LOVE JIHAD: Conversion By Fake Love

 Dr Radhasyam Brahmachari


This author has tried to expose how the Muslim boys and men reportedly target school and college girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love, called “Love-Jihad”, mainly in the southern Indian state of Kerala and the adjoining state of Karnataka. It has also been mentioned that in October 2009, the Karnataka government announced its intentions to counter Love- Jihad, which “appeared to be a serious issue”. A week after the announcement, the government ordered a probe into the situation by the Crime Branch CID to determine if an organised effort existed to convert these girls and, if so, by whom it was being funded.  A similar investigation undertaken by the Kerala government revealed a shocking picture of thousands of Hindu and Christian girls falling into the trap of Love- Jihad by the Muslim young men . The numbers, from 2006 till 2009, of such Love- Jihad conversions on a district basis in Kerala is staggering. Below is a table giving the data, district wise, in Kerala with total incidents, cases registered, and those brought back with the help of various institutions and friends.


Sr No. Name of the discrits No of Incidents Cases Registered Rescued
1 Thiruvananthapuram 216 26 6
2 Kollam 98 34 7
3 Alappuzha 78 22 6
4 Pathanamthitta 87 36 11
5 Idukki 156 18 9
6 Kottayam 116 46 13
7 Ernakulam 228 52 26
8 Trissur 102 41 19
9 Palakkad 111 19 9
10 Malappuram 412 88 31
11 Kojhikode 364 92 29
12 Kannur 312 106 27
13 Kasargode 586 123 68

The table shows that the number of girls converted in this way was 2876. But only 705 cases were registered. Kasargod tops the list of Jihadi conversions with a figure of 568. Only 123 incidents have been registered with the police.  Central investigation agencies have received information that 4000 such girls all over India who have been converted under Love-Jihad are being trained for Jihadi activities by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations.  Official statistics say that about 8 girls are reported missing under suspicious circumstances everyday in Kerala and this is the reason for their growing anxiety and fear of the parents of those girls.  Based on the statistics of the Crime Record Bureau of Kerala Police, Kochi’s National University of Advanced Legal Studies carried out a study in which it was found that the number of girls missing from Kerala was 2167 in 2007 and 2530 in 2008. Many believe that the actual number may be much higher than the numbers registered. The activities of Love Jihadis became more aggressive in Kerala in 2006. This led to the sudden increase in women and young girls disappearing from Kerala. According to Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, up to 4,500 girls in Kerala have been targeted, whereas Hindu Janajagriti Samiti claimed that 30,000 girls have been converted in Karnataka alone.Jihadi Romeos promise to marry unsuspecting young girls within 6 months if they convert to Islam and take and dump these girls in the conversion centers. These girls are subjected to various tortures for weeks in these conversion centers. There is information that these girls are shipped from the unmanned coasts of Kochi, Kozhikode, etc., to Mangalore, Goa, Chennai, Lakshadweep, from where they are taken abroad. Many of these girls are believed to be taken to the Gulf countries under the false pretence of a job and forced into prostitution once they reach there.

The Jihadi Romeos are given special ranks, rewards and money for carrying out their operation of trapping more and more unsuspecting girls into love snare. Jahangir Razak, a former student of Kozhikode Law College, one such Jihadi Romeo, is said to have trapped 42 girls till date. He is reportedly the link between a sex racket running in Chennai and terrorist organizations. One Shajahan from Pathanamthitta has trapped 6 young girls from Malayalappuzha Panchayat itself.

It may be mentioned here that during the days of monarchy, the Muslims could turn a kafir country (dar-ul-harb) into a Muslim country (dar-ul-Islam) only by military conquest. But today’s democracy has opened an easy path to them and that is by increasing their kind by procreating more children as used by the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, nearly 1400 years ago. In this demographic war, Muslim womb has emerged as the most powerful weapon. So, conversion of a non-Muslim woman into Islam simply means the conversion of a non-Muslim womb into a Muslim womb and giving birth to more jihadis. So, in a nutshell, the Love- Jihad campaign is an Islamic plan to trap Hindu and non-Muslim girls into fake love, compel them to accept Islam and use them as the instruments for bearing Muslim offspring.

The ultimate goal of Islam is to turn the entire world into a dar-ul-Islam and this goal is to be reached by converting each and every dar-ul-harb into a dar-ul-Islam. As mentioned above, a dar-ul-harb, in the present democratic setup, could be turned into a dar-ul-Islam by altering the demographic pattern or over populating the native population by Muslim population. This should be done as fast as possible, and their lies the need for converting non-Muslim wombs into Muslim wombs. The process has two pronged benefits. Firstly, it helps to swell Muslim population fast and secondly, it cripples the population growth of the non-Muslims native population.

The Modus-operandi of Love Jihad plan:

Recently the said Hindu Janajagriti Samiti has published a booklet, LOVE JIHAD, written by Ramesh Hanumant Shinde and Mohan Ajju Gowda and in that booklet, the authors have discussed the entire process how the Love Jihad agenda are being operated. At the very outset, it should be mentioned that the Muslim organizations operating in India receive huge money from Gulf countries to run the Love Jihad campaign. The Muslim Romeos are heavily rewarded for successfully seducing and converting non-Muslim girls into Islam.

The Muslim Romeos engaged in Love Jihad, earn Rs 200/- per day for their service to Islam. Influential Muslim clerics of Sambhajinagar, Aurangabad, Maharastra, have issued a fatwa that every Muslim youth, who is trying to trap Hindu or non-Muslim girls into Love-Jihad and converting them to Islam, would be awarded Rs 200/- per day. When such a girl is seduced, the youth is given a two wheeler and when he marries that seduced girl, he is given Rs 100,000 to Rs 200,000. A Muslim organization, named Muslim Youth Forum, has classified Hindu girls, and Muslim boy who lures a Hindu girl to marry him, is handsomely rewarded. The table 2 (below) shows the classification and the reward.

Table 2

Caste/Region of the girls lured into fake love affair Reward
1.  Sikh girls Rs 700,000
2.  Punjabi Hindu girls Rs 600,000
3.  Gujarati Brahmin girls Rs 600,000
4  Brahmin girls Rs 500,000
5  Kshatriya girls Rs 450,000
6  Gujarati girls of Kutch Rs 300,000
7  Jain / Marwari girls Rs 300,000
8  Backward caste / tribe girls Rs 200,000
9  Buddhist girls Rs 150,000

Above Table apparently shows that the task of converting a Sikh girl is hardest while it is easiest for a Buddhist girl. As mentioned above, the Love-Jihad campaign is funded by the Arab countries. A Saudi Arabia based organization, under the name of Indian Fraternity Forum, collects money for this purpose. The money is then transferred to India through hawala transaction.

The Hindu girls, who have migrated to the city from villages, are found to be easy prey. These poor girls normally do not have enough money to buy costly dresses to match the city life. “These girls are specifically targeted and given money. They are also lured into addictions like smoking and drinking alcohol etc. These girls, who are ensnared in Love-Jihad, become helpless and soon begin to  assist in ensnaring other Hindu girls”, the authors say.

The methods of luring Hindu girls:

The most common method of luring Hindu girls from schools and colleges is to loiter in around schools and colleges on two wheelers. As mentioned above, Jahangir Razzak, a student of Kozhikode Law College, has managed to lure 42 Hindu girls using this method.

The mobile phone has emerged as the most useful tool for the Love Jihadis. It is used for luring school and college going girls, and also for working women. The Muslim boys collect the mobile phone numbers of young Hindu and non-Muslim girls from Muslim mobile phone operators. Once a Muslim boy managed to get the mobile phone number of a Hindu girl, he starts sending SMS on her mobile phone and contacts her at night. In many cases, Muslim girls also play their part in Love-Jihad and introduce the Hindu girls to Muslim boys and to procure their mobile phone numbers.

During this preliminary stage, Muslim boys adopt Hindu names and Hindu etiquettes. They also gift mobile phones to Hindu girls who cannot afford it. In this context, Ms Leela Menon, the editor of the Malayalam daily Janmabhumi, says, “While personally visiting the houses of the girls who committed suicide due to Love Jihad, I found a common thing that, in all those cases the girls had received a mobile phone from their lovers. When I studied several such cases in Kerala as a journalist, I concluded that mobile phone is the single and most effective weapon of Love- Jihad”.

In Kerala, the birth place of Love Jihad in India, Christian girls are also being targeted by the Muslims. The Muslim Youth Forum has also declared a reward of Rs 400,000 for ensnaring and converting a Roman Catholic girl. The reward is Rs 300,000 for converting a Protestant girl. The Kerala Archbishop Council has taken the affaire of Love-Jihad very seriously. It has published guidelines to frustrate the attempts of the Love Jihadis to convert Christian girls.

Now a days, Internet is also being used on large scale to trap Hindu and non-Muslim girls. The Muslim thugs attempt to get closer and to develop friendship with Hindu girls through websites like Facebook or Orkut. They also take help of the matrimonial websites like or to trap Hindu girls desirous of a marriage.

Muslim boys take up jobs in Hindu homes with the ulterior motive of ensnaring Hindu women in their love-dragnet. Hundreds of Hindu women have been defiled in Jaipur, Rajastan, with this trick.

Though Muslims, as a whole, lack in creative intelligence, they are super geniuses in planning evil and in conspiratorial or criminal plotting. This is reflected in inventing an ingenuous way to trap Hindu girls in the snare of Love-Jihad. Suppose a Hindu girl is passing through a lonely road and three or four Muslim boys indulge in eve-teasing. Then another Muslim boy, pretending to be an honest and virtuous non-Muslim, appears and rescues her.  Naturally, the girl develops an inclination to that boy, who utilizes this opportunity to get close to her, woo and seduce her. When the girl gets totally entrapped, he takes her to a mosque for converting her to Islam. In Ahmednagar (Maharastrs) alone, nearly 300 Hindu girls were entrapped and converted using this method.

Hindu Girls, who are given unlimited freedom by their parents, celebrate Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day and Rose Day etc. along with their friends as per the Western culture. The Muslim boys utilize these opportunities to get close to these girls. By continuous wooing, they gradually drag them in their love-dragnet. Many believe that some Muslim boys take the help of hypnotism to get hold of their prey. Professor Unnikrashnan, a Pharmacologist, believes that many Muslim boys use some special kind of drugs to turn them obedient to their seducers. These Muslim boys take the victims to some ice-cream parlours or juice centres owned by Muslims. There they add some kinds of seductive drugs to the drinks to be offered to the Hindu girls. These drugs meant for keeping the girls obedient to their seducers.

Application of Black-Magic or Vashikaran:

A Muslim organization, called Paigam Islam has released a fatwa asking Muslim boys to take the help of black magic (vashikaran) for entrapping the Hindu girls to their love drag-net. In fact, this Vashikaran is a Tantrik procedure that uses mantra (words), yantras (tools) and Bhasma (ash) and special kinds of medicines to bewitch, subjugate, attract, influence, allure, excite or entice the desired person. In fact, vashikaran refers to bringing a particular person under one’s complete control. Similarly, evil experiments like witchcraft, magic-spells, subtle attacks directed at a person etc. are known as black-magic. Muslim boys are believed to exercise all such practices to bring their targeted girls in their full control.

Behaviour of Hindu girls, who have undergone such spell of black-magic, alters considerably. To authenticate their claim, the authors of LOVE JIHAD have quoted the story of an educated Hindu girl Preeti, The story, given below, was narrated by Ms Arunatai Acharya of the Nari Raksha Manch, a satellite organization of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

“A young girl, Preeti, from an immensely rich Rajasthani Hindu family, eloped with and married Abdul, a Muslim residing in a local slum. The police located her and took her to a remand home. However, it was difficult for the Police to keep her there for long as she was over 18 years of age and hence, legally a major. Therefore, her family members came to me with high hopes. On collecting full information about Abdul, it became clear that he was earning his bread by working as a coolie. The Police officials also came to know that Abdul had received Rs 50,000 for having ensnared Preeti in the love-dragnet. Then we chalked out a plan with Preeti’s family. According to that plan, as soon as she was released from the remand home, we took her to an unknown place.

  Upon reunion with her family members, there was no visible guilt on her face. She kept addressing herself as ‘Ayesha, wife of Abdul. According to the plan, Preeti was told that if Abdul became a Hindu, her family would allow her to marry him. She then called up Abdul from her mobile phone and asked him to be a Hindu. But he categorically refused and, on the contrary, threatened her with talaq (divorce) in a forceful voice. Despite this insult, Preeti shouted at her mother in Urdu that she would go to her husband and stay with him in whatever state he kept her.

Preeti was an educated woman who spoke Hindi, here she was speaking like a traditional Muslim girl. Her attire too was Islamic. Realizing a sudden Islamic change in her, I consulted a renowned astrologer. After an astrological study, he concluded that Preeti was a victim of black-magic (or vashikaran). The next day he went to her house and recited some mantras for two hours. Using lemon and Vibhuti, a ritual of Utrara was also performed on her. That night she was able to sleep peacefully for the first time in many days. When she woke up the next morning, she asked her parents to forgive her. Presently, she is advising her friends also to be vigilant about Love-Jihad.”

Another similar story, narrated by Dr Mallika and Ms Sangeeta Sharma of Manahshakti Samupdeshan, Kerala, runs as follows:

“In Kottayam (Kerala), Manjumal, a young Hindu nurse was lured by a Muslim youth with his sweet talks on mobile phone, and later they began to roam together. Her family members opposed to her affair and in her presence warned the youth not to have any relationship with her. Despite this, she was hell-bent on marrying him. On further inquiry it was found that a person with that name did not exist at all. Besides this, his address was also found to be false.

Manjumal was not allowed to go outside the house for two months. She was also told that her lover was a fraudster and was counseled on the dangers of Love-Jihad. Despite these attempts, she was not ready to listen to her family. Several months have passed now but she is still adamant on marrying the Muslim man. It is possible that she was subjected to black magic or vashikaran.”

The readers may recall that this author has discussed a case of application of black-magic or vashikaran to ensnare a Hindu girl called Shivani Acharya by a Muslim mason, in the state of Orissa.

There are some remedies, the family members of a victim can use to neutralize the effect of black magic or vashikaran. (1) Chanting the name of the family Deity uninterruptedly while keeping one hand on the head of the victim. (2) Performance of utara on her, using a lemon and Vibhuti of a sattvik incense stick. (3) Reside at a jagrit place (A place where the presiding Deity is in awakened state) or in the Ashrama of a Saint, for some time.


Most of the facts narrated above have been taken from the book LOVE JIHAD, written by Mr Ramesh Shinde and Mr Mohan Gowda.





?? Do You want to join a Islamic Harem (Private Brothel) to loose Everything ??

Muslims want to use Hindu Girls and Women as Production Machines only to increase Muslim Numbers.



[2] Incredible Story of Shibani Acharya, Victim of Seduction by Muslim:

[3] Hindu Janjagruti Samhiti

[4] Hindu Existence Blog

Saadat Hassan Manto-A writer of fierce candour

Remembering Saadat Hassan Manto

Saadat Hassan Manto: A language is not made, it makes itself, and no amount of human effort can kill a language.

Saadat Hassan Manto: A language is not made, it makes itself, and no amount of human effort can kill a language.

MAY 11th was the centenary of the birth of Saadat Hassan Manto—storyteller, Urdu scribe, and a refugee of India‘s bloody partition. A handful of newspapers have paid tribute. Writers and playwrights, in India and Pakistan, marked the date in their own way.

Born in colonial India in the lush western state of Punjab, Manto translated Russian and French novels into Urdu, wrote radio plays and Bollywood films, and produced one of the subcontinent’s most potent collections of 20th-century fiction. But few seem to recall him in India. Is it because he was a Muslim who left Bombay for Lahore after partition? Or is it because he wrote in Urdu, one of India’s many languages and the national language of Pakistan?

Although Manto is remembered as a writer of short fiction, Ayesha Jalal, his grandniece and a historian, described him as a “terrific writer of memoir”. His punchy stories are a mix of experience, imagination and fierce candour. For example, “Khol Do” (or “Open It”), considered to be one his best works, is a horrifying tale about cross-border violence among refugees. It considers the fate of a father who has been desperately searching for his daughter. When he ultimately finds her on a hospital bed inside a refugee camp, he assumes she is dead. But when the doctor enters and asks him to open the windows (“Khol do” he says), the “body” moves. Responding to the doctor, the girl’s “lifeless” hands untie the cord that holds her shalwar (pajamas) up and she “weakly” pushes it down her legs. Her father is jubilant: “My daughter is alive” he exclaims. The doctor, aware of the misunderstanding (and its implications for what she has suffered), breaks out in a cold sweat.

Manto’s work made many people uncomfortable, including fellow Urdu authors within the Progressive Writers Association, who used their work to advocate for social justice. He was frequently charged with obscenity. If my stories are intolerable, he told college students in Bombay in the early 1940s, it is because the world that I write about is intolerable.

His stories about the partition were particularly distressing. In “Thanda Gosht” (“Cold Flesh” or “Cold Meat“), a rioter recounts the story of how he abducted a “beautiful” woman only to discover later that she had been dead for sometime. The story, like his harrowed memory, is fractured: it’s up to the reader to conclude when the man realised he had abducted a dead body.

Manto left Bombay, where he was a popular scriptwriter, for Lahore in 1948. Like his character in “A Tale of 1947″—the young, troubled Mumtaz—he did not choose to leave. He left, like many at the time, because of a deep sense of loss and insecurity. He has since made a comeback in India via translations, mostly in English. But aficionados of Urdu lament that the language he wrote in is no longer courted with the reverence it once enjoyed. After Independence Urdu, the preferred language of Muslim royalty and the mother-tongue of many Muslims in India, was targeted by right-wing Indian nationalists. Hindi, India’s official language, was “revived”, scrubbing it of Urdu with which it had shared an indistinguishable vocabulary (if not script) for centuries.

Yet this doesn’t seem to have worried Manto. “A language is not made, it makes itself,” he wrote. “And no amount of human effort can kill a language.”

A heavy drinker, he died in Lahore of liver cirrhosis in 1955. (courtesy: A.A. & The Economist)

Book review by Aditya Sinha: Pakistan on the Brink

Fear and Loathing in AFPAK

Aditya Sinha

Next week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the man who sat in a cave and on September 11, 2001, attacked America. In the decade between the attack and the assassination, the Americans produced a long list of books dealing with AfPak – Obama’s shorthand for Afghanistan-Pakistan, though his advisors believe it ought to be PakAf – but almost all see matters through the prism of the US strategic establishment. Bob Woodward probably covers wider ground than most, but only because he is, as the late essayist Christopher Hitchens put it, “stenographer to the stars”; and still, his books have not been the best on the subject. (Tuesday will see the release of Peter Bergen’s Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, which promises to be fairly juicy.) Surpassing them all, arguably, is Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, whose Taliban: Militant Islam, Fundamentalism, and Oil in Central Asia fortuitously published just before 9/11 suddenly became a handbook for not just those of us covering the War on Terror but the entire planet. Since then, Rashid has put his expertise to good use, producing newspaper and magazine articles that rival The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh for both inside information and deep perspective. In 2008, he published Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia which though demandingly dull reading, was uncannily prescient of how things would unfold in the region. And now comes his Pakistan on the Brink: The future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West which makes for an absorbing, if sobering, read.

Courtesy: Aditya Sinha, Editor-In-Chief, DNA

It begins with an account of the secret US operation to kill Bin Laden; it is a defining incident not just because 9/11 began a chain of events which changed the world (the destruction of Iraq, the democratisation of West Asia, the global trend of encroachment on civil liberties in the name of security, etc), and not just because the hunt for Osama changed warfare in that the unmanned aerial vehicle has become the weapon of choice for the world’s militaries, but also because the unilateral operation defined bilateral relations in such a way that Rashid says: “The United States and Pakistan are just short of going to war.” What a sea-change from their relationship until 9/11.
Ahmed Rashid’s riveting account of the Osama operation beat Bergen’s upcoming book and a probably Woodward book on the subject (I’d bet on the Woodward book to come out shortly before the November US presidential elections). In this, and with the various political analyses in the book, Rashid was helped by wide access: regular meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a briefing to US President Barack Obama, briefings from the UN hierarchy and of course, sources all over the Pakistani establishment. His big source in the US government was apparently the late Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for AfPak, who suddenly died at the end of 2010, perhaps due to turf wars in the US administration which Obama could not mediate and which contributed to the failure to find a way forward in AfPak.
The Osama operation made the Pakistanis livid. Faced with angry junior officers, Army Chief General Parvez Kayani “took the easy way out by blaming the entire episode on the Americans for breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty – but he failed to answer the obvious questions: What had bin Laden been doing in Abbottabad for six years, and why had the ISI not found him?” Rashid asks. He says something you rarely hear his countrymen publicly ask, that the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty was actually by Osama, and not by Obama.
For the duration that Osama was a fugitive many Indians smirked at how Pakistan appeared to be pulling the wool over the US’s eyes. It turns out that the US wasn’t fooled, and that it was making plans. As CIA director, Leon Panetta gave his government a list of clandestine operations he wanted, including “even setting up a parallel intelligence organisation that would be hidden from the ISI”. In 2009, Obama “had secretly authorised the CIA to conduct large-scale recruitment of Pakistanis to establish a clandestine intelligence operation, with the help of fifty CIA officers… In other words, the Americans had set up a specific, secret, second intelligence agency to find Osama bin Laden.” Obviously, despite the sheer audacity of the idea of a secret spy outfit right under the ISI’s nose, it was something that had to be done. Obviously, it would seriously injure bilateral relations.
The biggest factor in souring relations was the US approach to Afghanistan, for Obama never made it clear what he wanted. We know that he wants to start leaving Afghanistan by 2014; it’s a political decision given the domestic unpopularity of the war. We know that he has overcome the American revulsion to negotiating with the Taliban (as even India has); “the Taliban had matured considerably since the 1990s”, having tired of war and also having tired of being ruthlessly under the ISI thumb. We know he wants to leave a permanent base in Afghanistan.
But beyond that, the Americans have never clearly defined a political approach to sorting out Afghanistan; as Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars points out, Obama’s first year was spent fighting a battle with the Pentagon on another troop “surge” with which he was able to sell his pull-out plan. Holbrooke’s brief was never taken seriously. The Americans, as Rashid tells us, started negotiating with the Taliban without telling Pakistan, but once the ISI found out, it threw the negotiator in jail. The ISI then planted a phony negotiator who tripped the process up. The Americans never had a strategy for Karzai, around whom nepotism and corruption intensified. The US was unable to help the Afghans build an economy, and Rashid predicts that when troops begin leaving, Afghanistan will collapse in an economic depression.
The US has to now deal with the Pakistan Taliban, whose fingers are itching for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It’s not a far-fetched dream. One of the book’s implications is that as the Pakistan state weakens so does the Pakistan Army. Though the Army dominates the state, it is still part of it. If you watch Gen Kayani’s pattern of behavior, as Rashid does, you begin to see that Gen Kayani is a singularly weak Army Chief, made weaker by President Asif Ali Zardari granting him an extension. There truly is a Mexican standoff between the extremists, the corrupt civilians and the Army. How Pakistan pulls itself out of this is difficult to see, though you can’t blame Rashid for trying to figure a way out.
Since we keep hearing about how Pakistan wants India out of Afghanistan (and how the ISI uses the Haqqani Taliban against Indian interests), Rashid views are refreshing: “Pakistan accepts only… no role for India – yet India is the region’s economic powerhouse and is the most likely investor in Afghanistan’s economy,” he writes. “A peaceful solution to the Afghan war must include the participation of India.”
While reading this fascinating and lively collection of essays, I wondered whether Ahmed Rashid would have written this book had Al Gore become president instead of George W Bush. Would Gore have invaded Iraq, diverting resources that could have helped Afghanistan to its feet, as Rashid argues? After all, Iraq was an American neo-conservative project. Who knows? The Americans suffered a huge blow to their pride and prestige with 9/11, and as it involved Arabs they could not let the Arab World go unpunished. They had to show the world that they could destroy a country that was brazenly against it. In that sense, with Pakistan’s Taliban far from defeated, and the nuclear-armed military losing its grip with each passing day, you would have to say that Pakistan is really and truly on the brink.


Bejewelled, beautiful courtesans, a la Madhubala or Aishwarya Rai, are just an indulgence in Mughal nostalgia. Hira Mandi, once a place of culture and tradition, has now been transformed into Lahore’s brand new Food Street.

The painter Iqbal Husain converted his mother’s home in Hira Mandi to a restaurant, Cooco’s Den. Facelift of the street has been at the cost of culture.

Nirupama Dutt

WHEN Urdu writer Ghulam Abbas wrote a classic Urdu short story called Anandi way back in 1939, and inspired a memorable film by Shyam Benegal called Mandi in 1983, was he playing the role of a clairvoyant? Well, if one looks at the fate and fortune of Lahore’s Hira Mandi one would certainly believe so. Well prophecy does accompany major literary endeavour but it was more a case of understanding human nature and power games. The story is a satire on politics and prostitution, both professions having many common principles, in which a brothel occupied by sex workers in the heart of the city is chosen by some politicians for its prime locality.

A lifetime later, Hira Mandi of Lahore seems to have become the target of the politicians’ imagination and the area known better for its sex and sleaze in present times is now the place for the rich and famous to dine on the choicest delicacies of Pakistani cuisine and pay a pretty packet for the fare.The new Food Street is the realisation of Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s dream to replace the Food Street created by his predecessor Pervez Elahi’s at Gwalmandi in president Pervez Musharraf’s times. The V-shaped offshoot of the road connecting the Mandi to the Fort opened as Fort Road Food Street, with 27 buildings acquired for the project, opened business a couple of months ago. The old buildings have been renovated, painted and decorated to supposedly resemble the Mughal architecture of yore and Pakistani newspapers report that concentrated here are the business interests of multinational companies, business tycoons and others close to the ruling party.

Maryam Rabi, an architect at the Agha Khan Cultural Service, Pakistan, working on the walled city of Lahore, criticises the makeover in a blog for The Dawn: “On visiting the Fort Road Food Street, one would expect to be introduced to the true culture and experience of the walled city – the project, however, rarely brings forth that opportunity and instead presents a ‘Disneyfied’ version of itself to the public. The words, conservation, restoration and protection are widely misunderstood in most of Pakistan. What has been implemented on the Fort Road is merely a superficial facelift and a complete disregard for its historic context and cultural value.” French journalist Claudine Le Tourneur d’lson, who recently released her novel called Hira Mandi in India and Pakistan, disparages the appropriation of the buildings, and says her 1988 visit there showed how the red-light area of Lahore was different from those of Mumbai or Cairo: “There can be no comparison. In Mumbai or Cairo all you see is flesh trade. Nothing more, nothing less. In Hira Mandi you saw colour, you saw dance, you heard music. There was a culture to it. Sadly, it is no longer there. The girls have mostly gone to the UAE, where they make more money and where there is no moral police. The ones who have stayed behind practise their profession in posh localities of Lahore or are at the beck and call of hotel guests.”

Hira Mandi, which came up as the bazaar of the courtesans during the Mughal period and was reduced to the red-light area in modern times, is certainly in the royal neighbourhood just behind the grand Badshahi Mosque built by Emperor Aurangzeb. While some of its sanctity was lost in colonial times, it yet retained its grandeur, giving some great singing stars to the radio and films. Pran Nevile, the chronicler of Lahore, describes it thus: “It would be a mistake to take Hira Mandi for a prostitute’s street, which certainly it was not, even though some of its inmates carried on the world’s oldest profession for a living. The courtesan’s home was essentially a place of culture when some of the singing and dancing girls found their place into the royal court.”

The settlement came to be known by this name after a General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh called Hira Singh Dogra who lived in the vicinity. Many an exceptional musical talent was nurtured in the kothas here, including Noor Jahan of theAwaaz de kahaan hai-fame who rose to get the title of Malika-e-Tarannum in Pakistan. She is remembered well for her sonorous rendition of the poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Sardar Bai is still remembered. There were others who made it to Hindi films like Mumtaz Shanti, Shamshad Begum and Khurshid and others who were a hit on the radio, including inlcuding Umra Zia who became a radio star of the 1930s, singing Mera salam le ja, taqdeer ke jahan tak. Nevile has fond memories of Gulzar Begum,daughter of the accomplished tawaif Sardar Begum, popularly known as Tamancha Jaan, radio star of the 1940s, whom he went to meet in Lahore when he took a pilgrimage to the past in 1997. “Most of my patrons were Hindus and Sikhs and they left Lahore with the Partition. Soon I shut down my salon and stopped singing and educated my children.” Munni Bai, who supported by singing on kothas the music career of Ustad Amir Khan, one of the greatest exponents of Hindustani Classical music and founder of the Indore Gharana, was originally from Hira Mandi.

Courtesy: The Sunday Tribune

Classical arts lost out to popular folk and film numbers and the era of ‘keeps’ or ‘mistresses’ ended and vulnerable sex workers grew out of the Mandi, with little protection and no patronage. And now their habitation is valuable real estate and up for grabs. Perhaps even the writer Ghulam Abbas could not envisage way back in the 1930s that the Mandi would come to such a pass.

Penning their lives

SELLING love and saving dreams in the Pakistan’s ancient pleasure district was the poignant sub-title of British sociologist Louise Brown’s book The Dancing Girls of Lahore,published in 2005. The past decade has seen several women writers from Pakistan and abroad picking up the pen and telling the dismal stories of their sisters in Hira Mandi. Brown, a lecturer of sociology in the University of Birmingham, spent four years in Hira Mandi studying the wretched the lives of the descendants of the women of culture and grace before picking up the pen to tell their stories.

The latest addition to the tales from these lanes and alleys is a novel called Hira Mandi by French journalist Claudine Le Tourneur d’lson and it is inspired by the life of the area’s well-known artist Iqbal Hussain, who was the son of a sex worker who studied art and became a teacher at the National College of Art, Lahore and realised his dream of freeing his sister and aunt from the bondage of selling their bodies night after night. He was also the first to convert his mother’s abode to a restaurant called Cooco’s Den. The story begins at the time of Partition and spans the next five decades during which Hira Mandi deteriorated from being a refined part of town where elegant courtesans and dancing girls held court to a crumbling red-light district.

Faryal Gauhar’s novel The Scent of Wet Earth in August came out in 2002 and it was based on her film Tibbi Gali. Teaching film-making at the National College of Art she told a poignant tale of a mute girl who yearns for a better life as she is caught in the dark world of her drug-addict mother and aunts who once sold their bodies. In telling this story she brings out many moving stories from the neighbourhood.

Social activist Fouzia Saeed’s book Taboo that also came out in 2002 takes an ethnnographic look at the sex workers of the Mandi. The book is a journey of discovery into the infamous red light district of Lahore tracing the phenomenon of prostitution coupled with music and dance traditions of in South Asia.

Pul-e-Jawan in India: How talks can bring peace

Results can’t be seen overnight but talking peace is part of making peace. PHOTO: CITIZENS MEDIA FORUM, DELHI

The Pul-e-Jawan country forum in India, organised by the Citizen Media Network, convened in Delhi on April 14. It was a follow-up to an event in Kabul where citizen journalists and young peacemakers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India had met in February.

This  event was organised just two days after the Pul-e-Jawan forum in Pakistan, which was hosted by Bytes for All in Islamabad on April 11 and April 12.

So, where does the name Pul-e-Jawan come from and what is its aim? As their website states,

“Pul-e-Jawan literally means ‘Bridges of Youth’ in Dari, as well as in Urdu and Hindi. The aim of Pul-e-Jawan is to transform the conflict in South Asia by highlighting youth perspectives on common challenges and aspirations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.”

In addition to on the ground work, campaigns and meetings, this forum intends to use the power of social media to exchange ideas and reach out to people across national boundaries. It also looks to finding ways of carrying conversations without feeling limited by the difficulty in attaining visas.

Shivam Vij, journalist and founding member of Kafila put it quite aptly when he said at the Pul-e-Jawan country forum in India:

When you think of the other country, you first think of the border. You don’t imagine it as a country full of people, roads, street signs, food and conversations. You imagine it through images you can access, through state narratives and media narratives, and also narratives of people who have come from there.

However, social media allows you to drop into internal conversations between Pakistanis. You get to see the country in a nuanced way. You get to know a place without visiting it.

He also shared numerous examples of cross-border friendships, some of which are documented in a piece he wrote for First Post last year.

Dr Madanmohan Rao, Research Project Director of Mobile Monday, also spoke at the event about the significant role social media has played in countries like Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. He shared a number of case studies and hoped for the possibility of using social media to express, question and critique.

His ardent faith in the potential of social media like Twitter, Facebook and blogs was refreshing, especially since the speakers who preceded him seemed rather sceptical of the new media. They kept harping on the time-honoured importance of traditional forums like newspapers, magazines and television channels. What they didn’t take in to account was that traditional media and new media could work together and support each other.

Of course, one cannot overlook the fact that only a tiny percentage of India’s population has access to computers and the internet. However, using this gap as an excuse to undermine the potential of social media is unfair .

At the same time, it is important to remember what journalist, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, said at the forum:

Social media does push the boundaries of freedom of expression. That’s great but in the midst of all this optimism about the internet, I’d like to sound a word of caution. Let’s remember that there is no substitute for going to the field and meeting people.

All these speakers at Pul-e-Jawan’s India forum gave the audience a vibrant range of examples and ways in which citizens can become media practitioners and contribute enthusiastically to public dialogue and social change.

Two other highlights of the day are worth mentioning; a talk by Dilip Simeon, Chairperson of Aman Trust and the performance of Dastan-e-Taqseem-e-Hind by Ankit Chadha and Darain Shahidi.

Dilip Simeon gave a spirited talk, emphasising the importance of speaking out and standing up against injustice and human rights violations. He introduced the audience to the concept of ‘collective guilt’, whereby the onus of acts committed by individuals is seen as synonymous with what the whole community should take responsibility for.

For example, if a politician is assassinated by the people of a certain religion, all members of that community are seen as guilty and avenged for the crime. It was a powerful concept and struck a chord with many. This was mainly because it came only a few hours after the performance of Dastan-e-Taqseem-e-Hind; a story spun around the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. It was presented in the tradition of Dastangoi, a lost art form of Urdu storytelling currently being revived by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain.

The performance was very moving and got a hearty applause from the audience. It became even more poignant when Shahzad Ahmad of Bytes for All joined us on Skype from across the border. Shahzad spoke of the need to build bridges and work together on online and offline initiatives. He focused on pressurising governments for a more relaxed visa regime to enable greater inter-personal contact, which is crucial to a more humane understanding of the demonised other across the border.

Did the forum yield any tangible results?

Can one make peace seated in a plush auditorium?

Did our voices reach the people who make decisions?

These questions are bound to come up.

But there are no easy answers for them. The best one I’ve come across was uttered by Shivam Vij:

Talk shopping is very important. Chai and charcha (tea and talks) can bring aman and chain (peace and calm).

I believe in this. We can’t expect to see results overnight, but talking about peace is a part of making peace. In today’s circus of competing and conflicting voices, it is important to stand up for what you believe in. And when there are so many people believing in the same thing, a difference is a certain reality. It is just a matter of time.

I came back really inspired from the Pul-e-Jawan gathering, and I have a feeling that many others did too. (courtesy: Chintan Modi/

Follow Chintan on Twitter @chintan_connect

Book Review: The Oxford Companion to Pakistan History-A complex history

Ishtiaq Ahmed

The Oxford Companion to Pakistan History (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012) edited by eminent historian Ayesha Jalal is a milestone in information on and knowledge about Pakistan. The first attempt is always the most challenging and daunting. Fahd Raza and Salma Mahmud at OUP, Karachi were the initiators of this project. Later, Nadia Ghani took over as project editor. She deserves to be applauded, especially because of the very large number of entries she has contributed.

In the preface, Ayesha Jalal succinctly sets forth the philosophy that informs her selection of items and contributors: “There can be no singular view of history that has remained open to multiple and conflicting interpretations. The volume avoids projecting any specific viewpoint and takes the diversity of interpretations as given. Contributors have been allowed to adopt their own standpoints in delineating a topic. Users of the companion are free to disagree with the contributors while still taking advantage of the information made available on any particular subject.”

Indeed that approach and vision is abundantly manifest. There is hardly any recognised scholar of Pakistani history, culture and politics whose expertise is not included. Most of the contributors are Pakistanis but international scholars of Pakistan are also represented well. I myself have had the privilege of contributing on more than 30 subjects.

The concentration is understandably on the post-independence period, but the colonial and even pre-colonial periods have been adequately covered. The topics included are individuals, events, places, government, military, foreign relations, linguistics, archaeology, judiciary, art, theatre, education, government, political parties, media, economics, the nuclear issue, philanthropy, civil society and many other subjects.

Pakistan’s travails as a nation-state have always posed intellectual and political challenges. Was it conceived as merely a Muslim-majority national state or was it meant to be an Islamic state based on a strict and dogmatic interpretation of the Shari’ah? This question has been dealt with in sufficient detail and diversity but understandably, no resolution of this controversy emerges from the different entries. We get a fair picture of what standpoints were taken by different political organisations, sects and sub-sects. The problems posed with regard to Pakistan’s national identity derive essentially from the fact that unlike most nation states that emerged in Asia and Africa as a result of decolonisation and bona fide residence of their people in the same territory were included in the nation, Pakistan was won in the name of Islam and Islamic culture. Despite an overwhelming Muslim majority, non-Muslim minorities were found in significant numbers in what became Pakistan. Their numbers have decreased after East Pakistan seceded to become Bangladesh, but they are still in millions in present day Pakistan.

Constitutional and legal measures purporting to define the rights of Muslim and non-Muslim citizens opened a Pandora’s Box. As a result the raison d’être for the creation of Pakistan, the Two-Nation Theory, brought out tensions not only between the rights and status of Muslims and non-Muslims but also within Muslim sects. Who is a Muslim? This notorious question has dogged Pakistani history and politics throughout its chequered history.

Jalal has adopted a genuinely inclusive and liberal approach on this issue and the diverse and contradictory spectrum of views and standpoints on this contentious issue have been included. Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Ahl-e-Hadith, Ahl-e-Quran, Barelvi, Ahrar, Khaksar, Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Ahmadiyya community and others are included. Pakistani Christians and Hindus and minorities such as Parsees, Kalash, Sikhs and Zikris are also covered. There is no denying that the question of identity has taken a heavy toll of the democratic potential and resolve present in Pakistan. As a consequence, cultural of militarisation has thrived. Entries on these issues are very useful. Another major problem that has bedevilled Pakistani politics is the relationship between the Centre and the provinces. The Oxford Companion covers satisfactorily this controversial question as well in both theoretical and empirical terms.

Equally, as an ‘ideological state’, Pakistan has to work out its relations with neighbouring states as well as internationally. The theoretical and empirical problems that arise as a result of tension between classic Islamic theory and contemporary norms and principles of international relations are also taken up. This is particularly relevant because Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state with a highly accentuated concern for security.

The most difficult problem confronting such a volume must have been about the selection of candidates for the ‘who is who?’ entries, both with regard to the historical record and the contemporary period. It is also fairly representative, especially with regard to politicians. It was a pleasure to note that some leading stalwarts of the Indian National Congress are also included. I would urge the inclusion of Dada Amir Haider, the veteran revolutionary who was a legend of the working class struggle extending from the 1920s until his death in 1989. Some sports personalities would also be a worthy inclusion in forthcoming editions of the Oxford Companion.

The great bonus of this volume is the encyclopaedic information on science, culture, architecture, music, the arts, including performing arts and other miscellaneous subjects.

Such a huge undertaking is bound to have some typing errors and weak entries; some entries have become obsolete in the light of recent research and findings. The project was launched six years ago and during this period, many myths have been shattered. Apart from such minor faults that can be eliminated in future editions, the work is a solid contribution to understanding Pakistan and its people.

The reviewer has a PhD from Stockholm University. He is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. He is also Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South AsianStudies, National University of Singapore. His latest publication is The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012; New Delhi: Rupa Books, 2011). He can be reached at

Lahore (Lavpuri) named after its founder Prince Lav

Lahore is one of the oldest city in the subcontinent. Till this date we don’t know when it was founded. Some historians says it’s almost 4000 years old but proved evidence suggests that lahore is at least 2000 years old. Hieun tsang famous Chinese pilgrim visited lahore in 700 A.D. and wrote about city in his journals.
Oldest authentic surviving document was an anonymous document written in 982 and translated in 1927 by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky. The document is called HUDUD I ALAM which means regions of world. This document described lahore as a shehr or town with. Marvelous temples, huge markets and spacious orchards. This document is now present in British Museum.

Lav Temple In Lahore Fort

Ptolemy, 2nd century famous Egyptian astronomer and geographer mentioned a city between river Indus and patna that might be Lahore.
According to oral legends, In ancient times Lahore is know as Lavpuri means city of Lav in Sanskrit because it was founded by Prince Lav or Loh, the son of Ram, hindu deity, while Kasur was founded by his twin brother Prince Kush. To this day Lahore Fort has a vacant temple dedicated to Lav or Loh, hence Loh-awar or Fort of Lahore. Hence the name Lahore came into existence. courtesy: Dr Owais Karni‘s blog

The Nation’s opinion: Azad J&K is India, Hina immotional & stranded Paks in B’desh

At least in new secondary education textbooks for class three in Indian Army schools in Srinagar, the Indian government accepted existence of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The new textbooks depict the map of Jammu and Kashmir exactly how Pakistan claims it to be.
Indian government officially used to call this part of the disputed territory between two nuclear armed countries as ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region’ but the new textbooks now have shown it as ’Azad Jammu and Kashmir’, a term used by Pakistan to describe the region.
Further, the books showed Gilgit-Baltistan region, which India says is a part of Kashmir, is called the Northern Areas.
Indian opposition Bhartiya Janta Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that the Education Ministry must get to the bottom of the matter. he said.

“The Education Ministry must look into the matter immediately. They must find out if this was a mistake or done deliberately. This is a serious matter because Jammu and Kashmir is a controversial topic. If wrong information about the country’s boundaries is being taught to young children, then it must be stopped at once because it is goes against the good of the country.” 

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said action would be taken against those responsible. “We do not have information on the issue. If such a thing has been done, action will be taken,” he said.
Reportedly, some Indian army commanders have now asked some of the school principals to get back to them with the books so that they can take a look. In the meantime, the Indian army has decided to write to the Education Ministry regarding the issue.
Indian army has been maintaining that its position vis-a-vis the issue is very clear since the army is not a publishing authority. Also, the book was published by a leading publishing house based in Karol Bagh in Delhi, which means that, probably, the Education Ministry is going to sit up and take notice.
Later, the Indian army withdrew the controversial class three textbooks from schools, without giving any explanation.

(Hina’s) Incomprehensible judgement
It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant (in Hina) in this regard.

It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant (in Hina) in this regard.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s remarks on ties with India and other neighbours that Pakistan cannot afford to be selective in relations with them are contrary to what has traditionally been our foreign policy.

It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant in this regard.

Not only does this reflect a betrayal of the Kashmiris suffering under India’s brutal occupation, but also the disputed state’s singular importance to our very survival. Terming Kashmir as jugular vein is not a philosophical view, but a hard reality.

In its quixotic venture to cosy up to the Indians the government seems to be fascinated by the idea of bilateral trade. Ms Hina’s view that we can’t be selective in relations means compromising on this core issue. Peaceful co-existence can follow when Kashmir is resolved according to UNSC resolutions? As of now India is not even ready to talk about this outstanding issue? The government cannot be blind to Indian armament programme also that makes its intentions to push Pakistan to the corner, militarily as well as economically, quite clear.

Donaton for stranded Pakistanis in Banglades !

Donation for stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh !!!

Line Of Control – Subodh Gupta’s work so visually powerful it gives you goose bumps.

Indian girls look at an installation titled "Line of Control" by Indian artist Subodh Gupta in New Delhi, India, Friday, April 20, 2012. The installation made of steel utensils is in the shape of a giant mushroom cloud referring to the dust-cloud of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while also literally alluding to the contested India-Pakistan border, according to a press release.

India’s first philanthropic museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi unveiled the recent addition to its collection, the monumental sculptural installation “Line of Control” by nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary Indian artist Subodh Gupta.

Visually, the giant mushroom cloud composed of steel utensils refers to the horrendous dust cloud after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while also literally alluding to the contested Indo-Pak border. The gigantic installation is made of stainless steel utensils, converting a blasé media stereotype into a poetic metaphor.

The phrase, Line of Control, invariably used to denote contested borders between disputed territories world over from Kashmir to Bosnia is shorn of its limiting and limited geopolitical rhetoric to describe the invisible-yet-concrete time-space existing between want and aspiration; between dreams and reality; between realization and faith; between night and nightmare.

Putting the work in perspective, Charles Darwent of the UK Independent pointed out when the work was shown at Tate’s Altermodern:

“Globalization hasn’t just swept away cultural differences; it has also made us to think of history differently. Just the way geographical boundaries do not any longer count so also historical ones. In fact, history, today, is an amorphous thing. Postmodernism, by playing around with bits of past history, made itself part of that (history). Whether or not this holds true is for you to ponder. Subodh Gupta’s giant mushroom cloud of pans and pots, is worth the trip alone.”

Richard Dorment of the UK Telegraph termed Subodh Gupta the star of this show. The reviewer mentioned:

“His ‘Line of Control’ fills a rotunda from floor to ceiling in the Duveen Galleries with a mushroom cloud-shaped column of stainless steel pots, pans and kitchen utensils in a work so visually powerful it gives you goose bumps. By making his atomic blast out of harmless implements virtually every person both in India and Pakistan uses in everyday life, the artist subverts (and therefore neutralizes) the meaning of the mushroom shape – a sign for death as universally understood as the skull and crossbones.” 

Kannada ‘Dirty Picture: Silk Sakkath Maga’! Now, Pak import Vina Malik in south siren’s botched up life movie !!

Veena Malik has landed the role of Silk Smitha in the Kannada film titled Dirty Picture: Silk Sakkath Maga.
For quite a while, the talk about Ekta Kapoor’s The Dirty Picture being remade in the south has been doing the rounds and the actresses like Nikitha Thukral, Charmee and Pooja Gandhi were reportedly approached for the role. However, it’s Veena Malik, the hot import from Pakistan, who has landed the role.

Moreover, the producer Venkatappa claims that the film he’s making is not the remake of The Dirty Picture starring Vidya Balan. The producer says:

” I am coming up with a better interpretation of the south siren’s botched up life. I am not bothered about taking any remake rights from Ekta Kapoor because, none has the ownership of the story of Silk Smitha.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Veena Malik who already has a number of Hindi films in her kitty is excited about her Kannada debut. Veena is quoted as saying in a media report:

“Yes, I am doing a Kannada film based on the life of Silk Smitha…I will join the sets on May 12. I always wanted to have a career in the south too, and now it has happened.”  

Veena Malik is reported to be getting Rs. 85 lakh for her role.