University of Hawai'i Press
  • Dispatches from Havana:The Cold War, Afro-Asian Solidarities, and Culture Wars in Pakistan

This article traces the journey of Abdullah Malik, a noted writer, journalist, and communist from Pakistan, to the Cultural Congress of Havana in 1968. Through Malik's account, this paper ties the Havana Congress with larger debates around culture, socialism, and freedom in Pakistan during the Cold War. In doing so, this article documents the significance of international conferences and congresses for progressives given the tense battle of ideas in Pakistan. In that sense, the Havana Congress was not simply an isolated event organized at the behest of Cuba's revolutionary government. Instead, it was emblematic of a post-Bandung world in which debates over culture, politics, and the future of the Third World were central to the worldview and imagination of progressive intellectuals, writers, artists, and poets.

For a week in January 1968, socialists from across the world convened in Cuba for the first Cultural Congress of Havana. The Congress was described by one delegate as an 'international conference' for 'enlightened and independent thinkers, communist writers, journalists, artists, scientists, doctors and religious divines'.1 With over 400 delegates from more than 70 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas, the purpose of this august assembly was to raise a rallying cry against imperialism, and more specifically, American imperialism. Its more immediate concern, however, was to deliberate upon ways in which the 'malign' cultural influence of (American) Imperialism could be combatted. The attending delegates made passionate appeals to their fellow intellectuals, artists, and writers across the Third World to combat the pernicious and reactionary cultural influence of the United States and the grotesque role it had played in retarding the development of their arts and literature. Third World intellectuals were also asked to lend their support to the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people against American imperialism. After a week of intense and fractious debates, the conference eventually concluded with a fiery two-hour speech by Fidel Castro who declared the conference, 'the first of its type', an unqualified success.2

Castro was, however, only half correct. The Congress was certainly the first of its kind to be convened in Havana. It was also, Castro claimed, unique in terms of the diversity of its representation and the [End Page 223] unanimity expressed by its delegates against the 'universal enemy' of mankind: 'Yankee Imperialism'.3 And yet, the Havana Congress was part of a longer history of similar Congresses and conventions, including, most obviously, the First Solidarity Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (better known as the Tricontinental Conference), held in Havana in 1966.4 What the Cultural Congress of Havana signified was that future of the Third World, along with the attendant questions of socialism and anti-imperialism, was contingent on the crucial role of 'culture'. How would the Third World be imaginatively cultivated through literature and the arts? How was Third World literature to be understood and defined? What were the responsibilities of progressive intellectuals, writers, poets, and artists in the development and cultivation of this cultural sphere? Such questions had been asked in virtually all Afro-Asian Writers Conferences from the 1950s to 70s. In that sense the Cultural Congress of Havana was very much reflective of period in which progressive intellectuals across the recently decolonized world sought to carve a new cultural space, and a new future, for their respective countries. As the declaration of the 1961 Afro-Asian Writers Congress at Tokyo put it, the movement in Afro-Asian countries for independence from European Imperialism may have been a political movement from an 'objective' standpoint, but more than anything else, it was a cultural revival from a human standpoint.5

Joining this celebration of Third World solidarity in Havana were luminaries of the Afro-Asian world including CLR James, John La Rose, Aime Cesaire, Roberto Matta, Rene Depestre, and Abdul Rahman Al-Sharqawi. Their presence made the conference an even more special occasion for Abdullah Malik (1920–2003), a prolific writer, journalist, and communist from Pakistan. Malik, along with Pakistan's most prominent poet, and recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, had been invited to Havana for the Congress. While Faiz was prevented from attending the conference by Ayub Khan's military dictatorship, Abdullah Mailk had no such constraints. He was based in London at the time and took the opportunity to visit Cuba, the land of his dreams. For progressives across the Third World, including Pakistan, revolutionary Cuba stood as a powerful symbol of socialism [End Page 224] and anti-imperialism. As Malik put it, it was as important for the young generation to learn about Cuba's success as it had been for his to learn about Lenin's and Mao's revolutions.6 More than anyone else, Cuba stood for all that the Third World could, and should, be. More than Vietnam, Algeria, or other states, it was Cuba that provided not only a template for socialism and anti-imperialism, but also the leadership for what was imagined as the Third World. And with the Havana Congress, Cuba also emerged as yet another trail blazer for reopening the question of culture, socialism, and freedom.

Much like their comrades elsewhere in the Third World, these questions were significant for Pakistani leftists. Indeed, debates around national culture and its uncertain trajectory had occupied the attention of intellectuals, writers, and artists since the country's inception in 1947. Conducted between ostensibly opposed political and ideological camps, these debates aptly reflected anxieties relating to the direction and precarious future of the nascent state. For progressive writers and intellectuals, Pakistani literature had to be oriented towards addressing questions of socio-economic injustice and Anglo-American Imperialism. As part of their mission therefore, Pakistani progressives – through poems, short stories, plays, travelogues, and commentaries – wrote extensively on socialism and anti-imperialism. In doing so, they also sought to align Pakistani literature and cultural expression with similar cultural experiments elsewhere in the socialist world. A key part of that was cultivating the imagination of a post Bandung Third World that would collectively inaugurate a new destiny, a new future for humanity at large. For that reason, paeans, commentaries, and tributes to national liberation heroes, independence struggles and socialist movements from across the Afro-Asian world – from Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere to the Algerian and Vietnamese wars for independence – were regularly penned and disseminated through print, radio, and other cultural and academic platforms.

There was, then, a lot at stake for Abdullah Malik and his interlocutors at the Havana Congress. For Malik, the Havana Congress, promised intellectual sustenance, continued support, solidarity, and important lessons for progressives in Pakistan. In that, it was like the Afro-Asian Congresses before, and after, it. Together, these international conventions were significant for Pakistani progressives given the tense battle of ideas in which the role of literature and the arts were continually up for debate. The Havana [End Page 225] Congress, then, was not simply an isolated event. Instead, it was emblematic of a post-Bandung world in which debates about culture, politics, and the future of the Third World were central to the world view and imagination of progressive intellectuals, writers, artists, and poets, in Pakistan and elsewhere. This paper, in charting Malik's sojourn in Cuba, will link up the politics of the Havana Congress with larger debates and discussions around culture, socialism, and freedom in Pakistan during the Cold War.

'We Are and We Are Not'

Irwin Silber (1925–2010), music critic, editor, publisher, and political activist, is celebrated for his songbooks and writings on American folk music. Of all his works, his edited anthology, Voices of National Liberation, is perhaps the least known of his contributions. Silber, too, had attended the Havana Congress and Voices of National Liberation was his glowing tribute to the vision of the Third World articulated by intellectuals and artists in Havana. In his introduction to this anthology of speeches, declarations, proceedings, and resolutions, Silber termed the emergence of the 'Third World' the most significant historical development since the end of the Second World War. It was there, he wrote, that 'the destines of humanity will be resolved'. From the Korean peninsula, to Cuba, Algeria, the Middle East, Cuba, Santo Domingo, South Africa, Angola, and Vietnam, he exclaimed, 'an old world is dying and a new one is being born'. And ushering in this new world were the 'offspring' of this Third World, men (and only men) like Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, WEB Dubois, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, and Malcolm X. For Irwin Silber, the Havana Congress marked a major step in the development of the revolutionary ideology of the 'Third World'. This was, he remarked, 'the time of the liberation of peoples'.7 These peoples, constituting the vast majority of the world's population, had long been denied a voice and an opportunity for cultural, social, economic, and political expression. They existed, but their social, cultural, and political existence had long been denied by European imperialism and its American successor. Eloquently summing up this double bind was the Cuban writer, Edmundo Desnoes, who declared in his speech to the Congress: [End Page 226] 'we are and we are not'.8 For Silber and his fellow delegates, that way of the world was fast beginning to recede. 'The wretched of the Earth', he claimed, were at long last beginning to claim this world for their own. And in doing so, they were casting off the definitions imposed on them by European and American imperialisms and were defining themselves anew.

Silber's remarks were perhaps the most cogent summary of the proceedings at Havana. Speaker after speaker reflected on the need of a social, scientific, technological, economic, political, and cultural renewal of the Third World. Indeed, for all the euphoria surrounding national liberation movements, questions of freedom and independence would remain insufficiently answered without answering the concomitant question of what a Third World should look like. Without the creation of this world, 'independence' from western colonialism and imperialism would be incomplete and be an independence in name alone. For that reason, the creation of this world was as much the responsibility of intellectuals, writers, artists, scientists, as it was of the leaders of a rapidly decolonizing world. Imperialism had eroded and cheapened the meaning of 'Man' and had reduced him to a racist and 'selfish, greedy, war-like, power-hungry man'. In its place, a New Man had to be crafted, a 'man' who would advance 'humankind to a new level of civilization and culture'. In sum, 'a personality, a system of values, a code of morality, a science – in short – a culture' based on the specific and common conditions of the Third World had to be inaugurated by its intellectuals.9 Indeed, the five 'commissions' of the Congress aptly conveyed the ambition and the urgency of these critical tasks. Together, the commissions on 'Culture and National Independence', 'Integral Growth of Man', 'The Responsibility of Intellectuals with Respect to the Problems of the Underdeveloped World', 'Culture and Mass Media', and the 'Problems of Artistic Creation and Scientific and Technical Work', extensively deliberated on these pressing matters and produced by the end of the conference a series of resolutions and treatises that called on intellectuals across the Third World to respond to the need of the moment and orient themselves and their craft to ushering in a rejuvenated world and a redeemed humanity.

Why were intellectuals considered to be at the heart of the battle for national liberation? As the Commission on the 'Responsibility of Intellectuals' put it, there was 'a profound relationship' in the tri-continental world 'between the problems of the revolution and those of [End Page 227] culture'. 'Pure' intellectual activity, the delegates argued, did not exist. The intellectual necessarily had to take a position in a world riven by strife and inequality. Moreover, intellectuals could 'serve the revolutionary struggle on different fronts: the ideological, the political, and the military'. Indeed, their participation was crucial because:

Every struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism automatically becomes a struggle for the access of people to culture: the struggles for national liberation thus assume the wonderful and heroic form of a defense of knowledge and beauty. The intellectual is, therefore, twice bound to them: his struggle is at the same time one to change the world and to transform reality in the domain of art and science.10

The cultural sphere was where the stakes for freedom and socialism were highest. Colonial and imperialist domination had 'deform(ed) and annihilated the culture of subjugated peoples' in what amounted to a 'cultural genocide'.11 Countries under imperialist domination had to liberate themselves by recovering 'their social being, their humanity, their dignity and their capacity for appreciating beauty', all of which had been alienated and eroded by colonialism.12 The question of creating the New Man, then, could not be adequately answered without recognizing that 'art and literature, as forms of the social consciousness of the highest human communication, constitute an essential factor for the formation of the integral man'.13 While the definition of what the 'integral man' could or should look like was considerably expansive and occasionally convoluted, there was a clear consensus that the route to cultivating this individual lay through a cultural expression that rejected the 'deforming elements of imperialist influence'.14

These fiery speeches and treatises left a profound impression on Abdullah Malik. The Havana Congress marked the first opportunity for Abdullah Malik to visit Cuba. Precisely what Cuba meant to him was indicated by the fact that his daily reporting of his seventeen day visit, including his description of the Havana Congress, was couched in a much longer account of the island, together with a mournful depiction of its tortured colonial history and an ecstatic celebration of its anti-imperialist and revolutionary present. Arranged in the form of [End Page 228] letters, Cuba say Chand Khutoot (Letters from Cuba), is a compilation of thirteen 'letters' followed by daily journal entries of Malik's stay in Havana and his experiences during the Havana Congress. Addressed to his son Kausar, the letters were initially penned in the first few months of 1968 and later edited and compiled by Malik during his brief stint in jail under the dictatorship of General Yahya Khan in 1971. Far from being unusual, the epistolary form was quite common for texts of this genre. The letters presented in these texts frequently combined historical analysis with political commentaries, travelogues, and personal experiences. Thus, Malik's 'letters' addressed issues ranging from the significance of Cuba's revolution to an overview of Cuba's history from Christopher Columbus to the Cold War. In between, his letters also commented extensively on Fidel Castro's commendable leadership, Cuba's anti-imperialism, its support to national liberation struggles around the world and involvement in Angola, the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and Cuba's relationship with the United States and the USSR. These letters were then followed by a concluding account of Malik's trip to Cuba and his impressions of the Havana Congress. Clearly, the form of the text itself was suggestive that the Havana Congress for Malik was both a continuation and a culmination of Cuba's revolutionary history.

But this text served another purpose too. For its intended audience in Pakistan, Cuba say Chand Khutoot, was intended to introduce revolutionary Cuba to the Pakistani public, or at any rate, those who were aligned with the Left. To that extent, Malik was hardly alone in this endeavor. Other leftist writers, intellectuals, and activists regularly wrote about their travels in the socialist and communist bloc. The renowned poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, whilst denied permission to attend the Havana Congress, wrote a travelogue of Cuba when he was finally allowed to visit.15 This was in addition to countless other texts that reproduced revolutionary tracts, treatises, speeches, and political commentaries from across the socialist and communist world. Within this literary world, Abdullah Malik was one of the most prolific writers in Pakistan. With more than two dozen books to his name, he had written other accounts of his travels in the socialist bloc – Arz-e-Samarkand o Bokhara, Prague say Chand Khutoot, Sofia say Chand Khutoot, Soviet Union: Naya Aaienaur Safar-Nama – along with his other works on the progressive movements in East and West Pakistan, and beyond. The explicit purpose of his travelogues was to dispel the alleged myths and [End Page 229] misconceptions that people had of socialist and communist countries. The mass media under western, and specifically, American imperialism, as the adverts for his other books in Cuba say Chand Khutoot alleged, had succeeded in portraying an image of socialist countries as repressed societies where there were no individual freedoms, civil liberties, material resources, social and economic advancement, family life, and so on. To correct these ostensible misconceptions, his works offered detailed and celebratory accounts of socialism in these countries. He was, an advert claimed, the first writer and intellectual to have extensively toured socialist countries and written about them.16

Malik struck a similar tone in his reporting of the Havana Congress. His admiration for Cuba wasn't merely an expression of his communist sympathies. Rather, as a noted writer and intellectual, he considered it his duty to rally to the cause of Cuba and national liberation struggles the world over. There had been earlier moment, he remarked, when intellectuals, journalists, artists, writers, poets, and political activists had come together to fight for socialism and progressivism against fascism and imperialism. The event in question had been the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). At that time, he wrote, no one had asked whether literary figures should ally themselves with explicitly political causes. Instead, those individuals felt duty bound to join the socialist and progressive camp. If anything, it had been morally incumbent on them to do so.17 Much like their forebearers, intellectuals and artists in the present moment could not afford to distance themselves from the moral and political crises of their moment. And chief amongst the crises confronting them was the domination of American imperialism and the struggle for national and socialist self-determination across the Third World.

The Cold War, Culture Wars, and Pakistan

In making this argument, Malik was also alluding to another history of struggle. This struggle was relatively closer to home. By way of a formal chronological marker, this struggle began in 1935 when an organization by the name of the All India Progressive Writers Association (Anjuman-i-Tarraqqi Pasand Musaneefeen)was formed by political dissidents and intellectuals in London. Founded by literary luminaries [End Page 230] like Sajjad Zaheer and Mulk Raj Anand, the founding manifesto of the PWA issued a clarion call for re-orienting literature in the Indian subcontinent. It began by noting the 'radical changes' underway in Indian society. 'Fixed ideas', 'old beliefs' and outmoded political institutions, it claimed, were rapidly giving way to a new society and Indian literature had been slow in responding to the changes. Indian literature was, instead, afflicted by a tendency to 'escape from the actualities of life'. It tried to find 'refuge from reality in baseless spiritualism and idealism' with the result that it had become 'anaemic in body and mind' and had 'adopted a rigid formalism and a banal and perverse ideology'. In doing so, it merely became part of the 'spirit of reaction' that sought to stymie the march of progress. What, then, should the role of Indian writers be? In its most oft quoted passages, the manifesto went onto say that,

It is the duty of Indian writers to give expression to the changes taking place in Indian life and to assist the spirit of progress in the country … It is the object of our Association to rescue literature and other arts from the priestly, conservative, and decadent classes in whose hands they have degenerated so long, to bring the arts into the closest touch with the people and to make them the vital organs which will register the actualities of life, as well as lead us to the future. While claiming to be the inheritors of the best traditions of Indian civilization, we shall criticise ruthlessly, in all its political, economic, and cultural aspects, the spirit of reaction in our country, and we shall foster through interpretative and creative work (with both native and foreign resources) everything that will lead our country to the new life for which it is striving. We believe that the new literature of India must deal with the basic problems of our existence today – the problems of hunger and poverty, social backwardness and political subjection, so that it may help us to understand these problems, and through such understanding help us to act.18

The formal expression of this politics had long been in coming. As Shabana Mahmud notes, socialist and communist literature was profoundly influential in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. Much of it was banned by the Indian Government. Russian writers such as Gorki, Gogol, Turgenev, and Chekov were widely translated into Urdu and other languages. Chekov, in particular, was profoundly influential. Indeed, it is difficult to understate his influence on the [End Page 231] thematic and formal development and evolution of the genre of short stories. Influenced by these and other English and French writers, Indian writers sought to 'explore and experiment with new styles and techniques in writing'.19 The PWA, then, sought to provide a formal orientation to rapidly evolving literary forms and concerns. And in so doing, it left an indelible imprint on the Indian literary world and, in particular, on Urdu and Hindi literature.

With decolonization and Partition in 1947, the PWA split into its constituent Pakistani and Indian branches.20 In Pakistan, the PWA also functioned as a front of the Communist Party of Pakistan after the latter was banned in 1954. Whilst limited in numbers, the influence of progressive writers cannot be understated. They were writing and attempting to influence the trajectory of a nascent nation state. Evoked most famously by Faiz, who compared the dawn of independence to a leprous daybreak,21 progressive writers recognized that substantive freedom lay further along the horizon. The dreams they had of independence and decolonization remained unfulfilled.22 Additionally, freedom from religious orthodoxy and Anglo-American Imperialism - both frequently viewed as two sides of the same coin – were also very much in the sights of these writers. More importantly perhaps, these writers also sought to cultivate the spirit of Afro-Asian solidarity that was very much the prevailing sentiment at the time. These sentiments were expressed through poems, short stories, journals, and non-print mediums like theatre, radio, and films. Figures like Patrice Lumumba, Nyerere, Castro, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, in addition to the more familiar figures of Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Ho [End Page 232] Chi Minh, were frequently venerated. Similarly, Pakistan writers regularly participated in Afro Asian Writers Conference, where again, the question of culture was paramount.

If the question of culture was crucial for progressive writers and their allies, it was equally important for their opponents and detractors. Despite their varying intellectual, ideological, and political concerns, they were united by their contention that the progressives were 'anti national'. For the progressives, this charge was, unfortunately, all too familiar. Hardly shy in voicing their internationalist sympathies, progressives in both the colonial and post-colonial state were suspected of having dual, and conflicting, loyalties. In the 1950s, these attacks were also led by former communists who turned against the macabre legacy of Stalinism. Regardless of their specific affiliations, though, the detractors of progressives argued for a socio-political polity that was disdainful of class antagonisms and cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and political 'separatism'. They argued for a strong state that was capable of instituting a uniform social, political and cultural order that was distinctly 'Pakistani' and in touch with its ostensibly enlightened Indo-Islamic heritage.23

Within this artistic and intellectual constellation, the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) emerged as one of the most important platforms arraigned against progressive literature and progressive politics. The Congress was founded in June 1950, at a convention of 'distinguished writers, artists, philosophers, and scientists' in Berlin who gathered in 'defence of creative and critical thought'. The founding Congress also issued a 'Manifesto for Free Men' which set out the CCF's agenda. Amongst the 14 points of the Manifesto upholding the values of peace and freedom – and, in particular, intellectual freedom, declared as 'one of the inalienable rights of man', – the Congress unequivocally condemned totalitarianism in a broadside aimed at the Soviet Union and the Socialist bloc. Totalitarian states were declared as the 'greatest challenge which man has been called on to meet in the course of civilized history'. The 'theory and practice of these regimes' the Manifesto noted, ran 'counter to the basic rights of the individual and the fundamental aspirations of mankind as a whole'. Here too, the intellectual was called upon to take sides. The intellectual could not afford to ignore threats to intellectual [End Page 233] freedom and freedom of expression. 'Indifference or neutrality in the face of such a challenge', the Manifesto declared, amounted to 'a betrayal of mankind and to the abdication of the free mind'. 'The fate of man for generations' depended on the choices these intellectuals made.24

The Pakistan chapter of the CCF – with its Bangla and Urdu names of Pakistan Shakha Shanskhritik Azadi Pratishthan and Pakistan Kamiti Anjuman-e-Azadi-e-Tahzib – was founded in 1956. In addition to adopting the manifesto of the Berlin Congress as its guiding principle, the Pakistan Committee also dedicated itself to activities and objectives that were specific to its context. Chief amongst them was the commitment to highlight 'the positive role of religion in combatting the atheistic principles of communism'. Alongside, the Pakistan Committee also pledged to highlight 'the role of tradition in arts and literature'.25 That too, was a broadside aimed at the progressive commitment to overcome the influence of tradition, in both content and form, in arts and literature. Far from a marginal group, CCF Pakistan worked with some of the most eminent intellectuals and artists in East and West Pakistan such as AK Brohi, Dr. Mahmud Hussain, Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan, Professor Abdus Salam, Professor MM Sharif and others. It also worked in close collaboration with leading institutions like the Universities of Karachi, Dacca, and Punjab.

Unbeknownst to most of its affiliates and members though, the CCF was propped up and supported by the CIA.26 It wasn't until the mid 1960s that the links between the two were revealed in a series of damaging exposes in the American press.27 Whilst progressives had long suspected these linkages, the CCF's affiliates in Pakistan were by [End Page 234] and large oblivious to these connections, despite the fact that Congress's activities were indisputably aligned with the Anglo-American camp. Thus, the association regularly expressed its fears of how the 'fascination for communist ideology (had) cast a spell' in Pakistan, particularly within the student community. The Soviet Union's astronomical progress and achievements, along with the failure of democracy and emergence of dictatorships in Afro Asian countries, it claimed, had left 'young men' disillusioned with western political institutions.28 It was thus incumbent on intellectuals in Pakistan not only to combat the dangers of an intellectual regimentation ostensibly promoted by communist ideology, but also to probe how their cultural, social, and religious resources could be employed to combat the pernicious influence of both extreme materialism and extreme collectivism.29 In making this claims, CCF Pakistan explicitly promoted Islam as an antidote capable of transcending these divides and providing a blueprint for Pakistan. As one conference noted, at no time had the role of religion been more important.30

Such arguments were incomplete without repeated critiques and attacks on the Soviet Union and its treatment of writers, intellectuals, and artists. Thus, in a resolution passed by CCF Pakistan in 1958 against the treatment of Nobel Laurate Boris Pasternak, author of Dr. Zhivago,31 the Soviet 'Empire' was condemned for the 'disgusting pressure' brought to bear on Soviet writers. The Soviet Union's tactics, the resolution noted, only revealed the 'intended ultimate degradation of the human mind by Communism and the terror and inherent weakness of the whole system based on fear of police terror and concentration labour camps'. The resolution went to declare 'Russian Communism' as a 'fanatical creed' that did not tolerate any form of freedom of expression. It was, in fact, the origin, the lodestone, for the 'total liquidation of a free press in the Asian and European countries under Communist control and the tragic subjugation of all arts and literature to totalitarian orders in the absurd name of the so-called socialist realism'.32 Few resolutions, statements, speeches, conveyed [End Page 235] CCF Pakistan's opposition to the socialist bloc and its allied intellectuals, artists, and writers than this statement.

The Committee, then, was part of a broader cultural, political, and ideological battle between progressives and their opponents in Pakistan. This was a battle of ideas for the future of Pakistan in which the United States and the Soviet Union were actively involved through their patronage of one camp or the other. From its very inception in 1947, Pakistan had been a source of concern for the Anglo-American camp. At a moment when communists were on the verge of victory in China and on the march in South East Asia, Pakistan was viewed as a 'fertile field for Soviet intervention'. As it was, the Soviet Union was only separated from Pakistan by a tiny sliver of Afghan territory.33 For their part, the ruling Muslim League shared Anglo-American fears of communist encirclement. It also didn't help that Pakistan, in the considered view of the British High Commissioner, 'abound(ed) with excellent material for communist agitation'.34

From its very inception, Pakistan was one of the many battlegrounds on which communism was fought. The battle against communism was necessarily multi-pronged, in which ideational and cultural realms were as important as use of state power. The invocation of Islam was crucial to this strategy. Notwithstanding the fact that communism had made inroads in 'Muslim societies', Islam could still be deployed as a crucial bulwark against communism in the battle over ideas and future trajectories. The daily Dawn summed up it best when it argued how 'the spiritual force of Islam' could play its part in repulsing 'the false philosophy of Communism'.35 Pakistan, in many ways, was viewed as a crucible and as a laboratory where a new kind of Islam, more in tune with modern requirements, could fashioned. This was an Islam that could not only provide Pakistan with an identity, it was an Islam that could also be exported elsewhere in the Muslim world. This was by and large a project actively supported by the Pakistan State. But this was also where the American backed CCF, alongside other platforms and political organizations, became even more significant. The CCF and its allies were instrumental in providing the intellectual heft and grist for this project. And for its part, the Pakistan government too, unequivocally supported these platforms. Thus, CCF platform were regularly frequented and addressed by state and government [End Page 236] functionaries.36 That alone was an indication of how central and significant these debates and platforms were. Much like their leftist counterparts in the shape of Afro Asian Conferences, platforms like the CCF were global in scope, and drew sustenance, ideological legitimation, and financial support from each other and their Cold War patrons. And again, similar to their leftist counterparts, these platforms, associations, and networks also saw the present moment as a crisis. With rapid decolonization in the Africa and Asia, and the seemingly inexorable march of communism, the question of culture and the arts and their role in cultivating the New Man, was equally paramount for the CCF and similar platforms. Both camps sensed the urgency of their times. Both understood that the prevailing situation was untenable. Somewhere, somehow, one side would succumb and give way. The stakes for both were very high indeed.

Glimpsing the Future

This urgency was powerfully reflected in the hundreds of impassioned speeches delivered at the Havana Congress. Speaker after speaker in the more than 150 speeches delivered at the Congress expressed their fears for their crisis ridden moment. There was little doubt that American imperialism was intensifying its dominance and that social, cultural, economic, and political inequities between the Third World and the Euro-American World were intensifying. And yet, this moment also held out the promise of a transformed world. That was the official tone of the Congress too. Thus, while noting that this was a moment in which 'American imperialism posed a universal threat to the future of culture and to the future of mankind itself', the Congress also 'emphasised the failure of U.S. imperialism in its useless attempt to crush the justice that is rightfully the peoples and of stopping the inexorable course of History'. Thus, despite everything that had been thrown in its way, 'the image of the New Man' was finally emerging after a prolonged and torturous history of struggle.37 There were few better examples of that than the ongoing titanic struggle in Vietnam, which the Congress payed rich tributes to. It was this conviction in a [End Page 237] future that had long been in the making that led attending delegates to close the inaugural Cultural Congress of Havana with the resounding cries of:

'The great heroic people of Vietnam will win!

Mankind will win!

Human culture and civilization will defeat the modern savagery of US imperialism!

Long live the freedom and the independence of the peoples!'38

Malik too shared these convictions. But his account also complicated the triumphalist declarations of the Congress. Such slogans were in any case de rigueur for leftist conferences and public meetings, whether in Pakistan or elsewhere. Their triumphalism masked more complicated realities and unresolved internal crises. This is where Malik's day to day reporting is at its most instructive. As a member of the 'Commission on Culture and National Independence', Malik witnessed several fractious debates that threatened to fracture the unity of socialist intellectuals that was loudly proclaimed on the official rostrum. His observations thus stand in stark contrast to the official and celebratory reporting of the Congress.

Chief amongst the arguments reported by Malik was the dispute between Arab and European delegates on the question of Palestine and Zionism. In the joint appeal to intellectuals being drafted by the Commission, Arab delegates insisted on the insertion of a clause condemning Zionism and supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination by any means necessary. Their insistence did not sit well with their European counterparts, who insisted that while Israeli aggression was condemnable, it did not acquit Arab countries from their anti-Semitism and treatment of religious minorities. If anything, Arab countries had deliberately whipped up anti-Semitism to deceive their citizenry. In response, Arab delegates accused their European detractors of legitimating Zionism. There was little room for a compromise on the issue, not least because some Arab delegates, according to Malik, as official representatives of their states, had to toe the line of their governments. Matters were further worsened when it came to the question of which countries were the victims of American imperialism. In the case of Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the Congo, there was [End Page 238] little argument that they were the victim of imperialism. But that left out countries who claimed to be the victim of American aggression in other ways. As one delegate declared in an impassioned speech, they too had struggled against American imperialism and colored their land in their blood. And yet, their sacrifices hadn't been mentioned in the final communique.39

These disputes, sometimes over paragraphs, in other cases over solitary sentences, indicated that that a lot more was a stake at the Havana Congress than a group of likeminded intellectuals convening over their mutual opposition to American imperialism and capitalist and neo-colonial cultural hegemony. Like other socialist and Afro-Asian conferences, this Congress too was an opportunity for the host government to use it for its political purposes. As was evident from his concluding speech, this was an excellent opportunity for Fidel Castro to highlight the achievements of the Cuban Revolution and his government's implacable opposition to 'Yankee imperialism' and support to national liberation struggles. To that end, special exhibitions and tours showcasing the rapid advances and achievements of the revolution were arranged for the conference delegates. Aside from Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Guinea, Algeria, and the United Arab Republic, amongst other sympathetic states, had either sent their official representatives or sponsored the visits of their delegates. Other delegates, like Abdullah Malik, came in their independent capacity. Even so, the Congress, like conferences before it, was a site of intra governmental politics. The Havana Congress was not a simply an occasion where internationalist solidarities could be expressed and enacted. It was also a site where respective governments conducted their diplomacy.

For Malik, though, the Havana Congress revealed a deepening schism within the socialist bloc. In his conversations with one delegate after another, he realized that the politics of internationalism was often the first casualty of socialist revolutions. Socialist states, he wrote, often pursued their own narrow, national, interests over their commitment to internationalism. That was reflected in in their failure to 'fully support' revolutionary movements in other countries. For that reason, he added, intellectuals from other nations, and particularly from Latin American countries, made the Soviet Union a target of their critique. It was only their Cuban hosts who managed to mediate and temper their criticism. The same was true for leftist intellectuals allied with either China or [End Page 239] the Soviet Union, or, as was the case for most, with neither. There was little space for such intellectuals within the deep and irreconcilable Sino-Soviet split. In a similar vein, he continued, some delegates were uncomfortable with the way that Cuba had allegedly used the Havana Congress for its own purposes. Others expressed their disquiet at the deification and hero worship of Che Guevara.40 Amongst other things, 'Major Ernesto Che Guevara' had been declared as the very personification and 'the best concrete representation' of the 'Integral Man' proposed by the Congress.41 To further complicate matters, he commented, there was also a 'politics of pioneers' underlying the Congress. As the latest pioneer in the world of revolution, Cuba had supplanted China and the Soviet Union as the leader of the Socialist Bloc and the Third World.42 That didn't necessarily sit well with every delegate.

This seemed a far cry to Malik from the ostensibly golden days of internationalism inaugurated by the Spanish Civil War. Back then, he wrote, progressive intellectuals the world over rallied unitedly to the defense of Internationalism against Fascism. Precisely how seminal that moment was to him is reflected in his extensive remarks on the Spanish Civil War in his concluding note on the Havana Congress. For young men in his earlier years, Spain had been the symbol of revolutionary fervor. Barcelona and Madrid were the capitals of Internationalism. The Spanish Civil War, had set their imaginations alight and had reinvigorated their literature. His generation had been inspired and moved by the writers and poets who wrote their songs, poems, ballads, and elegies for lost lovers whilst fighting in their trenches in defense of life and beauty. Then too, he wrote, an international conference of anti-fascist writers, poets, and intellectuals had convened in Spain in defense of the democratic republic, even if it meant opposing and condemning their own governments' support for fascists. Simply put, 'Spain was the Vietnam of its time'.43 A similar moment now confronted progressives the world over. This was a historic opportunity progressive intellectuals, artists, poets, and writers to redeem themselves.

Still, notwithstanding his disquiet about the prevailing condition of internationalism and socialist unity, Abdullah Malik was deeply moved by his experiences in Cuba. For all its complications, the Congress had afforded Malik an unprecedented glimpse into what a revolutionary future could and should look like. For that, he was deeply grateful to the [End Page 240] Cuban government, which had graciously invited and hosted him. After all, he added, there were few opportunities for touring and travelling the world for 'middle class Asians' like himself. And it was only his luck, he wrote, that he was in London when the invitation was issued. Had he been in Pakistan, he wryly noted, it would have been impossible to travel to Cuba.44 The other invitee, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, had discovered this when Pakistan's American aligned military dictatorship prevented him from attending the Congress. There was, then, much to be grateful for. For that reason, he wrote, even if he didn't know what the outcome of the conference would be, or even for there would be any outcome at all, he was still grateful for the opportunity. And most importantly, 'he saw the world' and met 'leftist intellectuals from around the world'. Through their discussions, he wrote, he learnt about their ideas, their struggles and the general state of the communist world.45 Where else, after all, would he have had such conversations with those far removed from his context and struggle?

Its triumphant declarations aside, this was perhaps the most understated accomplishment of the Havana Congress. Like other conferences and congresses, Havana afforded activists and intellectuals like Malik to meet likeminded individuals. This was especially crucial to those figures who lived under repressive governments and regimes allied with the United States. Such opportunities, whilst rare, were a great source of sustenance and rejuvenation for someone like Malik. For Pakistani and Indian comrades, they were even more important. Restrictive travel regimes, periodic bouts of hostilities, and a mutual distrust of progressives and communists between the two countries meant that these international forums were often the only venues where Indian and Pakistani intellectuals could meet.46 Thus, the one delegate who Abdullah Malik immediately befriended was his counterpart from India, Professor Lajpat Rai. 'Lajpat', as Malik referred to him, was an expert on the economy Latin America. He also spoke Spanish. His expertise was a reminder to Malik of what Pakistan lacked. It was truly unfortunate, he wrote, that Pakistan had been unable to produce experts on other regions. Nor, for that matter, could it have been otherwise. It was only in an atmosphere of cultural and intellectual independence, he mused, that such expertise could be cultivated. More than an intellectual, however, 'Lajpat' was a friend to Malik. Together, they toured Havana, its environs, and reminisced about old [End Page 241] time and mutual acquaintances.47 But 'Lajpat' too, Malik noted with disappointment, didn't have much progress to report when it came to the communist movement in India.

Happily, though, there was much to celebrate about communism in Cuba. The Havana Congress had afforded Malik the opportunity to witness the advances and achievements of the Cuban Revolution for himself. That too was an understated accomplishment of the Congress. As an invited delegate, Malik was hosted by the Cuban government for nearly three weeks during which he was assigned a guide and an interpreter who accompanied him on daily tours. Typically, these were tours of villages, communes, schools, factories, museums, and historical sites like the Bay of Pigs and the revolutionary martyrs' memorial. It seemed that the Cuban government was eager to showcase its achievements to the invited delegates. And for his part, Abdullah Malik, and many others, were eager to witness and learn from those achievements for themselves.

Tellingly, Malik devoted considerably more space to his tours and impressions of Cuba than to his reporting of conference debates and proceedings. The former clearly seemed more intriguing to him. As an outsider looking to learn from the revolution, he was thoroughly impressed with what the Cuban government had achieved in a such a span of time. Only a few years ago, he wrote, the very same spaces he visited – like his hotel, formerly the Hilton, and after the revolution, the Liberty Hotel – were frequented by the rich and privileged, usually from the United States. Now they were the sites of revolutionary celebration and activism. He was equally impressed with the Cuban government's policies in relation to culture and the arts. As part of the Congress, cultural performances and exhibitions were arranged for the delegates. Typically, these exhibitions told stories of the island's chequered history and the coming of the revolution. One dance performance, for instance, highlighted Cuba's African heritage and its painful slave past. Another exhibition, he reported, showcased the atrocities wrought by European imperialism on the Third World and demonstrated how western cultural production systematically degraded and demeaned the colonized: cultural productions like the film Tarzan, which portrayed black Africans as barbaric and subhuman and the white race as noble and civilized.48 That, at any rate, was the tone of the conference speeches too. Speaker after speaker, from Edmundo Desnoes to delegates in various committees, had fiercely criticized how [End Page 242] their 'own image' had been 'deformed' by the 'press, radio and television in highly industrialized countries', to the extent that their very humanity had been 'obliterated'.49 Malik, too, agreed with this assessment in his reporting of these exhibitions and performance. Not only did they expose the hollowness and racism of western cultural productions, they also underscored for him how Cuban communists had employed culture and the arts to impart a politically enlightened education to their people.50 As ever, there was much to learn from Cuba.

Malik was equally impressed by what he considered to the astonishing socio-economic advances made by the Cuban Revolution. Amongst other things, he got the opportunity to attend a rally of Fidel Castro where a housing scheme was due to launched for Cuban workers. Arriving at the rally, Malik noted the 'sea' of men and women who patiently waited under floodlights and countless red flags to listen to Castro. Flanked by his party leadership, a 'resplendent', 'handsome', and smartly uniformed Fidel Castro strode to the speaker's dais amidst thunderous applause and adulation. What followed was a Castro special. There was, after all, no speaker as 'electrifying' and 'magical' in the communist world as Fidel Castro. But more than witnessing Castro's persona and charisma, this rally was eye-opening for Malik in other ways as well. For one, it showcased the astounding developmental achievements of the Cuban revolution. The housing scheme being inaugurated – with 125 houses, and a school, nursery, and parks – was completed in a mere 50 days. Moreover, the participation of ordinary people in this scheme and the back and forth Castro had with them in his speech, were for Malik the very exemplification of a genuine and substantive democracy. This model of a people centered democracy was unthinkable in Pakistan.51

In other trips, Malik and his tour guide visited model farms, communes, and villages, where he witnessed how peasants and volunteers from cities worked and farmed together.52 On one trip, he and other delegates visited coffee plantations around Havana where tens of thousands volunteers worked in ways that seemed remarkable to him. Amongst them, he approvingly noted, were approximately ten thousand girls and women. These women worked on plantations – for which they were reportedly paid a daily wage of four dollars – after attending to their household chores. Men, too, lent their labor. Clerks [End Page 243] and officials from government ministries, he wrote, came in delegations to lend a hand in plantations. Even more extraordinarily, he ran into the minister of agriculture who, resplendent in the uniform of an ordinary farm worker, was hard at work alongside thousands of other workers. The honorable minister showed him the innovative techniques through which coffee was being cultivated in Cuba. He also introduced him to other workers, amongst them, a school teacher, a writer, and an 'in charge' of a beauty salon for women. For all intents and purposes, an astonishing experiment with little or no precedent was being performed out in Cuba. Cuba, he wrote, had managed to avoid the pitfalls that other socialist states had fallen into. Not only had it resisted the threat posed by imperialism, it had also introduced a profound cultural and social shift which prevented the emergence of a party oligarchy and bridged the divide between rural and urban.53 His visits to coffee plantations, memorials, exhibitions, rallies, villages, and other sites, exemplified the significance of these achievements.

Throughout it all, Malik was treated as an honored guest. The attention given to him, and many other delegates no doubt, would have been unthinkable for him in Pakistan, where the Left was constantly persecuted by the military regime. Wherever he looked in Cuba, it seemed that a 'new human' and a 'new society' was being created.54 To be sure, he wrote, there were still many signs of the Cuba of old. Here and there, one did encounter unpaved roads and primitive looking huts. But 'old Cuba' was fast giving way to 'new Cuba'.55 As far as he was concerned, this was a society where labor had dignity, where bureaucrats and ministers worked and engaged with workers and peasants, where people were content and satisfied.56 This was, in so many ways, the land of his dreams, a land of poets, a place they had long dreamt of.57 It was, simply put, the future he and his fellow progressives yearned for.

Towards the Third World

All this seemed a world away from Pakistan. Still an underdeveloped country where ignorance and illiteracy waswidespread, Pakistan, for Malik, was yet to be free even after twenty years of formal [End Page 244] independence. It was dependent on western imperialism for aid, for development, for its very survival. Its cultural sphere and communications were managed and dominated by these very same interests. Meanwhile, politicians who dared to challenge this imposition were summarily deposed. Pakistan, Malik wrote, had no peoples' movement or democracy to speak of.58 Given the restrictions imposed by the military regime, Malik feared returning to Pakistan. His last days in Cuba were filled with sense of dread and foreboding. How would his employers, friends, enemies, and most importantly, the government, react to his trip to Cuba?59 As it turned out, he was right to fear the consequences of his activism. He was jailed in 1971 for his support of the Bangladesh liberation struggle, which was neither the first, nor the last time, he ran afoul of the law. It was only in prison that he found the time and opportunity to compile his journal of his Cuban sojourn, along with his remaining 'letters' on Cuban history, politics, and most importantly, the Revolution.

Still, for his all tribulations and fears, the Havana Congress had afforded Abdullah Malik a glimpse into the past, present, and future of the Third World. That term too was of recent origin, he noted. Previous geographical imaginaries had spoken of the 'non-aligned', of 'Africa and Asia', of the 'underdeveloped world' and the 'tri-continental'.The 'Third World', he wrote, was in some ways the latest iteration of previous political and spatial imaginations. But for Malik, this Third World was constituted of those countries that were struggling to overthrow colonialism and neo-colonialism in their struggle for socialism.60 The Havana Congress offered him, and others, the opportunity to witness the fleeting and tenuous assertion of the Third World. And equally importantly, it offered him an opportunity to meet kindred spirits around the world. As fleeting and precarious as it may seem in retrospect, it was a moment of triumph and optimism for the delegates of the Havana Congress. That was especially true for Irwin Silber who wrote in his foreword how this was 'the era of the disintegration of world capitalism, the painful and terrifyingly beautiful climax to a fabulous period in world history'. These ideas and concepts, he wrote, together with the men and women giving them shape and texture, were 'the opening notes to a new era in which the exploitation of man by man will come to an end; an era whose dimensions will be measured on an intergalactic scale and whose [End Page 245] substance will be based on the free and fullest fruition of the human personality'.61

Notwithstanding his more guarded view, this statement would have resonated with Abdullah Malik too. The future that Silber wrote about may have seemed distant to his comrades in Pakistan, but it was nonetheless a future that many believed was within reach. Even under successive military dictatorships, the world, and especially the Third World, seemed on the cusp of revolutionary, transformative change. That explained, in part, both the relevance and resonance of progressive politics and scholarship in Pakistan. Aided by progressive trade union, students, and political movements, progressive activists and writers from the 1950s to the 70s took an active role in the Pakistani cultural and public sphere. For many, it was in the sphere of culture and the arts where a template for a new and emancipated future would be crafted. And this is precisely where conferences, congresses, and international symposiums like the Cultural Congress of Havana were important. For all their (retrospectively) misplaced optimism and internal divisions, they nonetheless helped forge a transnational community of writers, intellectuals, poets, artists, and activists that drew sustenance from each other. Indeed, the existence of these networks for a relatively small community of progressives in Pakistan could not be ignored. And this is precisely where Abdullah Malik travelogues become illuminating, for they help shed a light on a past full of hope and possibility, in both Pakistan and the much vaunted 'Third World'. [End Page 246]

Ali Raza
Lahore University of Management Sciences


1. Abdullah Malik, Cuba say chand khutoot (3rd edition, Lahore: Kausar Publishers, 1987), 2.

2. 'Castro Speech Closing Cultural Congress', 13 January 1968, accessible at

3. Ibid.

4. See Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (New Press, 2007), 105–115.

5. 'Afro Asian Writers Convene in Tokyo', March 28, 1961, in 'Files Related to Bandung I & II, Afro Asian Solidarity Committee and Sino Soviet Relations, 1951–71', RG 59 A1 5518 Box 1, US National Archives.

6. Malik, 10.

7. Irwin Silber, ed., Voices of National Liberation: The Revolutionary Ideology of the 'Third World' as Expressed by Intellectuals and Artists at the Cultural Congress of Havana January 1968 (New York: Central Book Company, 1970), xiii–xiv.

8. Ibid., 15.

9. Ibid., xvii.

10. Ibid., 291.

11. Ibid., 292.

12. Ibid., 280.

13. Silber, 285.

14. Ibid., 288.

15. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Safarnama Cuba (Lahore: National Publishing House). Also see Tareekh Meri Shahid Hogi (Fidel Castro) (Lahore: National Publishing House).

16. Malik, 216–218.

17. Ibid., 156.

18. 'Manifesto of the Indian Progressive Writers' Association, London'. Left Review, February, 1936.

19. Shabana Mahmud, 'Angare and the Founding of the Progressive Writers' Association', Modern Asian Studies 30, no. 2 (May 1996): 453 (447–467). Also see, Akhtar Hussain Raipuri, Adab aur Zindagi (Anjuman-e-Tarriqi-e-Urdu Aurangabad, Deccan, 1935) for a detailed exposition of this argument.

20. Also see Carolien Stolte's account of the PWA in her paper.

21. 'Subh-e-Azadi' in Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Nuskha Hai Wafa, 116. The evocative phrase, 'leprous daybreak', comes from Victor Kiernan's translation of the poem. See 'Freedom's Dawn', in Poems by Faiz, ed. Victor G. Kiernan (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971), 122–127.

22. Indeed, this was a sentiment shared by the Left generally. I have documented this in more detail elsewhere. See, Ali Raza, 'An Unfulfilled Dream: The Left in Pakistan ca. 1947–50', South Asian History and Culture 4, no. 4 (2013): 503–519, and 'The Illusory Promise of Freedom: Mian Iftikhar-ud-din and the Movement for Pakistan' in Muslims Against the Muslim League, ed. Ali Usman Qasmi and Megan Robb (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Also see, Anushay Malik, 'Alternative Politics and Dominant Narratives: Communists and the Pakistani State in the early 1950s', South Asian History and Culture 4, no. 4 (2013): 520–537. For a broader overview of communist politics in Pakistan see, Kamran Asdar Ali, Surkh Salam: Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947–1972 (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015).

23. For an excellent overview of these debates, see Sadia Toor, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan (Pluto Press, 2011), and specifically, chapters 2 and 3. Equally noteworthy is Kamran Asdar Ali's work on cultural debates within the progressive camp in Pakistan. See his article, Kamran Asdar Ali, 'Communists in a Muslim Land: Cultural Debates in Pakistan's Early Years', Modern Asian Studies 45, no. 3 (2011), 501–534.

24. CCF Box 261 Folder 10, 'The Congress for Cultural Freedom: Pakistan Committee: A Report, May 1956–December 1959', 3–4.

25. Ibid., 8

26. See in particular, Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Publications, 2000). In a meticulously researched study, Saunders shows the extent of CIA's involvement with the CCF. In terms of finances alone, the Congress was the beneficiary of a million dollars per year from the CIA. Also see the important work of Patrick Iber, Neither Peace Nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America (Harvard University Press, 2015). Another important work is Giles Scott-Smith and Charlotte A. Lerg, eds., Campaigning Culture and the Global Cold War: The Journals of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (Palgrave, 2017).

27. These revelations first came to light in 1964 in the 'left leaning' journal, the Nation. In the following years, other papers also revealed the extent of these linkages. In 1965, for example, the New York Times reported to its readers that 'the CIA has supported groups of exiles from Cuba and refugees from Communism in Europe and anti-Communist liberal organizations of intellectuals such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom and some of their newspapers and magazines'. Quoted in Tity de Vries 'The 1967 Central Intelligence Agency Scandal: Catalyst in a Transforming Relationship between State and People', The Journal of American History 98, no. 4 (March 2012): 1082. Also see Chapter 8 of Patrick Iber.

28. CCF Box 261 Folder 10, 'Programme of Youth (Sponsored by the Pakistan Committee)', 1.

29. Ibid., 'Religion and Freedom', 10.

30. Ibid.

31. The publication of which was also backed by the CIA. Documents outlining the CIA's role have been declassified and can be accessed at For a (relatively more) scholarly treatment, see Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book (Pantheon, 2014).

32. CCF Box 261 Folder 10, 'A Report', 24–25.

33. IOR/L/P&J/12/772 CAIP, Despatch from Office of HCUK, Karachi, 130–131.

34. IOR/L/P&J/12/772 CAIP, Despatch from Office of HCUK, Karachi, 132.

35. IOR/L/P&J/12/772 CAIP, Extract No. 28, from High Commissioner for the UK in Pakistan, Karachi to Commonwealth Relations Office, 4th February 1949, Pol. 10825/49.

36. See for instance, excerpts of the speech by President Iskander Mirza to the 'International Islamic Colloquium' partly organized by the CCF in January 1958. CCF Box 261 Folder 10, Report on International Islamic Colloquium, Lahore, December 29 1957 to January 8 1958, 7.

37. Silber, 'General Resolution, Cultural Congress of Havana', 320 and 322.

38. Ibid., 326

39. Malik, 167–171.

40. Ibid., 183–185.

41. Silber, 286.

42. Malik, 182–185.

43. Ibid., 194–195.

44. Ibid., 181–182.

45. Ibid.

46. Which is a situation that tragically persists to this day.

47. Malik, 186 and 189.

48. Ibid., 168.

49. Silber, Speech of Edmundo Desnoes, 16.

50. Malik, 160.

51. Ibid., 122–125.

52. Ibid., 177.

53. Ibid., 191.

54. Ibid.

55. Ibid., 176–177.

56. Ibid., 191.

57. Ibid., 178.

58. Ibid., 112.

59. Ibid., 201.

60. Ibid., 168–170.

61. Silber, xviii.