Saturday, July 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Brainwashed Pakistani mind

THE article by the Chibbers (July 8) brings home the fact that the Pakistani media has carried on such a long, and vitriolic campaign of distorted information against India that, even if the governments of the two nations arrive at an understanding over the disputed territory, they will not be able to sell it to the brainwashed people across the border, no matter how many candles we light at Wagah.

In a recent documentary on the “History of Kashmir”, broadcast by Pakistan’s television, it was stated that in 1947 “Indian forces invaded Kashmir and were repelled by the people, who forced them to retreat.” It was obvious from the technical quality of the telecast that it was a rerun of an old film. It must have been shown repeatedly and the audience in Pakistan probably believes every word of it by now.

If one were to believe the Pakistani media, there is a genocide on in the Indian administered Kashmir. It is very easy to manipulate news and photo images to distort any picture. When day after day, year after year, the first four or five stories on PTV’s news telecast paint a gory picture of the activities of the Indian security forces in the valley, the idea of Kashmir being subjected to mass killings is bound to become ingrained in the Pakistani mind. They might even believe that the Chitisinghpura massacre was carried out by Indian troops.


When genocide takes place there is a mass exodus, or at least an attempt to escape, from the targeted areas, like the Jews fleeing from Hitler’s Germany; The Tibetans from communist rule; the Bengalis from East Pakistan; or the Kosovans from Milosevic’s forces. But there never has been any mass migration from Indian to Pakistani Kashmir, or anywhere else. The odd terrorist may have fled the police dragnet or a few villagers may have been instigated to leave, but the only Kashmiris who have felt the urge to flee the State in large numbers are those escaping the terrorism of the “freedom fighters”.

In fact, what is being said about the situation in Kashmir used to be said, in the Pakistani media, about the Indian Punjab when terrorism was at its peak, over a decade ago. The same stories about murder, rape and plunder, to quell a popular revolt, were being given wide currency, The TV visuals were as graphic. It is so easy to juxtapose pictures of people grieving, for any reason, with those of soldiers in uniform to give the impression that the latter had something to do with the former. Now that peace has returned to Punjab, people across the border should be wondering, if their indoctrinated minds are capable of any introspection at all, what it was all about.

If peace has to come first the climate of distrust, unfortunately reinforced by Pakistan’s actions, has to be changed. When General Musharraf says, as he has done too often recently, that Kashmir is the “core” issue between India and Pakistan, one can only suggest that he look up the meaning of this word. According to the Chambers dictionary, the “core” is “the innermost part”. And whether in an apple or in Indo-Pak relations, the innermost part can be accessed only after the outer layers have been dealt with. If the core is Kashmir, as Pakistan has been saying, then the only way to get to it is to tackle the peripheral issues or take some confidence-building measures (CBMs) first, as India has repeatedly stressed.

Europe’s recent history shows how it can happen. Twice in this century European countries fought major wars over the core issue of territories. Then they tried some CBMs instead. The markets became common. The passports barriers came down. And now the currencies will also become common. And then it will not matter where the lines separating different countries, over which they fought bloody battles, are actually delineated.

This is the situation that India and Pakistan have to aspire for. There is no other way in which the Kashmir imbroglio can be solved. Apart from the recent battles in Kargil, they have fought three wars over it. Millions that could have been spent on development have gone down the defence drain in both countries. It has led to insurgencies within their boundaries. And both nations have been handicapped in the international fora because of their dependence on one or the other of super powers as a hedge in the diplomatic game.

As things stand today both countries continue to bleed, but this confrontation hurts Pakistan more. Even today, in person-to-person contacts, ordinary people in that country accept this and express their desire for peace in the sub-continent. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that by the time the rulers of Pakistan come to realise that it is in their interest to make peace with India, their own brainwashed populace will turn their backs on the idea.


Curbing casteism

It cannot be gainsaid that one of the greatest evils of Indian polity is casteism. The loss of innocent lives due to the carnage committed in the name of caste goes against the very cherished values of Indian society, i.e. tolerance and mutual respect observed in India for millenniums.

It is unfortunate that during the last few centuries, hatred and prejudices against the dalits are still persisting in some quarters whereas it is finding a demonic form by way of reaction from the so-called dalits against the upper castes. Both are equally bad. What is required is complete cohesion of society in which all the four Varnas of society live in peace, and mutual respect. And, that has to be attempted and achieved by all.

New Delhi

This is “darkest hour”

Apropos of “It was not the darkest hour” (July 4), well said, Brigadier Saheb. Millions agree with you. Only politicians will not. As an apolitical person, I too had noticed the disciplining and higher-productivity impact of “Emergency” from very close quarters. As a citizen, dealing with bureaucrats, businessmen and the general public at large. I found a sea-change in their response, behaviour and performance, for the better.

No doubt there were some aberrations and aversions in implementation of some well-intended plans and policies. But, which system doesn’t have such isolated aberrations. Of what use is a fake “democracy” if it breeds corruption, inefficiency and all sorts of goondaism and scams. It suits politicians and their henchmen only — not the nation and its common man.

Conditions prevailing today (and worsening still further), are no better than what they were before the “Emergency”. In fact “the darkest hour” is here and now. All talks of constitutional rights, freedom of speech and dignity etc are phoney. What we need is discipline, dedication and decency in every walk of life, rather than a fertile ground for corrupt people and lotus eaters.



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