Aman ke Asha – A Cornerstone of the new Indian Cold Start Strategy?
January 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Just one day after the Indian army chief, Deepak Kapoor, gave out a statement promoting going to war with Pakistan and China at the same time (with him painting a picture of New Delhi annihilating Pakistan within few hours of war), the Indian media in collaboration with Pakistani media hit off the new year, with a campaign tagged “Aman ke Asha”. The last time we engaged Indians on such an Asha was in ending up having Indian Jets in our skies for possible strikes and war – and all without evidence. We remember the “Das Kadam Pakistan Khatam” styled pathetic videos shown on the same Indian media singing Aman Kay Geet now. So, we wonder what the “Asha” is all about this time. The plan apparently as always, is to move towards another round of Confidence Building Measures – CBMs, with Pakistan. The question however is, is it really worth it? We shall leave the answer to the reader after reading on.
Let’s see how India aka Bharat is really doing to fulfill this time its Aman Ki Asha. As far as the world is concerned, an intention for peace must be supported by some steps. Even when Obama chose to promote peace, mostly with Russia, he took some decisions in refraining from installing missile shields in the world and announced cutting down of US nuclear arsenal. This is not exactly the standard, yet however, can churn some example for Bharat. With its colossal plans of spending a hundred billion dollars on acquiring state of the art weaponry from all over the world in the next two to five years, we really doubt the Indian plans for peace. What’s interesting to us is not really what the Indian masses think about peace, it’s what the Indian leaders are saying on record and what the Indian media is propagating to constantly keep the hype of war alive with Pakistan. We have not forgotten what Indian analysts such as Bharat Verma write about Pakistan and the solutions he gives for peace. Nor have we forgotten what Indian leaders said after the fall of Dhaka: We have taken revenge of a thousand years with Pakistan. Have we forgotten what Narsima Rao said about breaking and destroying Pakistan, only promoting it as its enemy? Or have we forgotten what happened with Babri Masjid and the tribunal verdict on that? Looking at the events now, the world doesn’t seem any different place. We still have the Indian army chief giving out occasional statements promoting war with Pakistan, threatening it and destroying it. Is this how Aman ke Asha will see its logical end? We don’t know what Bharat really means this time, but what we do know is that you cannot convince the world with singing songs of peace and happiness at one side, and taking up arms and threats on the other hand. If anything, it reminds us of the infamous Chankya and his teachings.
We are not sure under what delusional these people are. But what happens on the ground tells a very different tale. Pakistan is fighting a war at fronts it doesn’t even know. We have American mercenary blackwaters going in Pakistan unchecked with weapons. We have American B-52s flying on FATA under the big hand of friendship. We have India doing exercises with Israel and we know where this all is headed eventually. Bharat has never accepted the state of Pakistan deep down and we know it more every time Indian leaders say it out loud. We know what Bharat is up to with Americans, Israelis and the team. The message is clear and loud: The media may be writing so and there may be some conceding but the masses of Pakistan and its youth is aware and well aware of protecting Pakistan, the stronghold of Islam, the bastion of Islam. We will not bow down to aggression or be taken for a fool or deceived. Very closely, we watch you and your designs and we shall know when you are sincere and when you are not, and you are not. Where you do gather few under the name of peace, we watch at guard of our nation and our country.
“Aman kee ashaa” farce equals “Bughul main choori–mun peh Ram Ram”
by Moin Ansari
I don’t understand “Asha” or “Aasha” or “Aashaa“. Why throw a slogan at me which I cannot comprehend. I am sure 95% of Pakistanis don’t comprehend this word. This is part of the major anomaly in a campaign that is supposed to inspire the concept of harmony. How can you reach 170 million people when you start with an incomprehensible slogan. Its a foreign language to most Pakistanis–and seems like a diktat to me. Must we? Should we?
The “Aman ke asha” claptrap is indicative of the hubris from across the border. Even a peace slogan is steeped in Sanskrit and Vedic divinity stuff. No attempt was made to find an equivalent in Urdu. Peace slogans in the USSR and America always were made up of the translation in both languages. This particular peace slogan wants to impose a Bharati version of “peace” on Pakistan. How about “Naveed e aman” or “Aman ke arzoo“. Why not aman/shanti ke aasha/arzoo” or “shanti kee asha or aman ke arzoo”. While some may consider is semantic, it does describe the mentality of those who live in Delhi and think of only their own universe. The dreams and desires of the rest of the planet have to be subservient to those desires of hegemony.
Shireen Mazari has written a hard hitting editorial in the Nation about the “Aman kee ashaa” and the dialy Bharati attacks on Pakistan.
Why is Iqbal ignored by this so called peace movement?
Is this “Aman kee ashaa” another name for “Reunification” and “Akhand Bharat”
ONCE more a new propaganda offensive has been launched by segments of Indian civil society, including its media, in the shape of a “hope for peace”. That it is propaganda is evident from the fact that it has come at a time when the Indian military is sending threatening messages to Pakistan with its new war strategies. Bolstering this renewed hostility, the Indian Home Minister Chidambaram has launched a vitriolic tirade against Pakistan and its so-called “terror structure”. Ironically, this vitriol has come when the whole Kasab case is unravelling. Even worse, this “peace” offensive is designed once again to sidestep the real conflicts of Kashmir, water and arms build-ups by the Indians along the Pakistan border. By recalling the Sufi and other poets of the subcontinent, the effort is to divert people from these very real political issues without which there can actually be no real peace and stability in this region. It is interesting to note also that while all the major poets of the subcontinent have been recalled in the “peace” context, Iqbal, who is linked closely with the idea of a Muslim homeland that came to be Pakistan, has been ignored. Surely such an omission could hardly be accidental?
There are many types of peace. It is obvious that India has neither the capacity nor the wherewithal to impose peace of the sort that exists between the Native Americans and the US government. India is not Israel and Pakistan is not the Gaza strip. If Israel with all its might could not force an unequal peace on unequal partners (Syria, Palestinians and Lebanon) it is also very obvious that Delhi cannot impose peace on Pakistan the same way. Bharat could not break up Lanka and make it Kowtow to Bharat. It cannot force Pakistan. It has to woo Pakistanis if she wants peace on her Western borders.
Pakistan wants all issues back on the table, including UN resolutions passed in 1948 giving Kashmiris the right to a plebiscite, which had been set aside by former President Pervez Musharraf in an effort to secure a peace deal with India.
“Musharraf went beyond his mandate. How can he set aside the UN?” said Hasan. “He went rather overboard in offering that to India. The Indians should have grabbed it, but they didn’t.” Daily Times
The statements emanating out of Delhi seem to suggest that Bharat (aka India) will begin talks about peace with Pakistan if this, that, or the other happens. This is the typical Bharati arrogance that keeps both countries embroiled in perpetual enmity. India, come what may cannot dictate its terms to Islamabad. If Bharat wants peace in the Subcontinent, it has to change its attitude towards all her neighbors–Nepal, Lanka, Bhutan, Sikkim, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan. While the other states may accept some bullying from Delhi, China and Pakistan will not. In the light of the Nuclear factor, Delhi cannot out stare Islamabad.
That some in Pakistan have joined this new propaganda offensive is not surprising given the genuine desire for peace within Pakistan. Unfortunately, these Pakistanis need to take their blinkers off and see the reality of the Indian position. There is no myth about India’s continuing hostility towards Pakistan – at least amongst its leadership.
Unless the mindset of the ruling elite in India alters there can be no lasting peace because the present leadership is carrying on in the tradition of earlier Indian rulers who have sought to evade conflict resolution and focus on conflict management.
Perhaps it would serve a more useful purpose if the Indian civil society and media that seek peace were to first seek to alter their ruling elite’s mindset so that occupation of Kashmir can end and India can learn to abide by the Indus Waters Treaty. There is also India’s backtracking on the Siachin draft agreement of 1989. Perhaps the Indian “peace” activists can influence their state to stopping its aid and arms flows to militants in Pakistan.
The Indian agenda is clear through the programme of the “hope for peace” movement. It intends to focus on entertainment, although on that count it is India that creates hurdles for Pakistanis not the other way round; and business – no doubt to pressure Pakistan into conceding on the land trade access to India without any movement on the part of the latter towards resolution of the political disputes. India is not willing to even move on Sir Creek where Pakistan has again unilaterally conceded ground. But then India is even unwilling to resume the bilateral dialogue. All these are not entrenched myths or zero-sum prejudices; rather they are a reflection of the Indian state today. Indians want to talk peace while their state positions its guns on Pakistan!
Peace is always in the mutual interest of parties tied up in conflict. One party does not do the other party any favors. It is the height of arrogance to convey the impression that peace talks are a reward for good behavior of one party. By portraying Pakistan as the guilty party, Delhi sabotages any prospect for peace. If the Americans and the Russians can smoke the peace pipe, so can the Indians and the Pakistanis–however it has to be done on the basis of dignity and mutual respect, not diktat and dictation.
There is much in common between India and Pakistan, but there is much that separates the countries. Mere cultural affinity and anathema to religion cannot wish the differences away. Bharat must recognize that Pakistanis do not see Delhi as the perfect model to emulate on anything. Therefore Delhi must stop wishing for a Pakistan in its own image. There are many routes to success, and Pakistanis admire the Chinese a lot more than they admire Indians.
It is not Delhi’s god given right to rule Kabul. Nor does Bharat extend from Kabul to the Raj Kalhani in the East. Bharati religions preach the eternal history of Bharat beyond its borders. If Bharat is a secular country then this transnational dreams of a greater Bharat must be brought back to reality. Every time Adhvani and Modi open their mouths, peace is sent back a decade.
Good relations with Pakistan begin with better treatment of Muslims in Bharat–beginning with the Kashmiris, but not just limited to them. The Gujaratis and the other downtrodden Muslims in Bharat must be treated as equal citizens, and things must move beyond tokenism (Azad, Fakhuddin & Kalam).