I think it's important that we look beyond the geopolitical context when discussing what "peace" really is supposed to mean.
The commonly understood meaning of "peace" is a binary antithesis to a declared state of "war". That definition is hardly relevant nowadays. When you consider what national life in the 21st century has become, "peace" today is the consensual point of equilibrium to which the citizenry of a nation accustoms itself,
along the entire spectrum from Bhutan-like idyllic serenity to all-out conventional military conflict. That point of equilibrium is something different in the US, the UK, China, India and even Pakistan. As long as there are no catastrophic challenges (like, say, 9/11 in the USA)-- whatever conditions are commonly agreed upon to represent a state of "peace" in that society will prevail. So it is a stable equilibrium.
We keep hearing that all these initiatives are being taken to promote "peace" with Pakistan. Aman ki Asha, MFN, uninterruptible dialogue and what not. But nobody seems to ask the question... what is that "peace" we are seeking to promote? How is it qualitatively different from the prevailing set of conditions in which Indian citizens now live and function, and have lived and functioned in for the last generation or so? Certain parties are clearly trying to sell this idea of "peace" as something we must make concessions to Pakistan in exchange for... but what is that idea other than a mere sentimentalized abstraction?
In geopolitical terms, India has enjoyed uninterrupted "peace" (or, what is consensually agreed upon by the Indian citizenry to represent "peace") since 1971. There has been a contained state of war (Kargil) and a military mobilization (Parakram) but even those are now more than a decade in the past! A huge proportion of India's population is too young even to remember these events, let alone the last time when we were actually in a state of declared "war".
Now proxy war has been ongoing, of course. It has existed in Punjab, Kashmir, the Northeast and the Maoist Hinterland throughout the last two decades, and increasingly in the rest of India over the last decade. This is not a war where India takes the fight to the enemy, however.
What this proxy war means for the State is a need to maintain increased vigilance and to engage in essentially defensive counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies. What it means for the common Indian citizen is a threat of terrorist attacks impinging on daily life.
But is this the same as "real" war, in terms of the psychosocial impact it has on Indian citizens? Not at all. It is just something we have grown used to. We don't stop doing business or working hard at our jobs or planning long-term futures for our families on the basis of this proxy war. Yes, it can happen that we will get blown up while waiting for a bus tomorrow... but all things considered, most Indian citizens in most parts of India have weighed the odds and decided it's not much greater a worry than, say, getting run over by the bus itself, or dying in a house fire, or of some nasty communicable disease. It's a danger, but one we quite easily cope with and get on with our lives in spite of.
That is not the kind of impact a war, real war, has on a national psyche. It is simply one arbitrary grey point along the serenity-hostility spectrum where the consensus among Indian citizens is to get on with our lives, having weighed the risks to daily life after two decades of lived experience.
For Indians, this situation that we all currently live with is what we call "peace". In fact, even something as notionally challenging to this equilibrium as 26/11 just wasn't enough to transform the mindset of Indians away from thinking that what we live with right now is basically "peace".
And, to the utter discombobulation of all those "peace" activists who demand concessions to Pakistan, be they Wagah Candle Kissers in Delhi lounges or sanctimonious Non-Proliferation A$$holes at Washington institutions... the state of "peace" that India knows is not something we merely live with. It is something we THRIVE with. We prosper and prosper, achieve greater and greater economic heights, and when we complain of the things that make economic life difficult we talk about scams, inflation and corruption... NOT about the lack of "peace". So then what are all these initiatives aimed at "talking to Pakistan", "befriending Pakistan", "engaging with Pakistan" etc. supposed to deliver?
What is the threat, the Damocles sword hanging over our nation's collective heads that makes us say "we must have Peace with Pakistan"? What will happen if we don't make concessions to Pakistan? On the other hand, what is the promised reward... held out by the Pakis and the "peace" constituency in India and Washington... that is supposed to entice us towards making this "peace"?
I have an answer for this. But it is not a politically correct answer.
According to one of the few strictures of political correctness that apply on BRF, we are not supposed to mention Pakistan and Indian Muslims in the same thread, let alone the same breath. These are two entirely different animals, goes the conventional wisdom. We should never impute the motives of one as explanation for the behaviour of the other, under any circumstances.
Yet it seems increasingly obvious to me that there is a constituency in India which is largely comprised of, and held hostage to, the agenda of some members of the Ashraf Caste of Indian Muslims. Ashrafs are the Muslim Castes who proudly claim descent from a "superior" lineage of foreign pillagers. Ashrafs enjoyed special status under British colonialism, and laid the ideological groundwork for the creation of Pakistan. Unfortunately, even after partition, many sections of the Ashraf Caste did not go to Pakistan and transmute into RAPEs. A very large section of them stayed back in India, and for generations since independence, they have milked the system of state patronage and vote-bank appeasement for maximum profit.
Many members of this Ashraf Lobby occupy influential, suited-booted positions in the media, in law, in industry, and even in government. Other members of this Lobby exercise disproportionate influence over the Ajlafs, or Lower Caste Indian Muslims, by dominating influential nodes of Islamic clergy (such as Dar Ul Uloom Madrassa and Jama Masjid), thug-infested political networks of the hinterland (such as the MIM or Samajwadi Party cadres), and organized criminal syndicates. Still others are active in so-called "intelligensia" circles, masquerading as academics, NGO-operators, social workers or left-wing political activists.
However, in their program vis-a-vis the Indian State and the non-Muslim Indian people, the entire Ashraf Lobby shares a united purpose: the domination of India's resources to benefit themselves in the name of Islam. In this project they share a greater commonality of interest with the Pakistani RAPE than with any group in India, including Indian Ajlaf Muslims (whom they regard as cannon-fodder at best.)
Of late, it has been dawning on this Ashraf Lobby that their 66-year ride on the gravy train may soon be coming to an end. Since Independence they have relentlessly practiced the politics of victimhood; they have jealously hoarded of the benefits of "secular" pandering for their own small sub-sectional sliver of India's Muslim population; and they have constantly blackmailed central governments in Delhi while positioning themselves as the sole guarantors of Indian Muslim mass loyalty to India rather than Pakistan. Yet, over the last two decades, all of these projects have begun to offer steadily diminishing returns.
There are many reasons for this. We can identify several landmarks and trends along the way. Just to name a few: the aftermath of the Shah Bano case. The rise of Hindu political assertiveness as part of the mainstream political landscape. And MOST dramatically, the descent of Pakistan into utter state failure and chaos. Once that great bulwark of Islamic subcontinental nationhood was no longer a credible military threat to India, or a credible alternative to blackmail the GOI with, the Ashraf Lobby was forced to change its tune rapidly.
Today we see a situation where the Ashraf Lobbies on both sides of the Radcliffe line are playing good cop-bad cop with the Indian government. But the cop roles have switched.
Earlier, the Indian Ashraf Lobby was the good cop... making sure that India's privileged Ashraf Caste received all sorts of government benefits, "first rights on Indian resources" etc. in exchange for keeping the Indian Muslim masses loyal to India rather than Pakistan. Meanwhile the Pakistani Ashraf Lobby, or RAPE, acted as "bad cop"... threatening war and dismemberment of India under an Islamist banner and wearing a Jernail's uniform.Today the positions have reversed.
Under immense pressure of sanction, isolation and outright ridicule from their former friends in the West, the Pakistani Ashraf Lobby, or RAPEs, have largely switched around to being the "good cop". Their message to GOI is: give concessions to Pakistan on Kashmir, on Siachen, on territory and trade... after all we are all pappi jhappi birathers onlee and we can be one big happy South Asian family onlee.Meanwhile the Indian Ashraf Lobby have compensated for the current weaknened state of the RAPEs, by becoming the bad cops.
Thanks to the Karachi project on the one hand, and Manmohan Singh's initiatives on the other, India's official policy has become NOT to blame Pakistan for acts of terrorism within India, but rather to blame "indigenous" groups like the "Indian Mujahedin" as if they were operating in a vacuum... or even worse, to blame fictitious "Saffron Terrorists" wherever possible.
So here is how all this connects to my original thoughts about "peace".
The Indian Ashraf Lobby is essentially holding out a veiled threat against the Indian nation. Give concessions to Pakistan. Give them territory and respectability and economic freebies. Do this in the name of "peace"... because WE have the power to mobilize, not Pakistani jihadis, but Indian Muslim Masses
against the Indian state and people.
In recent times, with the imminent decline of the Congress Party's political fortunes signaling a possibly permanent and abrupt end to the Ashraf Lobby's gravy train, the "veiled" threat is no longer so "veiled." It is coming out in the open. It is telling us that failure to continue with the "peace" process vis-a-vis Pakistan, i.e. a cessation of giveaways and handouts from India to Pakistan, will lead to a sustained, dramatic worsening of the security situation within India, through the action of Indian Muslims. It will destroy the level of "peace" to which the Indian citizenry has consensually accustomed itself over the last two decades.
Please read this article by an Ashraf Lobby bad cop threatening what will happen if Narendra Modi (or anyone else who might stop the GOI's Pakistan appeasement program) becomes Prime Minister. It is laid out as "fiction" but the message is loud and clear. If you stop giving Pakistan what they want, we will make sure that Indian Muslims rise up and wage war against the Indian Government.
I would like to thank the gentleman who wrote this article a million times for finally going one step too far and lifting the veil from before our eyes.
The worst (ever) case scenario
By OMAR AKHTAR
Published: Sun, 07 April 2013 09:21 PM
The article is intended to highlight the danger of power-grabbing, communal politics. It is a work of fiction.
It is 2014 in India. The Hindu-nationalistic IJP wins the election by a slender majority on its own, obviating the need for coalition, the first such time in India since 1984. The upper middle class votes in droves for the party, fed up with the corrupt Conference Party-led government in New Delhi. Led by the charismatic, Mahendra Bodi, the IJP starts on the path to, ‘repay the debt of Bharat Mata.’
Soon after election, Mr Bodi stops all negotiations with Pakistan, effectively ending talks on enhancing trade and cooperation between the two warring neighbours. ‘Kashmir is not up for discussion,’ thunders Mr Bodi in his first address to Parliament. He asks Parliament to remember the 1994 resolution which clearly stated that the ‘dispute’ was over ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).’ The statement sends shockwaves in Kashmir. Protests are held. Arrests are made. Curfew is imposed. Mr Bodi calls on the Army and Paramilitary to fend off the protestors, and deal with the situation with an ‘iron fist.’ In a bloody trip to the Valley, Mr Bodi, recalling his march in 1992 to Srinagar to raise the Indian flag in Lal Chowk, dares the ‘Pakistanis’ to come and meet him in Lal Chowk. A protest march is fired upon. Dozens are killed. Kashmir witnesses its bloodiest day in years. The curfew continues. Kashmiris in other parts of India hold marches in solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren. The protests are broken up, many are arrested. Some are convicted of ‘terrorist’ and ‘anti-national’ acts under a new law introduced to specifically counter protests against Security Forces deployed in disturbed areas. The JKNC and PDP legislators from the Valley, aghast at the brutal treatment, call on Mr Bodi to hold back his forces. The Assembly is dismissed. The State Elections of 2014 are postponed. The harsh winter of 2014-15 is like a particularly severe winter 25 years ago, with the daily doses of killings, curfews, and crackdowns. The press, one of the strongest institutions in Kashmir, is gagged for months. The internet shuts down. An eerie silence descends upon the Valley…
The ‘Grand Plan’ was to obliterate Muslims. But the Plan falters. The Muslims are prepared. They close ranks. The battles make the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars look like child’s play. Brave last stands are made. The Battle of India begins. The Day of Judgement is definitely near…
In a surprising development, Muslim organisations from Hyderabad to Kerala and Uttar Pradesh hold solidarity marches, to call on the government to refrain from imposing harsh measures against the population in Kashmir. Clashes erupt between parallel marches in some major cities, between the Muslim marches and a particularly virulent Hindu organisation organising marches on the same day. The Police, instructed to watch and do nothing, do exactly that. Communal clashes see dozens killed, most of them Muslims, in systematic attacks against businesses and professionals, in a few days, reminiscent of a sad chapter in India’s history when a ‘Nero’ stood watching as his State burnt. Political parties, led by Congress, call for peace, but blame the Muslims for ‘starting’ the trouble.
A few weeks later in 2015, bomb blasts occur outside the offices of the Hindu organisation blamed for most of the violence. In three hours, twelve blasts destroy the organisations’ offices in different cities throughout India. Hundreds are killed when buildings collapse on them in a major city, dozens more when another bomb blast occurs at the moment rescuers are trying to save the injured.
Mr Bodi goes on TV. ‘To every action there is a reaction.’ A theory he had propounded a few years ago to justify carnage against Muslims in a different era. The reaction happens. Systematically, almost to perfection, targeted killings and bomb blasts occur in succession in every state ruled by the IJP. The Police suspected to have played a role in the acquisition of the bomb-making materials. Some Muslim Officers are dismissed for having alerted Muslims before the blasts. The plan was perhaps hatched a long time before the spark. Mosques, Shrines, Madrassas, and major places of congregation for Muslims are targeted. Historical monuments are severely damaged. Thousands die in an orgy of violence.
‘Follow the Burmese model,’ say some particularly savage votaries of the violence. ‘The result is a foregone conclusion,’ says one member of the Hindu organisation. ‘We have to restore Hindu-rule. These Muslims are invaders, they have to be killed.’
But the Muslim middle-class, now fully aware of its identity and conscious of its religious duties, responds in an unexpected way. The ‘Grand Plan’ was for them to be pushed to refugee camps, their property taken away from them, and ultimately, like advised by the late founder of a party with a strong base in Maharashtra, ‘Remove the Muslims from the electoral lists.’ The Plan falters. The Muslims are prepared. They close ranks. From the ghettos of large cities, the small towns in the Gangetic plains; from seminaries in the North, to the colleges in the South; from large mosques to large Shrines, the Muslims fight to death. The battles make the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars look like child’s play. Brave last stands are made. The Battle of India begins. The Day of Judgement is definitely near…
Please read and realize exactly what this Ashraf Caste is saying. FORGET about the "Narendra Modi" angle (that is just a convenient hook and has no bearing on the message).The author of this article is saying that raising the Indian flag in Srinagar, and reiterating the 1994 Parliamentary Resolution that POK is part of India... will be enough to invoke a response from INDIAN Muslims, across the nation, that will make the Iraqi and Syrian Civil Wars look like "child's play."
THIS is the threat to "peace" that we are being intimidated into averting by making concessions to Pakistan. The threat is not anything Pakistan can do directly... but rather, the promise of a jihad waiting to happen by Indian Muslims, under the leadership of Ashraf Caste Indian Muslims, against the Indian nation.
There is only one way to guarantee the perpetuation of our current form of "peace" in India, and it has nothing to do with Pakistan. What is needed is to liberate the Ajlaf Castes, who form 85% of the Indian Muslim population, from the poisonous dominance of the Ashrafs. And to do away with the blackmailing Ashraf Lobby by any and all necessary means.