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Don't Ignore the Complexities on the Ground

Reader comment on item: Musharraf's Historic Speech

Submitted by Swahili Dinaz (India), Sep 30, 2005 at 00:17

India has unilaterally granted to Pakistan the Most Favoured Nation status in trade several years ago. The treaty for sharing of Himalayan waters that flow from India into Pakistan continues despite severe jihadi provocation. People-to-people contacts continue as a result of Indian feminist and Gandhian initiatives, as did contacts in sports. There is also fresh initiative for buses and trains originating in India, to Pakistan for a free movement of citizen across the border. All this is a part of expansive Indian vision for normalisation of relations. On the other hand, Pakistan has set up new terrorist camps on its territory, to foment violence in India.

Indians and Pakistanis continue to be great friends especially in the Universities abroad, the love and bonhomie amongst them is to be seen to be believed, common centuries-old cultural ties overriding national hostility, until there is mention of Kashmir! Interestingly, Musharraf gives the lie to this when he implies that Kashmir was not an issue between India and Pakistan, or for Pan-Islam, until the end of the Afghanistan War. Whither the obsession with the UN resolution of old? :-))

A Pakistani friend informed me a while back that a group of Pakistani students in the US, during the Kargil invasion, had even sent a petition to their Government that they did not wish for hostilities with India!

Mohd. Saleem Akhtar doesn't mention Daniel Pearl in Karachi, or Dawood Ibrahim, but the world knows about it. About Gandhi, unlike the Prophet, Gandhi was a product of India and its composite culture, and not vice versa! Gandhi himself made it obvious; he never made a break with the past. Gandhi arose as a leader at the head of a collective national uprising against colonial racist domination and loot. He was not the only one, and India remembers them all. But Indians are not stuck in the past, have moved with the times, shedding all the baggage that holds back from positive futuristic vision!

Pakistan was the creation of an intrinsically secularist leader like Jinnah, who spoke English, not Urdu, ate pork, imbibed alcolhol, practiced law in London, married a Parsi lady in Mumbai, and his direct descendants who continue to live in India have done extremely well for themselves as a leading industrialist family! There are personal accounts of how out-of-place Jinnah felt in the stifling parochial and Muslim fanatical Punjabi-dominated culture of Pakistan before his death. He openly spoke to visitors that he was the victim of a grave error of judgment. This is verbatim, not cut and paste. All this is hidden from the citizen of Pakistan who revere Jinnah as the Father of the Nation. Why?

Another thing, Bollywood is more celebrated in Pakistan and Afghanistan (except during the Taliban rule, when there was a fatwa against song and dance). Bollywood belongs to Pakistan; King Khan, Aishwarya Rai have as many fans across the border than they do in India, which is also the case with Pakistani Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali, Mehndi Hassan or Abida Parveen. Sadat Hassan Manto continues to be read for his deeply insightful humour on the human condition across the artificially nurtured ideological divide. In fact all the curious leftist writers of Pakistan, including Faiz, had a great following in India, and the latter in fact occupied a University Chair in Kolkata on special invitation. Indian Muslim communists were admired for their humanist-inclusivist vision in literature, be it Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi or K. A. Abbas. India continues to be a patron of Pakistani creativity and enterprise. Every Indian fast bowler wants to be an Akram or Waqar. Every Pakistani diva or pop group wants to cut discs in India, every actor wants to work in Mumbai, and they do today, without discrimination.

In fact I, along with most educated Indians, would like to see a strong and robust Pakistan, open to a progressive world view, rather than inward-looking and locked into inhuman positions. If you care to explore Indian media online, you will understand that this is Voice of the People in India, and not a cut-and-paste job. We rue the hostilities that have continued to be imposed on us in the name of Pan-Islamism. You forget that India has the second-largest Muslim population, after Indonesia. My neighbour shares haleem with me on Id, and her son dances with everyone in the Ganesh processions and Diwali celebrations. Why allow yourself to be brain-washed by the hate-filled regimes that have suppressed or distorted the truth from its citizen? Come into the light, my friend, there's plenty of room here. India is a democratic nation; you'd be amazed at the multitude of voices that prevail here, without fear of repression.

As for Pakistan-Israel relations, why should India worry if there is improvement, a softening of the hardline militarism of jihad against the perceived Infidels? India, its government and its people -- Muslims and non-Muslims -- would support and celebrate such an intiative. I doubt that Manmohan Singh would ever refuse to host a summit between Israeli and Pakistani leaders in Delhi, Kashmir or anywhere else for that matter. Be real.

Most of the Indian comments here were the result of ire aroused by a couple of hit-and-run specialists who were spreading false canards about Indians. Serves to clarify issues.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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