This is a tale of two countries. Separated at birth yet linked at the umbilical chords. One rattling down the proverbial dark pit. The other caught in the misfortune of having to dig that pit. One lives off the other. parasitical and sheepishly. Respectively.
Created to counter Hindu majority India, Jinnah’s dream secular nation has been an embarrassment. That fate has also played a part in it cannot be undermined. Always caught in the crossroads of world politics, Pakistan has always been left to scrape the bottom of the barrel. However, that should not take away the obnoxious dumbness of its leaders. Or at least the people expected to lead. We have comparable dumbness here in India too but what differentiates us is the head start we got at Independence. And the constitution which guides us. We are a democracy with deep fault lines. Fractured at the edges but glued from within. There are enormous pulls and pressures to rupture this attachment. What remains to be seen how we counter this as the stakeholders of the nation.
The survival of a nation depends on how fluid the state is. The state needs to use all its wherewithal to uphold the unity and integrity of the nation. And it does hold the onerous task of response. Response can be calibrated, nuanced or swift. Depends on the immediacy of the occasion. But to accuse the state of sponsored revenge every time it responds is akin to asking a soldier to stop firing every time he gets fired at. The state reserves the right to answer at its own choosing. The convertibility of its resources into a response under the influence of guided wisdom is the hallmark of a successful democracy. And whether you like it or not we are one.
A functioning democracy also does have its limitations. A multi party system of governance is one. But it also is a strength. A military dictatorship with a totalitarian system or a theocracy based on fixed ideas will find it difficult to function based on people’s will because the basic premise is anti-people. Pakistan, however,is an interesting case. It has been run by generals for a majority of its existence and the rare civilian hold, like the current one, runs under the shadow of the epaulets. The Army, in particular, runs the risk of marginalization if India becomes a non-issue. Hence, the saga of Kashmir.
Princely states, Raja Hari Singh and the UN Resolution Article 47 notwithstanding, Kashmir remains the manna from heaven for Pakistan. The elixir for all ills. Forget boiling Baluchistan or simmering Sindh or the joke called Azad Kashmir, Indian Kashmir remains their end of world. However, the truth is Kashmir is a feint for them. India as whole gives them existentialist jitters. The concept of Muslim majority is as debunked as the concept of Good-Taliban. India is a multicultural, multi religious potboiler. A smorgasbord of kaleidoscopic wonder. Birthplace of some of the oldest religions and scripts. Secularism is an idea we created. Our democratic values are as old as Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Hence, in a Hindu majority nation, we are the world’s third largest Muslim state. The Constitution states that equal rights and laws be adhered upon individuals of all religion, caste, creed and sex.
Alas, our western neighbor fails to comprehend the beauty of such a coexistence. The radicalization of its society and its eventual burning of the very fabric Jinnah had woven has pushed the nuclear state to the brink. The Frankenstein’s monster has turned against its own master. The ones still pliant to state policy becomes non-state actors. Kashmir and its resultant destruction of the idea of India becomes their objective. Pakistan lives in a state of denial. They say, self realization is best realization. The tragedy is by the time they do, the Earth would have been scorched by the blood of their own. The once country would become a country called a charade.
————————— Devraj Lahiri