Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dr Masuma Hasan: Rajmohan Gandhi at PIIA

Indian society is king and queen minded

Few people could be blessed with a pedigree like that of Rajmohan Gandhi which, since childhood, drew him close to political ideas and events of unsurpassed significance.

After all, his grandfather was the great Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and he is descended from his mother’s side from Chakravarty Rajagopalachari, the Indian political leader who became the last governor-general of India after independence. He has done both his grandparents proud and written their biographies. Mohandas: A True Story of the Man, His People and the Empire is a tome spanning more than 700 pages and slightly more modest is the biography Rajaji, A Life, as Rajagopalachari was often referred to.

This pedigree does not detract or add to Rajmohan Gandhi’s own stature as a scholar, although wherever he goes, he must be introduced as the descendant of these eminent political figures. That is not, however, as we introduced him to our members when he came to The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on 8 February 2014 to have an informal conversation on The state of India’s democracy. His biographies of Gandhi, Rajagopalachari, Sardar Patel and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan apart, he has written on South Asian history and is credited with being, through his works, a reconciler of ideas, perceptions and conflicts. Reference is made here to only two of these works: Understanding the Muslim Mind and Revenge and Reconciliation. Rajmohan Gandhi gave balanced and restrained replies to the questions thrown at him – he was speaking to a Pakistani audience. Continue reading


Filed under Discussion, India, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, PIIA

Rajmohan Gandhi: The State of India’s Democracy

Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi, historian, biographer, peace builder and former member of the Rajya Sabha in India will hold an informal discussion with the members of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on The state of India’s democracy on Saturday, 8 February 2014 from 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., in the Library of the Institute.

Rajmohanji is also a Research Professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Please see his incredibly impressive biography here.

Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People and an Empire, described by Khushwant Singh as “meticulously researched”, Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten and Rajaji: A Life are among his many acclaimed books. (Click underlined links for previews on Google Books.) 

You are cordially invited to participate in this session. 

Members and guests are requested to be punctual.

S. A. Minam Jafri
Honorary Secretary

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs
Aiwan-e-Sadar Road, Karachi 74200, P. O. Box 1447
Telephone: 92-21-35682891, 35686069
Fax: 92-21-35686069, email: 


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Filed under Discussion, Events, India, Pakistan

Majyd Aziz Balagamwala: Making Minerals a National Priority

thThe European Parliament presented a year-end gift to Pakistan by according us the status of Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus that should provide a much needed boost in exports, especially textiles and leather. Everyone concerned with this achievement patted themselves on the back for a job well done. It did not matter who did what or how or what really spurred the European Parliament to take a positive decision. However, in the initial euphoria, it seemed that stakeholders completely forgot the importance of what is nonchalantly referred to as non-traditional exports. Minerals, for example.

Various trade development policies and frameworks did provide incentives and subsidies for many items but there has never been a focused attention accorded to minerals: see the Mines Act (IV of 1923) which although old still gives rights to workers and sets out basic standards. There is the usual bragging that Pakistan is richly endowed with natural resources and has billions of tons of coals to last a century, etc, etc but actions speak louder than words. The Pakistan Strategic Trade Policy Framework (2012-15) earmarked only “Rs 20 million for subsidy at 100 per cent of the prevailing mark-up rate for establishing mining and processing units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.”Interestingly, the same amount is allocated for Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Continue reading

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Filed under Discussion, Legislation, Mining, Pakistan