Kuldip Nayar 14 August — 23 August was an Indian journalist , syndicated columnist , human rights activist, author and former High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom noted for his long career as a left-wing political commentator. He was also nominated as a member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament in Nayar was initially an Urdu press reporter. He was editor of the Delhi edition of the English newspaper The Statesman  and was arrested towards the end of the Indian Emergency — He was a member of India's delegation to the United Nations in He was a close friend of another Pakistani politician ch.
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By Kuldip Nayar. This book, an account of my life, has taken far longer than I had anticipated. That tenure did not however, for political reasons, last long and I was back in the mill to resume work on my syndicated column.
I wish I could have said more about myself and less about the events that were engulfing me. There were some constraints. For one, I was conscious that I was willy-nilly, writing a contemporary history of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — countries I had seen and experienced from the time they came into existence.
Two, I wished, as far as possible, to minimize the personal pronoun in order to avoid accusations of projecting myself and propagating punditry. I have seen the great, the despotic, and nonentities among politicians, bureaucrats, and industrialists, media magnates, and journalists. The performance of a majority has disappointed me, and my experience has been that most who occupied high positions were unworthy of them; they were authoritative but lacked substance.
I do not claim to know of all that has happened in India, Pakistan, and subsequently Bangladesh, prior to Partition or after, but I have written honestly and frankly about all that I do know. My problem was to reduce all that I had seen, sensed, or known in a book of reasonable length, and this has meant leaving out a great deal.
In the course of my life I have endeavoured to have as wide an experience as possible, and have tasted failure in many of my efforts. Had I had greater energy I might have achieved many more of my dreams. The book opens on the day the Pakistan Resolution was passed in when I was a school student of 17 years, present in Lahore where it happened. This book encapsulates much inside information which would not otherwise have been known, from Partition to the government of Manmohan Singh.
It has taken me almost two decades to write this book because I would select an episode, write about it, and leave it at that. As I was not working to a deadline I could afford to do so until I realized a few years ago that I was not immortal. As I write in long hand it takes me time to complete a manuscript. It was difficult to decide when the book should begin.
Should it be from the day I reached Delhi on 14 September , as a refugee from my home town, Sialkot in Pakistan? However, many people I consulted, both in India and Pakistan, insisted that I should write about Partition because they wanted to know why and how India came to be divided. I have told all because I have lived through that period and have helplessly witnessed the events as they unfolded.
I have depended largely on my memory to write my memoirs, but the notes I maintained were useful as were my articles which I have had bound, beginning in when I left the United News of India UNI , a news agency, and joined the Statesman as its Delhi editor.
If I were to identify a watershed moment in my life, I would say it was my detention during the Emergency when my innocence was assaulted. I began my life in India with Rs which my mother gave me when I left home. Although Partition compelled me begin life afresh, I was then young and took whatever happened in my stride. The Emergency woke me up from the cocooned life I had led and obliged me to face the realities of politics, prejudice, and punishment. That was also the time when I began to feel for the violation of personal liberty and human rights.
The young boys interned in jail for no fault of theirs who were made to wait upon politicians in detention shook my conscience to the core. It lessened my faith in the system. Readers will find much discussion on India—Pakistan relations. Improving them has been my passion as well as my prayer. Mine is a commitment, not just nostalgia. I hope one day I am able to see a region of friendly states working together for their mutual benefit. I have seen Bangladesh developing from the days when it was liberated.
My contact with many people in Pakistan and Bangladesh are personal and I am proud to own the relationship. I believe that some day all the countries in South Asia will form a common union like the European Union EU , without abandoning their individual identities, and this will help fight against the problems of poverty and to span the ever-yawning gulf between the rich and the desperately poor of all our countries.
I am convinced that South Asians will one day live in peace and harmony and cooperate with one another on matters of mutual concern such as development, trade, and social progress. This is the hope I have clung to amidst the sea of hatred and hostility that has for far too long engulfed the subcontinent. I have won many awards, including one named after Lord Astor awarded to the best journalist in the Commonwealth. Sc in journalism, and the doctorate in journalism I received from Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh.
I can honestly say that failures have not deterred me from pursuing the path I have considered correct and worth fighting for. I have suffered in consequence and I carry many raw wounds. What has sustained me is faith: Hum honge kamyab ek din [We shall succeed one day]. I have no idea of what the art of living is. I have lived just following my usual daily routine.
Circumstances have buffeted me from one situation to another, and I have tried to adjust myself to them, often wondering whether I control my life or whether life controls me. Time has passed by like an unfettered stream, just flowing. Occasionally, I am shaken when I pass through a slum or when a poor helpless child spreads his hand before me for alms. Why do they live? I often imagine myself engaged in a slew of activities to transform their destiny; a genie fighting against evil.
Wishful thinking perhaps, but the tedium and tension involved in the very process pushes aside such cogitations and I return to a self-centred life of good meals and an air-conditioned room.
I believe that perhaps some day everything will miraculously right itself. Some magic wand will help wipe tears from every cheek and awaken the people to something deeper and nobler.
These questions gnaw at my conscience. I try to push them away but they keep reappearing, each time with greater force, like a refrain from a piece of forgotten music, leaving me feeling sad, shaken, and helpless.
I wish I could find a peg to hang my worries and doubts on. If only I had faith. Those who believe the present life is a continuation of a past one and that we are now reaping what we had sown have some explanation to cling to.
Others have prayers as their anchor. At least they are not a rudderless ship like me. What is the purpose of life? My mind goes back to the time when I had just begun life. Would I be an entirely different person were I to begin all over again? Then what about my critics and supporters? In some way, how similar they are. I do not think my time is up.
I am buoyed up by the feeling that I still have time to do something worthwhile, and this elates me. If I only knew what would be worthwhile; and how I should go about it! It is beyond my capacity to describe what has goaded me to go on and on for over eight decades: destiny or determination?
Could it be both? I had titled the book, A Lifetime is not Enough. Ramachandran, and Manjur Ali for the valuable suggestions they have made and to Gopal who has repeatedly and tirelessly typed and retyped the manuscript. Even so, the book would not have taken the form it has but for the meticulous editing by Adil Tyabji sahab and the advice given by Nandini, my first pupil in journalism, and Mandira Nayar, my granddaughter, who alone in the family has taken up journalism.
Every new beginning in life is unique and my example is worth recalling because it was unplanned; I stumbled into journalism by accident. My chosen profession was law, in which I had a degree from Lahore, but history intervened and before I could enroll myself as a lawyer in my hometown, Sialkot, India was divided. Making my way to Delhi, I found a job in an Urdu daily, Anjam meaning end.
That is why I always say that I entered the profession of journalism from the end, not the beginning: Mere sahafat ka agaz Anjam se hua. That is not because I have done well in this profession but because it has given me an opportunity to write what I have considered to be correct, notwithstanding multiple pressures. Ironically, I failed to pass a journalism diploma course in Lahore, and also the optional paper in Urdu for the bachelor of arts degree.
After Partition, we were among the very few Hindu families who did not want to migrate to India. We mistakenly thought that as large numbers of Muslims would continue to live in India, the same would be true of Hindus in Pakistan. Our resolve was strengthened when a few days prior to Partition, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, categorically pronounced that people were free to go to their mosques or temples and practise their faith because the state would never mix religion with politics.
He reinterpreted his thesis of two nations, Muslims and Hindus, to mean Pakistanis and Indians. We had substantial property and my father was a leading medical practitioner in Sialkot. How could he, then past sixty, begin his practice afresh in a new city? He had already spent most of his savings a few months prior to Independence building a new house, a new dispensary, and an array of shops.
I have fond memories of my home, at Trunk Bazaar, a two-storey house with a garden at the back where there was an old grave which my mother said was the kabar of some pir saint. The grave was like a family shrine where we prayed in our own way and sought refuge from the outside world.
It was here that we lit a lamp every Thursday and made an offering of sweets which we, the children, subsequently distributed amongst ourselves. A few years before Partition, some Muslims demanded a passage to the grave on the plea that they should have free access to their religious site. We had to yield to the demand but the passage, which cut through our property, was rarely used.
Ours was a joint family, with my grandmother as the effective head. My grandfather was alive but he took a back seat. Grandmother was a great one for astrology. She had horoscopes of every child prepared by a leading pandit, forecasting the future. I recall one occasion when the pandit dropped in at the house. A visit from him was always eagerly awaited because he would also read our palms. He said that I would read the malechh vidya a language of foreigners , thereby meaning English.
Beyond Lines Autobiography by Kuldip Nayar
By Kuldip Nayar. This book, an account of my life, has taken far longer than I had anticipated. That tenure did not however, for political reasons, last long and I was back in the mill to resume work on my syndicated column. I wish I could have said more about myself and less about the events that were engulfing me. There were some constraints. For one, I was conscious that I was willy-nilly, writing a contemporary history of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — countries I had seen and experienced from the time they came into existence. Two, I wished, as far as possible, to minimize the personal pronoun in order to avoid accusations of projecting myself and propagating punditry.
Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography
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Beyond the Lines : An Autobiography. Kuldip Nayar. As a young law graduate in Sialkot now in Pakistan , Kuldip Nayar witnessed at first hand the collapse of trust between Hindus and Muslims who were living together for generations, and like multitude of population he was forced to migrate to Delhi across the blood-stained plains of Punjab. From his perilous journey to a new country and to his first job as a young journalist in an Urdu daily, Nayar? From his days as a young journalist in Anjam to heading India? Between the Lines?
Review: Beyond The Lines: An Autobiography
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