Rahul Gandhi has said many things that I have disagreed with. But for once I totally agree with him when he says that it's time for India and Indians to 'get-over' Pakistan.
We've been giving too much time and effort in dealing with Pakistan. Sure our history, the wars we've fought, and even the current threats posed by Pakistan require our attention. But we have to admit that our fixation with Pakistan is more than just that. We are obsessed by Pakistan.
Every Indian will have an opinion on Pakistan, and usually it is a negative one. Our history books go on and on about how the two nation theory was actually a 'complete falsification of the idea of India'. Most of our obsession is due to the trauma of partition on our national psyche. Our National leaders took partition as a slap on the face and till date our policy makers don't seem to have recovered from it.
Our obsession also has much to do with the romanticism of our Independence movement. No doubt our freedom struggle was a glorious one. And the ideals that held our leaders and our people together are timeless and true for all of humanity. In this context - Pakistan, or the creation of it, went against everything that our National movement stood for.
Somewhere along the line I think we Indians feel that India and Pakistan should get back together, that the aberration of Partition must be done away with. Like in the movies- where the errant brother finally realizes the follies of his ways and returns home to his elder brother seeking forgiveness. This romanticism is evident not only in general every day talk but also in our policy.
From this romanticism and idealism springs the fear in Pakistanis that India means harm to them. That India wants to do away with Pakistan, that India poses a constant threat to Pakistan. The military and political establishment have milked this paranoia for all it's worth and have kept Pakistanis in the grip of fear. No wonder the people there don't question the military's involvement in running of Govt. They feel that it's a necessity born out of the threat posed by India.
What this means is that our romanticism and idealism and Pakistan's fear is entangling us in a vicious circle. Do we need that? Isn't there another alternative?
Yes, there is. But it requires us to me objective, practical and smart. And let me tell you we are hopeless in all three.
We need to accept the idea of Pakistan and partition. No doubt it was a painful exercise and that it definitely could have been handled better. But let history be where it belongs. Let's not be victims of history- but let's learn from it.
It's been 62 years since Independence. That means there are at least two generations of Indians and Pakistanis that have never been part of the same country. We are two completely different nations now. Different ideals, different systems of Govt, different policies. India should learn to treat Pakistan like it treats any other nation.
There are the usual examples we cite when we compare India vis Pakistan. We are a functioning democracy, our economy is now the fourth largest in the world etc etc. But let's not get jingoistic about it. That's again a trap.
Let us not be victims of our past. Let's get over this impasse and look towards a brighter future. Sure it requires us to look at history in a different perspective and that is going to be a very very difficult task. But it can be done. And it must be done. We need to.