Writers often take in all sensory input from their surroundings and then mix it up inside to create the symphony that only words can. Recently I am getting a very strong vibe of reconciliation from our neighbors. Why is this so??
First of all, when India spoke through its recent polls the message was not that off “annihilate Pakistan”(sorry Modi, now piss off) as the hawks and extremist parties all lost out to the subtle progressive and relatively peace loving Congress party. Thus the worlds view of how Indian polls would change after the Mumbai incident turned out to be totally off the mark.
There are very strong reasons for this. Key to this is India’s burgeoning middle class who after getting more access to the outside world during the last decade, when India opened its doors to the tech world were also exposed to their Pakistani counterparts on the WWW, and pleasantly they found that Pakistanis were so similar to them in culture that they could be from another province of India let alone another country.
Not that this feeling is from the Indian side only, personally speaking whenever I come across someone from gujrat anywhere in the world, I feel like they are from across the road rather than across the neelam valley. Infact most of the conversations I have had over this blog and others with our neighbors have all ended with “so why the hell are we fighting” Its quite stunning that two cultures which basically derive themselves from the same roots have been so actively involved in wars in the past, but then politics is a dirty game.
However I for one do not think we will go to war anymore, although at times the emotional side of me gets upset over the constant finger pointing by the Indian media, inside I somehow feel that the people will not tolerate their armies going at each others throats again. Not even in a conventional sense forget nuclear war. All this talk of deterrence and how the region will descend into chaos, to me now seems like hogwash perpetrated by men in khaki on both sides to keep the money flowing into the defense coffers.
For who loses the most if there is everlasting peace between Pakistan and India? You got it, the politicians, the defense contractors on yonder shores and the armies of the two countries which are huge fattened & mutated monsters used to a steady diet of education and other growth oriented virgins lead to slaughter at their altars.
Individuals are now also playing more of a role of peace makers and reaching out across borders to prove this point in public.Â The visit of Ms Roy to our press club, the constant interaction between the two countries media industries (Atif aslam is now the most wanted playback singer over there) and now the teaming up of Pakistan’s Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi and Indian Prakash Armitraj in Wimbledon doubles is not lost to any of us. I know that we cannot oversimplify our old rivalry to a few gestures but are we so blind that we cannot see how similar we are?
We must build on this interaction and become more accepting and more flexible for our neighbors. The world has enough wars and we do not need to fight, infact we should use this public goodwill to turn our guns towards those that want to control us and maintain tension in this region to feed their death producing factories. We might have parted ways in 47 but our hearts and minds even though sometimes misled are still one.