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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Lunatic Mainstream Vs A Slender Fringe


Arun Shourie






"Aap log jis jazbe aur walwalese Jihad karten hain, vo Bharati kutton, muaf kijiye, faujiyon ko apni bandookein uthane ka mauka bhi nahin milta'' -- the passion and fervour with which you wage Jihad does not leave the opportunity for these Bharati dogs, pardon us, these Bharati militarymen to even pick up their rifles. ''Agar aap isi tareh Bharati faujiyon ko makhi macchar ki tareh jahanum ki vaadiyon mein dhakelte rahe, to ankareeb Bharat ka koi bhi kutta muazarat fauji Kashmir ka rukh nahin karega'' -- if you continue to push them into hell in this way, like flies and mosquitoes, no Indian dog, begging you pardon, no Indian militaryman will dare look towards Kashmir. ''Phir aapke paas karne ko kuch nahin rahega'' -- and then nothing will be left for you to do. ''Doosri taraf yeh bhi khadsha hai ki jahanum ke daroga sahib aap se khafa ho jain, ki yeh kya gandagi aur gilazat ke anbaar meri taraf bhijwaye ja rahe ho'' -- on the other hand, there is the apprehension that the daroga of hell may get infuriated at you, and demand, ''What is this filth you are going on dispatching to me ?'' ''Kahin aisa na ho ki in gande keedon, muaf kije phir bhool ho gayi, Bharati faujiyon ka dakhila jahanum mein bhi band kar diya jaye'' -- and it should not come to pass, that the entry of these filthy worms into hell too gets stopped.

Serious analysis in Khabarein, a leading paper of Lahore, of 10 July, laced with the ''wit'' and ''sarcasm'' that is typical of Pakistan's Urdu press. The author proceeds to dissect the use of the word ''infiltrators'' by ''Indian beasts, beg your pardon, politicians'' to describe the mujahideen. These beasts were angry with Sonia Gandhi, he explains. She is more beautiful than Indian women, speaks good English, and is going to become the Indian Prime Minister in a short while, he says. Alarmed, the Indian politicians started saying that she was an ''infiltrator'' into the family of Jawaharlal Nehru. That is how the term came into wide use. When India's crippled and temporary Prime Minister, Vajpayee, found his chair and dhoti slipping, the author explains, he started using this term for the mujahideen. But people know the reality. They know that the real infiltrators into Kashmir are Hindu banias, and Bharati dogs -- the militarymen -- who want to bark and bite like any dog...

Vajpayee comes in most for this kind of ''wit'' -- bar-e-sagheer ke do number shayaron ka dada, the second-rate don of petty poets... And Advani -- neem Pakistani aur adha Hindustani Kaliya... But since the ''Washington declaration'' of July 4, they are left far behind: Clinton is way ahead-- that almi shoharat yafta zani, that internationally notorious rapist, as the analyst of Ausaf refers to him in the issue of 19 July, or more frquently as that Shaitan Clinton, as Clinton the devil.

Indian forces are invariably referred to as Bharati kutte, as Indian dogs, as the darinda-sift Bharati afwaz, as the beast-like Indian forces... India continues to be pictured as a country on the verge of disintegration, as a country in the grip of Hindu banias, who are hell-bent on pursuing Brahmin imperialism.

When the Washington statement came out, at first several English-language papers tried to put a brave face on it. Some even pasted victory and statesmanship on it! The mujahideen have already achieved their objectives, they said: they have internationalized the Kashmir issue, and they have humiliated and demoralized the Indian Army and given it a bloody nose. And now with this declaration, Pakistan comes out looking flexible, in sharp contrast to India whose obduracy, whose ''totally rigid and purblind stand,'' whose ''dogmatism'' are now manifest to all. Nawaz Sharief was sought to be projected as the one who had saved the sub-continent, and therefore the world from a nuclear holocaust.

That phase passed swiftly. By now the refrain in Pakistan's English press is that the country must do ''serious introspection''. Why did we embark on this adventure in the first place? If we had a clear objective, why did we abandon it so abruptly? If the Pakistan Army and Government had nothing to do with it, why did we start holding daily briefings by spokesmen of Pakistani defence forces? Why did we start projecting and celebrating the victories of the mujahideen as if these were of our forces? Why did we send our diplomats and ministers all over the world to argue their case? As the mujahideen rejected the Washington declaration outright, how come we were able to ensure that they vacated the positions they had conquered? What have our leaders accomplished except the total isolation of Pakistan?

We must as a country think whether we can ever wrest Kashmir out of India's grip without a total war, analysts in the English press write, and we must seriously assess whether we can wage an all-out war. Can a country so weak economically, can a country so much in debt that it is vulnerable to every tug from the IMF etc, launch and sustain such a war?, the country should ask, they counsel. Whether international media, whether governments the world over are biased against us or not, should we not be worried that our ranking on ''the credibility index'' has fallen as low as our ranking on ''the human development index''?, they asked.

Analyses of this kind are what our papers reproduce, and our secularists are forever hectoring us to take them to be representative of Pakistani opinion. Alas!, they represent just the fringe. And even this fringe has enough who are able to read triumph into the thrashing Pakistan has received. Enough who believe that Pakistan scored a resounding victory and that it is only ''diplomatic sluggishness'' of the Pakistan Foreign Office which squandered it, that it is only Hindu-cunning which enabled India to ''mislead international opinion'' into taking a ''one-sided stand''. Enough who are ready to convince their countrymen that the mujahideen ''have inflicted the worst ever humiliation and casualties on the arrogant Indian armed forces,'' that ''they have done the whole Muslim ummah proud by their spirit of Jihad and that flame will burn undiminished by the vagaris of politics''. Enough who believe that the Clinton-Nawaz meeting ''marks the pinnacle of internationalization of the Kashmir issue ever achieved at any time in the past,'' that the mujahideen ''achieved the pinnacle of glory with an unmatched success in drawing world attention to the cause of freedom in Kashmir''. Enough who declare that Washington has asked India to respect the Line of Control. Enough who seriously argue that there were ''three objectives Pakistan wanted to achieve from the Kargil situation, namely internationalization of the Kashmir problem, attracting attention of the US President and averting full-fledged war with India,'' and that of these ''all have been achieved''. Enough to forecast that to ''assuage the grievously hurt Indian ego,'' Indians would pounce on the withdrawing mujahideen and cause a ''bloodbath'', that India could not but do so as the Government has stoked an unimaginable ''war hysteria'' all across India...

Enough who believe, to use the words of General Javed Nasir, that Kargil was a brilliant idea brilliantly executed, and that it could not succeed only because ''it lacked the will of Allah.'' Enough who don't just go on parroting self-deluding nonsense. A typical example is the editorial of the Pakistan Observer of July 3: there is a revival of the Khalistan movement, it declares, and for good reason. The Khalistan movement leaders who have been compelled to take refuge in Europe remain concerned about the ''sufferings of the Sikh community''. More important, ''Concern has also been voiced about Hindu military command's decision to deploy Sikh jawans and officers in the forward positions of Kargil in Kashmir to be the first target of the rot (sic) from across the Line of Control. Press reports indicate growing frustration among members of the Sikh community in the Indian society including the armed forces over the second class citizens' treatment being meted out to them. The revival of the Khalistan movement is, therefore, not only understandable but also justified, for the realisation of their just rights...'' And the outcome is certain: ''History bears testimony to the fact that no amount of suppression and repression can deprive individuals and communities determined to retrieve their rights. Sikhs too are, therefore, bound to be triumphant ultimately, irrespective of the excesses to which they are being subjected by the Hindu majority of India''. [These representative propositions and observations are taken from the issues of Dawn, News, Frontier Post, Pakistan Observer, and Nation from the last week of June and the first half of July.]

It isn't just that there are enough even among the sensible fringe who believe this kind of nonsense, they urge it in their writings, they build plans on it. But the more important point is that the ones advancing this rubbish constitute the saner lot.

The mainstream is maniacal. Even a fortnight after the Pakistani forces began withdrawing even as the papers of the terrorist organizations themselves were denouncing Nawaz Sharief for selling out to that ''internationally notorious rapist'', speaker after speaker at the rallies was declaring that ''caravans of mujahideen are proceeding to Kargil at this very time.'' Ten days into the withdrawal the analyst of Ausaf is telling his readers. ''The kafirs are being subjugated. Siachin is slipping out of India's occupation. Siachin and the kafirs are in danger Muslims and Islam are dominating...''' The next day another analyst writes, ''The Hindu bania understands only the language of force'', that, therefore, they must prepare themselves for a decisive war against India, that without such a war the Hindu bania will not withdraw from Kashmir till the day of kayamat. ''One should know that the Hindu understands the language of force. The Kashmiri mujahideen have disabled this cunning and wicked enemy with courage, and it is high time that the heinous mask of so-called democracy and peace should be removed from his face to expose the reality...''

A Jihad-e-Kashmir conference is held in Islamabad on 15 July. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, head of the Markaz Dawa wal Irshad, the parent organization of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, declares that Sharif can go on giving assurances but he cannot make the mujahideen withdraw from Kargil. He announces that they will continue to occupy the positions they hold in Kargil and will devise a new strategy to move further. The Amir of Al Badr Mujahideen, Punjab, Ahmed Hamzah, declares that no one can dare ask them to vacate the heights, and challenges anyone who dares to try and enforce the Clinton-Nawaz agreement. Amir Hamza, the editor of the terrorist organization's publication, Al Dawa, tells the conference that they do not need a coward for a Prime Minister -- one who does not even know the map of Kashmir. Hafiz Abdus Salam Bhatvi, leader of the Marakaz Dawa wal Irshad, declares that Jihad has become a flashpoint throughout the world, that they have rejected the Washington, Lahore and Tashkent declarations, that they do not recognise the Security Council, and that they will continue the Jihad. That being the case, the map of India is set to shrink, and that of Pakistan is set to expand. Abdul Aziz Alvi, Amir of the Markaz in PoK, declares that the Jihad will continue till Kashmir is liberated, that it will continue till the day of kayamat... Commander Bakht Zamin of Al Badr speaks over the wireless-- so the audience is told -- from Kargil. He announces that they are going to open new fronts soon...

Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt, Ausaf and other papers carry reports of a massive Sajjad-e-Shahid Conference held at Rawalkot on 17 July. They reproduce the posters: the war will continue till the destruction of India,'' "Harkat ka ek ek mujahid, Atom Bomb, Atom Bomb." Each mujahid of the Harkat is an Atom Bomb, an Atom Bomb, ''Kal Roos bikharte dekha tha, ab India toot-te dekhenge", We saw Russia disintegrate yesterday, we shall see India breaking up now; "Ham barq-e-Jihad ke sholon mein America jalte dekhenge," we shall see America burn in the lightning of Jihad.. Kargil has become the battlefield of Karbala, the speakers shout. The mujahideen are following the path of the Prophet while Nawaz is following the path of Clinton, they proclaim. If the ruling elites do not give up their ways, they warn, the passions which have been unleashed against India can turn against Pakistan as well. Ten thousand or so are reported to have been present. To a man, woman and child they take a pledge to wage Jihad, they take the pledge of martyrdom. When thousands of children, youth and elderly persons begin taking the pledge of martyrdom, writes Hamid Mir about this event in Ausaf of July 19, efforts to block them are nothing but foolishness...

The Jang of that very day, July 19, reports that the Jihad organizations have decided to form a ''Kashmir Liberation Army to carry forward the Kargil experiment. The KLA will oust the Indian Army from Kashmir through a better organised, better coordinated, better equipped operation, it reports. It will aim at maximum self-reliance like the Kosovo Liberation Army. Affluent Kashmiris living abroad will happily provide the necessary funds. Arms and ammunition requirements will be met by different agencies throughout the world...

And there is the other symptom of paranoia: Pakistan must have more conspiracy-theorists per square inch than most countries in the world. Even the English press, that saner fringe, is studded with them. ''The US silence over the continued atrocities in the Kashmir slaughter house and denial of Kashmiri's right to self-determination seems to be part of a bigger game,'' writes an analyst in the Frontier Post of 29 June, and asks, ''Who knows that the USA is not waiting for a full-scale war between India and Pakistan so that it could eventually turn Kashmir into another Kosovo for stationing US forces under the banner of NATO?'

''Had not the powers intervened to the disadvantage of the mujahideen, the intelligently planned operations by the Islamic militants and their victories in the Kargil-Drass sector might have catapulted India into an abyss of ignominy and darkness,'' declares the editorial of the Pakistan Times' of July 6. ''It is indeed painful to see the mujahideen's cause suffering such a massive setback courtesy the malicious thinking of some leading countries of the world. At the heart of the entire situation lies the prejudice of the industrialized world that holds the freedom-fighters, rather the entire Muslim community as fundamentalists identifying them as enemies of modernization, or even civilization...''

The Urdu press is of course more fertile in imagining conspiracies. The Nawa-e-Waqt widens the objectives of the conspiracy. What the USA has done is in furtherance of its ''anti-Islam, anti-Pakistan and anti-China designs,'' it states in its editorial of 26 June...

The Jasarat in its Friday Special of 9 July informs its readers that what has been done is an American conspiracy directed in the first instance to alienate the Pakistan Government and the mujahideen from each other, and then, in the second round, to confront each other. Another article sketches an even more intricate conspiracy. Nawaz and Vajpayee are the tools the USA is using. Its objective is to have Pakistan and India sign the agreement on Kashmir which it wants. For this reason the USA first allowed Nawaz to acquire autocratic powers by neutralizing all other institutions. Vajpayee was floundering. Therefore, the drama of Jayalalitha withdrawing support was staged. That ensured elections. Now withdrawal from Kargil has been forced. This will help Vajpayee win the elections. The two leaders in the saddle, USA will get them to sign the agreement it wants, on the ground that unless that agreement is signed nuclear war will break out...

The Jang of 11 July invents yet another conspiracy. Ever since Pakistan exploded its nuclear bombs, the USA wanted to punish not just Nawaz Sharief but the people of Pakistan. It has settled the score this time with the Nawaz-Clinton talks... The Ausaf of the next day informs its readers that Nawaz Sharief, Benazir Bhutto and other politicians are acting to the plans of Zanjari, the International Organization of Jewish Leaders. The objective of Zanjari is to carve out a new State comprising Ladakh, Gilgit and the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Once formed, it will be headed by the Aga Khan or some puppet nominated by him... By 19 July, the conspiracy has widened to encompass Nawaz Sharief! Ausaf declares that Nawaz Sharief is about to hand over a list of mujahideen fighting in Kashmir to the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee...

A society saturated with poison against India, a society that is convinced that it had once again won a splendid victory and was cheated out of it, a society that is convinced that the world is conspiring against it, that all its problems flow from this fact, that, therefore, Jihad is the answer...

Can a minuscule fringe hold out against this -- the lunatic mainstream?

Daily Excelsior
July 30, 1999

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