Syed Babar Ali Speaks at Harvard University’s Event, ‘75 Years of Azadi’
The Mittal Institute at Harvard University organised a series of events to commemorate 75 years of ‘azadi’ or ‘freedom’ of the subcontinent. One of these celebratory events was a session on September 14 titled ‘From British India to Modern South Asia’ that featured a conversation between LUMS Founding Pro Chancellor, Syed Babar Ali and Nobel Prize-winning Harvard Professor, Amartya Sen. Moderated by Leela Gandhi from Brown University, the conversation focused on the importance of the 75 years of freedom through the perspective of these prominent South-Asian public figures. Both shared their experiences; as a Pakistani and an Indian, born in British India.
Syed Babar Ali shared amusing stories of the partition and how when he returned to Pakistan the first person he visited was his Sikh friend. He spoke about ‘Learning from Others’, his autobiography. Sharing his thoughts on freedom and what it means to him, he said that every citizen of each South Asian country needs to not only celebrate their independence but also their interdependence. “We have so much to learn from each other and to share in our pursuit for the well-being and happiness of our communities,” he said.
He shared that 75 years is early in the life of a country. “At that age, people grow old; nations, however, begin to discover their human potential and find their place in the international community,” he added.
Syed Babar Ali also talked about women’s empowerment and his efforts to facilitate education for females. He mentioned the new female hostel at LUMS funded by the Babar Ali Foundation, which has been named after his mother and her two sisters.