Bhai Bhai

Waking up on January 1 and with my eyes falling on the front page of  the TOI, I chanced upon the announcement of an initiative to bridge fences between India and Pakistan through people-to-people interaction.

Immediately the monster hangover I was nursing from the rum-coke just took a turn for the worse.

I understand that we just entered a new decade but the old decade, was like, here just a day ago. A decade which started with a dastardly hi-jacking, warmed up with attacks on our Parliament and continued with sporadic acts of urban violence and ended with  26/11, all of them originating, beyond any scope of reasonable doubt, from a single land-mass to our West. Being that the case, the kind of amnesia that makes us want to “talk peace” with Pakistan, in a “people to people Track 2” kind of way makes my mind boggle, in the same way that Jaani Dushman–Ek Anokhi Kahani did.

I absolutely understand the need to move ahead and forget the hurts of the past though I would not have the balls to stand in front of Lt Saurabh Kalia’s family or a camp of Kashmiri Pandits and say this. The problem here is of course that this initiative is asking us to ignore the present. A present where those that perpetrated 26/11 are allowed to walk free in Pakistan like heroes. A present where ISI has been trying to make the Indian economy collapse by introducing massive amounts of fake currency.

Of course I know the response. This is Pakistan “the establishment” that is doing this. Not Pakistan “the people”, who as the poll shows overwhelmingly do not desire armed conflict with India. And that somehow exchanging sweets on the Wagah border and having a trade delegation in Karachi and having joint musharafs sorry mushairas will somehow soften the China-Pakistani army to dump the billions they have pumped into the proxy war against India over decades and even prompt Kayani to act in Bhatt movies.

That is if he is not doing so already.

But maybe I am being too pessimistic I thought. So I started reading the joint statement. But then right at the top, there is a gentle reminder of the love that our Pakistani brothers have for us. A love that they are willing to spread by paying money to Google, who using their super-smart contextual super-semantic algorithm, have placed their banner-ad straight on top of this missive of goodwill.

No prizes for guessing what the answer to the rhetorical question (circled in red) was.

But then again I told myself that this is precisely the kind of things that such acts of brotherly bonhomie will strive to clean up and perhaps the said hate-site is run by Pakistan the “establishment” (a disembodied zombie-like organization that  apparently has no popular support for its policies) and not by Pakistan “the people”.

So I read on.

There was this impassioned rhetoric to rescue the fate of the two nations from “warmongers” followed by an interesting mea-culpa.

We believe the media can serve as facilitators in fostering greater understanding between people. Unfortunately — and TOI cannot entirely escape blame — we tend to focus far too much on the negative. In the process, the good that people do is drowned out by the sensational, and by the constant flow of death-and-destruction headlines.

Sounds good. And fair.

Having read this, I decided to make a visit to the Jang site, hoping to see a reflection of these thoughts (namely that India and Pakistan press are partially to blame for the escalation of rhetoric) and of the importance of this initiative.

On the Jang site however, to my surprise, any reference to the historic project was way at the bottom of the page (the last link in the Opinions section) at the same time when it was being prominently displayed on the TOI site.

And then I went through what the other side had to say. Throughout the article with politically sensitive references to Kashmir and Bangladesh, the underlying tone was anything but shared responsibility of history. Then in sharp contrast to the tone of the TOI article, there was this killer line

Given the hardening of positions after the Mumbai massacre and particularly the anti-Pakistan tone of the Indian media,

In other words, according to the Pakistani sponsors of this initiative, it is the Indian media which is exclusively anti-Pakistan and not the other way round even though a 2 second googling throws up so many lovely examples of pro-India Pakistan reporting that they are not worth linking to , not to speak of the intellectually weighty analysis of Mr. Z. Hameed, Pakistan’s pre-eminent public intellectual.

The reason I mention this is not to do a “gotcha”. I do it because this is precisely the reason why a people-to-people solution will never work.

The people of Pakistan refuse to acknowledge the truth of the complicity of their citizens and their administration in acts of terrorism in India for decades.

Nothing surprising about this though. This kind of refusal to accept the truth, even in the face of mountains of evidence accepted beyond doubt, is a trait commonly exhibited by perpetrators—from the last cross-cultural ambassador from Pakistan we have been honored to host (Kasab) to Policeman Rathore.

However this does make it impossible to reason with them or to make a play for their heart and minds.

Now if a Pushtoon tribal man who never went to school and likes to watch Haseena Atimbum felt that the malignant entity that promotes terrorism in India is India itself and that India controls Afghanistan, I would have understood. However in Pakistan, it is the elite of the elite, the well-healed and the educated who in other countries would form the “liberal” cabal typically prone to gratuitous self-flagellation, who are curiously the most loathe to accept the culpability of the nation they belong to.

Take for example Pakistan’s rock/pop scene, usually one of the most progressive sub-cultures of any nation, as shown in this video article by New York Times . No doubt to make themselves acceptable and marketable, their songs are all exclusively about how Pakistan is a victim in the war of terror (“All the turbulation (sic) in Pakistan it is not us, it is the outside hand” )and that Pakistan is not responsible for any kind of terrorism (a song that supposedly decries terrorism says “It is not us. It is not us. The story that is being spread in our name is a lie”) .

There is full support for the Taliban with one superstar going as far as to support Taliban’s bombing of girl’s schools and another saying that Taliban is a very small problem for Pakistan compared to the “others”.

Not that there are not sane voices in the video (mostly from music critics who do not have an audience to pander to) but what one cannot get around is that what these musicians are doing is that, perhaps in order to sell more, is to echo what people in Pakistan feel. The elite, the educated and the “Westernized”. The same people who are supposed to be the target for such outreach programs.

The reason why musicians sprout anti-Western/anti-Indian rhetoric is the same as why democratic governments in Pakistan are typically the most virulently anti-India (it was Benazir Bhutto who initiated the pogrom against Kashmiri Pandits).

India hatred is popular. Simple. It wins elections and it sells records. And a few cultural programs and flag-painting on faces wont change the fact.

Of course I am not saying there is nothing for us Indians to do. For one we can hold the feet of our political masters to the fire on matters of national security in a continuous and sustained fashion, as opposed to the impassioned  SMS-s and bluster of not playing cricket that immediately follows an attack and then dies after three news-cycles. This should be accompanied by a realization that we will continue to have a neighbour whose hostility will only increase as our economic might increases and that the only way to control the situation is in us securing the nation through investments in the modernization of the intelligence and internal security infrastructure (perhaps a bit of the Rs 300 crore our honorable ministers spent on domestic and foreign travel might have been better used) rather than expecting the world to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, which it will not do because it is not in their best interests, even though when push comes to shove (i.e. their lives at stake) they will show Pakistan their place [Link]

Indeed there are a hundred one things that can be done to protect ourselves. Each needs planning, thought and strategizing. Each alas is more complex than eating laddoos together or an India-Pakistan match where Rani Mukherjee is dressed as a man.

However we as a nation continue to treat relations with dangerous nations with a kind of child-like naivete which would be cute only if it did not lead to consequences that are tragic. Forgetting Govinda’s famous advice “Control yaar” we swing between the emotional extremes of “Let’s go to war” and “Let’s mend bridges by hugging” and projects like this one, despite being born from good intentions,  unfortunately do play their part in consolidating the myth of simple-minded Alok Nathization (“Aaj humare dil mein gajab ek uljhan hai, gaane baithe gana saamne Ilyas Kashmiri hai”) as a solution for the most complex of problems.

Lest I be misunderstood, I like most polled citizens of the two countries, do not want war.

Not because it is not politically correct to desire peace but because conventional war in today’s world, as proven by Afghanistan and Iraq, has only disaster as its consequence—-sometimes even more for to the victor.

However at the same time, I do not also endorse the tokenism of similar Bhai-bhai peace initiatives simply because, given recent history and the current situation, they will not work.

Why? Because they have never worked before. Not with China. Not with Pakistan.

The forces of politics, history and economics are too strong for that.

[Comments will be moderated and monitored. Anything I am not comfortable with will be removed.]

101 thoughts on “Bhai Bhai

  1. There’s just too much distrust between the citizens of the two nations to come together any time soon. The attempt to do that is nobel, nevertheless.

  2. 2nd to respond

  3. Oh God! I just missed getting an iPod by a comment.

  4. Bottom up approach in improving Indo-Pak relations is not going to work, too much bad blood. Best we can hope is Israel-Egypt kind of peace deal. But for that one needs a working government in Pakistan, not happening in near future.

  5. I am all for peace, but certainly not the way ToI wants it. This is the media which was going on and on about Pakistan less than two months ago on anniversary of 26/11.

  6. @Greatbong:

    I think other than manual filters you probably need an automatic filter. How about disproving a comment if it contains the word “iPod”?

  7. there wasnt and there wont be peace between india and pak and sometimes i think our country is vulnerable and ready to be exploited otherwise pak would have never dared to do things like 26/11. if our government is not brave enough to be hostile with pak atleast it should be smart enough to refuse such kind of stupid deals..

  8. Good expose. TOI et al confuse music and military. aman ki asha makes no sense at all. When has cultural similarity led to less hostility between the two? Readers of your blog may like to check out The Acorn on the same:

    And for those who want to know who Captain Saurabh Kalia of 4, Jat Regiment was, pl visit the following link:

    An ocean lies between islands of dialogue and war. But there is no political will to set sail.

  9. My thoughts exactly(though obvously much better written). I was disgusted to open TOI and see this project, just 1 month after the 26/11 anniversary when all we have to show for it is Pakistan accepts the guys were from Pakistan! 200 ppl died, for gods sake!

  10. Hi,

    In this regard let me link to an unusually insightful article by Vir Sanghvi that tells things as they are…although solutions are not suggested…but I felt it captures the gist of Pakistan’s strategy.

    Happy reading.

  11. 26/11 appears a recurring theme in the comments above, so people may approve an audio visual effort by my friends and me, titled Awaaz Uthao:

    It’s a must watch! #shamelessselfpromotion

  12. Arnabda,

    Great going. Evidently, the hand of the Bappi has been caressing the back of your head while you were writing this post.

    But have you wondered why Shanti Ki Asha was not chosen as the name for the project? Shadow of the Deepa Mehta affair or what?

  13. Frankly, I am not too hopeful about AmanKiAsha or any such stuff.
    After all We had gushed about The bus journey as well..not too long ago.
    Such an initiative would only be successful if the respective Governments sit down & frame a few basic laws pertaining to dealing with each other.
    If the Governments intend…& BOTH the governments..only then something substantial would come out of it.

  14. Thank you! TOI has lost it. theres too much unpleasant history there. history thats barely history yet. its like trying to befriend a rabid dog. dangerous with moments of meaningless lucidity.

  15. @nishit: then your comment would go too! 🙂

    @gb: great post. i don’t think any rational person would want war, but as you rightly said, not wanting war doesn’t amount to hugging and distributing ladoos.

  16. The whole bhai bhai approach is only being articulated by a small section of our country, who unfortunately call the shots in power. For example, who other than displaced Punjabis/Sindhis after Partition (even their numbers are thinning as time passes) really has anything in common with Pakistan? Does anyone from south of the Vindhyas, or Bihar or Assam really care?
    62 years after both countries separated, a handful of octogenarians are all that’s left who remember what undivided India was like.

    Vir Sanghvi pointed this out in an earlier column:

  17. I don’t know whether this comment will be approved or not, but the only way possible for peace between India and Pakistan is to party like it is 1971 IYKWIMAITYD.

  18. you are being too negative about this GB. all we need is a proper plan to regain the bhai-bhai status of old, where the pakistani public would clap if balaji got a wicket.
    1.gotta start releasing yash raj movies in pakistan man, lull them into a false sense of love and calm where everything is perfect. .
    2.send in shahrukh to soften things up you know, interact with the cricket team, do a few commercials or maybe even a movie or two.
    3.then we can send in the sexy beast ND Tiwari to woo the ladies and actress supreme katrina kaif to get the men.
    4.making arundhati roy the ambassador to pakistan could ease the tensions there a bit.
    5. I personally would love to have the Z.Hameed dude go INDIA the country giving lectures on the theory of logic and deduction.
    6. My personal contribution to this plan would be a chain email/sms urging people to unite in the name of love, and which if u don’t forward to 10 people will result in bad luck for 10 years

    Its a tough job man, but not impossible. I am sure we can create enough goodwill to hold us together till the next terrorist attack/bombing.

  19. It was a very long post. But, still I felt something was missing. I guess Bharath completed it. 🙂

  20. “The problem here is of course that this initiative is asking us to ignore the present. A present where those that perpetrated 26/11 are allowed to walk free in Pakistan like heroes. A present where ISI has been trying to make the Indian economy collapse by introducing massive amounts of fake currency.”

    You forgot to mention ‘A present where we are spending millions for the up-keep of a militant caught red-handed killing Indian citizens!!!’

    Great post Arnab…

  21. @Bharath

    Good one. These measures will surely work. All patriotic songs of Pakistan should be dubbed in Himesh bhai’s voice and distributed free of cost. This would finish off any feelings of national pride that remain.

    I am not sure about Ms Roy taking up an ambassadorial role. She is, it seems, already working for the Pakistan establishment as special representative for Kashmir in an honorary capacity. I think there is a no-poaching agreement between GoI and GoP.

    JANG group talks PEACE – oxymoron.

  22. The moment i saw it in TOI in morning …i felt you will write on it !

    i purchase TOI for its “extra” pages.

    whenever i give advertisement in TOI …its teenage girls who responds most!!
    But we can deny its marketing supremacy. TOI has presence in every new age stuff..from online payments to anything..they have got free advertising power to enter any business.

    And to understand/tackle pakistanis ..we will need some research level psychologists…which we lack in our political/defence thinktank.

  23. You deserve an award for this piece.

  24. My building ran out of water on the first… now u know what i did with that paper…

  25. Very well said. Nail on the head.

  26. Nice blog Greatbong…
    Something much awaited and far far better than the recent movie reviews…

    Nice comment..haha

  27. Very nicely put forth.
    Most of us will agree to it.
    pl. delete your last post on Avtar – it sucks. Dont worry, we are allowing it.
    Remember “try ball” in galli cricket. U can again play even if you get out on that ball.

  28. Greatbong – your comment about the Jang newspaper giving it minimal exposure by “having a link way at the bottom” is incorrect.

    I checked both the newspapers – on today’s frontpage, on the Jang website the Asha logo stands out prominently as a big flash covering most of the webpage, which then gradually minimises but still stays right at the top of the page.

    On ToI, its a much smaller logo banner on the side.

  29. @sameer
    “the Asha logo stands out prominently as a big flash covering most of the webpage, which then gradually minimises”

    they tried to put a shoshkele (floating ad in flash) on their site ..but its poorly implemented… not clearly visible..and may be they did it after GB wrote this post.

  30. Its wrong to point fingers at Pakistan. Indians are the first to offer peace, and this at times is seen as an act of cowardice. I am not sure how much the corruption in the arms procurements affects the mindset of the leaders and bureaucrats while taking a firm decision in international matters. Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai and we have and we are invaded by China. Vajpayee goes to Pakistan, and Musharaf sends his little green men who are affiliated to no country in this planet and were most likely the ones sent from Mars to invade Earth. Gilliani, the self proclaimed messiah of Kashmir, compares the terrorists who kidnap kids to Subhas Chandra Bose []. Further, we like peace so much that even after being bombed and attacked for 1 whole year in 2008, our own Prime Minister who for reasons unknowns takes a stand indicating India will not sponsor terrorism in Baluchistan. I am sure each one of us is to be blamed for this, as we allow the media, and the government, to reflect a view which is for reasons unknown a completely distorted view of the Indian mindset.

  31. you have a point and i too think that no matter how hard indians and some of the pakistanis who wants peace, tries to solve this issue, it will be like trying to piss in the ocean to make it yellow…wht india shud be doing though is to make it clear that it will help to be friends with us and we are pretty mean as foes..theres nothing more incentive than fear to make a threat behave…(mahabharata)

  32. What i find striking is that the face of the news channel owned by ToI , a certain mr Goswami is the most rabid anti pak men in media … not sure how he will be able to spew his hatred now ?

  33. Seems they have read your blog…..Aman ki Asha logo is at the top of the Jung website now…..b/w i wrote a negative comment on ToI comment and they conveniently chose to ignore it…lols….and they get angry wen vidhu vinod chopra tells them to shut up

  34. So, what’s the solution, then Arnab. That we just continue fighting with Pakistan all our lives…and for many generations to come. Surely, there has to be a way forward.

    Personally, I am willing to give all peace initiatives a chance…as long as we do not let our guard slip under that pretext. Something like Kargil must not be allowed to happen again. But at the same time trying for peace is hardly a bad thing.

    Maybe, as you say, peace inititiatives with Pakistan won’t work. But is there harm in trying…as long as we do not go soft because of those initiatives,what’s the downside?


  35. The Pakistani people ARE the problem now, but it wasn’t always so.
    Their genius dictators radicalized their own population and they are unable/unwilling to put the jihadi genie back in the bottle.

    All this moral equalization between Indian and Pakistani media/people/politcians/military makes me want to throw up.
    Have the authors of this disgraceful campaign considered the fundamental differences between the paths chosen by Pakistan and India? Even the future trajectories between the two nations are widely divergent. India is poised to be a economic superpower and Pakistan is poised to be a Islamic fundamentalist failed state.

  36. “Alok Nathization”

    LMFAO. This is why I read this blog.

  37. Very true on all counts. But TOI basically sells on this. A huge part of their marketing is one meaningless initiative or another. Back in full form bhai.. The last article was way below your usual standards.

  38. GB

    The Aman ki Asha project doesn’t tell us not to beef up our intelligence. We can sure do that and protect ourselves. This only serves to soften public opinion and that too on both sides.

    War is not a solution, we all agree.

    But the problem is all the intellectuals in us are trying to be smart and cynical about this.

    Agree, the problem isn’t as simple as it’s being made to be but it wouldn’t hurt to try. The trick is that our establishment should continue to beef up security and the people should start learning to unhate.

    If this catches on as the latest cool thing to do, the pop singers there might start writing peace songs and at least a few of the elite and well heeled might start getting swayed to this idea. Ditto here as well.

    All the cynicism and war rhetoric hasn’t worked. It may just be time to give a silly peace idea a chance to do what it can.

  39. Ignore.. Look Within.. Create a strong and safe border first. We need to focus within ourself and prioritize on more important stuff like literacy, poverty within. Strong Border will stop terrorists getting in.. India needs to prove it is far far better than Pakistan in all fields. Let us all work towards that rather than get caught up in all these trivial sales strategies of media. As usual the Indian Media will go overboard and hype it to death..

  40. I think it’s dangerous to make sweeping generalizations, one way or another. I understand that there might be a sizable number on the other side that is war-mongering and anti-India, but I also have very pleasant experiences from my visit to Pakistan. The people were extremely courteous, more so when they learned that I was from India.
    Then again one has to learn that both sides have been fed their own biased opinions from birth. All said and done, an effort (institutional or otherwise) cannot be rejected on grounds that it won’t solve anything. Regardless of our histories, me sharing a friendly cup of tea with my Pakistani friend is better than me thinking of all of them as anti-India terrorists, whether or not it achieves any sort of lasting peace.

  41. Once again – you have presented an excellent objective analysis. I share your emotion of the “present” being ignored totally to start this peace initiative which will do nothing else except getting TOI some more ad money.

    @ siddharth I disagree when you write off the article as “sweeping generalizations” , the writer has made very analytical and search based conclusions.

  42. Maybe TOI wants to help some more Headley’s roam through India using the likes of Mahesh Butts.

  43. GB, what you say makes sense. And apparently Jang is like the TOI of Pakistan. Money minded.

    But speaking from human point of view, someone has to start right? Why not us then? Not TOI, but maybe small steps from the government, you know give and take?

  44. TOI’s Aman-ki-Asha, can serve as a fundraiser for Mahesh Bhatt’s forthcoming movie starring Shoaib and Urmila with Kangana as a his sidekick. What is the point of another feel good campaign? Apart from rhetorical sound bytes nothing more can be expected. Your analysis is spot on.

  45. Hindi-cheeni bhai-bhai? kabhi nahi the.

    Hindi-pakistani bhai-bhai…boss cheeni kum hai! Not in this yug!

  46. But why you and others ( acorn etc ) giving it more importance than required.
    Whatever you have suggested is not going to be affected by Amani ki Asha or Nirasha. If TOI wants to get into something apart from their crazy war mongering nonsense on Times Now, its good for them. Why are you confusing this as a national policy. It is kind of futile, or may be not, but I can’t see any harm unless the government want to get carried away.

    In the end as you said conventional war or methods in isolation is not going to bring any peace to our country.

  47. There is no harm in calling for peace.
    The question is on what terms it is being called for.

  48. GB,
    “Not because it is not politically correct to desire peace”????

    btw, I don’t understand how it’ll help if public opinion softens here. It never had any effect. From what I’ve seen strong public opinion here benefits only telecom companies and “the” media. Seeking sympathy for the killers from the victim can happen only in India. I wonder if we’ll someday collect funds for such “initiatives” and send it to them for effective use.
    The long-lost brother approach is utter rubbish.

  49. I agree totally. I also wonder, as described in the blog, paki media and entertainment is awash with India bashing, to sell more. I also feel same about India though. All this bhai-bhai is to sell more. Just as an example, anybody remember some “India-pak bhai-bhai” movies becoming superhit while “Lakshya” not doing so well??

    I have another wild theory as well. Since western govt (read US) wants Indo-pak dialog, for their own benefits, could they be using TOI to unleash a different kind of “shock and awe”? TOI is going full swing about it, with daily articles and ads in virtually all channels….

  50. “Woh hum nahin”
    Now we know where Kasab got inspiration from.

  51. I too am not so excited by this TOI idea, but you have to give in when you hear Gulzar saab writing

    “Utho kabaddi kabaddi khelein sarhad par,
    jo aaye abke to laut kar phir jaaye na koi…”

    wow!! stuff that can melt hearts….

  52. Ekta Khetan
    “Hindi-cheeni bhai-bhai? kabhi nahi the.”

    Hindi-Cheeni bhai bhai the… for 3 thousand years…until the 1950s

    Something happened in the 1950s China that changed it all and turned China into a wannabe imperialist. What was that?

  53. Excellently put. We never have any middle ground solution for any problem we either blow hot or cold

  54. People to people contact:

  55. This is a very good analysis. The tripe that’s being bandied about by TOI (no wonder some people now term it as the TOI-let) is symptomatic by the commie pinko dominated Indian media that is happy to report deaths on Mumbai streets on 26/11 – some in a gleeful voice – you who I’m talking about. Just the tendency of these people to somehow make the sponsors of terrorism and the sufferers ‘equal-equal’ makes me think that these are less of a fourth estate, more of a fifth column – with a lot of undeserved credibility and power to mould the minds of the urban/semi urban youth. What peace are we talking about? With whom? The country that was carved out of Indian in 1947, with it’s declared ‘raison d’être’ was the eventual dismemberment of India, starting with Kashmir, raising their flag over the Red Fort in Delhi – all nicely packaged in what Z. Hameed and his fanboys like to term as ‘Ghazwa e Hind’, turning this ‘Dar ul Harb’ into a ‘Dar ul Islam’, in the process putting the 1946 Great Calcutta Killings or even the nazi Holocaust to shame. After all, they have good practice, whether its the Bengalis in 1971 in today’s Bangladesh or the Baloch nationalists in the 1980-90s, the Pak Army and Civilian Admins have been great in carrying out pogroms of ‘ethnic cleansing’ one after the other. In the proxy war scenario, they tried their hand in this – quite successfully – in J&K as well – just look at the Pundits in the refugee camps in Jammu.

  56. Great Bong

    Cricket ad contorovery has touched new levels Please see to it..A small commentary by you will be appreciated…!!! KFC came in with big money into T20 so that Australian state teams could hire the likes of big hitting West Indian stars like Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle in their Big Bash…But it has turned into this…Unfortunate or deliberate??

    Giving you links , video and analysis..Your thoughts on Australia’s racist exploitation of T20 marketability will be highly sought after

  57. @GB

    The newly added Google Ads are annoying !!!
    “super-smart contextual super-semantic algorithm banner-ad” dont suit this perfect blog either.

    People come to read your masterpiece articles and really dont want to be bombarded with “bharat matrimony” , “naukri” , “whisper ultra” , etc. like other annoying sites.

    I am your ardent fan. Please take it as a positive feedback.

  58. I love Mr. Z Hamid.
    Esp when he said
    “Ajmal Kasab is Amar Singh, A sikh”

  59. GB,
    I read you blog and it resonated with my thoughts.My forefathers and their kin and many more bore the brunt of the same ideology that is Pakistan. I cannot fathom the reasoning of TOI friendship crowd and wagah candle kissing pinkos who never saw first hand the bloodletting done by these terrorists.
    I however have different opinion regarding war or no-war.India should harden its stance even more and hurt Pakis more in every sphere and if it comes to war, show no mercy.

  60. very nice article GB

  61. some really good quotes i found on net ( :

    “…I dont think TOI wants peace as much as it wants ‘Hot news’ by acts of terror on the Indian soil, so it can sell ‘masala’ to the people on the street.

    TOI’s have sold their spirit to publicity scams. It started with a daily feature of page3 culture, It went on to scantily clad women being featured everyday (I welcomed that). But, now Its sad that TOI have sunk to an all time low. They are compromising Nationalistic feelings and wounds by getting to bed with the peretrators of Terror. Shame on you TOI. Its not peace you want, sales – thats what you want, and at any cost.

    I am a very patriotic Indian, and my wounds from the 26/11 incident haven’t yet healed. TOI, can you please wait before going all out with publicity gimmicks that harm us?”
    “This is strange! The people of Pakistan haven’t apologised for the terror attacks in India, nor have there been any efforts from them to book the past culprits of 26/11 incident. A Pakistani terrorist (Ajmal Kasab) is still alive, and awaiting judgement. How can we rush with “Aman ki asha” at this stage!! Let justice be done first before extending a hand for friendship!

    Please shelf this unwanted campaign ‘Aman ki asha’ until appropriate justice is done internationally. We do not support ‘Aman ki asha’. We do not want to invite another terrorist attack from another batch of terrorists from Pakistan.”
    —Rajan J. Sujan

  62. The initiative made my blood boil. Have stopped subscribing to TOI.

  63. Pakistan lover mahesh bhatt is wailing that Hollywood films dunbbed in Indian languages should be banned in India otherwise Indian film industry will be dead (article in Dainik Jagran today).
    So rather than competing on merit, he wants licence permit raj again.

  64. Dear TOI..the inititaors for this project from our side- dont you know that negotiations between two parties can happen only when they are on the same grounds?
    our motivation is to avoid the destruction that follows the war..theirs is simple greed..
    if there ever was any other reason for Paks to follow the path of peace, they would have already done so…
    what have they got to loose if they break the treaty? Nothing…

  65. Arnabda,
    Couldn’t agree more with you. Indo-Pak relations will always swing between “We are sworn enemies who won’t rest until the other is destroyed” to “We are long-lost brothers separated in the Kumbh Mela by evil politicians”.

    Ultimately we must realise that Pakistan is like a spoilt brat who wants constant attention from its parents. The best way of dealing with them is to ignore them, after making sure that we can defend ourselves from their attacks.

  66. @Gr8BongFan2

    You packed a lot of information in your small little burst. It would be intersting to disect some of the things you said and the questions they raise, because they point to future strategic scenarios that many people in India need to be aware of.

    1. What are the internal equation in Pakistan?
    2. Has Pakistan been able to meet the its ideological expectations of being the “land of pure for followers of Islam”, 60 years after its creation.
    2a. If yes, then how has it achieved that, and more importantly what are its geopolitical goals.
    2b. If no, then does the problem lie in the idealism in Islam (Taliban rule also tried to acheive that), or does it lie elsewhere?

    3. What has India’s geopolitical goals been, since its population became master of its own destiny in 1947 after almost a 1000 years of being under external rule.

    4. Based on the history of this region, going back to period of Mahajanapadas, what should India’s geopolitical goals be? What have been the high points and low points and what resulted in them?

    I would urge readers to try to understand these, more than just focus on the last and the second last terror attack.

  67. May this was TOI’s devil mind. They wanted to generate more hate towards Pakistan thats why this Aman ke Asha.

  68. How can we simply forget the reality of life – blood shed by countless soldiers in wars and proxy wars over last 50 -odd years ?

  69. Search for article mumbai documentary at You can hear and watch the tapped communications between the aam aadmis of pak!

  70. @ Abhishek

    The motivation and inspiration of Kasab in Mumbai attacks are the same as that of Nadir Shah 400 years back and the same as that of Mahmud Ghaznavi 600 years before that.

    Only the technology has changed.

  71. nice analysis.

    more of this.

  72. I use to be a member at pakistani forum paktribune….and interacted with lots of pakis….i used to be flabbergasted at their U turns, lies & denials. Out of hundreds ..not a single forum member would admit facts. Their history books in school curriculum are totally distorted.

    off topic question!

    Who would be your dream PM candidate ?

    My choice is Arun shourie..

  73. Believe me, the first time I saw that aman ki asha page, it almost made me throw up. You have to live in India to get used to this level of hypocrisy/treason.

  74. I lived in mid-east country for some years. I never saw any close friendship between Indian and Paki families there, not even with the Indian Muslim families.At the workplace too,Pakis would make efforts to heckle the Indians.Another thing I noticed was that many Pakis would not easily admit their nationality.For ex they would say Karachi instead of Pakistan if you asked where they came from.

  75. Shut up Khujur. You present a twisted history view. Be secular!!

  76. @ Ron Dey:
    What part of what I wrote was “twisted”?

  77. Don’t understand it. For some the world has been on a decline since the last hundreds of years and can only be bettered by going back to a golden past, whereas for others the better is yet to come. It is not merely that of terror etc, but one of worldviews. Indian and Pakistan worldviews are separate, different. No one talks of a theocracy here and no one has been legally killed here so far for blasphemy. All for realist peace, nothing more.

  78. LOL. The link below which takes you a Pak Defence Forum, and the ensuing discussion about this post says its all. Bhai Bhai is a big fing farce.

  79. solution – join ‘waat na lagane ki asha’!

  80. Was it Govinda or Sanjay Dutt who made ‘control yaar’ famous?

  81. Political Masala videos from pakistan!

    Bilawal …no words to describe this crazy guy!

    Imran Khan ki? shamat kyo aaye ?!

  82. Couldn’t agree more. Aman ki Asha my foot – bunch of idiots.

  83. Very nice post by GB. As always, he hits the nail on the head and puts it very eloquently, as nobody else can.

    Reading about Lt.Saurabh Kalia (born 29 June 1976 in Amritsar) brought back painful memories from barely 10 years ago. Many of us may remember the story of Lt.Kalia and 5 brave Indian soldiers from 4 JAT Regiment (Infantry) who were captured alive during an ambush by the Pakistani Army from Indian Territory on the Line of Control. I, for one, can never forget the names of these other 5 Indian soldiers (who too never returned home to their wives, children, siblings and aged parents): Sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Naresh Singh, Bhika Ram and Moola Ram.

    These 6 Indian brave-hearts were in Pakistani captivity for over 22 days (from May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999) and were subjected to unimaginable brutal torture by the Jihadi army – as evident from their mutilated bodies handed over by the Pakistanis on June 9, 1999. One must read this article (Murder before Kargil) to understand the barbaric torture inflicted on these young men who defended India against the Jihadis until their last breaths. And I am very glad India, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, fought an all-out war against these Jihadis in 1999.

    And yet, ten years later, everything is forgiven and forgotten by MMS. And the Indian Army has its hands tied again by the Congress and forced to appease Pakistan by handing over “Mujahid” soldiers caught sneaking into India. Just read these infuriating excerpts from today’s news-story: ”Pak troops thank Indian Army for repatriating soldier”

    “The Pakistani jawan — Sarfaraz Ahmed of Mujahid brigade, a paramilitary force — was handed over to Pakistani authorities after the [Indian] Army was convinced that he had accidentally strayed into Indian territory. An [Indian] Army spokesman said today that the Pakistani soldier was also presented a watch, five kg of sweets and dry fruits, a hand-stitched carpet and a Quran stand. Ahmed had strayed into the Indian territory on 28 December, 2008.”

    Exactly, the same strategic mistake was made by Indira Gandhi who, after the 1971 Indo-Pak war, unilaterally handed over 93,000 captured Pakistani soldiers back to Pakistan, without even putting those butchers on a Nuremberg-like trial for killing nearly 3 Million Bengali Hindus in East Pakistan.

    Neither did Indira Gandhi insist on a quid-pro-quo release of at least 54 Indian POWs who had been captured by Pakistan in the same 1971 war. Read these two touching articles: “Families search Pakistan for lost PoWs” and “Prisoners Of Hope”.

    It is obvious that the Congress never learns from past strategic mistakes. And India always pays the price.

  84. Aman ki Asha cannot work untill the governments are serious about this. almost every week we see army generals and politicians giving hate statements.

    As for blogs and private sites that spread hatred, just ignore them!

  85. ToI is as interested in creating people -to-people relationships as a Tam Bhram would be in Butter Chicken.

    Given, the fact that it is the biggest media company in India, they need to come up with marketing ideas that are much bigger in scope than normal events/conferences and web initiatives.

    Look at their Lead India Campaign..all the finalists who were touted to be the next Nehru and Sardar Patel faded into obscurity.

    In fact the ToI ‘New Idea’ campaign is pretty predictable if you observe. Write emotional copy for print ads, launch TV ads with VO from Amitabh Bachhan, get shankar-ehsan-loy to develop a jingle/anthem, and use thier media might to promote the idea, only to fade into obscruity till the next big one comes along.

    As a maketing professional i appreciate them, as a common man, i could not care less on the Aman ki Asha campaign.

  86. @ Rehan who wrote: “almost every week we see army generals and politicians giving hate statements.”

    Bro, you seem like a reasonable chap and this gives me hope that peace will prevail in this world. My sincere hope is that we will all live together in harmony, but the sad reality speaks otherwise. But can I be honest with you? Let us not be in denial that the roots of this hatred can be traced back to 7th century Arabia. When the people of a country make heroes out of Ghaznavi, Ghori and Aurangzeb – the very same tyrants who murdered, enslaved and raped their own ancestors in millions – then you know how screwed up their mindsets are. Until we remove this Ghazawat-mentality arising from the Arabian sands, we may be unable to embrace each other and live together in peace.

  87. “elite of the elite, the well-healed and the educated”…sorry but shouldnt it be “well heeled”?

  88. But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
    —Luke 6:27-31. NIV

    the problem lies with us. fair and square. lets not blame the TOI. if TOI believes, in its typical blustery fashion, that it will try to be the goodwill ambassador of the nation, its certainly free to do so. but something tells me, that they know enough about the typical Indian psyche, that gives them the amazing confidence to set about doing whatever they are doing.

    needless to say, i do not agree with Luke or his more modern disciples like Gandhi or Nehru. the reason being, the line ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ never really works. one just has to read world history to know the fallacy of this idea.

  89. If we need a friend, we will get a dog.

  90. I totally agree with the message that this article strongly send. In fact i find a lot of resonance with a blog of mine which is

  91. Let me confess … I too am a Big Fan of AMAN ASHA (viz. Zeenat AMAN & ASHA Bhonsale ) 😉

  92. @Sayan-

    Ref ur quote-

    The verse is spoken by Jesus Christ in his teachings and not Luke. Luke is the one who recorded it in his Gospel in the New Testament.

  93. Good one. These measures will surely work. All patriotic songs of Pakistan should be dubbed in Himesh bhai’s voice and distributed free of cost. This would finish off any feelings of national pride that remain.

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