Monday, November 2, 2009

Give hope a chance

“We are giving too much importance to Pakistan. It is just a small piece of land. India can’t be compared with Pakistan.”

Recently, Rahul Gandhi commented on Indian Media’s obsession with Pakistan. His quotes were direct and concise, just like his political demeanor. The statement was a breather to a lot of us who are tired of this ongoing enmity, a sort of a political test match that is punctuated by constant terror attacks, verbal ripostes and border altercations. Of course, Media is not to be blamed entirely here. Its just doing its job and blowing something out of reach is one of its jobs too. It can’t depend on transparency alone. There are a lot of paper page to be filled and it has to be done somehow, either by postulating events or predicting future or consequences and so on.

Trust is the key factor between us two nations and sadly, it is also the biggest commodity not found in our EXIM. We cannot rescind our bitter history with this country that happens to be our neighbor. So what we can at least try to do is emulate a model of level-headedness, something that is not being done since long time. The urgent need of the time is peace. Insurgency and infiltration are some issues that are paramount to our defense and can’t be curtailed in any sense but on a more broader scheme, its time to start a new chapter.
Pakistan is not a failed state. It’s a failing state. And if at all, by devil’s luck, it fails; India will have to face repercussions too. India does not choose its neighbors, as Shashi Tharoor noted. Like any good neighbor, we need to take care of our fence but at the very same, make sure things are all well on the other side of the fence. There might be some measures of “clandestine vindication” in some Indians whenever news flashes on our TV displaying bomb blasts or other attacks emanating on Pakistani soil and killing innocent civilians or seemingly brave Pakistani Army personnel. But that pleasure is not only voyeuristic but also vain at best.

Every country has a face. If it has a face, then most certainly, it must have expressions. Now, if one single expression is shown again and again then it becomes difficult to recognize that face by another expression. That maxim applies on Pakistan. We are bestowed by our history of conflict, this cruel expression that is hell bent on disrupting our peace and functioning. Sadly though, I must say, we are missing some others expressions that should be highlighted. These expressions are willingness on the other side of the border to cooperate and coexist in peace and progression. There are students out there like us who want to have a better future just like we do.

If our politicians could bargain a bit better than they are currently doing, then I’m pretty sure that peace can be bartered. Blood and wails don’t ensure anything except vengeance. We had enough of mistrust. Enough of political manipulations. Enough of emotional mishandlings and connivance on part of our leaders and fanatical rebels. Issues like Kashmir will always be there but my best guess is that its time to leave it for future generations to decide what they want for themselves. Let the future Kashmiris decide their ultimate fate. I say so because the people who are representing the Valley are victims of recent history. Their self-interest undeniably supersedes people’s welfare.

Just imagine how prosperous India would be if it didn’t have to worry about constant threat from West in the form of state-sponsored terrorists blowing themselves up in major cities across the Indian mainland. An assured India can focus more on education budget than defense budget that is eating off schools, dreams and opportunities for millions of Indians. Similarly, Pakistan too will benefit a lot if it manages to assure India of its cooperation. Military-ruled Pakistan doesn’t represent Pakistanis. It represents the miniscule men in Olive Green who are having the best of life out there. India can help Pakistan revive its democratic roots. After all, it was supposed to be democratic but somehow staggered down the line of coup.

The question is not about who is right or who is wrong. We’ve traveled a long distance from that burning question. Right now, its time to pause and think and start working towards a healthy future ahead. A future when the sky space over India will have PIA flying with no worry and Air India will land in Karachi. A time when fishermen who stray won’t be hassled and made pawns in diplomatic warfare. A time when Cricket will be back in fashion between these two cricketing giants and both the flags will fly side by side with decent hooliganism that football can only wish for. A time when Pakistanis won’t have to watch pirated Bollywood movies and Pakistani singers won’t be reviled for getting jobs in movies. A time when Dubai won’t be the meeting point or the marketplace between us!
I wish for the best type of border, an invisible border. Until that happens, I’ll be a dreamer and I guess I must be politically incorrect. But I believe being pessimist doesn’t guarantee me peace either. We are passing away and time’s running so why not save some hope for generations to come and stop at once this madness.

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