In Guest Post

Secrets for Successful Couple-preneurs

Running a successful business with your soulmate has always been idyllic and intriguing for me. I always used to wonder how couples strike a balance between their personal and professional lives, especially when they are together all the time. In fact, working together helps determine your mutual career destinies, instead of spending many hours apart, working for someone else. This inspired me to speak to some wonderful couples across India, who planned to be partners in crime in everything, and decided to build a meaningful life together by co-creating something that brings them joy and fulfillment. However, this interaction about their journeys brought some key takeaways for me. 

Be on the same page
Keen alignment and shared vision are the keys to success for any business. Though couples share a level of intimacy and friendship, it is important that they are aligned on their career vision and their life goals too. Because only then will both of them be able to do justice with the enterprise. 

Define your roles and responsibilities
Since with couple-preneurs, the line between personal and business gets very blurred, it is very important to sit down, critically analyse each others area of interest, their forte and accordingly define their roles and responsibilities. If one of them is managing operations, then the better half would manage marketing. This not only avoids day to day conflicts, but also empowers both of their decision-making power. This usually brought out the best in them, and also saved them from stepping into the other’s shoes. Having said that, though both of them can discuss the intricacies of their responsibilities but the other person should not question the final decision of the owner to keep the productivity flowing.

However, as the business grows and phases in both personal and professional life change, it is indeed a good practice to revisit each others’ roles, because here both of their lives are closely knitted, any change anywhere can have larger impact. It is a popular saying that “competition and resentment are the most common between the people who are close to each other, for rest we usually don’t care much.

Maintain work-life (and love) balance 
It is very important to keep a check on how your business decisions are impacting your personal life. Either it can do wonders, or wreck everything. It is important to keep experimenting to see what works well for you as a couple, and how a decision can reinforce your love for each other, because something that has worked for one, needn’t work for everyone. Since as a couple, onus lies on individuals, their circumstances, best way is to figure the ways that works well amongst you. One way could be e.g.- Keep a weekly review meeting where-in both of you can brainstorm your ideas, startup strategies etc. However, do keep in mind, never ever discuss work over dinner table or carry work to home. It is more important to finish of the tasks in office rather than bringing them home.

Keep changing roles 
Both at home or workplace, pretend as if you are not working together or vice-versa Eg- While he/she is home, pretend the way you have been, if he/she has come back from work, asking their regular routine in nut shell etc. And while they are in office, pretend they are your colleagues, and behave in the same manner.

Be kind, understanding and respectful. 
Marriage is one relationship, which calls for lot of trust, understanding and mutual respect. Absence of any of these, the whole institution falls flat. It is very important to make sure that both of you respect each other. Since here lives are way too inter-wined, conflicts are bound to happen. It is important to handle them respectfully and keeping each other’s priorities in mind and supporting it as well.

Do not miss to celebrate the milestones of your unique life journeys together. Make sure you sneak out time to celebrate even smallest success of your enterprise amongst yourselves and make each other realize that they have been instrumental in this success. 

For me, it is more like being married to your work, and at the same time getting the chance to spend quality time with your spouse. This unique partnership, lets you explore the other side of your spouse, which would not have been possible in the absence of this plunge. This journey is always special and bring lot of perks with itself, as they say “No risk, No gain”.

- Prachi Garg

Prachi Garg is the author of ‘Superwomen’, a collection of journeys from 20 women entrepreneurs and Supercouples. She is also a serial entrepreneur, after failing miserably in her first start-up "Managing Minds", she started "", which is a pioneer in organising corporate travel and have recently extended to solo women travel.

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In Ambedkar History Chapters Nehru The EDIT PAGE

Random Thoughts: Studying History

Studying history is as difficult, discrete, vague and confusing as writing it. Difficult, because crosschecking each and every event/narrative through independent sources ain't easy. Discrete, as there's no way to find each and every event up the timeline and hence the very nature of discreteness of data available is an irremediable timeline bug. Vague, mostly because historians sketch past characters based on their info and bias. Seeking the truth is often so demanding and confusing that many scholars and students of history do end up concluding “History as a myth, a work of fiction”. This is unfortunate. To me, an electronics engineer once, this is like my prof rubbing an entire Root-Locus derivation cum graph in z/s –plane just because I forgot to use spirule, irrespective of what ȥ, ɷn, T, and Ƙ values I got. 
Yes, studying history is prop. to good citizenship!
Next time, before you start getting offended by the scripts of Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Ashutosh Gowarikar, better remember the fact that a historical period drama or a period narration that you tend to watch is a myth, seeking its background from history. History is usually defined by the factual narration of events along the timeline. However, recording events as per the timeline is a hell of work seldom done. For instance, time and again, partition has widely been the focal point of study for every South Asian historian. Nehru, Jinnah, Britishers have been largely blamed for the entire fiasco, while the role of Liaquat Ali khan, his Hindu-hate campaigns @AMU, Savarakar's open hate speeches and Ambedkar's support to distribute land based on caste, creed and religion (to some extent) that led Jinnah and Congress perceive two-nation theory as happening were kept behind the curtain in most of their research books. The birth of Muslim league, Hindu Mahasabha later and hate speeches by their prominent leaders actually set the tone of partition and provided apt context to Nehru, Mountbatten and Jinnah to fall for it. That's true, contexts/situations equally matter as decisions do. Separating both does not tame history but unleash author's bias towards the topic/person. Here, it's also worth noting that narratives are not meant to offend but compel others to present counter view. 

Yes, hisory is close to an open diary of records than opening a closed book
History is certainly not about writing some concluding remarks but bringing all the contexts together that lead an event occur. This is extremely important as narrating an event is not always the same as it should be. Author Julian Barnes argues: “History isn’t an exact narration of events that one witnessed, but the narration one ended up remembering.” There comes the aberration, and today's columnists, historians and scholars take this liberty to explore the aberration further, confusing students by drawing the macro figure while conveniently neglecting/ignoring minute details that often help understand context.” 

Disparaging someone’s entire work owing to some counter facts that says otherwise indicates the lack of right approach, a reader must have while studying history. Questioning is the only way to study history. Yet, belittling one's the entire content without getting it crosschecked from other verified source is simply not the right way of questioning. In case, we don’t have ample of independent sources to verify the events occurred in a particular timeline. We must keep it open. That’s one way to study and the right way too.

And yes, I don’t go by the narrations that are written just to fill the missing part of history; better enjoy reading them like I did Mira & Mahatma.

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In Donald Trump Journalism Media The EDIT PAGE

How Trumpophobia is Killing Media!

Is Journalism about narrating a fact or ‘actuating’ a narration? Is a Journalist supposed to be bellicose and heuristic when comes to fighting against the establishment? To simplify the mantra, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, one of the most acclaimed journalists had once opined, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

The adamant equation between Donald J. Trump, its administration and media at large is no secret affair but is obnoxious to the limit of unleashing chaos among people. The hate mongering tweets and articles from both the ends have instilled a world of ‘alternative’ facts in almost everyone’s mind. This didn’t start from the inauguration but had its roots sowed much earlier.

@JacoH: @CNN @realDonaldTrump I can't believe how low CNN can go. Obviously a bunch of Killary fans." @CNN only says negative-bad reporters
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2015

And, recently

Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017

The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017

Talking about the crowd size during Trump’s inauguration, in a series of false and tall claims Trump said, “It was a highest ever gathering (inauguration)”. On the other hand, disparaging the moments of maximum gathering during the hours long event, MSMs showed the crowd size of Trump’s inauguration taken at 11.04AM or some other time. However, the event noted its maximum footfall only by 12.09PM. 

Image Courtesy: Vox 
Comparing the crowds at Donald Trump’s and Barack Obama’s inaugurations
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 20, 2017

New York Times' clarification that both images were taken 45 minutes before the Oath ceremony is misleading and can’t reciprocate the actual crowd size in either case. An esteemed newspaper is not supposed to do a ‘Jon Stewart’ by publishing/highlighting only parts of the story. 

To be precise, crowd ‘size’ comparison holds true for the largest of both the timelines, Trump’s as well as Obama’s oath events. The science of the scientific comparison had its ifs and buts.Being contumacious media is undoubtedly a courageous act. However, at a point when people’s faith in media is at all time low the need-of-the-hour is to bring forth factually correct information.

Once empowered with the ultimate presidency powers, Trump left no time in exercising it and soon passed a bundle of executive orders. Travel ban was one of them. The very next day, The New York Times editorial read ‘Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous’. Similar were the headlines and approach of MSMs across the world. Trump’s executive order barred entry into US from seven countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Calling it a Muslim ban is bizarre and illogical as there are over 40 countries in the world where Muslims live predominantly. Technically, the executive order affects 200 million Muslims which constitute only 11.4% of the entire Muslim population. Not only that, media failed to see beyond the Muslims, the problems of minorities living there — knowing the fact that minorities have no voice in democracy.

Joseph Pulitzer once said, “The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.” However, if such is the journalism standard, media is in no position to complain, better or worse. 

The point is — irrespective of how insidious Trump is — media must keep its facts checked!
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In Pakistan The EDIT PAGE

Pakistan: The Making of a Rogue Nation

Published in Swarajya.

Read the word – ‘Pakistan’ – what pops up in your mind? To me, it is ‘a rogue nation’.

Recently, taking a note of the Kashmir unrest, Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan nominated his 22 parliamentarians as special envoys to visit major countries across the world and rake up Indian atrocities and human rights abuses in Kashmir. ‘An attempt to appease the disgruntled parliamentarians by sending them on a world tour’ couldn’t hide behind the Kashmir curtain, but became a laughing stock as the parliamentarians when asked about Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, State's ethnicity and map on a live show were mum asking, “Who is Mehbooba?” The Prime Minister in fact went on to address the United Nations General Assembly 2016 with Kashmir as their main agenda, another attempt to divert the immediate public attention from core issues, such as water and energy crisis, and most importantly, the Panama leaks, Sharif’s latest dilemma.
Home to the world’s most wanted terrorists, Pakistan is one of the biggest victims of terrorism too. According to an Amnesty International report, Pakistan is one of the world's five worst countries witnessing the highest number of human rights violations. However, Pakistan, on international platforms, continues to be garrulous on Kashmir, but boorish towards Baloch, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir issues. The country is hopping on its endless animosity with India; compels me to raise the point – what’s wrong with the nation?
Besides sponsoring terrorism since 1947, as part of its foreign policy, Pakistan is obstinate, keeping public affairs, unresolved and unaddressed and leaving its origin – vague, weak, gloomy and tense that otherwise could have played a crucial role in pushing the nation forward.
The Genesis of Pakistan
Stability comes from the identity – who you are? The tragedy of Pakistan is the more one reads about the country, the more confused he/she becomes. This is precisely because of the blatant lies, spoken in media and purposely written in their textbooks. The story of the genesis of Pakistan in the state textbooks is no different.
The 36 years of direct military rule not only weakened the very existence of the civic society but in its quest to define the ideology of Pakistan and justify the genesis for a greater cause, Pakistan Army-led curriculum has gone to the extent of writing a fiction with some facts hanging here and there, and later declared the text as the ‘History of Pakistan’. ‘Pathological liars’ as the eminent political scientist and a Professor at Center for Peace and Security Studies, within Georgetown University Christine Fair prefers to call, Pakistan didn’t stop here, but blended the content with Islam and Arabic culture while omitted their real past -- their Indian origin -- snubbing the fact that the world is watching them.
Precisely, like their strategic failures at wars, this too damaged the country’s image all around.
Eminent Pakistani Historian & a Professor at Tufts University, Ayesha Jalal recalls, “During Musharraf’s regime, there were some sincere efforts of reforms. It took five years to revise and rewrite the entire history books for class 5-9. And, when the books were sent to me for review purposes, clearly the confusion was very much present there. The very first line was, “We want to teach our students analytical history and make our students good Muslims.”
Having understood the recursive mindset, she disassociated herself from the project, “The point is if you want to teach history, teach history, not Islam.” Her intent was pretty clear. “Don’t bring religion into it.”
Hasan Nisar, Pakistan’s leading anthropologist and Journalist said, “One of the most blatant lies propagated in Pakistan is the very idea of Pakistan. The books don’t discuss the glorious civilisations of Mohenjodaro and the Indus Valley, their social system in which KPK and Sindh played prominent roles.”        
According to their textbooks, History of Pakistan begins with 871AD, as the Islam enters Indian subcontinent. Irony is, they have used the word ‘Pakistan’s Kingdom’ instead of Mugal’s. The books are so confusing that many of the countrymen call themselves as descendants of infamous barbarians Ahmed Shah Abdali, Bin Qasim, Mughals and Taymor Lung. The books make them believe that they have ruled India, Bangladesh and other countries for 1000 years. And, they are here to rule.
“Islam which should have been the sociological reality became an abstraction”, said Jalal.
Nisar in his talk show averred, “The truth is, we are Aryans like most of the Indians, and that’s a fact. We are nowhere associated with the Arabs. We have nothing in common.”
Pakistan, once a cradle of civilization became a buffoon of pseudo-nationalists. 
The troublesome fiasco of partition could have been avoided, had Jinnah followed Maulana Madani and not Allama Iqbal! Though, Iqbal never clearly asked for a separate nation for Muslims but separate provinces under the federal governance. This was his idea of Pakistan.

Ayesha in her book ‘The struggle for Pakistan: a Muslim homeland and global politics’ observed, “The fact that two-nation theory was anything but far from solving the minority issues. The issues have in fact aggravated it.”
In many books, it is said that Pakistan was born because Muslims and Hindus never wanted to live together. The statement was actually made by various leaders of All India Muslim League and some Indian National Congress Leaders to make way for the partition. Nisid Hajari author of Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition elucidated, “Islam or religion was never the reason behind the two nation theory, but a medium infused later, to achieve the goals of various parties/personalities. The partition was, in fact, a part and parcel of the thin skins of Nehru and Jinnah.” Venkat Dhulipala, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and Visiting Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, too supported the claim, “Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an atheist used Islam as a mere bargaining chip, keeping the idea of Pakistan vague.  A major part of the Muslim community had, in fact, disagreed with the idea, but lacked a separate voice as top leaders were in prison following the Quit India movement.”
This was nowhere a ‘victory’, as described in Pakistan but just a bitter truth, untold in Pakistani books. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad who later became the first Education Minister of Independent India had rejected factual myths circling around the ‘two nation theory' in 1946, "Jinnah was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies, he stressed the need to work for Hindu-Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. As a politician, he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.”
Narendra Singh Sarila, in his book Shadow of the great game: the untold story of partition, however, pointed out, “As early as March 1945, Churchill and British staff decided that the partition was necessary for strategic reasons. They deliberately set out to create Pakistan because Jinnah had promised to provide military facilities and Nehru had refused to do so. This is key to understanding why Pakistan is so dysfunctional. It’s an artificial political entity. The British put together five ethnic groups that never before coexisted. The Bengalis were biggest. They outnumbered all the other four combined – the Punjabis, the Pashtuns, the Sindhis and the Baloch.”
Pakistan got the freedom by paying little. The Bengalis who paid the maximum cost were kept at bay when it came to the participation in federal governance. There was no ideology left for the nation. The self-proclaimed Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah himself advocated for a secular nation but didn’t take any step to set up any drafting committee to write/frame the constitution. The 1935 British rule was very much followed till 1956. As soon as, the constitution came into existence, the State declared itself as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The minorities which were 23% of the population began to decline and today, they constitute less than 4% of the entire population.
A major chunk of animosity with India is derived from history and media reports. This can be set aloof by simply correcting history books and reports, narrating facts from both the sides. This includes the positives of the other side too. For e.g. People of Pakistan are not aware of the fact that It was Gandhi who entitled Jinnah by Quaid-e-Azam. Ayesha in her interview with Rawal TV also dissertated that Gandhi was killed because of the fact that he extended his support (Went on a fast to force the Indian government to give Rs55Crore to Pakistan) to the Pakistani people, just as another human being.    

Lies of the ‘Wars’ and the ‘Insecurity’
The Pakistan Army and so their federal government has been continuously selling the idea of ‘Insecurity from India' among their voters, giving the defense the top most priority while education and health like critical issues, last. Blending the same with nationalism, they have continuously fooled the people for the last 70 years.
Christine Fair, in her book ‘Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War’ stated, “Pakistan is locked in an enduring rivalry with India since 1947, ostensibly over Kashmir. Started and failed three wars over Kashmir -1947-48, 1965 and 1999; having lost more than half of its territory to India in 1971 war, the strategy of coercion through Islamist terrorist proxies since 1947 failed and backfired since – 2002.” Who should be more insecure – India or Pakistan? India has not only been attacked by Pakistan four times, but by China too. As far as, India is concerned, it doesn’t only nurture its neighbours like Bangladesh, Nepal or Bhutan, but in the case of LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka, India had deployed its own army – four divisions nearly 80,000 men with one mountain and three Infantry Divisions at Sri Lankan ground.
Thus, the idea of ‘Insecurity from India’ falls flat. Back in 1999, when Kargil war happened, such was the pseudo-nationalism of Pakistan’s army that they didn’t even come forward to claim the dead bodies of their soldiers. Captain Sher Khan, one of their soldiers fought so bravely that an Indian army officer wrote to their State admin asking to award the captain posthumously. He was later awarded by Nishan-e-Haider Pakistan. However, hundreds of Pakistani soldiers didn’t meet the same fate
Pakistan till date continues to blame India for their 1971 defeat, the State never took notice of the brutality of Pakistan Army, which killed over 15-30 lacs Bengalis, raped almost 20 lacs women there. Figures vary but it doesn’t deter the fact of the matter that widespread genocide took place. No commission, rapists walked out free; no one was ever tried for the war crimes. Courts were not allowed to revisit the basic question that led to the birth of Bangladesh – why Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- who later became the first PM of Bangladesh -- despite having the majority wasn’t allowed to form the government in 1970? This led to the partition of Pakistan in 1971. However, in Pakistani textbooks, there is hardly any mention of the brutal murders and rapes. In contrast, the books claim it was India provoked, and because of the Hindu-Muslim divide. The books don’t mention the fact it was Pakistani Air Force that launched a pre-emptive strike on eleven airfields in north-western India, first.
Pakistan ‘state’ has been continuously and successfully perpetuating the lies among their media and books. First, they either won all the wars against India or were on the verge of winning when India went to the UN begging for the ceasefire.  For e.g. On 16 December 1971, Lieutenant General A. K. Niazi, Commander of Pakistani forces along with his 93000 men surrendered to Indian Army, the very next day, Dawn, Pakistan’s national newspaper front page headline was ‘War Till Victory’; similar was the headline of other newspapers. They were never told about the defeat, not in 1948, 1965 or 1971.  People were never told the fact that it was Pakistan who attacked first, in all the wars.

The Kashmir Impasse
The South Asian region could have been the new EU, has Pakistan overcome the Kashmir impasse! After researching for decades in Pakistan, Christine in her book, ‘Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War’ set the score once and for all, “Pakistan has no legal ground over Kashmir.”
“I don’t understand their hypocrisy. Today, every Pakistani calls Kashmir, a UN subject matter, but it was Pakistan then, in 1948 which refused to accept the resolution. The very first step of the resolution is that Pakistan has to remove its military from PoK.”
Jammu & Kashmir was a free state till 1947, as it did not accept to merge with either Pakistan or India. However, on October 22, 1947, Pakistan attacked J&K, calling the same as an unofficial tribal invasion. Dr Shabir Choudhry, Director-Institute of Kashmir Affairs, London writes in his book ‘Tribal Invasion and Kashmir: Pakistani attempts to capture Kashmir’, “The tribal invasion was a contentious and significant action, because of its serious consequences; and because it clearly violated the standstill agreement concluded between Pakistan and Raja Hari Singh, the King of J&K. Furthermore, it resulted in death and destruction of thousands of people.” Owing to the attack, Raja Hari Singh agreed to the accession of J&K to India. However, Pakistani army never left the land they won which later termed as Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir. This was the reason that India went the UN.  
Shabir who belongs to Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir wrote, “The Tribal invasion was the beginning of the animosity, divisions and other problems between India and Pakistan.”
However, common people in Pakistan have an understanding that Kashmir was either a Pakistani state or on the verge of becoming one, but in 1947 it was India which attacked and took over the land.
The Baloch Crisis
Historically, Baluchistan is a region shared and surrounded by Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. 1666 onwards, the state Baluchistan was either independent or semi-independent.  In fact, on August 14, 1947, after having a series of meetings among Pakistan’s Governor-General Jinnah, Baluch/Kalat’s Khan and the British Viceroy Mountbatten, Jinnah stated, “The Government of Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state in treaty relations with the British Government with a status different from that of Indian States. b. Legal opinion will be sought as to whether or not agreements of leases will be inherited by the Pakistan Government. c. Meanwhile, a Standstill Agreement has been made between Pakistan and Kalat. d. Discussions will take place between Pakistan and Kalat at Karachi at an early date with a view to reaching decisions on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.”
However, the state got vanished from the map of earth on April 1, 1948, owing to the rising threat from Pakistan; Khan of Kalat agreed to merge his state with Pakistan. This was again the violation of the 1947 India-partition Act, as the Baluchistan assembly had rejected the idea of merging with Pakistan. It is said that signature of Khan was taken under the gunpoint. Since then, there came the Baloch insurgency or also known as the Independent revolution of Baluchistan that was at its peak during 1973-1977, when 45,000 Baloch tribesmen fought against the 70,000 men of Pakistani Army. Over 15,000 people have been either killed or made disappeared. Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), accused, “Balochistan has been made a fertile place for armed religious extremists under a plan and as a result about 300,000 Shias, Zikris, and Hindus have migrated to other areas of the country.”
Pakistan’s textbooks don’t mention the ethnic history of Baluchistan, nor the forceful merger. In contrast, it has been accusing Indian intelligence Wing RAW’s involvement in the rising insurgency. Former American Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke clarified, “while Pakistan had repeatedly shared its allegations with Washington, it had failed to provide any evidence to the United States that India was involved in separatist movements in Balochistan.” Pakistan’s recent Kulbhushan Yadav six minutes’ video clip as evidence against India’s involvement was found doctored with sound bites cut and edited 208 times. 
‘A Nuclear Threat’
  Pakistan is the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world. And, for many reasons, it is widely perceived as the cockpit of terrorism.  Bruce O. Riedel, a former CIA officer and one of America's leading experts on U.S. security, South Asia, and counter-terrorism explained ‘the Pak’s Nuke threat’ while speaking to the press, “July 4, 1999, there was a decisive meeting between President Clinton and Nawaz Sharif. Earlier, during the president’s daily brief – the CIA had informed the president that Pakistan was arming its nuclear weapon against India. It was one of the seminal moments of his presidency. There was a very real possibility that if he could not persuade now Nawaz Sharif to back down, India might escalate the war and Pakistan would respond with a nuclear blast. We were very close to a nuclear war.”
On Mumbai attack, Veteran Pakistani Journalist and Editor-in-chief of The Friday Times Najam Sethi, in his TV Talk Show Aapas Ki Baat revealed, “The attacks happened because President Zardari that time wanted to be at peace with India, but in the process he didn’t take the army generals in confidence. Pakistani Army wanted to sabotage.” However, the justification given to the Jihadis is that Islam is in danger; a justification once was given to the Islamic states to help develop the tactical nuke weapons.
Once a quaint nation for US, Pakistan is now home to the Taliban terrorists/Haqqani Networks and hence has lost its relevance for many, including US. As taught in Pakistan’s military textbooks, ‘Jihad is a holy way of bringing revolution.’ The Pakistan Army which usually decides the age of democratic governance in Islamabad has given nukes a preference over conventional war. Former Army General and President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf said, “If ever our existence comes under threat, do we have nukes saved to be used on Shab-e-Baraat?”    
Civic Revolution Ahead?
Pakistan is very often compared with India. On the same page on 1947, both the states headed in quite different directions. While Indians, to their credit had one of the most powerful constitutions in the world, Pakistan confused with its identity, never actually got its freedom because of the military coups and dynasties domination. India too, had Nehru-Gandhi dynasty power at the centre, however, it could never dictate the democracy. Indira Gandhi who enforced infamous ‘emergency' in 1977, got defeated the very next year. Indian civic society is inexplicit, yet sophisticated enough to allow all kinds of spaces to develop -- left, right or centre. This was the scene in 1947, so is today. For every delinquency be it, ‘Akhlaq’, cow-slaughtering or sins by cow protectors or Indian Army, the civic society retaliates and forces the government to take a stance unlike the Pakistan’s whose majority of scholars reside outside the country either by choice or by exile.  
As I am writing this, on TV, I could see the protests being led by PoK Journalist, Shabir Choudhry, against the bloodshed happening in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. The latest Amnesty International report 2016 is out; clearly, Pakistan once again scored as one of the top 10 countries witnessing the most human rights violations. Amnesty reported, “As executions resumed, Pakistan displayed a gross disregard for civilian lives, forcing thousands to flee. Religious minorities continued to face discrimination, persecution and targeted attacks; Human rights activists experienced harassment and abuse.”
 The report also noted that Pakistan has remained one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists as targeted attacks, including killings, by armed groups.
 However, for a country like Pakistan where the army has a State, these symptoms are manageable, as they don’t matter to the army. A nuclear paradox, Pakistan is swinging between democracy and military autocracy. Stephen Cohen, American political scientist & Professor of security studies, University of Illinois said while speaking on ‘Securities in South Asia’, “Pakistan is a paranoid state, and a paranoid society at large.” More or less, this reflects the western opinion. In a country where, right from history to the hysteria of religion, the decision maker at the helm made a mess at every hook and corner, Gustav Ranis, a Frank Altschul Professor of Emeritus International Economics-Yale University prefers to call “Pakistan, a failed state; Regardless of who takes over, Pakistan continues to teeter on non-governability.”
Isolated from all around, the country that needed some serious introspection is still going by the same-old escape route by adopting blame-game. The ‘excessive lies’ have weakened the state’s civic society and have made the NRPs, hostile. 
A State that is manipulative to the state of self-suicidal; only a ‘civic’ revolution will lead to a fresh start.
The struggle for Pakistan: a Muslim homeland and global politics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: By Ayesha Jalal
The struggle for Pakistan: a Muslim homeland and global politics: By Ayesha Jalal
Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back: by Bruce Riedel
Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War: By Christine Fair
Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition: By Nisid Hajari
Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India: By Venkat Dhulipala
Kashmir and Partition of India: Dr. Shabir Choudhry
Tribal Invasion and Kashmir: Pakistani attempts to capture Kashmir in 1947: Dr. Shabir Choudhry
The Baloch and Balochistan: A historical account from the Beginning to the fall of the State: By Naseer Dashti
The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism: By Frédéric Grare

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In Book Review

She Walks, She Leads

Published By: Penguin Random House India
AuthorGunjan Jain
ISBN: 978-0670088850
Genre: Non-Fiction

NR Narayana Murthy is counted as one of the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time (Ref. Forbes); Mukesh Ambani, undeniably is the richest person in the country, but how many of us are aware of the achievements of Sudha Murty and  Nita Ambani? Sudha Murty is not only one of the most successful and accomplished authors but also the woman behind the genesis of Infosys. Nita Ambani is handling a number of portfolios successfully, but often gets discredited. Chanda Kochhar, Kiran Mazumdar, Anamika Khanna, Anu Aga, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saina Nehwal are some of the stars who have set new standards in their respective fields, be it business growth, corporate governance, fashion designing, acting/entertainment and sports. Written by debutant author Gunjan Jain, 'She Walks, She Leads' offers brief glimpses of the lives of 24  extraordinary Indian/NRI women, set to inspire its readers. The book has covered almost all their aspects—relationship, leadership, philanthropy, parenthood, childhood, marriage, dark clouds and more; thanks to the author, reading them is like entering the persons' portion of lives and taking a part of it.

Starting with Nita Dalal, a Bharatnatyam dancer in her childhood, the author has successfully delineated the making of Nita Ambani, an educationist, philanthropist, environmentalist and sporting woman. Interestingly, her unknown love life, Mukesh’s proposal in the middle of a traffic jam on Bombay's Arterial Peddar road. Hardly does anyone know, Nita has planted over 3.4 million trees over the  2500 acres area; she  chairs DAIS, an international school that provides quality education to over 15000 children. To her credit, there is much more...

Included in their topsy-turvy memoirs are some titillating stories that will surely help you understand and decode their success. For e.g. during Sudha Murty's wedding, the bride and groom split the cost which was Rs. 800. An IISc Alumnus, Sudha went on to write to JRD Tata against Tata's policy 'to hire male engineers only'. Tata not only changed their policy but hired her for a Researcher profile.
It was Sudha's savings that became the capital of Infosys, then.

I am 5ft 4in tall. I come from a lower-middle-class family. I can never be rich. You are beautiful and intelligent. You can get anyone you want. But will you marry me?
- NR Murthy to Sudha 

To me, the most interesting and inspiring was reading Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who earned her master’s degree in Malting and Brewing from University of Melbourne, Australia. “But, back in India, the greatest challenge that Kiran faced in the brewing industry of the 70s was that no employer was ready to hire a woman for a job that involved running the brewery, handling labour unions and late nights at the plant. Kiran even approached Vittal Mallya, Vijay’s father-Chairman of UB. He told her, “It’s difficult to give you a job; this is a man’s work.”

“I had to take on the challenge.” Kiran was up against many barriers, as she started going about setting up the business in the garage of her rented house in Bangalore with a seed capital of Rs10,000; a 3000sqft shed nearby served a factory.

The book has many moments to trigger its readers, delving into the lives of Shabana Azmi, Mary Kom, Indu Jain, Shobhana Bhartia, Ritu Kumar, Anamika Khanna and many Sheros, as SRK calls them. Some are hilarious, some are comic. Yes, 'Aishwarya Rai' was one name that I missed.

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In Interview

In Conversation With Gunjan Jain

Gunjan Jain, Author-She Walks, She Leads

Delving deep into the lives of India's most successful women, including Nita Ambani, Sudha Murty, Indu Jain, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Yasmeen Premji, Sania Mirza, Priyanka Chopra, Mary Kom, Chanda Kochar and Mira Nair and more, Gunjan Jain, the author of 'She Walks, She Leads' brings forth the stories of  achievement to trigger both the younger and older audience. "While the specifics of every achiever will always be different, the overall lessons we learn are bound by common values", says Gunjan in an email interview. Excerpts...
This is your debut novel and what a grand launch it had! How does it feel?
It feels very special for me! I have been consumed by this book for the last three years. First, of course by the whole writing process and then last few months it was all about the launch. I wanted everything to be perfect and it was even better, so yes I am enjoying the afterglow.

There are a number of books on women biz entrepreneurs, market leaders, sportswomen ...but when it comes to connecting all, from different verticals, I can’t recall any single Indian book. What inspired you to write this book?
Precisely what you just said…the fact that there was nothing like it that had already been written. The way I look at it, successful people do have some common traits or values. Yes, the approach needs to be tweaked depending on the demands of the field one is in, but there are many traits that remain the same. For instance, Anamika Khanna does not have a formal fashion degree but today, she is one of the top names in fashion. Similarly, Anu Aga does not have a business degree, but when the times demanded it, she was able to successfully steer Thermax towards the position of strength it is at today. One did it because it was her passion; the other did it because it was the need of the day. Different fields, different ages, different backgrounds…the common thread is the self-belief.

How long did it take to write the book? Did you have/set any time frame for writing this book?
From the time I first conceptualized the book to the day, it was published took about three years. Three years of 20-hours long working days! No, I had not really set any deadline or timeframe purely because this was my first book. I was learning as I went along but yes there was something inside me that was constantly pushing me to drive in the 5th gear.

Deciding the present format/style...
I let my instincts guide me as much as possible in terms of deciding on the style. It was a conscious decision to keep the style across all profiles. As mentioned earlier, there is no common thread binding the women in terms of age, profession, background, etc so the common format ensures cohesiveness across the narratives.

Challenges that you faced while researching their lives…
The biggest challenge, of course, was to unearth something new about these women because they are already so popular and there is so much information about them out there. This was largely achieved by talking to their near and dear ones as they brought in a lesser known perspective to the stories.

Then, of course managing the research was a gargantuan task. I accumulated piles and piles of it which I had to sift through, and decide what to retain and what to leave out. That was heartbreaking!

Best piece(s) of advice for writers trying to break in?
Write every day.
Don’t give up because it feels tough.
Get your coffee source in place before you start.

Any plan to write vol. II?
Much as I admire the achievements of these women and so many others who are breaking boundaries every day, I don’t see a sequel of She Walks, She Leads on the horizon. I have not written this book to eulogise these 24 women, the idea is to glean inspiration through their lives. While the specifics of every achiever will always be different, the overall lessons we learn are bound by common values.

What’s next? Would you like to step into the fictional writing?
I have started the ground work on my next book and will talk about that in due time.
At this point, I don’t have any plans on writing fiction. I think I will always be a non-fiction writer; it’s also always been my preferred genre for reading. I feel that my sensibilities are geared towards non-fiction. But, you know what they say- never say, never!

Favorites – Book, movie, place, hobby and sport.
Book – Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg; Movie – Shawshank Redemption; Hobby – Travelling and Yoga; Place – London; Sport - Tennis and Swimming

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