It was war….It Still Is

Every child in India is taught the entire freedom struggle where our ancestors fought and gave up their lives for a free India. Everything from the establishment of colonies in 1757, to finally gaining independence in 1947.

And while learning all this we come to know as to why India and Pakistan are such arch enemies today. Of course this rivalry is mostly political but every time the names of these two countries come up, the first thing that comes to the mind is war.

Believe me when I say this, the common man in both the countries does not has that cruel hatred for its neighbor. Yes there is cross border firing every other day, and god alone knows how many innocents have lost their lives in a futile war over Kashmir. But the hatred is more for the idiots who call themselves leaders and kill millions in the name of religion or their so called ‘right’ over a certain piece of land.

But the one thing that really hurts is the fact that we were fooled by the British and that a reckless decision on Jinnah’s part created a rift so deep within the people of the undivided India, that the country was ripped into two, thus creating two separate nations.

And no, it was not only Jinnah who was at fault. We probably didn’t try hard enough to hold that man close to us. If you go through the Indian history, you’ll see how Jinnah was an integral part of the Indian National Congress and how he had been part of the common objective to free Indian from the British rule.

Yes, he was brainwashed, but the mistake was from both our and his side. We should have tried to make him see how the British were fooling him and trying to play their trump card of ‘Divide and Rule.’

Time and again the people of both the nations have tried to create a peaceful relationship. There are cross border marriages, direct buses from New Delhi to Lahore and there are so many Pakistani artists who work here in India.

Atif Aslam, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Ali Zafar are just a few of the many talented Pakistani artists who have worked here and have a dedicated following.

Bollywood movies and songs are a hit in Pakistan, and we Indians are these days copying the style of salwar suits worn by the Pakistani women which we saw on their television soaps that are being aired here.

I came across this article today written by Mahwash Badar, a Pakistani woman, and it brought back all these hidden feelings inside me, which I’m sure every Indian has. Not that I’m in any gloating about the fact that the people there are living in constant fear of a nation that’s crippling under fundamentalist ideas. I weep for my brothers and sisters, who had absolutely nothing to do with the partition and the massacre that followed, and were separated from us because of a misunderstanding caused by the British for their own selfish motives.

But after reading this, I realized how people there too are not happy about the fact that we were divided into two countries and political parties have time and again tried to instill hatred into our hearts for each other.

I truly pray for the day the people of both the countries will awaken to the fact that idiots of the first order, who call themselves our leaders, are just using our emotions to fulfill their barbaric, greedy motives, in the name of religion and god.

 

Here is the article written by Mahwash Badar

Anyone who has ever traveled abroad will tell you that no matter where you go, no matter how developed a country it is that you’re travelling to – if you’re a British national or a Caucasian American, the doors become friendlier. The security becomes less pressurizing. Visa queues are shorter. Procedures are simpler.

If you’re a brown Pakistani man (or even woman) who is travelling to another country – that’s a whole other story. You’re working in the Middle East, chances are your salary is just a little bit above the basic working wage – or anything that will get you a bed-space with seven other human beings. Respect is minimal.

You’re not supposed to ruffle any feathers. Or demand for rights. Your children are thousands of miles away studying (because you can’t afford education for them here), your wife probably has another job to help make ends meet and your job squeezes every drop of your blood into a tiny container that helps build the skyscrapers and that little container is thrown away quicker than you can say “burj” as soon as your company decides to say bye bye.

Pretty much the equivalent of … well, I don’t know. What is that the equivalent of? What analogy do I draw to represent the utter misery that is being a Pakistani in this super-power dominated world?

As if the current state of the country, what with its years of dictatorship and lack of infrastructure, hasn’t driven us insane enough, there is the added bonus of inviting religious extremists and letting them destroy everything we hold near and dear. Sure, apologists will reason it saying “this is not true Islam” and whatnot. But my question is when – seriously – when do we set aside the debate of what is true Islam and what isn’t?

Let the clerics and the religious scholars sit in their mosques. But once and for all, eliminate and annihilate the savage, beastly, cowardly, immoral men who buy the bodies of fragile, poverty-stricken, desperate men, strap them with explosives and send them into markets filled with innocent women and children. Finish these abhorrent elements in the society that attempt to throw us back to the Stone Age.

A recent article in the New York Times reported on the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration of the polio emergency in Pakistan.

Last year, a polio worker was killed in Peshawar, as well as another who was shot dead in Khyber Agency. Several were kidnapped in Bara. In January this year, gunmen killed three health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi, not Kabul, not Sierra Leone, not Riyadh, Karachi.

My heart boils and burns as more devastating news and reports flood the channels. The New York Times article further stated that according to a report, the highest refusal rates for polio vaccination were recorded in wealthy neighborhoods of Karachi because they had “little faith in public health care.” In North Waziristan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have had vaccination forbidden for years. Pakistan thus has 59 polio cases to report, the highest in the world.

Being a mother, it scares me. It keeps me awake at night. It reminds me that even if I run far away from the borders of my own land, its demons will continue to haunt me and my future generations. I Google “Pakistan” on the news and everything that is reported is about death, destruction, squabbling politicians, ailing children, extremists blowing up things and a struggling economy.

I raise my eyes to our neighboring country and see what could have happened if we were still a United India. Maybe we would have been polio free too. We would have been a unified part of a process of being the world’s next big force to reckon with, of being a part of the next blazing economy.

I find myself deeply wishing that Jinnah hadn’t made this mistake – that he had thought about the future of Pakistan. He didn’t think of the obscurantist mindset that he had propelled forward, the countless millions that died at the hand of this vague agenda that fails to unite us as a nation. I look at the years of struggles that Pakistan faces, the fall of Dhaka, the provincial wars, the stark separatist mindsets and I wonder what Mr Jinnah was thinking when he decided to leave the Indian National Congress (INC).

We share more with our Indian brothers than our ancestral DNA. Our food, language, clothes, lifestyles are more like them than the Arabs we so badly want to mimic and ape. I stare at the green passport with the same self-loathing as the fat 16-year-old girl with pimples on her face who is told that she cannot get married because she will always be blind, diseased and fat and her elder, stronger, prettier, better-educated sister will snag all the good catches because she ended up with the better caretaker after the divorce of their parents.

I am ashamed of being a Pakistani today.

I am ashamed that I belong to a country that kills human rights lawyers and sitting governors, and issues death threats to university professors.

I am ashamed that we believe in spaghetti monster theories and pie in the sky conspiracies and risk the future of our children.

I am ashamed that we have rejected our scientists just because they believe in a different dogma.

I am ashamed that we cannot protect our women, we cannot protect our children and we cannot protect our men from the evil that is extremism, fundamentalism and the foolhardy idea that Pakistan is a great nation. Pakistan is a fledgling, flailing state.

And those 59 children, whose legs can never work anymore, the family of Raza Rumi’s driver, those who shed tears for Salman Taseer, for Perveen Rehman, for Rashid Rehman, for Dr Murtaza Haider and his 12-year-old son – every single person who went out to have a normal day and never made it home alive – are all paying the price of the empathy, respect and awe YOU show cowards like Mumtaz Qadri.

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