Friday, August 20, 2010

My Response to Chetan declaring Pakistan a Brat

Chetan Bhagat has authored really nice, contemporary books. He writes a regular column for the Times of India TOI. That is why the following article - a disaster in diplomacy - really surprised me.

First, hats off to him for having the courage to speak out. There were many hidden truths in his article, for example, Pakistan is run by the army; its is the Pakistan army that is anti-India; we (in India) have a far stronger media; we are a fast growing, democratic, free country; the more India they see, the less likely they are to hate us or get swayed by hate speeches; when was the last time you heard the Pakistan government say anything sensible about India?

The way his article began was what all Indians had just read about in dismay - the (yet another) round of talks between the foreign ministers of both countries - both with different agendas and no meeting ground. Here's what Chetan said: 
One more round of India-Pakistan talks have failed. Our external affairs minister went to Islamabad for discussions, sporting his best diplomatic behavior. Their foreign minister took it as a rare chance to kick up a fuss and make India look silly. I am sure S M Qureshi received some high-fives from his sycophants and a pat on the back from his seniors. Never mind that important issues involving millions of people didn't get discussed. Never mind that both sides continue to burn money on defence supplies, wrecking finances. For the Pakistan army, the country's real controllers, getting along is just not as much fun as a big fight. After all, what are so many generals going to do if there is nobody to fight? Work in security guard agencies?

But some of Chetan's suggestions are completely gung ho and to my mind, George Bush-is. For example, When a gorilla is talking to a mouse, the mouse normally agrees with the gorilla. We have other tiny neighbours; India's approach to Pakistan should be similar to the psychologist's advice on dealing with a brat. Any parent will tell you that every child throws tantrums. They sulk, display aggressive behavior (hitting others, throwing things) or whine endlessly to get attention. In the old days, a spanking would take care of that;  ... and more along those lines.

Unfortunately (or perhaps in this case, fortunately) I don’t see any politician listening, Chetan.

I have a theory too - I sincerely hope, for our sakes, that it isn't too impossible to implement.To be heard on any matter, ordinary Indians have to learn to organise first. You say the approach here is not to send a delegation of smooth-talking experts and have a debating contest. No, mature activities like discussion assumes you are dealing with adults;  You also suggest that firmness is the approach that works — make clear rules, administer immediate punishment for indiscipline and never ever make empty threats.

You yourself admit that our government isn't listening. Has it ever? To my mind, the first POA should be for the ordinary Indian to organise. Then, and only then, will the government listen.

Who would be more effective in combating the supreme power our politicians seem to enjoy? A billion lone individuals or a billion strong organised force?


As for the people of Pakistan, right now they are suffering because of the floods. Let's not bring this up when they are down and out, not only because of their army's foolhardy policies, not only because of their  fundamentalist groups who hold so much sway there (we have those too, as does the entire planet but ours don't have that much influence thanks to our ability to retain our humanity and tolerance towards other cultures - thank goodness) but also because of this natural disaster.

Right now, for the sake of Pakistan's people, let's donate to agencies like Medecins Sans Frontieres to alleviate their suffering – just like we are doing for the people of Ladakh.

Next, if we wish to be heard by our politicians, let's organise into a force to reckon with.

Note to readers of this blog - This link is to an article on my book-website. It discusses one possible way to organise in a safe environment while we wait for our hero, our knight in shining armour, that one incorruptible politician who will change our politics forever, to arrive:


No comments:

Post a Comment