Moving on from Finger-Pointing

By Bilal Qureshi

A brilliant work of investigative journalism by Jason Motlagh helps us understand that it is in the interest of everyone to try to solve issues by talking to each other instead of letting the nuts take advantage of our inability to commit to a constructive dialogue. Take for example the Mumbai tragedy. Right after the horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, people in Pakistan declared it to be an Indian conspiracy and in India, it was generally agreed that Pakistan was behind this attack.

No need to further investigate.

However, what has emerged so far about the Mumbai attacks is much more complicated. There are details that are missing, and there are facts that don’t add up. Unsolved mysteries during the investigation have proved, once again, that at times, it is best to avoid commenting about events that are as complicated as the Mumbai attacks.

So far, we know that stateless actors were involved in carrying out these attacks. These people want nothing, but chaos and mayhem in Asia, and it is important to stop them without pointing finger at other.

Pakistan has been at the receiving end of these attacks for decades now. First, there were attacks when Pakistan was helping the West in Afghanistan while Russians were trying to conquer Afghanistan. Then, after 9/11, nut jobs from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are carrying out devastating attacks in Pakistan against the country that is fighting nihilists. If anything, Pakistan needs help – a lot of help and understanding from not only the Western countries, but also from its neighbors. This is not the time, especially for India and Pakistan to accuse each other of ‘not doing enough’ while the viscous and brutal enemy is determined to destroy both India and Pakistan. Therefore, it would be wise for Delhi and Islamabad to engage each other without doubting each other’s intentions.

Terrorist working to destabilize the region win if India and Pakistan continue to look at each other as the source of all evils in the world (or the region) and we can’t let that happen. Judging from my recent and a very long trip to Pakistan, I can say this with confidence that most of the country is interested in living in peace with India. They don’t want war or for that any type of conflict or even an argument with India. They just want to live in peace and I am sure the same can be said about the people in India. So, in my opinion, the tragedy of Mumbai should bring the governments and the people from both countries together because coming close is the only way to overcome suspension and acrimony towards each other.

War has never been the answer when we look at history. It can, and it does suppress the issues temporarily, but in the end, all parties have to come to the negotiating table to find answers and solutions for the problems. Notwithstanding the hardcore chicken hawks on both sides of Pak-India border, there is hardly an issue that Islamabad and New Delhi won’t be able to resolve amicably, but for this, egos have to be controlled, finger pointing has to stop and honest and open environment is needed and I am sure that mature and cooler minds on both sides in both countries can make the argument for peace successfully. It is in the interest of everyone to shake hands instead of trying to slap each other.



Filed under India, Pakistan, Terrorism, war

118 responses to “Moving on from Finger-Pointing

  1. Ali Abbas

    Well said Bilal. Its a simply point but IMO, you have expressed it beautifully.

  2. Milind Kher

    The mutual mistrust can be removed only when people get to KNOW MORE about each other.

    For the common Indian, Paksitan equates to fanaticism and outright hostility to India. All Muslim ghettos steeped in poverty are referred to as “Pakistan”, “Chhota Pakistan” or “Mini Pakistan” ignorant of the fact that Pakistan is far more developed than these areas.

    On the other hand, Pakistanis always nurse a grudge against India for the 1971 debacle. Very true, this hostility will only help the terrorists.

    However, this is going to need affirmative action from those who are capable of it, but lack the political will.

  3. Jalal Ahmad

    Nice to see some level headed opinion. I agree with you completely. The last thing Pakistan needs is finger pointing and demands of more.

  4. pakigirl

    Guys, we can talk as much as we want about moving on, but it is Indians who will not let it happen.

    Remember the Indian writer Kapil Komireddy? Having called for the “demise of Pakistan is inevitable” in the popular English newspaper Guardian, he now offering his hatred by doing a “series of essays” on Pakistan for former speech-writer to George W Bush! who coined “axis of evil”. The first “essay” itself is an indication of the kind of hatred he is going to spew.

    How is “reconciliation” possible?

  5. Hayyer

    Komireddy’s piece was a bit of ordure. For every Komireddy there is a Pakistani equivalent. Do you have stronger evidence that India will not let it happen?

  6. Bloody Civilian

    All Muslim ghettos steeped in poverty are referred to as “Pakistan”, “Chhota Pakistan” or “Mini Pakistan” ignorant of the fact that Pakistan is far more developed than these areas

    if it was just a matter of lack of development (regardless of ignorance about the accurate level of that in Pakistan) wouldn’t the ‘pejorative’ terms be used to refer to any Indian ghetto? why just “Muslim ghettos”?

  7. Concerned American

    “So far, we know that stateless actors were involved in carrying out these attacks. These people want nothing, but chaos and mayhem in Asia, and it is important to stop them without pointing finger at other.”

    I guess you are not seeing, reading and listening to the current news.

    Who are Pakistani American David Hadley and Pakistani Canadian Rana. Rana has two brothers as Brigadiers in Pakistan army. Who was funding Rana? It has to be Pakistan army and ISI.

    Pakistan has mophed into a criminal state. The roots of Pakistani elites and state actors behaviour can be found here:

    “These people were the Panj Hazaris in the Mughal era and then they became Khan Sahibs, Khan Bahadurs and Sirs during the English rule. They always remained faithful to the throne. They were awarded huge tracts of agricultural land in return for their loyalty to the Mughal and English emperors. Of course, they did not till the land themselves nor their children, because the tracts of land were spread over miles and it was below their dignity to do so. Hence the commoners called ‘kami kameen’ used to till those lands. Those people had no land to build their homes; they were given small pieces of land by the loyalists to the throne to erect their huts and in return till the lands and get a few morsels of food to feed themselves and a few rupees to buy clothes, only enough to cover themselves to be able to work hard on the lands.

    They were imposed upon us because the rulers found it is easier to rule through few darbaris, who had absolute power and control over the means of livelihood. Nothing has changed, nor will it change. These darbaris have common interests, irrespective of the province they dwell in.
    Karachi”\11\18\sto ry_18-11-2009_pg3_6

  8. mohammad

    The only winners in hostile enviroment are the ones in the business of war, they can be arms corporations etc. I do not think religion is the most important factor hindering our good relations, but natural resources, for example water, kashmir issue is directly related to water distribution . There are many ineffective memo of understanding and agreements on the said issue. Unless we try to be just in natural resource distribution, amiable relations will be a dream, though a cherished one indeed.

  9. Vajra

    @Bilal Qureshi

    While I agree with the general trend and tenor of your article, its tendency to equate victim and perpetrator troubles me. It seems quite fair to say that the general public on both sides seems to favour peaceful co-existence. After that, it is difficult to come to terms with each other’s point of view. I believe that from the evidence available, there is little to prove that the Government of India has a programme in any way hostile to Pakistan. It is a constant irritant to be told with great assurance about India’s sinister designs in the neighbourhood, in this context.

    However, that will bring me back to finger-pointing, so I shall refrain.

    The sermon was fine, what about the follow-up? What do you suggest be done next?

  10. Milind Kher


    This is a matter of practice which has been observed. Whether it should or should not be so is a different matter.

  11. Milind Kher


    Saffron chauvinism is the antithesis of what Indian culture is all about, and those who play that card will fail miserably.

    This is why the Indian electorate has rejected the BJP whose single point agenda is communal hatred. Subsequently, the BJP has also performed acts of self destruction.

    This certainly does not render all of India hostile to Pakistan. If that were the case, we would not enjoy posting and reading on PTH 🙂

  12. Bloody Civilian


    the issue was not with your observation. it was your explanation for the observed practice – ie ignoran[ce] of the fact that Pakistan is far more developed than these areas – that required for the obvious inconsistency to be addressed. that’s why i asked for an elaboration.

  13. Milind Kher


    For non Muslim ghettos, it is a fact that pejorative terms of the kind that I described for Muslim ghettos is not used.

    This term is used by the educated people only, the less educated Hindu is by and large more secular and tolerant.

  14. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Could you please elaborate on that?

    Why do the working classes not harbour the kind of bigotry that would lead to this usage/ these usages?
    Why are the educated (=lower middle classes, middle classes, upper classes) bigots, by contrast?
    Are all the educated (see above) equally bigoted, or is this more incident at certain levels, less at others?
    Is there any other criterion according to you which serves as a determinant of bigotry?

  15. Milind Kher


    I am talking about the Hindus (with Indian Muslims the reverse is the case – the more educated they are, the more tolerant they are)

    Bigotry amongst the Hindus arises from the Sangh Parivar, which is a quintessential middle class brahminical organization.

    The working classes probably do not have enough time for breeding this hatred, they want to get on with their life.

    With the Muslim working classes, religion has a disproportionate importance making them bigoted whereas their educated counterparts aspire to imbibe values that will make them gel with the mainstream

  16. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, and who comprise mainstream in India?

  17. bushra naqi

    To purge ourselves of prejudices against each other, we and the Indians have to forget our previous animosities which were allowed to breed and fester on both sides of the divide after independence.

    The fact of the matter is that both have by now come to terms with each others nationhood, but the ghosts of the past continue to haunt us, taking us hostage. Beyond doubt there are hardliners on both sides who continue to harbour hostilities and in this way furthering their own agendas.

    It is imperative that we exercise the wisdom so as not to allow them to sabotage peace in both countries. The stakes are higher than we can imagine.

    Lets tear up the pages which have become obsolete and have no relevance in the present.

  18. Milind Kher


    All secular right thinking Indians

  19. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, so there are no educated hindus
    amongst “all secular right thinking Indians”?
    You are saying educated muslims are trying to join mainstream which comprises mainly educated hindus but educated hindus are bigots.
    I do not get it.

  20. Milind Kher


    I agree with you completely. That is why I had stated on this forum that it is pointless debating about partition. Let us accept it as a fait accompli and move on.

  21. Milind Kher


    The bigotry that comes from the Hindu side comes essentially from the educated ones. The reverse need not always be true.

    Moreover, I said right thinking Indians. This does not mean only Hindus. A lot of Sikhs, Jains and Christians have played a pivotal role in India’s progress.

  22. swapnavasavdutta

    But Sikhs, Jains, Christians are hardly
    5-7% of the Indian population, so
    educated Sikhs, Jains, Christians are
    even less percentage wise.
    So mainstream Indians have to be
    mostly educated Hindus and most
    of them are not bigots.
    Do not be so against educated Hindus.

  23. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, I also think, Pakistan is where it is because of educated Muslims and India is where it is because of educated Hindus. Do you think that is correct?

  24. Gorki

    Dear Milind Kher:
    Reading your second reply, it seems that you are suggesting that the Sangh Parivar is a group of middle class, educated Hindus with antipathy to Muslims.
    However the following passage:
    “This term is used by the educated people only, the less educated Hindu is by and large more secular and tolerant” gives an impresion that all educated people are less secular. Do you care to rephrase your statement?

    Also you wrote “All secular right thinking Indians” I assume you consider yourself right thinking and secular. (I do 😉 )

    Your posts are certainly very concilatory and broadminded (and thus admirable) and you make all efforts to reach out to Muslim community.
    You also seem to have a very thorough knowledge of Islam; another very welcome trait.

    However, you do seem to wear your respect for Islam on your sleeve (Gandhian? 😉 ).
    My question is, do you consider this a necessary component to being rightminded and secular Indian?
    Just curious.



  25. Milind Kher


    I am not saying that all educated Hindus are bigots. However, most Hindu bigots are educated.

    E.g. 20% of Hindus may be bigoted of which 18% may be educated and 2% not.

    Of the balance 80%, 50% may be educated 30% may not. In such a situation, the liberal educated Hindus will vastly outnumber the bigoted educated Hindus.

    Yet almost all the bigoted Hindus will be educated ones! Do the math and you will see the logic..

  26. Milind Kher


    Read my latest reply to Swapnavasavadatta. That will put matters in perspective.

    Yes, I do think of myself as a secular right thinking Indian.

    Islam is quite misunderstood. Given that, when someone with a Hindu sounding name speaks well of it, that makes a statement.

  27. Gorki

    Misunderstood or not, is it not possible to be right minded and secular yet leave religion alone; out of the public arena?


  28. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, this is off-topic but, what do you mean here, by whom, and why do
    you think it is so

    “Islam is quite misunderstood”

    It has been in the subcontient for more
    than 1000 years, that is a long time
    to understand something.

    If you do not have time or inclination
    to answer, that is perfectly alright.

  29. Milind Kher

    Gorki, it is eminently possible. And in practical life I do, except with those I am very close to

    However, here I can speak my mind always. PTH rocks..

  30. Milind Kher


    People still believe that Muslims marry 4 wives (staistics show Muslims to have virtually nil polygamy rates, though). They still believe that a wife can be divorced at the drop of a hat, and they still believe that jihad means liquidation of non Muslims.

    Many non Muslims believe this.

  31. Gorki

    Last question.
    What about those who think that being secular means that religion being a matter of private faith, it does NOT belong in the public arena. Period?


  32. Milind Kher


    They are entitled to their views. Live and let live 🙂

  33. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, so do you think Hindus/Hinduism are/is misunderstood by Muslims/others?
    That is why all parting of ways sans ironclad guarantees etc. bagal mein churri types of phrases etc.?

  34. Bloody Civilian

    bagal mein churri

    i didn’t know that phrase had communal origins. does it?

  35. Bloody Civilian

    @Milind Kher

    Yes, I do think of myself as a secular right thinking Indian.

    irrelevant as it may be, but i think the same of you.

    would you kindly separate and explain the secular and right-thinking parts of what you say on another thread, reproduced below. i hope you’ll take this as an honest querry, as earnest as it is intended to be.

    No person who claims prophethood after the Holy Prophet (SAWA) can call themselves MUSLIMS.

    Yes people are free to regard Guru Nanak as a prophet and call themselves Sikhs. They can also follow Bahaullah and call themselves Bahais.

    Had Qadianis only called themselves Qadianis and not Muslims, it would have been OK


  36. swapnavasavdutta

    Bloody Civilian,

    AFAIK, yes it does,
    Munh pay Ram Ram, Baghal mein
    is not that the complete phrase?

  37. swapnavasavdutta

    Bloody Civilian,

    I am sure Milind has an explanation,
    but I think as long as he thinks this way
    but does not codify and enforce it,
    everyone is entitled to their opinions

  38. swapnavasavdutta


    “Many non Muslims believe this.”

    Why do you think they persist inspite
    of 1000+ years of exposure?
    Are Hindus at fault, at least in
    Subcontinent, to sustain them?
    If so, why would they disapper now?

  39. Bloody Civilian


    is not that the complete phrase?

    indeed it is. but does that necessarily preclude it from being intra-communal in its origin? is it proof that it is inter-communal?

  40. Milind Kher


    When I say that people are free to be Sikhs, Bahais or whatever, I am in effect saying that there should be complete religious freedom, which is indeed being secular.

    You cannot flout the tenets of a faith and yet assert that you are part of that faith. That is what the Qadianis do.

  41. Bloody Civilian

    You cannot flout the tenets of a faith and yet assert that you are part of that faith.

    i’m afraid that is just a restatement of your original position using different words. perhaps if you explained what do you mean by the word “cannot” and what you intend to do about it, i’d have less need to repeat my question: which part is right-thinking and which secular?

  42. Bloody Civilian

    complete religious freedom = You cannot flout the tenets of a faith and yet assert that you are part of that faith ?

  43. Milind Kher

    “Cannot” means it is logically not admissible.

    E.g. I cannot worship idols and yet claim to be a monotheist.

    A person is free to choose whichever faith he wants. But, he cannot differ from a fundamental postulate of a faith and yet claim to be part of that faith.

  44. Vajra


    I have heard that phrase used generally, often. Nothing communal about it. Just think about it; Muh me Ram Nam is not limiting in any way to Hindus or literally to Ram, given our eclectic references to divinity. How many times in daily life have we heard, in a totally non-Islamic context, and especially pungently in India, “Bade Miya to Bade Miya, Chhote Miya to Subhan Allah!” So does the Subhan Allah make it specific to Muslims?

    A little less self-pity billowing around in such large clouds would be nice.

  45. Bloody Civilian

    Thanks. at least i know your position better now. i think it is a bit pointless to apply logic to something that is, by definition, subjective. others might insist on such subjective logic to the point of dangerous confrontation, since these matters are at least as emotional as they’re subjective. but you’re entitled to your own logic.


  46. gv


    Hi BC,

    I too would like to consider myself secular (and pretty irreligous) 🙂 but i would have to agree with MK there is clear logic in what he says.

    You are either one or the other.. you cannot logically be both.

  47. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    I cannot worship idols and yet claim to be a monotheist.

    Not so fast. You may worship idols and claim that those idols are mere representations/sketches of the one true God, not Gods by themselves.

    Besides, Buddhists and Jainists too worship idols and are essentially atheists/agnostics becuase these faiths essentially either deny the existence of God or consider him an irrelevant entity.


  48. Bloody Civilian


    good to see you!

    i just don’t see logic having much to do with it. there can be logic in the form of consistency, but since it’s essentially about different interpretations, consistency is not that hard to achieve by all arguing parties (by simply suitably tweaking interpretation). majumdar-da has given one set of examples above.

    even the interpretations, due to the nature of the whole subject (gods tend not to intervene in any scientifically observable sense), quickly degenerate into mere claims.

    best to always include, as an integral part of secularism, freedom of interpretation and of claims within a religion or faith, the same as the freedom to claim or practice any faith. of course, that would include the right to claim another claim to be illogical (not illegal). but that’s all it is – a clash of claims. best avoided given the attached emotions and history.

  49. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Majumdar Da beat me to the draw. It is true that most monotheist Hindus tend to rationalise their social observances to align these with their religious beliefs, but irrational observances do continue, as Dada has stated.

  50. Bloody Civilian

    all arguing parties (by simply suitably tweaking interpretation).

    just to elaborate that there is no interpretation unanimously accepted as the reference. since there can be no test of genuine-ness. all that can be tested is coherence and consistency which, since the possible diversity of interpretation is infinite, is little more than testing the skills/competence of a particular individual making the argument.

  51. Hayyer

    That is an interesting viewpoint. Are there fundamental principles, unambiguously defined and admitting no alternative understandings that can define any faith.
    If Islam has five basics of belief with no scope of ambiguity then violating one should justify the charge of heresy. If God says in the Quran that Mohammad is the last prophet surely it is definitive for a believer in Mohammad’s mission, and not merely a matter of interpretation.
    I ask as someone with a contextual not soterial interest in religion. The finer points of any theology are beyond me. I don’t understand why the Holy Fathers of Christianity let Augustine prevail over Pelagius, any more than I can understand why the Mutazilites failed.

  52. Alethia

    I am also in favor of of dialogue and closeness between India and Pakistan. Pakistan and India have been plagued one after the other by terrorist attacks.

    But I am dismayed and shocked at the words of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an interview with an American newspaper plastered in advance all over the media today.

    He attacks Pakistan for continuing to pursue a policy of state-sponsored terrorism.

    What a lie if I have ever heard one! This seemingly wise and noble person uses every chance to smear Pakistan and its people, especially when he talks to “Western” audiences.

    Pakistan is in a state of war with terrorists with blood of innocent civilians being shed daily and untrue words such as these are the only things the Prime Minister can utter?

    How sad and how mean…

  53. Alethia

    There seems to a deliberate attempt in the Indian establishment over a span of many years to place a subliminal message in Western and especially American minds to portray Pakistan as some sort of “evil empire”.

    It’s: “India good, Pakistan bad”.

    When in reality the situation is like most other situations in life:

    “India sometimes good, sometimes bad”.
    “Pakistan sometimes good, sometimes bad”.

  54. Milind Kher


    One does not deny that innocent civilians are getting killed in Pakistan. That is indeed sad.

    However, most Pakistanis are still living in a sate of denial, thinking that the US and India pose greater threats to Pakistan than the Taliban.

    Also, there have been heads of state in Pakistan who did look the other way when terrorists were greating stronger. These are also realities that will have to be confronted and acknowledged.

    Manmohan Singh is a gentleman and would be amenable to dialog. If the saffron brigade were in power, they would have been far more hostile, and would have clamored for war.

  55. swapnavasavdutta

    Milind, why do you think so?
    Did not ABV go to Pakistan?
    Did he not handle Kargil maturely?

    What has saffron brigade done wrt Pakistan that you think they will go to
    war with Pakistan?

  56. Amit

    How about “nau sau chuhe khaa ke billi haj ko chali”

  57. Bloody Civilian


    of course there are, intuitively/theoretically, limits to the breadth of variety of interpretations that can be put on the written word. but in practice, only one or more of the following decide what is accepted as a relatively unambiguous, fundamental principle:

    1. ‘might is right’

    2. common principles of marketing (the loudest argument is the best heard)

    3. the skill/competence of the individual(s) making the argument in support of a particular interpretation.

    1 has nothing to do with logic, other than being its own only and sufficient logic. 2 only has an exceedingly indirect link to logic, if any at all. 3 is not entirely and exactly about logic, though it is more directly linked to logic than 2. it is more about consistency and coherence of an argument so that it sounds not only logical but also convincing since it is difficult to refute simply by finding holes.

    in the absence of divine intervention of the kind that science can not question, popular acclaim is the only test really. 1 and 2 have the upper hand there, by definiton. the scales are further tilted in that direction when you consider that popular acclaim is often more a result of ignorance than honest examination.

    when it comes to religion, the more fundamental the question or the principle, paradoxically, the easier it is to argue a different interpretation. in case of islam/muslims, sufis live by that paradox.

    majumdar and vajra talked of various interpretations of monotheism. within the quranic language, there can be debate about its claims to rationality of faith. depending on the results, there could be a debate as to whether sign and proof mean the same thing, and whether a certain number of signs amount to proof. finality of prophethood can turn on the meaning of either word. or to take your ‘five pillars of islam’ as an interesting, quite basic example. as a test case, consider the question: is jihad one of the five pillars or not? if, not, then: does that mean that it comes before or after the five pillars in importance? and so we can carry on, or not, depending on which of the 3 basic limiting factors from above is/are in play and more pertinent.

    another ‘paradox’ about religion is that some kind of unambiguity and fixed interpretation of fundamental principles are easier to arrive at if you do have soterial interest in the subject.

  58. Bloody Civilian

    “honest examination” should probably be “informed examination”.

  59. gv


    i stand corrected… incidentally i had thought of Majumdar’s comment of hindu idolatory being in fact proxy worship of a single higher being.. but in terms of the ahmadi/qadiani/ conundrum i fail to understand the logic behind the undermining of a core tenet (muhammad’s role as the seal of prophethood) of islam ?

    But you as you very succintly put it … it all degenerates into a ‘clash of claims’!!! (request permission to plagiarise for future use!)


    Well from my understanding they don’t quite equate MG Ahmed to prophethood its’ more like one rung below.. but that itself is contentious enough… besides the Shia’s have all four rungs below him occupied!!! 😛

  60. Alethia

    @ Milind Kher:

    We are talking about the Pakistan of TODAY not of what happened in the PAST. The country has a democratic dispensation going on two years. It has been trying its best to combat terrorism under the most difficult of circumstances.

    Why doesn’t India lessen the tension and state that the Pakistani government is not a threat to it? Pakistan has been making at least some statements to that effect over the last year or so (President Zardari, PM Gilani, FM Qureshi).
    It’s TERRORISTS who are the enemies of both countries, not their governments.

    Yes, the Indian PM is a gentleman and a person of integrity – that is why his statement hit me so hard.

  61. Bloody Civilian

    gv, be my guest. and if you ever produce an analysis of its extension to the clash of civilisations, i would be very interested in reading it. 😉

  62. Vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    Your statement compels an excursus into areas which are singularly unsuitable for these passages, and you must accept moral responsibility, as the resident sub-divinity in charge of liberal thought and philosophy, for the furore which is about to ensue.

    I am not sure that my statement referred to an interpretation of monotheism. It was about the distinction between symbolism and local social custom and religious belief.

    The difference (within a very specific context, not to be extended beyond) is that an interpretation is, for example, Sri Sankaracharya’s interpretation, Advaita, against Sri Ramanujacharya’s rather compelling refutation (pause to put on steel underwear), Vishisht Advaita. These are both interpretations of monotheism, and rigidly bar any philosophical consideration of divinity being divisible. The vast bulk of Hindus follow Advaita; a very significant minority in the south follow Vishisht Advaita. A lot of extremely ignorant and bigoted statements about the impossibility of conversion into Hinduism are made in complete ignorance of the precepts and practices of Vishisht Advaita.

    An argument for dualism is Sri Madhwacharya’s explanation of Dvaita; I have no comment on this, whatsoever. But there are those, again in the south, mainly Karnataka, who follow this philosophy.

    In spite of the completely uncompromising tenets of Advaita, the huge bulk of its followers, including the arch-priests, the four true Sankaracharyas, and the other, offer flowers and other ritual worship to idols. There is a flat-out contradiction between philosophy and daily practice, which can only be reconciled by what Majumdar (I think) and I were really saying, that there is a prevailing social custom, with no validity in religious belief, which occludes pure observance.

    [Pause to park tongue in cheek] Incidentally, it is likely that Majumdar himself in all probability follows a third philosophical view, the Shakta way, which is, alas, not Advaita. He is not likely to be a saved soul.

    I hope that at the cost of a little boredom, the difference between an interpretation of monotheism and the occlusion of religious dogma by social custom has been presented with clarity.

    One observes external interpretations of these practices and philosophical systems, almost universally without a knowledge even of its component parts, with some bemusement and a certain propensity to paralysis of the thinking faculties under extreme stress. Somewhat similar to one’s response to Alethia’s comments in earlier posts.

  63. Bloody Civilian


    that was just one interpretation of your interpretation. admittedly, it was lazy/careless of me not to elaborate that any theism – mono, dual, poly or any other – are open to interpretation and the same factors are at play, in my view, as i made the main thrust of my post.

    as for your latest ‘sub-divinity# interpretation, that is a score i need to settle with YLH, personally. what have i ever done to him to deserve this! 😉

    even with someone with as seemingly endless a capacity for compassion as yours cannot be expected to take pity again and again and everytime 😉

  64. Bloody Civilian

    …… the intertwining/overlap of religion and culture, and trying to sort out where one ends and the other begins… was beyond the scope of what i was trying to say… other than it’s all subjective and more easily subjected to ‘tests’ of popularity and habit – be it belief or practice – rather than proper logic or anything more stringent.

  65. Luq

    >Yet almost all the bigoted Hindus will be educated
    >ones! Do the math and you will see the logic..

    What really are you trying to say?
    What really is the larger picture..


  66. Vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    Please do not settle any scores without considering hierarchic issues with more sympathy and understanding. You are to consider that without placing you at the position of sub-divinity, it is not possible for to assume a position ad supra. 🙂

  67. Bloody Civilian

    all the more reason to settle scores. i’m fully aware of his predicament, but i still did not appreciate being chosen to be the sacrificial lamb. i know somebody had to be… but why me! that’s good enough reason for me to act exactly according to my suitably convenient place in the hierarchy, no holds barred :->

  68. Milind Kher


    Two things. One is that although bigoted Hindus may be a minority amongst the educated Hindus, amongst the bigoted ones, the educated ones are a majority.

    The big picture is that many of these control the media and posts of influence. Hence they pose a danger. What is heartening,though is that the electorate have put the right wingers in their place.

  69. Milind Kher


    Had the current government initiated raahe nijaat much earlier, the Pakistani Government may not have been perceived as dragging its feet on the matter.

    A lot of cynicism has now set in. when I talk to people about the operations in Waziristan, they say, “They act only when they are hurt. When Let terrorists and JeM terrorists attacked us, the ISI collaborated with them”

  70. Milind Kher


    It was a saving grace that ABV was the PM.

    Let LKA who triggered the Babri Masjid riots or Narendra Modi who allowed the Gujarat riots become PM, and you will see the difference.

  71. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Let LKA who triggered the Babri Masjid riots or Narendra Modi who allowed the Gujarat riots become PM, and you will see the difference.

    Don’t say such inauspicious and evil things even while framing a hypothetical argument.

    There are no good bigots; similarly, there are no good fascists.

  72. Hayyer

    Manmohan Singh’s comment arises from the perception in India (which the democratic government of Pakistan seems powerless to alter) that a section of the Government, namely the Army and its ISI continue to harbour and support the terror groups that act against India. The LeT continues to function without hindrance under another name possibly, Hafiz Syed continues to run operations and the recently arrested Rana and Headley in Chicago were in the process of planning terrorist attacks in India. That gas bag of the 301 Brigade Ilyas Kashmiri is known to have threatened further attacks on India.
    The Indian Government is aware that it is not in the hands of the civilian government to choke off these groups. It is aware that the Pak Army has a serious battle on its hands, almost a civil war, in the west. But despite the difficulty it is believed to be clinging tenaciously to its anti India terror connections.
    It does nothing for India if Pakistan moves against the groups affecting China or Iran or the US. Dawood Ibrahim is said to be hiding in Karachi. Javed Miandad’s son got married to his daughter or was it the other way around. Yet all requests for his return are met with an unequivocal denial of his presence in Pakistan. Yesterday the US again charged that Mullah Omar was under ISI protection in Karachi. Are Pakistanis themselves convinced that the ISI is not involved in such activities?
    That is the reason mild Manmohan Singh speaks as he does. Your foreign minister said yesterday that no talks between the Indian government and Hurriyet leaders would be successful without Pakistan’s participation. That may well be true, but it could also mean that Pakistan’s non-state actors can step on the gas if necessary. It was President Zardari who first said that non state actors were responsible for Mumbai. It is these non state actors that the Indian Government believes are under the protection of the Pakistan Goverment, or of some sections of the Government.

  73. D_a_n

    @Hayyer Sb

    ‘Yesterday the US again charged that Mullah Omar was under ISI protection in Karachi.’

    As per their last ‘update’ he was in Quetta. The Yanks haver fudged things up beyond repair on their side and Pakistan for them is a convenient scape goat. Hence such claims are meant to be disposable. Please remember the same WT also said that Iraq was clamouring for liberation yankee style.

    I see little difference between The Parivar the LeT. Considering their acts thus far, why doesnt GoI doesnt ban the parivar and RSS? The difference being that the Parivar doesnt need to look beyond its borders when the urge to slaughter the members of the other faith over takes it.

    Another difference being that the RSS has actually won a national election via the BJP while time and again, the mullah has been kicked in the unmentionables come election time here.

    You say the democratic GoP seems powerless to alter it. Fine. Consider we have our short comings there; the much more democratic GoI doesn’t have the same problem. So what is the case to let them operate even after Gujarat and other episodes?
    This is not a tit for tat question but im genuinely curious.

    PS: Is that loony organisation, I forgot it’s name, the one that Col Purohit was associated with able to legally operate? I kept seeing this old woman who’s supposed to be its head in NDTV all the time prior to 26/11.

  74. D_a_n


    Im curious, what do you think is the chance for an extreme right wing come back next time under the able leadership of Modi Bhai backed by the captains of industry? Seems to me he’ll be in charge.

    you see them doing better than the drubbing they got this time?

  75. Hayyer

    The difference between your terrorists and ours is not in the violent thoughts but in the violent action.
    The RSS has been banned a couple of times and then re-allowed. Why is it not banned permanently. For the same reason I suppose that other religious social organizations are not banned.
    There are Christians preaching that Christianity is the best, calling Hinduism an idolatrous religion, trying and sometimes succeeding in converting Hindus, and there is Zakir Naik arguing occasionally that the Hindu sages and holy books predicted the coming of Mohammad. Quite often he says things that Hindus find offensive. Sikhs organizations such as that led by the late Bhindrawale preach their own brand of religious nonsense. If India were to start banning the crazies it would have to ban half the country. So everyone is allowed to carry on with his own brand.
    The RSS runs the BJP indirectly, overseeing generally but interfering directly only as the occasion arises. Organizationally the two groups maintain separate structures and the RSS has been known to oppose the BJP at the hustings by backing alternatives, if the leadership gets out of line.
    The LeT attacks a foreign country repeatedly. It is trying to create a war. Because they operate only in India they do not create risk of war between the two countries. If the RSS were by its actions to pose a threat to Pakistan you would have a right to ask for its ban.
    Besides the RSS is not used as an extension of Indian foreign policy towards Pakistan by the Indian government or by any of its agencies. It has never won an election. The BJP got only, what was it, 180 seats or so, only one third of the total at best. Its vote percentage has never exceeded about 27%. The government formed by Vajpayee was a coalition.
    The RSS is not a counterpart of the LeT. It corresponds to the MMA. The BJP, I would suggest corresponds to the Muslim League Nawaz Group at best. So a true comparison between Indian religious parties would be the Akali Dal and the BJP on one side, with the MMA and the Muslim League Nawaz on the other. If you accept my argument then the vote share of religion dependent parties in Pakistan immediately goes up.
    Some Indians may not agree with me. To them the Muslim League in all its forms is communal because it had a communal agenda and won the election in Punjab in 1946 on a communal platform, notwithstanding Jinnah’s secular stance. To them the PPP and the National Awami Party are the secular Pakistani groupings. They posit a secular Congress in 1947 with a communal Muslim League in Pakistan in the business of setting up an Islamic Republic.

  76. Bloody Civilian


    can you substantiate your claim that the MMA (or any component thereof)-PML(N/Q etc) relationship is similar to the RSS-BJP relationship?? i think it was here on PTH recently, that the RSS head was quoted as saying that the next BJP leadership will not be from delhi, to take just one, recent example. can you really imagine munawar hassan or fazlurrehman saying the same about PML?? can you give some similar examples of similarity of the relationships, please? also, can we compare the fortunes of a PML running roughshod over all desires and aims of the MMA parties, and the BJP severing all links to the RSS?

  77. Bloody Civilian


    re. November 21, 2009 at 10:47 am

    you obviously know who the enemy is. we don’t. it’s a not uncommon part of problems when dealing with the legacy of dictatorship(s). except legacy is not quite the right word, for a variety of reasons.

    just because something is coming out of washington does not mean it need not meet the normal standards of evidence. ilyas kashmiri and headley, are they the only enemies of ours or does it go further? we will fight this fight, but being a war against our own, we cannot afford to use the same broad brush, or anything less than utmost care and diligence, as others, rightly worried only about their own, can.

    while we work for hafez saeed to be brought to justice or dawood ebrahim’s residence to be acknowledged and for him to be kicked out.. we have to go through the processes that will allow and produce acknowledgement that none of it was done in our name. that it was done by an enemy within is clear. but who exactly is that enemy today, is not as clear to us as it is to others, partly at least, for reasons i gave above (in the last paragraph).

    while we fight this fight, it would be best to simply ignore insinuations and half-baked accusations. especially those which are neither capable of nor meant to achieve anything worthwhile. they are totally unhelpful to our fight. on the other hand, if the din becomes too distracting, we should hope that we can multi-task too and respond with our own contribution to the noise. our enemies’ hope would be, of course, that we’re not as good at multi-tasking as we think we are. that at the very least, it will allow some of the yet to be clearly and correctly identified ones to hide better. that, more importantly, the process and system that we hope to strengthen will remain weak. but the enemy within will be defeated, regardless. we know what we have to do to save our own. choosing what to ignore about what others say or do ought to be part of it.

  78. Bloody Civilian

    re. the RSS-BJP

    didn’t advani make it clear that, effectively, RSS will decide the leadership choice of BJP after vajpai? can you really see nawaz sharif going to mansoora like advani etc go to nagpur?

    Yesterday the US again charged that Mullah Omar was under ISI protection in Karachi

    i didn’t get to read about it as i was busy with all day yesterday. i take it that by “the US” you obviously meant the US govt. i don’t see that as any different from mullah omar protecting bin laden. if the US govt is serious, it should act. the ISI is no different, legally, than the GoP. again, why isn’t the US govt taking the action that you would expect as the logical result of such an accusation, esp in the light of the precedents set since 9/11? both the afghanistan precedent with the moral force of the int’l community via UN, and of Iraq through the ‘evidence’ produced by the US (and UK?).

    otherwise, it is just so much noise, loose talk. cheap stunts. how irresponsible is it to indulge in it, or how does it help, is not my primary concern here. my fight carries on, whether anyone helps or hinders. we’re responsible for and answerable to the families and orphans of all our countrymen – whether wearing a (civil or military) uniform or not – who have fallen in this war and continue to do so. others are answerable to their own people, not ours.

  79. Alethia

    @Milind Kher & Hayyer:

    O.K., so the Pakistani response against the Taliban in the form of raahe nijaat is tardy.

    Pakistan still deserves credit, or at least the coming closer with the Indian point of view, not more criticism.

    The Indian PM is following the anachronistic colonial mentality of pandering to up to the Western World (a mistake committed by both India and Pakistan from time to time) through his derogatory comments about Pakistan.

  80. Vajra


    A ridiculous question, I’d like to think, but one that had me pale and sick to my stomach for a few evil moments. Saner thoughts soon restored peptic peace.

    Before reading the rest of my post, please go through Hayyer’s post very carefully. It is invaluable as a backgrounder.

    There are three elements you mentioned. Let us see if they are viable.

    The three elements are Cause 1: Leadership by Modi; Cause 2: Financial backing by business leaders; Result 1: Victory in the polls.

    In Haroun and the Sea of Stories, an otherwise forgettable book, it was pointed out that a consensus grows by constant deliberation over the facts, and a gradual imbibing of the consequences of various alternative decisions. Long and deep discussion helps.

    Now, this long and deep discussion has been going on in this country for some time. The discussion was about what to do about Modi, how to punish him and how to ensure that he never, ever got to power.

    His own party is a second force dimming his brilliance. It has been so riven that it is likely to fall apart once conditions no longer favour Modi. At the moment, it is united because nobody want to lose the perks of power.

    Meanwhile the judicial system has been clanking and wheezing on its inexorable course towards Modi; currently, it is established that appeals made to him personally by the murdered MP were rejected and he refused to come to his help. Modi’s telephone call records have indicated that he was in touch with gang leaders, when he was not personally in the vicinity of riots.

    It seems to me that the net is closing in. The option we all dream of is a jail term, a particularly stiff one. What is likely to happen is that he diminishes to a regional satrap, a powerful one.

    The captains of industry

    I don’t want to make sweeping statements, especially with Majumdar and Hayyer watching closely (Majumdar knows far more than I, maybe not so much more than Hayyer), but there are some paradoxes. Industrialists generally have not been successful, tying up with political parties and with politicians as a group. There are too many individual examples to count, but not as a group. So seeing Modi get group backing is unlikely – I think.

    Incidentally businessmen in the organised sector are not necessarily pro-Sangh; they actually tend to be more INC, hence even if they group together, Rahul Baba will the beneficiary, not some ape-man.

    That takes care of the causes. Regarding the mechanics of the movement, since it is clearly unlikely to happen, considering the extreme state of disrepair of the Sangh Parivar, I would not like to go beyond Hayyer’s comments; they suffice.

    To sum up, then, the sensible attitude seems to be unworried and calm but alert.

  81. Hayyer

    At my last post I was packing to travel, dealing with a mother and a spouse and also some workmen. I did a quick read of Dawn, and banged off my piece.
    After a fraught three hour drive on NH1 (GT Road) I have read your very sensitive and reasoned response. It requires a collected answer which I should like to do after I have settled down. So no hurrying this time.
    I don’t generally go by US pronouncements on South Asian matters in the press. The one that I used just seemed handy. I don’t say it is credible. I apologize if I gave that impression.

  82. Bloody Civilian


    apologies for not googling the US pronouncement myself instead of insisting clarity.

    to think you were done with 3-hours on GT-road and typical no-road-nor-common-sense GT-road-users only to find there is one more waiting for you 😉

    please relax and take your time. have a great weekend.

  83. D_a_n


    Saarry saar. Please excuse the ridiculousness of the question. I should have clarified that I meant that Modi will be in charge of the BJP not in charge as PM.

    I will admit that my understanding of the dynamics of what I asked about is not in depth. However, what I said was also to show you how Modi, his glorificiation by the BJP and saffron electorate and ‘apparent’ backing by Industrial big wigs is seen by people in Pakistan. Actually, Gujarat coloured our perceptions like nothing else. The pogrom dragged out over days with vivid details pouring out did nothing to help the business as usual level of paranoia.

    ‘Now, this long and deep discussion has been going on in this country for some time.’

    Again, the seemingly impossible time for anything to be done to make him accountable for his sins has helped crystallize the perceptions created. By the way and im genuinely flummoxed here; just what further evidence is required? Is the case that they want a natural electoral death along with the BJP and not make him a Saffron Martyr?

    @hayyer sb…

    ‘The RSS runs the BJP indirectly, overseeing generally but interfering directly only as the occasion arises.’

    As BC has pointed out and not to take into account your first hand knowledge but from what I read and hear it is very much a case of the RSS calling the shots on everything that matters. Also, the comparison with PML-N is a very loose one and not as clear as you suggest.

    ‘If India were to start banning the crazies it would have to ban half the country.’

    Quite. However, when the crazies start progroms with impunity not even then? I dont think missionaries and Mr. Naik is in the pogroms are us phase.

    ‘If the RSS were by its actions to pose a threat to Pakistan you would have a right to ask for its ban.’

    Sir, the context of my question was not what Pakistani’s want but what does India want and by extension how Pakistanis see what it wants.

    ‘Besides the RSS is not used as an extension of Indian foreign policy towards Pakistan by the Indian government or by any of its agencies. ‘

    Apparently Yes. Though you can understand the paranoia on our side. We do see it as a risk though you are free to poke holes in that perception. That is besides the point. The average Joe never experiences that level of discourse. He perceives and believes.

    ‘Yesterday the US again charged that Mullah Omar was under ISI protection in Karachi.’

    Again, apologies for echoing BC but this(?) from the people who brought you the block buster ‘Iraqi WMD’ (still playing on screens near you)? Thanks but no thanks.
    Additionally the yanks have literally by their sheer incompetence have forced Pakistan to hedge it’s bets to our long term detriment but then that is a whole separate debate.

  84. Vajra


    Little did I guess what a genie was busting his way out of the bottle when you started taking a deeper interest in the blog site than your earlier one-liner sabre swipes!

    Saarry saar. Please excuse the ridiculousness of the question. I should have clarified that I meant that Modi will be in charge of the BJP not in charge as PM.

    I will admit that my understanding of the dynamics of what I asked about is not in depth. However, what I said was also to show you how Modi, his glorificiation by the BJP and saffron electorate and ‘apparent’ backing by Industrial big wigs is seen by people in Pakistan. Actually, Gujarat coloured our perceptions like nothing else. The pogrom dragged out over days with vivid details pouring out did nothing to help the business as usual level of paranoia.

    I have news for you. It coloured our perceptions too. It was exactly the same, with no difference whatsoever, like watching a member of the family suddenly take a kitchen knife and start using it with murderous skill. You have no idea how it traumatised the whole of India.

    On the other hand, there has always been a feeling – totally false, of course, as long as the RSS or its functional equivalents are even three people strong – that this can’t happen ‘here’. We were wrong, and it did happen here.

    ‘Here’ includes the following: the saffronisation of the Konkan coast, and the electoral victory in Karnataka, the killings in Kandhamal, where Patnaik was sure the BJP would never, ever violate their political alliance and start their pogroms against Christians, the increasing pressure on churches in Karnataka, the Ram Sene’s formation and its attacks against women in Karnataka; the story goes on.

    This is why you will find Luq for instance urgently recommending that we move actively, aggressively even to meet this challenge. Even while Pakistan figures out how to untangle itself from its spaghetti-involvement with forces that should never have been encouraged, we have our own very urgent battles to fight, and sometimes it looks as if commenters on this site simply have forgotten that we have this to do.

    BUT this is our battle, we are fighting it, we are putting ourselves and our near and dear ones are involved in the struggle – both my wife currently, and my daughter before leaving the country have been active – and we need to fight it out on our own. Please understand, this is a serious struggle and we have done and are doing our personal bits, not just blogging about it. No offence, please, nothing personal.

    You can’t help. We can at best keep talking about this to you, and hope you will support us morally, but this is entirely an internal battle, and we need to do this on our own.

    I am sure you will understand the situation and the feeling instantly.

    ‘Now, this long and deep discussion has been going on in this country for some time.’

    Again, the seemingly impossible time for anything to be done to make him accountable for his sins has helped crystallize the perceptions created. By the way and im genuinely flummoxed here; just what further evidence is required? Is the case that they want a natural electoral death along with the BJP and not make him a Saffron Martyr?

    What is the name of that nincompoop who comes on Pakistani TV every now and then saying that our dossiers on 26/11 are insufficient, incomplete and will not stand up to judicial scrutiny?

    Can we hire him?

    It is exactly the same here, I regret to inform you. In case you and others feeling frustrated about it, Indians mainly, some Pakistanis too, from what you have written above, have not borne it in mind, our laws are still very close to each other, our processes likewise.

    Permit me a moment to explain.

    As long as these bloody decentralised states that many of us are so excited about, these empowered entities exist, and the centre has devolved some of its powers to the state, we will have this problem. I am convinced that administratively we gave away too much too soon to the states. Even while agreeing with Bloody Civilian and YLH at one level, I sharply disagree with them at another, after watching this three-ring circus of the states’ administration at close quarters for sixty years (less, if you want to quibble; at least from 57 or 58).

    Law and order is a state subject. The head of police is currently the DG & IGP, and all other DGs and IGs report to him. He reports to the Home Secretary in some states, to the Chief Secretary in the older, better run states.

    The police look at cognisable offences, ones where they can take action without a citizen filing a complaint, and non-cognisable offences, ones where a citizen has to file a complaint first.

    Filing a First Information Report is the first step towards taking police action. Officers in charge are evaluated on the number of unresolved cases they have on their records during their tenure, and as a matter of course they discourage their staff from recording FIRs and increasing the case load.

    That is for non-cognisable offences. For cognisable offences, they can, and must take action themselves. For that one requires an independent police force.

    We are in serious trouble in the matter of policing, almost worse than other neighbours. Political pressure has reduced these forces to political puppets in most places; failure to comply with the pols in charge means transfers, frequent and brutal, false cases filed and taken up vigorously, and sometimes administrative action to make their lives hell.

    In Gujarat, the Police Minister was involved in the pogroms up to his filthy neck (he’s been dropped by Herr Modi for inefficiency; needed to sharpen his pencil, presumably). Think of the consequences on the police force at the time, and thereafter.

    Every single thing that is being done in Gujarat to bring the offenders to book is being done by citizens of India risking their lives and facing the full force of state opposition, and with the entire state legal machinery ranged against them.

    The Centre cannot intervene; it has no mechanism to do so, none. It can set aside the political, electoral verdict and use article 355 or 356 (subtly different, YLH knows more about it than I do) to set aside the government and impose Presidents Rule. The last time this was done was by Indira Gandhi. Now that non-Congress governments come in frequently, the old feeling that a state government was a retarded child whose development required frequent and forceful, but kind intervention has withered away. Both the Congress and the Opposition, at the present juncture, have tacitly agreed that oversetting a state administration is not to be done. It can only provide external support to the movement for justice.

    The bulk of the movement for justice is Hindu. The Muslim element is cowed and dispirited. Witnesses come and change their stories on the stand, even overnight. That is when witnesses are available; immediately after the riots, there were elections and Modi got a huge majority. The Muslims, maimed and traumatised, still burying their dead and nursing their wounded and crippled, living on handfuls of food in refugee camps deliberately designed to cause the maximum discomfort, and encourage the inmates to go away elsewhere, anywhere, so long as it is not in Gujarat, did nothing to attract further murderous attention.

    Many of the things that constitute democracy have been subverted and used, with cynical finesse and completely remorseless attention to detail by fascists who wish to overthrow the system and rule by force. We can either adopt similar fascist methods, or fight it out the hard, grinding way.

    What would you do in our place?

  85. Milind Kher


    I would agree with you on many of the things you have said. I work on this in my circle of influence at least.

  86. Hayyer

    BC and Dan:
    If there is still any interest I am prepared to clarify what I meant in my post yesterday. I shall try in two or three posts to cover the issues raised, sequentially.

    BC’s post at 3:48 on 21/11.

    I did not say that PML(N) is to MMA as BJP is to RSS. I did say that the RSS is more like the MMA and the BJP like the PML(N). What I meant is this-The MMA and the RSS are hard core fundamental. This is not true of every BJP politician, though they they are all right wing. Thus people like Ram Jethmalani and Jaswant Singh without an RSS link also managed to have been part of the party. The vast majority of BJP supporters are not hard core RSS types. Hindus with a vague anti Muslim grievance who would be horrified to be described as Hindu fundamentalists, also vote BJP. Besides the BJP gets all sort of votes from what used to be called Banias. They represent the interest of petty shopkeepers particularly and were traditionally pro-business. In India’s queer democracy, the BJP has even put up candidates even Kashmir, Muslims, and they have each managed to get a few hundred Muslim votes.
    The BJP is like the PML(N) because it is supportive of right wing religious sentiment, and is not averse to a greater role for religious symbols, or to the entry of religious particularism in Government.
    There is no question of the BJP severing its links with the RSS. But when it is in government in the states the BJP has no choice but to ride roughshod over the wishes of the RSS. There is the Constitution and there are the courts. Even the most fawning bureaucrat will not commit himself on paper to anything that smacks of violating the law. At the centre however the BJP was in a coalition. It could not have pleased the RSS even if the bureaucrats cooperated.
    The Shiv Sena in Mumbai practices its brand of fanaticism quite independently of the RSS. PML(N) has never hidden its right wing bias. Other Indian political parties do not exhibit a religious bias except the Akali Dal. But every political party is in favour of secularism, including the BJP though it says we practice pseudo secularism implying they alone know the real McCoy.

  87. Hayyer

    Re: your posts of 4:16 pm and 5:06 pm 21/11
    The leadership of the BJP is always a decision of the RSS. That is one of the things that it keeps a firm grip on. Which is why I have the feeling that the RSS too is feeling its age. They made a mess with Rajnath Singh, who seems to have passed his time toying with the auto destruct button. After Rajnath Singh they have chosen or are choosing some unknown. Things can only go downhill. My regret in all this is that it leaves the opposition slot vacant in Parliament.
    The allegation about Mullah Omar being in Karachi was a leak. ISI is Pak Government but it is also Pak Army and the US cannot afford to annoy it beyond a point. Your army is losing soldiers at a rate that would make Obama retreat all the way back to Chicago. The US needs your troops.
    I entirely agree with you that it is your fight. Only Pakistanis can fight it, which you are doing regardless of what the US may have to say. It is probably signalling certain quarters in code. Or why would they leak that way.
    I am sure that all right thinking Pakistanis are as sick of fundamentalism and terror as we are in India are. I was only trying to explain to Althea why Manmohan Singh spoke the way he did.

  88. Hayyer

    Re: post of 4:02 of 21/11
    I have explained my knowledge of the RSS/BJP relationship. It is not an insiders knowledge by any means. That is a closed book to outsiders. What I know is what I picked up from those who should know. I have also explained my reference to MMA and PML.
    Vajra explained the tardiness of judicial procedures. The mills are grinding slowly but they will I think eventually grind finely enough in Gujrat, mainly because of NGOs and the Supreme Court. The centre cant do much, but it also wont do anything. The Congress has the 1984 Sikh pogram to live down. With the BJP on that score they have a live and let live policy.
    Business interests back Modi but that means nothing. Germany’s industrial houses backed Hitler. No one is impressed if Mittal or Tata praise Modi who continues to have the support of the anti Muslim Hindu and the morally blind, which businessmen are.

    “Sir, the context of my question was not what Pakistani’s want but what does India want and by extension how Pakistanis see what it wants.

    ‘Besides the RSS is not used as an extension of Indian foreign policy towards Pakistan by the Indian government or by any of its agencies. ‘

    Apparently Yes. Though you can understand the paranoia on our side. We do see it as a risk though you are free to poke holes in that perception. That is besides the point. The average Joe never experiences that level of discourse. He perceives and believes.”

    What India wants is hard enough to comprehend let alone answer. If you meant what it wants vis a vis Pakistan the answer is easy enough. It wants to be left alone. No, I don’t mean that as a sharp or witty response. India has enough of its own nonsense to tackle without the added worry of having to deal with NGOs of the LeT type. It would like peace with Pakistan without handing over Kashmir.
    What India wants of RSS/BJP, if that was your question is more easily answered. India is over 80% Hindu. If the Hindus wanted a Hindu India they could easily have it by voting in the BJP with a two thirds majority. But that is obviously not what India wants. Haryana with a tiny Muslim population encloses Delhi on more than three sides. For over forty years has the BJP tried to make inroads here, yet in the legislative election last month it won one seat out of 84.
    The average Joe in Pakistan like the average Joe anywhere perceives what he is told. Governments everywhere feed their own media a line. They don’t care a hoot what foreigners believe as long as their voter, or street agitator believes what he is being programmed with. The national discourse shapes our thinking. We think we perceive; but the best we can manage I believe is a conditioned response.

  89. vajra


    I would personally at this stage beg you and every other Pakistani reader to go through Hayyer’s last posting, the second half of it in particular. It encapsulates the matter better than my zillion-word ramblings ever can.

    In no way does it mean that there are not departments in government working at a dreary bureaucratic pace, with all the inspiration and elan of a government employee, on measures that they believe might slow down the knife-thrusts made by (excellent coinage) NGOs like the LeT into our poorly-defended innards. There is simply no comparison, and unlike Pakistan largely hating India (the people on this blog are so hugely exceptional as to give some weight to the argument of its fundamentalist opponents that they are in fact not representative of the bulk of the people, just as much as the fundamentalists are not), the bulk of the people do not fear and loathe Pakistan, they just want to be left alone. If anybody in Pakistan fears the efforts of that particular set of bureaucratic bumblers engaged in counter-intelligence work, it must be due to an overpowering reason to want to justify their own achievements by pointing to a counter-vailing effort by their national bete noire.

    It is not fair to yourselves and to your self-evident task of rectifying the abdication of power by the elected representatives to the military to think that there is an imminent danger of being surrounded by India from a remote outpost in Tajikistan, or that there is a danger from the Indian presence in Afghanistan. Or that the threat from India to the retention of the loyalties of the Baloch, hypothetical as it is in the first instance, in any way outweighs the threat from either Iran or the United States. These are just objections to setting right the fundamental disablement that has been inflicted on the state from its inception by irresponsible politicians and administrators acting beyond their brief, and military dictators who should have been hanged.

    Nothing that India has done or can do can equal the damage that traitor Pakistanis have done to Pakistan.

  90. Bloody Civilian

    unlike Pakistan largely hating India [..] the bulk of the people do not fear and loathe Pakistan, they just want to be left alone
    i saw milind kher stating results of a ‘survey’ a couple of days ago, but sadly he did not give a reference. according to him some large percentages saw india and america as the enemy and only a small one saw the taliban as the enemy. without knowing what the survey was actually about, i can’t comment on that.
    i do know that survey after survey in the last few to several months has registered an increase in the percentage seeing the taliban as a threat, a serious threat and as an enemy. the percentages were in the high 80’s.
    i suspect that the survey milind kher quoted might have been about the perception of whether the taliban are acting independently or india, america or others are pulling the strings. sadly, there have been some worrying and dangerous developments there in the past few weeks. i do agree that it is only natural that the ‘average’ pakistani would have quite the opposite view than yours of GoI and GoP, respectively.
    So I’d rather not take your assertion as fact just yet. Not until there is more unambiguous evidence. I realise that you might have visited more Pakistani blogs than I have, but that is hardly the only comparison to be made here. In fact, the formulation unlike India largely hating Pakistan [..] the bulk of the people do not fear and loathe India, they just want to be left alone will meet very little disagreement, if any, by the ‘average’ Pakistani, if it were put to her. This would include the ‘average’ Pakistani blogger visiting Indian and/or Pakistani blogs, viewing both the posts and the comments sections.
    As far as the fallacy of any abdication of power by the elected representatives to the military is concerned, I think we’ve discussed it at length in the past. Of course, we can do so all over again. that key will unlock many doors too.

  91. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    I have a suggestion: why not put the two suggestions to the test, initially to the test of the somewhat unrepresentative bloggers’ sample? As you know, ATP conducts these polls from time to time, always very carefully structured and refined in approach. Their results have at times been so counter-intuitive as to form an education in themselves.

    The proposal is that both my original view of the mood in India towards Pakistan, and the general outlook of the Indian man or woman-in-the-street, and your reversal of the sentiments, of the mood in Pakistan towards India, and the general outlook of the Pakistani man or woman-in-the-street, should be put to the vote in such a poll.

    If you are able to identify a similar Indian blog, we can try it there as well.

  92. Bloody Civilian


    to the extent of the ‘unrepresentative’ sample who stop to comment on an internet blog.. it’s not a bad suggestion.

    as far as i am concerned, we don’t particularly need to find a corresponding indian blog, since i have no issues with the indian part of your assertion.

  93. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    That is fortunate, because I am unfamiliar with Indian blogs, ironically enough, and would be hard pressed to find one as decent as ours here. Or ATP or 5rupees or one more which I can’t name offhand (it has been cited on PTH before).

    Again, we need to remember that precisely because of its composition and to some extent because of the skewedness of a poll dependent on voluntary response, the result of the poll here will probably be wholly unrepresentative. Let us see, nevertheless.

  94. Bloody Civilian

    I did not say that PML(N) is to MMA as BJP is to RSS
    understood. if you allow me to carry on with some comparisons and contrasts, regardless. none of it should affect the legitimacy the kind of similarity you pointed out and have now further explained.
    PML(N) indeed has a voter base of punjabi shopkeeper and trader class. They had some support in the similar class in NWFP too, but they failed to cement it because they had little time before the feb 18 elections, and have had little inclination to visit the province since. rana chandra sikh was a member of nawaz sharif’s federal cabinet (although he was originally part of the PPP, until he fell out with Bhutto). It would be difficult to find nawaz sharif in something comparable to advani leading the ram rath, but he did try to bring in shariat law… which hardly touched any existing laws except putting him beyond all legal checks and balance, turning him into a virtual ameer-ul-momeen. He failed. Indeed, zia’s window-dressing was very similar. The bulk of the (lethal) damage he did was to the social rather than legal fabric. Even the sharia courts could not question or consider any acts or omissions of the military govt. btw, it was sharif who reverted bhutto’s(!!) Friday as the weekend back to Sunday.
    MMA, of course, is not a single party, unlike RSS, as you know. It includes parties at the opposite ends of the sectarian (our equivalent of India’s ‘communal’) low-intensity war throughout the 1990’s, for example. Fazlurehman’s deobandi elders had issued fatwas against maudoodi in the past. But most importantly, how did these parties end up in an alliance for the first time ever in 2002? Even more importantly, how did they win as many seats as they did in that election? And were routed in 2008 (well, JI didn’t participate). Btw, fazlurehman was a coalition partner of BB, and now of the present ppp govt. if memory serves me right, he has never been in alliance with NS (??).
    There is no question of the BJP severing its links with the RSS [..] The leadership of the BJP is always a decision of the RSS. that to me is a huge difference. And yet that is not to say that Nawaz Sharif is necessarily his own boss. but whether his link to his nagpur is still there or not, is hard to say. Just as it is hard to believe that it has been severed. It is the same as of those who constituted the MMA. Once again, Zia changed Pakistani society’s qibla. He did not at all change the Pakistani politicians’ real qibla. To cater for the former, BB had to start carrying around a tasbeeh. For the latter, she could not appoint her own foreign minister and, for a while, not even a defence minister. And then was summarily dismissed on 6 aug 1990.
    There is the Constitution and there are the courts. Even the most fawning bureaucrat will not commit himself on paper to anything that smacks of violating the law
    It is impossible for any of these elements to survive, intact, the ravishes of arbitrary rule and long and repeated military dictatorships. Once the constitution goes, everything goes.
    My interest in indian affairs is mostly independent of me being a Pakistani. If there is any link at all, it is to project back to and forward from partition and before, in order to try and understand that part of history better. That is mostly if not purely a historical interest of mine. It is from this angle that I try and follow the working of the indian constitution, law and politics, when and as best as I can.
    Gujrat was 7 years ago now. To many it’s an inevitable delay. To some even acceptable. To others it’s testament to the robustness and power of the Constitution. I keep coming across criticisms being made by indians of congress govt’s role in ayodhya, complicity through deliberate acts of omission. The 1992 riots. Vajra mentioned the problems with decentralisation. Yet, 1984 and what ensued was the centre’s doing. These and many other matters are mostly of interest to me from the point of view of understanding better the history and politics of partition. It’ s being able to weigh up the legal, politcal and democratic factors and options at play at the time. And how they have or might have played out.
    I see a lot of indians similarly interested in seeing jinnah coming to his logical end in zia and hafiz saeed – both inspired, to different degrees, by the majlis e ahrar.

  95. Bloody Civilian

    ……… It would like peace with Pakistan without handing over Kashmir

    i’d go out on a limb and claim that most Pakistanis want no more than an honourable resolution. most want rid of this distraction and drain on time, energy and more. and the lost opportunity of the region growing with india, and india growing more in a more peaceful region. but they want this ‘good riddance’ without losing face. for rather similar reasons, i do not wish to stay out on the limb, for too long.

  96. Bloody Civilian


    the last couple of paragraphs of my post of 4:50am hopefully give some indication that many pakistanis are aware of the basic facts succinctly summed up by hayyer, in the second part of his post, that you rightly feel all pakistanis must read.

    btw, the finding of the survey that we were talking about would not be a mirror image of your proposal, as i suggested. i did not wish to launch into a longer discussion/explanation at the time. the result would still be a rejection of your claim, but of a different kind of orthogonality than the simple mirror image.

    hossp made an interesting point (i think it was hossp) about the ghussbaitthi business not starting until after the soviet withdrawal from afghanistan.. yet the indo-pak relations had been no better in the past. so there are two tracks to this.

    for now, all the progress i can offer on this discussion is to offer my pov of the ‘politicians’ abdication to the military’. many pakistanis are not entirely ignorant of these matters.

  97. Milind Kher


    The survey results were quoted in the newspapers just a little over a week back. It was either HT or TOI.

    What is frightening is that the people have not yet woken up to the danger that the terrorists pose.

  98. Hayyer

    Peace with honour! That brings us back to the reason for my original post; Manmohan Singh and Alethia’s distress at his words.
    A path was being cleared towards an honourable peace if these non-state actors did not muddy the waters every time.
    Unlike the 70s and 80s India realizes it has to move forward on Kashmir and arrive at some sort of understanding with Pakistan. But it wont move further if the NGOs continue being used as hidden persuaders.
    Whatever the value of the NGOs to Pakistani policy objectives in the past two decades they are now an obstacle to a resolution of Kashmir. And they are also a danger to Pakistan. Manmohan Singh’s reference was to that aspect. He is aware of the sacrifices that the Pakistan Army is making in the west. However if western strategic depth is also space for drang nach osten then abandoning the latter should have a calming effect in the west as well, and with Afghanistan governments generally. Of-course the matter of the Durand Line can be settled amicably between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is an interesting thought that if there had been no partition in 47, the same Line would have been a matter of contention between the India and Afghanistan, instead of the present amiableness.

  99. Bloody Civilian


    the NGOs continue being used

    either it’s an NGO or it is not. and i don’t mean in an organisational structure sense, but in legal terms, ie responsibility in law. and that brings me, too, back to my original response.

    we’re at war. even if we weren’t, only a political process can take us forward from a position where i (the citizen) have been irrelevant to one where that can change. choosing what to ignore of what others say or do, is part of that political struggle, unless i’m interested only in agitating for the sake of agitating and not actually bringing about any kind of constructive change. others are free to pursue whatever political, legal and military means they deem necessary. i have to do what i think is necessary right now and will work in getting me to the next step/stage.

    and as the process moves forward, victories against the menace at the western front being an essential/existential part of it, my argument cannot but gain in strength. as the vulnerability reduces, so will some of the hysteria. that can’t hurt either. that will be the time to change into the next gear. not now.

    my aim is for the establishment and strengthening of the system within which is my salvation. point-scoring whether whether internal or external to the country, is quite irrelevant to my purpose. while the ‘peace’ i hope will be one of the results/promises of the ‘salvation’ part of my objectives, ignoring ‘point scoring’ is a lesser component of the ‘honourable’ part of ‘honourable peace’.


  100. Bloody Civilian

    …. btw, f s aijazuddin’s article above articulates my position too. ignoring ‘point-scoring’ is not the same as ignoring the pain and anguish that the author too has acknowledged. i do not see why i have to acknowledge the anger too, forever. pain is another thing. and the mis-statement to the young students remains that – a mis-statement.

  101. Majumdar

    Hayyer mian et al,

    Of-course the matter of the Durand Line can be settled amicably between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Interestingly on the Eastern frontier Pakistan is the revisionist power, India is the status quo power. On the Western frontier, situation is reversed with Pakistan being the status quo power, Afghanistan being the revisionist power. Although to be sure there wud be Pakistani Bonapartes who wud be willing to be revisionist on West as well, and wish to incorporate the whole of A’stan or at least the Pushtoon parts.


  102. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    You are scaring the hell out of me.

    Isn’t your argument in your post of 3:48 pm the same as Hossp realpolitik, only dressed in virginal white bridal array?

  103. Bloody Civilian

    it could be construed to be so even if all you do is remove context. however, if you go a step further, and also assume extensions and implications that are not there at 3:48pm, nor before or after, then yes, the answer to your question could certainly be in the affirmative. 😉

    for context, the discussion started with hayyer’s post of 10:47am (21/11). kindly revisit my posts on the subject since that point in time. where have i expressed or implied support for hossp’s strategy?

    could it be that the one scaring the hell out of you is none other than yourself? 😉

  104. Bloody Civilian


    if western strategic depth is also space for drang nach osten then abandoning the latter should have a calming effect in the west as well

    my argument was that there is some value in the reverse too. to a limited excess. that is, the difficulty in the west can serve as an eye opener. to help recognise what you have said above. but not all the noise made by outsiders is conducive to have the right conditions to ensure a quick and ful eye-opening. we can’t do anything about the noise. but we can choose which parts to ignore.


    i doubt that a united, highly centralised india would have proved itself that much more capable of understanding afghan history (and, please, i emphatically do not mean rexminor’s version or reading of it) and internal dynamics than early pakistan. democracy (and even the subsequent ‘decentralisation’) would have of course allowed the locals who knew better a greater say. and with no drang nach osten, the all blinding effect of ‘strategi depth’ would also be absent.

  105. Bloody Civilian

    “to a limited excess” = to a limited extent

  106. Bloody Civilian


    if my post at 3:48 gave the wrong impression, the onus to communicate clearly is certainly upon me.

    i hope the first half of my last comment helps in that direction. also, i hope you didn’t mind my cheeky-ish comment earlier 🙂

  107. Milind Kher


    What I understand from the Kashmiris is that their main grouse is that plebiscite never happened, so unlike Pakistan and Kashmir, they never got the right to self determination.

    Therefore, it is not ONLY about NGOs queering the pitch, the resistance of the Kashmiri people to accede is also a factor.

  108. Vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    A good general knows when to retreat. I shall proceed to make a dignified exit from a battle I cannot win. A last thought: Italian tanks were rumoured to have two reverse gears; my plight is not peculiar, others have been outmanoeuvred and outwitted before.

    @Milind Kher

    I recommend you read up on this issue in the archives of PTH, especially YLH’s summation of the situation. It is not as simple as it seems; they have a legitimate plank, but you might as well state it correctly, not the way you have done.

  109. Milind Kher

    Given below is the BBC’s take on the Kashmir plebiscite.

    Of course, the views of someone who may know much more than the BBC would help me in increasing my knowledge on the subject.

    “When the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India in 1947, the then Governor-General Lord Mountbatten suggested that in view of India and Pakistan’s competing claims for the state, the accession should be confirmed by a “referendum, plebiscite, election”.

    But determining the wishes of the people has been far harder to achieve than was ever expected.

    Kashmir is now divided between opposing armies

    Fighting between Pakistani and Indian forces in 1949 left two-thirds of the state under the control of India, comprising Ladakh, Jammu and the Valley of Kashmir.

    One-third remained under the control of Pakistan, comprising “Azad” (free) Kashmir and the Northern Areas.

    In three resolutions, the UN Security Council and the United Nations Commission in India and Pakistan recommended that as already agreed by Indian and Pakistani leaders, a plebiscite should be held to determine the future allegiance of the entire state.

    As a prerequisite they required Pakistani nationals and tribesmen, who had come to fight in Kashmir, be withdrawn.

    Plebiscite abandoned

    But in the 1950s, the Indian Government distanced itself from its commitment to hold a plebiscite.

    This was firstly because Pakistani forces had not been withdrawn and secondly because elections affirming the state’s status as part of India had been held.

    After the outbreak of insurgency in the Valley of Kashmir in the late 1980s, militants and political activists claimed that they had never been able to exercise their right of self-determination and the issue of the plebiscite was again raised.

    Independence option

    But there was a split between those demanding a plebiscite in order to determine allegiance to either India or Pakistan and those who stated that a third option should be added: Independence.

    Ladakhis do not want to join Pakistan

    Pakistan has consistently called for the issue to be resolved by means of a plebiscite and has blamed India for reneging on its pledge.

    But although it supports the Kashmiris “right of self-determination,” Pakistan has never accepted the third option as a possible outcome.

    It is also now evident that holding a plebiscite that assumes Kashmir becomes a united state might not produce an equitable result, given its cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity.

    Diverse views

    The Muslim majority of the inhabitants of the state of Jammu and Kashmir live in the valley, but their demands are not universally shared by the minorities living in different areas of the state.

    The Buddhist population of Ladakh has never supported the movement either for independence or accession to Pakistan, nor has the majority Hindu population of the Jammu region.

    Activists want the right to self-determination

    The inhabitants of the Northern Areas would, however, be most likely to support officially becoming part of Pakistan, as would “Azad” Kashmir.

    The contentious issue remains the status of the Kashmir Valley, whose inhabitants are divided between demanding independence or allegiance to Pakistan, with a proportion opting to remain within India.

    Because of the lack of unanimity among the inhabitants, it has been suggested that if ever the issue were to be resolved by a plebiscite or referendum, a fairer solution might be to hold the plebiscite on a regional basis.

    Those supporting the independence of the entire state reject this suggestion because it would inevitably formalise the division of the state which they want to see re-united as one independent political entity.

    To date, the Government of India has refused to reconsider the possibility of holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Without, however, holding a plebiscite or referendum it is impossible to determine exactly what proportion of the people support which option. “

  110. Bloody Civilian


    Of-course the matter of the Durand Line can be settled amicably between Pakistan and Afghanistan

    apparently, even ‘our own boys’ refused to oblige their sponsors when it came to the Line.


    i still owe you a clarification. and hayyer an apology for extending the context for longer than it was strictly necessary, and needlessly repeating a point. i’ll try and keep it brief.

  111. Vajra

    @Milind Kher

    The BBC is an electronic news medium, not an authentic source of analysis or academically acceptable information.

    In what way is quoting the BBC better than quoting Zaid Hamid?

    Having said that, its account is close to the account which emerged out of discussions in these posts.

  112. Milind Kher


    You cannot compare apples and oranges. Zaid Hamid and BBC do not stand on the same footing in terms of either competence, knowledge or credibility.

    And even if the BBC is not a historical source, it essentially draws its information from sources that can be said to be eminently trustworthy, for the most part

  113. Hayyer

    “my argument was that there is some value in the reverse too.”
    Undoubtedly there is.
    I will not comment on the BBC summation. It would take too long to do that. But I will say a few words on your comment of 9:22.
    “What I understand from the Kashmiris is that their main grouse is that plebiscite never happened, so unlike Pakistan and Kashmir, they never got the right to self determination.”

    My views below are only my own and can be contested by anyone who knows better.
    The larger majority ofKashmiris have held different views at different times. But there are three main periods. The Kashmiri view between 1947 and 1953, the Kashmiri view of 1953 to say 1989 and the Kashmiri view thereafter, though I dare say a fourth perspective is now emerging.
    In ’47-53 Kashmiri Muslims could have gone either way, but they generally supported Sheikh Abdullah, (Alistair Lamb’s opinion notwithstanding). Sheikh Abdullah was against plebiscite. The Mahaz Raishumari (plebiscite front) came into existence only after his arrest, and it served as his platform till he disbanded it in 1975.
    I suppose ‘Pakistan and Kashmir’ above is in error and you actually mean Pakistan and India. Self determination only happened in the NWFP I think no where else. The Kashmiri right to self determination is as valid as that of any one of the 512 states or the other provinces of British India i.e. null. The concept of self determination arose from Mountbatten and the UN. If the Maharaja had quietly acceded to Pakistan there would have been no Kashmir problem, or any talk of self determination. The Hindu Dogras would have been like other Punjabi refugees and that would have been that.
    Please remember that Sheikh Abdullah is on record as opposing Plebiscite and when it was not held till 1953 Kashmiris did not make a fuss about it.

    “Therefore, it is not ONLY about NGOs queering the pitch, the resistance of the Kashmiri people to accede is also a factor”
    Kashmiris became hostile after 1953 and have remained hostile thereafter. The cause of the hostility is not the denial of self determination.
    The cause is the political arrogance of the establishment. There is a Kashmiri grievance, but rather than applying remedies India responds by getting offended that it is expressed at all.
    Denial of self determination is only a discovered grievance or a convenient one. The actual grievance lies elsewhere.

  114. Milind Kher


    Yes, I meant Pakistan and India. You could be absolutely right. It may not be just about self determination, but also the behavior of the government.

    The Kashmiris are not a fundamentalist or militant, and with proper handling, could have been won over

  115. Bloody Civilian


    this is the clarification. it might be redundant, and, i’m afraid, it’s not exactly brief.

    A path was being cleared towards an honourable peace if these non-state actors did not muddy the waters every time[hayyer]

    Lets see. This must have been post zia/soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan/start of gul+beg. pakistan made a new start in 1988. It was different from feb 18 2008. Lawyers’ movement vs bahawalpur plane crash. 50+ private tv channels vs ptv. Neither is much to go on, but..

    The other false start in terms of indo-pak relations was sharif-vajpayee travelling to Lahore. I’ve already alluded to where or how kargil fits into the argument that I was trying to develop.

    the argument is a marginal/peripheral one. But neither is it entirely unimportant nor a case of special pleading.

    We’ve had a degree of introspection since 9/11, accentuating in the past two years of blood and mayhem. Lately, almost coincident with the kerry-lugar controversy, there has been some serious self-deception too. And, yes, it has given some false comfort, too, to many in desperate need of making some kind of sense of all the senseless mayhem. D_a_n had recently explained it on these pages. Unlike hossp, he sees it as postponing disaster. But he thinks to expect that an alternative exists, given the full breadth of his argument, is wishful thinking. It’s hard to refute his claim.

    My argument has been nothing more than to clarify that there is a difference between pakistan’s internal and external discourses. It is only natural that it should be so. I am arguing that some of the noises made in foreign capitals are best ignored… which does not mean they’re not to be noted, in some cases at least. It just means they either must not be or cannot be responded to without unnecessarily making our task more difficult.

    In internal debate you can assume the worst with a view to preparing for the worst. You can (purely) politically act against your own on the basis of strong suspicion alone. There is a collective sharing of destiny (much stronger than regional or global) that ought to naturally ensure caution and due diligence of a commensurate level. But you cannot allow another to act on such a basis only. if others are acting purely politically in a direction that you consider hostile or otherwise counter-productive, then you can try and put your case to them, or try to counter (purely politically) or ignore. Others are free to say what they wish. One can only choose what to ignore.

    also, you can take so much for granted in the domestic discourse, that you cannot in the int’l debate. you’re up against an entirely different set of preconceived ideas, or ignorance, indifference, even callousness and variety of angles and interests. While the latter two can be and are totally legitimate, and the former-most two a valid topic for discussion and debate, faced with a war we have to filter things out as far as responding is concerned. That’s not burying one’s head in the sand, but trying to raise it above the rest – in order to be able to see more clearly – when it comes to matters concerning your country more directly than any other, since it is your country, your loved ones’ lives at stake, your democracy, your army, your struggle, your war etc.

    P.S. I must admit, that although here at PTH we’ve learnt to ignore the fly-by dumpers, denouncers and name-callers… even hate-mongers, albeit it took a while, ignoring is not the same as being insulated. Regardless, it leaves an effect on a mere human. Speaking for myself, I’ve always been a (single-issue, domestic) activist. So I find it difficult to entirely abandon passion. Try as I may. Totally detached analysis does not come easily to me.

    there are others who really should know better but come in with preconceived ideas. for example, we had the visitor recently insisting that secularists in the subcontinent are exclusively indian. You can engage someone like him, a secular person a million miles away from hate-mongering, but not from the same starting point and common ground as you can assume in an internal debate. perhaps, it ought to be possible for this difference to disappear. If it is at all possible, it will be through discussion and debate… one that acknowledges rather than ignores these difficulties.

  116. Vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    This is one of the most lucid, limpid arguments I have read. It would have been an embellishment wherever it was first propounded; I am sure PTH will in later years smile with satisfaction that your explanation of the dynamics of political debate, and its essential difference when the interlocutor is a fellow citizen, and when not, first appeared here.

    While an engagement with it may lend it maturity and burnish it further, I prefer to spend a few more minutes reading it again, letting its clauses roll over my tongue, allowing it to fill the reaches of my mind.

    More later, much later.

  117. Bloody Civilian


    i re-read my post. it was full of typos and worse. so i’ve had to edit it. i had meant to post the edited version as a new post… but i’ve ended up editing the original. so if you’d kindly re-read it… thanks!

  118. Bloody Civilian

    …….. and apologies for the typos galore in the original.. and the headache it must have caused. yet to say what you did is a tribute to your own generosity 🙂