A Kashmiri view of Indian and Pakistani “Liberal”


From the point of view of Indian “liberals”, Pakistan is a ‘failed state’ that is only waiting to be annexed as a province by expansionist China. The same impression is touted as an article of faith if one follows what Pakistani liberals write, especially in their angry tweets. It seems Pakistani liberals are desperate to catch an early morning flight from Lahore to New Delhi to pay tributes to B Datt and her ilk for upholding the ‘liberal values’ of the world.

In her latest tweet, Datt rationalizes the wearing of an insignia of the Indian Army on the wicket-keeping gloves of the former skipper of Indian team, M S Dhoni, in a recently-held cricket match against South Africa in England. Datt fully approves of this obvious breach of rules by The International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket’s governing body, which bars any individual player or team to display any symbols other than those approved by the body, and voicing personal opinions on politics while discharging professional duties on the cricket field.

However, if it were left to Pakistani liberals, they would probably wholeheartedly agree with Datt and start worshiping a statue erected for her five times a day as a ‘tribute’ to liberalism. They appear so desperate to appease India that they scramble to cross the border to listen to the pearls of wisdom of the likes of S. Gupta about how wretched the Pakistani state is. Gupta recently said it was because of the gas and mudra schemes that the Hindu rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party won the general elections in India.

Twitter is truly a revelation. In only a few characters, it exposes many peoples’ character. Pakistani liberals argue that Ejaz Haider’s socks have a better character than he has. We see Pakistan through the lens of these Pakistani liberals. Their twitter feed is full of irrefutable evidence that ‘Pakistan is falling apart,’ and that they are sad that Indian liberals were denied permission to visit Balakote to ‘rescue’ the nuclear state.

Pakistani liberals from Ayesha Siddiqa to Marvi Sirmed; Mohammad Jibran Nasir to Munizae Jahangir; Mehr Tarar to Mohammad Taqi and scores of others seem to be in awe of India and its ‘growing secularism’ under the leadership of Narendra Modi. They seem quite comfortable with the daily lynching of Muslims and Dalits on the mere suspicion of having eaten or stored beef in India’s cow belt and Hindi heartland.

The biggest contribution of Indian liberals is that over the years they have helped the Indian state manage and fortify the country’s image at the global stage by lying intelligently. From the soft-spoken S Haider to the eloquent S.  Tharoor, they are always busy in building this soft India illusion: that of a secular and peace-loving India, and also the image of India as a victim of perpetual terrorism. And their Pakistani counterparts walk hand in hand with them.

In spite of turning the Kashmir Valley into a torture chamber reminiscent of the Nazi-era concentration camps in Germany, S. Tharoor has the audacity to demand compensation from the British when the East India Company occupied India. For Tharoor, Kashmir of course is no “issue.”

As fire-fighters, Indian liberals have managed Kashmir so well that they deserve applause for hiding India’s war crimes with lies and eloquence. The likes of P S Jha, KuldeepNayar, R. Kumar, and R. Malani have indulged in the same whitewashing exercises throughout their lives. Kashmiri resistance leader Shabir Shah, who earned the sobriquet ‘Mandela of Kashmir’ for spending most part of his life inside Indian prisons, talks about Ram Jethmalani so often and with such reverence that one fears he might have forgotten himself in the process. Such is the impact of the Indian liberal’s doctrine.

Similarly, Pakistani liberals have soiled Kashmir’s image at the world stage to such an extent that one wishes that they would never talk about it at all. Wasn’t it Maleha Lodhi who presented a picture of an injured Palestinian girl as a Kashmiri survivor at the UN despite over 11,000 Kashmiri youths having been hit by lethal pellet-firing shotguns in 2016 alone in Kashmir? A sad commentary on their research skills and art of diplomacy!

Pakistani liberals have soiled Kashmir’s image at the world stage to such an extent that one wishes that they would never talk about it at all

With the greatest of ease, Indian liberals have demolished the Pakistani liberals’ self-confidence. They now doubt their own language and culture. Their twitter feedsamply demonstrate their insecurity to the world. And once you are insecure, you are not able to hit back at your critics, leave alone your adversaries.

Indian liberals have succeeded in demolishing the image of Pakistan. That it is ‘Terroristtan’. Thatit is China’s vassal state. That the Pakistani state survives on the crumbs of the USA and the alms of Saudi Arabia. That Pakistan only sponsors terror against its neighbors. To receive dollars from America, Pakistan sabotages talks in Afghanistan. That Pakistan has no business in Kashmir, and it should hand over the part of disputed Kashmir under its administration to India. The best part of this whole narrative is how many Pakistani liberals seem to concur. Given a chance, they would say ‘de do Azad Kashmir India ko.’

As India surrenders to the right wing Hindutva completely, the gullible Sadanand Dube prays that ‘India should not become Pakistan.’ At a time when terror accused Pragya Singh Thakur gets elected with a huge margin to the Indian Parliament from Hindi heartland Madhya Pradesh, Dube Ji innocently says ‘India should not become Pakistan.’ And Pakistani liberals nod in agreement: “Yes, yes, it should not.’ One must appreciate the gall of the man!

In February this year, the Government of India claimed that Wing Commander Abhinandanhad shot down a Pakistani F-16. B. Datt sounded as if she had been personally involved in the dogfight, flying another MIG right next to him, and watching with her own eyes how the F-16 went down. Every liberal in India believed the fairy tale. Even notorious Pakistan hater Christine Fair was doubting such Andvishwas (blind faith). Fawad Chaudhary, however, tweeted that Datt spoke to him, and he apprised her about the Pakistani position on the subject. Unfortunately, he was so elated that Duttasked his opinion that he seemed to have lost the twitter plot!

In stark contrast, Kashmiris know Indian liberals inside out. They know that when you point out to them the gross human rights abuses by Indian armed forces in the obscenely militarized Kashmir, they will say ‘look at what the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani State are doing to their own people.’ Yet, examples of Pakistan’s actions in Balochistan to put Kashmiris on the spot have never sounded persuasive tothem. Over the years, Kashmiris have stopped engaging with Indian liberals. Once M. P Kishwar was a leading light of liberal values in India. Today, she is concerned whether Gandhi and Nehru were gay and had a sexual relationship!

Kashmiris trust the Indian rightwing more than the Indian liberal. At least, they know whom they are talking to and understand what it is planning. In contrast, you never know the Indian liberal’s mind. That liberal who screams that “the vote for the BJP was a vote for development.” Saghrika Ghose has  written a book Why I am Liberal. Recently, she described in an article how a vote for Modi was basically a vote for developmental works carried out by the Hindu right wing government.

If one were to listen to the Indian liberals’ view, a view echoed by many Pakistani liberals, it would seem that since 1947 Pakistan had done nothing except cede one part (Bangladesh) of it and export terror to the world. From the point of view of an Indian liberal, even Ayesha Siddiqa is a potential suicide bomber who alongside Mehr Tarar may just be conspiring to blow themselves up to implement Shariah in South Asia. Similarly, Gul Bukhari may just be waiting in queue to be the next Caliph of the Muslim Ummah.

A Pakistani film actor was recently seen crying on a television show over the world disrespecting her country while respecting India. Apparently at some Airport, she was frisked the moment she said she was a Pakistani national.

Indian liberals have written volumes about Pakistan and when the country organizes the Karachi literature festival, the Indian Twitterati mock at it. Pakistan and a literature festival, what? Since when has literature replaced the terror export business? Indian diplomats have also learned from Indian liberals. Remember the IV-league of terror tag given by the Indian foreign ministry to Pakistan? Pakistani diplomats looked meek and clueless in their response. Then we see Pakistanis writing in the Indian press to appeal to New Delhi to please help set their house in order. After all, they have so many problems, and my husband is also not happy with me, so please bring him back to me as well.

From Srinagar’s perspective when you look at the state of mind of Pakistani liberals on Twitter, you feel more respect for Bhutan than for Pakistan. There are many in India who question the government’s claim that an F-16 was shot down by the Mig attack, despite B. Datt having been an eye witness to the dogfight. The only person in Pakistan who also does not believe it seems to be Nadeem Paracha. But the state of mind of Pakistani liberals are in, the day Indian liberals will tell them that the Mig really didn’t shoot down aF1-6, they will say, no, it actually did!

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