Skip to main content

If Modi can meet Nawaz Sharif, Adani wants to sell 4000 MW power to Pak, why are our soldiers killing each other?

The 2005 Indo-Pak peace march
By Sandeep Pandey*
In 1947 India was divided by the foreign rulers by playing a game of divide and rule to which the religious fundamentalists fell prey. India and Pakistan since then have a checkered history and uneasy relationship sometimes climaxing in wars and violent conflagrations. While the governments prefer to maintain adversarial relationship, which now sustains certain vested interests on both sides, the common people and business interests on two sides want peace.
They do not want conflicts in which people die. The soldiers dying on both sides, after all, come from mostly modest middle class rural backgrounds. While the leaders can meet when they choose to, the common people do not have control over their destiny.
The manner in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped over in Pakistan in December 2015 while on the way from Afghanistan and participated in a family event of Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, the former heads of intelligence agencies Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan, Asad Durrani and Research and Analysis Wing of India, Amarjit Singh Dulat co-authored a book ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace,’ National Security Advisors of two countries retired Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua and Ajit Doval continue to meet in third countries, Adani is interested in selling 4000 MW of power to Pakistan and powerful business interests have ensured a peaceful border in Gujarat, why is it that on the northern border soldiers keep killing each other?
We never hear of any Indian soldiers dying on China border probably because India and China have an unwritten-unspoken agreement not to kill each other’s soldiers. If this is so, why can’t a similar understanding be reached with Pakistan. After all, leaders of governments and intelligence agencies and security advisors are talking to each other.
We believe if the governments cannot solve the disputes between the two countries then the people should take the initiative. If the common people of two countries are allowed to meet then over a period of time peace and harmony will prevail. The two governments should facilitate the meeting of common people from two sides by granting them passports and visas easily. Since people from two sides of border share a common culture they can play an important role where the governments have failed.
Along the Indian border with Pakistan there are openings between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, at Wagah-Attari in Punjab and at Munabao-Khokrapar in Rajasthan-Sindh. Gujarat doesn’t have an opening into Pakistan even though a number of fisherfolk from both sides land up in each other’s jails. The people in Bhuj, Kutch have had intimate relationships with people from the other side and given an opportunity trade can flourish between the two areas again.
If the border between Gujarat and Sindh is opened either at Khavda or Nada Bet the people from two sides will get an opportunity to meet easily and there will be promotion of trade, tourism and ultimately peace and friendship will be strengthened. The fisherfolk whose relatives land in jail on other side can easily travel across to find out their well-being and make an effort to get them released. It is in the interest of common people that borders are opened up.
If people of two countries are allowed to meet freely an atmosphere of peace and harmony will be created in which it will be easier to resolve the outstanding disputes too. When our defence expenses will go down resources will be freed up for developmental activities which will benefit the poor on both sides.
When the two Koreas can end their enmity after almost as long a period as India-Pakistan animosity has existed, why can the two South Asian neighbours not achieve the same feat?
The two governments should also take an initiative to replace the military ceremony on Wagah-Attari every evening with a peace ceremony where people are allowed to meet and celebrate peace, harmony, friendship and their shared culture. Such a model of peace ceremony can then be replicated on all border openings. A model for peace ceremony has been developed by a class on Social Movements at Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar during 2016-17.
The governments of India and Pakistan should create a situation in which ultimately all restrictions on travel across the border are removed and people are allowed to meet freely. This will be a great service to humanity.
A India Pakistan Friendship and Peace March is being organized during 19 to 30 June, 2018 from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to Nada Bet on Pakistan border, 290 km from Ahmedabad. Organisations endorsing this March include Vishwagram, Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Minority Coordination Committee, Gujarat, Gujarat Lok Samiti, Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan, Pakistan Institute for Labour Education and Research, Karachi, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, All India Secular Forum, Manthan Samayiki, Kolkata, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas, sacw.net, Confederation of Voluntary Agencies, Hyderabad, Hamari Awaz, Insaf Foundation, Gujarat Mazdoor Panchayat, Khudai Khidmatgar and Socialist Party (India).
When European countries, which were so bitter enemies of each other that they converted their wars into World Wars less than a hundred years back, can create a Union in which all restrictions on travel have been removed why can’t the same thing be achieved in South Asia? If over hundred countries in five regions of the world can sign on agreements to make themselves Nuclear Weapon Free Zones why can’t India and Pakistan do the same?
In the long term there is no alternative to the currently going on low intensity war between two countries than to establish peace and friendship, especially since a full-fledged war in not possible because of the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides.
---
*Well-known Magsaysay award winning scholar-activist

Comments

TRENDING

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.