Published in the NEWS
I have been amazed at the reaction that my little piece, “Policy shifts not war” published on these pages on Dec 4 has generated especially from the other side of the border. My email inbox was inundated with a wide variety of views and comments, some of which were quite unsavoury and abusive. However, the silver lining is that there were many voices from the other side that called for regional cooperation and finding alternative solutions to mindless jingoism. Most Pakistanis, while disagreeing with my interpretation of partition, expressed their sadness at the Mumbai mayhem and reiterated that a war had to be avoided at all costs.
The media factor has been much analysed over the past few years. As a powerful player in the game, the role of Indian, and to a great extent, Pakistani media industries has been far from satisfactory. As another formal institution with charitable rhetoric, it is emerging as yet another tool for reinforcing conformity, boundaries and the famed refuge of the scoundrels.
Media polls with shady sample sizes are confirming that the ‘public’ in India wants revenge thus isolating the sensible Indian leadership that has tried to undo the legacy of the past. Similarly, the prediction of surgical strikes and eliminating the so-called hideouts for terrorists in Pakistan is a magic bullet that would create a terror-free region. Nothing could be farther from reality, if only the lessons from US misadventures, bloody at that, are kept in view. Aggression and violence breed further violence. The relative degree of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are rude reminders of how the neo-con, or its ideologically equivalent Hindutva strategy, is bound to create more problems than solving anything. Continue reading