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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 18, New Delhi, April 17, 2021

Statement on the demise of founding member of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy I. A Rehman | April 12, 2021

Friday 16 April 2021

I. A. Rehman, a legend, a crusader for justice, peace and democracy, a lover of literature, poetry and music is no more.

It is the rarest of men for whom it can truly be said that their passing away diminishes us each, personally- in the joy, care, generosity and well-being that he brought to every friendship, and politically – in the towering inspiration that he was in all our common struggles against social and economic injustice and violations of the rights of the marginalised; his faith and belief in the common people and disregard for power and privilege; and his tireless commitment to building democracy without which there could be no peace. His quiet humility that made him listen to you, before he took your inchoate words and with a clarity of wisdom lifted our understanding about layered structures of power and mapped the way forward in the struggle for human rights, democracy and peace.

He was the co-founding visionary, conceptualising the need and possibility of building a people to people peace movement between Pakistan and India and indeed South Asia when nuclear war clouds shrouded the subcontinent and the crescendo of war talk silenced any talk of peace. I.A. Rehman dared to work with like-minded believers across hostile borders, to recognise the linkage between strengthening democracy and building peace, to boldly and politically face the conundrum of Kashmir. He was the first or among the first in Pakistan to transcend the obscurity of partisan loyalties, and boldly declare with his counterpart in India, the will of the people of Kashmir must prevail to resolve the political problem of Kashmir. It is with great sorrow and a sense of irreplaceable loss that we bid farewell to soul of the peace and democracy movement of Pakistan and India.

This death, this immense void, this invaluable grief, this jewel of decades of uncompromising writing, standing up against repression, this dare against warmongers– cannot be dissolved in tears. This is a grief, we will carry in our hearts forever.

Statement issued by PIPFPD on the 12th April 2021

Contact details: pipfpd.india[at]gmail.com / 9867220679

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