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The Nation, Sunday, May 26, 2002

Humayun Gauhar

What a hypocritical, immoral, topsy-turvy world this is.

How can a country of 140 million be a threat to a country of one billion?

How can the world ignore Security Council Resolutions for a plebiscite in Kashmir while simultaneously insisting on other Resolutions, like against Iraq?

How can the world ignore India's genocide of Kashmiris while agonizing over the suicide bombings in Israel by desperate Palestinians?

How can it ignore - indeed covertly encourage - the unleashing of nuclear terror by India while calling Pakistan's bomb 'Islamic'?

It can do all this and more if those at the receiving end are Muslim. A Muslim freedom struggle is terrorism; any other is an independence movement.

America bends over backwards to get independence for 750,000 East Timorese from Indonesia. Kofi Annan calls it a "moment of pride and liberation." The East Timorese are Christian, the Indonesians Muslim. Lucky East Timor. Exalted are those who supported it.

America turns its back on the freedom struggle of millions of Kashmiris, occupied and oppressed by India. It calls them 'terrorists'. The Kashmiris are Muslim, the Indians Hindu. Unlucky Kashmir. Damned are those who support it.

Sharon commits genocide of Muslims in Jenin. Bush calls him a "man of peace."

India commits genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. Bush calls India America's partner.

India brings the world to the verge of nuclear holocaust. Bush holds military exercises with it.

Such are today's double standards. No one asks India - chauvinist, expansionist, demonic, hegemonic - how a country of 140 million can threaten a country of 1 billion?

1974: Hungry, plague-ridden India unleashes nuclear terror on South Asia. America ignores it.

1998: A hungrier India, with more people living below poverty than anywhere, unleashes renewed nuclear terror. America still ignores it. Does it seriously imagine that this cesspool of seething sub-human humanity can contain the onward march of China?

1998: In self-defense Pakistan declares its nuclear capability. Its bomb assumes religion. The world calls it 'Islamic'. The Christians and Jews move heaven and earth to diffuse it.

Again the cradle of history has been brought to the verge. Again the land of antiquity is in danger of turning red. Again humanity is the sacrifice. And the world stands in the dock for history to see, accused of ignoring India's continuing criminality, allowing it to bring God's greatest creation to Armageddon's door. Ruled by others for over a millennium, this contrived 'union' has proved in just a half-century that it remains incapable of ruling itself. To unite the 'union' it needs the cement of the Pakistani 'threat'. What kind of a country is it that feeds on insecurity to stay alive? What kind of a people are they who need hatred for sustenance? I ask again: how can a country of 140 million be a threat to a country of 1 billion?

To be sure there is much to support the conventional wisdom that there is an America-India nexus against Pakistan, especially how brazenly America has ignored - and sometimes encouraged - India's perfidy and criminality. America has hypocritically ignored India's illegal occupation and rape of Kashmir and studiously disregarded Security Council Resolutions for a plebiscite. All Pakistan is asking for is that the Resolutions be implemented. What's wrong with that, especially when America makes a virtue of the UN Resolutions that serve its purpose, as in Iraq? And it has surreptitiously participated in India's nuclear program (see 'America's Indian Bomb', The Nation of 26th March 2000). Many questions are being asked. Is America using India to push Pakistan into accepting a Kashmir 'solution' through war or the threat of war? Nothing will work if the Kashmiris don't accept it. Does America need a greater role in Pakistan's internal security apparatus to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaida fighters allegedly hiding here?

More likely is that India, over-optimistic about its strength and importance, mollycoddled as ever, feels it can do what it wants and the world can go hang itself. India today is ruled by religious bigots that are no less dogmatic and fanatical than the Taliban. Hatred of Muslims, particularly of Pakistan, is the lifeblood of their creed, Hindutva. They came to power first after destroying the Babri Mosque and promising to build a temple to their god Ram on its ruins. Kargil propelled them to electoral victory in the next election. Now on the skids after having lost the UP, the BJP government is fighting for survival. Their only ammunition is whipping up anti-Muslim anti-Pakistan hatred and war hysteria. This is the basis on which they will contest the next elections after some military adventure in which they are seen to be successful, or so they imagine. Thus, like Hitler and his Nazis, Vajpayee and his BJP-SS manufacture incidents to blame on Pakistan and justify war or talk of war. There are 750,000 soldiers in Kashmir, the same number as the entire population of East Timor! Another half million are deployed all across the border. There is heavy mining on both sides of the LOC. Not an ant can get past all this un-noticed, yet 'terrorists' seem to come and go as they please! India should send its army home, for it is useless. Why does the world not ask how there can be 'cross-border' terrorism when the LOC and the border is teeming with Indian soldiers? What kind of soldiers are these? Is anyone wondering why Afghanistan's Qanooni took 125 Pakistani prisoners to India and what they are doing there? If it is impossible for 'terrorists' to get through the heavily defended border is it not possible that the 'terrorist' incidents must emanate in India for Kashmir's is a genuine, homegrown freedom struggle? Why would Pakistan create trouble for itself when it least needs it with 'terrorist' attacks on Indian parliaments and army camps? Who benefits, India or Pakistan? Indeed, who benefits from real terrorists acts in Pakistan like the Islamabad church bombing and Karachi's Sheraton bomb that has set our navy's capability back for a time. In all cases, whether it is 'terrorism' in India or terrorism in Pakistan, it is India that always benefits. Pakistan is always the loser. So is it Pakistan that is making the mischief or India? Have a heart. America and the world really need to wake up, before there is no world left to awaken to.

A perennially pampered and cosseted India feels that it can get away with murder, literally, because the world will blindly side with it, as always. Like all fanatics the BJP and its cohorts seriously believe that Ganesh the elephant or Hanuman the monkey or Brahma the bull or whichever of their pantheon of gods has ordained them to finish off the Muslims and Pakistan. Before they lose the opportunity they must fulfill the task destiny that their 'karma' has ordained for them. Like Sharon's Israel Vajpayee's India is using America's war against terror as a cover to settle its own scores and quench its thirst of prejudice.

There is hope yet for Vajpayee has many real problems, not just imaginary ones. The morale of his 750,000 soldier in Indian Occupied Kashmir is low. They have been killing their officers and committing suicide. In case of war, the Kashmiri population will side with Pakistan, not India. No army has ever won a war if the local population is against it. The equation of relative military strengths no longer holds. When two countries have nuclear weapons there is parity. The assumption that in case of a nuclear exchange it will be half of India for all of Pakistan is as fallacious as it is fascist. Why would Pakistan not fire all its missiles on all of India? God forgive me for this is the kind of bloodthirsty, demented discourse but this is what India has reduced me to. Hopefully, Musharraf's words spoken in their formal meeting in Katmandu after the famous handshake still ring in Vajpayee's ears and will help him to see sense: "Whatever you may do to Pakistan, you know what we will do to you. So end the rhetoric and face reality."

If only we could find a way to reach an honorable peace. I'll tell you why. I'm convinced that peace is our greatest weapon, for without the glue of the imaginary danger from us, India, whose fragmentation started on August 14, 1947, will fall apart.


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