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Brothers, drop the arms

The breakdown of Indo-Pak talks between foreign ministers of the two countries has caused deep disappointment to those who had hoped that long lost, we would reduce the trust deficit by persuading Pakistan to own up responsibility for the mayhem in Mumbai two years ago. Khushwant Singh writes.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2011 18:58 IST

The breakdown of Indo-Pak talks between foreign ministers of the two countries has caused deep disappointment to those who had hoped that long lost, we would reduce the trust deficit by persuading Pakistan to own up responsibility for the mayhem in Mumbai two years ago.

We tendered what any fair-minded person would believe as a foolproof case. We gave them Kasab's voluntary confession that was never retracted during trial. We gave evidence of eyewitnesses including of those who captured him and had been shot at by him. If anything more was needed to nail Pakistan's involvement, we tendered Headley's voluntary confession in court in Chicago naming Pakistani officials who trained the gang in minute details how to carry out the exercise.

The honest thing for the Pakistan government to do was to arrest the men named by Headley and put them on trial. It chose not to be honest with us. As it often happens, when a lawyer has to defend a weak case he takes the offensive. There is not an iota of truth that we are fomenting trouble in Baluchistan or Waziristan, yet Pakistan spokesmen keep harping on them. I hope the awaam (common people) of Pakistan do not believe them.

Pakistan's foreign minister pleads that the government cannot silence Mullah Hafiz Saeed as in a democracy there has to be freedom of speech. Saeed is a confused man. On one hand he tells people that Islam means peace, on the other hand he wants Pakistan to declare jehad against India. The fellow does not understand what war between the two nuclear powers can do.

It will leave millions dead and no winner. Unfortunately there is so much distrust between us that we are willing to believe the worst of each other. We like to hear that Pakistan is a failed state kept going by the Americans and is controlled by the Taliban who spare no one they disapprove of as they did with the worshippers at the Sufi Shrine of Data Ganj Baksh in Lahore.

We cannot afford to be sanctimonious as a huge chunk of our territory is under the control of Naxalites who kill our soldiers, policemen and their adversaries. So who are we to adopt a superior attitude? This is no way for two brothers who parted company to behave.

Not less than a fest
We are at the end of the most memorable mango season.

It began in May with the arrival of crates of alphonsos from Mumbai sent by Tavleen Singh and Sarayu Doshi. They seem to have placed orders that I continue to receive them as long as I live.

Then comes a basketful of dussehris from the orchard of Parveen Talha. Her dussehris were the tastiest ever. Then came a dozen langras from my neighbour Bhai Chand Patel, a part of a gift he received from the Pakistan High Commissioner. I can vouch Pakistani langras are as good as the Indian.

And finally I got many crates of dussehris, chausas, langras and ratauls, the four varieties I rate the highest, from my friend Abid Saeed Khan. I shared them with my neighbours. Since I eat only half-a-mango a day, they lasted the entire season.

The best part of the story is that I eat the best without spending a paise!

Karnataka Saga

Well known for grace and impartiality
The governor of Karnataka is a legal luminary
So he is the best person to uphold gubernatorial dignity
Which he is doing openly
By attacking the government like an Opposition Party.
The government is, of course, snow-white clean
And the Bellary Brothers have only lent it their sheen
By mining away its mineral wealth
And thus looking after their party's health
So, it is mean for anybody to question its integrity
And deny the BJP is a chaste maiden's party
In fact, that the Lokayukta should have kept in mind
And shouldn't have felt helpless and resigned.
In fact, both the governor and the government are truly great
When the nation needs to congratulate.

(Contributed by Kuldip Salil, Delhi)

Pushing a drunk

A couple is awakened by a pounding on the front door. The man opens the door and finds a drunken stranger standing in the rain.

He snarls at the drunk, "What do you want?"

"Can you give me a push?" the drunk slurs.

"Not a chance," the husband says.

"It's three o'clock in the morning!"

He slams the door and returns to bed.

"Who was it?" asks the wife.

"Some drunk asking for a push," he answers.

"Did you help him?"

"No, it's 3 am and raining like hell!"

"You have a short memory," says the wife.

"Remember when our car broke down and two strangers helped us? You should help this poor man."

The husband goes out in the pounding rain, and calls out in the dark, "Hey, are you there?"

"Yes," comes the reply.

"Do you still want a push?"

"Yes, please!" Unable to see anything in the dark, the husband asks, "Where are you?"

"Over here, on the swing," the drunk replies.

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal