By Ethan Casey
Casey updates his knowing of the Pakistan adventure and units it inside a context of modern and modern heritage. He humanises family politics, attitudes in the direction of the West and India in addition to the Kashmir and Afghanistan matters. His literary reportage demystifies the uneasy position Pakistan occupies in an doubtful international.
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Choc-lette! ’ cries the sundries-shikara man. ‘You want cigarette, sir? Cashew nut? ’ asks the lady selling honey. ‘Rock singer. Very famous. He came my shop. ’ inquires the leather-goods man. ’ ‘Really. ’ ‘Good day,’ he says quite suddenly, and paddles off toward a cluster of shikaras bearing a group of fresh tourists from Taiwan (‘Taiwanis’, the Kashmiris call them). ’ says the thanka man as his shikara sidles up to yours. ’ 30 Pakistan Book 21/7/04 5:52 pm Page 31 VESTIGES AND RUINS ‘No thank you.
S. Naipaul,’ he said. ’ cried Haji happily. The plump man was Aziz, of whom Naipaul had written memorably. He seemed to enjoy the notoriety. Naipaul had arrived unannounced in 1989, he told me. He had not written ahead. But yes, he had recognised him immediately. Naipaul and his wife had stayed four and a half months in 1962, and in 1989 Naipaul had returned without his wife but with some other people and had stayed three or four days, at the Palace. Naipaul was an ‘Anglo-Indian’, and his wife was German or American or something like that.
There really should be a statue to Fulbright, because he had much more eminence, and had the courage, the manhood, the good citizenship, to say – hundreds of times, in private conversations and on television – “I was a fool. I was lied to about the Gulf of Tonkin,” and to admit his mistake and 42 Pakistan Book 21/7/04 5:52 pm Page 43 VESTIGES AND RUINS then lead the main thrust of the antiwar movement. Slowly the idea was forming in me, as a contrarian, that it made no sense. If you hear something a hundred times, you’re inclined to believe it.
Alive and Well in Pakistan by Ethan Casey