The sudden peace overtures sent out by Vajpayee on April 18 have stirred the political landscape of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Most sections of the intellectual and political elites of both India and Pakistan, and even far beyond, are astonished. Yet, if we take a quick look at the post partition history of the subcontinent it is not surprising at all.
On Wednesday, millions of workers in India went on a national strike protesting against government plans to privatise state-owned firms. The one-day stoppage heavily affected sectors such as banking, insurance, oil, power, coal mining, telecommunications, engineering and textiles.
In less than two weeks Hong Kong has been shaken to the foundations by three mass rallies demanding democratic change. Over 500,000 protested against the passage of "anti-subversion" laws; over 50,000 demonstrated outside of the Legislative Council halls July 9 to appeal for democratic reforms, and on Sunday, over 20,000 participated in a rally for universal suffrage.