It has been said that we Indians, as a nation, lack a sense of history. Well going by the “candle burned out long before the legend ever will” Benazir hysteria that was unleashed in Indian news channels and media outlets in the last week, I would say we have no sense of current affairs either.
I don’t blame the Irish for giving Benazir Bhutto a posthumous peace prize with the citation “fought all her battles through dialogue and political debate and was an example to all those who do not use or surrender to terrorism”. [They should have just added “financial probity” in the citation while they were at it and we could at least have a good laugh] After all why should they remember Ms. Bhutto’s legacy of hate and violence when we in India,who were at the receiving end of her “political debate” and her “peaceful dialogue” , have forgotten everything?
Such is our amnesia that our “perennially-bent-at-the-waist” Prime Minister calls Benazir “one of the outstanding leaders of our sub-continent, who always looked for reconciliation between India and Pakistan”.
From her frothing exhortations for “azaadi” (a barely disguised cry to kill Kashmiri Hindus) to her aggressive support of a pogrom of ethnic cleansing against Kashmiri Pandits, there have been very few Pakistani political figures who have escalated cross-border terrorism and hatred as much as Benazir has done. It’s something that the West pretends not to know (because they don’t really care how many Indians Benazir kills as long as she vows to eradicate the enemy of the West) and the appeasers on this side of the border want you to forget.
Instead what they would like you to accept at face value is Benazir Bhutto’s rhetoric of cleaning Pakistan of terrorism, of ushering in true democracy and modern values. Well I would have been inclined to buy into this myself had I not heard the exact same lines from Ms. Bhutto in the late 80s when, in the euphoria of a return to democracy in Pakistan and in Benazir becoming the first woman premier in an Islamic state, many of us had thought that a new era of peace and tolerance would begin in South Asia.
I was fooled then. I will not be fooled again.
Whether Benazir Bhutto’s policy of publicly supporting and privately funding Jihad in India was guided by her father’s dream to avenge the ass-whopping of 1971 or whether it was merely a populist measure to get public approbation and attention while her husband picked the nation’s pockets, one cannot say for certain. But the fact remains that Benazir’s enlightened moderation, values she ironically used to realize only when out of power, was never anything more than a facade to get the support of the West by speaking their language in an accent they understood—-a support the West was keen on giving her this time since President Mush’s game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds has been seen through and because they thought that Benazir would have been able to gift-wrap the high-value scalps the General was unwilling to hand over.
Whether Benazir would have done the West’s bidding or become another Mushy we will never know, though I am inclined to believe it would have been the latter. What I am positive about is that not only would there have been no “peaceful dialogue” with India, a possible escalation in the shadow-war would have taken place with her in power if only because in a democratic Pakistan, any head of government would have to amp up the anti-India rhetoric in order to stay popular.
Lest I sound hard-hearted in my less-than-eulogistic post about a recently-deceased , I would like to state for the record that I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for Ms. Bhutto’s family for their loss. However kindly do allow me to stand apart from this crowd of deluded folk, having in their ranks many Indians with ridiculously short memories, who are whitewashing her bloody legacy and painting a halo of martyrdom and heroism around her head while staying blind to the misery of those Indians who have suffered grievously because of her.