Mumbai: Defying the threat by Shiv Sena, the book of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri was launched today in Mumbai.
Kasuri thanked Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for providing excellent security to him and the event. The event was held amidst tight security for the visiting dignitary in the wake of Shiv Sena' threat to disrupt the function despite appeals to it to give up its protest.
"I have written this book to correct some misconceptions," Kasuri said as his book "Neither a hawk, nor a dove - An insider's account of Pakistan's foreign policy" was launched amid tight security.
On his part, Kasuri said his purpose behind writing the book was to "correct perceptions" amongst people of the neighbouring nations.
Kasuri added that he has sent copies of his book to senior BJP leaders Yashwant Singh and LK Advani, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former diplomat and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, President of India and the Vice President of India.
It was attended among others by noted lawyer and historian A G Noorani, journalist Dileep Padgaonkar and film actor Naseeruddin Shah, who were panelists at the launch.
Chairman of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), the think-tank and organiser of the book launch show Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was the target of ink attack in the morning, said "It is our duty to undo the mistakes of the past."
“Mumbai stands for India-Pak dialogue for peace, this function in the face of threats is vouching for that,” he added.
"I also express my deepest gratitude to all of you who have come to attend the function notwithstanding the extra ordinary circumstances in which it is being held. This shows your resolve, our resolve and common resolve, the resolve of millions of Mumbaikars to defend the values of tolerance and diversity," Kulkarni said while making opening remarks at the event held at Nehru Centre in Mumbai.
"We should not let any organization mar the values of Mumbai," Sudheendra Kulkarni said, adding, "We went to meet Uddhav Thackeray yesterday, to make him understand why we are having this event."
Without naming Shiv Sena, Kulkarni evoked President Pranab Mukherjee's recent remarks that "tolerance and diversity and core values of Indian civilisation and these
must be defended", he said adding "we shall defend them".
Terming Mumbai as a "tolerant, inclusive, liberal, democratic and multi-faith city", Kulkarni said the mega polis celebrates diversity of every kind including "diversity of thoughts and opinions".
"Mumbai cherishes the right to dissent. Mala maay Marathi baddal, Marathi Mumbai baddal apaar abhiman aahe. Mumbai Maharashtriy aahe, parantu tyachyadhi Mumbai rashtriy aahe, aantarrashtriy aahe (I am immensely proud of Marathi, Mumbai. Mumbai is Maharashtrian, but before that it is national and international city)," he added.
Describing Kasuri's attachment to India, Kulkarnbi said, “Kasuri ji is a Pakistani yet 10 years ago he said to me that his entire family is a family of Indian patriots.”
“His father was arrested in the Quit India Movement, they were all Congress supporters,” he added.
He said Mumbai has a very special place in India's freedom Movement with Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammed Ali Jinnah spending "maximum years" substantial part of their lives in the city, which served as "karma bhumi" of the both the leaders and attributed the book launch function as "an effort to undo the mistakes of the past" between the two nations.
He referred to a line from the book "na banduk se na goli se, baat banegi boli se" insisting dialogue between the two countries must go on irrespective of circumstances.