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Re: Fw: Article by Pritish Nandy
[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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We discuss these days about the skrmishes we
have with Pakistan. This following article may
enlighten us and understand the view that
Pritish Nandy has put forward:
From: Pandya, Poorvi
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 11:03 AM
Subject: Article by Pritish Nandy
An article by Pritish Nandy(of Times of India) on Kargil!
Pritish Nandy on Kargil!
Demolish the myth
The skirmish in Kargil has served one purpose. It has showed up the real
difference between India and Pakistan. The difference in the way we see
While we both talk about peace, Pakistan is always ready for war even
it is clever enough to know that it can never win one. Why? Why should a
nation be ready for a war when it knows it cannot win it? The reason is
simple. Pakistan has grown up on a self-sustained myth that it is a
powerful, absolutely unified, military nation with a single religion
binds it together. It also believes that by chalu PR and clever
misrepresentation of facts, it can persuade some of the stupider Western
nations to back its military misadventures. As for us, they see India as
this large, confused, politically unmanageable and flabby neighbour too
trying to cope with democracy to know how to keep its squabbling castes
and communities together. In their lexicon, we are a soft target.
A Billy Bunter of sorts.
That is why they laugh every time we stretch out our hand of friendship.
they are smart enough not to show their disdain openly. Instead, they
all these vague, conciliatory noises that mislead us (and the world)
believing that they are serious about peace while actually, behind our
they keep fomenting trouble whenever, wherever they can. For fighting
India is the only way that Pakistan can stay alive. That is what binds
not Islam. That is what keeps their politicians in power, gets them
and weapons, sustains their feeble economy. If there was no war with
open or secret, there would be no Pakistan as we know it. You will have
nation poorer than Bangladesh, where every ethnic group will be fighting
freedom and the entire military and political elite, which is so rich
powerful today, will be either behind bars or living in exile with their
millions of dollars stolen from the state exchequer and the people of
In other words, if there was no conflict over Kashmir, Pakistan would
to invent another reason to go to war with India. The demonology would
otherwise, incomplete. For they cannot afford to give their people what
do. Freedom. This freedom has taught us many things. Which is why
all over the world are doing so well. We are the richest community in
US, in UK and god knows where else while Pakistan languishes at the
of every economic table, looking like a sad basket case.
For us, however, Pakistan serves a very useful purpose. It reminds us of
the mistakes we could have made over the past 52 years and did not. We
could have murdered democracy like they did. We could have allowed the
forces to run away with absolute power. We could have driven our economy
into the ground and lived on foreign charity like they have done for
decades. We could have spent more money on arms and made instant
millionaires of our army top brass. Yes, we could have easily replicated
Pakistan and become a caricature of a nation. No better than Idi Amin's
It is to Pakistan's terrific credit that they have been able to sustain
myth for so long. You have to applaud their savvy PR, their trendy
in international forums. So much so that the world speaks in the same
breath about India and Pakistan, as if they are comparable nations.
fact, every statistic actually shows otherwise. It is like pitting a
midget pom with an attitude against a huge, sloppy, good-natured Big
who hates getting into a scrap. But so clever is the positioning that
we sometimes pit ourselves against Pakistan as an equal rival.
Our rivalries in hockey and cricket have also added to the myth making.
Every time Pakistan wins against India, that victory acquires a special
emotive edge. Defeat is also used, equally smartly, to arouse the people
whip up their sense of self-esteem. Meanwhile, their economy is in a
shambles. The poor have become infinitely poorer and human rights is a
they have not heard. The tragedy of the people of Pakistan, who live in
awesome poverty and backwardness without any hope in sight, is that our
intellectual elite still believes, like idiots, that it is possible to
a decent, responsible relationship with their rulers. And so does the
No such relationship is possible. For five decades now, Pakistan has
ruled by a bunch of ruthless, corrupt thugs who have enriched themselves
the cost of the nation through lies, threats, organised crime. They have
used the absence of democracy, the gullibility of the Western
powers, the suppression of human rights, and the naivete of our
leadership to dig their heels in. They will never let go of this power
unless we expose to the world what Pakistan really is.
The career diplomats who represent our case before the world are a bunch
fatheads who love to be seen as fashionable liberals in the capitals of
Western world. They are not going to speak the language of truth for you
me and India. They have no intention of showing up Pakistan for what it
For they would then lose their jobs, their relevance, the raison d'etre
That is how Pakistan gets away. Its showman diplomats have done
extraordinary work to sustain regime after regime steeped in corruption
crime. Its poets and musicians and cricketers have distinguished
in distracting the world from the ugly reality of Pakistan. While its
politicians, one after the other, have spoken with a forked tongue. To
monkeys out of us and those silly Yanks who have pumped in billions of
dollars into a theocratic, military state that promotes, encourages and
funds terrorism while keeping its own people hungry and poor. All in the
name of maintaining the balance of power on this subcontinent.
What balance of power? You cannot pump steroids into a snarling rat and
expect it to grow into a Royal Bengal tiger. You cannot arm a midget
led by a bunch of ugly goons and expect it to become the Salvation Army.
Pakistan can never be a democracy. It can never countervail India.
It will always remain a cheap, tinpot dictatorship masquerading as a
It is time we figured out (and so did the West) that Pakistan is our
creation. We have, each of us in our own way, contributed to the myth.
West (and particularly the United States) by pitching it against India
pumping in huge amounts of dollars and arms to shore up a nation that
needed a democratic political system and basic human rights in place. We
made the same mistake. By seeing them as an equal and stretching out our
hand of friendship, assuming that they also wanted peace and goodwill.
never did. Peace and goodwill cannot sustain Pakistan. Only hate, war
It is time we, therefore, gave up all attempts at conciliation and dealt
with the crisis as we would deal with any other thug. There is nothing
special about Pakistan. If your next door neighbour walked into your
killed your son, shot your father and tried to grab a room, what would
do? Let us do exactly that. Let us also give them one extra hard slap
gouging out the eyes and chopping off the genitals of our soldiers. Let
not get carried away and allow such perversity to distort our own
Remember, only the weak and mentally depraved do things like this. It is
sign of their own frustrations.
A fight with Pakistan does not deserve the title of war. For a nation of
size, our might, it will just be a skirmish. Foolish as they may be, the
generals of Pakistan are unlikely to be suicidal enough to use nukes.
have too much stashed away in the Swiss banks to want to risk their
So we need not lose our sleep nor our souls over such a conflict. That
unfortunately what we have done for so long, and thus created such a big
song and dance over Kashmir. There is no question of delaying the
or forming a national government. We are not fighting China or the
States. We are fighting Pakistan. Let us get our perspectives right in
Let us swat them hard, keep international opinion on our side, and get
with the task of nation building. For India is about to enter a brave
millennium and there is no time to lose sleep over this buzzing
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