Interview with Eqbal Ahmed


The late Eqbal Ahmed (1933-1999) was an indefatigable campaigner for peace and sanity. He was Professor of International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He was also managing editor of the quarterly Race and Class. MMN is commemorating his anniversary (May 10). Following interview was conducted on March 22, 1995 by Mr. David Barsamian.


My memory is acute is because I was terribly embarrassed. I dont know if you remember. I had just bought a new tape recorder, and I wasnt quite sure how to work it. We did a very extensive interview, and then when I went home I discovered that there was nothing on the tape. I called you. I said, Eqbal, I dont know how to tell you this, but I didnt record our interview. Would you be willing to do another one? You very graciously did the very next day.

Thank you very much. I dont know if Ive told you how that happened. I was in a community in Delhi, in the old city, with master Muslim musicians, ustads, who did not speak English. So it was absolutely incumbent upon me to communicate with them. It was in that atmosphere that I learned Urdu in addition to the music. But were not here to talk about my personal history. Im interested in your personal history. Where were you born and when?

I was born in India, in the eastern province of Bihar, in a small village near Jahanabad. We do not really know when, roughly around 1933 or 1934.

So you grew up during the British Raj?

Very much so. I was a child of nationalist parents in a very nationalist family. I saw members of my family go in and out of prisons. It was a very highly politicized environment of rural gentry of the permanent settlement area, which you would recognize. I grew up there until almost I was twelve years of age. Soon thereafter, we were moving to Pakistan during the civil war that followed the partition of India.

What did your father do? Was he a professional?

No. My father had been in the civil service, but he was fired from it for his, what the British called “insubordinate behavior” towards superior English officers. So he came back to the land and became active in nationalist politics. So when I recall my father, which I do very little ofI was five years old when he was assassinatedwhen I grew up my father was already out of the service and a nationalist politician.

What was the nature of your fathers assassination?

It was a political assassination. He had become very closely involved with Mahatma Gandhi, who was at that time urging large landowners to give away at least a part of their land to tillers, to the real people, peasants who tilled the land and worked it. My father gave away a large part of his land and that of course set a very bad model for our area. A great number of other large landlords, including some members of his own extended family, became very opposed to him for having spoiled the environment in favor of land reform. It is believed that he was a victim of that environment. The murderers were never convicted. Therefore we cannot say with great confidence that this is what it was, that this is who did it. But the general suspicion was that the landlords in the area, including two of his cousins, were involved in it.

So would it be correct to say that part of your family were part of the Congress movement with Gandhi?

Its totally correct, yes.

Then why did the family migrate to Pakistan?

Thats rather complicated. What had happened was that two of my brothers were in the service of the federal government. They were given the choice to opt either for Pakistan or for India. My brothers had opted to stay in India. Then two things happened. The first was that in the civil war that began, a portion of my eldest brothers family was wiped out. His homes were burned. That had a very remarkable impact on him. The other reason was that a large number of senior Muslim officers had opted, the way he did, to stay in India. So Mr. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and his aide, Liaqat Ali Khan, issued public statements appealing to some senior officers to come to Pakistan so that the new state is not totally denuded of bureaucratic and experience of statecraft. So that was the main reason why my two brothers moved. And since my father was already dead, my brother was head of the family. I had to move with them.

Where did you settle?

We came to Lahore. Thats where we live now.

Thats the capital of Punjab province?

Thats correct.

What is your mother tongue? What language did you grow up speaking in Bihar?


In Lahore, the language is …?


And Punjabi, right?

And Punjabi. In Bihar it was Urdu and Hindi, namely two languages that were extremely close to each other. The same was true in Lahore. Lahori Punjabi and Urdu are rather related.

Among the many conflicts in Pakistan today is the one of the muhajir. You in essence represent that. You are a refugee from India. Why is there conflict about the community that left India and migrated to Pakistan?

Two quick remarks. I do not represent the muhajirs. I am a muhajir, technically speaking. I do not represent them because I have no sympathy and no truck with any movements or any kind of politics that is based on ethnic identification. That is one of the reasons I am not in favor of a politics which is Serb politics versus Bosnian politics versus Jewish politics versus Muslim politics. I dont like that. So I have nothing, no truck with the muhajir movement in Pakistan. Your second question is more important: At the moment, why is there hostility, and the muhajir question, particularly in Karachi and generally in the province of Sind. The answer is that, note something: This issue is confined to Sind. It is not a problem in Punjab. It is not a problem in Baluchistan. It is not a problem in the Northwest Frontier Province. These are the other states in Pakistan. So we have to ask how it developed. The reason is the following: Starting in 1979, Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, the military usurper who overthrew the civilian government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was an isolated leaderI shouldnt call him a leaderan isolated ruler whose source of support were the fundamentalist parties in Pakistan and the U.S. abroad. Those were his two mainstays of power. He was looking for ways to isolate the Sindhi movement. The Sindhi movement emerged strongly because it viewed Mr. Bhutto as their martyr. Bhutto was a Sindhi. Miss Bhutto is a Sindhi. In order to divide Sind, Zia ul-Haq started the policy of creating a specifically muhajir party. That is the source, the origins of the Muhajir Qomi Mahaz, which has been one of the roots of the current conflict. This MQM, the Muhajir Qomi Mahaz, was heavily supported, both in its creation and in its growth, by the military regime. But it did have a certain amount of environment in which it could invoke the support of the muhajirs. That environment is a complex one to explain at this moment. To put it simply, the muhajirs who came in from India by definition settled in urban areas, while the Sindhis remained a largely rural people. So one aspect of this conflict in Sind is rural versus urban. The second attached problem: The muhajirs who arrived from India by definition were freed from the constraints of feudal control, control of big landlords. They had left, after all, their homelands. Sindhis, who were in the worst kind of feudal area, remained under feudal control. Feudalism is a system that prevents you, prevents common people, from getting education, literacy, skills, rights. So the Sindhis have been kept highly illiterate. Ill give you figures. The muhajir literacy rate is 79%. The Sindhi literacy rate is below 20%. So those uneven growths have occurred between the Sindhi rural population and the muhajir urban population. In this situation the Sindhis feel that they are being left behind by the muhajirs. The muhajirs feel that they are better educated, more literate, but they are not getting the opportunities that they ought to get, because government policies are partly affirmative action for Sindhis. And the big landlords, who are sitting in Sind, including the Bhuttos, exploit this difference to their own advantage. And any government, like Zia ul-Haqs or Bhuttos, that comes in continues to divide and rule.

Was it during this period of the Zia dictatorship that you were persona non grata in Pakistan?

That is correct. There were two periods when this happened to me. The first time I became a persona non grata in the military dictatorship of Yahya Khan because in 1971 I very strongly opposed the Pakistani militarys intervention in what would later on become Bangladesh and at that time was East Pakistan. They sort of put strict bans and sentences on me. The second time was during Zia ul-Haq.

But now youre able to travel to Pakistan?

Not only travel. Right now I am living there. I come back to the U.S. for about four to five months each year. But I am dividing my time more or less equally between Pakistan and the U.S., since 1988 when the military government fell.

To backtrack a little bit in terms of your own history and chronology, growing up in Lahore in a newly independent country, you went to schools and colleges there, I take it?

Yes. High school and college.

An interesting event occurred in Bandung forty years ago. I want to ask you about that. I knew about it from my stamp collection. I was a very avid stamp collector. I saw all these wonderful stamps coming from India and Yugoslavia and Ghana and Egypt, etc. Talking about Bandung and the spirit of Bandung, this was the 1955 conference in Indonesia of newly independent countries featuring such luminaries as Nehru of India and Tito of Yugoslavia and Zhou Enlai of China and Nkrumah of Ghana, Nasser of Egypt and Sukarno of Indonesia. You were about twenty or twenty-two when this happened. There were a lot of hopes and expectations around that spirit of Bandung at that time. Do you remember the period?

I remember it rather well. I was finishing college. Two or three things quickly. One, Pakistan was out of it at that time. The idea of Bandung was to constitute a non-aligned movement, neither East nor West. Third World will constitute a third block. That was the notion behind Bandung that brought Zhou Enlai and Nehru and Tito and Abdel Nasser on one platform along with Sukarno. Pakistan was out of it because Pakistan had already joined a military alliance with the U.S. The defining factor of invitation to Bandung was that you must not belong to a military bloc or to a power bloc, either the Soviet one or the American one. Pakistan was already part of the American bloc, so we were out of it. But still, there was among younger people like myself at that time, a big deal of excitement that a third force was emerging in the world. Unfortunately, Bandung produced a lot more rhetoric, more promise, than it could fulfill.

Thats what I wanted to ask you about in terms of the spirit of Bandung and the hopes and expectations of the developing world. Rapid industrialization was the model chosen. When one looks around at those countries today, not just in Asia, but in Africa, one sees tremendous devastation. Whats happened over these four decades?

You just put your finger on one major problem. Their model was rapid industrialization. These were countries, all of them, 80% of whose people lived in rural areas. These were countries who did not have the skills available for an industrial society. These were countries where the scientific manpower was small and limited at best, or nonexistent in some cases of various small countries, like Uganda and Tanzania. To take the path of rapid industrialization already suggested that they wanted to be like the industrialized Western world as fast as possible. That was an unrealistic expectation and wish. From that, a second thing followed. Industrialization, even in the Western world, where it wasnt so rapid, it was gradual and planned and it took a long time, roughly from about the beginnings of the eighteenth century to the end of World War I, it was a very long, slow process in the West. But more importantly, it was a very bloody, a very cruel process in the West, although it was not rapid. I think people forget the fact, and the people at Bandung talked a lot about it, but really they forgot in their thinking that industrialization in the Western world was built on the backs of Third World people. Industrialization is a cruel process of capital accumulation that requires the squeezing of somebody in a hard way. Whom are you going to squeeze? Thats a different question. America squeezed the American Indians. It squeezed the black people. It squeezed the Mexicans, at whose expense it expanded. It squeezed ultimately the Filipinos, the Cubans, the Guatemalans, the Caribbeans, etc. The British squeezed Africa, China, India. They French squeezed North Africa, West Africa, they squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. The Germans couldnt squeeze anybody. They didnt have colonies from which they could draw raw materials, to which they could transfer the tensions of the social chain, their excess population, their excess energy. So the Germans ended up squeezing themselves. They produced Bismarck first, then Hitler last. The Italians did the same thing. The Spanish ended up doing the same thing, because just at the time that industrialization was beginning in Spain, Spain was also a receding colonial power. The Americans were taking over from Spain. So Spain also went fascist. As far as Russia goes, it went revolutionary. The point I am making is that the choice of rapid industrialization meant that a number of things would follow. One thing that followed was one-party states: Yugoslavia. One-party state. Authoritarian state. Egypt. Authoritarian state. India. Semi-authoritarian, democratic state under one-party rule for nearly thirty-five years of its existence. Count them. Indonesia. One-party state. So this one-party system was established. They didnt have colonies to expand to, so they had to squeeze at home. That required authoritarian rule. A third thing followed, and it would follow as naturally as anything in the world. That was indebtedness. If youre going to establish industry, youre going to have a high rate of capital accumulation. If youre going to squeeze your people, you need two things: you need to buy heavy machinery from outside, and you need to build an army. So they started buying armaments and large plants and they got in debt. They didnt have much to buy with. With that, they built exactly the kind of state that had squeezed during the period of industrialization in the Western world, namely the authoritarian state. The British state in India was authoritarian. The French state in North Africa was authoritarian, because it had to squeeze. So what you had was the whole notion of rapid industrialization produced the post-colonial state on the model of the colonial state. It produced a post-colonial army on the model of the colonial army. It produced squeezing of the people on the model in which the colonial state had squeezed people. I shouldnt go on. The point I am making is that even with the best of intentions, if you start it wrong, youre going to get it wrong. And thats what the Bandung group did. We have lost nearly forty years of our time in the era after decolonization. And we lost almost a century under colonialism. Our societies, what is still called the Third World, these are time warp societies. We have to somehow straighten them out. It will take time.

The “Third World” is a term coined by French journalists in the 1950s. It no longer seems appropriate. Are you coming up with any new term?

Not really. Im looking for something. For the last twenty-five years I have tried to not use “Third World” in my writings. I cant avoid it in such things as radio broadcasts or television because it has a high currency. I like to use the word “post-colonial societies.”

How about “South”? Is that something youre more comfortable with?

“South” I am more comfortable with. It is certainly more descriptive.

Barbara Crossette, in the New York Times a couple of months ago, wrote a piece entitled “The Third World Is Dead.” She quoted some Pakistani business leaders in this article who observed that a few decades ago their nation, Pakistan, was roughly on a par with South Korea. They both had military dictatorships. Today they are both roughly democracies, on paper at least. But South Koreans live ten years longer than Pakistanis, and earn ten times more than Pakistanis. Is there a good comparison there?

Its an excellent comparison. In fact, it could be said that in 1950 Pakistan was way ahead of Korea on most of the indicators that you would use for modernity or industrialization. As a student I remember hundreds of South Koreans coming to Pakistan to join our colleges and universities and more hundreds coming in to take training under the USAID program, to take training in Pakistan in such things as bureaucracy, management of industry, and so on. So its an interesting question as to why a place like Pakistan has been left behind by a place like South Korea. You cant even say we had democracy and that makes things slow, because like South Korea we were a dictatorship for a very long time. In fact, Korea is still a dictatorship, whatever the claims might be. Its being described as a democracy because its allied to the U.S.

One of the key figures in that post-Bandung era was Franz Fanon. I was interested to learn from Edward Said that you knew Fanon.

I worked for him, yes.

What were the circumstances?

Fanon was kind of boss of the information division of the FLN in 1959.

This was in Algeria. You had gone there?

Yes. I was in Algeria for 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963.

What took you there?

Basically, a very good fellowship from Princeton University, a search for a doctoral dissertation. I finally decided to work on North Africa for my doctoral dissertation. Thats what took me there originally.

Fanon, of course, was not Algerian.

No, like me he was a foreigner. But there were about a dozen foreigners.

I think he was from Martinique.

Right. He was at the time when he moved to the FLN, the Algerian revolution, actually a member of the French civil service, to be very exact, the French medical service. He had been posted in Algeria at the hospital in Oran as a psychiatrist. He was trained as a psychiatrist in French medical schools. I think his conversion finalized, not conversion, I should say his desertion of his service, finalized after he had treated a great number of French torturers and some Algerians who were victims of torture. That treatment that he gave to torturers and the tortured sort of brought him to a certain comprehension of the oppressors and the oppressed.

He wrote a couple of very important books: The Wretched of the Earth …


The other one was Black Skin, White Masks.

That came before his Algerian period, and it is mostly about racial encounter. There Franz Fanons consciousness is more racial than it is political. In The Wretched of the Earth he becomes more of a class-conscious person. There is a strong comparison in this respect between Franz Fanon and Malcolm X. Both Malcolm X and Franz Fanon began from a consciousness of racial discrimination. They both began to be activists, angry men committed to liberation from their experience of racial discrimination, but ended up rejecting the racial divide and joining humanity in behalf of the class struggle. Both began to see that class is more important that race once it comes to basics. So Wretched is written in that second period, after he had joined the Algerian revolution. Am I making sense to you?

More than sense. Im absolutely fascinated. Youve been involved with some very important figures and movements over the last forty years or so. Youre an encyclopedia.

If you are born in troubled times it brings you pain, but it also brings you much excitement and a lot of experience.

When you were in Algeria did you learn Arabic, or did you use French?

Mostly I knew already Arabic. I had learned Arabic at Princeton. French I picked up in Algeria, mostly.

With Fanon you spoke in French?

In French, yes.

Did you become friends?

Yes, very, very close.

He was quite a young man at that time.

Oh my God, yes.

And he died at a very young age.

At the age of thirty-nine.

I suspect that the current situation in Algeria must cause you a lot of pain.

It is painful. Do you know what is most painful?

Whats that?

The Islamic fundamentalist kids. Like all revolutions, like all violent movements, its the young who die, and in Algeria its the young Islamists who are dying. Every time I read the newspaper and a name is published of who was murdered, who was killed, who is in jail, I wonder if this one, or that one, is the son of my friends in Algeria. The present movement is the son of the FLN. This is something that nobody in the West is fully recognizing. Its the son of the FLN. These are children of fathers who had fought in Algeria for the democratic, secular, forward-looking, progressive revolution. Their hopes were disappointed. These kids have grown up seeing their fathers as broken, disillusioned men who fought, who served prison terms, who went through torture, and at the end of it they had nothing to show for it except injustice, inequality, and an Algeria that was tied merely to France by ties of dependence. I am not on the side of these kids, but I must understand their pain.

One thing you left out in your analysis of what has happened since Bandung over the last four decades in the developing world is U.S. hostility and antagonism toward the non-aligned movement. Could you touch upon that?

The U.S. was not then and is not now hostile to the non-aligned movement per se. What the U.S. has always been, as a major power its normal, normal to big powers that exercise world influence and that have a stake in the developments of the world. Such powers are always status quo powers. Anything that threatens the status quo, they are opposed to it. Anything that supports the status quo, they are for it. That is as simple as that. There were some countries in the non-aligned movement, Ill name only one: Malaysia, which the U.S. was not opposed to. Because Malaysia was a pro-Western country. It did not join military alliances, therefore it became part of the non-aligned movement since 1955. But it was pro-Western, pro-capitalist, anti-communist. Therefore the American government supported it. On the other hand, Abdel Nasser stood out fully as opposed to expansion of American interests in the Middle East. Abdel Nasser wanted Arabs to control their oil resources. Abdel Nasser wanted to control the Suez Canal for Egypt. Therefore he became anathema. Tito, on the other hand, was a major non-aligned leader, but he was opposed to the Soviet Union. Therefore Tito received some help from the U.S. The point I am making is, the big powers, the imperial powers are status quo powers. Anything, good or bad, that threatens the status quo, they are opposed to. Very often there are good things, because the status quo is very often an unjust status quo. The status quo in Pakistan that threatened Zia ul-Haq was a good status quo. It was a good movement that threatened it, because it was a bad status quo. But the Americans still disliked it. It was not the non-aligned movement, but anyone that threatened the status quo. That is the only way you can understand the U.S.s continued opposition to Cuba and to Castro. For about thirty years, since 1958, every American policymaker has given two explanations for American hostility to Cuba: one, hes aligned to Moscow. Moscow is our enemy. Two, Castro supports revolutions in Latin America. He is a troublemaker. Both reasons are gone now. Nobody is using that. What are they saying now about Castro? We are opposed to him because he is a dictator. The truth is that the U.S. supports even today a huge number of dictators. Yeltsin is committing crimes against humanity in Chechnya. The generals and leaders of South Korea are murderers of the worst kind. The government of Israel appearsforgive me for saying so, its not fashionable in this countrywithout a single years exception, every year for the last twelve years, in Amnesty International reports as a major violator of human rights. The U.S. doesnt care. Because they are allies. They dont threaten the status quo.

U.S. clients seem to get a free ride. Let me just give you one example from todays headlines: Turkey has invaded Iraq in the largest military operation in the history of the Turkish Republic. The BBC reported just a few hours ago about the “ferocity of the Turkish offensive.” There had been a “steady stream of F-16 bombers” … “a massive operation in northern Iraq.” I wonder if people recall the uproar around the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the sanctity of international borders.

There is no sanctity to international borders when they are violated by people whom a big power likes. The Turks have just done it. And the Turks have committed a massive number of human rights violations against the Kurdish people. The Israelis are occupying the south of Lebanon. And they are occupying all of the West Bank totally. Nobody cares about those violations. Altogether you are absolutely right. But we should take these details for granted. I feel that these are things we have to organize, to struggle against. These are not things I want to complain about.

But whats striking right now is the silence. Its literally deafening. There is no Nehru or Sukarno or Tito pointing out these hypocrisies.

That is true. There Bandungs spirit is dead. In fact, far from no Nehrus, what we have is everyone who is bowing almost unthinkingly to Emperor Market. The market has become a religion in our time. By religion I mean something that you have a faith in without questioning.

You just wrote a three-part article on Mexico and globalization. Whats your analysis of that?

Recall three things. Number one, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the former president of Mexico has been praised in this country without exception by every politician, by every leader in this country, and in Europe and every major publisher and media. He has been praised as a man of great vision. He has been unfailingly described as the “Harvard-educated President of Mexico.” His aides have always been described as the “Ivy League team” of the President of Mexico. And in just about the last two months, the words Harvard-educated, visionary, Ivy League have not been mentioned. The reason they have not been mentioned is that finally the Mexican experience, which was presented to us for the last six years as a model for the whole Third World, has brought the Mexican people a massive amount of grief. But more importantly, it has brought grief to the American people. What is the process of that? It has been a kind of detailed one. One is bringing Mexico artificially into the monetary system. Go back to the question of rapid industrialization. Mexico is not an industrialized country, but it has become part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. Its an underdeveloped country which was stimulated to heat up its economy with the help of tesobonos, bonds. These bonds were a formula. In Mexico they are known as tesobonos. In Wall Street they were known as Brady bonds. Nicholas Brady, the Secretary of the Treasury of Ronald Reagan, devised a formula to take care of the large debts that Mexico had incurred. Its a longish process. First of all, Mexico incurred a debt of about $70 billion by buying more and more armaments and consumer goods from the U.S. and other industrialized countries. In order to buy them, they borrowed from American banks, mostly American, also British and French and Japanese. Why did the banks lend them? The banks lent because the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Shah of Iran had put a lot of money in American banks and they were looking for some use of that money. So they gave loans to Mexico at good interest rates. Mexico borrowed a lot of money. With that money Mexico bought armaments from America, mainly, and consumer goods and from Japan and France and Britain. So you get the first picture. Oil passes from the Saudis to the West. Saudis are paid for that oil with paper money. The Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Abu Dhabis, the Gulf sheiks, put that money in American banks. These banks are looking for clients who will borrow. Mexico borrows and buys a lot of goods from the Western world and becomes indebted. It gets so indebted that its about to default. If it defaults there will be a panic in the entire world market. So Brady devised a formula. Listen to this one. The Brady formula looked very good to the Mexicans and the others. It said, Well write off twenty-five or thirty percent of your loan. Chemical Bank has given you $100 million. Well write off $20 million. You pay back $80 million. And so on. So we write off twenty percent. You pay back eighty percent. You can pay it back by selling bonds. So then they started selling bonds. Bonds meant, the Mexican government sells you a bond to pay you back in dollars at fifteen to eighteen percent of profits each year. Now you, David Barsamian, or your listeners, suddenly hear from your investment managers that Mexico is selling government-certified bonds that will give you fifteen percent return. So you buy them. So huge amounts of dollars are going into Mexico and the Mexicans are using it to pay the creditors back, and the Mexican economy is totally heated up. That produced the cycle of paper transactions in Mexico. It was not the only thing, but it produced a massive cycle of paper transactions. What Mexico then got caught into was to continually get money from selling bonds, selling stocks, in other words, paper transactions. There was a trap here. If youre going to keep paper transactions going, youd better keep your exchange rate right. Keep it favorable to those who are buying into your stocks, bonds, and treasury bills. At 3.45 Mexican pesos to a dollar, it was much too overvalued. It made no sense. In fact, it meant the second thing, that the dollar was cheap in Mexico. You could buy a dollar for 3.45 pesos. Therefore, Mexican exports continued to fall. But Mexican importers found it very easy to buy things. So imports went up, exports went down. Ill give you a figure. Its very complicated for everyone who is listening.

And weve got two minutes.

Two minutes left. The arithmetic is very simple. Mexico bought $50 billion worth of consumer goods in 1994 from abroad, ninety percent of it from the U.S. It exported only $18 billion, which gave Mexico a net deficit in trade of $32 billion. Thats one figure of this kind of completely artificial economy they built. The loans that the U.S. has given, $50 billion, is being used mainly to pay off the American creditors. So it will not improve the Mexican economy. Mexico is entering a long period of depression. Not recession, depression. Every Third World country should study the case of Mexico to figure out what not to do in the post-Cold War economic market.

I know youre leaving for Pakistan tomorrow morning. What projects do you have going on there?

Im trying to build a university there, so thats one big, massive project.

In Islamabad?

Outside Islamabad, in the hills. The second thing I am very much involved in is trying to bring Pakistan and India and other South Asian countries closer to each other and to make peace with each other. We have been at war. We have a cold war going there. Both India and Pakistan are nuclear countries. There is a great danger there. We have to finish it. We have to stop it. So I am working very hard with Indian groups, friends from India, in organizing and have actually succeeded in a modest way in organizing a peace movement for all of South Asia.

I feel a deep kinship with you and that spirit of resistance lives in you. I cherish it very much, and you. Thank you very much.

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