Should India go to war with Pakistan? Should Pakistani artists be banned from working in India? What will its implications be? These are the questions we're faced with as the tension between India and Pakistan escalates. There's so much hue and cry on social media about what's right and wrong and how India should behave in this situation.
While we are debating whether to snap trade relations with Pakistan or if banning Pakistani artists is a right decision, how many of us care to know how a soldier posted at the Line of Control feels about this?
In a blog post titled Mala Fide Intent, Major Gaurav Arya shares a soldier's perspective on the issues of defence and national security, and questions whether it's fair for us to support Pakistani artists while our soldiers risk their lives on the border.
Here's what he wrote:
Our boys have just about returned from across the Line of Control after a very successful surgical strike. The entire nation is delirious with joy; the entire nation, except a few.
Today, I was part of a panel discussion in JNU, interestingly called “Intellectual Terrorism”. The term is self-explanatory, though wide ranging. I will discuss one type of intellectual terrorism here. The proponents of this type of terror are to found in every walk of life, but the roots of this disease are embedded in some institutions of higher learning. More of that some other time.
Karan Johar wants to know if asking Fawad Khan to go back to Pakistan will stop terror. Mahesh Bhatt joins the chorus by saying “stop terrorism, not talks” implying that we must continue to talk to Pakistan. The cricket board will continue to play matches with Pakistan. Certain business houses will continue to do business with Pakistan. All this, while our soldiers are dying on the border.
This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”
How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war, and he, like Mahesh Bhatt, should walk across the Line of Control and shake hands with a Pakistani soldier? Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry? A soldier will die before the thinks of such treason, but its certainly food for thought, isn’t it? Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier. India is Mahesh Bhatt’s country, as much as it is the soldier’s.
The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.
For 70 years, Pakistan has been killing Indian citizens. Are we so inured to the pain of our fellow brethren that making a movie or playing a cricket match takes precedence over a soldier’s mourning home?
18 families have been shattered like glass. Not a word for them by our Bollywood royalty, mind you. But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems. A tweet in support of Pakistani artists is mandatory.
These directors and producers will have you believe that before Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang for Bollywood, there was no music of significance in the Hindi film industry. The cricket board is so busy making money that a widow’s silent sob and an orphan’s scream does not matter. What actually matters are day and night matches between India and Pakistan. The most keenly contested sporting event in history, they say; even better than the Ashes.
And the soldiers? Well, as far as they are concerned, they are on another planet, far removed from the glitzy Bollywood studios, and the teak paneled walls of the stately boardrooms of the BCCI. The blood, the mud, the screams and the exploding gunpowder are just distant and inconvenient, not very different from traffic during the Mumbai monsoons. Life must go on.
There is a 10-year-old girl, Aditi, who understands the nation and its ebbs and flows far better than Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. See her letter attached. Then see the poster made by Mahesh Bhatt, which he so proudly displays. I leave it to you to decide who speaks for you. My vote goes to Aditi. This little angel has the spirit of a soldier. The others have mala fide intent.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
Legit point, sir. While our soldier's are warring for us, the least we can do is show solidarity for the cause he's fighting for.
You can read his blog post here.