When a guest knocks on the door of your house, regardless of whether one’s invited or unexpected, culture and courtesy whatever you wish to call it, warrants you to fold your hands, show respect, sport a smile and warmly receive the guest.
Pleasantries are exchanged on the spot; smiles often break into laughter. Usually, what follows is called a gathering.
In this act of utterly human kindness, you don’t exactly lose a quarter or a dime from your account whilst showing courteousness.
That the guest is well taken care of but also importantly depending on the equation you share paves way for impressions. Does it not?
Indian culture, and there’s a good chance that the world knows already- loves “Aadar Satkaar” (welcoming guests).
This process and this isn’t some “Did you know” of the day, in many Indian households goes by the name of “Abhinandan!”
Rings a bell?
So a few days ago, when much to the delight of India- a son of the soil returned from the other side of the border, in one piece; are your eyes numb again- the entire country felt like it was receiving someone one of its own.
Let’s face facts.
This gentleman is not your blood relative. He is someone who perhaps hasn’t put his hand behind on your shoulder for the perfect selfie ever. Nor has he given you a bear hug.
Yet, when Wing Commander Abhinandan returned ‘safe’ and ‘sound’, nevermind the polarizing opinions rather suspicion in the form of both- admiration and suspicion- you felt one of your very own had been safely deposited in a land whose very ethos is “Atithi Devo Bhava.”
But interestingly, every country has a part of its population that would rather dig its nose than feel concerned about events that bear a direct consequence on geopolitical matters.
“What good is India anyway if it is not wiping out Pakistan from the face of the earth?”
Are you surprised that the above is the view of a lot many?
Well, what can you expect from human-turned-zombies anyways?
Probably, if you and I examined the situation akin to an expert on Defence, Strategic Affairs, and Geopolitics, then we’d much rather emphasise on more rational means to achieve a solution, which may or may not necessarily be expressed in the form of retribution.
After all- an Insta poet, JNU graduate, Kanpur-based Oncologist, SRCC topper, Pune-based Vlogger, Ladakh-based dog rescuer, or a grocery stall-owner in Delhi would note- India is a country of peace.
To that end, that India, during the course of its civilization has done more for communities than several nations put together (why use the term race; who are we anyways) is something irrefutable.
This, lest it is forgotten, is a country that hasn’t to date, laid a claim on a territory that isn’t it’s own, attacked a nation needlessly, believed in mass murder, waged a war to garner territorial supremacy or killed innocents.
This, is a fact stronger than any wrestler’s 56-inch chest.
Yet, painful and disheartening it is, that uncouth idea such as the ones you find on social media that India must wipe out Pakistan from the face of the earth.
This, mind you, could well be those spur of the moment rants that in the wake of the condemnable Pulwama strikes depict India as being silly.
But while India may want to give our own the benefit of the doubt surrounding the regrettable events that clearly saw Pakistan remorselessly eliminate 49 CRPF Jawans, let a question be asked.
In fact, since we are thankfully still a democracy- we are, right- let there be a couple of them.
1. Does destroying Pakistan hold any value?
2. What would India achieve out of this?
Isn’t the idea of waging a war against Pakistan, whether or not conceivable- at the end of the day- mobilization of opinion, which is expressing itself as hatred all thanks to the media that hasn’t really grown up?
In a country that prides itself on being the world’s biggest democracy, what is this fourth pillar doing, one to which esteemed names like Ravish bringing change?
To my untrained eye- and am no subject-matter expert neither I a believer in armchair opinionism; theclout that surreptitiously surrounds us, provoking a reaction by playing on sentiments- there’s only about so much sense in holding Pakistan in entirety for the episode as there’s in expecting an infant to file his own income tax returns.
Above all, it bears no sense whatsoever to the idea of India.
But what is India?
Ask your mum, hang out with your granny- have you done that recently- or quiz your ‘bestie’ and, ‘Siri’ may not be the best in this, whether the following is true.
India, most elders would firmly believe, as would Dharma and Karma, the land where Krishna’s Sudarshana Chakra still neutralizes the evil.
Secularism and its polarizing versions be kept aside, we aren’t that land that believes in preaching hatred or eliminating anyone for that matter.
Have you been down to Cochin or ever seen something other than the Kutch, gone beyond the Dhokla or Faffda in Gujarat?
You’d find in the land of our Pradhan Sevak- one where a Bose and Nehru still very much matter in well and where missing out on Koffee with Karan isn’t considered losing out on life- there’s one human quality that sheltered the Jews, decades back in time.
It’s called warmth.
The Bene-Israeli community speaks Gujarati- did you know?
Do you know of all things in Delhi- the city that’s also about Arundhati Roy as much it’s about Chicken Tikkas and Parathe Wali-galis, one where you’d find William Dalrymple chatting around at a tea-stall with familiar enthusiasm- a synagogue.
Does that tell us something? We’re compassionate.
Why then in the wake of the incitements generated by the media are we Indians; expressive, outgoing lovers of movies, worshippers of Mr. Bachchan, Sachin as also of Ram forgetting we are more than hatred we’ve reserved for some?
Will it take us a PhD in common sense to understand that India, a land illuminated by such distinguished personalities as a Chanakya to Aryabhatta, Kabeer to Meera, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Vivekananda, Tulsidas to Laxmana, Osho to Mother Teresa, Baba Amte to Irom Sharmila, Menaka Guruswamy to Karuna Nundy, Ramnath Goenka to Taarak Mehta, Naseeruddin Shah to Rahul Dravid is more than calling someone ‘Mulla’ or ‘Paki?’
Yet, at the same time, you needn’t be a private eye or a 007 equivalent from Her Majesty’s Kingdom to understand that Pakistan doesn’t really have the will to beat terrorism.
That Mr. Khan has extended benevolence- because we and must we hail the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan to his homeland- should be applauded for years together the same way Pakistan’s export of terrorism mustn’t be tolerated.
And probably if there’s an area where ‘educated’ Indians like us and I can assure you, my degree is both legitimate and intact, should work toward is to not go ga-ga about our interpretation of events as they occur.
Pakistan must be derided for harboring scum of the earths like Masood Azhar, for having been the breeding ground of elements that disturb not only India but in fact, give its civilians, and therefore, its entire identity, a bad name.
If there’s actually a country that you’d love to compare to Clint Eastwood-starrer, the unforgettable epic “The Good, the Bad & The Ugly”, then it’s Pakistan.
But sadly, the good that Pakistan does and stands for, which hey, is way more than Fawad Khan, Karachi Halwa, sterling cleanliness in urban cities or the fact that Sana Mir is every bit a legend as is India’s own Mithali Raj doesn’t get noted the same way one didn’t join hands in admiration when this ‘vicious hell-hole’ as some of us describe it embarked on its most ambitious green-drive.
Yet, must we not forget the way Israel hasn’t about its innocent 6 million, that it is terrorism-bred, funded, exported- to the rest of the world by Pakistan that should be wiped out, with us respecting its harmless, law-abiding civilians, who in no way support terror whether in Shoaib’s Rawalpindi or Wasim’s Lahore.
That said, are you planning to at least minimizing the terror you’re so habitual of spreading Pakistan? With Mr. Khan at the helm, we’re expecting you to not go the ‘Doosra’ way; toward the jingoism associated with ‘Diplomacy’, which well, as already seen China- not India’s soul mate exactly- blocking the “No terror” tag on Azhar.
One wonders, before things go out of hand, which would be dreadful, can Imran and India play in one team- an idea most of us on either side of the border have fancied since the bygone era of Akram and Sachin- to maul terror?
Hey, Israel, won’t you be keen to watch this one of a kind dream-team?