In honour of this year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan, our first three events celebrated the lives and legacies of undisputed heroes of Pakistan: one of the founding fathers of the nation Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the poet and ideologist Allama Iqbal, and the great philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi.


Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

St-Thomas-in-TaxillaSt Thomas in Taxila – an illustrated talk by Serena Fass

Time: 6.00pm with the talk at 6.30pm
Venue: The High Commission for Pakistan, 36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 8JN.
Admission: This event is open to Members of The Pakistan Society and their guests.
RSVP: Please ensure that you register your attendance via the website for security and catering purposes. If in doubt email: info@thepakistansociety.org.uk

REGISTER HERE

Please note: You may book only for yourself, your spouse and two further guests or yourself and three guests (maximum of four in total). You will be asked to fill in the name of the person each place is for, including your own. You will receive an email confirmation of your places but no physical tickets will be issued.

If you wish to bring more guests please email: info@thepakistansociety.org.uk

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There has long been evidence that St Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, travelled from Jerusalem via Persia to Taxila, as well as to other places in the south of the sub-continent. In this talk, Serena Fass will concentrate on the three years in the middle of the 1st century AD when it is said that St Thomas was in Taxila. Here, she explains, he was a guest of the Zoroastrian King Gondolpheres and, among other things, he built a palace for the King.

The plausibility of St Thomas being in Taxila is not the same as absolute proof, but there is more than just tradition to substantiate his presence there, including a 1st-century coin found in the excavations at Taxila, which bears the likeness and name of the King in Aramaic script, the language of Judea. A ‘St Thomas’ cross was discovered in Sirkap, near Taxila, which also dates from the 1st century, and a contemporary manuscript, The Acts of Saint Thomas, discovered in Syria in the early 19th-century, corroborates the story of Thomas’s arrival in Taxila. As the highly-respected historian and broadcaster, Professor Michael Wood, says, ‘this is a literally amazing story.’

Serena Fass has been studying and researching the life and times of Jesus, and the spread of early Christianity, for many years; she is the author of three books on the subject, including her most recent one, In the footsteps of St Thomas, for which she travelled extensively in Pakistan, and for which Michael Wood wrote the introduction.


Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

Ian TalbotThe early British High Commission in Pakistan: its role and history – A talk by Professor Ian Talbot

The Pakistan Society is delighted to co-host this event with Bloomsbury Pakistan. It will be introduced by Professor Edward Simpson, Director of SOAS South Asia Institute, and chaired by Sir Nicholas Barrington, a former High Commissioner to Pakistan.

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Time: 7.00pm
Venue: The Wolfson Lecture Theatre (SWLT), in the Senate Wing of SOAS,  London WC1E 7HU.
Admission: This event is open to Members of The Pakistan Society and their guests.
RSVP: Please ensure that you register your attendance via the website for security and catering purposes. If in doubt email: info@thepakistansociety.org.uk

REGISTER HERE

Please note: You may book only for yourself, your spouse and two further guests or yourself and three guests (maximum of four in total). You will be asked to fill in the name of the person each place is for, including your own. You will receive an email confirmation of your places but no physical tickets will be issued.

If you wish to bring more guests please email: info@thepakistansociety.org.uk

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The literature on the legacies of Partition for Pakistan has overlooked the history of the creation of diplomatic embassies within the new country. In this talk, Professor Ian Talbot, who has long had a particular interest in Pakistan, tells the story of Britain’s early High Commissions and the difficulties that they faced. The very first one had to be established in great haste in the weeks leading up to Independence, and the Chancery had to lodged in a leased office in the British Chamber of Commerce building, while what had been the Sindh Collector’s residence became the official Residency.

Professor Talbot will examine the roles played by the first four British High Commissioners: Sir Laurence Graffety-Smith (1947-51), Sir Gilbert Laithwaite (1951-4), Sir Alexander Symon (1954-61) and Sir Morrice James (1961-5). As he says, they each brought very different personalities and priorities to the instructions from London. Their task was far from easy: there was always the difficult job of maintaining a fine balancing act between Pakistan and India, and they also had increasingly to compete with the Americans for influence. He will look at their management of the High Commission and its outposts in Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Dacca; and will analyse the ways in which the diplomatic mission undertook the important tasks of political reporting, mediating in the Kashmir conflict and protecting British interests at times of conflict in what was a formative period in Pakistan history.

Ian Talbot is a Professor of Modern British History at the University of Southampton. He wrote the seminal work, Pakistan: A Modern History, which was first published in 1999, reissued in an expanded form, and is now in its third edition. He was presented with the Pakistan Society Award in 2011 for his many scholarly and sympathetic publications on the country. He is an acknowledged expert on Partition and, in addition to several articles, he co-authored a major study on the subject and its aftermath for Cambridge University Press. He was a speaker at the recent Lahore Literary Festival in London.

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