OPINION

India, Pakistan and the Future

December 06, 2008
Somik Raha

The terrorist attacks of Nov 26 will go down in history as a turning point for the people of South Asia, if not the world. The attacks seem to have been orchestrated to destabilize the new democratic government of Pakistan and ensure that no one talks peace between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. The terrorists would have hit a jackpot if internal Hindu-Muslim hatred could have been provoked, leading to more carnage. However, the people of India have responded in a very mature fashion.

First, there is very little talk of revenge against Pakistan. People are angry against the fragile neighbor and at the same time, they recognize that there is little Pakistan can do for India or for its own self, given that it is largely controlled by their military and spy agencies. Second, and more importantly, the ire of the Indian people has been finally turned on India's incompetent civil government. The people of India have had it being governed by imbeciles, and are out on the streets recognizing their frustration. This is unprecedented. Rarely have all the politicians gone into hiding from the media. No one is making statements anymore. Those who are foolhardy enough to do so regret it from both sides of their face. Others are pleading for the politician-bashing to stop. Blogs, facebook groups and the personal internet has come alive with people expressing their anger and desire for change. Noted journalist Barkha Dutt, among others, has been at the receiving end of criticism for the media, prompting her to make a formal response.

We have perhaps never been closer to change than we are now, as the net connects us not just to the traditional newsmakers, but to regular people, who, if inspired to believe that change is possible, can make change happen. Obama's victory this year would hardly have been conceivable in an age without the internet, where an older and out-of-touch political caste would never have believed that such a change would be acceptable to the population. Its funny how our political representatives are most out of touch with the people they represent. As we slowly wake up to the fact that change begins with one person, the time has come to think about what we'd like to change to. Change for change's sake is counterproductive. Most Indians don't know that Mahatma Gandhi opposed a British parliamentary system in his 1913 book, Hind Swaraj or Self Rule. He used uncharacteristically strong words when describing it in Chapter 5, The Condition of England: prostitute and barren.

He wrote, "I pray to God that India may never be in that plight." It is baffling that his disciples did exactly the opposite of what he suggested, and his description would be considered by many as accurate about our parliamentary system today. I suggest that it is time for the Indian people to question the efficacy and ethics of a democracy like the one we have today. It is certainly better than the dictatorial system in China that stifles any voice that threatens it, but democracy cannot be mistaken for freedom, for it is a system where 51% have the right to coerce the remaining 49%, as we have seen the world over. An essay on Plato points out a major failing of a democracy:

.. the rule by the many was no remedy for the ills of oligarchy, according to Plato, because ordinary people were too easily swayed by the emotional and deceptive rhetoric of ambitious politicians. It was the demos, after all, the majority of ordinary people, who time and again had supported the disastrous campaigns of the Peloponnesian War by their votes, who had condoned numerous atrocities and breaches of the law, and who were also responsible for the questionable trial and execution of Socrates.

Sounds so much like the times of Nazi Germany which elected Hitler democratically and executed Jews and others legally. All democracies of our time that go to war do so with the legitimacy of elected governments. I believe that we should encourage people to think about what we want our "free" society to look like, without worrying about whether it is possible. Once we know where we want to go, we can then discuss how to get there.

There is something else that no one is talking about right now, which I think is critical for the survival and progress of South Asia. And that is reunification with Pakistan. Pakistan's existence came out of a negation of the idea of India. Pakistani politicians come to power with strong anti-India rhetoric and Kashmir promises. How can there be peace if Pakistan views India as the other and vice versa? At the same time, reunification is abhorrent to most Pakistanis. The impression is that they needed their own space to practice Islam, without having to apologize or live like a minority. Now that they have their own land, why should they risk becoming a minority again? Besides, who is India or anyone else to use its power and clout to threaten the idea of Pakistan? All valid points. Reunification that is done by force or coercion can only lead to disaster. Is it possible for Pakistan and India to both want to reunite, without losing their individual identities?

Yes. It is time for both Indians and Pakistanis who are sick of their political systems to dream of a South Asian Union, just like the European Union. East Kashmir and West Kashmir would have access to each other, without hindrance, resolving a six decade grievance in the hearts of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan would have access to not just all of Kashmir, but all of India. When a Pakistani citizen comes to an Indian airport, the first question they would get is: do you want a cab? The second might be: do you want a hotel? And India would have access to all of Pakistan, with the same treatment. Suddenly, we are not the other. The Indian and Pakistani troops can patrol the joint borders of South Asia together while the inter-country borders could be opened for free movement with minimal fanfare. You could be driving on the South Asian autobahn from Karachi to New Delhi, and at the border, you'd just see a small sign board saying, "Welcome to India, please continue to drive safely." Imagine?

Contrary to what a lot of Indians think, Pakistani citizens are no different from Indian citizens. They want peace and progress and are as sick of their politicians as we are of ours. What stops both countries from making their borders irrelevant? Here is a story that might shed some light. One economist tried to understand why Pakistan does not import tea from India, instead of paying a lot more to get it from Kenya (this has been written about). The Pakistani establishment cited the Kashmir dispute as the reason. Then, the economist asked why they didn't import tea from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh? Then, the real story came out - Pakistan has massive investments in Kenyan tea, and it is against the business interest of some merchants to let India into the market. What's the best way to stop India? Rake up the Kashmir issue.

India and Pakistan would have been friends and the South Asian Union would have been a reality a long time back were it not for narrow business interests that prevent this from happening. If you think that all the business interests are on the Pakistan side, think again. Domestic business lobbies exist on both sides.

Hatred multiplies with hatred, but dissolves when fired upon with love and compassion. While India strives to come up with a better defense system, the best defense is giving others many reasons to love you. We have a lot of work to do.

Somik Raha is a Ph. D. student in the field of Decision Analysis. He believes that you can believe what you like. So he believes that people in this world are good. He believes that in a free society, peaceful and honest people should be left alone.
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#1
Morris
December 6, 2008
05:28 PM

"Once we know where we want to go, we can then discuss how to get there."

Union with pakistan. That is where India wants to go. Who decided that? Somika Raha.

You must be joking.

#2
kerty
December 6, 2008
05:52 PM

Problemistan: What does the world do with Pakistan?
By Ashok Malik

http://www.dailypioneer.com/141444/Problemistan.html

#3
kaffir
December 6, 2008
06:11 PM

You start with a criticism of democracy, citing a few wars and Nazi Germany, while ignoring that democracy does function as it is supposed to in majority of countries which have that system, and in most instances; and then go on to paint a rosy picture of European Union-style South Asian federation.

What system of governance will replace democracy? If citizens are to decide on a unification, will they not express that desire through democracy?

Your citing of 51% overruling 49% as a criticism is theoretically correct, but how often in the history of democracy has that happened, and with what kind of consequences? Is there another system you can think of which won't have any flaws whatsoever and would be "perfect"?

In my opinion, the 51-49 is not that big of a deal as long as there are safeguards, and checks-and-balances, and most democracies do have them.

#4
Somik Raha
URL
December 6, 2008
07:50 PM

Kaffir wrote:
If citizens are to decide on a unification, will they not express that desire through democracy?

Yes, that is what we have.

Your citing of 51% overruling 49% as a criticism is theoretically correct, but how often in the history of democracy has that happened, and with what kind of consequences? Is there another system you can think of which won't have any flaws whatsoever and would be "perfect"?

I didn't use the word "perfect." But there are certainly better ways of organizing society than democracy or autocracy. But I will talk about that later. The idea of unification stands on its own, democracy or not. No one could foresee Germany's unification. People thought it impossible in their lifetimes. We have to dream.

In my opinion, the 51-49 is not that big of a deal as long as there are safeguards, and checks-and-balances, and most democracies do have them.

Its like the road has potholes or the pothole has the road. Our system is so messed up now, that there are only checks and balances. Imagine if you had to hire someone in your office to check-and-balance you for everything you did, and someone else to check that person and so on.. Would be a joke. Somehow, no one's laughing when we say this about the government.

#5
kerty
December 6, 2008
08:51 PM

Somik

"We have to dream"

We worry when some people have dreams and rest of people have to pay for it. Such dreams are more like nightmares for others. When a neta says 'I have to dream', it really means 'I have a nightmare for you' and people should run for their lives.

It might sound trivial, but has anybody polled what Pakistanis, Hindus, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nepalese etc think of such dream? What is in it for each of them? Why should they they cede their autonomy and independence. In reality, they dream of more autonomy as they prefer not to co-exist or integrate with each other. Ask Kashmiris if they would like Indians to settle in Kashmir or buy land/properties there.

Besides purely economic, social and political considerations, the idea will have to contend with plethora of cultural, religious and ideological factors that can not just be wished away.

Even if it were to become desirable idea, who would be able to execute the idea - UN? USA? India? Moslems? Hindus? Indian Secularists? I do not think any of them can be in a position to have such overreaching mandate or overriding power to draw the map for the whole sub-continent. Perhaps if UN-USA-India-Secularists join hands, but I doubt they can override Moslems or Hindus - either of them can spoil the party. What about China? Can China afford to let it happen? If dreams were wings, horses could fly.

#6
Chandra
December 6, 2008
09:50 PM

1. You are absolutely wrong!!

People on the street are baying for pakistan's blood. Thankfully, the Govt has shown maturity is not doing idiotic things that the BJP did after the Parliamentary attack.

2. We donot want reunificiation -symbolically or otherwise

Most Indians donot care whether Pakistan exists, one way or other, until the next attack. These attacks should initiate a discussion in pakistan as to where they wish to take their country. Look at the op-eds, where is that internal discussion. Had somebody accused Indians of this and we would have had warfare between the lefties and the righties by now. We are an imperfect society but we are not undemocratic. Our politicans are accountable and contrary to what people think, we are making progress. As i said again, many of the points you raised, we Indians are already discussed. One big thing you miss out...why two countries with similar people have had different results? - One has had a democracy for 60 years and one dictatorship (direct/indirect) for most of the 60 years....Such different coutcomes are probably because of the societies are made up. Probably pakistanis are not like Indians.

c. More dissimilarities

I have interacted with pakistanis and if at all, they are as similar as Punjabi migrants in India. I cannot see any other similarity, either in mindset or culturally.....

As an Indian, I have only one request from pakistanis and their apologists. Please leave us alone...you are a distraction.....we have a million problems in our country and attacks like these are a complete distraction....

Here are a few stats....a recent survey (pre-Mumbai) showed that only 15% (85%, it was economy related) of India felt terrorism was a big issue....a few days after the attack, that jumped to 40%....we did not ask for it, the Pakistanis gave it to us...absolute distraction.....

#7
Morris
December 6, 2008
10:22 PM

Somik

Look around the world. Do you see any muslim country having functioning democracy? Most of them are theocracy. The only major exception is Turkey. Even there their army is trying hard to keep them secular. And it still remains to be seen whether they can join EU.

You must be oblivious to the fact that in Islam religion and politics go together. Kuran is not just a religious holy book but it is also a political doctrine.




#8
Amitabh Mitra
URL
December 7, 2008
02:04 AM

I have always thought about the way a Pakistani common man thinks, is it different. Apart from a few e mails and statements, the Pakistani population have not been moved to an extent that they would march on the streets, hold a demonstration, go to the Indian Embassy to show their sympathies or protest against terror and their Government's handling of terror. It is business as usual in Pakistan.

#9
Ledzius
December 7, 2008
02:25 AM

Who are these people who want Pakistan and India to re-unite? Either they are enemies or they are masochists.

#10
Chandra
December 7, 2008
03:09 AM

Ledz

These sort of thoughts are what we call a variant of Stockholm syndrome.....the Pakistan Syndrome....Neville Chamberlain....people remember him?

#11
commonsense
December 7, 2008
10:22 AM

Chandra:

""1. You are absolutely wrong!!""

great line for STARTING an argument! most regular folks would use this as the parting short, after having made their point! talk of having a conversation!!

#12
commonsense
December 7, 2008
10:27 AM

Chandra:

""I have interacted with pakistanis and if at all, they are as similar as Punjabi migrants in India. I cannot see any other similarity, either in mindset or culturally.....""

as opposed to the total identity of culture, food, clothing, mind-set, body type, facial features, languate, kinship rules etc. between Meos of Rajasthan/Haryana, the Khasis and Garos in Meghalaya, the Lohar community in UP, the Coorgs of Karnataka etc. Once you think about how homogenous all Indians are, you will begin to realize THE TRUTH. If not, some truth serum is highly recommended.

#13
Somik Raha
URL
December 7, 2008
10:35 AM

It is hard to respond to people's opinions because you are entitled to them. For a discussion however, we need arguments. So, I will focus on the comments that have arguments in them.

Amitabh Mitra writes that is business as usual in Pakistan - no solidarity or protest against terrorism. Check the following links:
LPP protest against Mumbai terrorist attacks in Lahore Pakistan.

Pakistan feared Indian attack after Mumbai: report.

Hundreds rally to keep peace between Pakistan and India.

Note that Pakistan has been terrified of an attack by India since the hoax call. That is dominating their discourse for the moment.

Be that as it may, without apologizing for Pakistan, I am going to point out that this is deja vu all over again. This reaction has happened in my previous generation, and their previous generation, where both sides are obsessed with what's in your face. India and Pakistan's differences cannot be politically or militarily resolved. You can certainly try - like we have since 1948. Both countries can live in denial with each claiming all of Kashmir as theirs. The best thing India could ask for from the international community is to help India and Pakistan make the current borders permanent, and not a temporary understanding.

But even this won't likely happen - our champion patriots will scream that we have given away too much.

#14
Somik Raha
URL
December 7, 2008
10:43 AM

Morris writes:
Look around the world. Do you see any muslim country having functioning democracy? Most of them are theocracy. The only major exception is Turkey. Even there their army is trying hard to keep them secular. And it still remains to be seen whether they can join EU.

Malaysia, Indonesia.

You must be oblivious to the fact that in Islam religion and politics go together. Kuran is not just a religious holy book but it is also a political doctrine.

This is, I think, a very important point. If you see Indian Muslims rising up in support of India, I would say they disagree. They value the freedom they have in India and assert their own identity. A few years back, I was invited to Ramzan dinner where the entire Stanford Muslim community would break their fast together. I sat a table with Muslims from Saudi, Palestine, Iran, Egypt, Turkey and India. I asked a simple question - "So what's the difference between Shia and Sunni muslims?" As someone started explaining, another objected, and soon, people realized that they ought to know but do not. Then, a seminar was organized so they could figure out what their differences were. Somehow, in a home far away from home, the differences were irrelevant. If Indians have had Pakistani friends abroad, they can testify how easy it is to be friends with them. We assume too many identities and irreconciliable differences when we return home. Why should we keep doing this, if it keeps giving us a rotten experience?

#15
commonsense
December 7, 2008
10:44 AM

Morris:

""Look around the world. Do you see any muslim country having functioning democracy? Most of them are theocracy. The only major exception is Turkey.""

Not. Indonesia, Malaysia...

Yes, you can wiggle out of this using all sorts of verbal gymnastics, but you might have saved yourself the trouble had you not put the absolutist, dictatorial, patently non-democratic phrase "the only major exception". Yes, I am ready for how "minor exceptions" are defined and when ONLY does not quite mean only etc. etc.

#16
commonsense
December 7, 2008
10:48 AM

Somik Raha:

""Be that as it may, without apologizing for Pakistan, I am going to point out that this is deja vu all over again. This reaction has happened in my previous generation, and their previous generation, where both sides are obsessed with what's in your face.....

But even this won't likely happen - our champion patriots will scream that we have given away too much.""



Indeed. Same old, same old, despite the generational difference. A depressing thought indeed.

#17
Somik Raha
URL
December 7, 2008
10:51 AM

Kerty wrote:

Even if it were to become desirable idea, who would be able to execute the idea - UN? USA? India? Moslems? Hindus? Indian Secularists? I do not think any of them can be in a position to have such overreaching mandate or overriding power to draw the map for the whole sub-continent. Perhaps if UN-USA-India-Secularists join hands, but I doubt they can override Moslems or Hindus - either of them can spoil the party. What about China? Can China afford to let it happen? If dreams were wings, horses could fly.


I agree with you. But the change of heart starts with one. I have found that terrible things and great things took very few people to initiate into a revolution. To your earlier point on worrying about netas, I agree. But it cannot be that terrible ideas start with a dream while good ideas don't.

Your point on the reconciling so many identities is spot on. The problem cannot be solved at this level (look at our domestic politics, for example). The only way it can be resolved is if we go to a plane where the problem does not exist. What plane is that? Or rather, what do we need to believe for us to be able to accept people of shades and colors, all shapes and sizes, all religions and traditions, as our own family?

Lets see what Rabindranath Tagore had to say in a highly vitiated environment where the common man protested against Western education:

Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin. I am proud of my humanity when I can acknowledge the poets and artists of other countries as my own. Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that all the great glories of man are mine. Therefore it hurts me deeply when the cry of rejection rings loud against the West in my country with the clamour that Western education can only injure us.

On the Indian ethos, Rabindranath wrote:
The spirit of India has always proclaimed the ideal of unity. The ideal of unity never rejects anything, any race, or any culture. It comprehends all, and it has been the highest aim of our spiritual exertion to be able to penetrate all things with one soul, to comprehend all things as they are, and not to keep out anything in the whole universe - to comprehend all things with sympathy and love. This is the spirit of India... India is there to unite all human races.

Are we refusing our destiny?

#18
commonsense
December 7, 2008
10:53 AM

no nation is every completely homogenous, so this talk of cultural differences as the major barrier does not hold. it is largely the neurotic obssession that the thekedaars of Pakistan and India have against each other...not differnces per se.

no, japan is not culturally homogenous. those who cannot afford a visit, might want to read:

john lie's _Multi-Ethnic Japan_ (Harvard University Press)

#19
Morris
December 7, 2008
10:22 PM

Somik #15

You are right about Malayasia and Indonesia. Are they secular? I am not sure. In Malayasia recently it was the state that decided whether a woman's dead husband was indeed a muslim. I am not sure about Indonesia as yet. Wait and see.

I am not against such union. I just don't see it is practical. Life as it is very difficult for average person. Even among loved ones if we cannot get along with each other we live seperately. We love and respect each other. Why not use that same approach here.

There are more than 50 muslim countries in the world. Hardly any has significant minority living peacefully. Not that they did not have any. Bangladesh for instance started with more than 10% minority. Give another 50 years or so and they will be down 2-4%. Why is it?
Perhaps you can explain.

Enough has been said about indian muslims. They are good indians. I have no reason to believe that they are not. And yet after 60 years of efforts India dare not allow people of Kashmir to decide for themselves whether they want to remain in India. Or let us make it simple and ask them to choose India or Pakistan period.

I have a simple theory and I have expressed it elsewhere. Muslims are first muslims before they are indians, americans, british or whatever. They like the nationality synonymous with the religion. They can easily say that I am Pakistani because that implies that he/she is muslim. And that is why once they reach majority they like country to be Islamic. And now there is no conflict. It is the religion that is mixed with politics that creates this dilema.

I can understand that. Kuran is certainly a political doctrine as well. And if were muslim and belived in my faith I do the same. Why not? We all do that. Unfortunately, the prophet was not very kind to the non belivers i.e. minorities. When Saudi Arabia does not allow minorities to practice their faith they are guided by their political doctrine that is Kuran.

Somik, it is an excellent dream but unreal. Perhaps a way head of time. The world is not quite ready yet. I just cannot see how this can become reality. My fear is that if did become reality things could get a lot worse. You wre visionary man go in politics.

#20
Ledzius
December 7, 2008
11:05 PM

Please learn to differentiate between democracy and secularism. Even if an Islamic country is democratic doesn't mean it is not theocratic. Eg, Malaysia, Iran, etc.

This whole article tries to downplay Islam. If Pakistan were a Buddhist or jain nation, this idea would make sense. But since this is not the case, this is like asking the enclosures for the tiger and sheep to be merged in a zoo.

It appears that, this idea is a wishful thinking of Indian Muslims more than anyone else (the author himself seems to have a Muslim name). Both Pakistanis and Hindu Indians (except for the warped leftist intellectuals who abound this site) are against this idea.

Seriously, unless this article is posted under Satire, it undermines the credibility of this website.

#21
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
01:20 AM

I thought personal attacks are not tolerated on this forum. Regardless, Ledzius, I am a Hindu and an Indian. And if you are trying to find religion in a name, it is pitiable. Somik is an English transliteration mistake of the Bengali alteration of the original Sanskrit name, Shamik. And so what if an Indian Muslim or any Muslim had written this piece? Is Universalism the prerogative of the Hindus? Hinduism, like all other world traditions, tries to comprehend the Universal, in its own diverse ways, and if you see the philosophy of the mystics in each tradition, you will find they say very similar things. You don't have to go very far - read Sufi thought. Guess where Bulle Shah was from? Present day Pakistan, and he's still revered by Pakistanis. If you read his poetry, and you are really familiar with Hinduism, you will find that you are basically reading Advaita Vedanta.

What are you going to accuse me of next? Leftist? That will be a joke - all my articles on this site are of a laissez-faire nature and I am a libertarian - neither left, nor right.

Ad-hominems like this bring down the image of whichever group you think you represent.

#22
BangaloreGuy
URL
December 8, 2008
02:15 AM

Chandra has summed up what I'd have said usually. However, please pass the pipe, I want a drag too - the dream sounds so enticing. ;)

#23
Chandra
December 8, 2008
05:54 AM

Commonsense -12

You are right! Therefore, you do accept that there are no similarities between Indians and Pakistanis.

#24
Chandra
December 8, 2008
06:06 AM

Somik

What you need to do is map comments made by pakistanis between the period May 1999 and July 1999. They are the same as today. The pakistani nation and its people are living in denial. We have been attempting to build friendship and will probably continue to do so. However, that does not absolve them of their responsibility to fix their own home.

#25
Ledzius
December 8, 2008
07:22 AM

Somik #21 - "You don't have to go very far - read Sufi thought. Guess where Bulle Shah was from? Present day Pakistan, and he's still revered by Pakistanis. If you read his poetry, and you are really familiar with Hinduism, you will find that you are basically reading Advaita Vedanta."

Most Indians, including me, haven't even heard of this Bulle Shah. I couldn't care less where he is from. You want India and Pakistan to unite because of some guy's poetry? Wtf?

One of the agendas of the LeT is to hoist the Pakistani flag on the Red Fort. Should this ever happen, it would be thanks to people like you.



#26
commonsense
December 8, 2008
07:52 AM

chandra:

""Commonsense -12

You are right! Therefore, you do accept that there are no similarities between Indians and Pakistanis""

not sure what you mean. any nation has dramatic internal cultural, religious, linguistic etc. differences. the similarities are due to a shared legal system, not cultural homogeneity. that was my point when i compared the khasis of meghalaya with the coorgs of karnataka. where is the cultural similarity, apart from the fact of indian citizenship?

#27
commonsense
December 8, 2008
08:04 AM

somik:

""What are you going to accuse me of next? Leftist? That will be a joke - all my articles on this site are of a laissez-faire nature and I am a libertarian - neither left, nor right.

Ad-hominems like this bring down the image of whichever group you think you represent."'

unfortunately the standard operating procedure for a number of commentators here. Chandra (please don't deny it now!!) routinesly tries his "commonsense don't pretend you are indian". Ledzius tries to claim you are muslim (a toxic entity beyond remedy in his worldview) while BangaloreGu reaches for the pipe. Morris challenges the thread to name just one Muslim majority country apart from Turkey, that is not a theocracy but a democracy, goes on a stream of consciousness exercise when confronted by the fact of Indonesia that was never in its history a theocracy and has the highest muslim population in any country in the world. what it basically comes down to is this thought: muslims due to their Koran, are forever doomed to, well doom. This so-called argument, ironically resonates with the jehadis, who just see the "doom" part, not as doom, but as something positive. Stretching all sense of reality, this argument will have us believe that all muslims, regardless of context, cultural differences, linguistic variations, historical circumstances etc. etc. have some ultimate version of the Koran wired in their DNA and hence they are apparently incorrigible. The jihadis salivate at this prospect too, because this is exactly what they are trying to propagate. In betwee of course, are caught well meaning Hindus, Muslims, Christians, X who just want to get on with their lives and improve it if they can, but they are all the targest of thekedaars who claim to speak for so called "true" Muslim, Hindu, Christian etc. interests.

#28
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
08:17 AM

Arguments have been given about the performance of Islamic states on secularism are valid. First, we find a spectrum - from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a secular democracy in Indonesia (under threat nowadays) and Turkey. If Islam had a homogenous impact, we would not see such variation.

Second, it is important to note that we are in cause-and-effect land. It is far from clear to me whether Islam promotes fundamentalism and violence against other religions or whether those who were in a fundamentalist frog-in-the-well upbringing happened to have Islam in their environment, and brought their narrow thinking to this religion.

To see if this argument could hold, we need to find countries that are the opposite of frog-in-the-well countries, that have been ports where people all over the world have come, interacted and settled. Two places come to mind - Lebanon and Turkey. Lebanon, with an ancient harbor that has seen a lot of traffic over centuries, has a large Christian population living in peace with the Muslims, and while the politicians there are remarkably like the politicians in our land, common Lebanese people that I've met are not in the business of hating based on religion. The same is true of Turkish people, and the Turkish state infact goes to quite an extreme to impose secularism. Turkey's capital Istanbul (or Constantinople) was a major travel hub.

For an example closer to home, consider Kashmir. Before the valley was torn apart with violence, Hindus and Muslims peacefully coexisted, and even shared spiritual leaders like Nund Rishi. Note that Kashmir has seen multiple religions for a while now, and although horrific acts of violence have happened there, the state is fundamentally altered due to its contact with "other ideas."

Now look at India's metros - why do they seem so progressive? It is because so many people from different parts of the country and the world enrich the place with their ideas.

Finally, Ledzius, it is funny that you have not heard of Bulle Shah. A. R. Rehman, whenever he gets a chance, composes music for Bulle Shah's songs, and it is has appeared in several Hindi films. Chaiya Chaiya is one example. Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaun is a famous hit number, written by Bulle Shah, which means, "Bulle Shah, you do not know who I am!"

On the surface we have so many differences with Pakistan and any other country you don't like. But only when we go to the spiritual level, we find a deeper and thrilling unity. I find that the discourse on India and Pakistan is overwhelmingly masculine, let's blow em up rhetoric. The problem is - women haven't taken a stand on it. None of the comments so far sound like they could be from women. If we are to be evidence-based, I'd say that this problem has been left to the men far too long without any sign of success. I want to know what women from both sides think about this issue.

#29
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
08:26 AM

Commonsense, glad to see a voice of reason has not drowned in the dreary desert sand of dead habit, as Rabindranath would have put it.

I think Morris, Chandra and Ledzius have not received compassion in a long time. Everything in the world goes in a circle, and what goes around, comes around. If anyone knows them in person, I sincerely request that you give them a jadoo-ki-jhappi the next time you see them on the street.

#30
kerty
December 8, 2008
11:17 AM

CS

"similarities are due to a shared legal system,not cultural homogeneity"

Do you think Jehadis in India and Pakistan would like to have or share one legal system? Or want religiously neutral political system? Or development-oriented economic system? What similarities or shared systems are you talking about?

There may be many breeds of lambs and they can share the same cage even when they do not look homogenious, but why would you throw lambs and lions in the same cage? You think they would follow same laws or rules of behavior? To assume so would be highly disingenious.

#31
kerty
December 8, 2008
11:53 AM

Shomik

Your arguments tries to delude us that we are not dealing with a highly Islamized(owed to Whabism and Deobandism) and radicalized country called Pakistan and Bangladesh.

How would you go about neutralizing their Islamization and radicalization so that these countries are as at peace as Lebanon, Kashmir and Iraq?

Hey, I would take turkey any day, but we are not dealing with a turkey at our borders, are we? We are talking about land of Dowd Ibrahims and Bin Ladens, not land of Tagore. So stop pretending. We need practical solutions, not hallucinations.

#32
sk
December 8, 2008
11:59 AM

The Starting point

There are a lot of radical ideas in this article that pushes the range of options. But where do we start ? We keep talking about the divide between India and Pakistan. But what about the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims in India. There are areas in India which are totally populated by Muslims. They have such total control over those areas that non-Muslim auto drivers have to drop the passengers at the edge of the area and the Muslim auto drivers take the passengers into the area. Does any Indian dare to break this divide ? There are a lot of peaceful ways to do this...but this requires a lot of courage. Before going ahead with grander schemes like unifying with Pakistan, these internal divides need to be patched. Else, India will become a fertile ground for these terrorists who will get harbored in these Muslim dominated areas.

#33
kerty
December 8, 2008
12:40 PM

SK

"Does any Indian dare to break this divide ? There are a lot of peaceful ways to do this..."

What makes this divide so insurmountable is Jehadism that perverts Islam into an ideology of terror - though most moslems do not subscribe to this ideology, their Islam remains highly indistinguishable and inseparable from this ideology - and Indian political establishment does not help either as it panders to it for Votebank. In order to bridge the divide you are talking about, Moslems need to create a divide between - Islam and jehadism, moslems and jehadis. Are there peaceful means to create such divide? Will moslems be forthcoming to make it happen? Will votebank politicians do what is right? I doubt it. However, you can count on appeasement and empowerment of jehadism being sold as peaceful means of resolving the divide.

So in

#34
Morris
December 8, 2008
12:53 PM

Somik # 29

"I think Morris, Chandra and Ledzius have not received compassion in a long time."
What made you arrive at this conclusion? Did I pass or fail some kind of litmus test? And what does it mean anyway?

All I am saying is that your suggestion will not work. I have given my reasons. You did not deal with the points I have raised and instead of discussing the subject you made this general statement.

We humans are not just born with love, compassion, forgiveness etc but also with greed, hatred jealosy etc. It behooves on thinking individuals to organize our affairs in such a way that we can all live peacfully. I am not suggesting any violence against any group. Let us find ways to live peacefully. But the one you have suggested is certainly not. Lofty impractical ideas makes one feels good about himself. But that is about all.

#35
Ruvy
URL
December 8, 2008
02:13 PM

This is the second article that deals with the general idea of a South Asian Union. The article by Desh analyzing the weakness of Pakistani politicians (illustrated by their charges of "Hindu Zionists" being responsible for the Mumbai terror attack) is astute analysis of the real weakness of Pakistani leadership. Put the three articles together and what view does this foreigner get? He gets a view of an India that is capable of leading a South Asian Union but weak due to the pulsillaneousness (sp?) of her leaders; a view of a Pakistan that is not really holding together, or that is holding together more out of inertia than unity.

The opportunity for real change is there. There are real benefits that Indian writers can see, and even this not too perceptive foreigner can figure out that one nuclear force aimed against the world is better than two aimed against each other.

However, as noted in the other article pushing a South Asian Union, one needs non-Indians getting behind the ox-cart pushing it also.

Just a thought from the mountains of Samaria.

#36
kerty
December 8, 2008
04:29 PM

Ruvy

"This is the second article that deals with the general idea of a South Asian Union."

And both of them came from Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world - a Bengal that nobody recognizes anymore, one that can not break free from morally and fiscally bankrupt communism; whose official savior has remained imported Mother Terrorissa; whose main cultural gift to India is staggeringly poor Bengladesh that is embedded to another one of world's most regressive ideologies - Jehadi Islam. And now these luminaries of westeland want to turn India into united states of Bengladesh to solve problems created by nexus of Jehadi Islam and Crusading Left. If you can buy United States of Arabistan(that includes Israel) for the middle-east to solve all middle-eastern problems, perhaps there is some merit to United States of Bengladesh too.

#37
Ruvy
URL
December 8, 2008
05:01 PM

And both of them came from Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world....

Kerty, I would never know that from reading these articles. I guess you are saying, "consider the source".

I'll make this observation - this coming from a Jew who was taught the high value of abstract thought in developing ideas. Without the vision, without the picture in the mind, you can never actually construct the real thing....

So Theodore Herzl had to write "Der Judenstaat" and "Altneuland" before more practical types like David Green, Moshe Shertok, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Golda Meyerson, and Aubrey Eban could give it practical form.

So far, everyone writing about this has been an Indian. So, so far, its an Indian (or if you prefer, Bengali) vision. But that's where I must leave it.

#38
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
05:34 PM

Kerty wrote:
And both of them came from Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world - a Bengal that nobody recognizes anymore, one that can not break free from morally and fiscally bankrupt communism

Kerty, you naughty boy, hiding behind an innocuous pseudonym while you launch attacks on others' identities. I wish you were more confident in your arguments - then these ad hominems would be unnecessary. For the record, I agree with you that communism has really harmed Bengal. Even the Communist chief minister of Bengal has publicly admitted this. Bengal is facing difficult times, but I have a lot of admiration for this land of Vivekananda, Tagore, Sri Ramakrishna and other stalwarts - so many activities occur to crush its spirit, and yet, it inexplicably survives. It is perhaps the blessings of Mother Ganga.

Be that as it may, just see what hippocrites we are. We are on the streets protesting against politicians for dividing us on all kinds of lines, and here we are doing exactly the same.

Maybe God made politicians in our own image.

#39
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
05:58 PM

Morris wrote:
We humans are not just born with love, compassion, forgiveness etc but also with greed, hatred jealosy etc. It behooves on thinking individuals to organize our affairs in such a way that we can all live peacfully. I am not suggesting any violence against any group. Let us find ways to live peacefully. But the one you have suggested is certainly not. Lofty impractical ideas makes one feels good about himself. But that is about all.

On the other hand, I will argue that this is the most practical way forward. Every other suggestion I have seen so far involves some version of Game Theory, which is a curse of a discipline, IMHO. Most users of Game Theory don't challenge assumptions and assume zero-sum games. Indian decision makers are busy second-guessing Pakistan, and Pakistani decision makers are busy second-guessing India. Do they have a vision for the future? Not really. The politicians care for their 5-year terms and their vote banks, not for those who will never vote for them. So much for our democratic system designed to serve us.

There will never be a better time when we can have this dialog with Pakistan than now. Educated Pakistanis see the futility of the previous generation's obsession with India and an Islamic military. They'd rather be friends with us. In this moment when the entire world is hounding them, India must reach out and tell the Pakistani, "Sister/Brother, you are an equal - let us join hands and chart our destiny together." This is when it really counts.

Sun Tzu in "The Art Of War" makes an important philosophical point - the victor in a war is actually a loser and should never parade the victory, for it is a great failing that peaceful means could not be used to resolve the situation and all sides should regret that. It is most unfortunate that we have had to use military force against Pakistan three times and continue to guard ourselves against them. I am not suggesting removing our defense system or not defending ourselves when attacked. I am suggesting that we start developing a deep sense of regret that we need to protect ourselves from our brothers and sisters across the border and reach out.

The younger generation of Pakistan, just like the younger generation of India, holds the key. If they decide that enough is enough - we want to lift barriers, it can happen.

From some of the comments, people seem to be saying, this is a fine dream, but how do you get there realistically. When people wake up inspired, they find all kinds of solutions. Imagine, if women of Pakistan and India take matters into their own hands, and walk across the border to the other side, forcing removal of mines. And if they refuse to come home to their families - husbands, children and brothers, until the arrogant male decision makers sit down, chew up their animosity and start a new future together. Who is going to shoot at wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, especially when their own are at risk?

#40
kerty
December 8, 2008
06:44 PM

Somik

"I have a lot of admiration for this land of Vivekananda, Tagore, Sri Ramakrishna and other stalwarts"

Who are these dinosours? You mist be talking about some other Bengal that does not exist, is lost to the newer visions. You think Bengal of today is capable of producing even tiny shadows of any of these men? Besides, who says they were great? May be rest of India lionized them because they surpassed our hopelessly diminished expectations of that barren wasteland and gave a ray of hope about that god-forsaken region - it is like making rabbit a king when all we have there is rats to choose from.

I hope you would not mind my jabs at parochial Bengali identity, in the interest of grander border-less and culture-less identity you so espouse. For, if you can't get past your own Bengali identity or take insults to Bengal on your stride, what good would be your grand vision that requires everybody to transcend such identities? Why would anybody give up their cherished identities when you value your own?

Insults and attacks on ethnic, religious and national identities provide valuable litmus test of people's tolerance, willingness and level of importance and allegiance people assign to them - when they fail to insult, incite and divide, than you know ground realities are ripe for your grand vision.

#41
Somik Raha
URL
December 8, 2008
07:24 PM

Kerty, thank you for testing. I am not in the least bit insulted. One can never be insulted, one can only choose to be insulted. I choose not to waste my time in that manner.

I was actually amused reading your previous post. In any case, believe it or not, the country that is going to teach India the most will be Bangladesh - Dr. Muhammad Yunus has performed nothing short of a miracle in that land, and we are in the process of replicating it in India.

In any case, I think India's perception and depth is far beyond that of any one person's ideology, and it is for us to discover how to comprehend the universal in our personal and social life. The world has seen Machiavellian approaches far too long - they all work in limited circumstances and eventually fail, victims of human selfishness. But what transcends all this is the selfless spirit of man, that can move mountains and create miracles. Gone is the time where we would have a Gandhi to lead us. This is the time when every single Indian can incorporate some Gandhian ideal unto himself/herself and create positive change. If we all do this in a limited sphere, we will have nothing short of a revolution. And guess what, it has already begun. I have met several heroes from India.

Here is a film I made two years back, called Scavenging Freedom on one inspiring Gandhian's work to remove untouchability.

Here is another documentary on a man who decided to root our needless blindness from India, in the award-winning film, Infinite Vision.

#42
commonsense
December 8, 2008
07:31 PM

kerty:

""Insults and attacks on ethnic, religious and national identities provide valuable litmus test of people's tolerance,""

and who except for the psychopath would disagree. ummm, except for the tact that almost all the attacks on ethnic, religious and national identities have come from the very kerty who doth protest too much!

#43
commonsense
December 8, 2008
07:43 PM

all we need now is the predictable attack by kerty on somik (and unnamed others) as leftists, psecularists etc. etc. regardless of what the targets of such attacks chose to believe or not to believe. aka "boilerplate", same tactics, regardless of who one is arguing with ie. focus, not on the argument at hand but on the identity of the person: muslim? psecular? non-Indian? anti_hindu? pro-hindu? pro-muslim? anti-muslim? you get the drift...ignore the argument or what is said and speculate about who is saying it (Ledzius, "somik must be muslim"; Kerty "he must be bengali, hence an ideologically bankrupt communist" etc. etc.). what a sorry spectacle indeed!

#44
commonsense
December 8, 2008
08:52 PM

human, all too human! cut/paste:

Kerty: "Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world"

Ledzius: "Most Indians, including me, haven't even heard of this Bulle Shah." (don't miss the thekedaari for "most Indians"...wonder, why not all Indians, except Somik and Bulle Shah...wonder if Ledzius never saw the movie Bobby..."beshak mandir masjid tordooo")

Ledzius #2: "the author himself seems to have a Muslim name" (hence whatever he/she says is by definition worthless)

Morris: ""Do you see any muslim country having functioning democracy?... The only major exception is Turkey."" (Takes the cake and the Christmas turkey too!)

Chandra: " You are absolutely wrong!!"" (and that's for starters...this is how he BEGINS a so-called argument...not "absolutely")

Chandra: "commonsense, sweetheart, stop pretending you are Indian" (from another thread).

Kerty: holding forth on how to have one ideological cake while eating it too; as in give with one hand, bait and switch, and take it away, hoping nobody would notice: ""though most moslems do not subscribe to this (jihadi) ideology, their Islam remains highly indistinguishable and inseparable from this ideology"

just a sample, albeit not a representative one.










#45
Morris
December 8, 2008
10:33 PM

Somik # 39 and 41

Little in these comments are arguments or relavent discussion points. Excellent monologue though.

"I am suggesting that we start developing a deep sense of regret that we need to protect ourselves from our brothers and sisters across the border and reach out."

Can any one beat this? Beautiful! Masterpiece!
I am with you Somik. You take the leadership of the movement. With your command on language you will be able to inspire the mass very quickly. You have my support, honestly. I did not dislike the idea. I said it is impractical. If you can make it happen more power to you. After all Gandhi made the non-violence movement a reality and achieved the freedom.

I can think of one or two small hitches. But there is no point in bringing them up now. They will play out on their own time.

#46
Naga Phani
December 9, 2008
01:33 AM

Alas! The way this idea has been received sums up the current state of Indian politics. More than that, what surprises me is that the educated community is no better than the Indian Politicians. I wish we have a more open-minded discussion and see that a fruitful discussion evolves that can take us and the world forward.

Leaving that, I would suggest that the change start in India and then spread to uniting with our neighbors. There are at least two main areas I would point out to improve, before we go on for a foreign policy that would enable the union of India and Pakistan. First, it is very important that the political system in India be flushed to get rid of greed, selfishness and dishonesty. The current political system will not give any stability to Somik's dream. These leaders would rake up Hindu-Muslim divide for winning elections and destabilize the whole union. This is something we have seen over the years. This is something we would expect to see as long as the current system exists. How many politicians in India are free from criminal charges? How many criminals in India are not supported by politicians? And how many politicians have not used legally prohibited ways to win in elections? Answer, to all these questions would be "a few". Our first target would be to change that answer in reality to "very many".

Second, "aam aadmi" - an average Indian citizen is very far in time from the information age. He/She needs to be educated to the cause of the nation, to the fact that his/her contribution is vital to the positive development of the Nation. And an awareness needs to be created so that his/her innocence is not exploited and then we will have many more willingly and democratically joining in this campaign of solidarity and peace.

Let the voice of every single Indian be heard and let this wave of reforms propagate to our neighbors. This would be important as I think, not the majority of Muslims are fundamentalists or terrorists, but the majority's voice is never heard - it is subdued by the tremors of terrorism. And then, when the majority's voice is heard, I think there will be brotherhood, stability and solidarity; and there will be peace within and across the borders.

#47
kerty
December 9, 2008
02:03 AM

Naga

"Let the voice of every single Indian be heard and let this wave of reforms propagate to our neighbors."

Are you sure you want every Indian be heard? Because majority of them might not join your band wagon. You will have to take away their say to make it happen. There is no way Indians, Pakistanis and their corrupt politicians would give in on their own. You will need to have some country initiate a war against Indian subcontinent, defeat it and impose the new political map on it as a part of cease-fire/peace treaty. Or you will need to have some country colonize the sub-continent and impose new political map on it against the will of Indians and Pakistanis. You will also need to attack all their regional, cultural, religious and national identities and allegiances as a part of weaning Indians and Pakistanis out of them. You seem educated and determined to be our Amichand in our hour of need for peace, stability, solidarity, brotherhood, development sans greed, selfishness, dishonesty and criminal politicians.

#48
Naga Phani
December 9, 2008
02:52 AM

@ Kerty:

I certainly want that every Indian be heard. I agree that a war be initiated; but an information war. In my opinion, communal riots gain a wider coverage than inter-community gatherings. Little stories of unity and Hindus celebrating Ramzan with their Muslim friends and Muslims celebrating Diwali with their Hindu friends gain very little coverage. But I am sure, the latter are more widespread than the communal riots that are covered by news agencies. In the community I grew up, I never witnessed a communal riot, but I had certainly witnessed Hindu-Muslim unity. I do not deny the fact that there are areas which are more sensitive and where communal riots are more prevalent than unity among communities. But in most instances, it is narrow-minded aggression that causes this and I think awareness would prepare people to respond positively and with an open-mind and thereby avert unnecessary fracas.

I do understand your point that the task is not at all easy and it needs resolve and courage to change the direction that has been taken for granted by the majority and set new standards. But, all we can expect is that these measures would organically wean them from unrealistic identities and bind them to long-lasting friendship.

After all the efforts, if I have to use force and take their say away from them to make this happen, I rather wish they not join the band wagon!

#49
Ledzius
December 9, 2008
04:34 AM

The same leftists who want India to unite with Pakistan would be the ones wanting us to grant independence to Kashmir because they are a Muslim majority.

Why don't they go to Kashmir first and preach the idea of unity with India? At least, the rest of us wouldn't complain then.

#50
suresh.naig
December 9, 2008
05:13 AM

Unity of South Asia or not, has to emanate from a point of strength and not from a position of helplessness.

Before any idea of unity is professed we must crush terrorism from this region, as other wise any idea of unification would be construed as a surrender of a weak country to its enemies.

Surprisingly after every attack by terrorists exported from the neighboring country, we extend our hands for friendship, giving me a picture of all Indians with a begging bowl for mercy.

All ordinary diseases would require ordinary medicines, but cancer has to be treated with radiation and chemotherapy, which would destroy innocent tissues too along with rogue tissues.

#51
Chandra
December 9, 2008
08:00 AM

Some comments by St. Commonsense

you should do stand-up comedy

The best way to "argue" with them is to take the piss of them by circumventing logic

And what about the Gobar Gas you and your lackeys have been creating? Some social service at least...

#52
commonsense
December 9, 2008
09:49 AM

Chandra:

""Some comments by St. Commonsense

you should do stand-up comedy""

But I do. Except you don't think it's that funny. Besides, you also respond "you are absolutely wrong"!

I guess to have your own quotes hurled back at you, in quotes, is not a pretty sight, so I can feel for you when you don't like what you see in the mirror. Don't however lose much sleep over it; it's ok! it's alright! St. Commonsense harbors no ill will.

#53
commonsense
December 9, 2008
09:57 AM

and we, have the gall to accuse others of being biased, or invoking stereotypes. Get a load of this. unadulterated, unembellished fare, all of it, except for one, culled just from this thread! (of these folks believe they are simply trading in FACTS, while others are biased. "Ideology is like bad breath; we are never aware of our own, but only the bad breath of others")

Kerty: "Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world"

Ledzius: "Most Indians, including me, haven't even heard of this Bulle Shah."

Ledzius #2: "the author himself seems to have a Muslim name" (hence whatever he/she says is by definition worthless)

Morris: ""Do you see any muslim country having functioning democracy?... The only major exception is Turkey."" (Takes the cake and the Christmas turkey too!)

Chandra: " You are absolutely wrong!!"" (and that's for starters...this is how he BEGINS a so-called argument...not "absolutely")

Chandra: "commonsense, sweetheart, stop pretending you are Indian" (from another thread).

Kerty: ""though most moslems do not subscribe to this (jihadi) ideology, their Islam remains highly indistinguishable and inseparable from this ideology"



#54
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
12:05 PM

Ledzius wrote:
If Pakistan were a Buddhist or jain nation, this idea would make sense. But since this is not the case, this is like asking the enclosures for the tiger and sheep to be merged in a zoo.

Since you would rather deal with Buddhists, how about starting a dialog with Sri Lanka? When India was called in the last time, instead of helping resolve matters, we saw the conflict through the eyes of ethnic identity and got embroiled in it ourselves.

#55
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
12:22 PM

Suresh Naig wrote:
Unity of South Asia or not, has to emanate from a point of strength and not from a position of helplessness.

Before any idea of unity is professed we must crush terrorism from this region, as other wise any idea of unification would be construed as a surrender of a weak country to its enemies.


Hasn't India been trying to do that in Kashmir for the last 60 years, and America trying that now in Afghanistan and Iraq, with failure in every sense of their military objectives? Evidence does not support your argument from a pragmatic standpoint. Besides, ahimsa IS a position of strength. Just because our schools don't teach it does not mean it is unlearnable.

Surprisingly after every attack by terrorists exported from the neighboring country, we extend our hands for friendship, giving me a picture of all Indians with a begging bowl for mercy.

The last time I checked, we sent our troops to the border and Pakistan did the same.

All ordinary diseases would require ordinary medicines, but cancer has to be treated with radiation and chemotherapy, which would destroy innocent tissues too along with rogue tissues.

It is interesting you talk of cancer, for it is indeed a cancer in our society for us to become obsessed with narrow identities. As Phani pointed out, we need to reform as a society before we can make this union happens. The cancer is in our society, not in Pakistan. Pakistan simply exploits our weaknesses and fuels them. Education of the right kind that opens our mind can be the radiation or chemotherapy that wakes us up, and the vaccine for those who haven't gone to sleep yet.

#56
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
12:32 PM

Ledzius writes:
The same leftists who want India to unite with Pakistan would be the ones wanting us to grant independence to Kashmir because they are a Muslim majority.

I didn't realize the leftists also wanted to reunite with Pakistan. Can you post some of their articles here?

Why don't they go to Kashmir first and preach the idea of unity with India? At least, the rest of us wouldn't complain then.

I don't know about leftists, but Kashmir has seen a lot of suffering for various reasons. Do you really think national identity can be thrust down people's throats? Do you think for that matter, the Indian identity can be forced on people? If you want Kashmir to feel like they are a part of India, then I ask you, when was the last time you or an ordinary Indian took some time to do an act of kindness for the ordinary Kashmiri, knowing as we do about their situation. Instead, when things got rough, an economic blockade (perceived or actual) was threatened. And then, we are surprised by the lack of connection with the Kashmiri people and the rest of India?

#57
Ledzius
December 9, 2008
12:58 PM

Somik - "And then, we are surprised by the lack of connection with the Kashmiri people and the rest of India?"

If we have problem connecting with Kashmiris, how can you expect us to unite with Pakistan? Wake up to reality, dreamer.

PS- For most sensible Hindu Indians, it is anyway a nightmare which is better not realised.

#58
commonsense
December 9, 2008
01:03 PM

hey somik raha, now this may amount to a kiss of death (in the eyes of the folks you are arguing with), you are my kind of guy. more commonsense is needed here and everywhere else! hats off to you. hope you will stay and not disappear. the work of responding to illogical thinking is never done.

#59
commonsense
December 9, 2008
01:15 PM

Tips on How to Engage in a Civil Dialogue: (Culled right from this thread, and not arranged in a descending or ascending order of obnoxiousness)

1. Morris: "You must be joking."

2.Kerty: "If dreams were wings, horses could fly"

3. Chandra: ""You are absolutely wrong!!""

4. Ledzius: "Seriously, unless this article is posted under Satire, it undermines the credibility of this website."

5. Ledzius: "the author himself seems to have a Muslim name."

6. BangaloreGuy: "please pass the pipe, I want a drag too - the dream sounds so enticing. ;)"

7. Kerty: "And both of them came from Bengalis who have fascination with abstract world and would rather escape from the real world"

8. Kerty: "stop pretending. We need practical solutions, not hallucinations."

Chandra, it is hard to pass up the opportunity of stand-up comedy when there is so much free fuel. Albeit comedy with stings (not strings) attached.




#60
commonsense
December 9, 2008
01:40 PM

Ledzius #1:

""If we have problem connecting with Kashmiris, how can you expect us to unite with Pakistan? Wake up to reality, dreamer.""

Ledzius: #2:

"When I was in the US as a teaching assistant in a university, I always used to find that a group of fob Pakistanis were the worst in terms of cheating, whether in assignments or in exams. Till that point, even I had a hallowed view of humanity....did I started realising that maybe there are other factors like religion, culture, and even genetics that shape the mental and ethical makeup of people-at-large."

Anyone can see that you'd have trouble connecting with people you presume to be totally different from you. I shudder to think about exactly which course you were a Teaching Assistant for. Hope it was something reasonably mindless such as "How to Make More Money thru cutting edge web-design" etc. and not a course on "race and ethnicity" where you might be expected to teach students how to avoid stereotypes such as FOB.


#61
kerty
December 9, 2008
01:41 PM

Somik

"Kashmir has seen a lot of suffering for various reasons. Do you really think national identity can be thrust down people's throats? Do you think for that matter, the Indian identity can be forced on people?"

But you don't see any problem thrusting this grand union and its identity down the throats of people. You do not seem to mind the idea of forcing it upon unwilling people of the sub-continent.

Kashmir is integral part of India. India is a union of varieties of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious constituencies - and if even such a union can not remain viable, what makes you think a larger union extending to whole of subcontinent would do any better?

Jehadi elements within Kashmir do not like any union with India. They do not want any union larger than their own Kashmiri identity for fear of diluting their identity and independence. If your dream has any merit, you would want to test the merit and strength of your ideas and strategies in Kashmir and see if they can make people of Kashmir embrace a union larger then Kashmir.

"If you want Kashmir to feel like they are a part of India, then I ask you, when was the last time you or an ordinary Indian took some time to do an act of kindness for the ordinary Kashmiri"

Ordinary Indians have been very kind to Kashmiris. They can be even more generous if they are allowed to live peacefully in Kashmir, allowed to setup businesses and industries there, allowed access to education there, allowed to mingle with Kashmiris. You know what happened when Hindus asked for temporary toilet facilities for Amarnath pilgrims. Non-moslems who live in Kashmir have not fared better either. Kashmiri Hindus who lived there for generations have been driven out from their homeland and made to live like refugees in Kashmir. Indians have received nothing but kicks in exchange for kindness.

Indian government too has been very kind with its economic and development aid to Kashmir. Government spends a fortune for providing security to Kashmiri people who are torn apart by insurgency and militancy waged by Jehadis. Indian state is forced to fight separatist insurgency that uses terror to achieve its Jehadi aims. India is forced to adopt a policy of containment of jehad and confining its confrontation with Jehad to Kashmir theater. The policy of containment is not going to be painless but alternatives would be far more bloody and painful. So the policy has to continue even if it takes next 1000 years. Barbarians dream to be breathing at the gates of Delhi after swallowing Kashmir. But India can not let that happen no matter what may be the cost. India has to maintain its union, defeat jehadism, and than dream of any larger union. That is pragmatism rooted in realities.

#62
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
04:23 PM

Kerty wrote:
But you don't see any problem thrusting this grand union and its identity down the throats of people. You do not seem to mind the idea of forcing it upon unwilling people of the sub-continent.

I am not suggesting any coercive union. We would not be having this discussion if peaceful, honest people on both sides were left alone - those who wanted to travel around could do so. Because of our borders on a piece of paper, we are stuck with forced identities. I'd rather just be a human being who likes to be left alone, and I wouldn't be raising my voice if that was so today.

This is also one of the reasons I do not have a high regard for democracy, because the fundamental ethic of democracy is not universality but majority.

Universality: If you believe that its good to steal your neighbor's food, that is not universal, because you wouldn't be happy if your neighbor did it to you. But if you believe that all peaceful and honest people should be left alone, you wouldn't mind if everyone followed this rule.

Majority: Majority vote has no ethical character of its own - it can be guided on the right path by the wisdom of the leaders of the majority, or not. In other words, it is no different from a regime of a benevolent dictator in the best of times, and in the worst of times, we can see legal genocide.

Therefore, saying that a majority does not agree with it imparts no ethical value whatsoever to your (or any) argument. The idea has to be judged on its universality, and according to one's own independent thinking.

Kashmir is integral part of India. India is a union of varieties of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious constituencies - and if even such a union can not remain viable, what makes you think a larger union extending to whole of subcontinent would do any better?

The Indian idea that people of different traditions can coexist is an idea the world needs badly today. We have had our problems but by God, no other country has been so tested. Having said that, we will find that by adopting universalism in our outlook, especially with our neighbors, our internal outlook will be transformed, for if you send out compassion, compassion is bound to come back to you or your descendants - it is the law of the universe. There are people I know who believe that the results will be received only after seven generations and therefore it is important to start now.

Jehadi elements within Kashmir do not like any union with India. They do not want any union larger than their own Kashmiri identity for fear of diluting their identity and independence. If your dream has any merit, you would want to test the merit and strength of your ideas and strategies in Kashmir and see if they can make people of Kashmir embrace a union larger then Kashmir.

I am least interested in Kashmir fulfilling the Indian ego. I would simply repeat Gandhiji's point - what's going to happen after you are free from India? If you are fighting to have a parliamentary democracy like India, like India did after the British left, it is not worth the bloodshed, because the Kashmiris will still not be free. They would have just changed masters. Instead, why don't you think of real freedom? Where peaceful and honest people in your society are truly left alone? In fact, Kashmir is in the unique position of trying very innovative social experiments and actually getting the national leadership to accept it, given the current situation.

Kashmiri Hindus who lived there for generations have been driven out from their homeland and made to live like refugees in Kashmir. Indians have received nothing but kicks in exchange for kindness.

Kashmiri Pundits have indeed suffered a lot. How can there be peace in Kashmiri hearts if the Pundits are not taken care of?

Indian government too has been very kind with its economic and development aid to Kashmir. Government spends a fortune for providing security to Kashmiri people who are torn apart by insurgency and militancy waged by Jehadis.

Its a vicious cycle - often innocent people are killed, and their kin get inspired to fight. If we are to win against violence, we have to fight with that which is superior to violence, and that is ahimsa. But how can we fight without any training? There is so much spent on military training, and almost none on developing the self for ahimsa.

#63
Morris
December 9, 2008
06:21 PM

Somik #62

"This is also one of the reasons I do not have a high regard for democracy, because the fundamental ethic of democracy is not universality but majority."

I am intersted to learn some more about this. I assume you are suggesting democracy by universality and not by majority. You do not like democracy by majority. I must admit I am not very smart. Would you explain to me specificaly how this democracy of universality will work. Would there be elections? If not, how are the leaders to be chosen? You are upto something brand new as far as I am concerned. All your comments are too general and it is hard to diagree with them. Please be a little more specific. Is this Gandhi's concept of running the country? Can give an example of a country working democracy by univerality.

What do you think CS. May be you could use your commonsense and make this undstandable for me. This is something brand new for me.


#64
Chandra
December 9, 2008
06:28 PM

Somik

Let me repeat my points again in a language that you will understand (please also read my article on why India was attacked (on DC) if you can)

a. It is not true that Indians are not baying for Pakistani blood. Multiple surveys confirm that they indeed want that. I donot agree with it either because that is what terrorists want too. However, this response is emotional and compared to a week ago, people have settled down back to their lives. However, should there be another attack soon of the same level, we are all in for trouble

b. People's ire: As usual,what we see on TV is not what is reality. Had this accident been exclusively at CST one wonders if our clebrities and so called celebrities would ever turn up at gateway of India. Anyway, the reality is that even today, a majority of the population donot consider terrorism as a major problem (even today). One reason could be Geographical - Large parts of our large country have never exeperienced terrorism - Economic hardships have been experienced by one and all. The recent elections support my assertion. While Sheila Dixit lost -8% of the vote, a large proportion of it has more to do with regular issues like empowerement and economic progress.Personally, I donot read too much into the protests at Gateway of India and candlelight stuff. If we Indians really want to change things, let us start first by fixing what we do in our daily lives (Paying bribes, driving like mad, ill treating people of lower income groups and so on).Those who are a little more ambitious, should go and contest elections. That is real change, narabaazi is a good start but the bottomline is on acting upon it in our daily lives

c. I donot believe that ALL politicians are out of touch. The fact that 3/5 CMs were re-elected by their people indicate that they are building some sort of connection with their voters. A visit to MP or Delhi will confirm that. I see that in my own home state of orissa and one can see that in Gujarat as well

d. Pakistanis:Irrespective of what they think about their own lives, one thing over-rides all.....India wants to destroy them.....as an Indian citizen I cannot fathom this....Considering what they have been doing in Kashmir since 1989 and Punjab before that, I am unable to understand who should fear more. Having said that, I donot see fear in India, just anger. The average pakistani will need to believe that we are not out to splt them. I think we have not been making crazy noises for ages now and not even during this attack. I reckon it will take time to change perceptions. But one big body of opinion is the fundamentalists and armed forces. Can we change their perceptions, I dont know. I am not optimistic though.

e. There is no factual basis to believe that only business interests are preventing a closer India Pak relationship. Both India and Pakistan are members of the WTO and over time will have more and more tradeable items that they will need to buy and sell from other countries. The India-Pakistan question is very complicated and will take time to sort out. It is not something that I would leave to nut cases or romantics.....


On Kashmir

I do believe that there is a lot that can be done. It is not just a queston of desire but also ideas. My own personal belief is to merge a few things across Kashmir - Education boards, Common Universities, common power grid, free movement of people (on basis of identity cards) etc etc.....in that regard, we have been moving fairly slowly...

#65
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
07:23 PM

Chandra, to your first point, the reactions seemed far different than the last time when we had the two armies eyeball-to-eyeball. Most of the interviews I saw on TV were anger directed at the politicians. Do share with us the surveys you refer to. Your second point echoes Phani's suggestions - I like it. I don't disagree with 3 and 4 either.

On the fifth one, I recommend M. J. Akbar's article in the Times of India, Two-nation theory has bred practice of hatred.

#66
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
07:54 PM

Morris wrote:
I am intersted to learn some more about this. I assume you are suggesting democracy by universality and not by majority. You do not like democracy by majority. I must admit I am not very smart. Would you explain to me specificaly how this democracy of universality will work. Would there be elections? If not, how are the leaders to be chosen? You are upto something brand new as far as I am concerned. All your comments are too general and it is hard to diagree with them. Please be a little more specific. Is this Gandhi's concept of running the country? Can give an example of a country working democracy by univerality.

A guiding principle around designing a legal system that can pass the test of universality is to figure out that minimum portion of your ethical code that you are willing to impose on others by force.

After a lot of thought by many people, the universal maxim that people from every culture and land have been unable to dispute is: "Peaceful, honest people have the right to be left alone." We define peaceful as not using physical force or the threat of it. We define honest as not having committed contractual fraud. As a clarification, telling a lie would not be illegal in such a society. For instance, if someone asked you the direction to the post office, and you knowingly pointed in the wrong direction, this would be a terrible, unethical thing to do, but it would not be illegal. An immediate result of the maxim is that those who are not peaceful or not honest do not have the right to be left alone.

It turns out that this maxim is all we need to help guide our thinking on complex issues. There are several consequences - and we can look at them after you tell me which areas of society concern you the most. On Gandhiji's philosophy, my reading is that he would have approved of the maxim. A consequence of applying the maxim is that government will shrink drastically in size, if not disappear, because tax is a coercion that won't exist. Perhaps the only government you will have is one of volunteers, who don't need the money and want to serve.

Gandhiji's vision was on similar lines - he was quite opposed to large central governments controlling people's lives, or armies. He was fine with a civil police force. Functionaries would not be horse-trading for power like they do now, but would serve voluntarily and their actions could not violate people's free will. In many ways, the Sarvodaya movement in India and Sri Lanka epitomises this legacy that is largely unacknowledged. You will note that Bhoodan movement is a miracle to many, but obvious for those who follow the Gandhian way. True Gandhian functionaries are all about social justice, but the means is all important.

Tell me now which aspect of society we should examine under this maxim, and we can proceed.

#67
commonsense
December 9, 2008
07:59 PM

morris:

"What do you think CS. May be you could use your commonsense and make this undstandable for me."

me, you mean me. ummm, err, gulp...me just a humble DC court jester...

but perhaps perhaps john dewey, the american pragmatist who argued that an educated and informed citizenry is an essential ingredient of a democracy? something to think about in an era where rituals of election and popular votes, based on swaying emotions, amount of money spent on campaigns etc. are confused for democracy.

#68
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
08:43 PM

Morris,

On the examples you seek, I will give them as we go along in our discussion, but it isn't hard to find examples in India that have followed this principle in some aspects. For instance, Gandhiji was a huge fan of letting villages make their own decisions and keeping the over 5000 year tradition of Panchayati Raj. After independence, the government had communist persuasions and were pretty upset with caste discrimination that would happen at some of the Panchayati deliberations (perceived or real), and so the entire system was outlawed. It was Rajiv Gandhi who came to the scene and made famous the remark that out of every 100 rupees the government spends, only 15 goes to the pocket of the intended recipient. He realized centralized government had completely failed our several hundred thousand villages where the majority of India lives. He realized that the baby had been thrown out with the bath water when Panchayati Raj was taken out, and he brought it back in. Economists now agree that this decision had a huge positive impact on the welfare of villages. People voluntarily served on the Panchayat, and these are respected figures in the villages. We do hear of occasional abuse but by-and-large, the system has served us well.

But decentralized civic decision making is a consequence of the maxim, not something that is done by design but that which results naturally by leaving people alone to make their own decisions.

More examples to follow as we proceed.

#69
Morris
December 9, 2008
08:51 PM

Somik

"Peaceful, honest people have the right to be left alone."

I agree. And that is exactly what I have been saying when we discussed work of missionaries. Unfortunately, in our society it conflicts with saleman's right to sell be it a religion or a product.

"Tell me now which aspect of society we should examine under this maxim, and we can proceed."

Examination is requied right at the basics not at the societal level. I assume you have no problem with the manner in which the govenment is elected regarless of how small it may be. It is the laws or perhaps the constitution needs to be changed to adopt this concept. Right?

My question is how do you go around implementing this change to universal rather than majority concept? Do we have to get this accepted by majority? Or you are just trying to spread this by word of mouth. But that way it will never be put in practice.

CS

I agree with Dewey. But what is the alternative?Do we limit the franchise to educated only? How do define educated? But why not ponder what Somik is saying and throw some light on that. You are the only one who is fully in support of this union of SEA contries.

#70
Morris
December 9, 2008
09:05 PM

Somik
I am thinking from top down you are thinking from bottom up. But the panchayat needs basic guidelines to work with. Does'nt it? Who gives these guidelines? Without the guidelines they may decide that dalits cannot enter temples. Then what? And what about cities with large population. Too many questions still in my mind.

#71
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
09:06 PM

I wrote: "Peaceful, honest people have the right to be left alone."

Morris responded:
I agree. And that is exactly what I have been saying when we discussed work of missionaries. Unfortunately, in our society it conflicts with saleman's right to sell be it a religion or a product.

In your example, the important question to ask is: whose property are the salesmen on when they are selling, and what are the rules the property owner has about such behavior? In your house, no one has the right to come and lecture you on any topic if you choose not to be disturbed. If a salesperson repeatedly disturbs you in your home and refuses to leave, you can take recourse to legal action, because you are peaceful and honest and you have not been left alone on your property.

In a shopping mall, the property owner has given the right to sales people to sell you things, and if you don't like it, you can either close your eyes or not go there, but there is nothing illegal about it, as long as the salesperson does not physically coerce or threaten you to buy, or defrauds you.

I assume you have no problem with the manner in which the govenment is elected regarless of how small it may be. It is the laws or perhaps the constitution needs to be changed to adopt this concept. Right?

The question is framed in a manner that makes it hard to answer. The constitution certainly would have to be changed, but following through would mean that a large part of social work would be done by social entrepreneurs and not the government. People will get use to paying for things they need, and if it bothers someone that there are some who can't afford basic necessities, no barrier should be placed to their starting a social venture to do something about it. But by default, the government will have no positive duties to engage in. Their main function would be to stay out of people's way.

The next question is - how many people do you need to make sure the same people stay out of your way? I'd say zero, but others might say a few are needed so the system continues and is not mistaken for anarchy.




#72
commonsense
December 9, 2008
09:30 PM

Morris:

(To me: ""You are the only one who is fully in support of this union of SEA contries")

Huh? I have supported no such thing. If I have, please provide even a shred of evidence to confirm this. You cannot, because there's none. If you do, show it to me and others. My curiosity is piqued. I trust you are not implying ideas to me that I do not have.

My support has been extended for Somik's basic commonsense, lack of ad hominem attacks ("you must be hallucinating" and the like) and his respect for others' views cannot be construed as support for the union of Indian and Pakistan. Whether I agree with the content of his argument is irrelevant. I applaud his having raised the standards for how a discussion on serious issues should be conducted, regardless of whether one is in agreement or in disagreement.

BTW "SEA contries" means the ASEAN or Singapore, Malaysia etc.

#73
commonsense
December 9, 2008
09:36 PM

Morris:

""How do define educated?""

good question! certainly not necessarily those who have a collection of degrees to display on the wall...such as a certain somebody who was a Teaching Assistant at a university when he realized that pakistanis were particularly prone to cheating, especially those who were FOB or (fresh off the boat). that is certainly not education, degree or no degree, or even 10 degrees.

#74
Morris
December 9, 2008
10:06 PM

CS

May be just SA countries.
You attacked anyone who gave any reason to Somik opposing this idea of union. So I assume that you support this idea. As far as the rest is concerned I am still discussing with him. I know you don't like my comments about muslim countries may be a bit of exaggeration but I think it is closer to the truth than you like to accept.

Democracy as it is now is the best we can do in spite of dewey's observation. I am trying to understand the "Universality" Somik proposing.

#75
Somik Raha
URL
December 9, 2008
10:18 PM

Morris wrote:
But the panchayat needs basic guidelines to work with. Does'nt it? Who gives these guidelines? Without the guidelines they may decide that dalits cannot enter temples. Then what? And what about cities with large population. Too many questions still in my mind.

In the past, or present, the panchayat members are not lawyers or trained in the governance. They are people who are expected to have an ethic of fairness and think clearly. If they do crazy things, and it gets known, the police are asked to intervene to set things right, but that is the exception. This perception that they need to be taught what to do is presumptuous. Having said that, we could conceive of giving the Panchayat elders the maxim as guidance - they should always check that they are being consistent.

Without the guidelines they may decide that dalits cannot enter temples. Then what? And what about cities with large population. Too many questions still in my mind.

Lets try these with the maxim. You can decide to have a club that admits only people above 6 feet, or people with a moustache. Those below 6 feet or without a moustache may cry foul. It won't be admirable to some, but you can't be put in jail for this. People can criticize you all they want in the media, but your personal freedom to do this would be intact. There is no difference in this situation and the temple one. Whoever owns the temple property (trustees, individual, etc.) would get to decide the rules. If they keep dalits out, that's not admirable, but its certainly not illegal. People who do such things will realize that the discrimination will force the discriminated to look for other options. Others could start a temple where Dalits were welcome. And if no one had the good sense to do that, Hinduism's loss can be the Catholic Church's gain.

And what about cities with large population.

What about them?

#76
kerty
December 9, 2008
10:26 PM

Somik

"I recommend M. J. Akbar's article in the Times of India, Two-nation theory has bred practice of hatred."

I am glad some of the Moslem scholars in India are acknowledging the pitfalls of two-nation theory. However, that is not enough as it does not go to the source of the problem. The roots of two-nation theory lies in two-world theory - Dar-ul-Islam and Dar-ul-Harb. That is also at the root of ideology of Jehad.

#77
commonsense
December 9, 2008
10:35 PM

Morris:

""I agree with Dewey. But what is the alternative?Do we limit the franchise to educated only?"

no! the franchise is for everyone, no iffs, no butts. but, the level of discourse is elevated such that people are not just on the basis of their style, voice control, clothes, rhetoric, incitment of hatred/violence etc.

#78
commonsense
December 9, 2008
10:39 PM

Morris:

""You attacked anyone who gave any reason to Somik opposing this idea of union."'

no, i showed up those who did not engage with his arguments, but speculated whether he was Muslim (Ledzius) dismissed him because he was bengali (Kerty) claime he was "joking" (you!), engaging in "satire" (ledzius), was lowering the standards of the site (ledzius again) or simply accused him being "absolutely wrong" (Chandra) or asked him to share the pipe (BangaloreGuy?). You get my drift? perhaps not.

#79
Morris
December 9, 2008
10:39 PM

Somik

I assme that industrial and commercial cities will have the same kind of governance.

And with this so called "Universal" concept of governance in India you want to establish union with Pakistan. Mind boggling. Truly mind boggling. That is all I can say, Somik. I go back to my original observation -impractical. I think we have gone away past this approach. Horses have left the barn we cannot go back even in India. You have a very difficult job of selling this idea. I wish you good luck.

#80
blokesablogin
December 9, 2008
10:55 PM

Somik- you have winner with this "vision" of yours (which by the way has been there all along- watch Henna by Raj Kapoor- last film he scripted) as it is phoo phooed by so many! Most amazing innovations are phoophooed initially! Hey, even I doubted that Obama would win! But he did!!!

This will happen when it is TIME! These small dialogues and discussions will get us there. My dear rakhi Bhai is Pakistani and is in Karachi as I write this. Most ordinary pakistanis are wonderful friends and colleagues. It is sad that so many of their children do not have access to a secular education. They do not know about a world where it is ok to be non muslim! They are not exposed to 'freedom of expression".

Already we have bootlegged Bollywood movies being watched by our Pakistani brethren. The punjabi culture is common to people across the border as we were after all one nation not too long ago.

If we can begin with 100 people on this forum to "believe' in this vision, soon that 100 will snowball to 1000 and a million- when such a strong sankalpa is taken by so many, change WILL come- it is the nature of this world. I predict the next year's general elections in India could be a predictor of things to come- if it is the same "old" rubbish, then this will take longer to manifest, but of the congress and their pseudo secular mask is torn apart, and we have new candidates with intelligence and no criminal record- that will be a big change in India.

#81
kerty
December 9, 2008
11:22 PM

CS

"i showed up those who did not engage with his arguments, but speculated..."

Considering a highly theoretical and speculative thesis offered by Somik, this thread has gotten a decent hearing from all whom you allege. Its not all name-calling or trading of jabs - some of us have given a fair shake to points raised in this thread.

#82
suresh.naig
December 10, 2008
05:54 AM

Somik, why look for examples in Afghanistan, and Iran. In Punjab we have crushed extremism, in Tamil Nadu MGR did the same thing in 80's to crush Naxalites in Ambur and Vaniyambadi. Because religion was not a barrier for them. An organised minority is a political majority.

Mind you it was not done with Ahimsa. Gandhi besides an ahimsavadhi, he was the best strategist. He knew about his opponent and took up to Ahimsa, had he to fight to Idi Amin, be sure he would have never resorted to Ahimsa. Terrorists and expoerters of terrorists are savages, only human beings would understand human values of Ahimsa.

#83
commonsense
December 10, 2008
09:39 AM

kerty:

""Considering a highly theoretical and speculative thesis offered by Somik...""

the breakup of india into two countries was also highly theoretical and speculative before it happened.

ditto for the birth of bangladesh;

the breakup of Germany and then it's re-unification; the break-up of Vietnam, then its re-unificatio'n; the possible re-unification of the two Koreas in the future etc. etc. etc.

my decision to post another comment was also highly theoretical and speculative until i decided to do so. and yes there were insurmountable barriers, such as resisting breakfast, getting late for work, having to feed the dogs etc. etc. and sometimes i do succumb to the barriers, sometimes I don't. life itself is a mix of the theoretical and practical, speculative and the expected.

as humans, we have no choice to think of doing something that we have never done before. such is the essence of being human ie. we are no pre-programmed to repeat certain steps like puppets.

#84
Ledzius
December 10, 2008
10:38 AM

Blokes #80- "Already we have bootlegged Bollywood movies being watched by our Pakistani brethren. The punjabi culture is common to people across the border as we were after all one nation not too long ago."

What is this supposed to prove? Qasab the surviving terrorist happens to be a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan.

Sharing a culture doesn't mean anything. Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq shared more in terms of culture than Indians and Pakistanis ever did. Look at where they are now.

You are generalising based on a few Pakistanis you have met in the US. They are NOT representative of the majority back in their country. And you never know what goes on in their circles when they are not in the company of others. They don't have so many Wahabi mosques in the US for nothing.

#85
kerty
December 10, 2008
11:04 AM

CS

Breakups are easy. All it takes is one side, a small minority within it to break something up - even a minor issue can become a cause célèbre to bring it to the brink of break up . For unification, however, both sides and sizable majority within both sides need to have consensus, and be ready, willing and able - even a minor obstacle can become insurmountable barrier. Until the barriers remain insurmountable, the idea of unification would remain far-fatched, theoretical. And speculative because it has a fat chance to come about as nobody has any clue how these obstacles would be resolved, how all disparage sides would arrive at a consensus and willingness, how unification will be brought to implementation and by whom - all that protagonists do is brush them aside as if they do not matter or count. That means proponents want to discuss merely the merit of unification as an idea, not the logistics or feasibility or aftermath.

In the recent history, Germany offers the only prototype for unification. But it does not replicate the realities of Indian sub-continent. In case of Germany, ideology and allegiance to Russia were the only dividing factors - as soon as those factors waned, both sides become ready and willing and able to reconcile and reunite. Uncle Sam stepped in to make it a reality.

In north/south Koreas, we have the same scenario as in Germany - a region divided by ideology and allegiance to China and USA. Unlike Germany, both sides are not ready for reunification even though sizable people on both sides want it - because USA is not ready yet. Because such a reunification would be taken as a victory of china and its ideology over USA, even though it is North Korea that is on the verge of economic decline. When these barriers play out their course, reunification will happen, and it probably will be in our lifetime.

#86
commonsense
December 10, 2008
11:46 AM

Ledzius to Blokes:

""You are generalising based on a few Pakistanis you have met in the US."'

yeah! unlike Ledzius who has spent years in Pakistan, in addition to his experience with "FOB Pakistani students" in the US whom he taught and who were particularly prone to cheating.

#87
kaffir
December 10, 2008
12:05 PM

and we, have the gall to accuse others of being biased, or invoking stereotypes.

commonsense, good that you pointed out those stereotypes. But it's a human phenomenon found all along the political spectrum (left-right/liberal-conservative). We all tend to view events through our different world-views and different life experiences.

For example, you must be familiar with the Duke University case in the US. From India, the first reaction on hearing about a Dalit injustice or rape of a nun is to pin it on the "upper caste" and Hindutva people respectively without even waiting for the facts.

Or that Islamic terrorists are poor and uneducated (or those are the reasons they go that way) even when there are counter examples.

The problem is not that stereotypes exist, the problem comes when we don't correct our stereotypes even after (new) facts come to light.

#88
kerty
December 10, 2008
12:14 PM

CS

If you think Ledz is over-generalizing based on his limited exposure to Pakistanis(and that is a big assumption at this point that he has no exposure beyond what you allege), give us your own assessment of Pakistanis based on what you consider as the correct sample size.

#89
Anamika
December 10, 2008
12:48 PM

Hey CS, responding to #86: Unfortunately I have to call this article a real pipe dream, not in the least because the partition of India was not like Germany which was basically split by two opposing and for all intents and purposes occupying forces.

Pakistan was formed on NOT being India and they have had 60+ years to foment that sense. The Zia years of Islamization/Wahhabi-isation have not helped either. Even the government and privately run "modern" schools indoctrinate kids against a "Hindu" India and build on that hatred.

How do I know this? Not from a handful of Pakistani emigrants in the US/Europe, but because I lived in Islamabad for five years. Believe me, as a life experience, it was the single most unpleasant one of my life. While there were exceptions in terms of people who wanted to bridge the gap with India (and were actually NICE to us!), the bulk of the people were prejudiced and quite hateful towards Indians.

I would love to smoke this particular pipe, but think the memories of Islamabadi nightmare would just make it a bad trip.

#90
commonsense
December 10, 2008
03:56 PM

Kaffir:

"The problem is not that stereotypes exist, the problem comes when we don't correct our stereotypes even after (new) facts come to light."

how could I disagree with you, especially when you hit the nail so squarely on the head? the problem is also that we are not eternally vigilant and keep swallowing sterotypes, hook, line and sinker. perhaps, it is human nature, but still, we can do better!

#91
commonsense
December 10, 2008
04:08 PM

Hey Anamika,

Long time no hear??! ("see" doesn't make sense)!

I don't disagree with you on this one. I am sure the organized cultivation of hatred, via schools and more, against India, is a reality that no pipedreams can circumvent. Pakistan politicians, jihadis, and assorted thekedaars have no doubt worked hard at creating their collective self-identity as "not_india" and "anti-india". We have their counterparts in India too, but obviously not at all on that scale, nor as neurotically obssessed.

Perhaps (notice how good I am at back-pedalling and pretending I never said what I did say!!) it is better to engage in pipe-dreams than to raise the temperatures by baying for the blood of other humans.

BTW, an interesting personal take on these issues by an India from Bihar who married a woman from Pakistan:

Amitava Kumar, _Husband of a Fanatic_

review here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/husband-of-a-fanatic-by-amitava-kumar-746223.html

An interesting read for sure!

Since you have spent 5 years in pakistan, I will have to take your word for it, having never been there myself.


#92
Chandra
December 10, 2008
07:55 PM

Somik

Unfortunately, I cannot publish confidential research. In my view, Pakistan and its people are a pain the neck that we have tolerate. They know that, we know that. If they donot attack us or send terrorists or their cricket team, nobody cares whether they exist as a country. OTH their news channels are continuously interested in India. Essentially we are talking about different dynamics. As a solution, Pakistan will have to an intense debate on how they want to solve their fear of India. In India, our greater focus should continue on Poverty, Poverty and Poverty...Pakistan fixes its fear of India and they will be very happy.They leave us alone and we can continue our 'focus' on eliminating poverty.

CS

You have quoted me three times in response to somebody else's post. Specifically, you have raised the point that I made a point without logic. Let us debate it now. You say that I made the folloing statement without any supporting arguments.

"YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG"

But you are mistaken. I did mention a reason below this statement which you probably did not read....



#93
Anamika
December 10, 2008
08:11 PM

CS, kya karen: work, travel and saving the world does take time...hahahaha ;-)

Nice bit of back peddling there btw.

I have read Amitava Kumar's early work. Unfortunately he is sensationalist to the worst level. I would suggest reading someone like Sadia Dehlvi (with ALL literary and ideological caveats) as she is not nearly as reductionist as Kumar.

At one level, I have to be grateful for the time I spent in Pakistan. I know exactly what I dont what my country ie India to become thanks to that experience!

And btw beyond the insults and ridiculous bits, there are things that Chandra has said on this thread that are worth taking into consideration. Part of the reason that I dont bother checking DC is that the debate can get so personal and offensive.

Chandra: Re #92 good point. We in India HAVE gotten on with thing that matter to us most. And you are right that Pakistan has a specific dynamic that only they can break.

This is my analysis of Pakistan's motivations (with all caveats you want): Their only raison d' etre is that they are NOT India. It wasn't just about a Muslim state, but also not about being plural, secular, tolerant and a lot of other core values for a state. So the day Pakistan accepts "friendship" or "peace" with India, they will have to answer a simple question: why if you can co-exist with India in peace was the Partition necessary? Why did all the people die?

Peace with India will require massive soul searching within Pakistan about the basic premise of their existence. Of course India can hold its hand out and talk peace! Our existence is not dependent on the outcome of our relations with Pakistan.

Perhaps the pipe-smokers/peaceniks need to think of this key aspect. :-)

#94
commonsense
December 10, 2008
08:21 PM

Anamika:

""At one level, I have to be grateful for the time I spent in Pakistan. I know exactly what I dont what my country ie India to become thanks to that experience!""

the silver lining for sure!

#95
commonsense
December 10, 2008
08:26 PM

Chandra:

""In India, our greater focus should continue on Poverty, Poverty and Poverty..."

Chandra, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! (credit where credit due, since we are all in this muddle together and I have nothing personal against you or anyone....notice the slimy but quite visible attempt to deflate your anger!) Let's not allow our agenda (but then you believe I am a pretend-Indian, so let's say YOUR agenda) to be set by others who do not have our (ok, your) best interest at heart.

#96
commonsense
December 10, 2008
08:34 PM

Chandra:

""CS

You have quoted me three times in response to somebody else's post. Specifically, you have raised the point that I made a point without logic. Let us debate it now. You say that I made the folloing statement without any supporting arguments.

"YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG"

Chandra, my simple point is that nobody is ABSOLUTELY wrong or right in this world. Unless we are talking of the so-called devil and the prophet, respectively. Life and the social world are not like this. Contradictory ideas are omnipresent in any discussion; from these emerge new ideas and non-ideas. some are discarded, others a picked up wholesale. some are discarded and picked up in fragments; sometimes opposites connect, combine and create new possibilities, giving rise to opposition to these new possibilities, and so the process continues. pretty simple and convincing if you think about it. thus spake pop-Buddha.

#97
commonsense
December 10, 2008
08:45 PM

Chandra:

"YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG"

chandra, calm down my friend. there is some good in so-called "bad guys" and something not so good in all so-called "good guys". not all democracies are total democracies since they have elements of dictatorships; not all dictatorships are pure dictatorships and there are democratic elements in them. there are elements of the "west" in the "east" and vice versa; elements of the masculine in women and the feminine in the men; no clear cut, ABSOLUTE dichotomies between the so-called heterosexual and the homosexual; to think in terms of total ABSOLUTES is to impoverish our minds, our imagination, our take on the complexity of life and love. You do not have to accept what I say, since I am not into ABSOLUTE RIGHT or WRONG. Perhaps you can accept just a slice of what I have to say? And then question it, so others can question your questioning of it? So that others can then question others's questioning of your questioning? Get away from your addiction to absolutes, also known in the philosophy of science, as the untenable doctrine of POSITIVISM. The anti-dote to which comes from our own (ok YOUR, not mine) tradition of non-dualistic thinking. Thus spake the pop-Buddha again. Perhaps mis-spoke. spoke/mis-spoke, what's the difference really? the same, albeit different on the surface.

#98
commonsense
December 10, 2008
08:53 PM

Anamika:

""So the day Pakistan accepts "friendship" or "peace" with India, they will have to answer a simple question: why if you can co-exist with India in peace was the Partition necessary? Why did all the people die?"'

excellent point that gets to the heart of the matter. the partition of course was a tragedy beyond words, for everyone. as the saying goes, even God (if he/she indeed exists, and i don't believe she does) cannot change history ("only historians can"!).

#99
Somik Raha
URL
December 10, 2008
08:57 PM

Anamika and others:

I don't think anyone can and should invalidate your experience, because your experience is true for you. Fostering hatred is by no means the stronghold of Pakistan. I have seen it all over India. When my father was transferred to Chennai from Mumbai, I remember rejoicing because I thought I could now eat idli-dosa everyday, in its authentic form. I loved South Indian food, and it used to be ritual to go out every two weeks and have a grand paper-masala dosa in an Udupi restaurant. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that most Tamilians don't eat idli-dosa everyday, and when they do, its usually a snack food rather than the main meal.

I managed to get over my surprise, only to be confronted by the so-called North-South divide. In the public (PTC) buses, the conductors would talk to me in Tamil. I would respond, in chaste Tamil, "Yeneka Tamil Teriyaade" or "I don't know Tamil." At first the conductor would glare at me, and then pat would come the response, "Tamil teriyaadaa, tamil naad le yenna panre" or "If you don't know Tamil, what are you doing in Tamil Nadu." Mind you, I was a schoolboy in school uniform. Of course, I was convinced that the fellow needed to be inspired in patriotism and my friends would witness a hilarious exchange between me and the conductor.

I started school with the first question being, "Are you a Brahmin?" from this dapper looking boy who had just come in new, from a high-class English medium school in the city. I was stunned by the question, so I had to ask him, "Don't tell me you still believe in the caste system. Wasn't it dismantled many years back?" He mumbled something like he didn't believe in it either, he was just curious. As school went on, my friends were super nice to me. But those I didn't get along with had some mean things to say, and some of them would poke fun on me being a "North Indian," having a "North Indian accent," etc. By the time I finished with school (2 years), I can tell you that I was never treated as a North Indian, just as Somik.

I had gotten to know all my classmates - they had gotten tired of me reminding them to speak in English when I was around and I had stopped taking it personally, simply because it is stupid for two Tamil people who always speak Tamil to suddenly start speaking in English with each other. Those two years in Chennai were my best school years - I loved the school, the teachers and my friends. And yes, no one in Chennai would speak in Hindi except the auto driver when you refused to pay extra (he knew all the right abuses). They would talk about how South Indians have been discriminated in the north, but only until they realized I had nothing to do with it. No Hindi channels would be shown before cable was in. It was funny to me - Superhit Muqabla used to initially screen in Hindi. Then, they took the anchors off, replaced them with Tamil anchors but the songs were still Hindi.

I love Chennai and Tamil Nadu, feel at home there, and love the people. But there is a political divide, and it is exploited all the time - the politicians create this sense of a need to take pride in their heritage by negating others, and often take to coercion. The center, on its part, actually believes it can get people to speak Hindi when they don't want or need to (talk of pipe dreams). Moving beyond the North-South divide, the Tamil and Kannadiga people hate each other over who's going to get the water of the Cauvery. People have died for this.

You can take just about any reason to hate someone and kill someone. Basically, to someone looking from Mars, it doesn't matter if the hatred is in the name of religion or in the name of region, or how tall you are. Some people are killing other people. Period. The rest are stories we tell ourselves. We have to stop allowing stories and identities make it ok to hurt other people. I am not talking in extremes here - if you are at war, and are being attacked, I suppose you have to fight (though there are some who wouldn't). But we are not at war in India. Then why do we fight with different identities?

I think the problem is we have strayed too far away from the spiritual roots of India, which taught, through different traditions and paths, that there is ultimate unity, beyond the mind and the body. That which we call the other is none other than our own self. You don't have to be Hindu to believe this, or even a theist. Secular Humanists come to the same conclusion by looking at matter - that we are all made of the same elements, and that recognition should be the basis of our moral values.

For a living example, look at the Dalai Lama. It is incredible that after so much harassment from China, when all the world is finally expecting that he will give up on non-violence or allow a more aggressive stance, he ends up saying that they aren't doing enough ahimsa. They need to get better at it. Every morning, the Dalai Lama prays for the Chinese. That helps him face the day and all the terrible news that comes across. It is a huge opportunity for Indians to learn from this great man, and incorporate his outlook in our life. The days of Chinese brutality are numbered - soon the Chinese people themselves will call for change (they have already started). It cannot be otherwise.

#100
Somik Raha
URL
December 10, 2008
09:04 PM

So the day Pakistan accepts "friendship" or "peace" with India, they will have to answer a simple question: why if you can co-exist with India in peace was the Partition necessary? Why did all the people die?

There is an important principle in decision making without which one comes to much grief. It is called the principle of sunk cost. The past matters only for learning, not accounting. It is gone. Your decisions in the present time should only be concerned with your beliefs about the future.

This principle is violated so routinely that it is not even funny. It can't be that hard. I like CS's response - we haven't figured out how to change the past yet.

#101
Somik Raha
URL
December 10, 2008
09:09 PM

Anamika wrote:
Peace with India will require massive soul searching within Pakistan about the basic premise of their existence. Of course India can hold its hand out and talk peace! Our existence is not dependent on the outcome of our relations with Pakistan.

The soul-searching is happening. Unfortunately, we don't see it on both sides. For what it's worth, I've started a Facebook group to see what other people think about a South Asian Union, what solutions they might have to some of the issues that will come up, and if not anything else, to build some bridges and get opinions directly from people on both sides.

Those who are interested are welcome to join by clicking on the link below:
South Asian Union

#102
Morris
December 10, 2008
10:19 PM

Somik

Let me ask some questions which I did on another thread on this subject. I am totally at lost why at this time such interest about uniting with Pakistan. India is doing well. There is so much to do at home poverty, eduucation, infrastructure etc. So these are questions.

Since this is all hypothetical I wonder about what pakistanis think. Do you have any reason to believe that Pakistan will be interested in uniting with India? Are you aware of these kind of discussions on such blogs operated by Pakistanis? Such desire for unification has to be on both sides. Should'nt it?

I am sure you are aware that Pakistan at present is very unstable and some people are afraid that the country may even fall in the hands of extremists. Is'nt India leaving herself wide open for getting involved in a very messy situation full of extrimists and radicals? Frankly what is there for India? I just don't get it. Is it your desire to help your neighbour country?

#103
Ledzius
December 10, 2008
10:53 PM

Morris, I agree with you. The question should be why, not how or when. How am I as an Indian going to benefit because of this?

The Pak civilian govt is weak and the army and the intelligence agency is full of people who hate India and operate hand-in-glove with the world's most dangerous terrorists. Isn't this dream of Somik kinda like welcoming a rabid dog into your house as a pet?

I think Somik is wasting his time on this effort (including on Facebook). I don't see how this could happen (most of Indians and Pakistanis are against it), not to mention what this exercise is going to achieve for India in the first place.

It would be far more fruitful if Somik can persuade his Pakistani friends to tell his govt to hand over some of the fugitives sheltered there back to India.

If he cannot achieve that (which by the way is something that would be of real value to India), then there is no point in talking about something more grander like unification. This is like building a castle in the air.

#104
Naga Phani
December 11, 2008
03:27 AM

Anamika, it is good to have a view of someone who has been there in Pakistan. Chandra, your point that we should focus on poverty elimination is a right one and Morris, I guess you are right in saying that Pakistan at present is not all that stable. So why then do we need to worry about peace in Pakistan or why do we need a South Asian Union.

In my opinion, we need peace in Pakistan because we need peace in India. Imagine Pakistan without terror bases. Imagine it with no fundamentalists or extremists who breed hatred. Now, how easy would it be to imagine no terrorist attacks in India. Our Neighbors are safe and we are safe(this assuming that the Indian political system has been cleansed, by peaceful means, of its radical elements). Anamika's experience and this BBC interview with a few Pakistanis

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/08/south_asia_mumbai_attacks0_karachi_voices/html/1.stm)

is ample support that an average Pakistani thinks that India is acting on its self-interest at the cost of Pakistan. I am sure our Army could crush the terrorists and I am sure force could be used to get all those responsible for the Mumbai tragedy. But, we need a solution not just for this incident, but we want a solution for generations to come. We need to make sure that no more terrorists are made while the ones responsible for the current tragedy are punished. So, our goal is two-fold here. We need to cleanse off the hatred that has been bred over years from an average Pakistani and India should ensure that it is not acting for its personal interest at the cost of Pakistan, but it is in the interest of both Pakistan and India. It needs to reassure that these measures are going to assure rest in Pakistan and help them fight terror. I think, they are at least as vulnerable to terrorism as India is. Indeed, there are more cricket tours canceled in Pakistan than in India for security reasons. This is where I think, an Indo-Pak alliance is important. There should be mutual respect and mutual co-operation, as the problems we are facing are not very different from what Pakistani's are facing. Then we will have the support of the majority of Pakistan to fight terrorism, if ever it takes birth again and Pakistani's will have our support in case an anti-Pakistan terror group takes birth in India, which I wish would not happen.

Now, we have a nation that can decrease its military expenditure and decrease its intellectual attention to across the border issues. This would be an ideal platform to go ahead and eliminate poverty and then, we can dream of a Developed "sone ki chidiya" But, before all this, as I mentioned in an earlier post, change should start in India.

P.S: Just to clarify, I am not talking about the merger of the two neighbors, but I am talking about an understanding between the two-neighbors which percolates to the citizens and does not remain to legal documents.

#105
Ledzius
December 11, 2008
04:00 AM

Naga Phani, till the Kashmir issue gets resolved, there would be no peace between the two nations. So, it should always be one step at a time.

Also I don't think Indians should go out of the way to make peace with Pakistanis when it is the latter who hate us. Why on earth would any self-respecting nation do that?

Also I don't see why many Indians would support unification anyway. Do we really need a second wave of Islamic invasion?

It is one thing to wish for peace in Pakistan, and another to actually ask for unification. I think this article is about the second prospect. No one is against peace in Pakistan and putting down the terrorists there.

#106
Anamika
December 11, 2008
08:01 AM

Soumik: Issue here isn't of difference which can be found in any part of the world. It is about a nation-state that is founded on hatred of one particular group/neighbouring nation-state and that hatred is the ONLY point of identity.

I grew up all over India too thanks my father's job and have continued travelling to learn. And there are differences and prejudices all over. And yes, the Tamils have issues with "northern" people, but I have also been mobbed by Tamils simply because they learned I was born in Varanasi. Just seeing me for orthodox Hindus was a form of "darsana" of Ganges and Varanasi. That regional "hatred" you speak of got displaced by a shared sense of culture and history.

Why am I telling you this? Simple, a "Tamil" identity is not based solely on hating north Indians, just as other Indian identities are not based SOLELY on hatred of and NOT being the other. That is exactly what Pakistan's national identity is based on.

Then you add 60+ years of government backed and funded brainwashing to hate India and you end up with a populace that is not going to "unite" with India.

Do you know the government curriculum of Pakistan's schools includes teaching "jihad" to five year olds? Do you realise that from first grade onwards, the students are graded on how much "passion" they can muster up for their presentations on "jihad"? Do you know that the elementary school alphabet books - both for Urdu and English - have a sketch of a Brahmin complete with a tilak next to the letter K - for kaffir. And a "good" Muslim - according to Pakistani school teaching - has to fight and kill the "kaffir." I actually have the books and notebooks from that are no less rabid than an LeT rally and these from so called "elite" Pakistani schools.

I am all for smoking the peace pipe. A stable Pakistan that is not obsessed with India and is focussed on its own development is better for India - we could then move on to things that are important: economic growth, education, social reform, prosperity (as Chandra said).

And yes, we can talk for a long time about "turning the other cheek" but thats not possible when the hater comes at you with AK 56s. Once you are dead, there isn't a cheek to turn!

Ledzius: even if the Kashmir issue were "solved" it would not stop Pakistan's single minded obsession with harming India. There would be more excuses to pin that hatred. That is the reality we have to live with and the faster we accept it, the better it will be for us.

May be after Pakistan has 100 years of re-doctrination out of its hatred, we can think of talking "unification." Right now, that country is on a suicide path, and frankly, any unification would be equally suicidal for India.

#107
Ledzius
December 11, 2008
12:40 PM

Well said Anamika.. since you were in Pakistan for 5 long years, I can count on your opinion.

#108
Ayan Roy
December 11, 2008
12:59 PM

As I had said in the other article by Ganadeva, South Asian unification seems a great idea, but is highly illogical in the current scenario.

As discussed before, a large section of Pakistanis (and) Indians view anything related to India (and) Pakistan with a hard-coded "hatred" pre-processor in their brains.

The only difference being that Pakistani hatred is in-built intrinsically through brain-programming starting from a very young age (ref. Anamika's post); Indian hatred is retaliatory; a result of helplessness, fear and anger resulting out of innumerable acts of violence, death and destruction. Indians would only be too happy if Pakistanis would mind their own business and try to progress and develop independently, and not bother about India.

Unless Pakistanis realize that it is highly illogical, useless, wasteful, destructive and painful to carry so much hate and act on it (and there will eventually be repurcussions, even from the so called "lazy, pacific, cowardly" Indians); nothing good can happen in South Asia.

This realization requires a powerful reprogramming of their brains which can either occur through genuine slow enlightenment (highly unlikely) or wanton mass destruction (more likely in the near future).

Love and peace to all,
Ayan

P.S. - @any hater Pakistanis and other haters: I love you too and want peace, but I'll defend myself and will f**k you up real bad if you try to f**k with me

P.P.S. @Anamika: I would like to see the stuff they print in the Pakistani junior school text-books, regarding Indian and 'kaffirs'. Do you have some kind of weblink where scanned images of these books may be uploaded??

#109
Somik Raha
URL
December 11, 2008
03:03 PM

Anamika,

The Gandhian approach is to make injustice visible, wherever it occurs. We are now in the age of the internet. It would be wonderful if you can join the Facebook forum, tell us the names of the schools and upload scans of the pages you described. I am sure sensible Pakistani citizens on that forum would be outraged on seeing them, but we first need to show them that this is happening.

#110
kerty
December 11, 2008
03:55 PM

Somik

"The Gandhian approach is to make injustice visible"

Which Gandhi you are talking about? One Mahatma Gandhi who could not keep the India united? One who watched helplessly as millions of helpless people, who trusted him not to let India be divided, perished during division of India? That goes to show that terrible things can happen when people get led by fools who are blinded by idealism for the sake of idealism that refuses to look at ground realities and enemies at the gate. When surrounded by enemies at the gate, their only response is to look within for devils, (as if self-purification is going to ward off the clear and present dangers), and than sacrifice everybody's lives for the sake of some hollow idealism.

#111
Somik Raha
URL
December 11, 2008
04:08 PM

kerty,

It is quite common for people who haven't read Gandhi's philosophy to criticize him like that. First of all, India was not partitioned because of Gandhi. It took that long because he stood in the way. Second, he did not sacrifice anyone's life. People undertook satyagraha because they believed in the approach and took responsibility for the consequences. Third, it is because of Gandhi that we did not have a civil war and more bloodshed. When Bengal was burning, and the British Governor threw up his arms at being unable to contain the riots, even with a conventional force at his disposal, Gandhi set upon it and with just one aide, walked on foot to all the burning villages in Muslim-majority areas. He went to see the victims of the riots, and after seeing him, their wounds healed. The riots stopped. The Governor later acknowledged that were it not for Gandhi's march, Bengal would have had a catastrophe.

Gandhi's greatest gift to India is the evidence of soul-force. And if we were to develop it, mountains could be moved.

It is alright to worry about the enemy at the gate, but how long are you going to do this? From my grandfather's time, this has been tried without any result - generation after generation comes back to the same point. Violence cannot be resolved with violence. Something has to break the cycle. Unless you don't mind your future generation to be having the same discussion again, the change has to start here and now.



#112
kerty
December 11, 2008
05:01 PM

Somik

"It is quite common for people who haven't read Gandhi's philosophy to criticize him like that."

We measure philosophy not by the book, but by the results. Talk is cheap. All scoundrels hide behind lofty rhetoric and good intentions. Results speak louder and clearer. Results do not lie.


"Second, he did not sacrifice anyone's life."

He build his platform of Islamic appeasement while promising that he would not let India be divided. He kept assuring people that it would be over his dead body. People trusted him and went along with him. He relentlessly pursued his appeasement politics that ultimately culminated in partition. He never once introspected his failed policies that was only fueling Jehadi ambitions.

When partition became a forgone conclusion, what did he do? Did he remove his ideological blinkers? Did he choose to face the reality? Did he devise practical policies to implement partition and smooth population transfer? No.
He chose to preside over state-sponsored partition without accompanying state-sponsored transfer of population - as a result, by default, population transfer degenerated into street-sponsored mayhem. Leadership was absent at the policy level. That was criminal negligence and failure of leadership. So what if he saved few riot-torn localities. It was his policy failures that had created the carnage in the first place. It wasn't something that had hit India out of the blue. People had been alerting and warning him all along. But he had his dogmatic ideological blinkers on. He created and presided over a genocide of epic proportion, all because of his false ego and dogmatic idealism who refused to look at realities and adopt suitable policies based on realities. Who paid the price for his follies? Millions of people died mercilessly and Gandhian idealism has their blood on its hand. And his shameless devotees had the balls to blame it all on people who were left to defend their lives and loved ones and their homes in the streets of India. Gandhian idealism had India up in the flames and Gandhi was still baking his criminally bankrupt idealism on it. Utterly unaccountable and shameless leadership act in the history of India. When dust settles, that is what history will remember of Gandhi.

#113
Anamika
December 11, 2008
07:46 PM

Soumik: I appreciate your passion for your dream but am really not interested in "talking" to Pakistanis about THEIR daily reality on the internet or any other fora. The Pakistanis GO to these same schools and SEND their kids to study that curriculum, so they don't need to be shown the material. What I have said is hardly special or news to anyone who is actually Pakistani.

And if you are that keen, go to Pakistan government's pages of the Education ministry and you can get most of the information for yourself.

For the record, it was Station School in Rawalpindi Cantt and the Convent of Jesus and Mary (despite its apparent "Christian" administration) in Islamabad.

About a dozen Indian children from the Indian embassy studied there thanks to Indian government's delusional idealism that believes "people to people contact" will change Pakistani hearts and minds.

In essence, the Indian government put a bunch of kids aged 3 - 15 years old on the political frontlines by forcing their parents to send them "local" (ie Pakistani schools) rather than international ones. And you know the "result"? Forget schoolyard bullying by kids in the playground, even the teachers joined in the bullying and violence! It took years till the Indian government realised the true cost of their deluded, idealist policy.

I have enough scars on my body/mind to remind me of the reality of Pakistan regardless of what that country's elite like to peddle to Indian peaceniks and the world abroad via the internet or other fora.

Moreover, the evidence of their hypocrisy has been available to the world dating back nearly 30 years: back in early 1980s PTV showed Khalistani hijackers of an IA plane receiving weapons from Pakistani soldiers to use against the hostages. There was a lot of "Gandhian" speech back then too from Indian peaceniks who beat their breasts about how the trouble was internal to India and nothing to do with Pakistan, and how we could all be one country again if only we "talked".

Pakistani artists come to India and talk to the Indian press all the usual banalities about "brotherhood, peace and shared culture." They go back to Pakistan having made a tidy sum from their Indian concerts and recording deals and proceed to trash the same country. And then when the money runs out, they come right back again to India!

The tale has been repeated again and again without fail for the past 30 years. We ALLOW Pakistan's double faced game to continue and CHOOSE to remain blind. That has been India's mistake, and reading your piece and another on DC - within days of the Mumbai attack - just tells me that it shall continue to be our (fatal) flaw.

Finally, I have little interest in self-described "Gandhian" champage-idealists who dream up Kuldip Nayyar style dreams especially since they never have to pay the price for those mistakes themselves.

So thanks but no thanks - I am not interested in your fb discussion forum. Keep your pipe dream and talk about it: that is your right and privilege as a citizen of a democratic nation-state. Just remember that the people on the other side neither have that right and privilege, nor do they understand and value it.



#114
Morris
December 11, 2008
09:40 PM

Somik

You did not answer some questions I raised in 102.
I do not need any answers any more. I read Anamika's comments, very enlightening indeed. And all I could say (with respect) that you got to be out of your cotton pick'en mind to contemplate any kind of association with Pakistan at this time. It is not a dream it a nightmare.

Let me add
1 Pakistan is almost bankrupt if not already bankrupt. Why join a bankrupt when you are doing well?
2 Do you really know who is in charge there?
political leaders or Military? Is the military united? Or a faction loyal to Taliban? And what about ISI? Who are you going to negotiate with.
3 Do you think they will give up or compromise their Islamic nuclear bomb just like that?

And I generally agree with kerty's comments about Gandhi. In my view Ganhi failed miserably. Gandhi fought british with non-violence and almost reached his goal. But just as he reached the goal sub-continent experienced massive bloodshed the kind of which they had no memory of. So he fought foreign rulers with non-violence but was helpless in stopping internal violence. Don't tell me it is not his fault. If you give him credit for stopping violence in Bengal then surely some one has to take the blame for this bloodshed. And he was at the helm and buck stopped at him.

I still think he was a great man. Unfortunately, he thought of only good qualities of human beings and failed to understand that lurking behind such qualities is a devil within all of us. We have to learn to manage and tame this devil if not it can play havoc. And that is exactly what happened. One cannot build a society by relying on love, compassion, honesty, truthfulness etc. only. You cannot forget that devil he can show his ugly head any time any where.

#115
kaffir
December 11, 2008
09:52 PM

Somik, I believe there's a report that came out recently which chronicles the kind of stuff taught in Pakistani schools, and it corroborates what Anamika said. I'll post a link if I can find it again.

#116
Ledzius
December 12, 2008
02:28 AM

There has been unbelievable restraint shown by Hindu Indians instead of major communal riots as envisaged by the planners of the attack. The main reason is that Indians are clear that the culprits are Pakistanis and not Indian Muslims whom they consider as much victims, not perpetrators. Even the Indian Muslim community has dissociated itself from Pakistan by showing solidarity with India on Id. The last thing they need right now is guilt by association with Pakistanis because of their religion.

This being the case, ideas like Somik's come at an absolutely wrong time. Imagine this kind of an attack taking place after unification. Well, then the whole Indian Muslim community would get blamed and there would be major riots targeting them.

By claiming that blaming Pakistanis is akin to blaming Indian Muslims and that the root cause of all terrorism is poverty, the liberal intelligentsia is not doing Indian Muslims any favour. In fact, this would only add to the stigma already faced by them.

If Somik and the rest really care about Indian Muslims, they should first ask their Pakistani "friends" to change their mindset which should also include changing their school curricula from what it is now.

By downplaying the differences between Indian and Pakistani Muslims, it is not going to benefit the former for sure. And this is perhaps the last thing most Indian Muslims want.

#117
Naga Phani
December 13, 2008
08:27 AM

Anamika - I am not gonna question your experience. But I suggest you read the article that was written. If you carefully read, Somik considers that a reunification is something that most Pakistanis would abhor. So, he had mentioned about the current status and is certainly NOT "dreaming". So, you have written with a few more examples, thanks to your stay in Pakistan, that was already mentioned in the article. (I do not deny the fact that I liked your examples and that I was enlightened too!) Also, if you carefully understand it, reunification is an ultimate goal and not necessarily an immediate goal. It might take 100 years as you pointed out to cleanse off all the hatred, but if we succeed, reunification with the individual identities being retained would be a long-lasting solution. The build up to this long-lasting solution is going to decide if the time span is 10, 100 or a 1000 years.

Next, it is surprising that you and others do not accept or talk about this - "Hatred multiplies with hatred, but dissolves when fired upon with love and compassion. While India strives to come up with a better defense system, the best defense is giving others many reasons to love you". But, you can all see that the hatred that is supposedly seen in Pakistan is now being reflected in these posts. I am sure no one has been consciously indoctrinated against Islam. If we have a live example here for hatred, why would it not be true for love?

Finally, the view on Gandhi that has been posted by you and Morris. One aspect where everyone else failed and Gandhi succeeded was to unite India for a national cause. He was one person who stood out in publicly decrying socio-cultural divisions in the society and that in my view is an important step towards unifying the nation for a common cause. Without mitigating the differences, it is difficult to be united; it was true then, it is true now and it will be true if there is to be peace between India and Pakistan. He is one leader who tried his best to convince Jinnah against a partition. He might have failed, but he tried his best to avert a partition. I would love to hear from you as to what policies you would have to set to have a peaceful migration, when you do not know who is gonna choose which nation. Remember, there were no statistics as to who would prefer moving to which state.

#118
kaffir
December 13, 2008
12:30 PM

"He is one leader who tried his best to convince Jinnah against a partition. He might have failed, but he tried his best to avert a partition."

By undertaking a 'fast until death or Jinnah comes around' I presume, just like he did so many times to successfully convince others?

The issue is not that Gandhi didn't unite India, or made contributions to India's freedom. The issue is putting him on a pedestal and refusing to even consider that some of his policies or decisions were misguided or did some harm. Your response is typical of that mindset.

Also, criticism is not the same as hatred. People often conflate the two when it suits them, or when they want to avoid discussing an issue.

#119
kaffir
December 13, 2008
12:35 PM

"But, you can all see that the hatred that is supposedly seen in Pakistan is now being reflected in these posts. I am sure no one has been consciously indoctrinated against Islam. If we have a live example here for hatred, why would it not be true for love?"

Hey, maybe some Pakistanis will read this, see the "hatred" and it'll lead them to introspect why some Indians are displaying such feelings, and then make them realize the mistakes that they have made and hopefully, correct them.

Or are you implying that Pakistanis are not capable of introspection? ;)

#120
Morris
December 13, 2008
02:07 PM

Naga Phani
I have not said any thing that can be interpreted as hatred tawards Pakistan or Islam. And I think the same goes for the others. If I keep getting feed back that Pakistanis hate indians and for that reason and for some other reasons I show no interest in forming any kind of union with them does not mean I hate them. If you do not show interest in marrying a person does not mean that you hate him/her.

#121
kaffir
December 13, 2008
06:38 PM

Somik, here you go. Happy reading and hope you can discuss the contents of this document with your Pakistani South Asian friends and write a post here on DC afterwards.

http://www.sdpi.org/whats_new/reporton/State%20of%20Curr&TextBooks.pdf

#122
commonsensen
December 14, 2008
08:54 AM

thanks Kaffir for this document.

on the other hand this document also shows that there are at least some pakistanis, albeit a minority, who are appalled by the textbook situation. not everyone is brainwashed, even though admittedly such critical folks are a minority and might be just spitting against the wind. but they do exist.

#123
Chandra
December 14, 2008
10:23 AM


We cannot manage 1.2 Billion, we want another 160 million?

#124
commmonsense
December 14, 2008
11:58 AM

Chandra,

Good point. but how about opening up a few more IIM's :)

#125
kaffir
December 14, 2008
04:40 PM

"on the other hand ... but they do exist."

Of course they do exist. Why would you think/assume that Pakistanis are a monolithic community? I've also posted links to Irfan Husain's opinions.

#126
Chandra
December 14, 2008
06:29 PM

CS

What is the use of IIMs? The few idiots we got out of the place have already ruined the world economy.....why screw Pakistan?

#127
commosense
December 14, 2008
07:18 PM

Kaffir:

"Why would you think/assume that Pakistanis are a monolithic community?"'

a lot of people assume precisely this. not you.

Chandra:

"What is the use of IIMs? The few idiots we got out of the place have already ruined the world economy"

hey how did you know I passed out of IIM? Actually I failed :)

#128
Ledzius
December 14, 2008
11:55 PM

If there are people who are likely to dash Somik's hopes, it is not others, but leftists from his home state like Arundathi Roy. Read this-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/12/mumbai-arundhati-roy

Funny isn't it? While one has grandiose dreams, the other seems to be incessantly sounding alarm bells. Both sides of the same coin.

#129
Ruvy
URL
December 15, 2008
11:33 AM

Now, I repeat my question here that I asked elsewhere. Assuning that the Pakistanis are all as bad as Anamika makes rhem out to be, and assuming that Pakistan falls apart, which fox should grab the tottering chicken? Should it be China? Should it be Persia? Should it be Russia?

Or should it be India? What would be best for India?

#130
Ravi Kulkarni
December 15, 2008
12:51 PM

Dear Ruvy,

Very interesting but a deadly possibility. As there are nuclear weapons in Pakistan, the outcome of such an event could be a huge disaster.

I for one don't believe that all Pakistanis are bad, just as all Indians are not good. After all Pakistanis come from the same socio cultural background as most (North) Indians. A vast majority of reasonably educated Pakistanis probably share the same value systems as the most reasonably educated Indians. Religion does play a major role, but not big enough to make them all monsters.

If Pakistan were to disintegrate, I see Punjab, Sindh and POK merging with India, the northwestern prominses going to Afghanistan. On the other hand what koolaid I am drinking? China, Russia and even USA will never let that happen for strategic reasons. Unless there is something in it for them, they will not let this key player in the region be simply picked up by neighbors.

Long term, only best solution for India is a stable and democratic Pakistan. Kashmir issue will resolve itself when that happens.

Regards,

Ravi

#131
Ruvy
URL
December 15, 2008
01:37 PM

Ravi,

I'm not qualified to have an "opinion" here. I don't have to live with the consequences of what I say, something I am fully aware of. The couple of Pakistanis I know are friends, but Anamika can speak of five years of having lived in Islamabad.

I'm throwing out a possibility for consideration that I see as more than a mere law student's hypothetical question. This is part of my training in school, and it is part of how I must live here. I'm merely attempting to apply that kind of understanding to where you live.

If Anamika is right about Paklstani education, then the democracy you speak of in Pakistan is unlikely to develop. No country can survive by feeding on hatred alone without regular infusions of blood.

#132
Anamika
December 15, 2008
05:04 PM

Ruvy: I would go with the truncated Pakistan theory: small parts of Balochistan going to Iran, much of NWFP merging back with Afghanistan and most PoK (which has had its demographic completely changed by a government backed infusion of Punjabis) along with Sindh and Punjab forming a truncated buffer Pakistan.

China - for all its expansionist ideas does not want or have resources for grabbing Pakistani territory. The first thing - you may have missed this in the news - China did was amass troops and seal off its borders with Pakistan during the Mumbai attacks. They have enough trouble in their own western flanks to take on further hassle.

Russia also does not have resources to expand into holding territory while US has revealed its own inability to do so. So there aren't massive numbers of foxes waiting to pounce. There are interests but these are likely to be played out far more politically and subtly than straight forward conquest/re-assignation of territories.

India neither needs/wants the people who are basically politically brainwashed and incapable of functioning in a democratic/secular/diverse nation-state. What we need however is a corridor from Iran and Afghanistan for trade, oil and gas which the new truncated formation would support quite easily.

Finally the truncated Pakistan would serve US/UK interests of functioning as the originally proposed "buffer state" (see Mountbatten papers declassified in 2000 by UK containing letters between US Sec of State and UK foreign sec re utility of Pakistan) to contain China and Russia and maintain a foothold in the Indian ocean vis a vis Middle East. It could also be the future geostrategic base for "containing" India if necessary.

My immediate worry is the consequence of such event. India is already facing the possibility of hundreds of millions of refugees on its eastern flank from Bangladesh as waters rise and more of its land mass goes underwater. We would be faced with a humanitarian crisis on the western flank should Pakistan fail - and how we cope with that will be a HUGE challenge.

#133
Ledzius
December 16, 2008
01:46 AM

Anamika,

Thanks for your insights. You think the break-up of Pakistan is a real possibility? I am not sure of the viability of Afghanistan/NWFP. Its main economy seems to be that of opium. I wonder if it would be a breeding ground for terrorists even after any breakup.

#134
Ruvy
URL
December 16, 2008
03:09 AM

Anamika,

Thank you also for your insights. The fact that the Chinese had closed their border had missed me. There were other issues at home that had my attention. One looks at Russia from here with very different eyes than yours but no matter. The Russians would want a puppet state, not additional territory. The truncated Pakistani entity you describe could well serve as that puppet.

I do not know that the United States will desire to have much to say. They are going broke and their major industry, car manufacture, is in real trouble. One wonders what they will wander around doing once Mr. Bush is consigned to memoir writing.

#135
Anamika
December 16, 2008
12:34 PM

Ledzius - Pakistan is a failed state and I think a fair number of analysts DO believe that unfortunately it is a question of when not if it falls apart.

I agree that Afghan/NWFP merger is not the greatest one in the world, but it is a historically aligned area separated by artifice, so it would not be surprising if they got together. In an optimistic scenario, they would be able to use natural gas and other mineral exploitation as a base for economy as well - one reason China and Russia would be interested.

There are other issues in the fall-out: how to neutralise their nuclear arsenal - although China and US would both have interests to do this and be best placed as they have in many ways helped build it. What will be the impact if Iran's sphere of influence expands to include parts of Iraq AND Pakistan? And the refugee crisis as I said before.

All these are factors and frankly I dont think anyone has answers...it will mean rethinking last 100 years of rivalries and alliances across the globe which makes for interesting times. And as you probably know "may you live in interesting times" is a popular Chinese curse.

#136
kerty
December 16, 2008
12:55 PM

Nations would like to keep colonies for strategic reasons, for geo-political reasons, for economic reasons, and for no reasons too. To suggest that USA, china, Iran, Russia have no strategic or geo-political ambitions in Afghan-Pakistan theater is simply naive. It smacks of an updrade of Nehruvian thinking 'not a blade of grass grows there' to 'only jehadis grows there'

#137
kaffir
December 16, 2008
03:32 PM

Anamika, are you still single (and looking)? :D

#138
temporal
URL
December 16, 2008
05:57 PM

kaffir o kaffira
as her bhaiyya
it is my dutiya
to inform ya
she is takenya
and for your dulhania
go to shaadidotcomia

;)

#139
commonsense
December 16, 2008
08:55 PM

kaffir, what gives??

#140
Anamika
December 17, 2008
05:08 AM

Temp bhai: Lol....
CS: Its that time of the year
when heart is filled with cheer,
so let him be no fear! ;-p
Kaffir: Thanks but why?

#141
Anamika
December 17, 2008
05:10 AM

Temp bhai, Lol....
CS, Its that time of the year when heart is filled with cheer, so let him be no fear! ;-p
Kaffir: Thanks but why?

#142
Anamika
December 17, 2008
05:10 AM

Temp bhai, Lol....
CS, Its that time of the year
when heart is filled with cheer,
so let him be no fear! ;-p
Kaffir: Thanks but why?

#143
kaffir
December 17, 2008
02:13 PM

Oh, just bringing a little mirth and amusement to DC. :)

#144
commonsense
December 17, 2008
06:19 PM

kaffir, good effort my friend. we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. i mean, i don't, but i wish others were to follow their commonsense too :)

#145
Anamika
December 18, 2008
06:57 AM

kaffir, you succeeded...thanks for the laugh.

#146
Ledzius
December 27, 2008
04:00 AM

Somik 101 - "I've started a Facebook group to see what other people think about a South Asian Union, what solutions they might have to some of the issues that will come up, and if not anything else, to build some bridges and get opinions directly from people on both sides.

Those who are interested are welcome to join by clicking on the link below:
South Asian Union"

Just checked out your group - has 48 members so far, not a single Muslim in it as far as I could tell.

Otoh, the Facebook group "STOP BLAMING MUMBAI BOMBINGS ON PAKISTAN" has some 11,463 members when I checked it.

You still don't get it, do you?

#147
Ledzius
December 27, 2008
07:35 AM

From article "Hell Next Door" in yesterday's Time of India-
"While these are frightening numbers indeed, what views do the common people of Pakistan hold today? A survey conducted in June by two US think tanks, in collaboration with the Pakistan Institute for Public Opinion, arrived at some startling results. Fifty-eight per cent of Pakistanis polled were amenable to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban, 48 per cent with the Afghan Taliban, and most strikingly, 50 per cent were amenable to negotiate with the al-Qaeda! And these are the very organisations that have seamlessly integrated with the Pakistani terror groups targeting India. "

#148
kerty
December 27, 2008
04:38 PM

PAKISTANI TEXTBOOK: "PREVIOUSLY INDIA WAS A PART OF PAKISTAN"
www.jihadwatch.org, Dec 27

So also are Spain, Israel, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, parts of Russia, and so on. The rule is, once an Islamic flag has been hoisted anywhere, it becomes "Islamic Land" in perpetuity. These "occupied lands" must be liberated by international Jihad.

In other words, India is controlled by infidels who have no right under Islamic law to do so; the partition was just an act of reclaiming some of the land for its rightful masters. More wild historical revisionism and incitement below.

"Pak textbooks build hate culture against India," by Arif Mohammed Khan for the Times of India, December 27:

The empowerment of terror in Pakistan has not happened overnight. This is the logical culmination of the politics and policies pursued by Pakistan for years now.

Terrorism in Pakistan has its roots in the culture of hate and the ethos of inequality on the ground of religious faith, leading to their being deeply ingrained in the Pakistani psyche and mindset.

One factor that has played a crucial role in creating this culture of hate is the educational policy of the government of Pakistan pursued since 1977. The officially prescribed textbooks, especially for school students, are full of
references that promote hate against India in general, and Hindus in particular.

A cursory glance at Pakistani school textbooks - especially the compulsory subjects like Pakistan studies and social studies - gives an idea of how history has been distorted and a garbled version prescribed to build this mindset and attitude.

The objective of Pakistan's education policy has been defined thus in the preface to a Class 6 book: "Social studies have been given special importance in educational policy so that Pakistan's basic ideology assumes the shape of a way of life, its practical enforcement is assured,
the concept of social uniformity adopts a practical form and the whole personality of the individual is developed. " This statement leaves no doubt that "social uniformity", not national unity, is a part of Pakistan's basic ideology.

The Class 5 book has this original discovery about Hindu help to bring British rule to India: "The British had the objective to take over India and to achieve this, they made Hindus join them and Hindus were very glad to side with the British. After capturing the subcontinent, the British began on the one hand the loot of all things produced in this area, and on the other, in conjunction with Hindus, to greatly suppress the Muslims."

The Std VIII book says, "Their (Muslim saints) teachings dispelled many superstitions of the Hindus and reformed their bad practices. Thereby Hindu religion of the olden times came to an end."

On Indo-Pak wars, the books give detailed descriptions and openly eulogize 'jihad' and 'shahadat' and urge students to become 'mujahids' and martyrs and leave no room for future friendship and cordial relations with India.

According to a Class 5 book, "In 1965, the Pakistani army conquered several areas of India, and when India was on the point of being defeated, she requested the United Nations to arrange a ceasefire. After 1965, India, with the help of Hindus living in East Pakistan, instigated
the people living there against the people of West Pakistan, and finally invaded East Pakistan in December 1971. The conspiracy resulted in the separation of East Pakistan from us. All of us should receive military training and be prepared to fight the enemy."

The book prescribed for higher secondary students makes no mention of the uprising in East Pakistan in 1971 or the surrender by more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers. Instead, it claims, "In the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the Pakistan armed forces created new records of bravery and
the Indian forces were defeated everywhere."

The students of Class 3 are taught that "Muhammad Ali (Jinnah) felt that Hindus wanted to make Muslims their slaves and since he hated slavery, he left the Congress". At another place it says, "The Congress was actually a party of Hindus. Muslims felt that after getting freedom, Hindus would make them their slaves."

And this great historic discovery is taught to Std V students, "Previously, India was part of Pakistan."

Commenting on this literature that spreads hate, leading Pakistani educationist Tariq Rahman wrote, "It is a fact that the textbooks cannot mention Hindus without calling them cunning, scheming, deceptive or something equally insulting. Students are taught and made to believe that Pakistan needs strong and aggressive policies against India or else Pakistan will be annihilated by it."

#149
kaffir
December 27, 2008
05:35 PM

Not surprising. An American friend of mine has a room-mate from Pakistan who is named 'Aurangzeb.' (I am not making this up.) I guess 'Akbar' was not good enough a name for his parents to pick for their son. I'm wondering what kind of parents would pick the name of a tyrant for their son? But we also have Stalin and Hitler fans in India, so maybe it's a South Asian problem.

Hey, one more commonality that South Asian fans can claim in search of their dream - love of tyrants and naming kids after them!! :)

#150
kaffir
December 27, 2008
05:47 PM

Commenting on this literature that spreads hate, leading Pakistani educationist Tariq Rahman wrote, "It is a fact that the textbooks cannot mention Hindus without calling them cunning, scheming, deceptive or something equally insulting.

kerty, you don't even have to go to Pakistan to find such words. I'd quoted elsewhere Naseruddin Shah's comments pertaining to what his maulvi tried to teach him when he was a kid, under the guise of teaching Koran. Good for Naseeruddin Shah that he rejected such crap as well as had the honesty and gumption to talk about it, instead of being an apologist.

#151
commonsense
December 27, 2008
06:44 PM

persecution complex and an unbearable sense of victimhood are probably universal passports to self-righteousness - cuts across religious/ethnic boundaries. everybody is a victim.

#152
kerty
December 27, 2008
08:30 PM

Unreal to hope from Pakistan
Swapan Dasgupta

"Ever since the West threw its weight behind the peace process, the strategic community in India has been divided between those in search of the "good" Pakistani and those who believed that Pakistan was inherently "bad". That there was a section in Pakistan disgusted by the drift to extremism and anxious to rekindle Mohammed Ali Jinnah's vision of a modern, Muslim (but not Islamic) country, wasn't in doubt. But, were these voices of enlightenment akin to the Good Germans under Hitler? Were they consequential enough to impose correctives on State policy? Or were they the "useful idiots" expediently wheeled out during moments of international exasperation to tell the world that ordinary Pakistanis were innocent of crimes that were invariably the responsibility of someone else?"

"Like the Good German, the Good Pakistani has couched his acquiescence in either silence or sophistry."


"The Good German claimed ignorance of the concentration camps and the Final Solution. The Good Pakistani is better informed. He has seen the devastation of the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad; he has watched the siege of the Lal Masjid; and he has experienced the growing hold of religious bigots on Pakistani society. He knows what the ISI is all about much better than we do. And he is too painfully aware that Pakistan is sleep-walking its way to disaster. Yet, when it comes to India, ordinary decencies have effortlessly yielded to the brusque message for India: You had it coming."

"Earlier, the Good Pakistani was a social distraction, an embellishment of liberal Hindu self-flagellation and Indian Muslim angst. Today, he has become a red herring and a diversion from the urgent business of confronting the threat frontally. With infinite patience India is still trying to not be beastly to the Good Pakistani. Our Establishment is still hoping Pakistani "civil society" becomes truly civil."


Full article
http://www.dailypioneer.com/146523/Unreal-to-hope-from-Pakistan.html

#153
commonsense
December 30, 2008
11:39 PM



Ledzius, pontificating on Somik's name in order to discredit his argument ("the genetic fallacy" in philosophy)

"the author himself seems to have a Muslim name"

And this from a Stanford University newspaper where Somik works:

"Somik Raha, an advisor for the Hindu Students Council, looks on as Dean of Religious Life Patricia Karlin-Neumann explains what stance Judaism takes on the issue of abortion at an event last night hosted by Stanford Students for Choice."

No doubt the likes of Ledzius (and Kerty) would seethe at this fact. They would love to be the autocratic advisors and thekedaars of Hindus all over the world.

#154
Somik Raha
URL
December 31, 2008
12:48 AM

LOL! Well, the only detail that I will correct is that I'm still a student working on my Phd, and spending far too much time on Desicritics than I should be. Time for me to get back to research.

cs, drop me a note over email sometime (somik at stanford dot edu).

#155
commonsense
December 31, 2008
01:00 AM

Somik,

More power to you my friend! We need more folks like you to inject a modicum of reason (and dare I say, commonsense), not into professional ideologues such as Kerty who are impervious to reason or logic, but to countless others who lurk and read what all of us write.

(As someone who completed his PhD a few hundred years ago, I do understand how important it is for you go get back to your research. On the other hand, since you are in the social/decision sciences, your presence here, to some extent at least, is part and parcel of your "research" as a "public intellectual" not totally cloistered in the ivory towers of Stanford. But of course, gratutious advice as it may sound, I can understand that priorities are important! Without that PhD, a lot of doors for doing good will be closed for you, even as different doors will open up)

#156
Somik Raha
URL
December 31, 2008
01:53 AM

Thanks, cs. My wife loves your posts and is asking me your real identity. Do drop me a note.

Here's a must-read in the Wall Street Journal - another reason we should cut some slack for the government of Pakistan.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123068308893944123.html

#157
commonsense
December 31, 2008
02:17 AM

Somik,

Thanks for the link to the wall street article. quite insightful.

as for me "real" identity, it's the same as my DC identity!! ("On the net, nobody knows you are a dog"!!). At the end of my career and perhaps life too, just doing my bit to combat extremism of all kind, albeit sometimes sometimes through extreme language that I usually regret the day after. At the risk of sounding pompous, at my age, I find it hard to be polite sometimes, but usually only when I have to suffer fools. OK, I do sound pretty pompous! Mea Culpa!

#158
kerty
December 31, 2008
02:42 AM

Somik

WSJ article explains the mess Pakistan is in. Where various entrenched power centers are jockeying to assert control over Pakistan that is now under weak democratic civilian leadership. I did not read any slant in favor of giving any slack to Pakistan. In fact, the wheels are turning precisely because of international pressure on Pakistan to crack down on rogue elements operating within ISI and army. However, one must also be wary of all those purged ISI and army operatives that are now freed up to create revolving doors within terror networks and within Pakistan's establishment. We can understand the precarious US position that would not like India to open its own front on war on terror. Right now, Pakistan, USA and India seem to be trying to outplay each other. Pakistan seem to get away with it because it has the biggest lobby, both in USA as well as India.

#159
Somik Raha
URL
December 31, 2008
12:40 PM

Kerty, I am seeing the sincerity of the Pakistani civilian administration that is playing in a highly dangerous political environment. For that courage, I'd like to appreciate them, and I hope the Indian administration sees it too. Once the sincere people are gone, we are left with the crazies and the deceivers, and I don't think anyone wants to deal with them.

#160
kerty
December 31, 2008
01:39 PM

Somik

Read #152. It aptly exposes desperate quest for 'nice' Pakistanis and 'sincere' civilian administration, not because they have proven to be anything more than useful idiots for crazies and deceivers, but because 'do nothing' positions and 'letting Pakistan off the hook' advocacy need them. We can't hold our breath for 'nice' Pakistanis and 'sincere' civilian government until they become of real consequence in Pakistan or make them of any significance in our policy options merely as article of blind faith, even when evidence keeps piling up to the contrary.

#161
commonsense
December 31, 2008
07:10 PM

Somik:

"Once the sincere people are gone, we are left with the crazies and the deceivers, and I don't think anyone wants to deal with them."

same issue on our Indian side too. although kerty is not quite crazy yet(not that you implied it)

#162
Chandra
January 1, 2009
07:59 AM

Somik Raha 159

You are seeing hope in the current Pakistani administration? Why?

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