Last night V & I hosted Pakistani potluck. It turned out to be a rather intimate affair with a few Pakistani friends of ours. After the last few weeks of intense Indian & Kashmiri events I thought it would be nice to have a light-hearted evening of biryani, nihari and haleem especially before we go meat-free at home.
As an aside I’ve begun to believe that the meat consumption we are having is simply far in excess of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Industrial farming is a blight and my hack is simply to eat meat outside of the home.
Toward the end of the evening the talk drifted towards politics and V mentioned some of her opinions about Pakistan. It rapidly became a bit more intense since at the root of it V has deep misgivings about the Pakistani state. Her contention is that all Indians, of whatever hue, couldn’t forgive Pakistan for what happened on 26-11 and that in a way it was India’s 9-11.
Now V has a strident forthright perspective, which I obviously respect, but I have a “broad context approach.” I could see that our Pakistani friends (PhDs at Cambridge so no wilting flowers) just weren’t used to that intense level of scrutiny and I was increasingly conscious that it wasn’t a neutral setting since they were our guests.
Needless to say things calmed down quite rapidly but I had to take a bit more of a pro-Pakistani pro-Islamic position in order to not alienate our guests (I also droned on about people to people contact etc); I’m always treading a very delicate tight rope in these mixed gathering. One of the Pakistanis was convinced 26-11 was a false flag (I silently muttered a prayer that V would let that be but of course she didn’t:)
V later asked me that why I had remained so circumspect on Asia Bibi when I was happily ranting about it on the podcast.
I guess at the end of the day I’m much more of a diplomat than an ideologue; for instance my last post can come across as quite strident but in reality I’m anything but. I simply like to make contrarian observations otherwise I’m anything but.
I’ll end with this interesting link on what Indians, Pakistanis & Bangladeshis need to focus on:
It would be nice to have progressively open borders and have SAARC resemble a “better” EU. With a bit of vision and persistence we can come about to that reality furthermore with a joint approach we can also look at the question of some sort of reparations (maybe not in cash transfers but in preferential trade packages). There is a great moral urgency in lifting the lives of the billion plus South Asian citizens and that is what we need to somehow collectively focus on.
It would be better though if India takes a more consistent line; either be a magnanimous Great neighbor in Akhand Bharat or be cold and cut-off entirely from troublesome neighbors. Pakistan is what it is and it’s going to be difficult to trigger any external transformation of sorts until the people themselves buy into it. For some reason I don’t see Pakistan as some sort North Korea, East Germany or Yugoslavia? It’s more like a dysfunctional Israel..