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Tag "Pakistan"
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shadow lines

The Shadow Lines (Credit: La Collection/Laurent Goldstein)

In 1964, in the heart of the city of Dhaka, Tridib is brutally murdered. He is a main character in Amitav Ghosh’s renowned novel The Shadow Lines.  His death, along with many others, comes with what is known today as the East Pakistan riots. Recently, India and Pakistan have seen a tremendous escalation in riots resulting from their national conflict over the Indian administered territory of Kashmir, a state in North India. The Shadow Lines is a beautiful conception of events of post-Partition India that underscores the gross tension between the two nation states and the riots that took place in the wake of the Partition of India.

The novel explores the notion of borders — the effects of its physical, psychological and geographical manifestation. Ghosh’s novel deals with the effects of World War II in London and post-Partition India. It also concerns itself with the riots that spread across cities of India into Dhaka, the capital of then-East Pakistan and nowadays Bangladesh. The riots created an inevitable sense of disillusionment amongst the inhabitants within these borders. A dangerous sense of jingoism arose. The riots got worse, and so did the pseudo-nationalism.

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Muhammad Osman Ali Chaudry’s Wisdom Salad is available locally in Pakistan as well as the Bard College Berlin library.

Chaudhry’s Wisdom Salad

Osman Chaudhry, age 18, is Bard College Berlin’s youngest published author. His first book “Wisdom Salad” (named after his band) is currently available in Pakistan, as well as in the Bard College Berlin library.

In the form of poems and brief commentaries, this book is a thematic mixture of religion, death, love, hate… you name it!

“I was young and idealistic,” Osman says, “so I decided to solve the problems of the world,” he smiles to himself. I smile too, why stop being young and idealistic?

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Osman Chaudhry (right) - photo by Syed Haider Ali

Osman Chaudhry (right) – photo by Syed Haider Ali

An 18-year-old born in Lahore, Pakistan has recently joined the Bard College Berlin community. Muhammad Osman Chaudhry is the third Pakistani student ever to be enrolled in the BA program. With a thick beard, cool reserve, and wearing a mix of Pakistani attire and jeans, Osman is seen roaming around campus as a thoughtful and relaxed fellow-student. As part of the blog team, I decided to have a casual conversation with Osman about his first impressions of Bard College Berlin and his life here in Berlin.

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Bleed, 2013

Bleed, 2013 (© Photo: Haupt & Binder)

Strolling casually along the streets of Berlin frequently proves to be an especially invigorating experience: the tangible spirit of creativity, nonchalance and dynamism spreads contagiously over the city’s different districts and greatly influences my perception of it. Yet more alluring for the art-loving residents or merely visitors of Berlin than the city’s streets and panorama could be its numerous museums, galleries and exhibition spaces that fuse within the city’s lively atmosphere while forming a world of their own. Placid and animated, traditional and subversive, the art exhibitions in Berlin revealfrom an aesthetically-focused perspective – this inspiring air of creativity that the city as a whole renders.

Even more so, the exhibitions often refine my understanding of the many roles of art. One of those roles, as I have repeatedly come to realize, is to encourage a new level of awareness about world problems which pertain both to our time and dwell outside the chronologically-measured realm. Instilling in me the feeling of readiness to perceive and appreciate beauty in its various manifestations, one of these art showings, the Imran Qureshi: Artist of the Year 2013 exhibition at “Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle” (formerly “Deutsche Guggenheim”), convinced me once again that the power of art can magnificently coalesce aesthetic form with profound content and meaning – without undermining one in order to accentuate the other.

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Taken from an English One Act Play called' The Tree''

In 2010, I received my BS in Economics from the Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan. After graduation, I enrolled in ECLA of Bard’s Academy Year to further my studies in philosophy. I was so engaged with academics at ECLA that I never quite had the time to reconnect back with Kinnaird. Due to this lack of introspection, I always spoke about my undergraduate experience rather absent-mindedly, emphasizing its colonial history rather than sharing my personal connection to it with others. That was until I unearthed some photographs that chronicled my experiences during that time. Revisiting these images reminded me of my struggling years at Kinnaird, where I learnt to fully speak my heart and mind. I spent four years at Kinnaird, playing various roles sometimes in the theatre and at times outside of it.

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Girls waiting for the groom and his guests to shower them with rose petals

Girls waiting for the groom and his guests to shower them with rose petals

Lahore, Pakistan

Dear ECLA,

Pakistan is a country of sweet contradictions and extremes, from the Himalayas to the Indus River. Such is my experience of living in this country. I come from the city of Lahore, which shares borders with India. Lahore is Pakistan’s cultural capital and is the second largest city in terms of population. The theatre, television, cinema, literature and the beautiful colonial and Mughal architecture in Lahore are all of historical importance. Winter is mild, with January slightly chillier, yet still one of the most pleasant months of the year. The golden sunny days invite people to sit outside on their lawns or in parks, often enjoying winter with barbecues and teas.

This is also when the wedding season kicks in every single year. Because of the scorching heat in summer, people wait for winter to organize their weddings.

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I completed the Academy Year programme at the European College of Liberal Arts (ECLA) in the summer of 2011. This fall, I returned to ECLA for the BA program. During the whole recent year, I worked with a theatre group and also taught theatre skills back home in Pakistan. Working in the theatre industry required long hours of physical labour, and my working hours extended to twelve hours a day. My only relaxation remained savouring my days at ECLA. Every night, as I would lie down after an extremely fatiguing day, I would look back to the walks taken in Pankow, to the exciting essay-writing process, and – of course! – to the friends that I had discovered in Berlin. Although I was not physically present at ECLA, I remained deeply connected to it.

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