May 05, 2011

On self-deception

On another post about the death of Osama, I got a comment which is excerpted here:

Drawing false equivalences between India and Pakistan to appease them is part of the routine. If you are bad, we are also bad. If you have extremists we also have extremists. If you kill people we also kill people. If you have Shahid Afridi, we have Gautam Gambhir. Nothing wrong with your Islam at all, our Hinduism is worse. And so on the charade goes. The point of the game is not to talk blunt and deliver a reality check to our darling estranged brothers and sisters but to force the idea that they are just "people like us" down *our* throats. D'Souza deserves to be commended for not yet scaling the heights of of discussing "shared" cultural attributes like butter naan and sufi music, but he cannot be accused of not trying to push the envelope.

Pakistan is so far down the road of self-deception that this make-believe is superfluous. They don't need our assurance that their state and society are not particularly evil. Join the game if it makes you feel virtuous to claim that we are the ones who are equally evil
.

I wrote a response as a comment there, but on some reflection it seemed to me this little exchange deserved to be a post by itself. So here we are. My response is in the following paragraphs.

The self-deception, it seems to me, is in those who are content in trying to show that India is superior to Pakistan, and who bristle at anything that frays that effort.

That bristling alone tells its tale.

I couldn't care less who is "superior". But I know some truths about Indians and India, some offered at random below:

* Gambhir's remark, off-the-cuff as it might have been, was offensive by itself.

* There are people I have visited in this country, without any huge effort to go to especially remote areas, who cannot buy rice at the government programme's price of Rs 3/kg; this has prompted the government to institute a sub-programme to sell them rice at Rs 1/kg.

* Pretty much the same number of people were slaughtered in Delhi in November 1984 as were slaughtered in NYC in September 2011. Ten years later, a measure of justice caught up with Osama. 27 years later, no measure of justice has caught up with any of those who led the Delhi slaughter.

* There are news reports of dishonour (forgive me, I will not use the word "honour") killings in different parts of India all the time (about three every day according to this report).

* The amount of money mentioned in our 2G corruption scam (Rs 60000 crore) is pretty much the GDP of Iceland ($12bn).

To those who draw conclusions about the state of Pakistan's "state and society" and their "self-deception" from various truths from Pakistan, I'd like to ask: what conclusions do you draw about India's "state and society" and our "self-deception" from truths like the ones listed here?

35 comments:

MinCat said...

exactly. pointing fingers are Them has always been a great way ti distract from internal troubles. what happens when we take the names away and look at it just in terms of characteristics... look at this excerpt from pankaj mishra's review of a book on the guardian:

Certainly, an unblinkered vision of South Asia would feature a country whose fanatically ideological government in 1998 conducted nuclear tests, threatened its neighbour with all-out war and, four years later, presided over the massacre of 2,000 members of a religious minority. Long embattled against secessionist insurgencies on its western and eastern borders, the "flailing" state of this country now struggles to contain a militant movement in its heartland. It is also where thousands of women are killed every year for failing to bring sufficient dowry and nearly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in the previous decade.

Needless to say, the country described above is not Pakistan but India, which, long feared to be near collapse, has revamped its old western image through what the American writer David Rieff calls the most "successful national re-branding" and "cleverest PR campaign" by a political and business establishment since "Cool Britannia" in the 1990s. Pakistan, on the other hand, seems to have lost all control over its international narrative.

see whole article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/may/01/pakistan-hard-country-anatol-lieven-review

Nikhil said...

Pankaj Mishra? That liar who blamed the Indian army for the Chhatisingpora massacre? Here is Patrick French skewering the fraud

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?270323

I have to agree with Dilip that Pakistan is superior to India.

After all has India done the following?

Reduce its minorities from 25% to less than 2% today?

Have its imprint on almost any bombing attack from London to Mumbai to Jakarta?

Train so many radicals? Aby Sayyaf, Jemmah Islamiyah, Al Qaeda etc?

Prop us the Taliban - an organization that set new standards of brutality sujrpassing even Pol Pot.

Carry out a genocide in Bangladesh that would even beat Nazi Germany's record.

Kill 5000 Afghans in a single day. Of course the man to hold this honor is the person Dilip was saying we should talk peace with.

Lastly Gambihr's statement was very offensive as he was trying to heal the victims of 26/11. That is bad as Dilip believes they deserved it anyway. As for Afridi, Dilip anyway seems to believe him so ok.

Hope the above gets me admission into the liberal candlelightwala club. But it is ok. A secularism essay prize would suffice.

garima said...

It happened again!

Dillip says "I couldn't care less who is 'superior'".

a commenter pops up to say (yes yes, sarcastically) "I have to agree with Dilip that Pakistan is superior to India."

Also, if he lies this way, no surprise that he also babbles another lie, i.e. that Mishra "blamed the Indian army for the Chhatisingpora massacre".

It really takes all kinds.

Pareshaan said...

I see the need to examine our own failings - but washing our dirty laundry in public, that's never a good idea.
As far as Pakistan is concerned I think it has earned our ire.
We should continue condemning Pakistani wrongs.
That said Dilip Sahib and MinCat are right in that we shouldn't let ourselves feel smug just because Pakistan continues to screw up.
We screw up all the time too.
We are both a bunch of screw-ups - I guess we need to get that and set things right.
I am sure we all agree. What is the argument about?

Anonymous said...

Also, if he lies this way, no surprise that he also babbles another lie, i.e. that Mishra "blamed the Indian army for the Chhatisingpora massacre".

Oh no, Garima. You've just brought up another controversial subject. For the record, I thought so too and it just goes to show how lies can go on to lead a life of their own.

But you're right: it is correct that Pankaj Mishra did not say that the Indian security forces were responsible for the Chattisinghpora massacre. He explicitly denies having said so here:

Professor Kumar credits me with the “astounding allegation” that Indian security forces organized the mysterious event that inaugurated and overshadowed Bill Clinton’s visit to India in March 2000: the massacre of thirty-five Sikhs in a Kashmiri village called Chitisinghpura. I made no such allegation. I did, however, raise several questions about the brutal manner in which Indian security forces sought to blame Pakistan-based Muslim guerrillas for the massacre.

One can ask Nikhil [and Chandru, for how can he be far behind] for a reference regarding Pankaj Mishra alleged accusation (I have not been able to locate one.) but past experience suggests that it is an idle hope.

I think the lie perhaps stems from this part in his article in The Hindu titled Paradise Lost which was published in three parts (Aug 27, Sept 3, Sept 10, 2000):

The Indian failure to identify or arrest even a single person connected to the killings or the killers, and the hastiness and brutality of the Indian attempt to stick the blame on "foreign mercenaries" while Clinton was still in India, only lends weight to the Sikh suspicion that the massacre in Chitisinghpura was organized by Indian intelligence agencies in order to influence Clinton, and the large contingent of influential American journalists accompanying him, into a much more sympathetic view of India as a helpless victim of Muslim terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan, something that some very hectic Indian diplomacy in the West had previously failed to achieve.

The quote, by itself, doesn't accuse the Indian security forces of anything. But "the lends weight to the Sikh suspicion..." leads me to believe that Mishra thinks that it is a plausible explanation that the massacre was committed by Indian security forces.

For my part, I don't think it plausible. At least three reasons can be advanced: (i) The Akali Dal itself was part of the government, (ii) In 2001, the troubles in the Punjab were less than ten years behind and it would be a very foolish government which would risk restarting it, (iii) While the BJP is often anti-Muslim, it is certainly not anti-Sikh. We forget but in Delhi in 1984, it was the BJP which resisted the Congress goons. In 1989 when Mr. Advani stood for the Lok Sabha from New Delhi (and won), I remember that his nomination paper was signed by Kushwant Singh who recalled Vajpayee getting off his sickbed to oppose the rioters.

So I don't think such a cynical policy could have originated from within the government. The only possibility therefore is that Indian intelligence agencies did this in some sort of "rogue" operation. With all due respect, I don't think Mr. Mishra has established this because one can give alternate explanations which also fit the case.

I have to say that I am not a great fan of Pankaj Mishra. But clearly, he did not say what was, and continues to be, attributed to him. And on the question of the killing of the five innocent Muslim villagers, he was absolutely right.

Suresh.

PS: I can't submit this comment via Google account, hence the Anonymous comment.

Chandru K said...

Yes, what about Pakistan's massive reduction of its Hindu minority. And Pakistan's connection to most, if not all, Islamic terrorist actions all over the world? Pakistan's ideology, its blasphemy laws, its constant need for assistance from the US(or China).

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thanks Suresh for the explanation and the links about C'pora. There are plenty of liars who seek to perpetuate that lie (that Mishra "blamed the Indian army for the Chhatisingpora massacre").

Funny how they are more interested in that perpetuation than in the frightening truth about that atrocity: that Indian forces actually captured and killed five innocent men, dressed them in fatigues and presented those bodies as the C'pora killers.

Anonymous said...

I said that Pakistanis are down the path of self-deception. I must say I need to correct that statement, for that is not the whole picture.

I am all for humoring our Aman Ki Asha liberals across the border a bit if it helps them with the huge chip on the shoulder they carry vis-a-vis India. But if the conversations become nothing more than these sweet humorings, then not one but two parties are deluding themselves. I don't see how the Conversations leads to peace, given that they are styled as a peace maneauver.

I've just discovered that there's a Wikipedia page devoted exclusively to honor -- sorry, dishonor -- killings in the US:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing_in_the_United_States

but lo and behold, there is no page for dis/honor killings in Pakistan!

This discovery rekindles the magnanimity in us, because we know how cornered and wretched our liberal Pakistani brothers and sisters must be feeling when their country is unfairly labeled as a country of honor killings. So, we'll want to reach out to them and assure them that these bloody pontificating Yanks, just like our bloody pontificating Indians, are no superior to them. If you bad, they also. If you got honor killing, they also got. Etc. I'm fine with that. But if we don't also tell them that Pakistan today is despised by nations around the world for breeding and exporting Islamic terrorism, and that their state is seen as an extortionist, double-dealing "criminal entperise", and that they need to stop living in denial about this fact, how exactly do we get them to appreciate the idea of peace?

At any rate, I wonder what sort of liberals are these who refuse to engage in anything but sweet nothings, who'll clam up if you don't play along with their make-believe...

Chandru K said...

It's also interesting that D'Souza and his ilk drone on and on about that particular incident, an extreme case where the pressure to obtain 'results' causes the army/security to take such measures.
If you look at a blow by blow account of all the terrorist strikes by the various Mujahadeens( the Hizbul, Jaish, Harkat, Allah Tigers, Al-Badr and the Tehrik) operating in Kashmir, they make that one incident look very minor. There are enormous numbers of cases where Islamic militants entered peoples' homes and massacred the occupants, for not being Islamic enough or sufficiently separatist.

Chandru K said...

"Certainly, an unblinkered vision of South Asia would feature a country whose fanatically ideological government in 1998 conducted nuclear tests, threatened its neighbour with all-out war and, four years later, presided over the massacre of 2,000 members of a religious minority."

As opposed to the utterly non fanatic countries of China and Pakistan. So humanistic, democratic, open, pluralistic, universalistic. Having to deal with the big, bad, rabid, fanatic India.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Interesting. One Nikhil mentions Chhattisingpora on this page. But one Chandru twists that into "D'Souza and his ilk drone on and on about that particular incident".

Indian armed forces rounded up five innocent men, killed them, dressed them up in fatigues and presented them as the men who carried out a gruesome atrocity. This is horrific enough; that someone could dismiss this as "minor" is almost as horrific.

Chandru K said...

It is minor when you look at the background( i.e pressure to obtain 'results' for the Islamist massacre of 36 people at Chitsingpora) and all the incidents of Islamist militants barging into people's homes from 1990-May /2011, and killing the occupants, for not being Islamist/separatist enough. That number would run into the thousands.

Dilip D'Souza said...

there is no page for dis/honor killings in Pakistan!

Why don't you start one? This is a serious suggestion.

If you're the same anonymous who made the comment that prompted this post, please attempt an answer to the last question in it: "what conclusions do you draw about India's "state and society" and our "self-deception" from truths like the ones listed here?

Stavrogin said...

This is kind of funny but Indians who are convinced by their moral superiority over pakistan (and basically islamic states in general) sound so much like zionists..
One can compare many of the comments posted here to those posted at mondoweiss.net by zionists who claim moral superiority over Palestinians.

Chandru K said...

Pakistan and those Islamic states are very unenlightened. They don't have India's democracy, freedom, pluralism and progressive mentality. It doesn't hurt to state this. India does not have to be linked with "Zionists", except in the minds of fanatical, bloodthirsty Islamists and their supporters/defenders.

stavrogin said...

@ Chandru : you replace pakistan with palestine and this is what any zionist will write :)...also collectively calling all islamic states bloodthirsty and caling india (very well known for the rights of minorities, tribals, north-easterns, kashmiris etc) free and democratic doesnt sound very progressive but sounds stupidly nationalistic and uber retarded.

Chandru K said...

But Pakistan is NOT Palestine. Only sheer ignorance or mendacity would make such a connection. Pakistan is an Islamic state that was formed extremely violently, through riots and killings, with the British giving subtle encouragement in the background.

There is no connection at all with Israel or Zionism here, not from India anyway. India's ties to Israel are a different matter.

How should India view Pakistan and Saudi, as secular, progressive, pluralistic states?

It's not enough to criticise someone else's observations of those countries; you should suggest how India should perceive them, and also how it should deal with them.

The Palestinian issue has to do with people being displaced and illegal settlement. Pakistan is a fanatic, bigoted Islamic country that has been historically supported by the West, and lately by China.

Thus there is no parallel at all.

Chandru K said...

Oh,and just in case it missed stavrogin's attention, the Islamists do feel that Hindus are inferior infidels, and good only for converting by force, conquering or killing.

Chandru K said...

Furthermore, stavrogin is showing his massive bias and inclination toward the European definition and conception of the nation state,which means one religion, one race and one language.

That's why he brings up Kashmir, the North East and 'tribals'( oh my lord, how could all these people be part of an entity called India?- they should separate because they are a little different!)

India is a democratic, liberal, pluralistic,federal and open society and country. It constantly strives to accommodate as many languages, communities and religions as it can, within the limitations of its own scarce area, resources and poor socio-economic conditions. There is no place for bigoted, fanatical, violent Islamists in this environment, for the simple reason that the Islamists will do everything in their power to destroy such a liberal, pluralistic system, rather than enhance or support it.

If you read that as implying that Islamists are inferior to those Indians who believe in and uphold India's system and environment, so be it! Feel free to do so. I am not the least bit solicitous of the Islamists' or Pakistanis' feelings.

Chandru K said...

India is a democratic, pluralistic, open country and society, and Islamists represent the largest threat to that ideology and system. So I don't feel any compassion or solicitude for Islamists and their Pakistani backers. On the other hand, if these Islamists have any ideas, any at all, on how India can enhance democracy, secularism, pluralism, openness and liberalism, India should be all ears. Good luck, Stavrogin, in finding such people. In the meantime, I and most sensible people will support India's efforts to preserve its system and ideology, and counter the Islamists and their awful ideology, anyway India can.

Nikhil said...

I had left this comment earlier, but seemed to have been moderated. First of all 5 people were killed, but no proof that they were randomly rounded up.

Suresh as usual displays his ignorance.Pankaj Mishra is lying again. Look at all these links below and then comment. Even a mainstream writer like Prem Shankar jha wrote against Pankaj Mishra and that itself tells a lot.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/nov/13varsha.htm

http://www.gatewayforindia.com/articles/cool_to_hate_india.htm

And of course our own dear Dilip for balance as they say. Please note the subtlety and how he insinuates:

http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/nov/09dilip.htm

Dilip D'Souza said...

"The links below" show nothing except that there are people who don't like the impression Pankaj Mishra ran into in Chhattisinghpora: given that the forces killed five innocent people and blamed them for the killing, some people there couldn't help thinking that perhaps the forces were responsible for the massacre in the first place. (his words are "the Sikh suspicion that the massacre in Chitisinghpura was organized by Indian intelligence agencies").

That Jha wrote "against" Mishra does not prove Mishra was lying when he reported this suspicion. It only proves that Jha does not agree with the suspicion, which he is entitled to do. It's his and your prerogative to be appalled at the suspicion; it is something else altogether to suggest that somebody who reports its existence is either lying or is making allegations about the armed forces.

It's a measure of my faith in our armed forces that people I know in uniform were appalled by what happened in C'pora. That's the real point I made in the article -- whether subtly or by insinuation is for my readers to judge. This is that concern, quoted from Jha's own writing: "The security forces and the Kashmir police picked up five innocent young men ... killed and burned them and claimed that they were the foreign militants who'd committed the killings [of the Sikhs]."

To repeat, and as I also say in my article, you are free to disagree with the suspicion Mishra says he heard expressed in Chhattisinghpora. But what nobody can disagree with is this bald truth: Indian security forces picked up five innocent men, killed them and announced that these men were responsible for the murder of those Sikhs.

This truth will not go away, despite every attempt by apologists like those here to evade it. Not even when people who choose to stay as far from India as they possibly can take it upon themselves to pronounce who loves and who hates India.

Chandru K said...

Yes, but often distance lends enchantment, as well as perception. A big problem is that the Indian, and even more so the international, media, does not give a serious blow-by-blow account of terrorism in Kashmir. If it did, the incident where the security forces, under pressure to 'wrap up' the Chittsingpora case, would not get even a small fraction of the attention that it obtained. Instead, there would be much greater focus on all the incidents where the Harkat, Jaish, Hizbul, JKLF, Lashkar, Al-Badr and others barged into people's homes and massacred the occupants. The likes of D'Souza, the Jholawalas and Wagah candle kissers, want the spotlight on the Indian security forces, to let Pakistan off the hook, and to show off their 'secularism'. Similarly, equating the non-equatable i.e Gambhir with Shoab Afridi.

garima said...

1st of all, its' Shahid, not Shoab.

2nd, when 5 innocent men are murdered and the army claims they were responsible for a big massacre, only to be shown up as lies later - and you call this an "incident", and you call the terrorism by JKLF etc also "incidents": it shows what kind of person you are. It nauseates me when people call murders as "incidents".

Thank you.

Chandru K said...

Ah, but how much attention was given to those massacres by the Lashkar, Jaish, Harkat et al, compared to that one incident, where the security forces, under pressure to 'close the file', killed some innocent people. Not even a tiny fraction! By the way, had India been the US, UK or China, many, many more innocent people would have been killed, and that too using mustard gas, carpet bombing, strafing from the air, daisy cutters and so on.

Nikhil said...

As usual liars never answer questions directly. The questions we need tp know is a blow by blow account. Varsha states this quite clearly:
Who had picked up the civilians? Was it really the security forces? Could it be possible that someone delivered the five to the hideout to be shot in a case of mistaken identity? More significantly, ALL five civilians were Gujjars -- a community indifferent to the Sunni separatist mania. Why would the RR, whose personnel maintain records on every person in their area, kill non-separatists? A cover-up is, of course, possible -- after an indiscriminate shooting in a known terrorist den. But, a hardhearted cover-up does not indicate a cold-blooded murder of innocents.

But that's hardly a point I expect pinkos to absorb.
For the last sentence - Amen


that people I know in uniform were appalled by what happened in C'pora.
Again some facelss people. Were they referring to massacre of the sikhs? we were all appaled.

Suresh said...

Suresh as usual displays his ignorance.

Thanks for the compliment.

Pankaj Mishra is lying again.

Here's the situation. Pankaj Mishra claims that he never said that the Indian security forces were responsible for the Chattisinghpora massacre. You claim that he did says it. There is an easy way of settling this: a reference to an article where Pankaj Mishra makes such a statement. Do you have such a reference? No? I thought not. I look forward to more personal abuse but of course, no reference.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Were they referring to massacre of the sikhs?

No, I meant they were appalled that their colleagues in uniform would kill five innocent men and claim these were the men responsible for the massacre of the Sikhs.

Chandru K said...

From a forum, regarding a conversation between the Indian Javed Akhtar and a Pakistani scumbag. Akhtar rightly praises India for its religious freedom, but wrongly tries to equate the non-equatable, in order to look liberal/left, or win approval from liberals/left in India. Hence, the reference in the post to equating ".01 to 99.99" etc:

We have to grant a long rope to Javed-saab. After all as a die hard leftist he will say what he said. But the fact is the bald headed Pakbarian jehadi terroist idiot whose hair probably occupies the space the brain should have, was defending the indefensible and was shown as such. He was trying to argue that only hindus are communal whereas they are perfectly normal. Javed demolished that argument.

He is also right in saying being religious is not pre-requisite for being 'communal' (in his 'liberal' definition which is means anyone that dares to speak up for his religion)...that's very very true. Perhaps some of the posters in this forum are living examples of that...

The only part where he is seriously wrong is to say 0.01 = 99.99% and therefore it is ==. As surveys and polls have repeatedly shown and further proven on daily basis, barbaric animalism and fanatic barbarianism and jehadi terrorism are the norm in Pakistan. Humanity is in short supply there. That is why 500 mullabaric animals who were praised as 'moderates' joined together to praise Qadri for assassinating the Punjab Governor.

The most rabidly communal Indian is perhaps about the same as a liberal Pakistani. Javed, by denying that is committing a huge blunder.

Dilip D'Souza said...

bald headed Pakbarian jehadi terroist idiot whose hair probably occupies the space the brain should have...

And I guess guys who foam hatred like this (and those who quote them) wonder why they are not taken seriously.

Chandru K said...

But what should he have said? That the Pakistani in question was a great, secular, progressive, pluralist-humanist who wants both India and Pakistan to elevate and enhance secularism and pluralism in their respective countries? Hah! The day a Pakistani spokesman talks like that, is the day there is no more Pakistan as we know it. That's the beauty of it.

Suresh said...

0.01 = 99.99% and therefore it is ==

Dilip,

A topic for your maths column, may be? I doubt though that you are equal to the task.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh, I do feel that with anything I write for the math column, I need to fully comprehend it first.

As you rightly suspect, I'm not equal to the task of comprehending this bit of higher mathematics.

Chandru K said...

"0.01 = 99.99% and therefore it is =="

What the forum correspondent was criticising Javed Akhtar for, was just this tendency to equate the non-equatable. Hence the '0.01 equals 99.99' remark. Attitudes and behaviour that characterise 0.01% of the population in India, are equated to attitudes and behaviour that make up 99.99% of the people in Pakistan. Even allowing for a little exaggeration, that's the point being made- making grossly false equivalences.

Nikhil said...

Thanks for the compliment.


Anytime buddy. Repaying some old compliments you gave me in the past.