakistan, but that is only yet the beginning of an end. Great responsibilities have come to us, and equally great should be our determination and endeavor to discharge them, and the fulfilment thereof will demand of us efforts and sacrifices in the cause no less for construction and building of our nation than what was required for the achievement of the cherished goal of Pakistan.

Let us not, on this occasion, forget those of our brethren and sisters who have sacrificed their all so that Pakistan may be established and we may live. We fervently pray that their souls may rest in peace and we shall never forget the memory of those who are no more and those who have suffered.  


Parts of these speeches and statements have been edited.

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What 15/8 stands for

Posted on 09 August 2011 by admin

That’s why 15/8 is a good time to think, ponder, be aware of your rights as a citizen of this great nation. We can overcome every hurdle, fight back every impossible odd if we cherish and insist on the freedoms we still have. For me, they rank way, way ahead of patriotism. Let us build on them.

I was born into freedom, grew up with it. So you must forgive me if I am not particularly hostile towards the British who ruled over us till 15/8 1947. You must also forgive me for not hating the Pakistanis as much as I am expected to because I never watched India being sliced into two by Jinnah’s machinations or Gandhi’s indifference, as others claim. I am a child of freedom. Not colonialism. Nor the Partition of India.

For me and millions of Indians, freedom means everything. We love asserting ourselves, even when we are in the wrong, and refuse to be cowed down by truth or fear. That’s why we chose democracy. It gave us the right to speak out without fear. And every now and then, when elections are held in different parts of India, we are surprised by the courage and wisdom of the voters. No Government, no political party, no leader has ever survived by underestimating the electorate. We saw the humiliation of Indira Gandhi in the polls, even after she won the only full fledged war this nation has ever fought. And that was because she imposed an Emergency to curb our freedoms. It destroyed her credibility. Not only was the Congress chucked out of power but she lost her own seat in Parliament to a complete crackpot called Raj Narain.

Having lived with freedom all of my life, I am surprised to find it under so much threat today. No, I am not particularly surprised when Governments try to curtail our freedom. That’s expected. Most Governments use every pretext, from national security to public weal, to try and curb our rights. Faith, caste, regional identity, developmental goals, everything is grist to the mill. The assertion of who we are is constantly at odds with what the State wants us to be. Today, for all practical purposes, each of us is just a PAN number who must be maximally taxed at every point of transaction. Soon each of us will have a UID number, our phones will be tapped, our emails read, our chats followed, our choices questioned, our rights curbed. The almighty State, run by goons, thugs and petty thieves, will become even mightier. Even though some of its most august stakeholders may be locked up in Tihar and a thick cloud of doubt and suspicion overhangs the rest.

The fact that we allow such people to rule over us has emboldened others to attempt similar tactics. The underworld gets murkier by the day and the thin dividing line between law breakers and law enforcers is disappearing. Everyone’s on the same side today, against you and I. On top of that, every kind of radical fringe wants to intimidate us, cull our freedoms, extort us. They are using the same methodologies as the State, the same arguments. They want to dictate to us what we must wear, what we can eat and drink, how we may pray to our different Gods, what books to read, what movies to watch, what art to appreciate and what to denigrate and vandalise.

This is what worries me. You can change Governments that intrude upon your personal freedoms. But you can’t change the way some people think. Burning books, harassing artists and film makers, vandalising libraries and art galleries, outlawing beer bars, beating up college girls who dress in jeans, banning alcohol for those under 25, the increase in honour killings, gender crimes, custodial deaths, and stupid, meaningless bomb blasts that kill innocent people are all different ways to attack our freedom. Now you can’t park your bike in Zaveri bazaar. You can’t go to watch a play or a movie without being frisked. You can’t wear what you want because some perverts believe it’s an invitation to rape. You can’t file your taxes and rest in peace because the system has decided to see every law abiding citizen as a likely tax evader. While the real crooks and criminals are safely ensconced within the ruling system, safe in the knowledge that power protects them.

That’s why 15/8 is a good time to think, ponder, be aware of your rights as a citizen of this great nation. We can overcome every hurdle, fight back every impossible odd if we cherish and insist on the freedoms we still have. For me, they rank way, way ahead of patriotism. Let us build on them.


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Posted on 09 August 2011 by admin


The theories on international or domestic conspiracies are popular with the societies in decay that refuse to admit that something has gone wrong with the society. Such a mindset is inimical to developing autonomous capacity to address socio-economic problems.


Pakistan will celebrate 64th Independence Day on August 14, 2011. This provides an opportunity to large number of Pakistanis living in Pakistan or abroad to undertake a dispassionate analysis of how and why British India was divided and Pakistan was established as a sovereign and independent state.  There is a divergence of opinion on this issue. The same can be said about the inability of Pakistani state and society to address the socio-economic problems of its people.  The analysts put forward different explanations that often reflect a partisan view of the situation.

An important section of public opinion links Pakistan’s establishment and current problems to the clash of political and economic interests between the Hindus and the Muslims. They highlight more what they call the exploitation of the Muslims by the Hindus of British India. The emphasis is on contradictions between the Muslims and the Hindus which, in their view, is still relevant to addressing the current India-Pakistan relations.

The exploitation theme can be referred to as a factor in the history of Pakistan which has greater appeal for those who experienced the pre-independence society.  However, this argument loses much of its appeal to the second and the third post-independence generation that is experiencing exploitation by their countrymen, invariably the Muslims.   Unless their problems and concerns are addressed, their attitude towards that state and society is going to be influenced more by their own experience rather than the historical narratives of exploitation of the Muslims by the Hindus in the pre-independence period. Pakistani state must address their concerns and problems so that they identify closely with the state.

There are those who track the current problems to the establishment of Pakistan and the decisions made in the early years of independence.  They argue that the establishment of Pakistan was a political choice which was adopted without giving a serious thought to what was to be done subsequently.  Many decisions were made on the spur of the moment rather than taking into account the long term implications. For example, some analysts track the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan to the passing of the Objective Resolution (March 1949) that incorporated Islamic identity in the political and constitutional arrangements for the future. This is viewed by many as yielding to the pressure of Islamic clergy which the later used subsequently to justify their demand for a purely religion based political order.

The Objectives Resolution was not the beginning of emphasis on Islam but a natural corollary of the employment of Islamic identity, culture and history for political mobilization and identity formation by the All India Muslim League in the pre-independence period.  The framers of the Objectives Resolution were convinced that the modern notion of state and democracy can be combined with the teachings and principles of Islam that were viewed as the ethical foundation of the Pakistani society rather than a set of punitive and regulative injunctions.

All Pakistani constitutions direct the state to “ENABLE” the Muslims to lead their lives in accordance with the teachings and principles of Islam.  Another constitutional stipulation emphasizes that there will be no law contrary to the principles and teachings of Islam because the latter were accepted as the ethical source of guidance for the state and society.

The basic change in the role of the state from an “Enabler” to “Enforcer” of Islam came during the military rule by General Zia-ul-Haq who began to enforce Islam through state orders and machinery for achieving his domestic and foreign policy agenda. Until 1977, there is only one instance of such enforcement; the state and society generally pursued a moderate disposition towards religious issues.

The current religious and cultural intolerance and militancy is the product of the policies adopted since 1977, especially from 1979 onwards when Zia-ul-Haq embarked on enforcement of Islam to the satisfaction of orthodox and conservative Muslim clergy. It is very difficult to draw the conclusion that if the founders of Pakistan had sought a new basis of identity for Pakistan after independence Pakistan would have been free of the on-going extremism and militancy.

Another explanation talks of external conspiracies against Pakistan for undermining the pre-dominantly Muslim state and society. This discourse views all domestic and foreign policy developments as a function of religion. As the non-Muslim world is arrayed against Islam, there is a global conspiracy against Pakistan.  This means that there is nothing wrong with Pakistan and Pakistanis.

A variant of the conspiracy explanation is the well-known statement that Pakistan has all the needed natural, agricultural and human resources but the leadership is unable or unwilling to use them for the welfare of people or there is some international conspiracy for dissuading them from benefiting from these resources.

The theories on international or domestic conspiracies are popular with the societies in decay that refuse to admit that something has gone wrong with the society. Such a mindset is inimical to developing autonomous capacity to address socio-economic problems.

In the present day world, no matter how a country has come into existence and no matter what mistakes its rulers have made in the past, it cannot overcome its problems without acquiring modern knowledge and technology.   This needs to be coupled with unemotional reflection on the problems or failures. Pakistan falters on both counts and a large number of people are not willing to pay attention to improving domestic economic and political situation. They have developed the false notion of some “savior” coming forward to solve their problems.

By Dr. Hasan Askari


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Why We Celebrate?

Posted on 18 August 2010 by .

On the occasion of celebration of Indian and Pakistani Independence Day over the past weekend, we spoke with some known members of the community. We asked these well known community members why it is important for us to celebrate Indian and Pakistani Independence Day especially when we are Canadians and should be much more zealous about July 1st, the Canada Day.

While the essence of the responses is the same, the idea was expressed in different ways. Here’re some of the comments for our readers’ interest:


We’ve nostalgia about India

Generation Next may not know [about Indian heritage] but we may have nostalgia [about our countries of birth]. It’s important to stay in touch with our heritage. Every parent wants to give as much knowledge as they can about [ to their children about] where they came from. There’s incredible amount of pride in people in showcasing their Indian culture [ as was evident from India Day parade].

Ajit Khanna, Co Chair of Panorama India and the organizer of India Day parade at Dundas Square


To contribute, we preserve our identity

When we live in a multi-cultural society such as Canada, it is especially crucial that we preserve our unique identity so that we may contribute to the vibrant mosaic of cultures that is Canada. India’s Independence Day is a momentous occasion not just for India, but for the entire world as India’s independence struggle has been a message of peace and non-violence for all humanity. Occasions such as the India day offer us an opportunity to celebrate our roots and pass on our ideals and values along with our rich and vibrant heritage onto our children, the future generation.

Kala Pillarisetty, Co Chair of Panorama India and the organizer of India Day parade at Dundas Square


Pakistan is a mother, Canada is a sweetheart

Pakistan is like a mother and Canada is like a sweetheart. Even when we’re here, we still have ties with Pakistan. There’s nothing wrong with having loyalty with two countries, but if it comes to a choice..Canada comes first. Celebrating Pakistan Day is remembering our loves ones in Pakistan.

Andy Merchant, President of Canada-Pakistan Business Council


Knowledge of our past will lead to better future

We don’t have a future until you know your past. And our past, our ancestry, our heritage starts from India or Pakistan, our children should know what India and Pakistan was, is; why it got there; how it got where and we have to respect the patriots, their martyr, and that will make us great Canadians of Indian origin, or great Canadians of Pakistani origin.

Jake Dheer, Rogers’ Station Manager in Mississauga


Canadians celebrate the best ideas, cultures & cuisines

Canada is made up of people from around the world. All our ancestors came from some other country. Canada celebrates the best of every other culture and country. We can pick and choose the best ideas, the best parts of the culture and the best cuisine and celebrate it. India is a very important country of the world because it’s the largest democracy and we need to support democracy around the world.

MP Bob Dechert, Mississauga – Erindale


Celebration is not nationalistic but cultural

It’s important for us to have connections to the country of our roots. It [Indian Independence Day] helps us to maintain our religion and culture. We should celebrate these events not from a nationalistic a point of view but from heritage point of view. History has proven that whenever we move away from roots, culture is lost. It’s incumbent upon society and society leaders to organize in such a way that we  bring youth back to our culture. If you look at the history, people have always been migrating, but culture and religion has never died. It’s a misnomer to say that youth is running away from culture, they’re running away from it in India.

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma – President Hindu Federation Canada


Youth is curious to know their roots

We’re here in Canada making Canada our home. It’s extremely important to know where we’ve come from. Eventually you’ll find that our younger generation is curious of knowing their background. [It has become] so important that they want to be recognized as people coming from the motherland India.

Pandit Vishnu Sookar, President of Devi Mandir, Pickering


Canadian tradition is celebration of cultures

It’s part of Canadian tradition for communities to celebrate their festivals. If you’re keeping your traditions while knowing that Canada comes first, that’s fine. In celebrations [like Pakistani Independence or Indian Independence], we celebrate our ancestry, our background, our ethnicity.

Khalid Usman, candidate for Ward 6 Markham Town Council


Canada empathizes with others

Canada itself was a colony – a British colony, so it empathizes with other countries [that have been colonized]. Basically independence is a celebration, it has its pains and its pleasures. Canada still is under monarchy so Canadians have a different mentality, so if you have been colonized and if you want to celebrate your independence day, it’s fine, as long as you make an absolute commitment to Canada as your country.

MP Yasmin Ratansi, Don Valley East

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India’s vision for 2020

Posted on 11 August 2010 by .

India’s National Interests

India’s national interests, simply stated, are as follows :-

  • National sovereignty.
  • Unity and integrity of the country.
  • Democratic and secular polity.
  • Economic development.
  • Social and economic justice.
  • Favourable world order.
  • Preservation and promotion of our values.

Our Strategic Vision

By tradition, India has been a peace-loving and responsible nation. It has abjured aggression, espoused the doctrine of ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence, led the non-aligned group of nations and played a constructive role as a member of the United Nations. \


The aim of this article is to visualise the likely national security environment in 2020 with special reference to the threats and challenges that may confront us at that time, and arrive at the most appropriate force structure and equipment profile for the Indian Army of 2020.

The Geo-Strategic Environment

Two major events, roughly a decade apart, have played a major role in shaping the current geo-strategic environment. The first being the demise of the Soviet Union. The second was the ‘9-11 Event’ – the 11th September.

2001 terrorist attacks on targets in Washington DC and New York. This impelled the USA to declare ‘War on Terrorism’, and attack Afghanistan and Iraq with a ‘coalition of like-minded countries’, with the purpose of ousting their regimes, which were sponsors of terrorist groups like Al Quaeda and were hostile to the USA. The USA believed that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The impact of these two events are now being clearly felt in international affairs and by all indications, appear to be long lasting. We need to take note of the following major ramifications, which are specially relevant to India :-

  • The USA has become hegemonic. Her style of diplomacy is increasingly becoming peremptory and coercive.
  • The UN has been sidelined by the USA, which, acts at will, ignoring the need for UN’s sanction.
  • The USA has adopted the doctrine of ‘Preemptive Military Intervention’. In consonance with this doctrine – threats, whether real and present or, perceived, are not allowed to mature, by use of military force.
  • The USA has drawn a list of countries, which are ‘of concern’ to it. Of these, it has dealt with Afghanistan and Iraq. North Korea and Iran await similar treatment by the superpower. Recently, India has voted in favour of a USA backed resolution against Iran possibly to secure military materials, nuclear technology and fuel for civilian purposes. If India resiles from her pro-USA stance in the late November 2005 voting, the USA may deny its expectations. This would amount to dictating India’s foreign policy.
  • China is neither amenable to coercion nor susceptible to being ‘contained’. Besides, because North Korea is a protégé of China, the latter has a major role in USA’s dealings with that country. The USA has also economically engaged China, as it provides a large market for US manufactured goods. The USA believes too, that as the USA-China trade gets increasingly intertwined, the likelihood of an armed conflict between the two will correspondingly reduce.
  • The European Union, despite reservations on the part of some constituents, is for purposes of realpolitik pro-USA.
  • Russia, because of her present economic debility, is supporting the USA or, at least, not opposing her. It may become more independent in its attitude as its economy recovers, a process that has already begun.
  • Pakistan is a ‘major non-NATO ally’ of the USA and also its frontline state for the ‘War on Terrorism’. The US has troops and aircraft on Pakistan’s soil. It has been permitted to set up bases in return for huge subventions and to bail out Pakistan from the brink of a near-collapse economic situation. In effect, Pakistan has become a client state of the USA with a less than independent foreign policy.
  • Terrorism, religious fundamentalism, nuclear and missile technology proliferation are pressing concerns for the US. It believes that these could ultimately pose danger to its ‘homeland’, something about which the USA is hypersensitive, or, even paranoid.

India’s Internal Security Environment, 2020

India is a rapidly developing country with a GDP growth of seven percent.  It has a huge reserve of technical manpower and strong liberal political culture, a youthful population more than half of which will be below 30 years of age in 2020.  It also has strong and apolitical armed forces. Our present concerns, which may persist in future are as under:-

  • The present rate of population growth is 1.6 percent. It is imperative to bring it down to one percent by 2020-2025.
  • The political culture in the country has deteriorated over the years. Communalism, sectarianism, regional parochialism, and sub-nationalism are on the rise. There is growing criminalisation of politics and a culture of ‘vote banks’ has taken root. Politicisation of the bureaucracy and the police, is well-established. The Armed Forces have, so far, been able to remain insulated from politics. Unless these evils are overcome, in 2020, we may have a nation whose internal security environment will be extremely unhealthy.
  • Distributive justice with regard to sharing of revenues and the fruits of development is an imperative, if radical left movements, currently active in the country, are to be eliminated by 2015 or so.
  • The separatist movements in the North-East and J & K must be amicably resolved.
  • Black money and drug trafficking must be put to an end as they not only ruin the economy but also corrupt the youth.

Attention to the above areas of concern will enable India to achieve desired internal security by 2020. Let us now identify the threats and challenges India is likely to face in 2020.

Challenges. Apart from military threats, a number of non-military challenges may have to be faced by our Army in the 2020 time frame. These are as follows: –

  • Human resources of appropriate quality may get drawn to the more lucrative civilian sector. The terms and conditions of service and satisfaction levels of personnel, must be made more attractive. We should also enroll more short service personnel than regular cadres to reduce pension liabilities and for better career management of officers.
  • Funds allotted to the Armed Forces should be sustained at a level of three per cent of GDP for at least 12 to 15 years so as to ensure requisite modernisation and making good existing shortfalls.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) must be upgraded qualitatively and top quality scientists should be inducted into it. Rightfully, their expectations of pay and research facilities will be high. These must be met.
  • Private sector participation in defence R & D and development of complete systems by them, must be facilitated. Government should fund their defence research projects and give them guarantees of sizeable orders to encourage their partnership with the DRDO.
  • Scientific and technical manpower will be eagerly sought by other countries. To overcome this ‘brain-drain’, we should improve the working conditions and research facilities in our country.
  • The IT driven revolution in military affairs requires that the Army ‘manages’ these changes in a systematic and smooth manner. We need to create an integrated force working in an ‘unified battle space’; seamless communications; extensive exploitation of IT with excellent ‘cyber security’; top quality space based and terrestrial surveillance systems and fully operationalised C4I2 systems. This convergence of various technologies and capabilities will bestow the forces with much enhanced force-multiplier benefits through Network Centric Warfare (NCW). We have a long way to go in this regard.
  • Internal contingencies of various types could retard or block the Army’s effort to achieve optimal development in the next 15 years. We need to be prepared with suitable contingency plans to overcome these ‘drag’ factors.

Doctrinal Changes

The following doctrinal changes/refinements are suggested for the Army in 2020: –

  • Through superlative preparedness deter any country from engaging us in war.
  • Every war in the future, must be fought in an integrated manner.
  • Every war must be won with the fewest casualties and cost to us.
  • Attack all the enemy’s vulnerabilities, all at one time if possible, and create an adverse impact on his will to fight.
  • Manoeuvre versus Attrition. Attrition involves heavy costs to the attacker, manoeuvre places the attackers at a relative advantage over the defender. Even in the mountains, it is only by manoeuvre that the formidable, fixed defences can be captured with the minimum cost to us. Aggressive use of airborne and heliborne/heli-landed troops in conjunction with unorthodox employment of tanks and ICVs after heavy bombardment, will enable manoeuvre in mountains.
  • Leadership. Despite the vast inventory of high-tech machines and instruments available to the Army and the better educated soldier of 2020, good leaders will always be prized.


There is no mathematical exactness about when events will transpire and whether certain aspects we have assumed as being constant will actually be so or will alter radically, putting our prognosis into error. Notwithstanding this, a few points cannot be disputed. These are: India is progressing rapidly as an economic power; its natural endowments like strategic location, rich mineral resources and a large, industrious and hardy population, befit her for great power status. Its Army is large, disciplined, battle tested and renowned throughout the world for its professional quality. Such an army should be upgraded further in quality to serve India of 2020, in a befitting manner.


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Celebrating Independence and Accomplishments

Posted on 11 August 2010 by .

For a Canadian-born desi, I have the challenge of straddling two cultures and traditions, while juggling a handful of languages – as do all Canadian-born desis. But the beauty is that we get to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, then celebrate the independence days of Pakistan and India on August 14 and 15.

My parents left India in 1976 and decided to make Canada their new home. It must have been a tough decision – to leave behind their family, friends, and the familiar and embark on an adventure with unknown questions mounting, such as: will we succeed in Canada and can we make a better life for our children?

I’m happy to report that they did well over the past 34 years and my sisters, brother and I turned out to be successful, independent, productive and well-adjusted citizens.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

And just like India and Pakistan being carved into two new nation-states in South Asia in 1947, they turned out to be successful and productive countries, too. Their birth was one of the bloodiest in history with the largest mass migration of people.

However, we’re not just celebrating the independence of India and Pakistan, but the accomplishments they have achieved. In just 63 years, both countries have come a long way. India is the largest democracy in the world with the fastest growing economy and market. It is also an example of multiculturalism, with so many diverse religions, languages, cultures and traditions co-existing together.

Mahatma Gandhi

I haven’t had the privilege of traveling to Pakistan yet – but I am assured it is a beautiful country. I know that before partition, my family had roots in Pakistan. But that part of our family history is long forgotten, especially with the recent passing of my grandmother, who carried our history in her memory. I now regret never listening to her stories carefully and documenting it all for future reference.

Dr.Allama Iqbal

For those, like me, who identify themselves as Indo-Canadians or South Asians, we’re proud of the strides India and Pakistan has made. Successive Canadian governments have been wooing India and trying to establish deeper connections and relations.

Jawahar Lal Nehru

In the coming months, India will host the Commonwealth Games and have an opportunity to showcase its beauty, magnificence and ability to rise to even greater heights.

As we celebrate the 63rd anniversary of Pakistan and India’s independence, let’s also reflect on their accomplishments and wish both continued success.

Author:Rupinder Kaur

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Shaping Canada’s Future

Posted on 11 August 2010 by .

A recent news item about an American of Pakistani origin apprehended by authorities while attempting to return to the United States with a trunk-load of Pakistani mangoes of the chaunsa variety caught my attention. Frankly, I did not know that Canada permitted the importing of Pakistani mangoes and the United Sates did not. Nor did I know that Americans have been slipping across the U.S.-Canada border to satisfy their summer desires for this delicate fruit for several years now. Indian mangoes are widely available in the United States already, but apparently they simply don’t meet the needs or the discerning taste buds of Pakistanis living in south of the border. Hence, mango smuggling is becoming a problem to be dealt with.

This fruit challenge, however, may be about to change as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week opened the door to helping Pakistan export its agricultural produce, including these beloved mangoes, to our southern neighbour. We can only hope!

More interesting for me, though, as a Member of Parliament representing a large Pakistani-Canadian population, as well as a large Indian-Canadian population, was the debate that was revealed in the article regarding which of these two great countries has the best mango: is it the Pakistani varieties of chaunsa and anwar ratol which are the sweetest and therefore the best, or the popular Indian alphonso, a close cousin of the Pakistani varieties? This is obviously a hot debate. From the experts, I have heard that comparing the Indian and Pakistani varieties is like comparing apples and oranges. Of course, I am going to have to develop my own palette before I can be a judge of this. If anyone would like to influence me, I can let them know where to deliver a case or two of their favourite mangoes!

As we approach the 63rd anniversary of the Independence of India and the Independence of Pakistan (often known as partition), Canadians of all backgrounds hope and pray that the biggest disagreement that these two neighbours will ever have is over which has the sweetest mangoes! We know that that has not always been the case; the history of these two great countries has been at times slightly difficult and at other times extremely conflicted. In recent years, however, there is increased cooperation and signs that these two neighbours recognize that they have much more in common with each other than not.

While language, religion and some cultural traditions may be different, while history is still shaped by some historic disagreements and misunderstandings, these two democratic countries are bound together with a shared history and, even more importantly, a future that is intimately linked together. Their own future, and the future of the world, depends on their working together for the good of all. South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Caucuses constitute a region in much turmoil. The maturity and cooperation of India and Pakistan will be critical to ensure that terrorism is curtailed, that economic opportunities are maximised and that a just and lasting peace for the entire region is ensured.

Canadians of Pakistani and Indian origin can play a key role in ensuring that this becomes a reality. Through family and business connections, South Asians have both a great opportunity to influence this situation directly. They can do so also indirectly through shaping Canada’s contribution on the world stage. Canada needs to regain its international prominence as a leader in human rights, peaceful interventions, diplomacy and development. Indo and Pakistani Canadians will lead the way for us on Canadian business, trade and foreign policy in the area they once called home.

May I extend my warmest greetings to all Canadians for whom these Independence days are important and meaningful.

Mr. Robert Oliphant represents Don Valley West, Toronto at House of Commons.

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