Saturday, December 6, 2008

Still in shock and anti-Pak feelings are growing stronger by the second

The papers have informed me that I'm suffering from post-traumatic stress. Well, I have all the symptoms they've helpfully listed. Beloved Husband said that it's my fault for watching the attack coverage like a junkie. He's a fine one to say that, considering that he's been religiously watching Nat Geo's special on terrorism this week. Brutal people committing brutal acts with brutal uncensored visuals to boot! Almost sicked up when I entered the TV room last evening. Hastily darted out, gagging. Have firmly decided that I’d sooner be locked in a room with a man-eating tiger than with an official from Pakistan's ISI. At least I’d have the forlorn satisfaction of knowing that the tiger would eat me out of hunger, not out of innate nastiness.
Also discovered in the papers today that the captured terrorist's real surname is not Kasav- the Mumbai cops gave him that surname: Kasav means butcher! Ooh I love the cops!
Which brings me to Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Read it a couple of years ago, and had serious problems with it. The book really should have been called The Ingrate or The Ungrateful Fundamentalist. Cut through the symbolism and literary devices and this is the story in short: Wealthy, educated, upper-class (and not overtly-religious) Pakistani works in a mega finance joint in the US. His White bosses love him, his friends love him, no reason to crib and carp. He falls in love with an American girl who is mourning the death of her long-time boyfriend. She likes the Pakistani hero but can’t love him- or anyone else for that matter. This gives him heartburn that no amount of antacids can neutralise. Then Kargil happens (for which he squarely blames India- tsk, was Hamid's hero really intelligent after all?) and he gives it all up to return to Pakistan. Thereafter, he becomes a terrorist, singling out Whites. A classic case of biting the hand that fed him. Even a dog wouldn’t do that. But, in all fairness, this book was a piece of fiction.
I didn't believe that Hamid really got into the psyche of a terrorist-can people be that ungrateful? Now, however, I see what he means: the fact that Pakistan is, by nature, an ungrateful nation*. The West will continue to flaunt Pakistan as an ally, foolishly wishing and hoping that they will actually help them. Proving, yet, yet, yet again that Westerners are ridiculously gullible. Practically every Islamic terrorist in the world today wears a Made in Pakistan lable. This is the only product that the country successfully manufactures. And look at how beautifully they are using this product to extract more and more money from the West. They’re chortling all the way to the bank. Asking them to help stop terrorism is like asking them to shut down their most profitable business. Dream on!
*Please do note, however, that I am not damning all the citizens of Pakistan in that statement. There are good people out there- but too few and far between. And if there are more than I can count on the fingers of one hand, they should speak out.


anil said...

I don't agree with this generalisation. Pakistan has many good people - I have met many of them and people who have visited the country talk about the warm hospitality extended to them during their tour. The problem with Pak is poor governance - democracy there seems to be a hoax, the miltary is in control, and they have not built a manufacturing base or tourism despite having natural resources. The country has spent much too long whining and moaning - they have worked on getting support from USA, China and other countries over the decades rather than on creating infrastructure.

In India, after 60 years of herd mentality I believe democracy has finally started working. As a writer, I tour the rural areas of Indian states regularly - in MP and Chhattisgarh where much has improved by way of education, road and sanitation the BJP was voted back to power, in Rajasthan where development has been limited to egoverance and Jaipur's development, with about 80% of the state looking like it did 5 years ago, they lost, though the campaign was the same. I do not go to Delhi often these days, so cannot comment on how far the government acted on issues like crime, law & order, power situation, etc to deserve their win.

Ghastly as was Mumbai's terror attack, it will hopefully bring united India back like a pheonix - this time the attack has not disciminated between Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Christians, Jains, Jews, Sikhs, between wealthy people dining in the Taj and Oberoi, the salaried staff of the hotels or the middle-income group travelling in trains, Marathi Manoos or foreign tourist, each group has been hit. It is no longer about rich people watching while the lower income groups are bombed, lower income group people watching when a stock exchange is blasted, Hindus being targeted or Muslims being the target, we are all in the line of fire, and Mumbai attack has shown us that we cannot duck..we have to fight back, and it cannot be by being divided by Muslim groups with a jihadi agenda, parties targeting Hindu or minority votes, Marathi senas or the Christian missionary groups.

While this is not something to be happy about, the Mumbai blast could teach us all an important lesson. I recall India at its patriotic best in 1972 when I was a class-2 student - we all made drawings and heard songs about India. And the rise of Kutch following the earthquake, the incredible development of Gujarat on all economic, social and human parameters after the CM came under fire for the riots, are examples I have experienced being a resident of Gujarat.

rupagulab said...

Sure, they must be some good people out there. In times of relative peace we hear their voices loud and clear. And in times of crisis, only a few air their sentiments. I read a very interesting article in HT yesterday by a Pakistani writer- he said a few stray meetings were organised to condemn the Mumbai attacks, but the attendance was ridiculously low! See, I'm tired, very tired, of hearing "We are victims of terror too". Pakistan finally has a democracy- it's time for the people to speak. The terrorists who masterminded the Mumbai attacks should be handed over. Words are cheap. Action shows commitment.