Pakistani potluck with a dash of politics

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:

How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist

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..

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12 Replies to “Pakistani potluck with a dash of politics”

  1. It’s not possible for India and Pakistan to cut themselves off from each other (much as both would like to at times). In the end, we will have to work out our problems and at least be neutral neighbors.

    There is some hope in the plans to open the Kartarpur Sahab corridor so that Indian Sikhs can visit the gurudwara which is located just 4 km from the border.

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    1. I wouldnt too much emphasis on the corridor, it should be seen as a forced move from Indian side which does not want to give the conservative/religious sikh to turn against the Indian state. Its a low cost move for India, since much of the work has to be done on the Pakistan side.

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      1. It is still a positive sign if it goes ahead. If I understand correctly, it is something that Pakistan had proposed a while back. Typically, both countries are now trying to take credit for the move.

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        1. I dont think BJP govt seems to enthusiastic about it. It has just acceded to the request of Akali conservative sikh base, since BJP is hardly a player in Punjab. There is a reason why Swaraj is not travelling since the govt doesn’t want to give any indication that it amounts to something big. The BJP would not gain any electoral value for this move (so its does not mind Pakistan taking the credit) since neither the sikhs nor the peace/normalcy wala folks vote for the BJP in any case.

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      1. The best biriyani I had was mutton one in this hyderabadi place years ago called Paradise – in the old city by Char Minar. Apparently they do the best biriyani in Hyd and probably India.

        Trouble is C Asian meat prep, awesome though it is, got seriously spiced up for the Indian palate. So while I love the meat preps of moghlai dastwarkhan generally I can’t handle the spiciness.

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          1. Come over to Bangalore. Take the Shatabdi Express. 1st class seater train. Takes around 4-5 hours.

            I can show you around the pubs here. Or maybe some Udupi food.

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