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India and Pakistan: A bitter rivalry fueled by false accusations and ignorance of truth

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By Gaurav Sharma

Ever since the rise of extremism in Punjab in the 1980s, which further expanded to the Kashmir Valley in the late 1990s, India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words, matching blow for blow for diplomatic one-upmanship.

In those days, it was common for the Indian officials to blame the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, for implanting the seed of insurgency in the Indian soil. Since then, many, if not all, of the terrorist activities committed against Indian citizens have been attributed to ISI, either directly or through indirect links.

Recently, the pendulum has swung, with Pakistan bearing the brunt of the treacherous seed which it nourished under the wings of the army and the ISI. In the midst of the chronic epidemic which is rapidly engulfing Pakistan by the day, not showing the slightest sign of abating, the Pakistani bureaucracy has turned the diplomatic warfare on its head.

The Pakistani military establishment has retaliated, by making a rather questionable assertion that the Research and Analysis Wings (RAW) are involved in staging terrorism activities in Pakistan.

As per an ISI public relations statement, the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had chaired a conference on May 5 in which he had taken a “serious note of RAW’s involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan”.

Although there is no hard evidence for making outrageous claims that India fuels terrorism activities in Pakistan, the country’s diplomatic circle has been hell bent on frequently dragging India into international forums over issues such issues as water treaties, downing airplanes and other ill-informed matters.

When Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, made the pronouncement that Pakistan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons “smashed India’s dream”, it highlighted the helpless state in which Pakistan finds itself.

On the face of it, such a statement is factually incorrect, because it is recorded in the pages of history that Pakistan’s nuclear development programme was essentially an insecure response towards India’s development of nuclear weapons.

During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, which comprised of a series of skirmishes in the Kashmir Valley, including the largest tank battle since World War 2, India had gained an upper hand after the ceasefire was declared.

Most Pakistanis, schooled in the belief of their own martial prowess, refused to accept the possibility of their country’s military defeat by “Hindu India” and were, instead, quick to blame their failure to attain their military aims on what they considered to be the ineptitude of Ayub Khan and his government.

“The invading Indian forces outfought their Pakistani counterparts and halted their attack on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. By the time United Nations intervened on September 22, Pakistan had suffered a clear defeat,” wrote David T. Hagerty in his book South Asia in World Politics.

Through the Shimla Agreement, Pakistan was forced to recognize the independence of East Pakistan or Bangladesh as it is now known. The war had wiped-out half of the Pakistani navy, a quarter of its air force and a third of its army.

But more than that, the war was a psychological setback for Pakistan, a humiliating and complete defeat at the hands of its rival. So massive was the magnitude of the aftermath that the then President General Yahya Khan surrendered power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

After India conducted the Smiling Buddha, a surprise nuclear test in 1974, which was also the first confirmed nuclear test by any nation outside the United Nations Security Council, Pakistan started moving towards the goal of nuclear weapons with greater and desperate urgency.

To conclude, Pakistan’s inability to curb the bloody flow of terrorism has splintered the country into a chaotic schism and, as a result, forced Pakistan to make baseless and uninformed allegations against India.

Rather than shackling itself with the chains of such a warped imagination, it would do well for Pakistan to introspect its strategic geopolitical decisions and address the problem where its roots really lie, its own backyard.

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  • Ehtisham

    On several occasions Pakistan demanded to let its envoy investigate Ajmal Kasab but obviously there was something dubious that is why India did not allow. On July 19, 2013 the ex-investigating officer of CBI Satish Verma unveiled the secret that Indian government killed hundreds in Mumbai and Parliament attacks just to strengthen the counter-terror legislation. This brings us to another whistle blown on January 20, 2013 by the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that political party in power BJP and RSS are running training camps to promote Hindu terrorism.

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  • Ehtisham

    On several occasions Pakistan demanded to let its envoy investigate Ajmal Kasab but obviously there was something dubious that is why India did not allow. On July 19, 2013 the ex-investigating officer of CBI Satish Verma unveiled the secret that Indian government killed hundreds in Mumbai and Parliament attacks just to strengthen the counter-terror legislation. This brings us to another whistle blown on January 20, 2013 by the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that political party in power BJP and RSS are running training camps to promote Hindu terrorism.

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Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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Government invites entries for first National CSR Awards VOA

At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

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Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

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Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)