ISSN 2330-717X

Gandhism No Longer Relevant Today – OpEd

India's Mahatma Gandhi.India's Mahatma Gandhi.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but what do you do when mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers come back from Pakistan?

Recently in an interview to a private news channel Pakistani Journalist Mehr Tarar was quoted saying that she feels sorry for soldiers dying and that the Pakistani establishment is not working to plot attacks against India. Ms Tarar seems to be far away from ground realities.

Foreign policy in Pakistan has two important tenets namely its relations with the United States (for what it can extract) and its historical conflict with India (which remains its bete-noire). Both these play an important role in what decisions are taken in its domestic sphere.

In the present instance, with the confusion prevalent following Trump’s victory in the US Presidential elections, it may not be entirely clear to policy makers in Pakistan what to expect in the months to come. However, with Trump announcing General Flynn as the National Security Advisor in the transition team, it is evident that he intends to follow his rhetoric about Muslims (during campaigning) even after he takes oath. That may well be a cause of worry to the Pakistani establishment, both military and civilian, as they may not be able to continue sucking the American funds that they have been so used to in the past. It may also be wise to portray normalcy to the world, with the semblance of civilian control over the military establishment. To that end, a smooth transition of the Chief of Army will serve their interests in this projection to the US government.

After the Uri attacks by Pakistan backed terrorists and retaliatory surgical strikes by India on Pakistani terror camps, tensions escalated between India and Pakistan; so much so that a well known Indian producer was stopped from releasing his movie for casting an actor from Pakistan. Nationalistic fervor (read tempers) stands at an all time high, with irresponsible media on both sides gleefully cashing in on the state of affairs as they are. In this game of proxy wars and actual wars is it possible to settle matters amicably?

Earlier this year, following the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operative Burhan Wani in the Kashmir valley the media was barred from covering the massive protests in the valley against the Indian Army. Though this was done ostensibly to avoid further escalation of violence, yet amidst all the brouhaha, tensions continued to escalate. The war of words on prime time television kept getting louder and none of the parties was willing to confess. The prisoners’ dilemma was evident.

The cancellation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit and the boycott of Pakistan by the members of SAARC was a gigantic move, a statement in itself of the growing clamor for intolerance of any act of terror anywhere in the world. Pakistan stood exposed and the generals had nothing much to offer to the erudite discourses on national television about the cancellation of the SAARC summit.

Some journalists from Pakistan termed it as a propaganda war set in motion by India, which was nothing less than a national joke. Prime Minister Sharif and the Army Chief, General Sharif both have no political or diplomatic face left to show especially after they have been exposed.

Unidentified people have set fire to dozens of schools in Kashmir. The violence has not stopped. “This is very unfortunate and the responsibility is on the separatists, including Mr Geelani and other people are encouraging such elements to burn the schools. Ultimately, the future of the children of Kashmir is in the dark,” said Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh.

The K question is a serious bone of contention between India and Pakistan and the Valley is still burning. In the end the sum total of the game between India and Pakistan will be zero with maximum casualties at both ends. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seems to have maintained a tough stand on acts of violence but nowhere in the near future does the issue appear to be heading towards a resolution. Boycott and isolation of Pakistan is the need of the hour but in a liberal world order isolation may not be possible. Former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah opined that the attacks on schools was an “abhorrent ploy to destroy the future of the children” and blamed both the state government and separatists, calling the attackers “enemies of our children and the enemies of enlightenment.”

From purely a strategic point of view India continues to draw the attention of international community towards state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. Theoretical understanding of the new world order through the lenses of functionalism and neo-functionalism needs to be redefined. The Indian Army has taken charge of the situation but several actions by the forces have received severe criticism by the mainstream media.

The valley is burning and so is India. Dialogue may not be the way out. All this violence calls for serious mediation by the international community. With the US increasing its economic and military ties with India as a counterweight to China in South Asia, this may well be sooner than later. Gandhism is no longer relevant today. Non Violence can be understood by those who understand violence.


About the Author

Vishakha Amitabh Hoskote
Vishakha Amitabh Hoskote
Vishakha Amitabh Hoskote is a Communication Professional, Research Scholar and a Defence Enthusiast. With an MA, MPHIL in International Relations, Political Science and Development Communications, Ms Hoskote regularly writes for Eurasia Review on subjects of geopolitical importance.

2 Comments on "Gandhism No Longer Relevant Today – OpEd"

  1. i never
    i never “studied” india and its neighbors but i was brought to understand the kashmir region turmoil goes to the release of the area from european colonization but as in iran/iraq/syria, israel and its neighbors, saudi arabia, turkey/kurdish territories rapid exit was the priority and borders were drawn based on european decisions without consideration of religions, populations and resources. peoples did ‘better’ where law, courts, legislatures and legitimate transfers of power had been rooted in an understanding of the european ‘enlightenment’. the more tribalism, religious strife and lack of equal rights for all, men and women, the less productivity. do you notice the lack of wars between democracies? the americans killed the natives. the germans killed the non-germans. the african wars go on. someone needs to educate people as to how you got in this situation. these places need to tell their publics that generations ago those in power set this in motion. point out that god is god to all, not my god is better. educate people as to how you got in this and create a structure that all see is a compromise better than killing your neighbors kids because of what was done generations ago.

  2. A very well balanced and well researched article.

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