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.

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About the Author

Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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