Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lahore, March 3, and it's India v. Pakistan again

As expected, the blog scene across the globe has been pulsating with the news of the incredibly tragic attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore yesterday.
Here's Simply61, an Indian blogger with sense in the right proportions.
And here's Pak Tea House.
Also as expected, blogs by Indians or Pakistanis on the subject have led to a flood of comments by readers from both sides of the border, which comments then take on a life of their own and soon spiral down into the usual mess of bashing the other's country /beliefs / politics and what have you. So we see the familiar and mindless accusations of extremist Islam, Talibanisation, Hindu fanaticism, Muslim-ghettoing, State-sponsored ethnic cleansing, Church-destroying, nun-raping, priest-killing, Dalit sidelining, honour killing, school burning, beheading etc. doing the rounds...
What is it with India and Pakistan? Or rather, with the common Indian and Pakistani youth? (This is the demographic that is active on blogs.) For a longish time I held firmly to my belief that, "No, no, it's all good. The average Indian Raju or Pakistani Pappu bears no ill-will to his neighbour . It only seems that way in the movies, media and among hard-right politicians."
But the unfortunate fact is that this is not so. Can't say about Pakistan, but I've lived in India for over 10 years now and all my friends are Indians. For every sane and tolerant voice I hear among these my sensible friends, I hear and see many more intolerant, hateful, angry voices that bear malice towards Pakistan. I'm pretty sure it must be the same on the other side.
And why? None of the youth today have any real attachement with the Partition Era or the tragedy that unfolded then. Where is all this Hate-Thy-Neighbour sentiment coming from? I fail to understand. This feeling is never more evident than, ironcally, during a Pak-India cricket match. I need to wear ear-muffs to drown out the name-calling at such times. Why for?

I can distance myself from India- or Pak-bashing since, being a Kashmiri, I have the luxury of not belonging to either. (On the other hand, I'm equiliberal in India- or Pak-bashing when I see an injustice from either side. I'm not blind, I'm just more objective.)

What I really don't get is that overwhelming feeling of patriotism/nationalism/call it what you will, that takes a person to such a level of self-righteousness that he feels he is superior to anyone else. Because that is what nationalism is. A fierce pride that convinces you within your man-made borders that you are better than the other.
I reject nationalism outright. No 'nationalism' for me. I will judge people by their actions and intentions, wherever they may be from, and extrapolate that for Governments too.

And the moral of the story, based on this theory above, must be that the US Government sucks. :)

Cartoons flicked from Nicholson Cartoons and


Manoj Govindan said...

Paul Graham has written an insightful article about "why politics and religion yield such uniquely useless discussions".

Quotes: "you can have a fruitful discussion about a topic only if it doesn't engage the identities of any of the participants. What makes politics and religion such minefields is that they engage so many people's identities."

And "Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you."

PG's explanation made a lot of sense to me. Given how many self-affixed labels we South Asians wear I'd be surprised if there weren't any rancorous discussions.

simply61 said...

Sabbah,this same youth brigade in Pakistan and India that so loves posturing against each other and spewing hate, is the one totally disengaged from any constructive involvement with politics of their own country.On both sides people love to hate their politicians and whine that they can not do anything about the nation because of these politicians but will still not stand up and take interest in joining politics/social work/engagement with the masses of India and Pakistan.
Experience tells us that youth everywhere need to identify with issues and ideals.In the absence of any moral leadership in both countries the youth have hung their hat on the "hate thy neighbour'hook.
And sabbah it is not 'sir'but 'madam' on my side. :)
have a good day in beautiful Kashmir.

kinkminos said...

saabji, i see that you is beck (shows how long i've been out of touch with the spherical blog thing).

with all this pseudo-political wrangling, my beloved game of cricket is being drawn into the fray and becoming a right old political football. while the final nail in the coffin of pakistani cricket has yet to be hammered in, it is pretty much a matter of time it seems.

i should either grow a long beard or force myself to like watching football, or tennis, or [shudder] Formulaic One.

good to have you beck.

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