Indo – Pak Goodwill – The Road to Mutual Prosperity Rajindar Sachar

The collapse of the government machinery, disgrace abounding, permanent stain on India’s boast of secularism and rationalism were some of the instant thoughts that came to me when I learnt of the surrender terms of the  release of Karan Johar film “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.

It is self evident that this boosting of Raj Thackery by Chief Minister Maharashtra (who though he is technically in partnership with Udhay Thackery, Shiv Sena) was a politically expedient, self-interest tactic.

Proudly, the Chief Minister announces that he has telephoned Raj and a mutual settlement has been arrived at- under which Karan would donate Rs. 5 Crores to the army fund and promise not to engage Pakistani actors in future.

At this dark hour of cravenness, a small message from an army veteran shot up, condemning the involvement of the army in this petty politics, and making it clear that the army will not accept this money. The pulse of a common person in India is sounder and more honest than that of a politician – in the cynical words of George Bernard Show “Politics is the last resort for a scoundrel” or even the more cynical one of Samuel Johnson writer, who noted that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

The undertaking given not to engage Pakistani actors in the future is an act of disgrace- of surrendering to ruffian politics.

Will Karan and others at least now show their “penance” by donating Rs. 5 Crores, if not more, to the distressed farmers who are committing suicide in Maharashtra?

It was then cynically suggested that Pakistani actors can be engaged if they condemn Pakistani attack. Such a suggestion is not only disgraceful but is rather a self inflicted wound – because then the question may well be asked, why then Indo-Pak trade shows that over the last 12 years it has grown 8 times from just 345 million dollars to 2.6 billion dollars? This is true even in the matter of entertainment. A blow up by this pseudo patriotism has resulted in enforcing a complete ban by Pakistan on Indian TV and Radio. This fake patriotism will ruin both the neighbours.

In my view, in creating anti – Pak feelings, the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister cannot escape their responsibility. I say this because in the wake of strategic strike controversy (in which, of course, Rahul’s intervention made the Congress squirm), we witnessed even more embarrassing antics of Parrikar, when he “enlightened” the country by declaring that he feels that army has been motivated because of his training even though as a small-time RSS volunteer. Of course, he gave credit to Modi’s Leadership due to his longer training in RSS Shakhas. How laughable – what of 1965 war with Pakistan, which is legendary? The Prime Minister then was Lal Bahadur Shastri, whose antipathy to the RSS is well- documented.

PM’s comment that, “earlier ,one had heard about Israel doing such things – now the country has seen that Indian Army is no less”, was an ignorant bloomer – I am sorry Modi made such a statement without consulting the foreign office who would have told him that Israeli Army receives universal condemnation for its barbarous attacks on Palestine at every year at U.N. General Assembly meetings since over 30 years.

This laughable matter of RSS parade being the inspiration of PM, or of others training at RSS rally, is equivalent to the similar idle and laughably parallel boast of English aristocracy that , “Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon was won at the playing fields of public school Eton”.

It is unfortunate that in this jingoism of hysteria being spread by RSS pupil Parrikar and Modi, Congress Party should try to out do this jingoism as was openly done by the Congress leader Anand Sharma, demanding that government should declare the terror attack against the security forces at Udhampur Pathankot, and Uri as “Acts of War”.

I am deeply sad that Rishi Kapoor should have said that “Indian Industry will not work with any Pakistani actor in the future”. Has Rishi forgotten one of his best earliest film “Henna” made in 1991, where the heroine was Pakistani Film actress Zeba Bakhtiar and shot in area of Pakistan – the story of Pakistanis helping him to cross Jhelum river in Pakistan safely back to India by protecting him from Pakistani ruffians. It is worth emphasizing that at that time, militancy in Kashmir (supported by Pakistan) was at the highest level.

Such is the fear being spread that it reminds me of a somewhat similar situation after the Second World War in U.S.A. when Senator McCarthy spread his anti communist hatred so viciously that he succeeded in creating an atmosphere of terror amongst established writers, cinema actors, and there was a deadening silence at any protest from the public.

– But fortunately, for free speech, he over acted and tried the same vilifying accusations against U.S. Army. And then he met his nemesis. The nation was jolted, people picked up courage. As US Army reacted in protest like ours army, McCarthy was thrown out of public life and his career ended in dumps. Can we not stop this mud slinging by small-time politicians at creating a terror atmosphere, for those who want better relations with Pakistani people and enjoying their talent in films, Sufi Music and quawalis, which is a common heritage of both our countries?

But unfortunately, this mutual boast at border killing by both Pakistan and India are being treated as if it is a number of how many goals in hockey match have been scored against each other. What a sham!

I am fond of seeing films (though not a cinema buff). But as a penance, I will deny myself the pleasure of seeing this film either in Cinema Hall or even on T.V., because having spent my first 25 years of life in Lahore (Pakistan), I at least owe that much to both the countries.

It is somewhat heartening to read the statement issued by Hina Jilani (Pakistan) Chairperson of SAHR – a human right organization representing India, Pakistan, Lanka, Nepal, namely; “SAHR appeals to the governments of India and Pakistan to respect the sanctity of LoC and IB. It also strongly urges both governments to immediately implement the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003 in letter and spirit”.

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