Ghauri displays of nuclear missiles

Zafar Abbas of the BBC reports:

A decision by authorities in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to remove a life-size model of the country’s nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Ghauri, from display in Islamabad has stirred bitter controversy in political circles. Officials say the move is part of a beautification plan for the capital, and is not linked to a planned visit by the Indian prime minister and other south Asian leaders for a summit meeting early next month.

Many people know that Ghauri was named after Mohammed Ghauri, the Afghan raider who invaded India a millenium ago. This view is confirmed by the fact that Pakistan’s other missiles are named Ghaznavi and Abdali after the two other Afghan warlords who invaded and plundered India. But there is another twist to the story which shows how little the Pakistanis know about Indian culture.

Apparently Ghauri was so named in response to India’s Prithvi; which the Pakistanis thought was named after the Rajput king Prithvi Raj Chauhan. So they duly named their missile after the Afghan king who defeated Chauhan! Little did they understand that Indian missiles were named after the “elements of nature” – Agni (fire), Akash (sky) and Prithvi (Earth).

Knowledgeable observers, like Khaled Ahmed of the Daily Times have pointed out that Pakistan’s missiles are named after Afghan invaders who plundered much of what is today’s Pakistan!

Pakistan’s new missile is called Shaheen (Hatf series) hopefully because someone spotted the boo-boo and not because of a limited knowledge of the names of other Afghan invaders who plundered India.

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