Marking 26/11… A Letter To Our Neighbors

Dear Indian friend,

I am sorry for the tardiness in marking 26/11.   It was not deliberate but as we fight daily battles with terrorism, it is not easy to tell what date it is.  Don’t consider this letter a sign of weakness because I am a member of proud nation which will one day prove its potential and take its rightful place in the comity of nations as a progressive and modern country at peace within and without.  

I do realize however that day is somewhere in the future and I write to you today as a member of an embattled nation fighting its demons and trying to undo the terrible legacy of the 1980s Afghan War.   What happened on 26/11 was probably part of the same cycle and I am sorry that it had to come to what it did on 26/11.   India was attacked.   The attackers- hardened militants and frankenstein’s monsters created by Pakistan- had not just India in mind but they wanted to embroil Pakistan and India into Nuclear war which could lead to a wider global conflict involving all major powers.  Fortunately that has not come to pass.  Statesmenship of the highest order is required however to ensure that we don’t allow the militants to succeed. 

Please also realize that Bombay – or Mumbai as you call it now- is not just an Indian city but one of the premier Asian cities.  For us Pakistanis it is  hallowed ground-  it was this city that our founding father Mr. Jinnah called his own, where he made a name for himself through sheer hardwork and perseverence and which allowed to rise from humble origins to significance.   The Taj – which was attacked- was where Mr. Jinnah spent his honeymoon with his beautiful wife Ruttie – a marriage that itself signified the pluralistic and secular ethos of that magnificent city.   It is this city that his grandson has built his business empire in.   For us Bombay is sacred ground and like much of India, which is littered with monuments of varying importance and significance to Pakistanis,  it is our heritage as much as yours.

So let us attach a new significance to 26/11… let this day signify an awakening on both sides that enough with this “geo-strategic thinking” of one-upping each other.   Let this be a day when we realize that the zero-sum game we have played have cost us dear in the past and that Pakistan and India must work together for peace, prosperity and progress of this common subcontinent of ours.  Let us base our relationship on intense rivalry in cricket, human development and economic growth.   Let us renounce all tactics of a thousand cuts once and for all and realize that it is not hard to make bombs but prosperous nations are known by their intellectual health, civic sense and adherence to human rights.  Let us sack irresponsible Bonapartists like your Military chief who threatened a “limited nuclear war” and instead seek inspiration from what India’s first Prime Minister Nehru told Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in New York: “Zulfi,  we have to save South Asia from Nuclear War”.

Let 26/11 be a new beginning and perhaps a return to Mr. Jinnah’s vision for India-Pakistan relations modelled on US-Canada relationship.

Yours sincerely,

YLH – Your Pakistani Well-wisher and rival claimant to progress and prosperity

129 Comments

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129 responses to “Marking 26/11… A Letter To Our Neighbors

  1. Milind Kher

    A beautifully written piece. Very touching, and with very noble sentiments expressed. The author has truly surpassed himself.

    Indeed, there is a need for a bond of friendship between the two nations, who can, if they put their collective wills to it, chart an unprecedented path of progress together.

    The association is, what we call in our language “Choli daman ka saath”. If the sentiments on this board could influence sentiments outside, it would make a major difference.

    My limited command over the language is a bit of a constraint when I express myself. However, rest assured, my heart is in the right place, and it has space for your nation too.

  2. sun

    Sentiments & emotions are hallmark of a good human being but only truth can set us free . Just wishing does,nt help achieve it we have to act.
    It is foolish to view this problem in pak-india context, it is happening in philipines, in thailand,in malaysia, in russia ,in europe & usa. Fortunatly South America is the only inhabited continent left.
    Our shared heritage realisation is not new our fathers & Grand fathers too were aware , people of punjab, sindh & bengal were aware,our founding fathers were aware but their was something more compelling than this bond, something which creates the difference. It is still happening in kashmir valley & all the places mentioned above & this divison of the world started in 7th century arabia ( brothers & kaffirs).
    This concept needs to be recognised, challenged & eradicated ( reforms in other words).
    Or else ” Silence of the Lambs ” is the right title for all of us.

  3. Vajra

    Honourable and decent Pakistani of good intention and peaceful intent,

    You are my friend after you are my good neighbour, and without seeking a lesser goal, there is no point in seeking a great one. Honour, decency, good intentions and peaceful intent are excellent grounds on which to build friendship, and I believe I speak for others in welcoming your kind thoughts.

    There is nothing to forgive, and there is nothing for which anyone needs to seek an apology, insofar as marking this day is concerned. Such remembrances are best observed in the heart, and do not require public and demonstrative display; such public demonstrations are for the education and the edification of others of lesser sensibility. You are known widely for what you are; neither you nor any of your way of thinking, any other men and women of peace and goodwill need to explain yourselves. Both our nations fight daily battles with terrorism; it is a matter of deep distress to sensitive Indians that your nation too should have had to feel the bitterness that we have suffered for long, alone and friendless.

    As for your country, accept our assurance of goodwill when you come to us with your hands open in trust, friendship and for fair play; as for the rest, remembering that we are guests in your house, I shall merely say that John Donne said it best: “Deeds and not words shall speak me.”

    For the present, we were – both nations – put to a frightful question. Unlike greater powers, more puissant nations, we passed the test. Let us remember that above all. There was anger and there was indignation; make no mistake about that. There was no blind fury, no lashing out at the nearest visible and hapless token of the savage forces unleashed on us – neither on tokens outside nor on tokens within. I believe that our leadership demonstrated steely nerves and a refusal to abandon a path which may be despised by the base scum who believe that punishing women and oppressing children is a mark of their manhood and their faith, but which is a moral choice that we have exercised, however sloppily, however clumsily that might have been, however devoid of drama or oratorical flourish.

    Your pity and your pain is invoked to some measure by the memories that the location holds for you and your fathers. Yet leave a thought and mourn for those who have had nothing to do with you or with yours, even on ground not hallowed to you or your fathers. They were men, too, poor men, and women and children. The meanest of them was a life too precious and we lost too many lives, too much that was precious. Every spot of our earth where an innocent fell is sacred, not just Mumbai, regardless of the name of the Lord that was taken in perverted kind by the killers.

    We will seek peace with you as we have always sought peace, sometimes successfully. We will seek it even if we are flouted for so doing, even if we are mocked and jeered at and we face the capering antics of an irresponsible brigands’ band. We will seek it with our military at our side, not in front, a weapon sheathed and held in readiness, not a weapon brandished in season and out of season as a constant and flagrant statement of bellicose intent. Even when we are met by bullets and shells, we will continue to seek peace, as we have done through many bitter years. We shall seek peace even in the knowledge that we can seek a resolution through war. You spoke of Bonapartists in our ranks; there are no Bonapartists in our ranks. Except for one silly man, not one military chief sought to aggrandize the military above the civil authority, which is the meaning of Bonapartism. The present incumbent did and said nothing that fits the charge of Bonapartism, nothing that hints at a military solution to civil matters, nothing that counsels war without the leave of the sovereign people – unlike yours; for the sake of peace, leave us to handle our military, which we do well without tutoring, and work on controlling yours, which has sucked the blood of your nation.

    When you speak of 26/11 being a new beginning, think of those of us who came to you to seek to find if you had for us the incredible hatred and soulless cruelty that ten men displayed towards Indians and their foreign guests on this date. We came to find if all was lost, or if there were still elements in your society who thought peaceful co-existence was possible. We asked questions, very silly ones, we tried your patience, we sullied your most solemn debates and discussions with our half-baked knowledge, we insulted your elders and your wise ones – and yet you bore with us. If some Pakistanis can do so, it is clear – to some of us, at least – that all is not lost. There is still hope. There is still tolerance, and courtesy, and good humour and goodwill towards fellow human beings in Pakistan.

    We can live together as good neighbours. We shall live together as good neighbours. And some day, we will live in proximity as good friends.

  4. ved

    A very good thought. A very touching article. We also wish the same. But I think, men to men, people to people Indians and Pakistanis have no problem. It is a problem at political level. Your military and our Political leadership has not shown will to resolve this question.
    We should also feed our public with correct information. In one of yours channel, I heard someone alleging a particular caste of India, as having “Mukh me allah aur bagal me chhura”. If you feed your people like this information, will they not be sceptical about us? If we start spreading same information about Muslims here, then what will think 20 crore Indian Muslims. If we would not change attitude of our public they will not be ready to part away with Kashmir nor will Pakistan’s longing for it.
    So what is solution? Here comes your idea of shared heritage. If we (both country men) believe that we shared a common culture and heritage and allowed to visit each other often to feel oneness with that heritage, then idea of taking away or parting off will be disappeared. Now we will start to protect our common culture.
    But in the last 62 years, Pakistan has moved away significantly towards culture of Arabia. And India any how clinging on the shared culture, but forces are their who want to take our culture to pre 1000 AD. So, if we will allow these rough elements room to manoeuvre then they will jeopardise our relations, which is happening today. Still people like you are their as light at the end of a dark long tunnel.

  5. yasserlatifhamdani

    I dont think Pakistan has moved closer to the culture of Arabia…

    There was an attempt in the 1980s…. but Pakistan remains precisely where it is.

  6. Vajra

    @ved

    broadly agree with you, but the elements trying to hijack Hindu society are not trying to take us beyond 1000 AD; that society was an intelligent, liberal, and broadminded society, completely on par with world cultures before or after. Instead, if those elements happen to be the same that I am thinking of, they are trying to tie us down to a particularly revolting stage of our history, when under pressure from various sides, we retreated and lost our enlightened view of the world, and acquired the habits of the ghetto.

    I could go on and on about this, but shall refrain in the interests of the public weal.

  7. YLH
    Well said. PTH offers its condolences to the victims of 26/11 and hopes that such incidents should not happen again. Our countries need to fight together against the menace of poverty, deprivation, alienation and marginalisation of millions who are more often than not the fodder for terror factories.

  8. Bhai,
    You are not our neighbor,but our brother,notwithstanding the acrimony between the nations because of self seeking politicians.We,majority of Indians , feel sorry for Pakistan and also are also angry as to why with such a common back ground, people of Pakistan seem to be harboring ill will against us.When your cricketers like Intiqab Alam,Asif Iqbal,Zaheer Abbas,Javed Maindad,not withstanding his clownish behavior,Wasim Akram are considered as our own , what prevents you from understanding us?
    Why can not the people of Pakistan show the door to warped generals and corrupt politicians and become friendly with us rather than distant US and a wily China?Why should you not shun the mullahs who spit venom on India?
    Why do not you own up your mistakes in treating India as your enemy and know that we have lived together for centuries?

  9. Pingback: Marking 26/11… A Letter To Our Neighbors. « Ramanan50's Blog

  10. Milind Kher

    All the above posts are very stirring. They create very positive feelings. However, there is also a sobering thought we need to keep in mind.

    Outside of PTH, we have hordes of mad mullahs on the one hand and hindutvavadis on the other who will need to be tackled. Achieving success in that is going to be a tough grind..

  11. Punjabi

    YLH,

    Ameen.

  12. Ummi

    We don’t see any apology from Indian side on killing of several Pakistanis by Indian RAW and soldiers in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir. Instead they think they do the right job.

    Pakistan needs to get rid of liberal muftis who like molvis of partition time consider division a “sin”.

  13. YLH

    Ummi mian…. 99% of all liberals amongst Muslims were solidly behind Mr. Jinnah…. so your comment is neither here nor there.

    But you being a dishonest crook will never admit the facts.

  14. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Pakistan: A Letter To The Neighbors

  15. Anil Kapuria

    Yasser:

    Your written words are sincere for those like me, who believe in you and next wave of leaders in South Asia.

    Don’t you think an inward looking Pakistan is the need for this hour? When Pakistan is internally strong, only then it can on the world, otherwise the outcome will be much the same over the next sixty years as has been during the last 60 years.

  16. wajid

    ramanan:

    while i understand the over all frustration and sincerity in your comment, i request you to please choose your words carefully.

    It has never been “people of Pakistan” harboring any terrorists. They never approved any such activity and in fact are the victims of security establishment.

    Shunning Mullahs and military is a slow political process, and people here have always used their voting power to prove this.

    Let me add that ‘people to people contact’ have always helped to normalize the tense state-to-state relationship between the two countries.

  17. neel123

    I wonder, who are all these people talking to…… !

    In Pakistan, only the Army matters, and my message to them,
    1. Respect the status quo. Don’t expect any concession after three wars.
    2. Give up the policy of using Terrorists as the tools of Foreign Policy.

    Peace will follow immediately.

  18. Bloody Civilian

    Peace will follow immediately

    and what else?

  19. Junaid

    Here is an article I wrote for Indians a month after 26/11

    Every Pakistani whether living abroad or in Pakistan was deeply touched by the tragedy of Mumbai attacks. Attacks like the one in Mumbai occur on a routine basis ever since Pakistan joined the Global War on Terror, however, the attacks in Mumbai were of greater concern to Pakistanis then the attacks of Marriot, carnage at PPP election rallies, the attacks of US drones in FATA and the attacks by suicide bombers on regular intervals in different cities . Reason being that the last time when the such an attack of such proportions was carried out in India, back in 2002, India threatened Pakistan with a full scale military invasion and amassed its troops along the Pakistani border. As of current standing, Pakistan and Pakistanis really cannot afford to have another war right in the middle of an ongoing war of which there seems to be no end.

    Visit the link to read the full story.

    http://sjunaidn.blogspot.com/2008/12/pakistanis-must-apologise.html

  20. Milind Kher

    There is a great need for awareness building about how the terrorists do not represent Islam in any way. Their pseudo Islamic rhetoric finds takers amongst the uneducated and unemployed.

    The immensely better quality of life in places where people have shown a nil tolerance towards terrorism needs to be highlighted.

  21. Gorki

    Dear Pakistani friend YLH,

    Thanks for your kind letter marking a sad day in our history when a murderous attack was launched on an unsuspecting city.
    Rest assured, your letter will not be interpreted as a sign of weakness but of strength and courage to acknowledge that we both are victims of the same vicious ideology that threatens to undo the meager progress we have made so far and that out founding fathers worked and hoped for.

    You do not have to feel sorry for any tardiness because while we remember this day with a heavy heart, and count our own losses, we are not unaware of the fact that your own house too is on fire at the moment.

    Much has been said in the last one year from each side and continues to be said. There have been angry accusations, and indignant denials; also some words of sympathy and kindness but then again some that smack of mean spirited gloating and even frank abuse.

    Sadly these things will go on for some time yet today is not the day to remember any of those. Today is a day when we must pause and take stock.
    A lot has happened in the last one year and what have we learnt?
    I guess a lot.

    First, about our neighbors like you.
    We have learnt that our neighbors are not made up of a single monolithic entity, peopled by the LET and run by the ISI bent on destroying us but a vibrant multifaceted society that multiple shades to it. It too has its share of mean spirited people but also thinkers and reformers, men and women capable of making rational choices, of asking tough questions and engaged in trying to build a better future.

    We have learnt sadly that the same virulent ideology that is bent on destroying us also dreams of taking our neighbors’ country into the dark ages. That perhaps there are many people on the other side who are fighting the same battle as us, who are our natural allies.

    We have learnt things about ourselves too. That in spite of our modest success in other fields, we have inefficient and disorganized security agencies; that need to change, and change fast.

    We learnt that amongst our midst we still have the best and worst kind there is; patriotic soldiers and police officers, the kind who laid their lives capturing suicidal terrorists yet also scoundrels masquerading as politicians who attack defenseless countrymen from other parts of India on the basis of language and ethnicity but were strangely AWOL when their city was under siege and commandos from other parts of the country were being flown in to save their miserable behinds.

    We learnt too that the attack though savage and murderous, could have caused a far greater harm; it could have led to a disastrous war among our two peoples; fortunately better sense prevailed under those trying times and it was averted.

    If there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it is a growing realization among responsible people on both sides that a few determined madmen can bring our two countries to the edge of disaster and that we have to resist them at all cost. The cost benefit ratio now appears to be heavily weighted against ever using any such loose cannons as ‘assets’.

    I remember reading the following passage from ‘The tale of two cities’ many years ago:
    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way’.

    Charles Dickens could very well have been writing about us.
    Let us hope that we can heed the implicit warning in his words. Let us strive to make our combined future that of the best of times, a future of wisdom and belief and of light and heaven since the alternative scenario is too terrible to imagine.

    Thank you once again for your letter; it is accepted in the spirit it was written.
    Regards.

  22. Milind Kher

    @Gorki,

    Amongst others, think of Smita Salaskar, Vinita Kamte and Kavita Karkare.

    All of them lost their husbands when they could actually have been saved if a larger force and better communication facilities had been available to them.

    Every citizen of India has the right to know why Messrs Salaskar, Kamte and Karkare were provided such poor cover. And the guilty need to be brought to book

  23. CHANDER MOHAN

    I was born in lahore in 1946. We had a house on Nisbat Road..26/11 has changed India as never before. So far our parliament had been attacked,our temples attacked our bazars attacked,our trains have ben attacked. we chose to forget and forgive but bombay was the last straw.
    I shudder to think what will be the consequences of another such misadventure.

  24. Punjabi

    Well, the Indian government will need to be very steady then. If India’s response to a future attack can be predicted to not be benign, then anybody looking to benefit heightened indo-pak trouble has an open invitation to orchestrate a Bombay II.

    India can’t afford to take the bait.

    Which means Indians will have to swallow their pride and just accept that doing anything will be worse than doing nothing. Not easy though. getting slapped in public by someone and having to just stand there and do nothing can eat the soul.

    The sooner Indians realize that their security and future prosperity depends on pakistan and that there is nothing they can do to change that, the sooner they may come to the calculation that compromise with pakistan will have to made.

    For my own part, I am not very hopeful. I don’t see Indian politicians leading the people onto a course different from what has defined the public and political discourse for 60 years.

    Besides, the phenomena that could bring India to come to a solution with pakistan would have to be seen in India to be gone for good, because otherwise, there would be no point. The pakistani authorities do not seem able to make that happen, should they even desire it.

    If Bombay II happens and MMS can’t keep the country under control, there will be hell to pay. by everyone.

  25. YLH

    Dear Friends from India…

    Let me give all of you something to think about…

    Within hours of the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan’s president received a phone call from “Pranab Mukherjee” who threatened war and retaliation. A similar phone call was received by Pakistan’s Army Chief… and the Pakistani Prime Minister.

    On the other side of the border Pranab Mukherjee received a similar call from the “President of Pakistan”.

    The US secretary of state also received a phone call from “Pranab Mukherjee” …. but she didn’t take it. The caller ID in the state department showed that the call originated from a British number…

    Omar Saeed Shaikh – jailed in Hyderabad- made these calls using an illegal British sim in his jail cell made these calls… to start a war between Pakistan and India.

    So I ask people like Chander Mohan to pause and not play the militants’ game for them.

    These facts can be confirmed from the Dawn website.

  26. Milind Kher

    @YLH,

    What you are saying is absolutely true. It is scary how the guy had access to such classified numbers.

    And it goes without saying that we do not need to get into the hands of the militants.

    We want Raahe nijaat to be a thumping success. Go, Pak Army!

  27. Punjabi

    Last night I had 3 pakistanis, 2 indians and a sri lankan over for drinks and dinner. We watched punjabi totay on youtube on my TV and we all watched zaid hamid and hassan nissar on youtube. We all howled at pleasure at the same things and laughed at the ridiculousness of the same things, we told dirty punjabi jokes and we inflated our egos by pontificating expertly on south asia and, one of the lahoris told us about his burning desire to go to moga where his family came from and one of the pakistani begged me to release their water before they die of thirst. Much fun was had by all.

    Friendship is where ever you are willing to accept it.

    Cheers.

  28. vajra

    @YLH

    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. However to the best of my knowledge, while attempts were made to speak to Pranab Mukherjee, the caller was not able to establish his credentials and Mukherjee didn’t take the call.

  29. Yasser, I appreciate your feelings. I am from Mumbai and me and my family members have used the trains all our lives. So the attack on the CST terminus was particularly unnerving.

    Having said that, I feel that your fears of an Indo-Pak war are a bit exaggerated. IMO, the only real reason why India would go to war with Pakistan is Kashmir. I think the capture of Kasab, has in some strange way, pacified India. IMO, the Indian strategists realize that going to war with Pakistan will not enhance India’s security environment in anyway, in fact it will only hamper Pak’s own fight against the terrorists.

    As far as media coverage is concerned, I think Pak and the rest of the world are unduly concerned, the results of the elections held in states and the Lok Sabha show that beyond the ‘metros’, terror is not really a political issue. In some ways, we cant complain, how many city slickers in Mumbai even talk about hunger and police atrocities in Chattisgarh.

  30. neel123

    Guys talking on behalf of India, do you realize that India has no soft option against a nation, which someone has described, is like a bandit that breaks into your living room and threatens to burst his brain all over your carpet if you resist.

    Blackmailing has got a new meaning from Pakistan.

    Indians must be prepared to make the sacrifice to protect their own national interest, and the time is now…….. !

  31. Gorki

    Neel 123: “..do you realize that India has no soft option…”

    Actually I do realize that; except IMHO the soft option would be to yield to a visceral impulse to lash out blindly at someone; for the sake of simply feeling good or to satisfy a section of the jingoistic public and the media. The tough option would be to do what the Indian Government did; resist playing into the hands of the extremists who would like nothing better at this point than to spark an Indo-Pakistan war.

    An no, I am not a mushy peacenik speaking; only someone who has seen this movie before; actually twice in the last decade, only with a different cast.

    The first was when a rag tag bunch of leftovers from a previous war attacked the sole remaining superpower and tied it into a quagmire in Afghanistan (Iraq was a self inflicted wound) Today with no end in sight even the hawks are now making noises about holding our noses and talk to the Taliban!
    Imagine that, talking to the Taliban; now, 3.6 billion a month for 8 years and hundreds of lives later. Talk now, from a position of relative weakness whereas we could have done that when the entire world sympathy was with us; and we could have tightened the noose economically, politically and otherwise around the Al Qaeda and its Taliban backers by using soft power alone till it either gave in or else slowly withered on the vine, a slow and forgotten death and without firing a shot!
    What is worse, in spite of the ‘bomb them back into the stone age’ warcry of the US neocons, the Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership remains free and has an excellent recruitment agency in the form of the same United States of America.

    The second example is that of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War in Lebanon, a situation in some ways similar to ours. It was the response of the IDF to a terrorist action by a militia operating beyond the control of any government but operating from the territory of another. On paper, it was no contest at all; Lebanon was a very weak country, the Hezbollah was only a militia without any heavy artillery or air support, with only 5000-10,000 part time volunteers. Israel OTOH is even today, a local superpower with awesome airpower. Yet in 34 days of war it was unable to achieve any of its military objectives; its soldiers still remain prisoners, it could not reach stop rocket attacks on its territory right up to the last day before the ceasefire; and what is more, it was asked by its ally the United States to halt the war when it became apparent that the campaign while hurting the Hezbollah some, was threatening to bring down a secular but weak Lebanese government in Beirut.
    It cost Israel close to 200 dead, 3.5 billion in cost and plenty of soul searching and high powered resignations in its aftermath.
    So much for the military options!!

    Does that mean then that we are helpless and we should do nothing if it happens again? The answer is no. We should do the right thing, more importantly the smart thing.
    Do the same thing we did last year; that is resist taking the bait to go for an all out attack on Pakistan but in the meantime, mount a strong diplomatic offensive, highlight the danger such groups pose to every one; India, the US, Pakistan and even China if we must.

    One year after 26/11 as we mourn our losses, notice how much stronger we are today compared to the LeT. We have exposed and isolated the LeT and its supporters, Kashmir valley is quieter than ever. Even it’s one time benefactors, in the Pakistani army realize today that the LeT has become a liability; its allies are being hunted down in active warfare by the officers and soldiers of the Pakistan army and no one today actively advocates supporting terror organizations as instruments of policy.
    In a bizarre twist, terrorist organizations that only a few months ago threatened to join up in a Jihad against India if it ever attacked Pakistan are being labeled RAW agents by some ultranationalist Pakistanis!
    Now isn’t that something?

    Regards.

  32. vajra

    @Gorki

    Do you think any Indian who genuinely wanted to take harsh action would be writing vaporous volumes about it in a Pakistani blog-site, for Heavens’ sakes? This is just another attention-seeker, playing out his pathetic fantasies in front of an audience that he hopes will respond to him, even in a negative way, since nobody else will.

    And do you think he hopes to achieve anything by addressing Indians who write into this blog? Of course not; he knows he will be rejected, by some with courteous words and logical explanation, by some with less courtesy and less tolerance of his open trench-coat displays.

    Do as you will; you are known to be willing to spend infinite amounts of time on the intellectually and morally lame, the halt and the blind. But it is a pity that your genuine warmth and humane goodwill keeps getting diverted by these psychological basket cases.

    Look at it this way: battlefield surgeons first used triage; use it here. These excursions to save those who cannot be saved amount to a waste of bandwidth, an inefficient allocation of resources.

  33. Milind Kher

    @Gorki,

    I completely agree with you that India has done a wonderful thing by observing restraint in this matter. It has been statesmanship of the highest order which has ensured that no aggressive moves were made.

    Regarding Hezbollah, there is something I would like to bring to your notice. Israel had been riding the Palestinians rough shod, shooting them and incarcerating them at will. Hezbollah proved that it could stand up to Israel. And the reason Israel could not subdue them, inspite of awesome military might is because Israel knows it does not have justice on its side.

  34. lalded

    It was not the “…statesman like restraint..”but the lack of options .War allout was not an option,”surgical strikes”sound good on paper but with targets merging with the local population things wd get messy with possibility of escalation.Hence all the noise including “appeals to the international community and the US” to pressurise Pak to take action .Our politicians as usual reverted to their role of “Rudalis(hired mourners}”and official pall bearers of victims.

  35. Milind Kher

    In the circumstances, it may have been necessary for India to use pressure from the international community and from the US, as it did not have the necessary leverage with Pakistan.

    Ultimately, the bottom line was that Pakistan had to be got to rein in the terrorists. That has been achieved. However, if Zardari bows out and Gilani is vested with full powers, the extent to which he would cooperate is a question mark.

  36. Bloody Civilian

    as far as the critical importance of pakistanis (and therefore pakistan) being able to own the wider war is concerned, there is also a definite down-side to too much or the wrong kind of ‘diplomatic pressure’, unrelenting. how about some diplomatic support too? and understanding, not necessarily entirely diplomatic?

    may be by unrelenting pressure, and other means if necessary, physical results can be obtained. i’m more interested in the psychlogical and ideological enemy, and the long term war. there the struggle can become more difficult or easier depending on diplomatic and int’l actions, omissions and attitudes.

  37. Milind Kher

    @BC,

    It was not the people that needed persuasion in this case. It was the administration, and it did happen.

    It is not always possible for nations to complete things bilaterally, which is when outside help is sought.

  38. rex minor

    Now I do not want to act as a spoiler, nor would I welcome any snotty comments from some and having appreciated all sweet, nice and sincere expressions and even quotations from the dead what he said and what he meant, including several gossips about the phone calls, perhaps you should be also considering the simple but crude reality:
    . Pakistan army consumes more than sixty percent of the Country’s total budget.
    . India is using more than half a million troops to suppress the hostile kashmiri population.
    . The US and Nato plan to increase their military stregnth in Afghanistan to quarter of a million in 2010. This could increase depending upon the situation in 2010.
    . Pakistan and China are upgrading their military co-operations including that in the Indian Ocean.
    I do not wish to make the issue more complex by adding the military preparations being made by Iran and Israel.
    For you to conclude that the so called ‘terrorist’ is the common enemy facing India and Pakistan is to say it mildly is a simplistic view of the situation. Pakistan army pre-occupation in the north is a temporary diversion and is based on the notion that foreigners need to be removed from the autonomous region of the tribal territory. One does not have to be a great military strategist to know that Pakistan military activities were simultaneausly increased along the Indian kashmir border.
    I can only repeat the Vajra golden words expressed above:
    You are my friend after you are my good neighbour, and without seeking a lesser goal, there is no point in seeking a great one. For a start why does’nt the Pakistan civilian Govt. either openly declare support or prohibit the activity of any group found engaged in violence against the Indian mainland. The Indian Govt. on the other hand could change their foreign policy and instead of seeking intervention or support from the declining Super power USA, stop suppression of the kashmiri volks by the military and eliminate the bogey used by Pakistan successive Govts. Is it impossible to hold a refrendum in kashmir allowing the people of Kashmir to decide their own future. It is a great folly of our times that fully armed nuclear powers are located in close proximity, with their rockets aimed at each other’s towns and installations, not even fearing the possibility of a mishap. The United States could not have avoided the mishap if the soviets had not withdrawn their nukes from Cuba. I guess in the meantime the communication of peoples with one another showing willingness for friendship is harmless.

  39. Hayyer

    rex minor:
    “Now I do not want to act as a spoiler, nor would I welcome any snotty comments from some”
    Not snotty-only olderly. In my experience both knowledge and wisdom linger till minority is well past.

  40. neel123

    @ Gorki,
    You have to realize that the Americans have a bigger plan for the region in the decades ahead.

    The Americans, over the decades, have invested way too much in Pakistan, and they do not want to see that go waste. Pakistani Army is the only entity on earth that are open to providing the required services to the US in exchange of dollars and arms. This provides them with good leverage on the big power and a cost effective means to fight India.

    As things stand now, the Americans need India, while retaining the services of Pakistan. That is a tricky job, and they are working overtime to :

    1. Make the Pakistani Army, to accept a climb down vis a vis India. This being done through direct diplomacy, and indirectly by having them to fight the war they don’t want to. The Americans can prolong this war as long as they want, to wear down the Pak army.

    2. To placate and cajole the Taliban to an workable arrangement.

    But all these efforts are doomed to fail in the short term because,

    1. There is a greater play going on in the Islamic world to unite the Muslim Umma, and preparing for a grand showdown against the Infidels ( Christians, Jews and Hindus), which is being spearheaded by Saudi Arabia. The current war in AfPak is a piece in that. It is the clandestine Saudi funding channeled through Pakistan, that sustains these so called rag-tag warriors.
    They are counting on their Petro-dollars, and the Pakistani nukes.

    2. Their plan is also to ride the back of Communist China which, with its growing clout, is expected to be their natural ally in the above war, atleat they are believed to have an understanding with China in that respect.

    Weakening of the US is key to winning the war, and their strategy is to bleed the Americans economically and literally as long as possible. Crumbling US economy is GOD sent for them !

    I am sure the Americans are reading it correct, and have their plans for the Saudis too in future. Interestingly, the Pakistanis know it too, and they also know that Pakistan is also an eventual target in future.

    But right now it is all about playing games and buying time. The Americans are playing the game by the same rules, pumping in money to create their own proxies, without relying on the ISI. India’s traditional good relation with the Afghans is a help in that regard.

    For Pakistan, the options are limited, as the Americans will not tolerate a nuclear Pakistan in that grand showdown of the future. Or conversely, there will not be a showdown without the Pakistani nukes …….. too complicated to predict the future.

  41. YLH

    What a ridiculously doomsday vision…

    If Americans are indeed thinking along these lines… or more accurately… if their Indian advisors have indeed convinced them of this ridiculous scenario… then I am afraid we are all doomed.

    And the biggest loser in this grand strategy of stupid idiots… will be India itself.

    I hate it to break it to you … but India needs Pakistan… i.e. a progressive, democratic and secular Pakistan… which is at peace with India… for India to continue to be a regional power. The alternative… a divided Pakistan… will mean Taliban on Wahga border….

  42. Milind Kher

    The “doomsday vision” belongs in the domain of phantasmagoria.

    Coming down to a more sober and realistic perspective, yes, India needs a stable ( preferably secular )Pakistan. We definitely do not want to see the Taliban at the Wagah border !

  43. vajra

    @rexminor

    Suppose I were to tell you that nothing would happen if we all did as you said to do.

    There is something in the brevity of your sentences, and your selection of words, that draws one to believe that any further humorous asides or needling barbs may cause a minor explosion. Treating your comments with the utmost seriousness, therefore, with my tongue parked firmly outside my cheek, and my sense of humour parked in neutral, let us examine your proposition.

    It appears from your bullet points that you wish us to remember that a lot of military expenditure is taking place in the region, riding on the back of considerable military activity. Based on this, you have correctly pointed out, I believe not without favourable consideration of others’ views, that friendship will follow, good neighbourliness must precede it. True enough.

    The difficulty – from a simplistic, dulled_to_a_point_of_imbecility standpoint, there is no guarantee that any good will follow from India allowing the Vale of Kashmir, Ladakh and the Jammu region separately to hold referendums on how and where they wish to be placed. On the balance of evidence, it appears (Pakistani readers can skip this bit) that Jammu will vote for India, Ladakh will vote for India, the Vale may vote for India, for independence or for Pakistan. Quite honestly, at this point of time, nobody can really say. Particularly at this point of time.

    We leave aside any consideration of the inequitable nature of such a referendum, given that Pakistan has arbitrarily absorbed a large portion of the disputed territory within its territory, and from the Pakistani point of view, the Northern Territories have exited Kashmir. This is a furtherance of the incredibly ad hoc constitutional expediencies that Pakistan has adopted in its approach to the Kashmir problem.

    So we find ourselves at the end of this referendum conducted exclusively in the Indian part of the territory, with results showing that two regions will stay with India, and the third has confused feelings. Assume that the confused feelings of the third section are sufficiently in sync with the confusion of the country of Pakistan, and as a result, Pakistan is well content with the result. Troops are re-shuffled appropriately, the Vale is no longer India’s to subsidise but Pakistan’s, and we can move to the next step.

    I submit, comrade, that there will be no next step.
    I put it to you that
    1. the Pakistani military will point out that there is still a very dangerous presence of the Indian military in the vicinity of Bhopal, with strong concentrations in the foothills of the Himalayas, only a few hundreds of kilometres from the boundaries of Pakistan.
    2. They will point out that once having run down forces, it will be extremely difficult to increase them to present levels again.
    3. They will point to the massive plans for Al Khalid manufacture and deployment, to the extent of 600 tanks planned.
    4. They will ask for the upgradation of the artillery to be taken into account.
    5. They will point out that without a significant Army Air Corps presence, no Army can survive in the battlefield of the future.
    6. The Air Force will ask what is to happen to their collaboration to make the J11 fighter. Not to mention the AWACS capability that is desperately urgently needed.
    7. The Navy will point out that their submarine procurement and deployment programme is only started, and will need considerable supplementary activity to maintain a fleet that can fight off the planned fleets of their neighbours.

    The resolution of the Kashmir problem is necessary from India’s point of view, because it had itself proposed it. It is NOT necessary for India to solve it to achieve peace with Pakistan, since there will be no peace with Pakistan even after solving it.

    The Pakistan establishment lost the story after the country achieved independence; they neither supported the vision of their founding father, nor did they go the extra mile and become an Islamic Republic. They therefore conjured up the arch-enemy India as a permanent enemy and more or less proclaimed holy war, as an integral part of their vision of India-centred hostility.

    The military had similar motivations. Besides the India as enemy of God motivation, as has been stated quite blandly in these columns themselves, is needed to keep the troops fighting. Any sign of weakness, and they are lost once and for ever.

    So you see, comrade rex minor, the steps that you have recommended are likely to take place, perhaps some more time later. But it will not fix India-Pakistan relations. Nothing but the establishment in Pakistan can fix India-Pakistan relations, nothing but the down-sizing of the Pakistan Army and the dissolution, or the placing under civilian control of the ISI. And those, dear Sir, are not going to happen. Sorry.

  44. neel123

    @ Vajra,
    Congratulations on clarity in your understanding of the issue.
    The truth is, as you have described,
    “there will be no peace with Pakistan even if kashmir isssue is resolved”.

    Musharraf made this clear in one of his statements.

    I also think, 50,000 sq.kms of Aksai Chin, illegally seceded to China has to be first reversed, for any legal solution to the issue.

  45. Punjabi

    Neel,

    I mean no offence, but you’re starting to sound like the conspiracy theorists who have war gamed everything in their drawing rooms and have figured out the calculations that are the engines behind everything that we see happening.

    If only governments were so organized as to have deep strategic calculations spanning decades.

    A big US plan for south asia? Whats in that plan? Who signed off on it? Has Congress appropriated funding for it? Are all past, current and future presidents and their minions agreed on it?

    There is no plan. There are certainly bureaucrats whose job it is to stay informed and war game various scenarios, judge the effect of those on america’s interests and based on that, advise politicians on american policy. But thats far far removed from the US having a plan for south asia.

    You say that “Weakening of the US is key to winning the war.” Which war is this? America had an economic downturn and suddenly everybody is having wet dreams.

    China is in no position to displace the US as the prime driver of the world economy. Without american ideas and american thinking and without the US market to absorb Chinese production, the Chinese would end up back in the gutter with the rest of us.

    The saudis, yeah, we’re told that they are in the business of exporting salafist ideology and the funding to back it up. Thats the war against the US that they are planning to win with Chinese assistance? Well, if the saudis are planning to bring down the american giant, they need to think again. The last time somebody tried that didn’t get very far.

    As a pro american, pro-capitalism, pro democracy moron, I am seriously concerned about the situation the US has gotten itself into where its best and brightest spent 10 years trying to figure out how to the goose to lay all the golden eggs right away and killed it in the process. I am concerned how american politics and policy shifted wealth generation from engineering, research and manufacturing to inflation of property values. I am concerned about how this conflation of policy, ideological absolutism and corruption on wall street have caused the foundation of the American standard of living to become dependent on Chinese factory output.

    But the shoe is still very much on America’s foot. When the Saudis demonstrate that they can lead the world to an oil exporting economy and a monarchia salafist polity, or the chinese demonstrate that they have the constant stream of innovation and ideas that drive google, intel, GE, Goldman and desirable political thinking to displace the US, I’ll believe that the US really is going to lose whatever war these upstarts think they are waging. And i’ll get scared as hell because I don’t want to live in a world lead by communists or salafists.

    But to return to my original point, there are no american plans for south asia. If there were, you wouldn’t have India and pakistan both whining about the vagaries and vacillations of american south asian policy.

  46. neel123

    @ Punjabi,
    Well my friend, all I would say is, there is always much more than meets the eyes. Political figures say big things for public consumption, while their strategic community act in a way that often goes in the opposite direction. There are hundres of expmples, destroying Iraq on the basis of fabricated intelligence is the most recent one.

    Nations play dirty games of power, based on their strength and perception of national interests.

    A lot will happen in the days ahead, and I am not talking of five or ten years.

  47. Punjabi

    If they had gone to the trouble of fabricating intelligence to invade Iraq according to a plan, the plan would have included a chapter on how wmds would be “found”.

    Maybe the assistant deputy secretary of the Intelligence Fabrication department was a democrat.

  48. Mustafa Shaban

    @YLH: This was a very well written letter. We should extend a hand of friendship towards India, and vice versa.

  49. Luqmaan

    @Mustafa
    >We should extend a hand of friendship towards India

    What if — all that the Indians want is to be left alone?

    Luq

  50. Milind Kher

    The Saudis have always been solidly pro US, hence the question of their turning against the US does not arise. US support also ensures stability of the monarchy.

    That apart, the notion of all Muslim nations uniting on a common platform can at best be treated as a Pan Islamic dream. It has never happened so far.

    As far as China is concerned, it yet has miles to go before it can compare itself with the US on all parameters.

  51. vajra

    It is as big a mistake to lump all Saudis together, as it is to lump all Indians together, all Pakistanis together, all Muslims together, all Hindus together….you get the drift.

    The Saudi royal house is solidly pro-US. Not necessarily its clergy, however much control the state exercises over its senior members and its institutions. Not necessarily members of its society, elements who have decided that their duties and obligations including funding the most aggressive preachers and civil movements. It is not directly from the state budget and the state exchequer that Saudi Arabia is responsible, which is why their ambassador walked out on a raving, ranting Ram Jethmalani. Their responsibility as motive-engine of Islamic fundamentalism and retrograde indoctrination is the responsibility of sponsoring preachers who turn out, in a certain proportion, not universally, to be preachers of hate; their responsibility is in sponsoring and funding apparently non-violent institutions and bodies, which in reality leave only the actual, overt arms-buying and deployment of terrorists outside the scope of funding.

    Perhaps (I have no information on this, no evidence whatsoever, and this is entirely speculative) in some cases, even this tokenism is absent.

    So assuming pro-US feelings is ‘somewhat exaggerated.’

    Regarding pan-Islamic sentiment and the claims of China to world leadership, again, generalisations are generalisations; all generalisations are untrue, including this one!

  52. vajra

    @neel123

    No, I don’t think we are in agreement; congratulations are somewhat premature.

    Please be very clear that India needs to resolve the dissidence in Kashmir for her own sake, not to solve other, further problems, certainly not to curry favour with the Pakistani establishment.

    That establishment will hide a smile at the idiocy and naivete that such an expectant attitude should inspire, and go about its regular business, with not a second’s pause for breath.

    Secondly, the illegally occupied 50,000 sq. kms. of Aksai Chin has nothing whatsoever to do with the business of allowing free expression of their choice to residents of the Vale of Kashmir. While the territory was in the custody and therefore under the Mandate of India, we managed to lose it militarily. How on earth is it logical to link it to the Kashmiris of the Vale? How are they concerned?

    As far as Pakistan ceding it to China is concerned, if it satisfies your apparently insatiable streak of aggression, I suggest that you should in your personal capacity donate the land in and around Peshawar to Mr. Karzai. That should be a sufficiently robust blow, an exactly equivalent blow, to the cheeky Pakistanis, giving away what isn’t theirs to give. And the rest of us, in India and Pakistan alike, can get on with our lives.

  53. Alethia

    I am happy that a Pakistani has written such a conciliatory and apologetic letter to Indians concerning the Mumbai massacre. It was the right thing to do.

    About terrorism emanating from Pakistan: The NorthWest Frontier province and the tribal areas (now in Pakistan) have from ages been wild and woolly. Full of ferment. But, suppose hypothetically there was no partition in 1947.

    I don’t think a united India could have controlled the violence from that area any better than the Pakistan government can now.

    Do you agree?

  54. YLH

    Alethia,

    Absolutely agree… infact it would be disastrous and would have started much earlier.

    The peculier politics of NWFP allows for only two ideas … i.e. Pushtun Nationalism and Islam.

    Any federal nationalism, Indian or Pakistani, is automatically rejected…. After partition, a combination of Pushtun Nationalism and Islam was used by some former members of the frontier Congress in form of Fakir of Ipi against the new state of Pakistan… since then Pakistan has been fighting these twin demons… which is why you have the Army Chief trying to play chief ideologue in Peshawar.

  55. Majumdar

    Yasser,

    The peculier politics of NWFP allows for only two ideas … i.e. Pushtun Nationalism and Islam.
    Any federal nationalism, Indian or Pakistani, is automatically rejected

    That cud be simply becuase NWFP isnt really a part of the subcontinent unlike (most of) India and cis-Indus Pakistan.

    Regards

    Btw: Belated Eid Mubarak to you, all of our Muslim friends on PTH and their families.

  56. Milind Kher

    Even in Saudi Arabia, there is no uniformity of belief. Whereas the House of Saud is Salafi, a large portion of the population is traditionally Sunni.

    It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia has never even done anything to support Palestine, the question of supporting Muslims across the globe simply does not arise.

  57. Ummi

    my darling yasser.

    ok a/c to you 1%(that is molvis) were against Pakistan. I am just endorsing your statement by saying that leftist mullahs of today are just following the foot prints of their ancestors.

    @milind kher: Thanks for your wishes for Pak Army. Rah-e-Nijat movemen successfully eliminating Indian raw agents who disguised as Talibans and created unrest situation in the country. Our Army spokesmen Ather Abbas clearly expressed in press conference that they found the proof of India’s involvement in S.Waziristan. Though i have no hope from left wing phattu zardari govt to register the protest against India but facts remain same.

    In the light of all these facts, the next step of Rah-e-Nijat to getrid of elements who are coming from across the border(indian side) and creating troubles in Punjab areas.

    India on other hand need to take care of infinite separate movements initiated by their own non-muslims version of Talibans.

  58. Milind Kher

    @Ummi,

    If you choose to believe what you believe, I really do not want to dispute the issue with you.

    As far as India’s “non muslim” issues, they aren’t the topic of conversation here. So, I have not understood why you have referred the matter to me.

    Thanks for enlightening me regarding the various bits of information that you have picked up.

  59. Bloody Civilian

    vajra

    interesting to note the deluge of prophecies appearing on PTH since the one heralding the dawn of the century of the pashtun. the ‘arrangement’ re. akse chin, afaik, is subject to a final settlement of the kashmir dispute between pakistan and india. notwithstanding your views or mine on the subject, it was the govt of india who decided that kashmir was a bilateral and an int’l dispute and the promise made was not just to the people of kashmir but also to that of pakistan and the world (i’m paraphrasing nehru’s words there). then we had simla trying to make it strictly bilateral again. i, like you, wish the GoI had never bothered to think of it as a dispute in the first place. i don’t exactly know your reasons for thinking so, but suspect you know mine.

  60. rex minor

    @Vajra,
    Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that I agree with your analogy. In formulating their domestic and foreign policies in the past sixty years or so Indian leaders have never considered Pakistan’s interests in the sub-continent. They do not need to change it now, but for their own domestic politics and international image as well as neutralising the unfriendly actions of its neighbours, as number of actions need to come from India.
    Those who view Pakistan as a secular state( the western model) or an Islamic state(saudi model) have a very limited and narrow view of Islam. A muslim Pakistan State could have become a model for the so called Islamic countries where people have equal rights regardless of their gender and ethnic or religion background. It matters a little what the founders of Pakistan aims were? No one should disturb them from their sleep now. Like we say here ” Et es, wie et es”( It is as it is) and “Nix bliev, wie et es”(Nothing remains as it is).
    @Hayyer,
    Yes, both knowledge and wisdom linger on and also multiply on account of human errors which could have been prevented. History takes its own course, but those who are familiar with the anatomy of humans would know that the human brain is the most powerful piece of machine we are bestowed with. Yet, on account of failed educational models practiced in various countries of the world including that in the United States, the mankind by and large have been “lingering” along and collecting wisdom out of its mistakes, never recognising fully the potential of the human server.
    Incidently, there are no rag tags warriors in the Pushtoon territory, You should see them when they are in a battle and make the regular army into a rag tag outfit made of scared soldiers, as we sometimes see on them on the cable nettworks. Perhaps, any one of you having interest could ask the Pakisdtan Army to allow independent journalists to visit their great battles with the rag tag warriors.

  61. Bloody Civilian

    YLH

    Any federal nationalism, Indian or Pakistani, is automatically rejected

    you’re thinking of a few districts in north nwfp, in terms of politics and not necessarily what people want. north and south nwfp are at least as different as north and south punjab. more importantly, in terms of politics, you’re focussing on what happens to fill the vacuum than what is responsible for creating it in the first place. how do you explain ppp or pml victories when and where they do take place? and we haven’t even gone into the tribal-settled area divide.

    even in case of ipi, neither the ideology nor the ideologues who inspired and misled him were natives. his real motivation was of course no different than baitullah’s: the considerable estate that potential successors fought and killed each other over before hakimullah won control.

  62. YLH

    ummi mian… you’ve ceased to make sense.

  63. YLH

    BC,

    I agree with that you are saying. Perhaps we don’t give people there credit ….

    Perhaps… this is why we need to fill that vacuum by giving our people in NWFP a third option of a federal Pakistani nationalism that works.

  64. Mustafa Shaban

    @Luqmaan: Well what I meant is that there is great potential for peace. Whoever wants to be left alone will be left alone, but i dont think indians want to be left alone. It is India that has a much more interventionist and aggressive tone towards Pakistan rather than the other way around. But whatever the case I think there is much potential for peace. Hopefully this will be attained in the near future.

  65. Milind Kher

    A lot of people in Pakistan believe that many gestures from India are needed to have abiding peace.

    However, the Indian perspective is that a lot of terrorism in India occurs because of terrorist training camps in Pakistan. There is also a firm belief that Pakistan wants to avenge itself for the 1971 debacle, and is hence doing all this.

    Two things needed from Pakistan are, tangible results from the war on terror, and credible, responsible people standing up in Pakistan and saying that they want peace with India.

    This will neutralize all ill will and will also subdue the hawks on the Indian side, so that the true voice of the people gets across.

  66. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    I thought it was ludicrous referring to Aksai Chin’s cession (not secession) as an Indo-Pakistani problem. It is now under the control of neither; if a final settlement recognises everything outside the Vale, the Northern Territories and Muzaffarpur as Indian, there might then be a question about the tenability of Pakistan’s cession of AC to China. But a case might exist, depending on the terms of the settlement, that all past laws and legislations enacted by the Pakistani Government or the Indian Government would be considered legally binding on the other side. In that case, the cession of Aksai Chin by Pakistan to China would be binding on India. India would be left with the choice of disputing the cession, renewing the cession with China or just turning her face to the wall and sulking, refusing to acknowledge that anything had happened, anything at all.

    Just to clarify, I think India had a perfectly good case in re Kashmir, and blew it by internationalising it. YLH has put down the sequence of events very clearly earlier, and we can stick to it. I think that India should retain its position of keeping international commitments without quibbling, and it should act with that in mind, not in order to cultivate any section of opinion in any other country, nor to achieve a studied effect in the minds of onlookers, but because, very simply, it is the right thing to do. I don’t want us to do anything else. I think I already know well why you thought similarly, although the reasons are different, and it is what I would expect an honourable man of any nationality to think.

    @rex minor

    I am sorry, but in a deplorably voluble state of mind, I mailed three distinct mails to the site, and I am no longer sure which you are referring to. Please could you identify it?

    I note that you are in Belgium. Apostrophising you, for the sake of irony, as Dutch was not too far afield after all.😀

  67. Punjabi

    WOuld india have been able to control the tribal areas any better than the GoP has been….

    THis question highlights the stupidity of clinging to british defined boundaries of British India. Since the boundary contains the body, the tendency is to hold the boundaries as the sacrosanct, when the truth is that british India’s boundaries were did not define united India, but were zones where British authority went from certain to ambiguous. What could be considered British India lay further inside the boundaries.

    The british withdrawal from India should ideally have addressed these ambiguous gray zones were pax brittanica did not really extend. Pakistan and India didn’t do it either. which means pakistan has inherited the NWFP and balochistan and India has inherited aksai chin.

    It would seem that the sensible thing for India and pakistan to do would be come to a grand regional settlement with the balochis, pushtoons, kashmiris, and chinese, and with each other.

    but I am dreaming of course. Pakistan has no intention of allowing the secession of NWFP or FATA or Balochistan, no more than India intends to allow the secession of Kashmir or to surrender Arunachal Pradesh to China.

    India and pakistan should consider the cost of insisting upon maintaining the boundaries of british India as their own boundaries. For Pakistan, it means the absence of law and government authority in territory that is under the protection of sovereign pakistan. For India it means conflict with China.

    Though I tend to suspect that in the case of China and India, its not about real chinese interest interest in arunachal. I think its just a convenient issue to rattle India’s cage with and keep India tense.

    Anyway, to me it looks foolish to expect either country to make concessions that make the other look the winner. but a grand regional bargain that makes everyone feel like everyone has done the right thing may just work. I just don’t think that anyone is in a mood to do the right thing. they’re only looking for others to do the right thing.

  68. vajra

    @Punjabi

    I hate getting into positions that pit me against GoI policy, implicitly our national point of view, but there are some historical blunders, of mammoth proportions, which are really difficult to defend. One of these is the so-called, and utterly idiotic McMahon Line.

    A Pakistan-oriented blog is hardly the place to critique it, but judging from what you have already written, you are well aware of the unnecessarily sly tactics used by McMahon, totally at variance with his brief, and seemingly contrary to Simla’s thinking, and the result, where the line lay ahead of the watershed at places, behind at places, and on the watershed at places. Further, unlike a natural frontier, this was largely undefendable.

    The same applies to the Aksai Chin area, as you presumably already know; if you look at it closely on Google Maps or any other mapping application, you can only be horrified at the way in which the military is exposed, and defenceless, if asked to defend the existing boundaries.

    I have no doubt that the Durand Line was another candidate for the Booker Prize.

    Just to make things interesting, Milliband has officially repudiated colonial boundaries established by Britain, specifically in the context of China.

    There goes the neighbourhood.

    Your last two paragraphs make mournful reading. They do seem to be the only way we can reduce our headaches and get on with the rest of our lives, and they also seem to be impossible to achieve.

    I think that the habit of British India’s successor states of thinking of themselves as natural heirs was a stupendous mistake, and has held both back, not with regard to each other, but with regard to others.

    If only……

  69. Alethia

    There seems to be a general agreement here among Pakistanis and Indians and others that the Mumbai massacre was an atrocious occurrence, that we feel pain for the innocent victims and that, yes, Pakistan has a special responsibility to apprehend the terrorists involved.

    There also seems to be some agreement that the wild and woolly NWFP province and tribal areas of Pakistan are governed with great difficulty no matter who tries to govern it – Pakistan or a hypothetical scenario where partition never took place.

    My 2 questions are: Why can’t the Indian establishment at least give some acknowledgement to the Pakistani establishment that NWFP & TA’s are hard to govern and they understand how difficult it is to control any terrorism from there? Or is that the Indian establishment is just trying to score brownie points with the West and make Pakistan look bad?

  70. Milind Kher

    @Alethia,

    We agree that NWFP, FATA etc are very difficult to govern. However, GOP had not taken any significant initiative before the current one.

    The Swat deal was another major blunder. All this combined does not paint a very positive picture of Pakistan. Also, unlike Zardari, Gilani has a fairly hostile posture with respect to India. If Zardari is eased out, Indo Pak relations can again become a problem.

  71. Alethia

    @Milind Kher:
    OK, Pakistan did make some mistakes initially in Swat, but they have rectified that by now.

    But really, I will only talk about Pakistan’s policies, not about which individual leader is better or not. That is an internal concern of theirs.

    @Majumdar:
    You said something to the effect that NWFP may not really be part of the Subcontinent?
    In that hypothetical situation of no partition in 1947, would a hypothetical united India have given-up NWFP? I think not.

  72. vajra

    @Alethia

    Those were reasonable summaries of the consensus, but one felt that your question was skewed.

    It isn’t anyone’s case in India, AFAIK, that the difficulty and danger posed to peaceful Indian citizens is from the NWFP or from FATA at all. Instead, if you look at the spectrum of terror analysed by Ms. Siddiqa recently, reported in full on PTH, it is the Jehadi groups, essentially the LeT, sometimes in disguise and sometimes boldly out in the open and the JeM that seem to be responsible for most of the trouble. There were at one time some reports of Taliban or TTP, nobody is quite sure which, and the photographs of the infiltrators certainly gave no clue to their identity, infiltrating, but there are no more of those.

    As far as these jehadi elements are concerned, they are constantly associated with the Punjab, and with a place called Muridke. One is not personally familiar with the information submitted to Pakistan on these issues, but is fairly sure that such information would not have spoken of, for instance, Baitullah Mehsud or Mullah Omar, but of others for whose detention and trial we have been asking for some time.

    Without wishing to seem ungracious or insensitive, or perish forbid, indifferent to the difficulties faced by the people, the government and the military forces of Pakistan in bringing about the writ of the state in NWFP and in FATA, one is compelled to point out that actually the concern is with these groups, and not the ones that worry the Americans (assuming that they are not worried about that particular bunch of savages that is troubling us).

    One should imagine that it is highly unlikely that any member of the Indian establishment is unaware of the difficulties that face counter-insurgency operations. There does exist, as must be pointed out with absolutely no intention of seeming smug, notwithstanding appearances, a track record in India of addressing counter-insurgency operations. So there is clear and well-demarcated understanding of the problems faced.

    You mentioned that the establishment may be seeking to score brownie points with the west and to be hoping to make pakistan look bad. There is absolutely no doubt in one’s mind that there are such elements, and individuals, on the Indian side. They do not, however, represent our views as a nation. Our views as a nation have been articulated with finesse and decency, under dreadful pressure from those of us with lesser breadth of character and vision, by our Prime Minister. It is unlikely that there will be a divided side on our side addressing the Americans. No brownie points, no making Pakistan look bad.

    On the other hand, it would be puerile and dishonest to pretend that there wasn’t anger and a desire to strike back. It was a good decision not to do any of this, and that anger and that desire are losses of equanimity by us that are to be kept under strict control. Peace is a shy bird.

    For these reasons, an encouraging stance by the Indian establishment, intelligent though that would be, is unlikely just at the moment. perhaps after some serious action has been taken against the terrorists.

  73. Milind Kher

    @Alethia,

    Yes, the mistakes have been rectified to some extent, but not totally.

    The heat has been put on the TTP, but not so much on LeT or JeM. D Company also roams around fearlessly in Pakistan. In a 21st century where the world is slowly coming to a consensus on a nil tolerance towards terrorism, this does not go down very well.

    Think of all the wonderful people in Pakistan whose image takes a beating because of the vested interests of its establishments.

    This is not to deny that we have our own share of bigots.

  74. Hayyer

    Punjabi and Vajra:
    I wonder if in your consensus that the former subcontinental boundaries of British empire should be abandoned you can accommodate the view that the Chinese empire should end too. Surely China as distinct from the Chinese empire is located some 1000 miles north and east of appropriate reference points. Surely India (and Pakistan) have not fought off one empire to accept the hegemony of another, less liberal and less tolerant overlord.It seems that they prefer, in their mutually destructive strife to tear each other apart rather than maintain the utilitarian political unity imposed by the British

  75. vajra

    @Hayyer

    Since you raise the issue, and although this is going rather far afield, may I point out to readers the really absurd situation that more than 50% of the land mass of the PRC is constituted of the totally alien provinces of Qing Hai, Xinjiang and what I prefer to call Tibet. Even a cursory look at history will show that China’s claim to Xinjiang is through right of brutal conquest, with not a shred of justification beyond the iron rule of Chinese military might.

    I wish to ask if anybody knows the origins of the Chinese claim to Tibet, which is so flippantly taken for granted by everybody. It is such an incredible claim that I am persuaded that people don’t really know.

    I will respond to Hayyer’s chargesheet in 24 hours, only in order to give people an opportunity to read up on that farrago of nonsense that is their claim.

    Hayyer, some interpretations of the Greater Tibetan Empire give it dominion over the Hindu Shahis for some time, as well as over Bengal. By using the Han Chinese argument, we Bengalis can lay claim to Kabul and Zabul (let us please not have to confront rex minor; this was just an illustration, and Bloody Civilian’s reversion to ethnic stereotype in his merciless ways with peaceful Bengalis already serves as a cautionary tale). Perhaps a safer example would be to point out that by that token, Bengal can lay claim to Qing Hai.

    If I could take up the presentation of the case for the defendant tomorrow, M’Lud……..

  76. Alethia

    @Vajra & Milind Kher:

    Thank you for your comments. We seem to basically agree on a few points which is good. (We don’t need to agree on points for me to respect your opinions, and I do).

    As an friend to India and Pakistan and an admirer of both cultures, I also have some knowledge of your history, though only cursorily, I admit.

    I am an American. I guess you might say “through and through”. But your history tells me how the people of Pakistan and India endured the effects of colonialism and racism for centuries. I am of the belief that we all should forgive and forget. We should especially be forgiving.

    But I am against anachronisms reappearing and I am not shy to express it. The way that some in “the West” have treated Pakistanis is a throw- back to those bad old days of colonialism.

    Pakistan has become their whipping boy. Pakistan has become their beast of burden, their buffalo in the mud. “Do more” is the call.

    I feel very sad about this.

    Can’t Indians feel something for this? Am I wrong?

  77. Milind Kher

    @Alethia,

    Pakistan is a case of a wonderful people being ruled by a bunch of rogues who have never honored the vision of the founding father of Pakistan.

    So, while castigating the rulers, the people also get sucked into the vortex. Mind you, all Indians are not as tolerant as the ones you will find on PTH. We have our share of nut jobs who will say, “bomb them, nuke them, burn them” and stuff like that.

    A little bit of prodding might be useful at this stage. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind. But, we want the people of Pakistan to win and the terrorists to lose.

  78. Alethia

    @ Milind Kher:

    But the leadership of the government of Pakistan for the last ~ two years are not the “… bunch of rogues” which you refer to, which may have been the case in the past.

    They are a fairly responsible government.

  79. Alethia

    @ Milind Kher:

    So why doesn’t India prod them and love them at the same time…and talk to them.

  80. Milind Kher

    Yes, the current leadership is better than many who came before them. However, if Zardari steps down or is eased out, it may get difficult to have the same kind of rapport.

    Alethia, if we did not love the Pakistani people, we would not be so fond of this board.

  81. Alethia

    @ Milind Kher:

    I don’t doubt you at all. I can tell how sincere you are.

    I’d like to tell you a few opinions on India and Pakistan and a couple of observations.

    I admire India and Indians for their staking out an independent path for themselves. Also their achievements in the sciences, economics and other fields.

    I admire Pakistanis for their achievements in the sciences, agriculture, and other fields.

    Indians have the ability to share with Pakistanis their experience in becoming self-sufficient politically and in almost everything else. Pakistan can do it too. There is no shortage of talent in either country.

    Having visited both India and Pakistan, what strikes me as so special about both is their kindness, attentiveness to guests, their warmth and their love, their open-heartedness and their humanity. And you see it in everyday life: in shops, in the street and everywhere.

    I won’t paint too rosy a picture and I am not saying the India and Pakistan “are the same people.” They’re not.

    My advice for both? (I better be careful here):

    Come together as good friends despite the terrible events happening around you. You are two different personalities, not the same. But live neither in the past nor project too far into the future. Live in the present and try to love one another.

  82. Luq

    >But the leadership of the government of Pakistan
    > for the last ~ two years are not the “… bunch of
    > rogues” which you refer to,

    Only if this govt was fully in power. Its not the only power center – “the bunch of rogues” who share power are not in the elected govt. And the bunch works at cross purposes with the govt. They perpetually sabotage each other.

    Luq

  83. rex minor

    @Vagra,
    Sorry, I am not in Belgium. Does it matter? I was referring to your note of Nov. 29….11.24pm.

  84. rex minor

    @ Millan Kher,
    You have assigned difficult tasks for Pakistan;
    Tangible results from the “war on terror” and credible, responsible people standing up in Pakistan and saying that they want peace with India. The question with regard to war on terror was first raised by the US congress during the good old George W’s days. His answer was that a second attack on the American soil has not taken place. If Pakistan Govt. were to give India a similar reply, what period would be regarded a reasonable period, one year, two, five or ten years? Would a sober person in India believe in such an assurance seeing that Pakistan Govt. cannnot even protect its own citizens against the so called terror.
    With regard to peoples declaration on peace, you really want to spoil their fun which they derive from blaming India and the infidel west for all their home made problems. I guess to put it mildly you were not serious and besides what about the preoccupation of Indian fakir leaders who usually blame Pakistan for all their voes. I was shocked to see your eminent economist leader attending the state dinner while millions in India are struggling to survive, and hois main theme, how about giving India some advance knowledge in the nuclear field and putting pressure on Pakistan with regard to the terrorists groups operating from their territory against India. Oh. sorry he did mention that India was considering opening borders between the two kashmirs to improve their economic life. My conclusions are that there are no serious political leaders on the sub continent horizon, and therefore the people have no other choice and wait for good days to come. Sorry for any errors in the text.

  85. Ummi

    “If you choose to believe what you believe”

    @Milind:

    Believe in what? the army you are praising, the same Pak Army continues to find Indian traces.

    thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=25354l

    even it appeared in today’s news as well:

    thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=210941

    It’s time to clean your own backyard rather than asking Pakistan to do more.

    P.S: my leftists pro-India friends, its to define your loyalty;India or Pakistan?

  86. Ummi

    Pakistani PM says

    thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=210934

    “They are not Pakistanis, they are Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and Afghans. And they cooperate with agents of foreign powers to destroy peace in Pakistan.”

    All know who are those foreign powers.

  87. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ummi mian…

    On the contrary…. it is always the Islamo-fascists who are hand-in-glove with the Indians against Pakistan’s greater interest.

    If what you claim is true, one can assume that the Mullahs have renewed their erstwhile alliance with India.

    So where are your loyalties- India or Pakistan?

  88. Majumdar

    Yasser/Ummi,

    There is one thing common to all Pakistanis- beard or no beard- belief that anyone who acts against Pak interests is an Indian agent.

    Regards

  89. vajra

    @rex minor

    1. No it does not matter.
    2. Reply follows.

    Vajra

  90. Hayyer

    Ummi:
    While reports of Indian help to Baluchi separatists seem credible it beggars belief that the professedly anti Indian TTP should also be recipients of Indian help.
    Also, it is amusing that anyone should think RAW capable of such a prodigious feat. ISI couldn’t organize these tribesmen against Afghanistan, but RAW can against Pakistan?

  91. rex minor

    Pakistan PM is a misfit in the equation. How can any one identify so many nationalities, if he is not familiar with so many languages. Or did he examine their passports which they left behind in a hurry before their escape.

  92. Punjabi

    What makes any territory a part of a sovereign state? Lines on a map? Presence of effective state machinery? The ability to hold off other claimants? Self identification of the inhabitants? some minimum combination of these?

    the modern states of India and Pakistan are not merely partitioned remnants of British India. THe boundaries of british India are not sufficient to define the limits of India and Pakistan. Each had to put a stake in the ground to establish that “the british are gone, these territory is now under the authority, laws and jurisdiction of the state of pakistan (or India). India didn’t do that in Aksai China, Pakistan hasn’t done it on its western border.

    I would very much like it had Aksai Chin been in Indian hands, but its not because India did not or could not establish the state’s presence there, and did not or could not defend it. Claiming Aksai Chin merely on the basis of a treaty between the British and Tibet doesn’t make Aksai Chin a part of India. The reverse is true of Arunachal. China’s claims to Tawang might very well be historically legitimate but it is India that has the writ there. Unless China can force India out or win the territory in some agreement, India CAN claim that its Indian territory.

    The same applies to pakistan’s western areas. It claims those areas because they were bequeathed to it by the British but its unclear whether Pakistan can make any other case that these places are integral to pakistan, when the pakistani state has no writ there, other than that its a line on the map that pakistan can and will defend. So it gets to keep those areas while India lost Aksai Chin.

    The question has been raised of whether Pakistan deserves sympathy and understanding over its inability to completely control its western areas. It does for the chaos and instability that pakistan suffers because of it, but only with the admonishment that pakistan didn’t try for 60 years to integrate those areas, that even now it remains reluctant, and that the difficulty does not absolve it from its responsibility for law and order within its territories.

    In short, India and pakistan should consider just which of the british Indian boundaries are really there own, for which their governments and people can take responsibility.

    Are the western tribal areas part of Pakistan? If they are, then Pakistan has to take control of them.

    Alethias says, “would a hypothetical united India have given-up NWFP? I think not.”

    thats not the question. the question is, Would United India have left the NWFP outside Delhi’s writ, and had that become a problem for the security of the United States, would Delhi have shielded it from US aggression while continuing to maintain a hand’s off policy”. I cannot speculate on that.

    What matters today is that whether its the FATA or Aksai Chin, for every country, the rule must be “take charge of what you claim or lose it”

  93. Milind Kher

    @Alethia,

    India will continue to progress on account of its immense intellectual capital.

    Pakistan too, has a wealth of talent. However, whether people will find an atmosphere to contribute and perform needs to be seen, and hoped for

  94. Milind Kher

    @rex minor,

    I sense a touch of cynicism in your note, directed towards either side. I don’t blame you, but let’s start to think more positively.

  95. Milind Kher

    @Ummi,

    Do you always snap at people who mean well by you?

    And I have not asked you to do more. Gordon Brown has.

  96. rex minor

    @Alethia,
    your remarks about the NWFP and tribal areas being wild and wooly from ages attracted my attention. This region is predominently inhabited by Afghans of Pushtoon origin(several western historians have researched on them and have written about them) and was part of Afghanistan State prior to the Brits colonisation of India. They have never accepted the supremecy of others unless they are defeated on the battle ground or compensated with cash and privaleages. Throughout their history they have never been confronted by such a specimen of people. Prior to the partition the majority of the population in the so called settled area of the NWFP, belonged to the Indian Congress party. However, Mr Jinnah and his muslim league party convinced the population in this province during the refrendum to vote for a separate muslim State.
    Infact, if the majority of the wooly and wild Pushtoons had not voted for Pakistan, there would have been no Pakistan. All other provinces including Punjab and Sind etc. left most of their territory with India. As an analyst and outside observer I note that the Pushtoons hold senior positions in the Pakistan military and recollecting Pakistan history of the past, I would not call them wooly and wild. With regard to the tribes living in the autonomous area, they are currently having a great fun chasing GI’s and marines in the valleys of their territory. I am sure coming from a country with a wild west history , you would the´se people, though fearless and rough but also cool and friendly and very hospitable. They are resilient, have endurance but merciless when they have the upperhand. I have never observed the like among other volks.

  97. rex minor

    Milind Kher,
    My positive thinking is not going to impact the history or future development of the sub-continent. But I do honestly believe and without any cynicism that India is a great Nation with vast potential. The progress in Pakistan, in my view would only come once India has overcome its domestic problems relating to Kashmiris and other ethnic and social frictions among their citizens with a view to establish itself as a model. In view of their history, common languages and more or less similar cultures, it would not be difficult for Pakistan to follow. The current Indian political leaders need to end their bickering with Pakistan on Kashmir or any other unrelated issues. Now I have got to be careful not to touch any sensitive nerve. But India does not have to present itself as a victim as well as a Super state. I have not understood this duel approach in international politics. Israel is another country who has been following similar approach since their existance. I believe that India should project its image of a great country but not follow George W’s aggressive stance. This is my another concern. I have found that the American people in several of their states I visited are very cordial, friendly and hospitable. But in recent years I have also found that the migrants community in the US is becoming very aggressive after some years of their education and residence in the country. Most foreign students in the US are now from India. Are they going to keep their traditional friendly culture or become Gringos. You certainly do not learn good neihbourly lessons from the US. I have found a great number of ordinary citizens in Europe who would wish very much that India acquires a leading status in the world affairs. And I mean leading not simply follow the non- social policies of the US ond some others. China is the example, the perception is that they do not involve themselves in the domestic policies of others. But in my opinion India must unload the bag of worms which accidently got in the shopping Bag. Pakistan on the other hand has real problems, their own citizens who migrated from the warmer side of the border not only failed to integrate with the indigenous population but are now criticising the hosts’ cultures as well as religious and political views. Are we going to see the rise of fifth columnists in Pakistan now or a communist rule, not to mention their standard recipie of a militasry rule. I have no idea, but in any case it is none of Pakistan business if the Kashmiris want independence or alliance with India. Equally the days of Pushtoons following the orders of Mr Jinnah and are over. India does not need to un-necessarily blame the Pushtoons or forsee the possibility of a wild march towards Waga boundry. It is probably a wishful thinking on my part to suggest to respected writers that India needs to get out of the equation of terror, talaban, jehadis etc. Leave this illusionary enemy to the West, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Let them sort it out, through negotiations, persuations or military and economic aid. After the end of the cold war the US strategists have neither the vision nor the education to eliminate the habit of identifying evils, rogue states, failed states, religious extremists or radical islamists and so on and so forth. Two to three trillion dollars in deficit, economy in ruins, basic health care coverage not provided to some thirty million citizens, and old infrastructure in the country is not a model for India or others to follow. The simplistic approach of fighting wars to resolve economic woes and to keep people employed is a no longer a recipie of our time..

  98. Alethia

    @ Rex Minor:

    Please forgive me if I caused any offense.

    I apologize for using the term “wild and woolly” when referring to NWFP and the Tribal areas and will not use it again.

    I’m sure the people there are as fine as you describe…

  99. Milind Kher

    @rexminor,

    It is not really a dual policy. India is aspiring to be a super state, it has not got there as yet. Therefore, it needs to have world opinion on its side too.

    Israel does not need to really worry about this, given the fact that it has unqualified US support.

  100. Ummi

    YLH:

    I did not know you have added up Pervez Hoodbh0y the in the category of Mullahs kissing the toes of Indians. Surely he ,you and Raza have always shows desperation for so called Indo-Pak relationship.

    @hayer: it was India who have made movies like “Border”,”kargil” and several others to show the Indai’s point of view about Pakistan so don’t potray your nation has not been suffering from Pakistan phobia.

  101. YLH

    I can’t speak for Raza Rumi or Pervez Hoodbhoy …but I can only speak for myself. I have not even been to India let alone be desperate about Pakistan and India relations… though I do feel that peaceful ties with India are crucial for us to go forward.

    Many Indians hate me and abuse me as much you Mullah types do. Ofcourse I do get along with many Indians who have stuck long enough to understand my point of view.

  102. G.Vishvas

    I repeatedly point out to the islamic factor. Islam was not created in the Indian Subcontinent (ISC). It was created by arabs for arabs for their own glory, imperialism and racism. Islam uses the word god (allah) for its purposes. Hence it is mistaken for a religion (actually it is a blasphemy), and even for a good religion for all of mankind. We in the 21st century must get over this islamic propaganda and manipulation. That will solve many problems (though not all problems) or at least reduce their intensity and emotion. So long we deceive ourselves about islam by believing in the grand claims which islam makes (and its agents and quislings parrot and wish to impose on us through violence, terror, hell-threats and briberies) the problems, the distrust, the muslim violence, the islamic fascism, the self-deceit etc. are going to become worse and worse.

    Rejecting islam should be no problem because none of us created it. Some arab strongman and manipulator created it in the 7th century in Makkah and Madinah (no matter what islamic propaganda says). No one loses his face if islam is rejected today, not only by the non-arabs but even by the arabs. Quite the contrary, we will gain in terms of honesty and peace in this world by rejecting islam and its claims. Whatever good islam has to offer is available from other better modern sources, but without the fascism-totalitaranism that is inherent to islam.

    India-Pakistan hatred and distrust is a result of islam – an alien imperialist ideology from Makkah (Arabia). Is it not foolish (even idiotic) that human beings in the ISC have become incapable of living in peace and progress because of an ideology created outside of the ISC? Primarily it is the muslims who have to think over this deeply and dispassionately. Hindus can help them in this only by repeatedly pointing out to the alien origin of islam and the fascist content and intention of islam. Not heeding this destructive islamic (alien arabic) factor is causing all arguments to end up in fights, bickerings and polemics.

    Islamic/muslim (pro-islamic) history-writing is a major cause of spreading lies and misleadments in the ISC.

  103. Archaeo

    @G. Visvas

    Interesting outline of your views. Two questions:

    1. Are you a member of the RSS? or its front organisations, like the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Shiv Sena? or a BJP voter?

    2. Have you come across the term Islamo-phobe?

  104. G.Vishvas

    Answers to Archeo’s questions
    1. no
    2. islamo-phobe = one who fears islam
    Since islam is a fascist ideology misusing the word god hence it would be irrational and suicidal not to fear islam and not to make people aware of this.

    After reading pakistani newspapers (since past 4-5 years) I realized what a dangerous but tempting ideology islam is. Camouflaged evil is always more dangerous than direct evil. Pakistan is proving everyday that my fears of islam are fully correct rational and need to be communicated to all.

  105. vajra

    @G. Vishvas

    Naturally your word on your affiliation is sufficient, but allow me to politely disagree with your evaluation of Islam.

    This is not because I deprecate Islam; it is because I sincerely believe that all organised religion is in effect equal. Please consider the construction below:

    Since islam any religion is a fascist ideology misusing the word god hence it would be irrational and suicidal not to fearislam any religion and not to make people aware of this.

    Secondly, from a purely historical and academic point of view, your analysis of Islam is quite unsatisfactory and superficial to the point of being a caricature. However, although you have stated your position frankly and bluntly,

    my fears of islam are fully correct rational and need to be communicated to all.

    you may agree that a discussion on such a matter may not be of general interest, and may better be conducted in privacy.

    These are the views of another visitor to this site, and until the administrators opine otherwise, I am not suggesting for a moment that you should consider my suggestion a restriction on your rights.

  106. G.Vishvas

    Every religion has some fascist content. That is true. Presently it is islam which is manifesting it to the maximum and terrorizing not only muslism but even non-muslims.

    What are the 9 criteria of (determining the) fascism (content of an ideology or religion)?

    1,2,3,) Treatment given to ex-members, non-members, women
    4,5,6,) Control over education, history-writing (identity), press
    7,8,9,) Control over jurisprudence, elections, political ideology and its criticism

    Apply these 9 criteria (and there are surely more) and find out which ideology or religion is fascstic to what extent.

    Whether you are muslim or just a friend of muslims, if you are honest in applying these criteria then you will have no difficulty realizing that islam is the most (but not the only) agressively and arrogantly fascist ideology and religion presently threatening mankind’s future.

    Pointing out to the fascism practised by non-muslims is surely important and must be done, but it does not dimish the guilt of islam and muslims. How often muslims, upon being told of the real fascism in real islam, resort to anger and counter-accusations in order to distract attention from their own need to practise sincere self-criticism? How often a person who criticizes islam is accused of being islamophobe or blasphemer or of wanting to put muslims in gas chambers etc. in order to avoid any real rational cool-headed dispassionate public discussion about islam’s defects and deficiencies?

    A 7th century arab ideology trying to arrogantly determine human life of non-arabs (and arabs) in the 21st century – that is obnoxious to say the least.

    Some sentences in the kuran are instigating violence and fascism no matter how one tries to re-interpret or re-contextualize them. That is the truth. This danger is not diminished by any (valid or polemic) counter-accusations against non-muslims.

  107. Milind Kher

    The Quran is not amenable to interpretation on personal judgment. Painstakingly researched exegesis serves as a basis for understanding the Quran.

    A book that skilfully weaves within its folds references to science, theology, history, legislation and so many other subjects cannot be interpreted by just any one.

    A lot of people condemn organized religion on the basis of flawed practice rather than ideal precepts.

    Also, “arrogant” and “obnoxious” are judgmental words, which cannot be admissible in a rational argument. Everyone has the right to differ, but it must be done on the basis of conclusions supported by reason or proof.

  108. G.Vishvas

    to Milind

    Every judgement is a personal judgement.

    If an ideology enforces the idea/belief that someone or something (e.g. a book) is uncriticizable then it becomes a fascism centered around this someone or something. This is a historical fact and truth since as far as we can study history (and learn from it).

    There is a turkish saying “friend speaks bitter”. The flatterer is never the true friend. It would be nice progress if you and muslims can take this to heart and stop seeking/promoting islam-flatterers, kuran-glorifiers, Mohammad-adorers etc.

    Islamic is what follows from the kuran and kuran only – and the kuran has not given us any science, technology, music etc. – not even good laws, politics, economics etc. fit for the 21st century.

    Praising kuran and Mohammad have become a habit and a compulsion among muslims, any muslim who fails to take part in this glorification-competition has no chance of being taken seriously or being protected in an islamic society.

    Arrogance and obnoxiousness are legitimate expressions, because human beings are not robots. Since the kuran too uses emotions, threats, bribes etc. it would be wrong to ban such words from a rational discussion.

    Whoever praises islam/kuran in the 21st century is misleading human beings towards more disaster. Wishful thinking also helps no one anymore. Islam is Mohammad’s religion for Mohammad – and Jesus says “let the dead bury the dead”. (Addendum: Christians believe Jesus is not dead). Similarly Bhagvad Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna and has little relevance to others. We have to learn to look to the future and only take the minimal necesary from the past. Religions and holy books have to be de-holyfied and their interference minimized. One ned not throw out everything, but in case of islam a lot needs to be.

  109. Milind Kher

    @G Vishvas,

    Suit yourself. I do not wish to argue with you. Do continue with whoever wants to.

  110. G.Vishvas

    @Milind

    PTH is an open forum – it is not aimed at anyone personally. It is a matter of politeness to give reasons as to why one says or does something. So if you do not wish to discuss with me then some reason should be given – that is what rational means – so that the other person knows what (and why) this is all about. It is not like among children who refuse to play with one of them and end their game as soon as he turns up (without directly telling him that they don’t like him etc.). I hope we are not at that level. Either you refute what I say or you admit that it has high (if not the highest) truth value.

    What Pakistan in particular and muslims in general need is a strong safe-guarded well-heeded anti-islamic voice after years of self-glorification, victimhood-complex, we-are-better-and-always-right-and-innocent complex, we-have-the-final-truth-from-the-one-and-only-god complex etc. The islam-flatterers are not their genuine friends anymore (if they ever were).

    When I send islam-criticizing emails then I receive either silence or abuse from muslims. This shows a deep and worsening malady in them.

    G.Vishvas

  111. vajra

    @G. Vishvas

    Before you comment so profusely and so freely, do please take the trouble to learn the difference between ideology and theology.

    Ideology is subject to the rules of logical debate. Ideology should, and indeed must be debated.

    Theology is born of faith. Faith does not lend itself to rational analysis, since rational analysis depends on material and immaterial evidence. If you investigate this further, you will find that matters of faith are normally excluded from public debate for this reason: it is then reduced to discussions on experiences which are not shared, therefore which lack a common meeting ground. Without such a common meeting ground, no discussion is possible.

    Your posts – each and every one of them, without exception – have been aggressive assertions that a particular religion is not based on factual or material evidence. It is only the politeness of those reading these assertions which prevents a contemptuous dismissal.

    Personally, as an agnostic myself, I urge you not to subject matters of faith to these attempted trials, since these are logically totally incompatible. You are seeking a situation which is ruled out at the outset, and the way in which you are seeking this does not indicate that you are aware of the fundamental contradictions in what you are seeking to do.

    Please do your homework and return, or stop wasting everybody’s time.

  112. vajra

    @G. Vishvas

    An addendum – as a logical debate on religion is absurd, a logical ‘rating’ of religions is even more absurd. You are then trying to use instruments not designed for the purpose – it is like using a thermometer to measure the brightness of light.

    Somebody has apparently in a misguided moment taught you the elements of sample surveying and market research. Perhaps your teacher should have done a complete job, rather than leaving matters in a half-baked form.

    You can legitimately measure the effects of different religions on the measurable capabilities of the population which follows that religion. Having done that, in a complete programme of study, you would have been informed that a very large number of causal factors influence the effects that you might set out to measure, being measurable. These causal factors have to be identified, thereafter their collective effect on the results have to be analysed and tabulated, and this exercise may include the even more difficult exercise of checking the effects of the causal factors on each other.

    If you are aware of this and have still written what you have written, you are being dishonest. If you are unaware of this and have written your posts, you are ignorant and need further tutelage.

    Please do the readers and other participants the courtesy of undertaking some necessary corrections, depending on your diagnosis of the situation.

  113. AZW

    @ G. Vishwas:

    Any organized school of thought that seeks to impede critical analysis of its core message, runs the risk of being converted into a fascist school.

    Religions are highly suspect to this tendency. And some of the most rabid extreme sects within Islam are nothing but extreme fascists in their actions. We do not condone any fascism in the name of religion. Islam for me is meant to become a better human in my personal life. However, at present my better humanity is coming at a cost of human liberties and rights for the non-believers. This is an unfortunate, yet logical results of applying the whole religion on top of a society. I do not agree with this interpretation, and this is exactly what this forum is all about.

    Any organized school of thought (including any world religion) that does not agree to absolute equality of all humans in a society, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, equal personal and property rights is bound to fail as a custodian/governer of a society.

    As a moderator, I can assure you that you are most welcome to air your comments here in a civilized manner. I have noticed that you have been mostly restrained and civilized in airing your arguments, even though your arguments may be quite uncomfortable to many of the readers. There is a feeling however that you are intentionally trying to demean the Islamic Holy Book by spelling it wrong. Your argument will not be any more forceful by misspelling and mispronouncing Quran or Prophet Muhammad or any other term that may have sentimental value to the believers of any faith. Hopefully you will take that into account when you participate in discussions on PTH.

    Regards,

    Adnann

  114. Hayyer

    Ummi: (Dec 3, 12:o9 am)
    I returned to this particular article after more than ten days.
    “@hayer: it was India who have made movies like “Border”,”kargil” and several others to show the Indai’s point of view about Pakistan so don’t potray your nation has not been suffering from Pakistan phobia.”
    Surely your reference to me is a mistake. Would you be so good as to remind me of the context of your comment.

  115. Hayyer

    G. Vishwas:
    A question out of simple curiousity- Do you follow any faith at all? If not, are you opposed to all religion or only to Islam?

  116. G.Vishvas

    Sorry for the delay – I am traveling and can reply only now.

    A harsh religion elicits and needs harsh criticism. This is how things are naturally. Islam is a missionary aggressive assertive monopoly-claiming – even imperialist – ideology. If it had been a quietist introvert private set of ideas then the faith-defenders need not have worried. Islam is also a collectivist ideology – with clear declarations of what is good or bad for everyone (even for non-muslims).

    Islam is already 1400 years old (even older if we take into account the muslim declaration that Adam was a muslim). Islam has had and consumed enormous resources (time, money, political power, human lives etc.) in this time. Hence it is necessary (unavoidable) that its actual performance (result) is evaluated.

    I am aware that most muslims learn an idealized-sanitized version of islam. But burying the head is sand solves no problem but only makes it worse.

    That something should be uncritizable because it is faith, to use the word faith to make something uncriticizable – that has proved to be destructive. No amount of sentimentality or piety-exercises can hide this fact.

    The introduction of the Arabic script in the Indian subcontinent has proved to be a disaster. We had our own more scientific and accurate scripts for us. The Arabic script caused a partitioning of humans (who did not read each other) that finally led to the extermination of those in the Sindhu river basin (the hindus) who did not become quislings of an arabic arab-and-turk-centered imperialist ideology. Is the loyalty of the muslim to his land of birth or to Makkah and the imperialism that flows form Makkah? Calling it faith and declaring it to be uncriticizable is an old trick used by religions and imperialists. (Since I am not conversant with any difference between k and q etc. – I write it as kuran and not as quran. It is not meant as an offence to anyone. There are even muslims who write it as kuran.)

    What faith I have – that is known to the one who should know it. Others need not bother. I am only defending myself against the aggressions coming (originating) from Makkah. I analyze islam by reading Pakistani newspapers only. And that is the correct way to do it. We have to judge by actual results – not by idealized versions. Everyone has a faith – so long it does not lead to destructive external effects it need not be discussed. (Though that does not mean it is uncriticizable). Islam has the explicit intention and method of controlling human lives en masse – even those of non-muslims. Hence it cannot be left out of criticism. Any attempt to declare islam as uncriticizable (lets say by calling it faith or revelation or divine final will etc.) will (and already has) lead to fascism. If you can’t face this bitter truth (or fact) then the situation will become worse only. Enough of deceit in the name of (whichever) faith.

  117. Gorki

    G.Vishvas:

    Your above post is clearly meant to be provocative; intellectually and perhaps otherwise, and I am sure others will respond to it in time. I will therfore remain away from the controversial parts of your post.

    I only want to make one comment, that is while today people like you are not alone and your views are articulated by many around the world, a mere 500 years ago the exact same comments, (i.e. ‘missionary aggressive assertive monopoly-claiming – even imperialist – ideology etc.) could have been made about another middle eastern faith, Christianity.
    Today that same faith is taken as an example of service and peace.
    Could it be that faith itself may have less to do with it than how it is interpreted and propogated.
    If so, then is it possible that in time (once Islam is as old\mature as Christianity is today) it too will be practiced and seen differently?
    Regards.

  118. Milind Kher

    @Gorki,

    The extremists of any faith are always the most visible. What they do shuts out or even negates what the pacifists believe in.

    People look on Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar as representatives of Islam. If they were to look on Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh or APJ Abdul Kalam of India, they would be very uncomfortably confronted with a pleasant face of the faith which they want to deny.

    Hindutvavadis and jihadis have a symbiotic relationship. The activity of each helps the other to survive.

  119. G.Vishvas

    @Milind and others

    When long held beliefs are questioned and doubted and the totalitarian content and attitude therein is exposed then it works as a provocation only on those who do not wish to change but wish to hide behind their own tales of piety. Accusing someone of provocation is a cheap trick to silence him. Better try refuting his analysis.

    Christianity and islam did not and cannot develop analogue. Islam will never be a peace-emphasizing religion like christianity. Offer the other cheek to those who smite you on the one cheek – that is a christian spirit which islam and muslims have always ridiculed. If you believe in god (all-knowing and just) then where is the need to strike back? Why keep fooling everyone by comparing islam with chr. or muslims with jews? It does not work.

    Actually because islam is younger than judaism and chr. hence it should have learnt from their mistakes and perfomed better right from the beginning. Hence, …when islam becomes as old as chr. then … that excuse is useless. The later-comer must be judged more harshly.

    When A P J Abdul Kalam was asked which book he holds high he replied Bhagvad Gita and the muslims were quite offended by this. When a muslim is held up as a good exemplary for all then we have to find out whether his good performance is a result of kuran and and kuran only. Are Yunus and Kalam faces of islam? No. They learnt a lot of goodness from non-kuranic sources. We know how muslim propaganda works to inflict upon muslims the idea that good comes from kuran and kuran only.

    This (or similar) criticism is not only against islam. I write this in order to avoid receiving parochial counter-accusative answers. But islam is presently the most aggressive arrogant ideology to be exposed. I conclude this from reading pakistani muslim newspapers only.

  120. vajra

    @Gorki

    Re. G. Vishvas’ latest effusion of venom.

    Again and again and again I have pointed out to you on list and off that when we are faced with stark ignorance, and a compilation of facts to justify predetermined conclusions, it is natural to be angry. This is the class of people who will not study history, or who do it only for a polemical purpose, not to determine the nearest approximate determinable truth.

    Examples abound; I hope you will do me the favour of not asking for a list of such bigots within, say, the last six months of correspondence only on PTH. It would be a large list; it will revive extremely unpleasant memories; and it reminds me of inadequacy on the part of those writing in primarily to prove that Pakistan never had a chance nor has a chance today, and secondarily, like the case in view, to prove that Islam was a disease that is killing Pakistan, and will kill many others, as it has killed millions in the past.

    Against such bigots, there is little or no point in putting up an historical rebuttal, either the classic rebuttal, which has increasingly started failing, of showing that the historical context of Islam was in fact progressive, given the hole that Christianity had dug for itself (this is my favourite example, but has the virtue of being vividly illustrative: the homoousion-homoiousion controversy raged, and led to the death of more than were killed in Sunni-Ahmedi controversies, in the 4th century AD), or the retributive ‘shirt-is-torn/fly-is-open’ variant that almost utters itself at moments like this.

    I am deliberately not responding to this poison, as responding to it dignifies it beyond its academic or intellectual worth. What our buzzing wasp is going around saying is based entirely on his myopic view of other religions and his romanticised and wholly incorrect one of his own. Such religious xenophobia deserves the contempt it shall get.

    You mentioned provocation, perhaps deliberate provocation. Such a stand or outlook which seeks to elicit the opinions of people on a matter that would otherwise stay undisturbed is reasonable; couching bigotry in the language of rational debate is not.

    This is also the reason why I resent PTH’s huge and unbelievable tolerance of junk mailers. While I can understand the need for them to allow every diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious shade of opinion originating in Pakistan free play, I cannot understand tolerance of this and Tathagata. But as a guest, I shall not say any more.

  121. Gorki

    “What our buzzing wasp is going around saying is based entirely on his myopic view of other religions and his romanticised and wholly incorrect one of his own”

    Dear Vajra,

    Say no more, sadly I get it.
    It is hard to argue with people who have already come to a conclusion and having made up their mind, look around for selective information to support it.

    Ragards.

  122. Gorki

    Vajra:

    One last comment.
    Interestingly, our gentleman who claims the higher moral ground boldly declared that:
    “Islam will never be a peace-emphasizing religion like christianity” that can “offer the other cheek to those who smite you on the one cheek”.
    And he wrote his comments in response to a post titled:
    ‘Marking 26/11… A Letter To Our Neighbors’
    written by a decent soul who wanted to empahize with our pain!!
    Go figure.

    The irony is killing.

    Regards.

  123. vajra

    @Gorki

    It’s actually quite incredible that a person is so unaware of his context and what is being said by others, that he is so mesmerised by the ‘secret’ formula that he and he alone possesses that nobody else’s point of view has any further relevance.

    I was under the impression that this state of mind was very well documented by colleagues of yours who used to be called ‘alienists’.

  124. Milind Kher

    An “alienist” is, I believe another term (probably archaic) for a psychiatrist.

    Such entities are definitely useful in situations like this.

    Every right wing saffron ideologue needs one (one may ask “what ideals?” – objection sustained)

  125. vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Archaic? That is so politically incorrect.

    You are an ageist.

  126. G.Vishvas

    Instead of calling names, do try to refute what I have written.

    All that you are saying is : we are the good reasonable guys and this Vishvas is the bad guy, not nice like we are.

    Calling someone provocateur, blasphemer, corrupter etc. is an old trick to suppress discussion.

    I have never forwarded anything positive (or romanticized) about “my own” religion in this context. In any case it would be irrelevant for Pakistan, where the hindus have been de facto exterminated and have no relevant existence.

    I had sent 9 criteria of fascism to be applied to ALL religions, ideologies etc. Then written that islam fufills these maximally and most aggressively today and will continue to do so in future. None of you bothered to think more about that. Since I have analysis of islam based on what I read in Pakistani newspapers only hence I am on the right to track.

    Trying to bring insinuations about right wing hindus etc. in this context and directing them against me will not work because I do not take my opinions from them.

    But the response that I have received here fits in into the general way in which muslims and their so-called friends react to criticism of islam. I do not criticise muslims, they are only first victims, then instruments and later promoted to agents of islam. And certain sentences and attitudes in the kuran are the real power-drivers of fascism.

    I know quite well – this is not the first time that I am receiving such reactions from muslims – that muslims will duck when it comes to this fundamental discussion. The public competition among muslims to show off their piety and mental slavery to islam is just too big. It is also a matter of their safety and survival in the absolutist muslim society in which they are submerged.

    But there are some muslims who do see my point of view and agree with it.

  127. Anoop

    Is it possible for India to close itself from Pakistan physically? Seal the borders, watch the seas using technology? And,just forget Pakistan even exists?
    Surely, the only thing that India hates about Pakistan is the fact that many anti-India Jihadi groups are in Pakistan and continue to thrive there. ISI has in the past supported these groups. Can we do what the US has done with Mexico and just seal off our borders and patrol the seas?
    Mexico,like Pakistan is a place where there are organizations that aim to harm neighbouring countries. If US can keep the Mexicans out,why cant India keep the Jihadis from Pakistan out?
    That process is already under way. We have sealed the borders and Jihadis are finding it hard to cross over. The seas are patrolled in a better and use of satellites to spy on the intruders using the sea route is on the cards or has been operationalized already.
    Why does India need Pakistan and Pakistanis anyway? Does Pakistan possess any resource that India needs? Is Pakistan in possession of any piece of land that India desires?
    India can easily afford to cut Pakistan from its thoughts and many Indians are thinking on those lines.
    If the US can do it, surely India can too keep the bad guys from the neighbouring country out.
    If that happens India will truly cut all kinds of connections with Pakistan. But, not so with Pakistan. Pakistanis watch Indian movies and Serials and know a lot about India than Indians do about Pakistan. It will be the kind of relationship US shares with the rest of the world. People who watch Hollywood movies and go to McDonalds know a lot more about US than the Americans do about their country. Americans rarely know or care what goes outside their own country is well known. India will only know the Political leaders of Pakistan if this happens.
    Is this a good thing for India? I think so.
    Is this a good thing for Pakistan? I have no idea..

  128. Ganpat Ram

    Having let all that wind out of us, let us wait comfortably for the next Pak attack.

  129. vajra

    Note the authors from December 3 onwards.

    Once a jackass, always a jackass. Apparently we have not had all the wind let out of us. There are still pockets wandering around.