Posts Tagged ‘Queen Baton’

Queen’s Baton: Will Bonhomie at Indo-Pak border be replicated in participation by Pakistan at Commonwealth Games?


Queen's Baton Published in Pb Kesari on July 14, 2010

BY RASHMI TALWAR

Wagah-Attari Indo-Pak border never looked so bridal…..
The marigold rivulet like strings on the border gates–a witness to millions of passersby over the past 63 years to either side of the Radcliff line- today looked in ‘merry’ celebration, as if on the entry of the girl back to her ‘sasural’ (marital home).

Yes, the girl was the “Queen’s Baton” –shining in her elegant glory, handed over from the Pakistani side by Punjab (Pak) Governor Sulman Taseer to Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi at dot 9.30 am of a particularly pleasant morning of June 25 2010, amidst a colorful frenzy of emotions as the Indian side’s –’Sare Jahan se Acha …’ matched the Pakistani side with ‘Jea, jea Pakistan..’.

Taseer, Kalmadi walked alongside, crossing over the zero line into India with a team of 20 Pak members, to an equally euphoric welcome to the undisputed symbol of sports amongst onlookers and participants on the Indian side.
This was after all, the first time a South Asian country was hosting the Commonwealth Games and India was a front-runner!

Indian stands responded eagerly to the waves from Pak enclosures particularly to Beena Sarwar- Pakistan peace activists’ of ‘Aman Ki Asha’ –an Indo-Pak joint venture through the powerful medium of ‘words’– Now converted into an open display of bonhomie between the people of both countries.

A beaming Suresh Kalmadi petted his team for the excellent welcome, particularly Jagmohan Bhanot OSD Commonwealth Games, who conceptualized the idea of joining hands with “Aman ki Asha”, to march forward on this historic turf, in an effort aimed to clearing the detritus of past bitterness, of blood, wars and revenge, of shattered families and loot–Into emotions of undiluted joy and celebration!
All of the past, was forgotten momentarily, as rivals set aside differences in a collective effort to usher in the Baton – that perhaps would help ‘warring countries’, direct their energy flow in the playfields towards human endurance and team competitiveness, rather than policy-stands by Heads of countries with their formal nods & nays, swayed by pressures within or without.

A chain of gaily colored handkerchiefs with peace messages that flowed into India, made by Pakistani children, alongside the Baton Relay, was given a virtual ‘nuptial’ knot with similar kerchief chain by Indian children, bonding the two countries on a note of Peace in the region.

As the ‘new generations’ stood face to face smiling and in awe of this historic moment, the hope of having ‘different’ playmates from across the border, writ large on their glowing faces.

From either side of the gates they looked at each other- surprised, but found ‘no horns’ that have been fed about each other’s features since their senses took charge. The little ones took no time to gulp their initial inhibitions and animatedly responded to each other in all their pure innocence! -As children are wont to do.

Celebration started on the Indian side and Political compulsions did rear their head, but remained mostly unnoticeable. First, Punjab’s ruling BJP-Akali and congress MLAs sat in stoic silence next to each other feigning concentration on the jubilation of color, music and rhythm of Punjabi Bhangra, Rajasthani and of Jammu and Kashmir –all border states with Pakistan, sharing a common and composite cultural heritage.

CM Parkash Singh Badal from the dias, shared about his formative years in Lahore and claimed to know every nook, corner and ‘gali’ ‘especially the famous ‘lassi’ of Lahore. He cited some personal instances of his college as an under grad in arts at Foreman Christian College, Lahore and talked about removing the Indo-Pak Gates and walls between the two countries through sports.
In the last leg of the baton passing ceremony, Punjab CM passed the baton to Minister of External affairs Parneet Kaur wife of former CM Capt Amarinder Singh, ‘as if he was passing the reins of his government to her’… Badal addressed Delhi CM Sheila Dixit as his sister but reserved the ‘familial endearment’ only for her avoiding any reference to the other female lead- Parneet. Parneet on her part sat dignified in the VIP stands and avoided any glance towards the border gates ..that had caused much consternation in her personal life from a particular female enchantress.

But the crowd hardly noticed this ‘fee-fa’, lulled as they were by the unique audio-visual treat and the grandeur setting of this event.
If anyone could be singled out for thoroughly enjoying this moment it was the IOA Prez — ‘Tu Maane ya na Maane … Dildara …Asan tenu Rab Maneya by Puran and Pyare Lal Wadali (Wadali Brothers ) brought emotional bonding.
The Commonwealth Queen’s Baton carrying the message of “Peace through Sports” had landed a day earlier in Lahore at the ‘Allama Iqbal International Airport’ carried by A crew of QBR, including Ajay Chautala, Member of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Raj Qadian, Avny Lavasa, Louis Rosa and Asokan.
Sheila dixit said she felt honored to be the chief minister of Delhi at the time when India would host its first Commonwealth Games.
Pure bonhomie between neighbors India and Pakistan gripped the occasion, that drew not only the youngsters to dance impromptu but also the IOA Chief Kalmadi was seen swinging merrily in the mood, created by Pak artists at the Wagah-Attari Indo Pak Border on “Ab jaan lutt jaye…. Yeh jahan chutt jave …saang pyar rahe, ……Mein rahun na rahun… Sajda ! Sajda ! tera Sajda !……” a peppy emotional number from ‘My Name is Khan’ sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan- Live On stage!
It was joined in equally chorus by a Fusion, by music troupes of ‘Wadali brothers’ (India) and ‘Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’ (Pakistan) and the climax through ‘Duma Dum Mast Kalandar…”–a popular folk song of both Punjabs. There was then no stopping the elation.

The baton has specially been designed on an 18 karat gold leaf and the relay was the largest of all the previous editions, covering a distance of 1,90,000 km during its visit to 71 participating nations across the world. It had started from Delhi to Buckingham Palace (England) and was formally launched by Queen Elizabeth-II to travel to all 71 Commonwealth Nations.
And the countdown of 100 days began…for the baton to reach back to Delhi–the venue of the XIX Commonwealth Games from October 3-14, after setting foot in 28 states and seven union territories of India.
It was passed on to the Indian sports greats Vijender Singh Olympics Bronze medalist Boxer and four-time world champion woman boxer M C Mary Kom at Indo- Pak Border and thereon to many a great Indian sportsperson.
However, it remains to be seen if only 70 countries or will the 71st country would also participate as enthusiastically as seen near the Wagah-Attari dividing line, …or was the ‘undivided’ feeling just a fleeting gesture…..

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TIT BITS … …HIGHLIGHTS OF THE QUEENS BATON ARRIVAL IN INDIA VIA WAGAH-INDO PAK BORDER


BY Rashmi Talwar

1. One CM ‘s spouse with the other CM’s spouse …It seemed an odd moment for the senior Badal (Parkash Singh Badal) to share a stage with Maharani Parneet Kaur the wife of former CM Capt Amarinder Singh . They had carefully avoided standing with each other all through the event but finally had to face each other side by side on the stage when the Queens’s Baton was passed from Badal to Parneet ….Lolz ..seemed like the Sn Badal was handing over the reins of the Government to the wife of his rival …!!!
2. A chain, made of handkerchiefs with peace messages formed by Pakistani children, accompanied Queen’s Baton Relay, which was joined by a similar chain from Indian children.
3. CM Parkash Singh Badal shared about his formative years in Lahore and claimed to know every nook corner and ‘gali’ ‘ especially the famous lassi of Lahore. He cited some personal instances of his college days, when he was pursuing graduation in arts at Foreman Christian College Lahore and talked about removing the Indo Pak Gates and walls between the two countries through sports.
4. Tu Maane ya na Maane … Dildara …Asan tenu Rab Maneya by Puran and Pyare Lal Wadali (Wadali Brothers ) brought an emotional bonding .
5. The Commonwealth Queen’s Baton carrying the message of “Peace through Sports” had landed a day earlier in Lahore at the ‘Allama Iqbal International Airport’ carried by A crew of QBR, including Ajay Chautala, Member of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Raj Qadian, Avny Lavasa, Louis Rosa and Asokan.
6. Sheila dixit said she felt honored to be the chief minister of Delhi at the time when India would host its first Commonwealth Games

“Ab jaan lutt jaye…. Yeh jahan chutt jave …saang pyar rahe, ……Mein rahun na rahun… Sajda ! Sajda ! tera Sajda !……” amidst this peppy emotional number from ‘My Name is Khan’ sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan- Live ! It was a scene of pure bonhomie between neighbors India and Pakistan, that drew not only the youngsters to dance impromptu but also the Indian Olympic Association Chief Suresh Kalmandi was seen swinging merrily in the mood, created by Pak artists at the Wagah Indo Pak Border on June 25, (Amritsar).

About half an hour before the Fusion Number by the music troupes of ‘Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’ (Pakistan) and ‘Wadali brothers’ (India) broke into a ‘Duma Dum Mast Kalandar…”–a common folk song of Punjab on either sides of the border, Kalmadi was handed over the ‘Queens Baton’ for the Commonwealth games by Punjab (Pakistan) Governor Sulman Taseer at exactly 9.30AM India Time (Pak is half an hour behind) ,who came alongside the Indian delegation crossing over the zero line into India with a team of 20 members.

The baton has specially been designed on an 18 karat gold leaf and the relay is the largest of all the previous editions, covering a distance of 1,70,000 km during its visit to 71 participating nations across the world. It started from Delhi to Buckingham Palace (England) and was formally launched by Queen Elizabeth to travel to all 71 Commonwealth Nations.

And the countdown of 100 days begins…for the baton that arrived today to reach back to Delhi–the venue of the XIX Commonwealth Games from October 3-14, after setting foot in 28 states and seven union territories of India. The Baton was passed on to the Indian sports greats Vijender Singh Olympics Bronze medalist Boxer and four-time world champion woman boxer M C Mary Kom.

Leading sports personalities and other dignitaries including Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit , Maharani Parneet Kaur MP and wife of former Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, MLAs and MPs were in attendance at the border outpost as the Baton was handed over to India.

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