By Manju Kak
September 25, 2014
When Kashmir is deluged by one of the greatest floods ever and disaster looks upon every Kashmiri’s face, is this all a pedigreed Pakistani politician’s son has to offer?
No medical aid, blankets, food, housing – instead, bilious rhetoric that can only inflict more wounds in each Kashmiri heart whose worldly goods are lost, in each Kashmiri mother who has lost a child.
Yes, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s comment on Kashmir comes across like a puppy dog with a loud bark and no bite.
The media will do a great disservice to all Kashmiris by giving his statement more visibility than he deserves. He is a kid who has run away from the political field even after witnessing the brutal murder of his mother.
Benazir, despite her Anglo-Saxon high educational pedigree, never did that. She showed guts and commitment when her father ex-PM Bhutto was imprisoned and hanged.
Pakistan is a brutal nation – founded in blood, it has not yet outgrown its need to bleed again and again. But in its desire to bleed, and bleed all Pakistanis as well, it appears to be on a hara-kiri mission – as if its suicidal need has overpowered its raison d’etre to live.
Kashmir has conjured all kinds of mixed feelings amongst Indians. To many it's a sore that won't be healed. And yet, from the time of World Buddhist Conferences of Kanishka, School of Gandhara Art, Kalidas’s poems, Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, and Lal Ded’s mystic poems, it has had much to offer Indian civilisational thought.
In modern times, a sore, yes, for which Nehru is often blamed for his romantic and sentimental approach towards Kashmir and for the barbaric Pakistani invasion of 1948 – let’s not gloss over history.
But it was Nehru’s egalitarian figure that towered over the Indian political scene so that people and princely kingdoms of all faiths and sensibilities felt they could bond together to create the India/Bharat we now see and believe in, and which the BJP proudly touts.
Were it not for that towering statesmanship and personality – how would Patel have done his job? It is like saying that Amit Shah could have won his victory in UP during the 2014 Parliamentary Elections without the face of Modi? BJP fans themselves would balk at the thought and call it sacrilegious.
This is not to denigrate or lessen Sardar Patel – but to say – it was a team, fractious, democratic in it’s bickering, but foremost a team dedicated to a cause.
Also in the BJP’s belated saluting of the Mahatma – let us not forget the monetary contribution of the likes of Motilal Nehru, and without doubt the Birlas that kept his movement going.
Gandhi Ji needed them all, and never pretended otherwise. He chose his successors wisely – and I repeat CHOSE.
He, a Gujarati, chose a Kashmiri Brahmin over his fellow compatriot Patel.
So while the climate is to speak about Gujarat, and all Gujaratis, and therefore by DEFAULT the Mahatma, it would be an uninformed mind that could exclude the Mahatma from his team of stalwarts, albeit Jawaharlal Nehru.
But I am digressing from Kashmir and Bilawal.
As an aside – Bila Wajeh – means without a reason – and Bilawal speaking out of turn and in the manner which he adopted did seem like a Bila Wajeh bark. Just like a puppy, as I earlier said, asking passersby to notice him. "See I exist, I matter, I am a politician."
Words alone don't make one a politician. It’s what you do on the ground, and you cannot stray from it to the foreign climes of Switzerland, Monaco or Nice to play with your rich friends from University or privileged schools, the other scions of the rich, famous or infamous.
Here, I applaud Mulayam Singh in sending his son Akhilesh to home-grown Sainik School to groom him. A home-grown product emerged as a result.
Among the many things that as a resident of Noida I find abhorrent about the Samajwadi Government – its patronage to goons, allowing them unbridled parking of trucks and buses for one – is this commonsense approach to fathering a cub politician – home-grown.
Bilawal is not home-grown enough to follow up on such a statement on Kashmir, except by trying to derail current PM Nawaz Sharif. It is destructive, negative politics.
Nor has he matured in his political philosophy after this political hiatus to come out with something to make his PPP relevant. It’s the age-old revenge, aggression, machismo talk on which a fragile Pakistan was founded, which has shown no other reason to exist except to adhere to a feudal economy and mindset.
Based on such barks, Bhutto cannot become a relevant grass-roots politician.
The banner of War, Jehad, Religion, Honour, raised as answers to Clean Drinking Water, Roads, Electricity, Jobs, Work Ethic, Education are increasingly showing missed opportunity in Pakistan.
Bilawal, scion of Benazir, your song is dated. Change it to Roti Kapda aur Makaan – or in this fast moving century it will be relegated to Golden Oldies.