Chandigarh, October 19: Ultra divisive patriots in Mumbai have succeeded in banishing Pakistani artists from Mumbai. They were no threat to the local artists in Bollywood. The next logical step for the Shiv Sainiks should be to ban exports from Mumbai port to Karachi port in Pakistan. That would clear all hurdles in diverting entire exports from India to Pakistan via Attari-Wagha border in Punjab. Yet another route from Punjab can be opened connecting Kasur in Pakistan from Punjab border to handle all the exports. Attari-Wagha border also handles people to people interaction across the Radcliffe line.
It is pertinent to mention that the Shiv Sena has never opposed exports to Pakistan from Mumbai. Only small part of export-import is handled by Attari dry port that lacks proper facilities. Trucks don’t move across the border.
Unlike the ultra-nationalist hate mongers, Punjabis don’t have that problem as they share common heritage and culture. Bulle Shah and Waris Shah are indivisible assets. So is Amrita Pritam. Maharashtrians have nothing to share with any section of the people in Pakistan except the fact that Mohammad Ali Jinnah belonged to Bombay, not Mumbai. The problem with the Sikhs is still different. Pakistan is the land of birth of this religion. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid by Sain Mian Mir of Lahore. It is the Sikhs who came in confrontation with the then state ruled by the Mughals. But then Guru Gobind Singh also fought against the Hindu kings who finally sought help from Delhi ruled by the Mughal king.
Artists from Pakistani Punjab perform in Amritsar and Chandigarh too frequently. The hate mongers should learn to differentiate between the Pakistani state and Pakistani people. Pakistani people too have a dominant section of hate mongers. It is not this section that should be allowed to dominate the socio-cultural discourse across the Radcliffe line. People with shared history and culture should come forward to confront these hate monger bigots with their hidden agenda.
It is these people who share common heritage who should put pressure on their respective governments rather than flowing with the hate stream and it is for them to find ways to preach love and harmony. Of course, the basic irritants can’t be wished away and those have to be removed by resolving them across the table.
Triggering tension is a very potent tool in the hands of the two governments to divert the attention of the masses from the real issues. It is not just Punjabis who have a shared history and culture. The two countries share the same misery, the same deprivation and the same problem of lack of access to safe drinking water. Of course, Pakistan went off tangent from the very beginning with the army taking over. Human rightist Asma Jehangir was last week seen on the TV screen appealing to the army with folded hands to revert to its basic role rather than continuing interference in the governance of the country. The people in Pakistan too are fed up. This section is not that of die hard. Of course, Pakistan has her own Shiv Sainiks. Like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto too became victim of this politics of hate. This again is a commonality.
Ultra-nationalism that is being witnessed in the country in the aftermath of the surgical strike is now bordering fascism and there is no place for raising questions. This portends a dangerous trend.
What is all the more alarming is that the surgical strike has been transformed into a political weapon by the Narendra Modi government and the Sangh Parivar. Surgical strike has been brought into the political discourse. But then victory in election is always a short term gain. The Congress party ruled over this country the longest. It was during Congress rule with Indira Gandhi as the prime minister that Pakistan was dismembered in December 1971. That was the biggest surgery conducted on Pakistan. She had to impose Emergency within less than four years to be ousted in 1977.
The Pakistani artists would return. Pakistani players would not be playing in India and vice-versa. However, people have not stopped crossing Attari-Wagha border by rail or the land route. They have their relatives across the border. They have their shrines across the border. The people who have to leave their homes due to the hate turning into madness in 1947 become sentimental when they get a chance to visit their ancestral places and regret that mad fury. The Shiv Sainiks just can’t understand that.
Now they must take the next step of severing all links of Maharashtra with Pakistan.