Khuda Hafiz Pakistan

Walls are better than bridges

Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu’s outgoing Islamabad correspondent, files her last report from the country (well actually, city) she covered for the last four years. Indians and Pakistanis, she concludes:

“cannot be friends as long as we continue looking at each other through the narrow prism of our respective states. Pakistanis must locate the Indian within themselves, and Indians must discover their inner Pakistani. It would help understand each other better, and free us from state-manipulated attitudes. In our own interests, it is up to us, the people, to find ways to do this.” [The Hindu]

The sentiment is genuinely heartfelt. Unfortunately, it contradicts the findings she lists earlier in the same essay.

First, she makes the fundamental error that the power of “the people” works in similar ways and extents in the two countries. A popular idea cannot be politically ignored in democratic India. Now unless she feels that crowds of Indian-loving Pakistanis (note: not India-loving Pakistanis) will storm the GHQ and change long-standing state policy, the argument that the Pakistani “people” matter (if and when they change their minds about India) is naive.

(As an aside, It is unfortunate that Ms Subramanian too succumbs to the tendency to do India-Pakistan “equal-equal” in order to appear objective. When both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh went against popular opinion to reach out to Pakistan, how can she justify her charge that the Indian political class cannot be entrusted to find the middle ground?)

Next, despite personal goodwill and individual friendships, will Pakistanis as a “people” ever abandon their hostility towards India? Ms Subramanian writes:

I would have heated debates with Pakistanis who consider themselves modern, enlightened, liberal and secular but would suddenly go all Islamic and religious when it came to an issue such as Kashmir, seeming no different from their ultra-conservative compatriots who protest against the clamping down on Islamic militancy in Pakistan as harassment of “brother Muslims.” They could tout jihad in Kashmir as legitimate even while condemning the Taliban who threaten their own modern, liberal lifestyle, despite the knowledge that the distinction between the two kinds of jihad, or the two categories of militants, is at best an illusion. [The Hindu]

To believe that it is possible for either the Indian state or the Indian people (acting as individuals or civil society) to perform psychotherapy on a national scale requires either conceit or naïveté. There is nothing in Pakistan’s social, economic and demographic indicators to suggest that endogenous change on a sufficient scale and pace is even possible. Colin Powell got it right in 2005 when he complained, self-servingly, that Indians were more concerned about the jihadis who infiltrated last week rather than Pakistan in 2020 “a nation of 250 million with a per capita income much lower than yours, literacy rate half of yours, a drying river-water system, dead industry, fundamentalism and nuclear weapons.”

Why do sensible, intelligent and well-informed people—like Ms Subramanian—routinely end up offering wishfulness as policy? Part of the reason is that there is an underlying presumption that “peace” is intrinsically a good thing and necessary for India’s development. If that presumption is challenged—there is another way for Ms Subramanian to sign off: Pakistan’s problems are its own, if it is lucky it will somehow solve them. The task before India and the Indian people is to make sure those problems don’t spill over any more than they already do. The solution might be to focus on building strong walls and well-guarded fences—not little bridges. Yes, Khuda Hafiz Pakistan.

Update: Nirupama Subramanian simply rocks in this interview with an ignorant-but-opinionated Pakistani television host. (linkthanks Nerus)

64 thoughts on “Khuda Hafiz Pakistan”

  1. Awesome post…Told like it is.. 🙂
    I am sick of constant “moral-equivalence” of India and Pakistan, and symmetry of culpability drawn by some “objective” analysts..

  2. The Aman Ki Asha method of proof for “India-Pakistan Equal-Equal” theorem runs like this:

    India says Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in India
    Pakistan accuses India of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan

    Therefore India and Pakistan Equal-Equal

    QED

    There are several variants of the above proof, but the underlying logic is essentially the same.

  3. A quality post. Still, I must say that though I disagree with her message I think its crucial to have the Nirupamas of the world preaching their special brand of useful idiocy to neighbours and the world alike. Just keep them away from decision makers and we should be fine.

    Its almost warms the cochles of my heart to think that some modern, liberal, only-semi-hating-India Pakistanis will be encouraged by Nirupama’s self-flagellation to do some introspection of their own.

    Incidentally, did you notice this line- “The political class on both sides has specialised in hyping ….. Blame communally driven politics on the Indian side, and in Pakistan…”? This is a dangerous and careless statement. It seems that Nirupama is suggesting that India’s supposedly (pro-Hindu) communalism encourages, at an institutional level, belligerence with Pakistan on religious grounds.

    If that is indeed what she implies then I’d venture to suggest that her Pakistani friends have done a much better job at explaining their “point of view” than she dgives them credit for

  4. Nirupama Subramanian inadvertently does us all a great favor, when she observes that even the so-called “enlightened secular liberals” in Pakistan are no different than their jihadist brethren when it comes to the thorniest issue between the two countries… if there was ever a statement of utter futility about the future prospects of “peace”, that would be it.

    Of course it was an “enlightened secular liberal” who was the driving force behind the very theory of two different nations based on pure religious grounds…so pardon me when i laugh my a** off at the very mention of those words.

    What she does not seem to understand (or may be she does) is that at this point, even Khuda cannot Hafiz the Pakis from themselves. Of course as Nitin points out India has to safeguard itself from the radioactivity of their version of “liberal secular enlightenment.”

  5. Not to beat the dog, but its scary to think that our PM is even more unrealistic than her .

    Money quote from Dr.Singh – “I dream of a day, while retaining our respective National identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live,” he said sharing his vision about relations with Pakistan.

    Even Monty Python would not be able to think of such a farce.

    This quote was made by the PM in 2007 AFTER the Bombay attacks of 2006 and before the Bombay attacks of 2008. And from the way the Indian Govt has practically been begging for more talks, nothing seems to have changed the PM about the futility of his fantasies.

  6. “Of course it was an “enlightened secular liberal” who was the driving force behind the very theory of two different nations based on pure religious grounds…so pardon me when i laugh my a** off at the very mention of those words.”

    Well said. It’s a shame that the “secular” media and most of the elites in India dont even get this simple fact.

    “What she does not seem to understand (or may be she does) is that at this point, even Khuda cannot Hafiz the Pakis from themselves.”

    Do we know this for sure? Even I am not convinced. I think Pak is too important to it’s three benefactors. In anycase I cannot see the cavemen taking over the GHQ in Pindi! So I think current game is the “endgame”.

    Meanwhile US is having a “strategic” dialogue with Pak including men in uniforms Kiyani and Pasha in DC. While it preaches “democracy” and civilian control of military in Pak. What a joke! And it’s being coordinated by …the villain himself… Holebrooke! Hope India does not get thrown under the bus.

  7. @ NS

    “Money quote from Dr.Singh – “I dream of a day, while retaining our respective National identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live,” he said sharing his vision about relations with Pakistan.”

    This is what happens when u have septuagenarians born before independence (not to mention in current day Pak!) running the country.

    In any case he can say all the nice “goody good” things I don’t. Provided GoI ACTS in the national interest. Like Teddy Roosevelt “Talk softly but carry a big stick!”.

  8. @Arvi,
    Holbrooke/Obama are probably still miffed with the way India openly rejected his “services” to “mediate” in Kashmir – he is a diplomat but he is a real bully. Very few people like Holbrooke.

    As far as Kiyani &Co being asked to appear in Washington DC, I suspect that this is the meeting where the US is going to ask the Pakis to “mother promise” that they will not allow the Taliban/Al-Qaeda crazies to control Afghanistan once the US starts withdrawing its forces starting next year.

    Obama is absolutely embroiled in domestic US politics that he has literally outsourced AfPak to Petraeus, Holbrooke and Co – and the best deal that these people have been able to come up with seems to be a return to the status quo before 9/11 minus the open plotting on US homeland of course.

    I will be glad to eat my words but Obama’s administration AfPak policy seems to be on some sort of pilot mode to withdrawal.

  9. @ NS

    “As far as Kiyani &Co being asked to appear in Washington DC, I suspect that this is the meeting where the US is going to ask the Pakis to “mother promise” that they will not allow the Taliban/Al-Qaeda crazies to control Afghanistan once the US starts withdrawing its forces starting next year.”

    Good luck with that! The promise won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.

    “I will be glad to eat my words but Obama’s administration AfPak policy seems to be on some sort of pilot mode to withdrawal.”

    It increasingly LOOKS that way. Here’s my prediction though. All eyes are on the healthcare vote. If it passes it’s very likely what u said will happen. If it doesn’t Obama will be a ONE TIME Prez, focus will shift to foreign policy and Obama will go full on in Afg. Jus my 2cents FWIW.

  10. ToI says the rentier state Pak is demanding 35 Billion dollars and a “nuclear deal”.

    For all it’s harping about democracy and freedom, what a “great country” US has as its munna (Major Non NATO ally) in Pak. Jus for some short term “strategic interests”. What a shame and a joke (if it were only funny!). Now excuse me while I go and puke to rid of the bad taste in my mouth.

  11. The impending summit between the US and the Pak. Army honchos implies some deal is being cut with Kiyani and co so that the US can have a face-saving withdrawal from Af-Pak, with Pakistan leading the war on Terror from the front. There will be a surge or two by the various military forces in Af-Pak, along with a lot of moaning and groaning, followed by a few more surges, a climax, and then a withdrawal from Af-Pak….with a satisfied Pakistan and USA. Pakistan — A rentier state from its conception, to its current state, given its actions and choices.

  12. Two things come to my mind. One: Pakistanis do not call us Indians. They call us Hindus. With that kind of ignorance, what kind of thinking, can Pakistanis see themselves as Indians – I mean Hindus? There is so intense a hate against Hindus in Pakistani Muslims, that the kind of empathy Ms Subramaniam is looking for is impossible,

    Second: the title – Khuda Hafeez. Is there a link with Syed Hafeez of LeT, meaning, has his word has become a gospel for Pakistani “awam”?

  13. All eyes are on the healthcare vote. If it passes it’s very likely what u said will happen. If it doesn’t Obama will be a ONE TIME Prez, focus will shift to foreign policy and Obama will go full on in Afg. Jus my 2cents FWIW.

    His Presidency is definitely on the line with health care “reform” (after seeing the shamockery that Obama is trying to call reform, i dont have any more respect for him – i am startled to see the way he does cost/benefits analysis with complex issues- but that would be another thread in itself)

    There are two other domestic issues that Obama is itching to have his name associated with

    A.immigration reform ( US immigration is hopelessly fubared with about 12 million plus illegal immigrants mostly from Mexico living and working in the US and causing some strain on public and welfare services )

    B.the supposed global warming bill or cap and trade legislation.

    Just like health care, these are two very complex issues and i dont see him having much time to think about AfPak.

    How ever this November, Congressional elections are to be held and if today’s polls are true, the Democrats are going to lose their majorities in the House and possibly the Senate – once Republicans come to power, Obama may not be able to have his way with domestic issues and may probably turn his attention to AfPak after a long time.

    I dont have a good feeling of the things to come in AfPak and the resultant effect on India’s security.

  14. @Gypsy
    Well said. No time for her to deal with the facts . All of us have our fantasies and Nirupuma has hers. Unfortunately her fantasies are dangerous.

    But some one has to be the noble peace maker among us warmongers, dammit!

  15. This was the show in which the IPL fiasco was given religious coloring with Sohail Tanvir uttering a racist statements.

  16. What a boring interview! 45 min of waste of my time. Anyways for an Indian newspaper to get a license to operate in Pak, you HAVE to be this boring I guez. But I’m glad for what she is doing in Pak.

    That said while I am not a fan of “bhai chara” or “equal equal” or “bridges”, I amalso not a fan of building walls. I think there is a thrid option of “engaging Pak” and “shaping reality” in Pak. It is difficult and challenging but I don’t think it is impossible especially with India’s growing economic clout and the disparity with Pak increasing even further.

    Anyways this situation in Af-Pak and the US leaving the region to Taleban reminds me of a poem “Second Coming” by Yeats (written during post WW1 Europe, very moving)

    TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  17. @ Arvi – “Hatred against US is becoming more and more rampant.”

    That is a very short sighted statement. The hatred against the US is contextual as far as Pakis are concerned while the hatred towards India (which they refer for some reason as Hindus) is systemic. The hate of the Army towards US is only temporary as it puts the army in a disadvantageous position. And believe me, you tend to forgive enemies you don’t see or hear everyday. I once read this article about Bangladesh which said that many of them consider Pakistan to be a possibly better friend as compared to India. The rationale was many Bangladeshis would tend to listen less about Pakistan as compared to India let alone meet a Pakistani.

  18. Arvind:
    “I think there is a thrid option of “engaging Pak” and “shaping reality” in Pak. It is difficult and challenging but I don’t think it is impossible especially with India’s growing economic clout and the disparity with Pak increasing even further.”

    @Arvind, the USA has spent billions doing exactly that and Pakistan as given USA the disease called jihadism in return with Jihad Joes, Jihad Janes, and David Headleys, and have played the USA for chumps. Why will India be able to do any better? Let us take into account that Pakistan has a unique hatred for India that it does not share with any other country.

  19. @ SR Murthy

    “Arvind, the USA has spent billions doing exactly that and Pakistan as given USA the disease called jihadism in return with Jihad Joes, Jihad Janes, and David Headleys, and have played the USA for chumps. Why will India be able to do any better? ”

    Oh please! That would be gr8. In fact I wouldn’t mind a “master-slave” relation like that of US pak between India and Pak. In fact I wasn’t being that ambitious at all. What I said was this third proposal IMO was better than jus building “walls” or “bridges” or not doing anything for that matter. You got a better idea? It is easy to criticize others.

    “Let us take into account that Pakistan has a unique hatred for India that it does not share with any other country.”

    That’s not completely true. Hatred against US is becoming more and more rampant. But even if it is so what? You jus throw up your hands in the air and be fatalistic about it? You “engage” with ur enemies not friends.

  20. Lack of logic in Ms Subramanian’s article is astounding. Nirupama’s plain old wishful thinking(first excerpt from her article posted by Acorn) is at odds with the reality(second excerpt from her article posted here). From her article,
    “It should have been easy to leave a country that is by word and deed hostile to India, and where the state machinery treats every Indian as a “RAW agent”….”

    A country that is hostile to India in words and deeds but Ms Nirupama still has to act like a Kumbaya Kanary. Rather than answering, what are the reasons for Pakistan hostilty and India specific terrorism, she persists in denying reality. Rest is easy, like the moral equivalence garbage which seeps out easily because she is not acting on the basis of fact or reason. Ms Nirupama’s moral equivalence (or equal equal) is a victory for pakis since India has done no wrong to pakistan and is absolutely irrational.

  21. Arvi wrote:
    What I said was this third proposal IMO was better than jus building “walls” or “bridges” or not doing anything for that matter. You got a better idea? It is easy to criticize others.”

    Multiple things can be done simultaneously. Engagement can be done after building high walls too, while building metaphorical bridges and destroying physical ones (if any).

    Engaging Pakistan has a direct bearing on India’s internal security, in the sense of anything short keeping Pakistanis out physically has proven counter-productive on the ground in India. Building high walls to keep the riff-raff out appears like it needs to be a pre-condition for “Engaging” pakistan, something that cannot be compromised when things get hot and heavy after a few months of peace and friendship. Outside of that directly engaging the Pakistani army and the ISI seems like a good idea, as the civilian government is irrelevant even to Pakistan.

  22. Arvi wrote:
    “That’s not completely true. Hatred against US is becoming more and more rampant.”

    And that has a bearing on their hatred towards India how? Is there some hate-quota that the Pakistanis have that they cannot do both with equal gusto, and maybe hate India in finer detail while at it.

    ” But even if it is so what? You jus throw up your hands in the air and be fatalistic about it? You “engage” with ur enemies not friends.”

    Depends on what “engage” means, and any engagement that does not results in leverage is worth nothing on the ground. what kind of leverage does the US have on Pakistan after all these billions? Their supply lines get blown up if they start to get too uppity with the Pakistani army, and if they pursue an independent line in Afghanisthan, the Pakistanis keep them in line. So perhaps you can explain the advantages this American “engagement” of Pakistan that you think is extremely clever and worth replicating.

  23. Most people in this forum already have a pretty low opinion of the Pakistani elite, but if you actually come across one it will hit rock bottom. They are the archetypal fascist. There is no taming that. We will have to beat them the hard way.

    It is the Pakjabi elite that has too much free time on it’s hands. The average Pakistani is presumably mostly preoccupied with keeping body and soul together. That’s why the need of the likes of Hafiz Saeed to whip up anti-whatever mass hysteria. He is their only current hope of channelizing the rage away from the elite and towards fascism.

  24. “. The US has a LOT of leverage over the ELITES in Pak. And that’s what matters.”

    That is a claim that falls flat on its face when one considers that the US State Dept. claims that it is beholden to Pakistan. So cut all the BS and spell out exactly how this so-called leverage is helping the US win its “war on terror” — you have NOT answered that central point yet.

    Just saying “money and drones” explains nothing…on second thoughts, we can just disagree, and you can repeat your horsesh1t assertions without justification. Whatever.

  25. @ SR Murthy

    “what kind of leverage does the US have on Pakistan after all these billions?”

    Money and drones to put it simply.

    “Their supply lines get blown up if they start to get too uppity with the Pakistani army, and if they pursue an independent line in Afghanisthan, the Pakistanis keep them in line.”

    Oh please! So it’s Pak calling all shots an. US has no control whatsoever? Yeah right! I can believe that. Especially when there are Blackwater and SF guys roaming the streets in Karachi LOLZ! All this “anger” and anti-Americanism is mostly felt only by the masses and the mullahs. The US has a LOT of leverage over the ELITES in Pak. And that’s what matters.

  26. @ SR Murthy

    “Multiple things can be done simultaneously.”

    That the best u can come up with? Of course my third option itself is a combo of first and second plus some new elements as well. So what u said is redundant and wouldn’t be different from that. Anyways we are talking past each other.

    Finally only Paks would believe that US has little leverage over them and it’s only they who r calling the shots.

    Anyways this week in DC should be interesting!

  27. Its not a precondition that Pakistanis love India; not particularly interested they even love Indians. Just keep their messes to their side of the border and we will be fine.

    I support the creation, strengthening and maintenance of any and all bridges that dont imply or insinuate a dilution on the drive against terrorism and its sponsors in Pakistan. We need walls… *and* bridges.

    But we probably have enough bridges already- art/litt. fests, music troupes , sports teams, local trade via trucks. I’m ok with these being restored. These are the eqvt of neighborly visits.

    Keep a sharp watch for infections liable to be picked up on these visits- do keep prodding the neighbors to clean up their yard, do whatever is necessary to maintain hygiene in your yard.

    thanks,
    Jai

  28. @ SR Murthy

    “So cut all the BS and spell out exactly how this so-called leverage is helping the US win its “war on terror” — you have NOT answered that central point yet.”

    Depends on what u mean by “winning”. Many AQ functionaries have been caught or killed. OBL would most likely be killed before US “leaves”. He is the “ultimate bounty”. Taleban wasn’t that much of an enemy. Also US has now gotten bases in places like Baghram (half the size of Vatican!) strategic areas for Pentagon close to Central Asia. Plus it has helped military and intelligence industrial complexes. Sure it has costed US some money and lives. But the money spent is a pittance compared to what the Pentagon spends every year and the overall US economy. And compared to other conflicts like Vietnam loss in lives has also been minimal.

    US was and is not worried about terrorists against India including LeT. That is India’s problem!

  29. US was and is not worried about terrorists against India including LeT. That is India’s problem!
    When will INDIA ever realize that ??

  30. @NS

    “When will INDIA ever realize that ??”

    The question is what CAN India do even after realizing that?

    If India crosses a “certain threshold” US will come to the aid of it’s munna Pak. And that threshold is not big enough to deter LeT and more importantly it’s handlers.

    Maybe India can buy some armaments and boost trade with US to gain some leverage? I don’t know if that’s good enough. Maybe India should offer Pentagon some military bases? Only problem is many Indians are pretty icky when it comes to sovereignty.

    So bottomline: It looks like apart from building some defenses, improving intel and conducting some covert ops there’s nothing much India can do (short of war which almost nobody wants) apart from bracing for more terror attacks.

  31. Cough cough. Very surprised, Nitin.
    Having followed your blog and op-ed pieces for sometime, I’d not have thought you would say “The solution might be to focus on building strong walls and well-guarded fences—not little bridges”.

    That, reading from your earlier posts, discussions, always seemed to indicate the opinion of someone more ‘extremist/radical’.
    going from conceding unilateral trade concessions to Pakistan, from having more trade with them to actually walling them off – That’s a giant leap.

    Would love to hear *what* prompted that.

    I more or less agree with the post. I have been of the opinion that we need to help Pak implode and not extend hand of friendship – for at least a 100 years.
    But what is curious is the leap you have made from unilateral trade concessions, from increasing indo-pak trade to actually walling them off – here, I’m assuming u dont mean cutting off trade ties, but in creating robust defences, and not trusting them to deliver on any promise of peace. (as you say, Peace as a condition for growth is rubbish)

    So, what has the change in thought been to?

  32. There is a shared veneer of Optimism among intellectuals and the end of all conclusions where they assert “if x an y happens then there is hope for z”. The ground reality in Pakistan is that does not look like that will be the case. Is poverty a root cause? It might be one of the causes; however Nitin is right in saying that instead of projecting our energies against what ‘could’ be in Pakistan, we need to focus on the ‘what is’ and how it would affect India.

  33. @Arvi,
    “The question is what CAN India do even after realizing that?”

    Actually it is more a question of what India is willing to do – which is pretty much nothing. GOI can afford to do effectively nothing because Indian citizens have no problems “living” with terrorism.

    No other country would re-elect the same party that was at power in the Central Govt when major terror attacks were staged during almost each year of its rule… think about it ! 2004 Delhi, 2006 Bombay, 2008, Ahmedabad 2008 Bombay..

    The US here is being used as an excuse by the Indian Govt, quite frankly. If India had gone to war with Pakistan after 2008 attacks, it would have forced America’s hand to choose – who are the Americans with ?
    Instead what has happened is India’s position has degraded . America is now actively looking for an exit strategy – the supposed reason that we didnt go to war with Pakistan was that it would complicate US position in AfPak – well, it is all pretty simple now for the US isnt it ? THey are openly letting the fox guard the henhouse.

    India is pushed around by the US since it tolerates being pushed around – either by terrorists or the US.

    It looks like apart from building some defenses, improving intel and conducting some covert ops there’s nothing much India can do (short of war which almost nobody wants) apart from bracing for more terror attacks.

    Well, we have been bracing for more terror attacks since 1992 no matter what else we do.

  34. @ NS

    “India is pushed around by the US since it tolerates being pushed around – either by terrorists or the US.”

    True. But you should also realize that nobody least of all the middle class in India (for many of whose families at least one ward is in the US) wants an open confrontation with US the consequence of which could get “ugly”. Nobody even wants to THINK about US sanctions on IT exports from India. And forget about war. Yatha raja, thatha praja, govt is only a reflection of the people.

    Plus US is this great beacon of democracy and freedom, so we are “natural allies”. Or so the thinking goes among most of the elites and middle class of India. So India will always try to “morally convince” the US to do the right thing. Funny thing is US respects only power and force!

  35. Plus US is this great beacon of democracy and freedom, so we are “natural allies”. Or so the thinking goes among most of the elites and middle class of India. So India will always try to “morally convince” the US to do the right thing. Funny thing is US respects only power and force!

    Actually, even that excuse has gone out of the window. We are used to being rolled over and no one is surprised by what has happened in AfPak vis-a-vis the US. 10 years of military aid from US to LandOfPure totalling in billions of dollars with fancy weapons as well.

    “Natural Allies” is probably the biggest joke. Besides as i said, in a country where very few people have access to clean drinking water, terrorism is just another problem to live with. No one is expecting the GOI to deliver any improvements in security and the public is generally blase’ to all the terrorist attacks from pakistan.

  36. I liked the interview for other reasons. It shows Pakistanis how far India has progressed socially, politically and economically and is about 50 years ahead. Politics is not an elite pre-occupation – as in Pakistan – nor is it a stupidly jingoistic affair – as in China. The people who get to talk about their country even as journalists are the folks next door, not given to affectations and airs. They are not walking wardrobes and see no need to dress to kill and turn themselves into objects of attraction. Nir.Subs was also very clear about the restrictions placed on her for four years, and said it deadpan without a touch of irony, which went entirely over her interviewer’s head! It looks like NSubs went into Pakistan with airy fairy notions of aman and asha but is now returning as a hardheaded realist. It is true that I look forward to the day that when India and Pakistan can be at peace, but I want that to happen by Pakistan coming to terms with what it is, which is the way it should be. India should do whatever it takes to soothe the beast and finally bury it. It is like taming a snake and finally defanging it. That is my idea of peace.

  37. I think I have just about had it with this “war is not an option” mantra.

    The Pak supremo, Kayani, says his army is totally India centric,
    the administration and every functionary in the establishment will not say a word about containing terror directed at India – it is seen as being a stratgic asset,
    India is lambasted at every forum, whenever the occassion arises and even when there is no occassion,
    goons and thugs are trained by the Pak army or its retired henchmen
    they roam around this country at will setting off bombs and murdering Indians.
    Someone please define war to me. We have become incapable of recognising it anymore. We need to wake up. We are at war!

  38. goons and thugs are trained by the Pak army or its retired henchmen
    they roam around this country at will setting off bombs and murdering Indians.
    Someone please define war to me. We have become incapable of recognising it anymore. We need to wake up. We are at war!

    Shhhhhhhhhh Dara… no one wants to hear the “W” word – besides if one side pretends that there is nothing going on, can you call it a real war ?

    A war whether overt or covert is one where both sides are fighting and causing casualties to their respective opponents in terms of men. material etc

    The India-Pakistan situation is not war, it is more or less a slow but study genocide.

  39. goons and thugs are trained by the Pak army or its retired henchmen
    they roam around this country at will setting off bombs and murdering Indians.
    Someone please define war to me. We have become incapable of recognising it anymore. We need to wake up. We are at war!

    Shhhhhhhhhh Dara… no one wants to hear the “W” word – besides if one side pretends that there is nothing going on, can you call it a real war ?

    A war whether overt or covert is one where both sides are fighting and causing casualties to their respective opponents in terms of men. material etc

    The India-Pakistan situation is not war, it is more or less a slow but steady genocide.

  40. “I liked the interview for other reasons. It shows Pakistanis how far India has progressed socially, politically and economically and is about 50 years ahead. Politics is not an elite pre-occupation – as in Pakistan – nor is it a stupidly jingoistic affair – as in China.”

    Nice rhetoric. But statistically it’s not true. Maybe India is marginally ahead of Pak in some of the HDI indices but “authoritarian” China is WAY ahead of India in these indices. Heck in India even 40% of people are not even connected to an ELECTRICITY GRID! Anyways as long as the elites and civil society have drunk this “liberal” Kool Aid what gives?

    BTW why is “diversity” necessarily a “strong” thing for India? I mean I can understand someone arguing that India respecting it’s diversity is a GOoD thing (though even this is debatable; look at how Kashmir “issue” is festering because of debacles like Art 376 while Tibet has been taken care of more or less by PRC moving Han people to that territory). But why the heck is “diversity” by itself a “good” thing? Lots of BS in that interview, much more by the anchor I’ll give ya that!

  41. @ Dara

    “Someone please define war to me. We have become incapable of recognising it anymore. We need to wake up. We are at war!”

    Sorry this is jus your opinion. Most Indian don’t think that way. For if they do, the India would now be at WAR with Pak.

    Also, more people probably die from farmer suicides every year than terrorism! Where’s your WAR on that? What are u doing about that? That said India should do whatever it can to prevent terrorism. But going to war over an incident is jus stupid. It will cripple whatever little economy India has! Plus it will also unnecessarily invite the wrath of America!

  42. India is and has been a soft state since its independence in 1947. All that India has achieved in the turbulent 63 years since then, has been more on the political, economic and social arena.

    India’s ambitions starting from South Asia to a probable whole of Asia is seriously diminished by India’s reluctance to distance itself from Pakistan to the extent that for India, the western neighbour does not exist. For all apologists of the United States and the UPA governement in power, time is ripe to call the shots. of course it si not easy, but for a country of India’s size and growing economic clout it is important that diplomacy is coupled with hard military show and rhetoric. Unless that happens, strong adversaries would not even blink at us.

    Of course, permeating down, we have in our so called liberal and modern media (the fourth estate) such journos who kind of think that the job for them is not to write what is happening, but kinda try and impose ideas upon people. Her stint in Pakistan should be viewed purely from a professional point of view and not an emotinal one. For one there is nothing similar between India and Pakistan (let us not be naive and talk about adab, kayda, khaana and peena), there are nauseating and childish to the core. There is no meeting ground between India and Pakistn, nor there is any scope of any convergence of ideas of the modern world. Any attempt to downplay the gravity of this is in the least, the perfect recipe for Indian disaster. All the hard work done since 1947 will come to a nought.

    There is nothing we can learn from Paksitan nor do we have any requirement to do so.

    If still we have apologists who talk of “Aman Ki Asha”, let me tell them, the very basic idea of Pakistan is failed. The work that is needed to be done for a start to even think of reconciliating with her is completely overhaul their school curricula. This is the very basic in terms of everything.

    Someone has rightly mentioned, “That the idea of Pakistan” and its raison d’ etre is simply an entity which is against the polity of India.

  43. Arvi,

    Of course what I say is my opinion not anyone else’s. Whether you see it my way or not is you perogative and I accept that. My view may be a minority one, but it is mine.

    Just because both sides are not using weapons does not mean that a war is not on. There has been a low intensity conflict/ war being waged against India for a long time now.In fact my point is precisely that, the other side is waging war on us while we keep parroting war is not an option.

    More people die of car accidents and murders too probably, does not mean that we are not experiencing a war like situation with Pakistan. If you ask me whether a war should be waged against farmer suicides, I agree whole heartedly with you. Also against drunken drivers, poverty, illiteracy and the rest.

    I think the ills of going to war are too well known. I m not advocating war. My point is, when it is thrust upon us, and it is being done so now, we should at least see it for what it is, rather than mouthing platitudes.

    The wrath of America? I’m sorry you lost me there. Is war a matter of safeguarding our security or about American approval or a pat on the back?

  44. @ Dara

    “The wrath of America? I’m sorry you lost me there. Is war a matter of safeguarding our security or about American approval or a pat on the back?”

    Going into open hot war won’t “safeguard” India’s security! We will agree to disagree on this.

    I am all for “covert war” though. Essentially paying back with the same coin. If I were an Indian policymakers I would invest time and money in propagaganda for the jihadists to turn them against their own military. Which should not be that hard to do given the recent turmoil in Pak. But I am not sure if India is even doing this.

  45. Arvi,

    Thanks for the prompt reply. You make my point really, which is that we are doing nothing ‘constructive’, except playing verbal gymnastics – dialogue, no dialogue, composite dialogue, no composite dialogue, war is not an option, all options are open etc etc. – where is all this getting us? While the other side is merrily creating mayhem.

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