Bhumi Purohit, Malangs Essay Prize Winner 2015, on her recent visit to Pakistan
It was an honour to be selected the second Malangs Scholar and to become part of such a distinguished yet notorious group of South Asians. I feel grateful to have met them in Lahore, which served as a great induction to a familiar culture but in a new land. The trip helped me come to the realization that if foreign diplomacy came down to hospitality, Punjabi food, and drinking ability, Pakistanis could swiftly resolve the conflicts facing the sub-continent. I'm especially grateful to Mueen, Nighat and their family for hosting me, and sharing stories of Pakistani politics, the underground economies of the country, their family history of partition, and the nostalgic Oxford days where socialization trumped books.
Speaking with the Malangs, Pakistani activists and others as we explored the city helped me understand that there is great scope for research in the country that goes well beyond foreign policy, which often becomes the focal point of discussions on Pakistan. I am particularly grateful for having had the opportunity to meet with several activists working on human trafficking as I seek to research the emerging interventions in the country. I hope the learnings about politics and political economy extend into future research topics as well. Becoming a Malangs Scholar has truly been an honour. At the very least, it has given me an opportunity to become a personal ambassador for Pakistan to the many Indians who have been curious about my trip. At the very best, it has given me a wealth of insight and inspiration to learn more about the country and equally importantly, seek out other Oxford alumni who experienced the university at a more vibrant time than I did.