From the Viewsroom

Nothing seditious about Amulya’s remarks

M. Ramesh | Updated on: Feb 26, 2020

Is an Indian who says ‘long live Pakistan’ any less Indian than an Indian who doesn’t say so? Why adopt Pakistan’s illiberalism?

Regardless of what motivated Amulya Leona Noronha to yell ‘Pakistan zindabad ’, there is scope to take a broader view of such larynxial bellows. Some reports say that Pakistan zindabad was just a preamble and that the girl was actually going to say zindabad for all other countries — but the veracity of such reports is irrelevant.

After all, what did she say? ‘Long live Pakistan’! So? Is an Indian who says ‘long live Pakistan’ any less Indian than an Indian who doesn’t say so? The Indian culture is a giant shady tree that has roots in the concept of ‘ sarve janaha sukhino bhavantu ’ (may all people be happy) and fertilised and nourished by the principle of ‘ vasudheiva kutumbakam ’ (the whole world is one family); as such there is nothing outrageous about a person throwing a friendly arm around the shoulders of an enemy.

In contrast, Pakistan’s very existence is premised upon an inveterate hatred for India and a desire for ‘ ghazwa-e-Hind ’ or a holy war against India. No Pakistani can hope to live long if he stands up in a rally and cries “ Hindustan zindabad ”, but that is par for the course there. In that country, people have been excoriated for far milder statements. Najam Sethi, a reputed Pakistani journalist, whose patriotism is beyond reproach, is often called an ‘Indian agent’, just because he also highlights India’s positives.

That is Pakistan. But whether or not India should demean itself by wanting to match Pakistan in meanness is a question that we Indians should reflect calmly on. Let us not forget that when common (non-combat) Indians and Pakistanis meet, there is bonhomie and mutual respect. The jihadist is our enemy and is fit to be hated. The uniformed Pakistani soldier is a technical enemy; in a war, neutralising him is just a matter of duty. But we do not have to wish ill for the common people of Pakistan, even if they harbour an indoctrinated abhorrence for India. Therefore, there is scope to take an accommodative view of someone saying ‘may Pakistan live long’; there is nothing seditious about it.

Published on February 25, 2020

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