BY N. P. UPADHYAYA
India and Pakistan are declared enemies since the very first days of partition 1947.
However, despite of their animosity of the highest order, the cultural affinity in between the two “separate nations” too is unimaginable.
Their dresses, languages they speak, the manner they talk and the foods they eat are almost the same. I have seen personally in Lahore 1995 during a FES sponsored seminar as to how the Indian and Pakistani academia and the media men treat each other with respect and admiration.
However, when comes in between the two their government point of view as regards each other, then the political climate of the seminar takes entirely a different, and even ugly form, as both the sides wish to prevail on the other with their own government’s stance taken on the other side of the border and the scene then become almost like a battle field.
Good or bad, my India and this applies to Pakistan also. So used to say Nikhil Chakravorty, the Chief Editor of the Times of India and taken as the doyen of Indian journalism once upon a time.
Both the media and the academicians from across the borders remain committed to push their government’s views and prefer to impose it on the other side and vice versa. The push goes on and on until the lunch or dinner break. My personal experience in Lahore in 1995, December perhaps.
During such a break, things become normal as if nothing as such had happened just the previous minute inside the seminar hall. They talk in such a manner as if they were eternal friends and can’t live without each other even for a single second. However, such scenes immediately vanishes when the seminar next proceeding begins. The house comes in order and the animosity could be felt the other moment.
In such a seminar, where participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives, apart from India and Pakistan, remain inside a single room and listen to the fiery deliberations, they perhaps are left with a single option and that is listening to the verbal war in between the Indians and Pakistanis only.
I am personally of the opinion that India and Pakistan should have intimate ties at all levels, including the government. The media on either side can be of great help for the normalization of their bilateral ties should the media on both sides so desire. The Indian media must change its disgusting attitude against not only Pakistan but for all the rest of the smaller neighbors of India.
As a mediaman having been in this profession for over four decades or so, I have the final impression that the Indian media has remained instrumental in damaging India’s relations with its immediate smaller neighbors. Admit this fact. This fact can’t be distorted. Indian media and FM Sushma Swaraj both have the same aggressive mindset.
Look how she teased Nepal through her flimsy speech made to please her boss Modi. She is a Hindu woman but with “due respect” having a perverted brain. She may land uninvited in Nepal to seek apology from the Nepali people. The chances remain. NC leader Gagan Thapa has made a sharp comment on her recent speech that undermines Nepali sovereignty.
Now back on Indo-Pakistan relations:
I can just wish for their intimate friendship that permeates down to all strata of their societies which in the long run assures the entire South Asian nations that they are now secured from any untoward incident that has been lurking over their heads since decades.
The reason of such a thinking is simple as both India and Pakistan possess nuclear capabilities and any time if anything goes wrong and a wrong nuclear button is pressed by any one of the two out of sheer madness, the result is not only chaotic but beyond normal imagination.
However, nothing to panic. Both the countries wish to mend their differences. All that has been causing the delay in the resumption of their stalled talks as to whether India or Pakistan should be the first country for the peace approach with the other side? Indian Minister Raj Nath Singh has recently hinted that if the Pakistanis so desire for having peace with India, then his country shall not deny to such a proposal from across the border.
How Pakistani side responds to the Indian “yes” shall determine the future fate of Indo-Pak normalization process.
The Indian minister’s positive nod for talks with Pakistan has come close on the heels of two events that if utilized for mending the strained relations, both India and Pakistan shall benefit as these two separate initiatives have the potential to being the two independent nations closer should the high flying authorities that control the helm of affairs in their respective countries so desire.
The first event, we have stated in our previous article a month ago, is related with the sudden revival of the almost defunct NEEMRANA Track-2 diplomacy. (Read Give peace a chance: log on to telegraphnepal.com). The Track-2 meet was held in Islamabad recently. Pakistani foreign Secretary threw a dinner in honor of the men engaged in this track two diplomacy.
The second one is the publication of a book penned jointly by two authors, one from Pakistan and the other obviously from India.
The importance of the book is evident as it has been written by none other the two Spy Chiefs, A. S Dulat, the RAW former and former ISI Chief Lt. General Asad Durrani. The book has just been released in Delhi some ten days ago.
Though the book has already invited sharp criticisms from a section of the population from either side of the border yet the event as such is important for those who were not the nationals of India or that of Pakistan, for example Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives, who have been forced to live under a constant threat as to what would happen next if one fanatic person from any one of the two countries press the wrong nuclear button?
In a way, India and Pakistan have kept hostage the entire South Asian region and the flash point being obviously the Kashmir issue that remains yet unsettled due to the arrogance and the incompetence of the UN System and the champions of democracy, the developed west.
In fact, Pundit Nehru had agreed for a plebiscite under the supervision of the UN Body, however, later the Indian PM Nehru declined which was only few months ago reiterated by Dr. Karan Singh, the heir apparent of Kashmir Kingdom now serving Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Dr. Singh is a vedanti also.
Dr. Karna Singh is the son of Maharaja Hari Singh who was coerced to yield in India’s favor by Pundit Nehru. Dr. Karan Singh has categorically stated that the plebiscite had been agreed by the Indian PM Nehru who later backed out.
The UN System is at fault summarily. This speaks of the UN incompetence.
Observers opine that if Kashmir issue finds a solution which satisfies the people of Kashmir then the entire South Asian region will take a sigh of relief. But the Indian arrogance and the UN system has acquired a mode of complete silence. This is mysterious indeed.
Mani Shankar Aiyer too has some soft corner for the Kashmiri people. By and large pressure is being built right inside the Indian Territory for settling the Kashmir issue once and for all so that peace prevails in the entire region.
Coming back to the book release event:
Former Spy chief of the RAW agency A. C Dulat has appealed the Indian government some ten days ago to invite Pakistan Army Chief General Qumar Javed Bajwa to kick start the stalled talks between India and Pakistan.
Speaking to NDTV together with the former ISI Chief Lt. General Asad Durrani ahead of the release of their joint book—the Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, Mr. Dulat said there was a new inflection in diplomatic and strategic fields across the world.
He says, “Who could have thought a few days ago that President Donal Trump would be talking to the North Korean leader Kim Jon-un?
We should also think out of the box, as Dr. MM Singh used to say “Roll out the Carpet and invite General Bajwa and see what happens”?
( Gneral Bajwa too prefers to initiate a meaningful dialogue with India).
Asked by the NDTV moderator Ms. Barkha Dutta about his suggestion that India should invite Gen. Bajwa for talks in Delhi, Mr. Dulat said that such a meet could take place with the National Security Advisor and surely the Indian Prime Minister would meet him too”.
Mr. Dulat felt that since the civilian establishment was weak in Pakistan and it was difficult to figure out who to talk with?
(Perhaps he was hinting at former Pak PM Sharif declaration of his soft corner for the Indian establishment which has invited wrath against Miyan Nawaz from the entire nationalist population of Pakistan. Some have even said that Miyan is already a man of Indian PM Modi. Pakistani sources claim that Sharif has business ties with Jindal groups in India. Sharif is supposed to have invested billions in Indian companies).
General Durrani too talked with the NDTV with the anchor Ms. B Datta but was not present personally at the book release ceremony in Delhi.
Whether Nawaj is PM Modi’s man or not is a thing that has to be decided by the nationalist people of Pakistan and thus observers in Nepal would prefer not to talk on this issue for some understandable reasons.
The release of the book authored by two diametrically opposing spy chiefs in Delhi saw some sharp criticisms of Delhi’s policy towards Islamabad and appeared to unite the Indian opposition in an urgent need to settle the Kashmiri mess to which the Indian opposition leaders termed as a “brutal repression of the Kashmiris in their homeland”.
“They are using this so-called muscular policy on Kashmir and we all know that a policy that uses brawn lacks brains”, said the former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha in a discussion on the book (the book release event time) co-authored by the two Spy Chiefs.
The senior BJP leader is a very vocal critic of PM Modi and a sincere champion of having a humanitarian approach for the advent of a permanent peace in the disputed area”.
This should mean then that all that Pakistan has to do is to build its constituency in India and bring them all in a common table and appeal them all to press their own government and the UN System to go in on for a permanent solution for the settlement of the Kashmiri dispute once and for all.
In a similar seminar held in Kathmandu on Kashmir issue in April 12, 2018, a class ninth grade school girl student stunned the seminarians of Kathmandu’s seminar circuit when she appealed both India and Pakistan to keep open the channels for discussion so that the rest of the countries in South Asia could live in peace.
Ms. Nistha Aryal made this appeal at the said seminar. That’s all.
For the road:
It is very unfortunate that fundamentalism and extremism have not only plagued India’s neighbors, but have also emerged as great threats for the plural Indian state.
The fundamental goal of Buddhism is peace, not only in this world but in all the worlds. The Hindu philosophy of war and peace can be seen in sacred Hindu texts such as the Vedas, The Law of Manu and the Bhaghavad Ghita. In Hinduism, violence is always considered the ‘wrong’ approach.
The two pillars of India’s Gandhism, meanwhile, are truth and non-violence. Mahatama Gandhi propagated ‘Ahimsa’ which means ‘no injury to any one’. Ahimsa is a very important belief in Hinduism which means trying to fight injustice and evil but without using physical force. Gandhi, moreover, also propagated non-violence.
The Gandhian concept of religious tolerance and harmony is also evident in the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution, moreover, is a secular constitution and one of the best written semi-rigid constitutions, which does not believe in any kind of discrimination based on colour, caste, creed and religion.
It is very unfortunate that fundamentalism and extremism have not only plagued India’s neighbours, but have also emerged as great threats for the plural Indian state. The present Indian government is trying its level best to eschew ahimsa. It has already damaged India’s global reputation as a secular state, Nepali observers contemplate.
Recent mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef. Instead of taking prompt legal action against the attackers, police frequently filed complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter.
See you next week. Thanks.
(Telegraph Nepal firstname.lastname@example.org)