Shekhar Gupta writes about many things that have been a recurring theme on this blog: that India has moved on from the old debate over the two-nation theory and the reality of Pakistan and is today more hopeful and interested in economic development than any time since independence. This is the reason why Indians are willing to forget even recent Pakistani aggression (remember Kargil) and back Vajpayee’s quest for peace with Pakistan. Shekhar Gupta and Tom Friedman are right – the Golden Arches are causing Indians to take their cue from Standard & Poor’s, rather than Kofi Annan. Globalisation has certainly strengthened the innate constituency for peace in India.
These boys represent our post-reform generation, almost all born after the Simla Accord was signed, certainly after our last real war in 1971, and went to school and college, or into competitive cricket in years of reform and globalisation, and prospered in it. They play for fame, future and endorsements and not for match fees. Some of them are just 18 or 19, with so little connection or nostalgia for the past. But overall, these cricketers are at least a generation ahead of our policy-makers and, possibly two-generations ahead of our Track-II warriors. They represent the new generation of Indians and Pakistanis who are more inclined to look at the future rather than remain trapped in the past. That is mostly true of the spectators as well. I may be guilty of over-optimism. But does this explain the absence of murdabads? Something must.[Shekar Gupta/Indian Express]
But assuming that it is the same with Pakistan is risky. Moreover, the political dispensation in Pakistan will scarcely allow such voices to rise above the din of Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric and Kashmir-driven hate mongering. The army is the dominant institution in Pakistan and its very existence rests on conflict with India. A lasting peace with India would be suicidal for the Pakistan army and for that reason peace on the subcontinent will remain a hopeful dream. The ruling establishment which includes the political elites of Benazir Bhutto’s and Nawaz Sharif’s parties draw their position and privilege not from popular mandate but from feudal entitlement. This oligarchy is also not about to dismantle itself overnight. Musharraf himself has stated more than once that all confidence-building measures are useless unless Kashmir is resolved to Pakistan’s satisfaction.
Behind the managed images of mushy camaraderie which were beamed to Indian and international audiences during the cricket series, the reform of the madrassas has been quietly abandoned. Even the reform of mainstream school syllabus – specifically the removal of jehadi and anti-India propaganda – has been abandoned by the Musharraf-Jamali government.
Pakistan’s current generations remain captives of jehadi indoctrination, so it is premature to bring in the Golden Arches theory of conflict prevention yet. What about Kargil, Mr Friedman?
India’s economic future is not in the hands of Pakistan. The Pakistan factor has been obviously overstated, but even the monsoon exerts a stronger influence on India’s growth than Musharraf. The stellar growth in the last couple of years was when the famous ‘eyeball-to-eyeball’ confrontation was still ongoing. If India adopts the right economic policies, investors will see no reason to stay away – however many travel advisories the US state department may issue.
That’s another lesson of globalisation – General Electric is more powerful than General Powell.
Related Links: The Indian Express advocates a more liberal visa policy as a sop to Pakistani civil society; a move that is pointless at its best and dangerous at its worst. Amidst the euphoria created by cricketing success, it is easy to forget that India and Pakistan are beginning a process of negotiations. Visa policy is an item on the negotiating table. Making unilateral concessions during fits of abnormally low sobriety does not help the negotiators nor does it count towards a favourable outcome.
“He’ll then roll his fingers on his chair and say ‘Musharraf khush hua!’ “. Jagadish responds to Shekhar Gupta at RRRR
Anti-India indoctrination to continue – as advocates of education reform are marginalised