Eloquence is not a measure of correctness

There is a new post by a martyr’s daughter who claims that – “Pakistan did not kill my dad. War killed him.” The likes of Sehwag and others have made fun of this ridiculously shallow statement but many people of left ideology said that it is a selective reading of her 347 words long post. So, I decided to read her full post but even after reading the post somehow I am still not convinced. Here is why:

What changes after reading the full post? Now I know the background in which the ultimate line i.e. “War didn’t kill my dad” has been made. Does it change the main point of her argument? No, it is still the same thing. We could start saying sentences like this -“Hitler did not do genocide, the war did it”. War has some kind of poetic meaning after all. This is running away from putting responsibility where it belongs. War may give a reason to kill someone, but people are killed by another people.

It is true that war kills people and it causes loss of life of thousands and sometimes millions and suffering for many others. But in every war responsibility lies with someone. Almost everybody agrees that Hitler was responsible for the second world war. Similarly, in the case of Kargil, is there a shred of doubt that Pakistan attacked India? Why is that responsibility should stop at some vague idea of war?

In her post, she says how her hatred led her to attack a woman in Burkha. Yes, her hatred towards the woman in Burkha was wrong and it was, frankly speaking, xenophobic. Her thought that every Muslim is Pakistani was wrong but that was her thinking. It is not the thought of any ordinary Indian. I don’t think anyone has suggested either of these things. She needs to introspect where did she get such a false notion from.

She argues how after World war 2 all European countries have become friends and similarly India and Pakistan should become friends too. And she is absolutely right about it. In the immortal words of Vajpeyi – “We cannot change our neighbors”. But one-sided wish of friendship is going to get us all killed. Call it fear, if you wish but this fear is based on our experience from the past. I am not saying that we should not keep our doors open for peace but standing vigilant on those doors is equally important. Also, I think it is important to point out that the peace came after Germany accepted its mistake, paid reparation for the mistakes it did and the chancellor kneeled down in front of the people of Poland for the atrocities committed by Hitler. And no, India is not asking for any of this for peace to exist – all we are asking is the willingness for peace on the part of Pakistani leadership.

” I am questioning the calibre of leadership of both nations”  she says. Pretty big words for someone who is not suggesting how to keep the borders secure without using spies. Questioning calibre of others is easy and suggesting – even suggesting let alone doing – useful steps to solve a problem is hard and that is what is missing from the post. I don’t remember one leadership of India which has not tried hard enough to be friends with Pakistan and has not been betrayed within 6 months of that sincere effort. Under these circumstances is it a surprise that peace is elusive?

Yes, I want peace with Pakistan and I want to achieve it non-violently but while there are many merits in Gandhian Satyagraha, let us not forget that Gandhi did not say that we should not defend our borders. In fact, he asked Indians to participate in the two worlds wars to defend their nation (one of his most controversial decisions but I do not want to divert on that tangent right now). The point is that Satyagraha is not going to keep us safe unless the whole world agrees to that method.

And after reading her whole post I was reminded of the conversation between Lord Tyrion and Hizdahr in S5E9 (Dance of Dragons) in Game of thrones:

Well said, you’re an eloquent man. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong. In my experience, eloquent men are right every bit as often as imbeciles.

Apart from the obvious irony that Tyrion was an eloquent man himself but he was right that eloquence does not guarantee correctness.

Two important notes:
1) I have shared her another post in which she opposed the violence of ABVP and I still support that. It is a disgrace that ABVP is resorting to violence instead of uncomfortable dialogues. It actually proves intellectual vacuum in right-wing students in India.

2) I am against her central theme that war exists in a vacuum and not against peace in itself as I have emphasized in the post.

For the benefit of readers who cannot play her video post, I’m posting the transcript of her video:

“Hi 🙂 My name is Gurmehar Kaur. I am from Jalandhar, India. This is my dad Capt. Mandeep Singh. He was killed in the 1999 Kargil War. I was 2 years old when he died. I have very few memories of him. I have more memories of how it feels NOT to have a father. I also remember how much I used to hate Pakistan & Pakistanis because they killed my Dad. I used to hate Muslims too because I thought all Muslims are Pakistanis. When I was 6 years old, I tried to stab a lady in a burkha. Because for some strange reason, I thought she was responsible for my father’s death. My mother held me back and made me understand that Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him. It took me a while to know but today I do. I have learnt to let go of my hate. It was not easy but its not difficult. If I can do it, so can you. Today, I am a soldier too, just like my dad. I fight for peace between India and Pakistan. Because if there was no war between us, my father would still be here. I am making this video because I want the Governments of both countries to stop pretending and solve the problem. If France & Germany can become friends after 2 World Wars, if Japan & USA can put their past behind and work towards progress, then why can’t we?? Majority of regular Indians and Pakistanis want peace, not war. I am questioning the calibre of leadership of both nations. We cannot dream of becoming a first world country with third world leadership. Please pull your socks up. Talk to each other and get the job done.Enough state sponsored terrorism. Enough state-sponsored spies. Enough state-sponsored hatred. Enough people have died on both sides of the border. Enough is Enough. I wish to live in a world where there are no Gurmehar Kaurs who miss their Dad. I am not alone, there are many like me. #ProfileForPeace”.

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