Articles for December 2008

India, Pakistan, and differences – hypothesis

I have been absent from this blog for quite some days related with my own learning journey.

Been thinking a lot about all these India-Pakistan thingies.

For all people  of the two countries, there is a perspective i’d like to share:

  • Identity: Pakistan seems to still be in teenage rebellion mode when it comes to India and the world for that matter – seeking approval from the world, needing support, hating the supporters, the family it grew up from… Its not a matter of if it is a current crisis or a new one. The important thing is to identify the emotional alignment and respect it, regardless of the “price in the moment”. Mindsets can’t be bullied into change – they can only be influenced into evolving.
  • India on the other hand seems to be the patronizing elder brother who can’t really understand that teenager and seems to do everything “wrong”, including setting up of family functions (trade, communications…) to encourage the rebellious kid to come to terms with its fold.
  • While the teenager may attend, hiding that anger doesn’t make it go away, but pushes it deeper into the psyche, where perhaps the teenager is not even aware of it at times, but it manifests in the tone, the smaller actions…..
  • The “firm hand” is seen as supression. So at the moment, India is only unfair, patronizing and superior from the Pakistani perspective.

Unlike the rest of the world, I don’t believe Kashmir is the cause of the “differences” between the two countries, but a manifestation of those differences. Going by the earlier model, its the teenager encouraging the younger sibling to join its rebellion somewhat as a validation of itself as well, while the “patronizing elder” doesn’t think its for the good of that sibling. Of course, what the sibling wants is out of the equation entirely – from the King’s choice at freedom to the people’s in this time.

The rest of the world is unwilling to interfere or voice an opinion in a “family matter”.

If we have to be able to move on with this unending cycle, we need to first recognize it and be able to stop enacting it. It can’t be easy, but it can’t be impossible either.

First, I think its important for both countries to acknowledge their anger and their judgments that hinder them from seeing and being able to work with “the good” in the other. If this means an all out war, so be it. If it means media, cricket, …… that’s preferrable, I guess. In some ways I agree with Bal Thackeray when he calls for a decisive war – it would be an honest expression of the pent up hostility and we would be able to move on. Sure it would be violent and there would be a price in lives – but the option seems to be paying it upfront or in instalments with interest. Getting all that anger out in the open and seeing what it does to both would be the first step to moving on. The point is to get all that anger out in the open, acknowledge its there and work with the awareness that it influences both. Pretending to be saintlike “peace loving” people wronged by the other hasn’t worked for the last 60 years, and I don’t see this camouflage working in the next 60 either.

To accept the differences and to be able to work with what it would like to work with. We don’t need to fall in love. What we need to be able to do is recognize that while there are fundamental differences, their existing in the other okay.

What are these differences and where do they come from?

  • The birth: Pakistan got carved out of India on the basis of religion. The greater land, the name remained with India. Somewhere, unconsciously, there seems to be a righteousness to India – as though any problems arising from this birthing process belong to Pakistan, as it is what it always was. That’s untrue. The name may have remained the same, but we are a new country. We also have a birth in our current form. Pakistan on the other hand, seems to operate from an unconscious assumption that it owes its identity to “differences”, therefore, finding common ground with India, threatens its very existence. Not logically, but unconscious fears are rarely logical.
  • The enactment of differences: These create further differences to hide the unconscious need to hide anger (notice how it layers?). Wars, media hostility, disagreements…. keep adding fuel to the fire.
  • The fantasy in India seems to be that we are a peaceful country, because we are nice people. It doesn’t seem to matter that the comparitively larger size of India cushions and nourishes the prosperity by allowing distance from the hostility. Ask those who live in Kashmir, the north-east or other parts that see regular violence about their experience of their country to discover how those busy surviving would like to paint the picture. One terror attack shakes Mumbai till the next lull comes – why? Because Mumbai is distant from the violence, and when it sees it, its shocked. No one notices the reassuring lull that happens, simply because the distance from the violence allows prosperity to flourish. No such lull happens in Kashmir, Pakistan, or other places close to the violence, not because they are bad people, but because they live closer to the manifestation of differences. The Indians who call India peace loving really need to examine their need for this white-wash. Are we saying that Kashmiris fighting for independence are not currently Indians? Are we saying that rioting Hindutva guys are not Indians? Why then do we have a police force at all?
  • The fantasy in Pakistan seems to be that Pakistan somehow needs to be more powerful than India to survive. Their obsession over their identity being based on differences and then one side of the difference having to be “right” and the other “wrong” and their inability to co-exist makes them tremendously vulnerable to every difference that arises – because it must be overpowered or overpower – be it extremists and moderates, army and civilians, Baluchistan/FATA/POK and the rest of Pakistan. It is as though legitimizing any difference threatens disaster. This perhaps arises from the “difference of religion” being thier cause of splitting from India, so other differences seem to call for more and more splits. It also colours their perception of India and how hostility in India over differences is perceived by them. Fighting of any land for its differences seems to legitimize its not being a part of India.The way I see this, the question is not what the differences are, or how the other is “bad”, but what that difference means to us. If the other is evil, what is the threat to us? Is it a legitimate threat or are we operating from primitive responses? Is it possible that the other can be doing very bad things, but they are their actions, and we can still flourish?

What we need is less judgments and more operating from empowerment than threat that frees us to accept differences without fear and striking back.

Ride to the bait

Update: After getting praise mails that I am, as a journalist encouraging war, I need to state specifically that I am NOT a journalist, and my knowledge of politics is minimal. What I am is a concerned and distraught citizen. My posts are not informed political opinions or advice about policy, but thoughts that cross my mind as I follow this crisis. I am against war and violence. I even feel pity for the poor captured terrorist for that matter. This is only a perspective and reaction about the threat of a nuclear war from Pakistan. This threat is actually explained by recent news about a hoax call that led to the Pakistani government thinking India was about to attack them. More than that, any comments like “kill the Pakistanis” will immediately be deleted, as I have no wish to encourage the circulation of such views. So, if you find that the comment you posted has been deleted, that’s me in action. If hostile comments recur, I will delete this post. This post is about the Indian attitude toward the threat of nuclear war and what at that time seemed an insane attitude to me and not about hatred for Pakistan.

Current worry is that Pakistan is apparently never in the wrong, even as many Pakistanis raise questions about the ISI in their daily lives. Strange that the average Pakistani believes that their ISI can sabotage their own country but no other. Strange kind of organization to have, no? But I don’t think logic has anything to do with the Pakistani response at the moment.

As for the Pakistani government not being involved, no one believes that. I doubt if the Pakistani government was ever directly involved with happenings in India. I doubt if it ever was in the loop. For that matter, the government was clueless about the Kargil conflict. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

It is transparent that Pakistan WANTS the excuse of war with India to escape from its “coerced commitment” to the war against terror on the Afgan front. So I don’t really think any actionable cooperation is ever going to come from there beyond demands of proof. Even if Zardari wants to cooperate, I doubt if he has the power to do so, when the army has another agenda. He is the sitting duck for pressure from his own country, the army, US, India, world opinion…… with no real power to do anything, because doing anything on this front will mean hurting the unofficial ISI weapon against India, which the ISI will not allow and I don’t see how Zardari can make them, even if he wants to, even if he accepts that LeT are the culprits, even if he commits to getting rid of them.

A country that disowns terrorists as non-state actors (after first denying their existence) is willing to go to war over protecting them – anyone else find that incongruent?

Meanwhile, India is pissed and frustrated that its proof is dismissed and proofs are demanded. Terrorists wanted for causing harm in India are not to be given over. Pakistan speaks of strikes being seen as acts of war, and nukes are laid out on the table straight off. For someone cooperating, its a strange attitude of denials, refusals and threats.

Meanwhile, US and the rest of the world is shitting bricks at the thought of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, and doing all it can to prevent it.

What I literally see is a world held hostage to Pakistan. No one is convinced of their innocence, but no one also wants to provoke them because they have *melodramatic shudder* nukes, you know?

Pakistan is not the only country in the world to have nukes, but it is the only country to act against the interests of the world and then threaten to use nukes if it thinks there will be retaliation.

For that matter, it does the same with its own people. The threat is not nukes, but its own extremist and army agendas of power to control that hold the common man hostage with threats of physical harm. For example, in this current scenario, what the Pakistani common man thinks is as irrelevant as what Zardari thinks. The situation hinges on the army deserting the war on terror and threatening nukes and the militants talking of defending the country they were relentlessly destroying, which incidently were both irrelevant to the talks happening between the governments.

Perhaps I’m direct, but this is how I see it.

As long as the Kashmir issue is resolved, India and Pakistan will never be truly at peace. Pakistan has nukes and doesn’t even consider an option of no-first-strike as a part of its “defence”, so that problem is unlikely to be over, ever. For that matter, I don’t even think Pakistan really wants Kashmir resolved, because that will take away their reason for acting on their hatred of India.

From how I understand, Pakistan sees nukes as any other weapon, and one of the most powerful in its arsenal. Its not particularly bothered about the damage it will cause to India, because that is the whole idea in any case. It counts on this attitude to be a deterrent in itself, with the entire world pressurizing India to avoid war, because they sure as hell know that there will be no reasoning with Pakistan.

My approach to this is different. Much as I hate violence, and my dream of a good world includes armies dismantled because they become redundant, I hate being held hostage by bullies even worse. I am aware that I could be one of the casualties if Pakistan makes a nuclear attack, and one of the more likely ones by virtue of living in Mumbai. Yet, I do think what India and the world needs to do at this moment is a nuclear war. Pakistan needs to go to the stone age before it can become a civilization.

I thought long and deep over it, considered my abhorrence of violence, the situation with Pakistan…… a whole load of things. I know it will be terrible thing. It will harm Indian economy, lives, morale, and cause a whole load of pain.

Yet, as I consider:

  • Pakistan is never ever going to stop harming India directly or indirectly.
  • Even if the LeT is finished, the reason for its creation is still there, and it is only a matter of time before it is resurrected or something else created to fulfill that need.
  • Pakistan has nukes and will continue to have them till they are destroyed or used. 50 years from now, we will still be bearing attrocities exported from that country because it has nukes. It will still be operating without a conscience, because it believes that its irresponsible attitude toward human lives will continue to protect it from those who value them.
  • India is a strong country. It will be devastated, but it will regenerate. Hopefully, it will regenerate without the hanging sword of Pakistani nukes over its head. I may die, but the future of hundreds will be safer from threat.

It is with a heavy heart, and against my instincts that I admit that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan is what India and the world needs, provided that we are able to work together and take out their nukes completely.

Rather than cringe and tolerate endlessly that which has no intention of ever going away, we need to face it and conquer it. If we pay a price, it is the price of a future of not being held hostage and harmed.

What is needed is for Pakistan to be conquered, and reorganized under a stable country (preferrably not India) and led to prosperity. It needs to find a future in creation rather than vengeance for perceived attrocities. It needs hope and well being.

The other option is to sit and do nothing. Ignore the attack completely, strengthen internal security, hang the terrorist and leave Pakistan alone to collapse under its own weight or in the “war against terror”.

Indian Media!!! I can’t believe this!!!

Cordon at Taj Mahal hotel during Mumbai 26/11 Attack

Awesome, Isn’t it? How much of a fool can the media make of themselves? The whole Mumbai nightmare has been faithfully punctuated by bad reporting by the media.

One terrorist killed at Taj. Seven. uh, it was two. Two! Which two? I thought four…. but that wasn’t at Taj! That was at Oberoi……… If you look at my post that takes a look at how many terrorists were reported dead by the media, you wouldn’t worry about rumors saying 16 terrorists, because you could account for them then and there.

Which floor of the Taj was the fire on? 8th or the 13th? Were shots fired at CST on the next day or not? To me, it looks like there was very little reporting. What was, was a day and night National Level test match between different media. In a struggle to provide the most information, all boundaries of insignificant hassles like confidentiality needs in an ongoing operation, facts, verifications of rumors were simply wished away out of existence.

If the terrorists were actually able to sift information from crap by following the media, they shouldn’t be in LeT. Mensa is where they should be.

Yet, in the face of all the nonsense, there actually were completely irresponsible details broadcasted for all to hear – who all are coming to the location, how many commandos, live telecast of the helicopter dropping commandos on Nariman House….. I remember thinking that these terrorists were really incompetent. If I were a terrorist, with all the information I could get from the TV, I’d rig the terrace with bombs the minute I came to know there was a helicopter drop, and then sit happily on a lower floor watching TV to plan the exact moment to detonate it. Good it didn’t occur to these guys, but no thanks to the media for it.

I found it totally insane that “rumors” of a blast at CST were broadcast the next day in between announcements not to spread rumors. With all the fancy gadgets on location, apparently no one had a phone to call up the station and find out before throwing Mumbai in a panic.

And now finally this. It really takes the cake. The media guessed at the contents of the demarche!!!???!!! What’s more, the stupid government instead of throwing them into jail, played along with it, and we have spent a day arguing with Pakistan about how we want the wanted men deported and how they wouldn’t, and the scenario is heating up.

By the way, no apologies for misrepresenting situations, misleading people, misinforming them, etc have been seen. So basically, as long as the TRPs rise, just talk whatever crap you can.

I’m really puzzled about what all seems to pass for journalism in Indian Media. Honestly, this seems outright criminal to me. Definitely against the interests of the country. How can the media speculate about the contents of a confidential document between countries? What the hell is going on?

The sources also clarified that contrary to media reports in India and Pakistan, the demarche which was handed over to the Pakistani side earlier this week did not contain the list of 20 most wanted terrorists that had first been given to Islamabad in 2000. Once the media started saying India was demanding the immediate handing over of the 20 fugitives, of course, the Government could hardly contradict these reports since their return has been a long-standing Indian demand, the sources added. The demarche made only a pro forma reference to the return of unnamed fugitives but was otherwise exclusively focused on the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its leader Hafiz Saeed, whom New Delhi regards as the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strikes.

Worse, the government is covering up for the media because they mention something they want? Hello boss! At this moment, what we want most is a less volatile situation.

Really folks. GROW UP!!!

We are trying to catch some terrorists here and avoid a war. Those 20 men have been a major hostile point which was introduced between two countries because some journalist as usual didn’t bother to verify what they were writing.

So of course, as a country, we pressurized another country and created anger and misunderstanding over something we hadn’t even planned to ask for just yet.

Disillusioned doesn’t begin to cover what I feel. I’m not even certain what’s true and what’s a journalists’ version of how things could be in all the news on the terror attack investigations.

Our Missile System… Can Be Fired in Only 10 Minutes

Call me ignorant, but THIS is Pakistan’s idea of peace? What in the world do they have to be preparing and parading their nukes about?

Mumbai gets attacked, held hostage; India is devastated; proofs emerge that LeT is involved; Pakistan remains stubbornly blind as usual; Zardari pleads that even if its Lashkar, not to strike Pak; India is talking talks and not war; so what in the world does Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand mean when he says in an interview, “Every Indian city is on the target of our missiles, and [Pakistan’s]
atomic technology is better than that of India. [We] can fire the
missiles at only 10 minutes’ notice….. Being a small nation, if we abandon the option… to launch a nuclear
attack, then there won’t be any use of the second option. This way you
end one advantage… “

This irresponsible peacock strutting nuclear weapons in context with two countries in seriously bad moods is actually Pakistan’s nuclear scientist???!!!???

And what in the world is that stupid advantage? Pull a stunt like that, and Pakistan will be blown off the face of the earth in retaliation. Forget India. Every rational country in the world will dedicate itself to getting rid of this menace. Wait. Isn’t that what they already want to do?

Read the damn interview. Is the man insane? He is speaking in this inflammed situation about employing nuclear strikes against a country his countrymen have wronged?

Am I the only one to find this bloodthirsty and bizarre at the same time?

BTW, isn’t the whole idea of threatening/harming innocents and civilians what terrorism is about?

Gives me the creeps to know that there are whackos like this capable of launching a nuclear attack on India in ten minutes. Regardless of what he thinks, it doesn’t sound like “Pakistan’s nuclear assets are in safe hands.” like he says.

You know what, the more this situation unfolds, the more it occurs to me that Pakistan actually wants a war as its ticket out of the War on Terror. The Mumbai attacks didn’t do it, there was abundant proof leading back to Pakistan, but Pakistan just showed disbelief, on one end it said not to strike, on another, it pretty much invited it by refusing to catch and deport the criminals India wanted nabbed.

When all this failed, because India didn’t move toward aggression, we have their nuclear scientist talking of bombing every city in India (not that I think they actually can). If we don’t react to this, it will be something else someone says (without actually attacking), or another terrorist attack. Basically, the war against terror has started hitting too close to home, and they are desperate to do something, anything to make it stop, even sending their own troops into war.

I just get this feeling that this is one failed state desperately trying to say anything that will get it out of a tight spot and do anything that will keep the illusion of functionality for a moment longer.

Actually, what I think India should do is just ignore all the talk for a bit and work with optional ways of getting the LeT guys.

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