“This is a fitting reply to the 26/11 Mumbai carnage”, said Gambhir in the post match presentation ceremony after the Indo-Pak semifinal match at the Cricket World Cup; it sounded very poetic and patriotic and he was applauded too. And naturally it did not go down well with the opponents. A visibly disturbed Afridi eventually commented that his counterparts in the opposite team did not have ‘large hearts’…
This could easily be seen as him accusing his opponents of bad sportsman spirit, but there is another perspective that makes more sense. Clearly, for a person like Afridi, and for most average Pakistanis, the event at Mumbai was not a sane act. Even if Afridi/Pakistanis harbor a desire to spread the grace of Islam, this, they know, surely is not the way. There is nothing Islamic about a set of goons walking about in a city shooting hapless people who are in turn going about doing their daily work. It is just a set of groupies drunk on some freaked out un-Islamic idea, going after another perceived set of groupies—all with very confused human motives—never mind what they ‘say’ they stand for. Afridi surely had nothing to do with it, other than through the fact that he was a Pakistani. How could Afridi, when he played the world cup match, be accused for holding fort for Kasab, his dead companions and his mentors?
This is the unanswered question that hangs fire between the people of the two nations—that it is not easy for Indians to say readily that Afridi is not to be blamed, and that it is not easy for the Pakistanis to condemn the Mumbai incident without an iota of doubt. And the leaders don’t seem to be able to rise high enough to pull the nations out of it. Most experts feel that the nations are going to stay in this quagmire for a long time to come…
In the Indian subcontinent Islam and Hinduism eventually discovered that they could co-exist. Sufism had proved, without any doubt that the ultimate aim of Islam was in total sync with the local ethos of the Hindu culture. But there are numerous temporal motives in every age, seeking to divide people on various bases; and it was the same in pre-independence India as well. With a little help from the colonial masters a wedge wriggled itself into place between the Hindus and Muslims—at least in the political eye—and it paid huge unwanted dividends.
Differences between people are natural but divisions amongst peoples are man-accentuated; it has got nothing to do with God. It is known in all true spirituality that the only difference that matters is the divide that separates Yudhistir and Duriodhan; though they happened to be from one breed—cousins in fact—one fought for God’s design and the other fought for his own human agenda.
Was India and Pakistan divided in such a way that on one side there was righteousness and on the other evil? Of course not, somebody drew a line on the map separating one piece of land from the other and evil was let loose. A lot of blood was ultimately spilled before, when and after people crossed that line into anticipated safety.
Was the conceiving of an Islamic state, carved out of India, an act inspired by Divine Will…? Definitely not, it was a pragmatic mongering for misconceived fiefdoms. How is it possible that one can create a divide by placing ‘mistrust-between-children-of-God’ as the centerpiece and then build a new nation up by keeping ‘trust-between-the-children-of-God’ as the centerpiece? And more importantly, how could people who do not understand this, ever build an Islamic nation—endowed with Islam’s highest principles…? It does not work that way… Islam would never have authorized the divide of the Indian nation for the simple reason that the fundamental ethos—Vasudaivakutambakam—of Hinduism does not allow for committing atrocities on the faithful of any religion. Atrocities were committed, but it was the collective failure of the people of that time (even as Hindutwa fails humanity today) and it cannot be held against the ethos of the nation.
It is time to grow up. Somewhere down the line the Pakistanis must turn around and tell their leaders that this has not gone along the way God wanted and that they need to correct their course. Pakistan must die to the basic principle of ‘distrust’ present in the roots of its formation before it re-builds on the basis of a stronger foundation of trust which Islam espouses.
Horrible Method: Even more unwise are the methods which the Pakistani leaders have come to use. The professed aim was to bleed India with a thousand cuts, and what came of that? One former Pakistani Prime Minister ended up bleeding; who incidentally, in her own wisdom, had advocated a 1000 year war.
According the status of ‘legitimate’, to the use of ‘murder’ on civilian populations of other groups out of the notion that they are ‘enemies’, is one of the big faults a nation can commit. In Islam you cannot “legitimize” murder of innocents even on nations that have declared war on you. It only ‘appears’ legitimate when it is targeted against other nations supposedly practicing ‘false’ faiths; but this has no divine sanction.
Besides it does not take long for the feeling of ‘they’ (my enemies) to shift from ‘other religions’ or ‘other nations’ and get carried forward to ‘other sects’, ‘political enemies’, ‘False Muslims’ and the like—who they begin identifying in their own neighborhoods. Because that is the new rule now: ‘enemies can be dealt with murder as long as you can declare, on any whimsical basis, that the other person is an infidel’.
Pakistan now bleeds because it officially or unofficially continues to sympathize with the use of ‘un-god like’ violence against ‘the other’. But that seems to be the approach in a significant number of the present practitioners of Islam all over the world; and in that sense the community practicing the religion of Islam has not been able to separate the chaff from the grain from amongst its professed followers.
Pakistan must learn to reject this. Rather than being influenced thus, it must instead offer leadership to the Islamic world by strengthening and exporting its Sufiana base.
One does sympathize deeply with Afridi; it is indeed small hearted of Indians to paint all Pakistanis with the same brush. But then Afridi, and all other well meaning Pakistanis, need to be large hearted too, to stand up for a Pakistani leadership that can move on.
Unfortunately it is the Kashmiri who is paying the price. By a special status being accorded for Kashmir in the Indian Constitution, it is, technically speaking, freer than the rest of India. What more then, does Kashmir want that is not available to Tamil Nadu or to Orissa for instance? And mind you, India is one of the freest places in the world, (too free for comfort, since the poor are not well protected). So why this red herring—of denial of freedom by the Indian state…? Is it not too obvious, as to what the real issue is, from the fact that the trouble in Kashmir suddenly became pronounced round about the same time that the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan; 1989 thereabouts?
And then the Kashmiris too cannot be blamed. Their sane leaders have been targeted for elimination by the militants. And it is fashionable to talk anti-India now as it is a triple whammy; first is that militants do not murder those who speak anti-India, second ‘patronage’ is obtained from dubious sources, and third the Indian state is not mandated to eliminate anybody but rather must protect the freedom of speech. The sad outcome is that it is easy to be a leader who is unfaithful to the cause of Peace in Kashmir.
The leaders and citizens who stand up for peace any way, and do their part against the interference of the negative elements, hats off to their courage and large heartedness… God bless them for their resolve; India, especially Kashmir, owes them a great debt…