Friday, January 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Lahore runs in our Punjabi blood: Pervez’s blood talk is a double-edged weapon 

The well-researched article "Lahore runs in our Punjabi blood!" (Jan 18) by Mr Hari Jaisingh should be an eye-opener not only for Gen Pervez Musharraf but also for all those who are involved in finding a long-term solution to the problems of this subcontinent. While stating "Kashmir runs in our blood", General conveniently forgot "what runs through the blood of Kashmiris" which is the essence of the above article.

Another historical fact is worth mentioning here: "In Kashmir a long — continued process of conversion to Islam had resulted in 95 per cent of the population becoming Moslems, though they retained many of their old Hindu customs. In the middle nineteenth century the Hindu ruler of the state found that very large numbers of these people were anxious or willing to return en bloc to Hinduism. He sent a deputation to the Pundits of Benares inquiring if this could be done. The Pundits refused to countenance any such change of faith and there the matter ended." (Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru, page 267).

Therefore, General Musharraf, you are out of tune with times and history. Going little further, may we know what blood runs through the majority of the Pakistani population in West Punjab? We have (Najam) Sethis, Cheemas, Minhas, Sainis there speaking the same (mother) language as this part of Punjab. People on both sides of the Sutlej and the Ravi are from the same stock with only family divisions down the line with different (first) names.


Some other realities must also be highlighted. The five rivers of (united) Punjab are the lifeline for the people on either side. Does the water of these rivers turn Muslim pani from Hindu pani when these rivers enter Pakistan? Does the mitti, which flows down these rivers, become more Pak (sacred) on entering Pakistan? No, this pani & mitti which come from the same sacred Himalayas have been polluted by the self-seeking politicians and religious zealots (in both countries). And with due respect, General Musharraf, you also have same roots as you were born and brought up in Delhi.

General Musharraf has no doubt made a path-breaking speech. Now he needs understanding and cooperation from friends, particularly American & Indian in his efforts to steer his country out of the present situation. I feel that General Musharraf has the full grip on the present situation and has the capability to change the history of this sub-continent.

Maj Gen ATMA SINGH (retd), Gurgaon

Fanaticism: General Musharraf's blood talk is a perfect picture of religious fanaticism. The ease with which both countries seem to be interacting with each other, however, ends as soon as the question of fulfilling of promises arises.

What we are witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful terrorist state declining to fulfil the promises to rein in terrorism by having one or the other excuse. Emotions of blood must not rule the mind during the conduct of diplomacy.

India is only belittling itself by returning General Musharraf's penchant for crude fanatic talk. Both countries have to move on a fast track of solution for the good of the people and not for manipulators. The testing time for Musharraf to rein in terrorism across the boarder starts now.

New attempts are being frustrated for the present by the religious frenzy of Mr Musharraf. Besides, the Indian room for manoeuvre is circumscribed by the inaction due to the religious forces inimical to the peace in Pakistan. Herein lies the rub.

The moot point is: how do one put General Musharraf in his right place and to dump historical baggage free from clerics’ pressure?


Head count: Blood knows no religion and it does not change colour or becomes thicker with a change of religion. After all humanity is the base of all the religions of the world as otherwise people would not have followed them for centuries together. On the other hand, fundamentalism, the unwitted guest of religion, viz distortion, dogmatism etc is a divine-coated "Devil Religion".

During a face-to-face talk with Gandhiji, Mohamad Ali Jinnah, failed to give a single example from world history where nationality had changed with the change of religion. The Iran-Iraq war, the Pakistan-Bangladesh war certified the correctness of Gandhijis’ dictum, which is also the verdict of history.

Kashmir is an integral part of India which Pakistan wants to grab on a communal basis, forgetting that there are more Muslims in India than Pakistan. Even on the communal base, the Indian Muslims (majority) have an edge over the Pakistani Muslims (minority) to keep Kashmir. In Democratic India the heads of people count and not of that of a dictator or self-proclaimed President.


Compulsions: Mr Hari Jaisingh has covered many convincing debatable points in the article. The piece of advice is highly applaudable. The point of tolerance as discussed in the article is worthy of consideration by both sides. 'Tolerance creates diversity” is very correct.

The rhetoric of Musharraf is perhaps due to his compulsions hanging on his head by the religious fanatics. Perhaps he was too reluctant to take action against them and he took the action only when America realised that Pakistan has the roots of terrorism. The result of this is yet to be seen with particular reference to India because India is the most affected country due to Pak inaction against Muslim fundamentalists.

UJAGAR SINGH, Chandigarh

Kashmiri culture: Mr Hari Jaisingh has very rightly given us the historical background of Kashmir that richly speaks of Sufis, saints and scholars, besides its splendid culture and traditions. His boast that Kashmir runs in his blood, to my mind, should be read as "The blood of innocent people of Kashmir runs through the Chenab river and Jhelum with which the General washes his hands. Such blood is just washed away and does not enter the body and brain of any one. I agree that the survival of General Musharraf depends upon the singing of songs of Kashmir so that his people can dance to his tune and praise his patriotism to the terrorists who bleed the people of Kashmir.


Bloodshed: Since 1947 much blood has been shed, but Kashmir could not be absorbed. Rather Pakistan lost its eastern part with the surrender of 93,000 armed men in Dhaka, unparallel in history. But Kashmir remained a far cry. Pakistan should see the ground realities. It will disintegrate if Lahore starts running in the Indian blood.

D. S. THAKUR, Hoshiarpur

Rhetoric: Regrettably, General Musharraf, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, does not feel shy of indulging in "blood" rhetoric masking vicious lust for India's one prized possession. What actually he needs to note once and for all is that untruth repeatedly told does not become truth.


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