Long live India-Pakistan enmity
Not in memory of our fathers but for the sake of our progeny.
- Total Shares
Pakistan is the best thing to have happened to India... and don’t go jumping off your skin and flexing all your 320 pairs of patriotic muscles looking for my, all too mortal, neck to wring. Hear me out first and then you may string me up from the flag pole at Wagah Attari.
So what does a nation need, to be marked out for greatness? Initiative and unity and prosperity and enterprise are all fine but over and above all of these is the need for a foil, a contrast against which you expend your energies. It has to be a goal that is achievable and it has to be something that gives you purpose. For India that perfect foil, not just for greatness but to achieve anything tangible, is Pakistan – from cricket to nuclear bombs Indians want to be able to rub it in as to who did it first and who did it better.
Who says size matters because in this, mine is bigger than yours, game it is a bit of David versus Goliath situation…182 odd million Pakistanis against 1.252 odd billion Indians. 796 thousand square kilometres against 3.288 million square kilometres of land mass. Pakistan’s total of 1.5 million Defence forces pitted against India’s 4.7 million including reserves.
Almost on all accounts, other than per capita income - $1275 for Pakistan and $1498 for India and life expectancy in India of 66.46 years compared to 66.59 years in Pakistan, there is no comparison between the two neighbours. Yet, again in almost everything that they do, they are constantly matching themselves against each other. One can understand Pakistan doing this because being the smaller competitor it has set its goals at a higher plinth, but the funny thing is that for India too, this pesky neighbour provides for so much of momentum.
News mediums thrive on India-Pakistan reportage; there are specialists who specialise; analysts who analyse; hawks who advocate extermination and doves who chant brotherly love. Long and lucrative careers are made in the India-Pakistan business; politicians have a steady source of material to berate their opponents with; the army has a target, to off load near retirement date, ammunition; scientists have a ready reason to receive funding to build deadlier weapons; cricketers and hockey players know which is the only team they have to beat, even if they lose the tournament; filmmakers have a saleable theme to reinterpret; authors have a plot; evening news on TV has screaming, shouting, jingoistic entertainment and in all of this India has a goal to put Pakistan firmly in its place.
How dull life would be in India if there were no Pakistan. There would be no Kashmir, no enthusiasm in cricket, no onions to import, no Dawood to catch, no Hafiz Saeed to rant against, the six foot moustachioed BSF personnel at the Wagah gate wouldn’t have swollen knees and bruised heels, China wouldn’t have an all weather friend in the vicinity, there would be no version of Pak Taliban, USA would have billions of dollars to spare for aid and war elsewhere, Iran would be a neighbour and the pipeline from there would have only one border to cross, the Army would be smaller and Army personnel would have lesser number of medals to wear, political leaders would be all bald having to scratch their heads trying to figure out who to blame and how to distract attention, film directors would have to innovate with more versions of, dancing around the tree, love themes and Indians of Islamic faith, on being told to go to Indonesia if they didn’t like matters here, would have to learn a new "Bahasa".
India needs Pakistan to be India. The entire contemporary culture and life of India is dependent on Pakistan being Pakistan. In the natural world, things exist because there is a specific need for it and life species continue to exist till its need remains. When there is no need for it species die off and become extinct. Pakistan exists because there is the very clear and specific need for Pakistan to exist, it exists to make India – India. Also the relationship between Pakistan and India is symbiotic, even parasitic, because not only does India and Pakistan exist because of each other but they feed of each other as well.
If we go by world history, then this goading that India receives from Pakistan might yet propel it to political and economic greatness. England and France were at it for a few centuries before England reigned supreme. It happened with China and Japan, with USA and Soviet Union going all the way back to the Romans and Greeks. So India does not need puny peace loving neighbours such as Nepal and Bhutan and Maldives, it needs someone tough and deceptive and mischievous like Pakistan to keep it on its toes and to constantly keep pricking India out of complacent and peaceful boredom. And in all probability, because of all the deviousness that is believed to be intrinsic to that country, Pakistan knows how important it is to the very constitution of India.
It is because of Pakistan that Indians have a common enemy; it is because of Pakistan that India knows the fallout of cessation and will not allow it to ever happen again and it is because of Pakistan that Indians are creating Phantoms instead of Kashmir ki Kalis.
The trick is, to not let on that India knows that Pakistan knows, what regular Indians and Pakistanis don’t know - that 68 years after its creation; after a million deaths in its birth; after the largest population exchange ever in history; India needs to accept that in the long run Pakistan is the best thing that might have happened to India. And since the national security advisors or defence ministers or even Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif are ever going to shake on it…the future of India (and Pakistan) is secure because the - I can piss further than you, game of cavemen vintage is no fear of ending anytime soon.
Long live India-Pakistan enmity…we owe it to our children, for the dividends to be shared, to the extremities of the foreseeable future.