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Amar Jaleel

Many years ago when I was born for no obvious reason, India was one big country. It was British India then. Thus, I was born a British Indian. I am not conversant with the legal or illegal status of dual or multiple nationalities available to a person. I very strongly feel I am in possession of three nationalities. I was born a British, as well as an Indian national. After the disintegration of India, and coming into being of Pakistan, I automatically became a Pakistani national! Therefore, technically I have three nationalities, but of no avail! I don't think there was any logical reason behind my coming into this world. We all are pre-ordained first to be born, and then die just for nothing. You can't come to this world on your own. I, on a very ordinary day, was born in a small, neat and clean city of British India, called Karachi, along with countless other children. We were born in different parts of India in different families, and different communities. Providence did not give us an option to determine the caste, creed, community and the family of our choice. Thus, we were simply born. It did not take us long to realise that we were not merely children. We were Hindus, we were Muslims, we were Sikhs, we were Parsis, we were Christians, we were Bohras, we were Jews, we were Bahais, and we were Khojas.

I was born to my mother in Karachi. All her life she lived under an illusion she had given birth to the most beautiful creature on earth. It was after her passing away that I was left exposed to the unsavoury opinion of the world. I realised I was the ugliest creature ever born to a mother! But then, mothers are after all mothers. They cuddle even pigs born to them.

I was 10 years of age when British India disintegrated. Our elders who had lived together for centuries decided not to live together anymore. They opted for the parting of the ways. They partitioned India. Brothers are always like that. They vie for the division of the movable as well as immovable ancestral property. They partition geography. They partition history. They have divided, subdivided, and partitioned the entire earth. What they have not been able to partition is the sun, the moon, and the stars up in the sky.

I have no intention to discuss the division of India. I intend to discuss my deep desire to see India. I am an ardent student of history, archaeology, and anthropology. I want to visit Benaras to see Asoka's pillar of three lions I want to go to Bhopal to behold the enormous Sanchi Stupa. I want to be in Mathura. I desire to witness the glory and splendour of the fresco paintings on the walls and the ceilings of the Ajanta Caves. I want to be in Kashi, Mysore, Ajmer, Delhi, Agra, Shimla, Pune, Goa, Calcutta, and Bombay. I want to pay my homage to Ghalib, Krishen Chander, Sahir Ludhianvi, Bedi, Mehboob, and Mohammed Rafi, and the immortal Sindhi singer Master Chandar, and poet Narayan Sham, the personal friend of Shaikh Ayaz.

In India I have a very dear friend, Lukshman Bhatia Komal. We have never met. He is a Sindhi poet, playwright, and a professional journalist. And above all a sufi. Having worked for The Times of India, and The Illustrated Weekly of India for a quarter of a century in senior positions, Komal has recently retired.

I have often wondered why Komal and I haven't met. I am a timid and cowardly person. I am afraid of the hyenas. Had he been Gopichand Narang, who very often comes to Lahore to deliver lectures on the art and poetry of Allama Iqbal, I would have met Komal, and kept him in my humble abode. But Lukshman Bhatia Komal is not Gopichand Narang. He does not deliver lectures on the art and poetry of Allama Iqbal. He deliberates on the art and poetry of Shah Latif, and Sachal Sarmast. Thus, a potential threat!

Countries are neither created nor disintegrated by the wanderers who toil for truth under the scorching sun on the burning sands of the desert of deception. The mureeds (followers) of Shah Latif and Sachal Sarmast do not either affect, or are affected by, the Two Nation Theory. They do not discuss annihilation. They discuss perpetuation of life after life, and the liberation of the soul. The hungry hyenas that trap you are never moved by the abstraction. They tear you apart. I have gathered from newspaper reports that I stand a fairly good chance of meeting Komal and seeing India with him. I fall within the category of visitors from Pakistan who would not be hounded by the Indian hyenas. The fortunate visitors would not be required to present themselves before the police officers immediately after landing in India. They would be at liberty to move freely in otherwise a forbidden country! I have made up my mind to visit India, but I feel shackled by two problems. I fall within the privileged persons to visit India on an extended visa, but I have retired. I am an 'ex-privileged' person. Am I entitled to visit India without reporting at Police Stations there? Secondly, is it safe for me to visit Indian Embassy in Pakistan for a visa without being followed by the hyenas in this world, and the world beyond this world, till eternity?
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