The security concerns in Quetta make it difficult for a foreigner to get about. Wearing Shalwar Kameez (had no idea so much cloth went into these garments) and having a beard helped. At least I made it outside of Quetta, if only to a tourist spot. Nothing as exciting as the Bazkhoshi event I went to yesterday,
but hey, if your client needs a pretty picture and things are difficult, a lake at sunset will do nicely, thank you!
The garbage dump was apparently in the vicinity of an army camp. So my picture taking suddenly became a security concern. This time I was the peacemaker as the solder was picking on one of my minders. Having reduced testosterone levels, we went off to our next location, Quetta’s shoot up alley.
So driving out to see the clay mountains in Bostan was a welcome treat. An approaching sandstorm made it necessary to beat a hasty retreat. The blistering wind didn’t help. Careful watching the video if you have vertigo!
By?Kanak Mani Dixit
Can a formal bilateral communiqu? be a ?game changer?, foretell a ?paradigm shift?, in a Southasian relationship? If India and Bangladesh manage to follow through on promises to open up their economies for transit and trade as set out in a memorandum of January 2010, a new era could dawn across the land borders of Southasia. The challenges are bureaucratic inertia in New Delhi and ultra-nationalist politics in Dhaka.
The political partition of the Subcontinent in 1947 did not have to lead to economic partition, but that is ultimately what happened. This did not take place right away, and many had believed that the borders of India and Pakistan?s eastern and western flanks were demarcations that would allow for the movement of people and commerce. It was as late as the India-Pakistan war of 1965 that the veins and capillaries of trade were strangulated. In the east, in what was to become Bangladesh just a few years later, the river ferries and barges that connected Kolkata with the deltaic region, and as far up as Assam, were terminated. The metre-gauge railway lines now stopped at the frontier, and through-traffic of buses and trucks came to a halt. The latest act of separation was for India to put up an elaborate barbed-wire fence along much of the 4000 km border, a project that is nearly complete. Today, what mainly passes under these wires are Bangladeshi migrants seeking survival in the faraway metropolises of India ? and contraband.
|Photo credit: Sworup Nhasiju|