Of Cabbages and Kings

August 19, 2009

Javed on Jaswant and Jinnah

Jaswant Singh explained that Jinnah had two fears of Gandhi’s style of mass politics. First, ‘if mass movement was introduced into India than the minorities in India could be threatened and we could have Hindu-Muslim riots as a consequence.’ Second, ‘this would result in bringing religion into Indian politics and he (Jinnah) didn’t want that.’

Jaswant Singh pointed out that Jinnah’s fears were shared by Annie Besant and added that events had shown that both were correct.

An excellent piece by Javed Naqvi. Read the whole thing here.


December 30, 2008

The wretched silliness that is politics

Filed under: Across the Universe, politics — Tags: , , , , , , — Chinmayi @ 1:54 am

As most of the world may have noticed, instead of working together at controlling the terrorism that clearly affects them both, India and Pakistan are squabbling away: allegations, denials, name-calling, grandiose demands, arresting eachothers’ citizens, concentration of armies on the borders, veiled and direct threats…the works.

The most interesting perspective that I have seen so far on what appears to be mystifyingly childish behaviour on part of both countries is Kuldip Nayar’s in ‘As things get messier’:

“Like Bhutto, Zardari assumed that he had all power. But he found that this was not so when the government first declared it would send the ISI chief to Delhi after having acceded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request in the wake of the Mumbai blasts and then was not able to do so. What should he have done? Admitted his helplessness in public? No ruler does. He could have resigned but Pakistan does not have a tradition of doing so. Knowing all this, Mukherjee should have refrained from asking who rules in Pakistan. This has further exposed the Zardari government. But then New Delhi’s problem is that it is under a lot of pressure to act after the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Yet, India might have strengthened Zardari if it had not posed the question that Mukherjee did… Zardari’s embarrassment is understandable. It is apparent that he came to know about the attack on Mumbai only after it had taken place.”

And there we are…with what appears to be an upcoming war on our hands, with the media in each country convincing everybody that the other country is an utterly unreasonable and dangerous security threat, more murdering as though the death-toll of the past few years has not been quite enough and (as I suspect is usual) it is all so that a few politicians can save face.

December 9, 2008

India and Pakistan

Filed under: Random musing — Tags: , , , — Chinmayi @ 2:45 am

are good neighbours here in London. S., the Pakistani next door, is full of marvellous stories. She will play beautiful Urdu poetry set to music for me well after midnight and make buckets of delicious biryani for her friends fairly regularly. If she refuses to wear sleeveless clothes or so much as sniff alchohol, she is full of jokes about how easy it is for a Pakistani woman to get a scholarship thanks to the patronising attitude of the West and she is mocking of the hypocrisy of a country where the people who ban alchohol are known to have the best collection of it.

When Mumbai was attacked, we talked about it in the kitchen – S was sympathetic while I was anxious, and I was indignant on her behalf when she told me of someone who had suggested that she should bear some of the responsibility for the incident. Characteristically, she grinned and said that even if the violence did come out of Pakistan, it was very unlikely that the political leader had any control over it. 

S. invited me for her Eid feast today. We played some table tennis and suddenly realised that the pairs across the table from eachother had inadvertantly formed into Indians versus Pakistanis. And the laughter of the evening is something that I will always remember.  A mock war was carried out – with the Pakistanis accusing Indians of targeting their soft corners and their women, and the Indian accusing the Pakistanis of infiltration. Every platitude ever offered by either country’s government was hurled across the table to be incinerated in the laughter. And I caught myself hoping that the world will never change so much that it no longer holds any place for such a table tennis match.

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