Empires of impotent rage

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  •  Knowing they can’t afford fighting yet posing like gladiators, war hysteria grips both India and Pakistan

To war or not to war, this question imperils lives of billion and a half souls dwelling in Sub-continent. With doves being silent and sidelined, hawks take to TV screens to spew their jingoism-infused venom that is zilch but displays of impotent rage in an era where war, actual war, has become relic of a bygone past.

War, dear reader, was once a profitable business where material gains were made at the price of slaughtering, maiming, killing, enslaving human life. Mass scale mayhem and chaos gave life meaning in the days of yore for it was fleeting, precarious and could come to an end anytime, in any manner. The notions of courage, bravery and patriotism aroused in individuals and nations to give their life and everything dear for the greater good of fatherland.

But all of the above happened once upon a time, and those who want to live these in here and now, in present, are foredoomed and all set to repeat the same old mistakes without learning long overdue lessons. Read Pakistan and India and their sorry story that has unfolded in past 70 years.

Pakistan and India have never let go of any opportunity to try every dirty trick up their sleeve and every sleazy tactic in their armoury on each other. The ill-at-ease neighbours have fought two full-scale wars, many low intensity battles and locked horns in countless senseless skirmishes, pulled each other’s leg on international forums and podiums, acquired nuclear capability to level things out and still spend billions of dollars on acquiring weapons. I didn’t want to quote Einstein’s full definition of insanity here, as you can Google it yourself. About time that let us try a different way of doing business with each other.

After every Uri and Pulwama I see many brilliant, good willed and upright people who mistake jingoism for patriotism and narrow and harrowing chauvinism for nationalism. These reasonable and sensible folks understand that peaceful co-existence is not a choice, it is the compulsory condition for any state that wants to uplift the lot of its inhabitants.

To the world the recent escalation is just another episode of where we, the Midnight’s Children, were at each other’s throat once again

In times where world is connected to such an extent that physical distances have been rendered irrelevant we the good folks of India and Pakistan can’t keep referring to each other as ‘them’ and ourselves as ‘we’ and ‘us’. The term WE needs to be tried by us both, for it is WE who progress along with others, rather than we who win when competing with others.

Dear reader, putting up fences, erecting walls, demarcating and delineating boundaries, raising forts and then guarding them with extreme prejudice betrays a cagey, insecure and paranoid mindset apprehensive of its neighbour’s intention. And both India and Pakistan need to shed it sooner rather than later.

Let us go beyond our petty interests and embrace the only truth in town; love thy neighbour as thyself.

Both governments and decision makers on either side need to show maturity and must abstain from breaking off ties or ruling out talks with India. Fully responsible states we both need to make use of relevant forums and abstain from blaming each other of its undue and unwarranted involvement in terrorist activities without proof. We, both India and Pakistan, need to show the world that we are capable of sorting differences and resolving our conflicts on our own.

To the world the recent escalation is just another episode of where we, the Midnight’s Children, were at each other’s throat once again. And the way things look, are condemned to repeat the Sisyphean cycle of hate and fear. The escalation is followed by intense brinkmanship of words, movement of troops around LOC, verbal attacks and counter attacks, and then slow and gradual cooling of tempers and then eventual return to normalcy till the next escalation takes place. And then all of this with slight alteration repeats again and again and again.

Since tit-for-tat is the supreme principle on which both neighbours depend in all things fair and foul. The impotent rage that underlines all that posing and posturing is stuff black satire is made of.