Monday, February 20, 2012

Jinnah and Robeson's music

Via pakteahouse, this

Taj Mahal Foxtrot
Naresh Fernandes
Lustre/Roli Books
Rs 1,295 pp 192

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when India was coughing awake to light and freedom, the charmed people of Bombay and Karachi were celebrating in swing time. In Bombay’s Taj Mahal Hotel, jazz bands led by saxophonist Micky Correa and trumpeter Chic Chocolate were playing the new national anthem with a young JRD Tata and Vijaylakshmi Pandit in audience. At the Karachi Club a night later, Ken Mac’s band played a special request by Muhammad Ali Jinnah — Paul Robeson’s ‘The End’, which the Quaid-e-Azam apparently used to hum while visiting his wife’s grave in Mazagaon, Bombay.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Excerpts from Ispahani letters to Jinnah

M.A. Ispahani was the first Pakistani Ambassador to the US. The following series of excerpts relate to the United Nations actions on Jammu & Kashmir.

January 8, 1948

The Security Council met at 2.45 pm on Tuesday last and decided to admit India and Pakistan to their table and permit them to take part in the discussion without having the right to vote.
January 22, 1948

We are busy with the Security Council and Government is being kept informed by telegram of the developments. India is obstinate and Inshallah she shall be made to learn the lesson of her life. Zafrullah Khan is working like a Trojan; his presentation of our case before the Security Council was masterly and his negotiations across the table with the Indians are a feast for us who sit on his side. Every time he beats the best talent of India arrayed opposite us.

February 27, 1948

The other evening we had the pleasure of hearing Sheikh Abdullah making an ass of himself. He lost control of his tongue with the result that he even blasphemed by uttering that 'not even God Almighty, if appointed to take charge of the Interim Government, would remain neutral. Yesterday, Zafrullah Khan tore Abdullah to shreds.

March 27, 1948

The sudden turn of events at Lake Success must have shocked you. In spite of what Attlee told Zafrullah Khan in London, I did not think that the UK would dare commit such a volte face. She has, however, done it and managed to talk the USA, France, Canada and Belgium into following suit. China, who from the outset pulled in favour of India, served as an excellent tool. It is no longer a secret, in spite of the earlier denials by Britain that the Chinese resolution now before the Security Council was in fact sponsored by Britain and approved of by the USA......I am convinced that threat and blackmail on the part of India gave Attlee cold feet. It is both urgent and necessary therefore that the UK and the USA should be advised that we are determined not to swallow a pill that they are out to manufacture for us, which pill we know will cause us incalculable and irreparable injury....

March 31, 1948
It is really tragic to witness such a sudden change in the attitude of the majority of the Security Council. The very points they turned down as unfair, they now seek to justify as fair. Britain, of course, is behind the move. I think that the present international situation - USA/USSR tension - must have influenced the US through British pressure, to keep on the good side of India. So, an attempt is being made to throw us to the wolves.

April 5, 1948

At this stage it can be said that he [Zafrullah] received a fairly sympathetic hearing and it is hoped that Pakistan's viewpoint will not be disregarded totally. Much will, however, depend on the stand England takes, and so far, it seems that both Attlee and Cripps are out to appease India and to back her unreasonable views. They seem concerned about what India will accept and not with what is fair. We have had clear intimation from the British Delegation recently that they are unable to support our point of view......

Noel-Baker who sided with us and who still appears sympathetic, seems helpless. He has been sent back with a mandate to press us and to back India.

April 20, 1948

It seems that the Kashmir dispute will eventually have to be settled in Kashmir and not at Lake Success and that unless India faces a military reverse, there cannot be any hope for her seeing reason.
....[Zafrullah] quoted from the earlier speeches of the sponsors of the 'final resolution' to show how they had suddenly changed their stand and how they were now labouring to make us accept what they themselves not long ago, considered to be unfair and unjust. He made a clear analysis of the resolution and submitted our amendments to it which, as he said, were in line with the principles propounded by the nations before they were cast into the Hudson for some 'unknown' reason. Most of the representatives were unable to hide their discomfiture but that is hardly a consolation to us.

June 6, 1948

During the last five or six weeks, it has grown more and more patent that the members of the Security Council are no longer interested in the Indo-Pakistan dispute. Furthermore, they have shown themselves unwilling to arrive at a decision that will not be well received by India. Particularly the big powers are out more to appease India than do justice. It took me three weeks to get the President of the Security Council to call the meeting of May 27th. It was my constant pressure and protest that eventually persuaded the President, Parodi of France, to summon a meeting of the Council on the 27th of May....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The forerunner of Nabi Fai?

The forerunner of Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai? From a letter from M.A. Ispahani to Jinnah, from Calcutta, February 17, 1947

As I advised you on my return form the U.S.A. the opening of a foreign publicity department in the U.S.A. is not as easy as in the U.K. Washington is most careful; it does not want foreign money to come in through the backdoor for propaganda purposes. I think Washington is afraid of Soviet Russia. Any citizen of U.S.A. who participates in foreign propaganda has to answer too many questions and produce, if required, his books of account. You will agree that no businessman wants or has the time to reply to all kinds of enquiries that may be made from time to time by Washington. In the circumstances, we have to see if arrangements cannot be made whereby the monthly expenses incurred by our Centre for its maintenance and publicity cannot be remitted to the persons directly in charge of the Centre. Liaquat Ali, our Finance Minister, is in a better position to guide us in the matter than anyone else. I shall be obliged if you will let me know what I should do. I shall be leaving for Delhi on the 19th of this month and I shall make it a point to discuss this matter with Liaquat Ali.