i'm not leftist, i'm not rightist, i'm a typist
in there like swimwear
"I have a dream of a time when we will cheer a Younis Khan sixer as madly as we cheer a Yuvraj Singh one."This already happens. It's called the IPL, this year being an exception. Which leads to a bigger point:Free Trade, and free markets will do more to bring people together than any government-sponsored initiative. Let the Indian artists perform in Pakistan. And let the Pakistani ones perform in India. Adnan Sami - Indian? Or Pakistani? Only a passport demarcates that line, which is otherwise quite fuzzy. Is Amitabh Bachchan one of us, one of them or is everyone's hero?The more we see of each other's daily mundane existence, the greater the chance for peace. I am sure Pakistanis would love to drive a Tata Nano, just as I know Indians love watching Pakistani plays. This - the activity of commerce, dictated by nothing other than demand and supply - will ensure more peace than any exchange of letters, as good-intentioned as that is.
1. Joint memorial.... towards Rahul's dream.Dilip do you have the steps in reverse order? A common memorial to soldiers who *killed each other* in *war* is a precursor to cheering each others sportsmen in a *game*?2. I support this talk but hope more people notice the grouping and binary between:"people who are fundamentally antagonistic and vengeful" ( apparently a stand-in for anybody that opposes Indo-Pak talks )and those"who don't see red at the very mention of the other country"( appears to signify anybody who is pro-talks )I look forward to the day when dialogues of this kind dont need to resort to these tactics.ie. I look forward to a day when somebody that wants to talk to Pakistan is also ready to talk to his domestic opposition and possibly say something like:" I understand and appreciate that there are serious and well-considered reasons that reasonable people can have for no longer being able to trust and talk to Pakistan; but I feel it is still worth it and we should invest the effort because [..XYZ..]"than indulge in the caricaturing above.thanks,Jai
You're completely right, Ashoka. It's why I was so heartened when I visited Wagah last year -- not in the evening when the choreographed ceremonies happen, but in the day -- and found frenetic activity among vegetable vendors vying to take their trucks across the border to sell stuff. Dozens, maybe hundreds of trucks. May there be much more such "activity of commerce". Having said that, I'll take your gentle jibe in the same gentle spirit and carry on with my exchange of letters!Jai, I don't really care which order it happens in, or if simultaneously. As for the other point, there is no caricature implied in the least. To me, the current relationship between our countries -- broadly hostile and mistrustful -- reflects the feelings of a lot of people on both sides who are fundamentally antagonistic to the other side. That doesn't describe me. Yet I'm as Indian as anyone else: so why should the relationship not reflect my feelings (instead, or as well)?I mean no disrespect to anyone, and I'm quite OK with people's serious and well-considered reasons.
The Israeli writer A. B. Yehoshua once made a comment that Israelis and Palestinians must first learn to live separately and in peace before any attempt can be made to "live together." That is true for India and Pakistan also. Why Rahul Bose wants to jump the gun and talk about "Indians cheering a Younis Khan sixer..." is beyond me.Secondly, many Pakistanis seem to think that we in India have not accepted Partition and that we still long to undo it. Talk of "how we are actually the same" and even the idea of "Indians cheering for Younis Khan" just raises the hackles of many Pakistanis. It confirms their worst suspicions that we have not accepted Partition. I remember an article by the former head of the ISI (Hamid Gul) angrily asserting that Indians and Pakistanis are not the same! In my opinion, the correct approach is that postulated by Yehoshua: we learn to live separately and in peace first. We can talk about cheering for Younis Khan much later. And as Beena notes, it may not come even then because of the fundamentally competitive nature of sports.
1. "...Talk of "how we are actually the same" and even the idea of "Indians cheering for Younis Khan" just raises the hackles of many Pakistanis. It confirms their worst suspicions that we have not accepted Partition..."Right on Suresh! Though I am uncomfortable with the funeral silence that often greets heroics by Pakistani batsmen at Indian stadia (or even worse outright heckling and jeering- guys its just a game) your statement above resonated with me, its almost exactly the way I see this issue. Many Pakistanis, I think, recoil at this "border is a line in our imagination" thing (I do when I try to imagine this situation from a Pakistani PoV).2. stepping from joint war memorials for soldiers who killed *each other* to applauding *cricketers*.I meant the priority of things not exact chronological order. Cricket is just a game. Its not war.Getting stadium crowds to at least politely applaud excellent work by the opposing side is (or should be) small potatoes.As above, overdoing the bhaichaara actually sets off alarm bells IMO.Thanks,Jaiofftopic PS- What happened with the grouping was you diminished opposition space into "fundamental antagonistic vengeful" and the larger complement of this set as your own team.I saw this happen at a site I rarely visit - offstumped on a debate on RightOfCenter with neat constrictions on the definition of "leftist liberal" and generous allowance for defining their home team. Something similar was pointed out by the nanopolitan and Rahul S.Its just academically satisfying to me that I can pick this up on both sides of a political spectrum. No offence.
Getting stadium crowds to at least politely applaud excellent work by the opposing side is (or should be) small potatoes.I don't know that it is all that small potatoes. Though I was heartened to see it happen after the Chennai Test in, I think, '99? I can pick this up on both sides of a political spectrum. No offence.I make a distinction between the hostility some people feel for Pakistan and what I feel. That's all. I have good friends all along the political spectrum whom I respect who feel that hostility as well. If you want to see this particular distinction I make as "neat constrictions", that's your call. Suresh, it's a dream. For me, I'd like to see it expand to any team we are playing. It may never happen, but I'd like to see it anyway. In other words, what I'd like to see is a little less of our national honour wrapped up in cricket, and us feeling confident enough to applaud the opposition too.I suspect that's what Rahul B meant.Partition is something I (personally) think of as a done deed.
Dilip,The problem for Pakistan since inception has been to define itself in a way that distinguishes it from India. Most of the easy markers (race, language, religion) don't work. That is why what Rahul and you think of as a dream can be seen by some Pakistanis in a very different light. I think as Indians we need to recognize this aspect and be careful in saying something like "Look, we are really the same."Second, dreams are essential in that they point us to what we want to achieve. However, in my opinion, the particular dream of Rahul is simply too grand. The problem with very grand dreams is that there is no incentive to move towards achieving it. We know it is very unlikely to be achieved; hence we have no incentive to strive to achieve it.I prefer to dream small - like Yehoshua, to dream of a future where we can simply "tolerate" one another, nothing more. We can then move the goals further.
Suresh, in fact I couldn't agree more with you about the caution in saying "we are really the same." But two points. One, I don't agree that applauding Younis qualifies as saying "we are really the same". Applauding an opponent is a measure of respect for his skills, and I would like to believe we can find that kind of respect.Two, I actually do think the joint war memorial is a less "grand" dream. Because I think there are enough people in both militaries who are less caught up with hostility than you'd find among the rest of us.
I have not read this email, but just commenting on cricket being used as an index to depth India-Pakistan rivalry.As with many things, one cannot generalize across a population as to what are the prevalent attitudes.Second, I think cricketing rivalry between India & Pakistan is partly based on tradition. It has become reflexive to want Pakistan to lose against India.But there is one more important aspect to be considered here - the inherent groupism that attracts people to games in general. Indian fans identify with Indian players (a very important factor; as a mental experiment, just think if Sachin decides to play one game for Pakistan will Indians cheer if he hits a six? Yes, I believe). Indian fans will be hardly as much interested in watching an England-New Zealand match or its outcome, for instance.When Andrew Symonds-Harbhajan controversy had erupted, Australian cricket team had become so hated (more so for the perceived arrogance than anything else), that many people I knew had started wanting Pakistan to win against Australia!In Eden Gardens (if my memory is not failing me), Indian fans had misbehaved very badly in a match against Sri Lanka - a country against who India has hardly had any serious issues.Another possible reason for rivalry is that India and Pakistan have always been one of the top teams. Of late I have seen Indians getting much more disappointed by a loss to Australia than to Pakistan (nothing to do with attacks on Indians in Australia).To give another example, tonight itself Mumbai fans had suddenly become quiet when a Punjab batsman had hit a four in IPL! It would be wrong to believe that Mumbai people harbor any antagonism for Punjab people. :)Lastly, football fans end up beating up each other in matches played between mere clubs (and not even countries). Remember, many people "thank god" merely if India wins a cricket match even without watching it. ;)I would only like to say in the end, that what makes games interesting for majority of people is not merely the skill/athleticism involved, but putting one's emotional stakes behind victory of a particular team. Even if we say that this sort of groupism-based rivalry is bad, how to overcome it?I had written a blog post on birth-based groupism, where I have very briefly tried to address how such problems can be tackled. Your ideas are certainly invited.http://ketanpanchal.blogspot.com/2009/03/communalism.html
"I make a distinction between the hostility some people feel for Pakistan..." It's not enough to state that such hostility exists; you should look into the reasons. Could it have something to do with the extremely violent way Pakistan was created; the four wars they have launched against India; their support for terrorism against India, including 11/26; their repellent ideology, and equally repellent power structure. The business of 'not accepting' partition or Pakistan's existence is utter nonsense. The only people in India who have nostalgia for the so called 'good old days' of pre-partition, are old time Punjabis, and that generation is aging fast. Most Indians would say that there is no advantage to be gained, in 'undoing' partition and merging with Pakistan. Quite the contrary!
"even the idea of "Indians cheering for Younis Khan" just raises the hackles of many Pakistanis. It confirms their worst suspicion" God, that's stupid and immature, to be charitable!
I come back here only to say that Chandru's above comments are the best reason for dcubed's email correspondence with Bina Sarwar.
And this dialogue between D'Souza and Beena Sarwar won't really change a thing, except make some people feel good that they're carrying on a dialogue, or that 'people-to-people' contact is occurring. There are Pakistani Jihadi attacks going on right now in Kashmir, while D'Souza and Sarwar are agreeing that 'both sides' are equally responsible, and equally bad. Oh, brother...
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