For the first time, India has publicised the fact that it had conducted “surgical strikes” against terror camps across the LOC. While the strikes were a welcome surprise, what was a complete, and unwelcome, surprise was the reaction of so-called Indian patriots. These “patriots” first questioned the veracity of the strike – listen, it did not take place. And how do we know that? Because the Pakistan Army has denied that the strike took place. And, of course, we should believe the Pakistan Army because they are recognised around the world, and especially in India, as ones who always speak the truth. Note the following truths about the Pakistan Army and/or its believers: the US did not land a man on the moon and the attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai in 2008 never took place. Okay, it took place, but no role was played in it by any Pakistani terrorist, let alone one financed by the Pakistani army.
When the surgery was finally accepted, the patriots doubled down on their intellectual losses. Okay, the strike did take place but it was unworthy of the BJP politicians to publicly announce it and take “advantage” of the success of the Indian army. When this stupidity was recognised for what it was (is), the patriots tripled down on their losses and orated that in the forthcoming state elections the government should abstain from commenting on S3 (Surgical Strike Success). Let me see—the BJP cannot claim success for bringing the inflation rate down because that was entirely due to the decline in the price of oil, failing which it was entirely due to the RBI, failing which…
Look, all of this is quite absurd and doesn’t behove politicians (especially failed politicians) to act so transparently stupid. Let us acknowledge the success of both the government and the army. The government for initiating the strike, and, unlike previous governments, for drawing the line in the sand. It is heartening to note from Shiv Shankar Menon, the foreign secretary at the time of the Mumbai attack, that the UPA government did seriously consider the option of striking at terrorist attacks, post Mumbai. It is another matter UPA did not go through with what would have been a welcome precedent. But at least they did consider it.
Another unwelcome patriotism is shown by those who would prevent “co-operation” between private individuals. Hiring Pakistani actors is unpatriotic, maybe even treason, so opine a small set of politicians in Maharashtra. Not small enough for chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis (of beef ban and shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai and no water supply help to drought hit Latur for two years fame ) to smoke a hostage pipe with the nationalist patriots (NP).
The hostage in question: The highly-talented, personable, young and brilliant film director, Karan Johar. Johar had apparently violated all norms of decency and humanity by casting actors whose passport said they were born in Pakistan. This anti-national crime could not be tolerated since Pakistanis had been involved in terrorist crimes on Indian soil. The NP threatened to sabotage the film release and prevent it from being shown anywhere in the home state of Bollywood, Maharashtra —and with promises to sabotage it, Insha Allah, anywhere else in India. Enter Fadnavis to save the day for the NPs. The deal brokered with the NP was that Johar had to deposit R5 crore with the Army Welfare fund as part “compensation” for crimes committed. In addition, Johar had to promise that he will not cast any Pakistani actors in a future film. In addition, he had to appear in a hostage video (available on YouTube) to confess to his crimes and how he would reform himself.
Time for confessions a la Siddarth Vardarajan “J’accuse..I confess”. In a touching article, Vardarajan confessed to associating with Pakistanis over the years, and even having several friends. Well, I have several very close lifelong Pakistani friends and I find the NP interference in the private lives of citizens very offensive, morally and otherwise. Pakistan itself has suffered, and is suffering, from terrorism, and the NPs should realise that people across the world, regardless of colour, race, religion, or citizenship are united against violence, especially terrorist violence.
We should realise that exchanges of culture are what bind together the twins separated at birth. Chief ministers should not be negotiating with those aggressively violating the laws of the land, and laws of simple decency. Retired Indian army generals have reportedly refused to accept any money from Johar. There is justice in India, just that sometimes it is very hard to find.
Finally, on a lighter note, and with a joke. The Supreme Court is troubled deep about the prevalence of sardar jokes and is seeking instruments to lessen the damage to the psyche of young and old Sikhs that the jokes are causing! Actually, that is not a joke. The SC has entertained a PIL in this regard (does it not have better subjects to adjudicate on with their learned wisdom?). A panel headed by former Supreme Court Justice HS Bedi has submitted an 800-page report on the subject which concludes that some jokes are akin to ragging and opines: “Negative stereotyping, mocking base sense of humour can leave indelible, irreversible and irreparable impact on the psyche of impressionable minds” . Again, I want to emphasise that the above is true and not a joke.
The author is contributing editor, The Financial Express, and senior India analyst at Observatory Group, a New York-based macro policy advisory group.Views are personal.