India - Pakistan relations are interesting to a very small group of newspaper nerds and foreign policy wonks. For the other 99% it is “Boom Boom Shahid Afridi” (Asif Noorani’s second book) and the recent jailing of 3 Pakistani cricketers in London for match fixing. So for this evenings conversation we have asked him to drop some of the heavy stuff, though it will inevitably creep in and concentrate on the fun aspects of the relationship between the two countries.
Sometime in the late sixties when Ajitpal Singh was leading an Asian Eleven, comprising almost entirely Indian and Pakistani players, against a European Eleven, he was asked if he enjoyed playing against the Pakistanis. “Yes of course” he said “except for one major problem. They understand all our gaalis.”
Aside from sport at least North India and Pakistan are united by the ghazal form of music. Here again Asif’s latest book “Mehdi Hasan: The Man and his Music” comes to the rescue with the 2 CD’s that accompany the book. He will play a few extracts from rare recordings of the master who was incidentally born in Jhunjunu, Rajasthan and will also talk about our common musical heritage.
In addition his talk will be based on observations and anecdotes culled from his 12 trips to India, his being stuck in Bombay during the 1965 war and other hilarious and not so funny incidents of these travels.
Born in Mumbai in 1942, Asif Noorani was ten when he migrated with his parents to Pakistan, living for the first three years in Lahore and for the rest of his life in Karachi. An ardent crusader for establishing cordial relations between India and Pakistan, he conveys his viewpoint through his writings and talks. His first book, Tales of Two Cities (Roli Books) which he co-authored with the well known Indian writer Kuldip Nayar narrates his experiences in a narrative, laced with benign humour.
Noorani works for the Dawn Group- the leading media organization in Pakistan. In his trademark humourous style he writes on culture, (particularly music and literature), on travel and reviews books and music. He blogs on Dawn dot com and occasionally appears on TV programmes.
With a Master’s in English literature and years of experience in communication, he also teaches print journalism and media marketing in Karachi.
We hope to have copies of his books and Mehdi Hasan CDs available for sale.