Saturday, May 15, 2004
I usually am not a Pakistan basher and am all for friendly relations, but I have to express reservations about some noises coming from the establishment there. They talk about Sonia Gandhi and her being a �foreigner� being a stumbling block if India needs to convince the domestic constituency of any concessions to Pakistan. My objections stems from the fact that if Indians had ever considered Sonia to be a foreigner, we would never have made her PM in the first place (if she will eventually take up the post).
What I actually read into this kind of talk from across the border are these: one, their mindset is so stuck in a dictatorship that they cannot understand how there cannot be a continuity of leadership (understandable in a country whose leadership does not know the meaning of democracy); two, they, very much like their conservative counterparts in India, cannot stand a woman at the helm of affairs especially one who was not born into �the patriarchal-patriotic soil� (I might be reading too much here). Another thing is that so much talk about Vajpayee�s stature and personal chemistry with Musharraf is pointless. It was never Vajpayee and Musharraf taking the decisions, it was India and Pakistan. If in a dictatorship, Musharraf is all that there is in Pakistan, it is stupid to assume that Vajpayee is all that there is to India; because we are democracy where our elected PM only represents the people�s decisions. Just because the PM (merely a representative of the people) changes, it does not mean Indians, or their aspirations have changed.
These arguments might not go into actual diplomatic nitty-gritty where continuity, chemistry etc do matter (do they?). But what I actually am arguing about is the mindset of the Pakistani establishment.
It is funny that such sentiments are also echoed by some western sources. All this is probably because they assume that every third world country has to be a banana republic dictatorship, and is not capable of �western democracy�. No wonder everybody is �surprised that Indians could elect a �foreigner�� and try and make India appear to be feudal by talking about dynasty. Who the hell is George W Bush, if not another dynastic scion?
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