Whipping up war hysteria, and accusing Pakistan without a shred of evidence cannot lead to anything good
After the suicide attack that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Pulwama, the notorious, tired, blame game from India began. When Jaish-e-Mohammad ostensibly took responsibly for the attack, the verbal aggression against Pakistan accelerated further as India has continuously accused Pakistan of funding these homegrown militant groups. Watching these tragedies unfold is heart wrenching enough, but to see how the aftermath is dealt with leaves us feeling hopeless.
The war hysteria drummed up by sections of the Indian media has reached fever pitch. It is mind boggling that such a severe lack of nuance is accepted by the Indian public. Arnab Goswami’s show on Republic TV is a prime example of that. The format of his shows is very simple. The screen is split up into ten boxes, where the Indian guests and Goswami shout anti-Pakistan rhetoric at the Pakistani guests. Goswami insults and does not allow his Pakistani guests to respond in order to degrade and humiliate. He clearly loves the sound of his own voice. I am not sure if he has ever been told that his sanctimonious diatribes in his piercingly shrill voice are extremely nauseating.
“I am not sure if he has ever been told that his sanctimonious diatribes in his piercingly shrill voice are extremely nauseating.”
It seems as if the show deliberately invites Pakistani guests who have trouble with the English language because when they attempt to express themselves in anger, they often sound ignorant and inarticulate, hence making the Pakistani side, look daft. It is all very well crafted, and the Pakistanis who agree to sit on Goswami’s show should know this. Why they continue to participate in this farcical circus is beyond me.
Goswami’s behaviour on his program reveals that the narrative in large parts of the Indian media has become extremely childish. The fact that shouting at people and speaking over them qualifies as journalism is worrying. There is no dearth of hardworking and responsible journalists across the border. It is awfully strange that the media fraternity have not called out Goswami and his sidekicks. The environment that Goswami and his lackeys create breeds further intolerance and hysteria, and I am sure they know that. While their discourse lacks substance, and borders on the ridiculous, it is still tremendously dangerous. Polluting the public’s thoughts with hate over reason will ensure that the mindset will stay the same for generations to come. There was another program on ‘India Today’ where former President Musharraf was being interviewed. Above the host, there was a ticker which was titled ‘Naya Terroristan’- if they insist on being insulting, the least they can do is be wittier with their insults.
Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a strong and mature response to India’s allegations. He rightly highlighted that attacking India does not serve Pakistan’s purpose. By antagonizing its neighbors, Pakistan will be doing itself a disservice he argued. It is heartening to see that the Pakistani leadership and the media have been conducting themselves with a great deal of maturity on this matter.
While Pakistan has handled this situation in a dignified manner, one feels that when this incident eventually blows over, the same thing will happen all over again, and we will be back to square one. The only way to move forward is to create a new narrative which is based on dialogue and regional peace.
However, this will not happen till the next generation comes to the helm. The youth of both countries do not carry the scars of partition and the pain of the 1965 and 1971 wars. The mindset of the younger generation is not one of hate and intolerance, but it will become that if the Goswami-like narrative is allowed to continue. Let’s face it: it is the ingrained hatred of the previous and current generation that hinders progress. Of course, it is far more complex than that, but we will not be able to reach the first step with hatred at the fore. It is crucial for young Indians and Pakistanis not to fall into the same trap as their parents and grandparents. The mindset of fear, hate, and intolerance can only be diminished by those who are not burdened by the baggage of the past.
India needs to realize that the days of hegemonic bullying are coming to an end. Conquering and continuing to occupy territory is not working anymore. The time has come to work towards regional peace. The majority of the population in both countries is living in acute deprivation and want. Do our people really need to be engaging in constant conflict? Or should we make a concerted effort to put our differences aside and work for the betterment of our people. The constant blame game and unearthing of skeletons of in the media is not going to improve the human condition.
“The mindset of fear, hate, and intolerance can only be diminished by those who are not burdened by the baggage of the past.”
To blame Pakistan for the Pulwama attack before the probe has even begun shows how unhinged the Indian leadership looks. Their media is making matters worse with their irresponsible anti-Pakistan rhetoric. Pakistan has once again extended an olive branch to India. It is up to them to take it. However, with Prime Minister Modi’s angst about the upcoming elections, he is unlikely to respond to Pakistan positively.
By: Ali Gauhar