The Shame of Sharm el-Sheikh is haunting India. As the blood-thirsty, trigger-happy Pakistani Army continues its bloody adventurism on our borders, the authors and architects of the spirit of Sharm el-Sheikh ridicule the martyrdom of Indian jawans in the name of glamorous diplomacy, which fetches them more air miles and seats at the head tables of international think-tanks. For the past one week, every instrument of state, corporate India, diplomacy and academia have been used to dismiss the inhuman killing of our jawans as a mere border skirmish. They even ignored the pious sermons of Hina Rabbani Khar, the glamorous Pak foreign minister. While congratulating her country’s media, she hoped the Indian media would follow its Pak counterparts and refrain from hyping the bloody border clashes. It is not because of her wish that the Indian establishment’s response has been muted on the Pakistan Army’s escalating aggression. Instead, the vociferous silence of those who shout and scream at minor incidents reflects a mindset that allows the maiming of Indian pride. These elements have systematically been capturing Indian think-tanks, infiltrating centres of power and dominating international seminar circuits. All of them plead for peace as if they have invested in the welfare of Terror Company. Strangely, all our corporate leaders, members of business fora, Bollywood icons, outspoken academics and hyper-secular NGOs have maintained a cryptic silence over Pakistan’s military transgression, as if their money taps would dry up—or fear that none of them will ever be invited to be a keynote or source speaker at various global meetings organised by the Track-II ‘peace’ enterprises for hire. The same spirit is haunting vantage points in South Block. The brutal massacre of poor jawans from the backwaters of Mathura and the sanddunes of Rajasthan have failed to rouse the anger of the elitist class who rose like a phoenix to condemn the brutal gangrape of a girl in Delhi. Corporates and political parties rightly fought for the braveheart. What makes them behave like lambs when it comes to the beheading of Indian jawans on wintry borders, while the rich and mighty lead a luxurious life in Mumbai and Monte Carlo? It is really disgusting to see some Yuppies, Puppies and others trotting out unsubstantiated incidents and rumours to underplay Pakistan’s sinister designs to resurrect the spectre of 26/11 and of the 2001 Parliament attack. These are the same messengers of that invisible spirit that has kept Afzal Guru alive. If Kasab was convicted and hanged through speedy justice, then why the delay in Guru’s case? Was the colour and quality of the blood of those who died in the Mumbai attacks any different than those who lost their lives protecting India’s rulers? Pakistan has violated ceasefire conditions more than 100 times. As a knee-jerk response, we threaten appropriate action but wait for an appropriate time, which never comes. We know that war is not an option. But meekly getting back headless bodies is a humiliating body blow to the might of Indian nationhood. Unfortunately, those who espouse the cause of nationalism also surrender to the overbearing glamour of Pakistani hospitality, music and support. Those who want to name and shame Pakistan are also the ones who support and promote sports and cultural ties with it. Rich and beautiful people from across the border are the star attractions at wine and dine parties in Indian cities. Not only do they get royal treatment, but also take back dollars for their presence and performance in the drawing rooms of India’s chattering classes. Back home, not one of them would open their mouth on handing over terrorists to India while their Indian hosts use every visible and invisible platform to restrain the government.
This class of Friends of Pakistan (FOPs) genuinely feel that a dialogue with our untrustworthy neighbour would ensure permanent peace. But they forget that the villains of peace survive and thrive in Pakistan. Why don’t they take out candlelight processions, host dharnas, organise seminars in New Delhi and New York to demand the repatriation of the 20-odd terrorists residing in Pakistan for the past 20 years? Why don’t they hold fasts at Jantar Mantar and in front of the Pakistan Embassy demanding Hafiz Saeed’s extradition to India?
Unfortunately, the FOPs refuse to recognise that Pakistan is a failed state. It has become fashionable to blame non-state players and protect the establishment from direct fire. Since the US establishment decides and dictates the tone of the Indo-Pak relationship, FOPs take the cue from the Americans. Until the 1990s, the number of FOPs was confined to academic institutions and very limited cosy nooks of the Indian government. But ever since economics replaced defence as the guiding and compulsory principle of India’s relationship with Pakistan, both governments—NDA and UPA—have been bending over backwards to accommodate American strategic philosophy as the bulwark defining India’s response to Pakistan’s offensive and humiliating conduct. In fact, it is India that is ignoring the sentiments of Bharat, which wants to teach Pakistan a permanent lesson. Some may argue that going to war should be the last option. But India can assert itself only if it isolates Pakistan internally, and chokes it economically as it did following the attack on Parliament and 26/11. Nothing hurts Pakistan more than global untouchability. While India, dominated by FOPs, wants to indulge in dinner diplomacy, Bharat wants to snap all commercial, cultural and sports relationships with Pakistan until it behaves and delivers. Ignoring your enemy with contempt is much more lethal than fire-spitting missiles.
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