In answer to A letter to the Pakistani people:
Dear Indian People,
Glad to hear that you’re finally coming to your senses and puzzled it took you so long. It’s sad so few of us can visit the other country, or we would all have better impressions of each other.
You mentioned that you like some Pakistani music, and I could see you had to struggle to come up with some names – don’t worry – while there is a lot of talent here, Pakistani’s too know far more about Indian music than their own. There is hardly anyone who doesn’t listen to Indian music and watch Indian movies – hop into any bus on any road (or dirt track) in Pakistan and the chances are the latest Indian film songs will be playing. You write that Bollywood is banned here, but it isn’t – the government would have a easier time banning cricket than Bollywood – and in either case you can well beleive the government wouldn’t last the day.
In Pakistan, we have a slightly different democratic system from India, where you have the worlds biggest elections. You guys go to great lengths making sure everybody gets the chance to vote, wasting time and money sending voting machines on elephants and what not, while we have greatly streamlined the process. You see, Musharraf tells us he embodies the people’s desires, and so when he votes its the same as the whole country voting, so our process is much faster and terribly efficient. We hear that Bush is really envious of our system and has been asking Musharraf tips about the next US election.
Sounds good, but what about Jammu and Kashmir, you say. Ah yes. A real party pooper that. Well, here’s the truth. We’ve grown up seeing the “whole” of Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India in our textbooks. But then, so have you.
Actually, in Pakistani textbooks, there is a line drawn through Kashmir, with a third of it in Pakistan, and the rest in India. The whole situation is one big absurd mess now, with the lives of millions held hostage to petty intrigues as various idiots used the plight of the Kashmiries for their personal political gain. It’s high time the situation was resolved, and many of us are puzzled as to why many Indians are dragging their feet on this. You say Rid yourselves of the party pooper in the army costume and get a real government, but by the time that happens you and me will probably be dead and gone, or living under a mushroom cloud, so why is it that after so many years your government is still getting cold feet? What is it afraid of? We might have a leader democratically elected by himself, but he’s really serious about resolving the Kashmir mess. You ask where’s the rush, but ask the hundreds of millions of people living below the poverty line in the indian subcontinent that question – the Himalayas won’t go anywhere but millions suffer every day as our countries make plans to buy billions of dollars worth of expensive toys.
You write about the the fabled Pakistani PR machine, which apparently demonizes India now and then, but I’ve been reading at least one newspaper a day (usually more) for the past many years, and they really don’t think anymore that you are at heart a rabid bunch of Hindu fanatics out to burn masjids, discriminate against Muslim Indians and beat the Pakistan cricket team in every single cricket match. Really – stop reading the old history books and those tired old retired lieutenant colonels who keep going on and on like a broken clock. Hell, we have such a vast surplus of retired army personnel that you’re most welcome to them.
Considering the statements some of the Indian political leaders make now and then, you should have learned to ignore the words uttered by some of our more idiotic politicians every now and then – we’ve been ignoring them for a very long time now, and it’s high time you guys realized that there will always be a few nutcases everywhere not representative of the majority. Talking of nuts, even the hardest can reform – look at LK Advani, moving on from tearing down mosques to praising Jinnah.
The Kargil incident was a doozy, but I don’t think you need to worry much about the Pakistan army – they’re too busy building housing society’s all over the country and giving out plots to each other while -running- ruining all its public institutions to have any time to think about war.
We hope you kind of get what we’re all about by reading this letter. If you do get it, we’d love to know what you feel.
Well, I’ve listened to arguments for friendship with amusement and sadness – it’s the 21st century and still too many in the subcontinent are struggling with their feelings for their neighbouring countries. How does one dislike an entire nation, especially when both countries were one just a short while ago? I hope those of you making slow overtures to peace catch up with the 21st century real soon now – what has been holding you back for so long? Here, the majority are ready – after the Indian cricket team beat Pakistan in their first match in Karachi back in March 2004, the Indian team received a five minute standing ovation as they walked off the field.
It’s just as sad listening to Muslims dredging up past glories as it is listening to Indian/Pakistani celebrities finding out after a lifetime that they love their neighbouring country. Does that mean they hated/disliked each other up till now? Really? If so, why? Over the years our leaders have waged war and then taken halting steps to peace only to quickly run back to the safety in jingoism which their mediocrity demands, using hatred and fear for easy political gains. I have been watching this whole process from the sidelines for many years, wondering when the whole madness will end.
When the politicians or the talking heads on TV talk about peace, and how we should ‘learn’ to live with each other, one can only sigh and wonder what rock they’ve been living under all these years. Welcome to the 21st century – the whole world is moving on and it’s not going to wait for us to solve our soap-operaic problems.
Just a few decades ago, around the time of partition (some of you must remember that, right?) there was this little incident called World War II, where some European countries went a bit nuts and started slaughtering each other. Well, today, these very same countries are now part of one big -happy- union. Partition was bloody, but we, who are so fond of dredging up selective bits of history to sling around really need to put things into perspective.
KO – ko at offroadpakistan.com