Clapping with one hand
January 6, 2010 1 Comment
It is difficult to criticize the efforts directed towards rapprochement and peace least of all when they are backed by one of the most respected names in Indian Journalism. But I dare to, because I think it is important to understand certain perspectives which are, sadly, yet not understood in India.
‘Aman Ki Asha’ is an initiative backed jointly by ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Jung’ to bring about increased people to people contact between India and Pakistan. Fair enough !
But it is extreme naivety, in my view, to hope that this would bring about ‘peace’ between the two quarrelling neighbours. I say this because the underlying social structures of the two nations are different especially the influence of society on governance.
It is futile in my view to even make any comparisons between India and Pakistan in the areas of democracy, economy or put simply progress. The futility lies in the fact that by comparing ourselves with Pakistan, we are ‘lowering our sights’.
Skeptics in Pakistan would quickly point out the fact that Pakistan is better placed than India (albeit only by just) in Human Development Index but as the adage goes, Statistics conceal more than what they reveal.
For India, the problem of Pakistan is a recurring migraine which hinders us every now and then from moving ahead in the path of progress. Despite this, India has made some stellar progress in many areas including Science & Technology, Education, Literacy etc.. Much needs to be done, no doubt, but my point is to acknowledge the roadmap that India has set for itself.
Compare this to Pakistan. They are still a warring, feudal society where oppression of the weak, women and minorities is the norm. While they feign to have a problem with India, it is actually an obsession that they have with India. In their frenzied obsession they don’t mind losing one eye if India would lose both. This view permeates throughout the society of Pakistan which helps the Government to shirk off any responsibility that they have towards their country.
Even with the chaotic, corrupt democracy that India has, it has shown to the world that progress is achievable. I am not trying to over simplify the chaos and corruption, but the facts that we have a free press and a reasonably functioning judiciary are proofs of accountability that we have in India.
While arbitrary decisions are taken and there is bitter bickering among political parties, at least in external policy matters, there is reasonable unanimity and a sense of “one nation – one voice”. A military that is subservient to it’s political masters adds further credence to my submission that India is not a military state.
On the contrary, Pakistan by and large is a banana republic and there is very little role for public opinion in it’s governance. If the democratically elected government even tries to make a small concession, it is over thrown by a military coup. It is no secret that Pakistan is a fascist, theocratic military state whose only aim is to destabilize India.
With this backdrop, it amuses me that there are people who still believe that people to people contact would help assuage the hatred that has come to define the relations between the Asian neighbours.
The peace initiative will favor Pakistan no doubt but it will yield nothing for India.
Let me adumbrate why it is not in Pakistan’s interest to have lasting peace with India.
a) With an under-developed and fissiparous society, the only rallying point that Pakistan has to unite it’s citizens, albeit temporarily, is to whip up ‘anti-India’ passions. The case in point is the recent mutterings of Prime Minister Zardari during his visit to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Zardari found comfort in the Kashmir issue to ward off his local political troubles including the NRO reversal. On the contrary, despite the right-wing BJP being the main opposition, hawkish positions against Pakistan are not used to settle political scores. The political fortunes of parties in India are not decided by the degree of their ‘anti-Pakistani’ rhetoric.
b) Pakistan needs the tension with India to keep the citizens diverted from their woes. The inequalities of the feudal system are as worse as the caste hierarchy of India and their state of women far worse. The only way Pakistan can keep citizens quiet is by blaming India for it’s lack of development
I am skeptical of the success of the people-to-people movement because of the deep rooted bias that is ingrained in every Pakistani. Their text books are full of loathsome hatred against India and children grow up believing that it is their duty as a Muslim to hate the ‘Hindu India’.
The theocratic, intolerant society of Pakistan can never establish peace with India. Any talk of peace with India by the Pakistani civil society will be met with a military clamp-down.
All that the peace initiative can achieve is to allow few more Pakistani militants to sneak into India in the garb of promoting peace only to wreck havoc on our country.
The peace initiative is one-sided and in my view will not yield any measurable result except getting some brief political mileage in both the nations.
Unless there is a fundamental shift in the nature of the Pakistani society, which seems impossible, there is no way the governance will pay heed to them.
You cannot, after all, achieve much by clapping with one hand.