Indo-Pak Relations: An Ode to Odyssey

They fought for a dream long cherished

Fleeting euphoria and then it perished

Alien limbs torn them asunder

Bliss sojourned, educing plunder

Cut to pieces in the name of peace

Oh! Lord, days bygone I miss

When kites flew in complete harmony

In blest air sans sanctimony.

When mellifluous wind told tales of love

To heralds serene, whom we called dove.

When being together was reason enough

Adamant enough we were to bow.

The tales and days, buried in sepulture unknown

Relics wait to be wiped up anon.

Since joy we behold, in the legend untold

Oblivious of the era when souls were sold

War we cry, arms we hold

Duped by power and blinded by gold

Hatred we bear, in manifold

Leaving the bereaved in anomic cold

Sanguine we fly in the crimson sky

Tears drop and dry, we never feel shy

Floras, faunas and the old wind passing by

Either they deceive or else all lie.

There was a time, we called them ally

But that was before we bade good-bye

On14th Aug, 1947, a new part was carved out of India. Pakistan, it was called. 63 years! It has been a long and tedious journey since then. But has anything changed?

The partition lines could never change our languages, customs, skin color or for that matter, the color of blood and tears shed every now and then.

The August of 1947 was significant for many reasons: Independence- an achievement after centuries of toiling; Success of the two nation theory- separate political empire for two most ambitious leaders; Death of Gandhism before Gandhi died in the subsequent year.

Independence had been the dream of a united Bharat, but no one ever calculated such price. Unperturbed by the atrocities and the upheavals of time, the fire to attain freedom, kept burning in patriotic hearts, as the torch was passed from generation to generation. Tipu Sultan, Rani Laxmibai, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Subhash Chandra Bose- juxtapose them, can you find out who contributed the most? Irrespective of class, creed, sex and religion, they bequeathed their lives for the generations to come. Dream, they dreamt of an independent and united India- not of 3 separate independent nations. Recriminations will go on forever as this is the thing we master in. Point your fingers at- Jinnah for conspiring and conceptualizing a two nation theory, Nehru for being over ambitious and selfish to the core, Gandhi for letting the matter get out of control, Mountbatten for putting the last nail in the coffin by dividing sentiments. Maybe they all were responsible but had reasons to justify their deeds; what was our reason for falling prey? Why did we kill our own people? How could sane individuals butcher infants? The reasons are all gone with the dead and as they say- the dead should rest in peace and we in pieces.

Everyday, we listen to a chorus of people demanding war, flesh and blood- like starved cannibals. Some say, the whole Pakistan should be blown away, others advocate cutting the Indians into pieces. The coveted title of terrorist state dances from Indian head to Pakistani and ultimately settles nowhere. We witness macabre bloodbath in the name of religion, where innocents are beheaded in open streets with chants of “Ram” and “Allah”.

We practice such barbarism, because we can afford to; independence, to us was served on golden platters and fed with silver spoons. Never having to jump into sea, gives you the license to visualize sharks and goldfishes, alike.

Partition, as I am told, was never a seamless process, certainly not for the hearts that were torn apart. Imagine, tomorrow you are asked to leave your homeland and find solace across the border, because you do not conform to the religious credo of your land anymore. Millions of our population was lost in transition, women raped and children butchered- but all in morality and in search of a sacred state. 9 million Hindus and 6 million Muslims are told to have crossed over, exchanging patriotism by bestowing cadavers in oblation to their respective religious deities. Trains were burnt to dust and passengers mutilated; in the process of cross-over some died of famishment and thirst while others were stomped to death. These were the same jingoistic masses, who not so long ago shouted, ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ from their rooftops, defiant to kneel-down before their brutish oppressors. So, how these brothers-in-arms turned bete` noire` within a few sleepless nights, remains a mystery unsolved. But this incident, for the first time in centuries highlighted India (united) as a fragile state, and the politicians continue to feed on our gullible sentiments till now. A blast in Lahore is accompanied by battue in Gujarat and legacy is carried on till Assam, Karachi, etc. Then, in a regular fit of amnesia we call for peace process emanating a ray of hope through pellucid hearts, but all in deception of the subterranean motive to stretch more gaps.

There is no ocean separating us, no air traffic rules for the migratory birds and no restricted limit on the wind passing by. But then, these are all natural wonders obscure of humanly wisdoms. A 15 year old boy Nasir Sultan crossed the line for his craving to meet the Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan and ended up 2 months in prison. The officials claim he was lucky enough to get quick exit. About 40 years ago, Lakhanpal, another teenager crossed over in quest of meeting Amitabh Bachhan and spent 16 years behind bars, for which was maybe a heinous crime. The youngest such inmate was the not even 8-year-old Asif Khan, who could not tell his village’s name when he was caught near Wagah in July 2002. He was kept in confinement for four years. There have been 11 such kids in the past seven years in Faridkot jail alone. While, hardcore terrorists strut around without much hindrance and split fire everywhere, these kids suffer for their innocence. When a kite is blown away to the other part of the border, do we take offence?

Splicing up is not even a distant dream, but we can at least live and let live in harmony exorcising the ghosts from the paradise lost.  Kashmir War, 1947; followed by wars of 1965, 1971 and lastly; the Kargil war, 1999- lives and properties were destroyed to immeasurable limits, but still we long for more blood. The alibi provided in support by the asinine masses is that, the soldiers lay their lives in war and we should respect the martyrs by keeping the war process going. Can they ever fathom what their bereaved families have lost? We throw them into battlefields, just for the sake of satisfying the political egos. Otherwise, is Kashmir a diamond harbor that nobody wants to let go of?

Will the peace prevail even if the Kashmir and allied disputes are solved?

Mull over it, it is the need of the hour.

Debojit Dutta

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