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Between a rock and a hard place…..

December 23, 2008

Writing this down today because I have gotten really frustrated with all the views I have been reading and hearing around me. Of how people in both countries are …hell! the world is in a state of denial about certain things! Question the Pakistanis about what really is happening in their country and one is promptly silenced with examples of ‘Malegaon’ ‘Godhra’, ‘Sikh riots’ , and the Christian massacre in Orissa.So they tell us to sort our own house first and don’t forget to remind us that our intelligence agencies are pathetic at best. Now agreed that India does not have the most brilliant record regarding its minorities,but what does that have to do with what happened in Mumbai??Just how are these issues connected?

Question SOME Indians about how they feel about the whole terrorism and Pakistan angle and they are quick to point out that ‘Pakistan’ has always been behind the efforts to destabilize India. That all terrorists are always muslims. That they always knew that the muslims in India have always been pampered too much. And how they are(nudge ,nudge) not really patriotic at heart….The people saying all this crap belong to the fanatic fringe of our country ,the ones like shiv sena or raj thackeray,usually relegated to the margins……but trying to stay in the limelight with some issue or the other.

ARTIST: VIKRAM NANDWANI
This cartoon perhaps best explains it.VIKRAM NANDWANI

Who will tell them that it was never about Indian Muslims in the first place?The very term is self explanatory……isn’t that ironic?Pakistan terms them ‘Indian Muslims’ thus putting them as Indians first.I do not remember Indian Muslims being involved in these attacks or for that matter being involved anywhere in the world.And yet Pakistan would have the world believe that it is our Indian Muslims who have been really oppressed.The issue of Indian Muslims is the trump card of the Pakistanis.Their ace in the hole.The problem is not India or the idea of India for Pakistan.The problem is Pakistan itself .The problem is the very basis of that country.Religion is its core idea,the basis for its statehood.A failed democracy,more military dictatorships than one can count.And the idea is not about Pakistan as an entity.It is about Pakistan IN CONTRAST to India.Pakistan DESPITE India.This obsession with India ,the policy of a thousand cuts is inherently so flawed,so risky to Pakistan’s own survival…..and YET,yet..Pakistan refuses to see the light…..

Who is to remind everyone that for every Nawaz Sharif( a supposedly non-patriotic Pakistani by now,because he accepted that Kasab was a Pakistani citizen and one whose comments were gleefully picked up by the Indian media),we have our very own Mr Antulay(whose comments had already been aired again and again by the Pakistani media..more gleefully if that’s possible…before dear old Mr Sharif jumped into the fray) To the people of both the countries ,these two respective leaders have become unpatriotic.
It would be funny were it not so tragic.

Accepted that the context is different . While Mr Sharif was establishing that yes,according to his knowledge Kasab was a Pakistani citizen,(something that he has denied today) Mr Antulay was questioning the very sacrifice of Hemant Karakare, a much decorated and brave Indian officer.(something that he has since DENIED )GO FIGURE!
Apparently Mr. Antulay is now reportedly very satisfied with the home Minister’s explanation.He has NO DOUBTS anymore. See!!That’s all the poor fellow needed ,a concise and correct version of events.

This is the state of affairs in India when one of the terrorists has been captured alive. When one has seen the same image in different photographs. Young hands expertly holding an AK-47,no emotion on a face that should have ideally been enjoying college life somewhere and worrying about exams,jobs,girlfriends……….A face that has chilled people to the bone just by the lack of any emotion on the face ,save a kind of recklessness and madness. The face that the CCTVS captured. The face that was seen firing away at innocent people just going about their daily routine and at literally unarmed policemen. Can one even imagine what would have happened if Kasab had not been captured alive??? India sometimes seems to be a banana republic at best.In the name of democracy, people are free to give voice to the most absurd opinions.Well,people can do that. It’s their right.But shouldn’t the accusations and doubts have an iota of proof?Or should we all rely on Mr Antulay’s ‘gut instinct’,his ‘feeling’ that something was not quite right about Hemant Karkare’s death. Oh well!if that’s all that’s needed to prove someone guilty…a gut instinct.!It’s laughable to say the least.
Mr Antulay ,for you and the likes of you , all I have to say is this..
”Ek hi ulloo kaafi tha, barbaad-e-gulistan ke liye
Har shaakh pe ulloo baitha hai, anjaam-e-gulistan kya hoga…”

On a different note I have to say despite the Pakistani media’s rather shrill note on India(oh!we have our own weirdoes in India as well),one has to acknowledge what certain media houses and newspapers are doing.What a channel like Geo TV is doing. Going to Kasab’s village and proving he’s a Pakistani??Printing that his father acknowledges Kasab as his son??And to do all this while being in Pakistan?That has to take guts.There are also a few Pakistani voices apparently who are willing to introspect and are definitely not in a state of denial.Maybe some of our Indian friends can do the same.

While I do agree that the deeds of a handful of people should not be attributed to a whole country,
I would like to ask that if one does not question the government of Pakistan, then whom does one question? If the terrorist who has been caught is a Pakistani citizen ,something that he has confessed as well as written a letter to the Pakistani envoy ,then does it not make sense to question the government of Pakistan about him? But we are hearing the denials of the Pakistan government everyday. We are being subjected to the ridiculous flip flops of the Pakistani government. One day the President of Pakistan expresses condolences over the unfortunate incident, the next day he decides to portray himself as a victim of terror too…..Mrs Bhutto was a victim of terrorism too, he reminds us. It’s another matter that at the time ,Mr Zardari was too busy pointing fingers at the ISI and had held it responsible for his wife’s assassination.Apparently ,all it takes is a hoax call(where’s the protocol here?any tom,dick and harry can call up the President of Pakistan or what?)to get Pakistan into war mode,the next day they talk of peace.The next day again their Army Chief talks of ”We’ll be ready in a matter of minutes for war.”Who exactly are they trying to fool?What’s with the constant backtracking and the veiled threats?More importantly,what’s with all the war mongering?Who said anything about a war?All India requested Pakistan to do was own up responsibility for its citizens,stop terrorists from using its territory for commiting such heinous acts.Thats all…Its been a month now,India has shown a lot of patience and restraint in the face of grave provocation.And yet Pakistan refuses to pay any attention to the immediate issue ,instead it is stoking the fires even more,giving fuel to war mongers and ensuring that the world’s attention shifts from ‘terrorism originating from Pakistan’ to the India-Pakistan confrontation.Shifting its armies to the Indo-Pak border all in the name of a regular lil exercise.Very convenient is it not?Positively brilliant one has to say.

Yeah!thats the way to deal with terrorism Mr Zardari,

bury your head in the sand…and hope ‘IT’ goes away.But then you are not really the ‘PRESIDENT’ are you?Much as you like being called that,the real reins are in military hands.

Yes, Kasab might very well be someone who is operating with a militant organization and might have nothing to do with the government of Pakistan. But then the question arises ,what exactly does one mean when one says the government of Pakistan?The military ?Which runs everything behind the scenes doing the dirty work, letting the civilian government present a civilized face to the world.The Jekyll and Hyde persona?Also ,if one goes by this logic, then each nation in the world might attribute every dastardly act of any of its citizens as that of being a ‘non-state’ actor.(whatever that means!) Then whom does one hold responsible? If the government of a country has no accountability about the acts of its OWN citizens then who is to be held accountable?Pakistan is again denying that Kasab is a Pakistani citizen after having issued a statement yesterday that it would reply to his letter.(probably was at a loss on how to compose such a letter and still deny Kasab’s citizenship issue:D) .And then telling the world that India has not provided it with any proof.That really takes the cake.How are they to go about doing their work now? the poor souls?They don’t have to lift a finger till India PROVIDES them with proof. Ahem…why doesn’t India complete their investigation for them while we are at it?
Also apparently ,they have No record of anyone called Ajmal Kasab in their database. No sir, they do not. And that right there should be proof enough of their non-involvement.They are doing the best they can.They are shutting down terrorist training camps.Masood Azhar is under house arrest.But!No!wait!he will not be handed over .I mean, Pakistan has its OWN courts.He’ll be tried there.You see!the dance of justice?

What is one to do?How does one deal with this sense of helplessness?Of the kind of terror on a scale that one is yet to fathom?The questions are not just for India to ponder but for the world as a whole.Question the tenets of Islam itself?And risk being branded non-secular?Confront Pakistan?And risk seeing its ugly face and the prospect of use of nuclear weapons?Placate the bleeding heart ‘secular’liberals in one’s own country?Or take a page from USA’s book and launch an all out offensive??Or learn a lesson from USA’s experience in Iraq and Afghanistan?What is one to do with pakistan?Which pill will cure this ‘international migraine’?

What is Islam lacking ?Or rather its followers?Or is that a wrong question and the right one would be where has it gone wrong from its original tenets of peace? Questions more philosophical,more introspective in nature than anything else………
India would do well to remember something that Dinkar wrote….and one which still holds true…

क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को
जिसके पास गरल हो
उसको क्या जो दंतहीन
विषरहित, विनीत, सरल हो ।

India is in a dilemna…its citizens are hurt….physically,emotionally,they don’t know who the enemy is…or what they have done to deserve this…some are baying for blood,some are numb and some are just willing to AGAIN offer peace.That there are still those who can talk of ‘friendship’ just boggles my mind.We are not attacking you.We are not banning your artistes,neither any imports…..its all in your mind..there is no such official stand……but please,please do not expect us to turn the other cheek,let bygones be bygones….to smile at you..to look at you and see a friend ,a brother who has a shared past with us…thats not possible so soon…we are still bleeding ,still stunned,still hurting inside….
Give us time,give us time to look at this in hindsight.Don’t ask so much of us.We are just not ready yet.
Here’s someone who’s expressed better than I ever could…

भारत क्यों तेरी साँसों के, स्वर आहत से लगते हैं,
अभी जियाले परवानों में, आग बहुत-सी बाकी है।
क्यों तेरी आँखों में पानी, आकर ठहरा-ठहरा है,
जब तेरी नदियों की लहरें, डोल-डोल मदमाती हैं।
जो गुज़रा है वह तो कल था, अब तो आज की बातें हैं,
और लड़े जो बेटे तेरे, राज काज की बातें हैं,
चक्रवात पर, भूकंपों पर, कभी किसी का ज़ोर नहीं,
और चली सीमा पर गोली, सभ्य समाज की बातें हैं।

कल फिर तू क्यों, पेट बाँधकर सोया था, मैं सुनता हूँ,
जब तेरे खेतों की बाली, लहर-लहर इतराती है।

अगर बात करनी है उनको, काश्मीर पर करने दो,
अजय अहूजा, अधिकारी, नय्यर, जब्बर को मरने दो,
वो समझौता ए लाहौरी, याद नहीं कर पाएँगे,

ऐसी अटल अवस्था में भी, कल क्यों पल-पल टलता है,
जब मीठी परवेज़ी गोली, गीत सुना बहलाती है।

चलो ये माना थोड़ा गम है, पर किसको न होता है,
जब रातें जगने लगती हैं, तभी सवेरा सोता है,
जो अधिकारों पर बैठे हैं, वह उनका अधिकार ही है,
फसल काटता है कोई, और कोई उसको बोता है।

क्यों तू जीवन जटिल चक्र की, इस उलझन में फँसता है,
जब तेरी गोदी में बिजली कौंध-कौंध मुस्काती है।
-अभिनव शुक्ला

Well…this post has gone on long enough.About all I had to say for now.Much ,much more left to say.

A few lines by Prasoon Joshi…..ones that make you think…

Is baar nahin
Is baar jab woh choti si bachchi mere paas apni kharonch le kar aayegi
Main usey phoo phoo kar nahin behlaoonga
Panapney doonga uski tees ko
Is baar nahin

(This time when that little girl comes to me with her bruises, I will not blow gently at her wound, nor distract her, I will let her pain grow.
Not this time.)

Is baar jab main chehron par dard likha dekhoonga
Nahin gaoonga geet peeda bhula dene wale
Dard ko risney doonga,utarney doonga andar gehrey
Is baar nahin

(This time when I see pain on faces
I will not sing the song that eases pain
I will let the pain seep in, deep�.
Not this time.)

Is baar main na marham lagaoonga
Na hi uthaoonga rui ke phahey
Aur na hi kahoonga ki tum aankein band karlo,gardan udhar kar lo main dawa lagata hoon
Dekhney doonga sabko hum sabko khuley nangey ghaav
Is baar nahin

This time I won’t apply any balm
Nor will I ask you to shut your eyes
and turn your head
While I gingerly apply medicine
I will let everyone see the open, naked wounds�
Not this time.)

Is baar jab uljhaney dekhoonga,chatpatahat dekhoonga
Nahin daudoonga uljhee door lapetney
Uljhaney doonga jab tak ulajh sake
Is baar nahin

(This time when I see difficulty, uneasiness
I will not run to solve the problems
I will let them become complicated�
Not this time.)

Is baar karm ka hawala de kar nahin uthaoonga auzaar
Nahin karoonga phir se ek nayee shuruaat
Nahin banoonga misaal ek karmyogi ki
Nahin aaney doonga zindagi ko aasani se patri par
Utarney doonga usey keechad main,tedhey medhey raston pe
Nahin sookhney doonga deewaron par laga khoon
Halka nahin padney doonga uska rang
Is baar nahin banney doonga usey itna laachaar
Ki paan ki peek aur khoon ka fark hi khatm ho jaye
Is baar nahin

(This time I won’t pick up my tools as a matter of duty
I will not make a new beginning
Nor will I stand as an example of one dedicated to my job
I will not let life easily return to normalcy
I will let it descend into muck, on the twisting paths
I will not let the blood on the walls dry out
Nor will I let its colour fade away
This time I won’t let it become so helpless
That you can’t tell blood from paan-spit
Not this time
.)

Is baar ghawon ko dekhna hai
Gaur se
Thoda lambe waqt tak
Kuch faisley
Aur uskey baad hausley
Kahin toh shuruat karni hi hogi
Is baar yahi tay kiya hai

(This time the wounds need to be watched
Carefully
For a long time
Some decisions are needed
And then some brave moves to be made
We have to begin somewhere�
This time this is what I have resolved)
… Prasoon Joshi

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mavin permalink
    December 26, 2008 5:58 am

    That was a long post….

    First, we have, for too long, projected the soft state image. We talk about resilience and our ability to take punches and rebound back.

    Well somebody is taking us on and landing KO punches on us.

    We have to shed this “Bunch of Cowards” image and be more assertive.

    We should also jettison the belief that the USA, UK, France, Russia….will be of any help. We have to bear our own cross.

    That calls for immense self-confidence and ability to play hardball in the international arena.

  2. Indyeah permalink
    December 26, 2008 7:21 am

    Thank u so much for that comment,for taking out the time to go through it(the ‘long ‘thing is a weakness.I tend to ramble on and on)working on it:)Yes, you are right .That does call for confidence and assertiveness…..but how does one go about it?To our great misfortune we are saddled with a neighbour that seems to be nuke crazy and trigger happy…and just waiting for an excuse….any excuse..what is one to do with this runaway train?I am confused about a lot of issues….the paramount one being obviously Pakistan and the second one being the question of ‘Islam’ itself.

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