December 27, 2007

Benazir

My thoughts are with friends Arifa, Bilal, Beena, Sajjad and many more. My thoughts are of the echoes: Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Zulfiquar Bhutto and now Benazir Bhutto. My thoughts are of the danger and uncertainty that 150 million people in that country face.

And I cannot suppress the unease I feel, inside me.

On the TV screen in this room I'm in, there's been some comment, I didn't catch from where, asking (I paraphrase): "Indira, Rajiv, now Benazir, when are assassinations going to become obsolete?"

I don't believe they ever will become obsolete. When justice and governance is as tenuous as it is in Pakistan, when politics is as polarised and vicious as it is, and when religion is so much part of it too -- when all those things hold true, Benazir's death is really just another fallout.

Yes, Pakistan needs to find a path to stable, working, accountable democracy for all its people. From where it is now, that seems like an impossible path to a mirage of a dream. Yet if Pakistan is to survive, what choice is there?

I'm uneasy, yes. Selfish as it may seem right now, I cannot help thinking about the lessons for us in India. Polarisation, justice, religion, governance, accountability, politics, democracy -- may we think long and hard about what those words mean to us too.

11 comments:

Super duper pseudo secular said...

Dear bleeding hearts,


Please go to 2:30 of the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCRFWStxV_4

Fine sentiments expressed by Ms. Bhutto:


kashmir ke bahadur awam maut se nahin darte hain kyunke woh musalman hain

kashmiriyon ke ragon mein muhajid aur ghaziyon ka khoon hain ..

Jaideep Srivastava said...

Dear brave non-bleeding hearts,

Please don't waste time going to youtube. You can find out all you need to know about how brave you are by checking how often you shy away from your own names. As above.

Yours in nameless wonder,
Jaideep Srivastava

super duper pseudo secular said...

Dear Jaideep Srivastava,

Whats in a name ;)

You really have a fine name. No wonder the name is your argument.

yadbhavishya said...

D'cubed, let your heart bleed for all those who want to finish India given a chance.
That is all you are capable of, sycophancy left behind by your British masters.

super duper pseudo secular said...

I won't be surprised if dcubed in his typically sly manner begs his Christian (evangelist though, not Catholic) Uncle Bush to bring democracy to Gujarat.

Anonymous said...

> "let your heart bleed for all those who
> want to finish India given a chance."

dcubed, now I get it. your friends "Arifa, Bilal, Beena, Sajjad and many more" all "want to finish India".

silly of me for not seeing it earlier.

Jai_Choorakkot said...

Dilip,

Tragic death, but are you following the aftermath- how many versions of the story do they have now?

A Pak minister officially half-rescinded their early version that BB bumped her head on the metal lever of the sunroof - following the release of video footage that showed the shooting?

You could almost read him leaving the door open for more twists - depending on how much more video footage gets out?

"Trust but verify" is your motto for Indo-Pak relations. How many such though would you advise? Youve given up on individual bloggers for far fewer (and lesser IMHO) transgressions.

Maybe BB-Musharraf was the best chance we had in the subcontinent. I regret the loss, and the instability it brings, the backward leap for any prospects of kind-of democracy in Pakistan.

On some other blogs though I read about BB's repeated exhortations to the ppl of Kashmir to "Jag-jag, mo-mo, han-han" their governor and her open support for jihadi groups.
Lessons indeed for where that leads to.

I regret to say that this has tempered my grief a little.

regards,
Jai

Jai_Choorakkot said...

Dilip/All,

I read the post more carefully. Dilip you are not expressing support for Benazir, and the comparison with some bloggers, I think I was a little too hasty.

Sorry for taking up comment space. This is my last comment on this thread.

regards,
Jai

Ot said...

What is it with this Jai-Choorakot guy? Dcubed, he's one of your regular commentator, and he constantly is changing his views and contradicting himself. Is he real, or is he one of your other p-sec commenters faking, or even you faking?

Dilip D'Souza said...

On some other blogs though I read about BB's repeated exhortations to the ppl of Kashmir to "Jag-jag, mo-mo, han-han" their governor and her open support for jihadi groups.

Jai, how is this different from any other Pakistani leader? Whoever thinks Benazir, posthumously or not, was somehow pro-India, or pro-democracy, or clean as a whistle, etc -- whoever thinks such things is either naive or has chosen to forget her record.

But more to the point, why should we have expected Benazir to be different? She sought to lead a particular constituency: she did it by saying the things she believed would appeal to that constituency. As any good politician should. That's the kind of leader we should expect to have to deal with in Pakistan.

After all, what if someone in India ran for election saying we should give Kashmir away to Pakistan, or allow jihadis to roam free? Would that person's constituency -- Indians -- elect him?

Clearly not. In the same way, we can hardly expect Benazir to run for election in Pakistan saying things that she believes her constituency will abhor.

I never had much respect for Benazir. But I do believe her assassination has thrown an already troubled and unstable country into further chaos and bloodshed. That, I mourn.

In the same way, I never had much respect for Indira. But her assassination set off the most ghastly wave of killings this country has ever seen, and in many ways we still feel the repercussions of that massacre. That, I mourn.

Ketan said...

I was surprised, most readers, including Jai this once, had missed your point.

How exactly she died is not an issue but (successful) attempt at her assassination was made, that is.

I guess, you were trying to allude to the chaos that such assassinations represent.

One thing that struck me was you have sort of reconciled with her methods. Back home, Bal Thackeray had written a few editorials, the contents of which I don't know, but my guess is, he might have called for killing of Muslims - is that right?

Did you say the following, only because she was from Pakistan (& so that we'd no control over what she could do), or would it apply to all politicians in general:

"she did it by saying the things she believed would appeal to that constituency. As any good politician should."

What she said was wrong on three different planes:

1. For Indians. As her exhortations were against India.

2. From humanitarian angle. Whatever she said was highly condemnable as she was exhorting killings of innocent people.

3. For Pakistan. Isn't it obvious, Pakistan, economically and otherwise would have been better off had they not obsessed over Kashmir? It'd have saved them lot of money & human resources. But most important, theirs would've been a less of militia-dominated state.

[While I wrote the last point, I'm aware India's not perfect & people of other countries are free to point that out.]