News & Events
"How long can I wander aimlessly, like a piece of paper fluttering in the breeze. I want to go back to my land, where I belong, and where I am relevant."
For Ms Fahmida Riaz, poet and journalist, India has been a retreat for the last six years. Her home, however, will always be Pakistan, which she left in 1981 after the military regime charged her with sedition. On Friday she wrote to the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr M.K. Junejo, that she wanted to return, but not before he gave the assurance that political refugees would not be persecuted. [See "Documents."]
"I don't want ' amnesty' because the word connotes pardon and I have nothing to beg pardon for," she told ENS. "I want to go back because it is my right to do so and the patently false charge of sedition levelled against me should be withdrawn."
She was charged with sedition by the military -regime because Awaz, the journal she used to edit, reproduced a passage from India Today which took a dig at Gen. Zia's moustache.
"It was a ploy to make me behave," she says. She has written to Mr Junejo that thousands of Pakistanis, like her, left Pakistan during the military regime's oppressive spell. They would all return if they are assured that a wave of persecution would not be unleashed against them. (From Indian Express, 28 June 87) [Also see "Reviews."]
Prof. All S. Asani of Harvard University has brought to our attention a letter that he and Prof. Annemane Schimmel recently wrote to The Crimson. A columnist in the Harvard University newspaper deplored what he felt to be an acute neglect of Australian literature and history at that worthy institution. He further contrasted it to the fact that the university saw it fit to offer seven different courses "in Sindhi and Urdu ... not to mention Aramaic and Gujarati." "What's Gujarati?" he asked.
To Harvard's great credit, Professors Schimmel and Asani were able to explain things to the columnist, John N. Rosenthal, and his readers:
"... the Urdu language, which seems to pose serious problems for Rosenthal, is not unknown in Australia either, for it is the national