There is a Tamil saying: “chozhiyan kudumi summa aadathu.”
Roughly paraphrased, it means: “ If one finds a Brahmin’s tuft moving up and down, one should not presume it must be due to the breeze. There could be a hidden reason for it. One should look deeper.”
I was reminded of this saying on New Year’s Day as I noticed that the Times of India has started an Indians-Pakistanis bhai bhai ( Indians and Pakistanis Are Brothers) campaign under the theme “Aman Ki Asha” ( The Desire For Peace) in association with the Jang group of Pakistan.
The desire for peace one can understand.
The desire for closer people-to-people contacts one can equally understand , but the sudden love of the Times of India for the Jang group one cannot.
If the TOI had joined hands with the Dawn group of Karachi, that would have made some sense. No other media group of Pakistan enjoys as much respect among the people of Pakistan and in the international community as the Dawn group does.
But, no other media group of Pakistan has been as much controversial and as money-minded as the Jang group has been over the years.
And no other media group of Pakistan has been more opportunistic in its editorial policies than the Jang group.
It is alleged in Pakistan: Look where the money is. One will find Jang there.
The sudden love of the TOI for Pakistan and the Jang group is as mysterious as the sudden love of L.K.Advani for Mohammad Ali Jinnah some years ago and as the sudden admiration of Jaswant Singh for Jinnah last year.
Nobody can question the ardent wish of the TOI leadership for peace with Pakistan.
We all want peace with Pakistan.
We all like the people of Pakistan---- whether they are Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochs, Seraikis or Pashtuns.
As I had pointed out in an article on India’s relations with Pakistan and China sometime ago, the civil societies of India and Pakistan have greater positive vibrations for each other than the civil societies of India and China.
And yet there has never been genuine peace between India and Pakistan.
What is the reason?
Not the Lashksar-e-Toiba and the myriad terrorist organizations to which the State and civil society of Pakistan have given birth.
Barring China, no other country in the world thinks and talks well of Pakistan and its people.
No other country in the world triggers more negative vibrations in the hearts and minds of people than Pakistan.
There are various reasons for it.
Because of the distorted interpretations of Islam in Pakistan ever since it was born in 1947. One does not come across such distorted interpretations anywhere else in the Ummah.
Because of the cruelty and barbarity which have come to be associated with Islam in Pakistan. One does not come across such cruelty and barbarity anywhere else in the Ummah.
Because of the perfidious nature of the Pakistani statecraft.
Because of so many other reasons.
Why all the jihadi terrorists of the world flock to Pakistan?
Not merely because of its sanctuaries.
Not merely because of the sponsorship of the ISI.
It is also because irrational individuals with a distorted mindset find themselves more comfortable in Pakistan than anywhere else in the Ummah.
One must call a spade a spade.
One must face the truth.
To point out all this does not mean one wishes ill of Pakistan and wants it to perish.
Quite the contrary.
The real well-wishers of Pakistan and its people are those who have the honesty and courage to draw attention to the negative features of Pakistan and call on the Pakistani society to rid themselves of these features.
We all want good relations with Pakistan and its people.
The TOI-Jang Bhai Bhai is not the way of doing it.
It has to be done through honest debate promoted and moderated by people, who will not be suspected of having any ulterior interest in their sudden-found leave for Aman between the two countries.( 1-1-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )