Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
The biggest casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war mongering jingoism is the community of people who believe in people to people dialogue and have mutual admiration for art, culture and sports. Even when there is so much of air of distrust between the government, it need to be understood that Pakistan has not yet matured as democracy and its government continue to function under the watchful eyes of powerful military. The military get strength from being the most ‘efficient’ and ‘uncorrupted’ institution in Pakistan but the fact is that to get continuous legitimacy of political interventions, it is essential for it, to discredit the political class as a whole and therefore find a route to stage a well-orchestrated coup.
Many of us feel proud for our track record as a ‘democratic’ country amidst our neighbors who have mostly been suppressed by the military dictators or old religious thugs pretending to have God’s blessings to lord over them. Pakistan was a country build up on the dreams of a secular idea by M.A.Jinnah yet the man could not see it grow and today it is a shattered nation completely in the grip of those who devalue their own father of nation. Today’s Pakistan is not a country what Jinnah visualized but a country where the forces of jingoism and fanaticism rules despite being ‘extra-state’ actors. It is these forces who are now becoming extraordinarily powerful in our countries as they have developed bullying tactics to get their thing done and get away with everything particularly if they happen to ‘represent’ the ‘majority’ communities.
Hence it was very difficult for the government of India to touch Bal Thackarey despite all his unconstitutional rhetoric as well as the violent activities which resulted out of his hate speeches and writings. Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati to Kalyan Singh, all ‘respected’ leaders of their party and future aspirants for various power positions of India yet we have no apologies about them and their action. Actually, state does not act except move slowly and by the time their issues come for justice, they are mostly no more. So, no political leader in India has got any punishment for spreading hatred on communal and caste lines. Hence when Owaisi is arrested his supporters cite example of Modi and Thackrey. Subsequently, when the Hindutva leaders are caught they will careful take up one two such cases where government has not acted and these issues become complimentary for political outfits using religion for their own purposes. The Hindutva hate mongers may not be in the ‘most wanted’ list of they are not ‘wanted’ internationally but definitely in the court of law they used the law for their own purposes. Then there are other members of the Parivar who have always used such tactics to intimidate the Muslims and Christians in the country. In Pakistan, these extra-state actors play dubious role of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan as well as linking the cause of Kashmir to Islamic revivalism in the valley. These extra state actors have full support from those in power because they speak the language which the power elite feel constrained to talk about and covertly support through various mechanism.
India and Pakistan are two unequal neighbors. Despite everything, historically too, India will remain an elder brother and there is nothing wrong in being elder except behaving elderly too is important for both of us. Circumstances have not made Pakistan a plural democratic political system like India but that cannot erase our common heritage that we have worked and build up in so many thousands years. We are different countries and societies just because of a law that separated us which is just 65 years old but our civilization is much older than the British Empire came here. How can the two people with same language, culture, idea are divided. Pakistan is not able to develop its democratic institutions strongly but my problem is with those who claim we have ‘better’ democracy. If Hina Rabbani Khar does not know how to speak as a foreign minister then one can understand very well that she does not come from a political background but Sushma Swaraj and her party’s political understanding and struggle should have made their reaction more mature and political rather than being simply jingoistic.
It is humiliating when our political class, intellectuals, media all jump in for closing every relationship with Pakistan. Why should you deny me listening to Ghulam Ali or why should Pakistanis not listen to Mohammdad Rafi or Lata Mangeskar. Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Arundhati Roy, Faiz Ahemed Faiz, Firakh, Sahir, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafari and the list is long are not confined to our boundaries but have transcended them. In the most oppressing moments of history, art, culture and sports have always united people.
It does not humiliate a Pakistan player when he is asked to leave from India as our officials say that we do not want to play with an ‘enemy’. It is insulting that the Indian state is not able to provide protection to their guests who represent their country but not necessarily support every political and military thought of their nation. How can you call a player an enemy? Can we call a competition between Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali a war between the two countries or is it a treat to listen to both of them. How can I call Faiz Ahmed Faiz or a player like Waseem Akram my enemy. For that matter, how can Faiz be put in the category of the hate mongers like Tahir Qadri. How can Sushma Swaraj and like her become voice of India?
It is the game that media has played to serve their own internal purposes and strengthened to boost some of those who enjoy and make money on the martyrdom of others. The media uses the deaths for their own marketing purposes and celebrate them. When soldiers die, we are filling their homes with money and other support but if he return home undead, serving the nation for over 35 years, he does not get that much of money. The capitalist media glorifies deaths and link it to ‘valor’. In today’s 24 hour TV world, it is the best ‘activity’ to boost our TRPs and hence every anchor become a ‘rabid rabble rouser’, much more dangerous than Owaisis and Qadris as they want to push words in the mouth of people and use them according to their own convenience. The world is not threatened by these loudmouths like Qadris, Owaisis or Thackarays, as they are part of ‘State apparatus’ who only speak the language the powerful state want them to speak and if they have out lived their utility then an action is taken but it is only done when the state realize that their presence and association with it is counter-productive and politically detrimental.
As an Indian it is shameful for me to hear that attempt are being made to send artists, writers, journalists and sports persons back to Pakistan simply in the name of their being ‘unwanted’. Even in the height of mistrust, it is these voices of dissent and of love and affection that open the small window of peace and togetherness. One must remember that those who make the biggest noise about nationalism are the most dangerous species as they are least ready to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the people. They only enjoy the sacrifices of others and use every moment of a brave man’s life for his nation, as politics of their parties. It is time that people to people contact must not be allowed to submit to such fascist nationalist forces whose only interest is to keep people subjugated. The people of Pakistan who want friendship with India and vice versa cannot be victimized because their political class is pushing the countries to war.
It is only important for us to remember that war has never ever resulted in any solution to any issue and it will only bring disasters and catastrophe in the region. It is more insulting for us as Indian if our hearts are not bigger in welcoming those people who we love to watch playing on the ground and listen live or on our TV studios and films. It is time, we learn that at the end of the day, we have to live in the same world and a war will never make it better and will keep us in perpetual hatred. Millions of people who love each other’s and have relations and are just divided because of ‘nationhood’ would be denied the basic human rights by this thin dividing line. Can we allow this and remain in perpetual war so that our generations do not grow and suffer in hunger and malnutrition further. An eye for an eye is never a solution and we need not only mature political diplomacy to handle such crisis but stronger people to people contact so that war mongers and their hate cries are defeated forever.