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A Strange Dichotomy

In recent weeks and months, a strange spectacle pertaining to the media coverage of events in the subcontinent has been in witness! The news channels operating from the hostile neighbour’s involving India and Pakistan have been airing views, comments, debates from their channels which provide a total contrast with regard to issues of mutual interest. Whereas the dominant view on both sides of the border is to wish the present dispensations to continue in their respective countries, the similarities of their standpoints end right there. Come to think of it, the Indian media voicing the dominant view of the political establishment is to see an end to the present government in Pakistan. However, the corresponding view of the media and the government across the border is to wish a long life to the current political dispensation in India! And that is not without reason.

The thinking in the Indian establishment is that the present government in Pakistan with Imran Khan in the saddle has it in it to steer that country out of the morass that it has been plunged into by the successive governments in Pakistan, especially those headed by the MPL(N) and the PPP. That, in its perception, would pave the way for a strong, stable and successful Pakistan, something that is anathema to the Indian weltanschauung and of its deep state involving its immediate neighbourhood in the region. On the contrary, the dominant view in Pakistan is that the continuance of the present BJP-led government in India would accelerate the diminution of the stature that India would boast of, not long ago, on a variety of metrics that included its once promising economic prowess, progress in science and technology, military might, mutual co-existence of its people and not the least, its plurality of cultures etc.

This line of thinking may not be rubbished as paranoid or dismissed as abstract nonsense. One need not go farther than spare a thought on the following words of M J Akbar, a well known journalist who owes allegiance to the BJP and who was a minister in the Modi cabinet not long ago. He had written these lines in the wake of of the Gujarat 2002 pogrom:

“Modi is an ideologue, with a difference. The difference is hysteria. It is an edgy hysteria, which can mesmerize; and it easily melts into the kind of megalomania that makes a politician believe that he is serving the larger good through a destructive frenzy against a perceived enemy. In Hitler’s case, the enemy was the Jew; in Modi’s case the enemy is the Muslim. Such a politician is not a fool; in fact, he may even have a high degree of intellect. But it is intellect unleavened by reason and untampered by humanism”.

The question that stares us in the face puts us all in a hopeless quandary: should the Indians root for the present government to continue beyond 2024 as they are obliged in the spirit of “true Indian nationalism”, and by default as it were, bring cheers to their bete’noire across the border, or should they wish to see them pack their bags in 2024 as dictated by the desire to stop their enemy in their tracks? That’s a dichotomy that needs to be resolved forthwith for a clearer perspective on the political philosophy of those ruling the roost in India right now.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi


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