The Commoner Conundrum

Credit: Google Images- Labeled for re-use

In the days leading up to the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, on September 26, the Indian armed forces engaged in ‘surgical strikes’. A counter strike and a retribution underwent, in response to the Uri attack (Pakistani attack in Indian administered Kashmir). The timing was very intriguing, and has gone down as an important factor to put an end to an age old argument, that, India has always been a peace loving country. The presence of borders between India and Pakistan, the chest thumping and jingoistic nationalism stand in contrast to the ideals of non violence that Gandhi preached.

For a long time, the Indian freedom movement has been fading away as an exemplary evidence to take morals and lessons from. Perhaps, it is a great way to start addressing problems as they are presented, independent of the factors from the past. If a problem predominantly calls for acknowledgement from the current government, or other deciding authorities, then, it deserves present day solutions. However, bottlenecks such as repressive laws and ancient form of moral conduct serve as a dangerous way out of troubling times and, continue to dictate many legal procedures and outcomes.

Keeping the viewpoint that the past should not comprehensively dictate the present, I strongly believe that banning Pakistani musicians or actors is highly immature and irrelevant, and only serves the purpose of adding to the hate and mistrust between India and Pakistan. It is akin Gandhi’s principle of civil disobedience, and boycotting foreign goods. Whatsapp forwards state that China is supporting Pakistan to build weapons to be used against India, therefore, Indians need to boycott Chinese goods! If those messages are to be taken seriously, the entire American consumer industry would fall to the ground, as all of their shelves are filled with products Made in China!

If I had a friend from Chennai, I would have to be insane to automatically stop being friends with her because of the ongoing Kaveri river water dispute. A recent episode of torching buses, disrupting daily lives and creating havoc occurred between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, just a year after everyone on social media and the news praised the efforts of the commoners from Bangalore who helped people from Chennai during the massive deluge they had witnessed. Similarly, what happened to the people who appreciated the posts of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of Pakistan? Wasn’t it all about treating Pakistani individuals as normal people, that only commoners can afford to relate?

The link above is an open letter by Major Gaurav Arya. According to him, it is wrong on the part of few Bollywood actors supporting the Pakistani actors. This kind of thinking coming from a person in the army is highly immature. His argument that soldiers sacrifice their lives for the country, and therefore the least the Bollywood actors could do is stop all kinds of correspondence with the Pakistanis. This is akin to calling for a ban of Chinese food or mobile phones for the prevention of rape.

Civil disobedience and perpetuating hatred cannot be a solution when so much effort towards busting fallacies about Pakistan as any other country are at work. We cannot lose sight of the people and their stories stories who want nothing but to lead a normal life, free of polarisation.