South Asia

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently pledged that the U.S. would provide long-term support to Pakistanis affected by historic, devastating floods. Soon after, the United Nations called a special meeting to address how to escalate relief efforts.

As if there were any doubt about India’s mounting anxieties concerning its status vis-à-vis China, the July 12th issue of India Today, India’s largest-circulation newsmagazine, includes an article on Indian versus Chinese soft power that depicts a substantial Indian deficit.

Salman Ahmad, founder of South Asia’s most successful rock band Junoon, has been on a rock and roll jihad (struggle) ever since his first concert at 18 – a medical school talent show in Lahore, Pakistan. Eyes closed, emotions pumped, he was ripping through Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ on his guitar, mesmerized by the crowd’s screams, only to discover that the yelling was coming from a group of bearded students from a religious group outraged by music they considered un-Islamic.

If Pakistan were a person, who would it be? Would it be Odysseus, undergoing a series of grueling tests in order to claim its true heroic identity? Would it be a hapless Sancho Panza, looking on with alarm as it’s dragged into ruin by the misadventures of those around it?