When the Pakistanis keep coming back to Arnab…

Arnab Goswami in an India — Pakistan debate on Republic TV

Ever wonder why the Pakistanis keep coming back to the so-called bashing by Arnab, week after week, month after month, following him from Times Now to the now-rapidly ascending Republic news channel !

Do you recall those irksome relatives who never can get enough of frequent diatribes with you ? In spite of a caustic relationship shared, they come back, time and again, to have their presence felt; the popping heads across the boundary wall that much divides the ancestral house, becoming a common sight .

Well, the Pakistanis are none other than such relatives. And the frequent border skirmishes and ceasefire violations a remnant of the ‘head-popping’ syndrome. Little wonder that when they come onto the Indian Media, time and again, an Arnab Goswami is able to pull them into an extended diatribe of a debate, with marked ease each time.

But here is the thing ! Even as a most maddening flow of vitriolic exchanges tumble out in our living rooms, week on week, the astute Indian viewer cannot help but sense underpinnings of familiarity. A familiarity characteristic to nations having much in common — ethnicity, ancestry and more ; of similarity in body languages and alleging tones. The warring parties involved in a high-octane debate, remind us of an estranged family at a war of words!

Would Arnab be able to extract such sticky debates, from, let us say, a Sino or a Caucasian ? The answer is ‘No’. They are not ‘Us’, just the way ‘We’ aren’t ‘them’ — culturally, ethically and ancestrally, unlike a complex relationship shared with Pakistanis.

The painful history of Pakistan’s birth explains this complex relationship to a large extent — almost like a mother popping her newborn out and going about her way with much to do that India was in 1947. However, as that newborn, Pakistan never allowed to wring itself free of its parent. Its pain of parting lingered, continues to do so and reflects in its obsession with India — a complex that may be termed as ‘Non-Indianess’. Think of it as a withdrawal symptom, the effects of which can never be easy. Efforts to stress upon this much negated self-identity are seen in the Pakistani claim as rightful heirs to the Indus civilization while the Ganges one is attributed to current-day North Indians.

This ‘Non-Indianess’, an inherent component of the Pakistani identity, is firmly etched in their national consciousness.It is much fostered by the State too, in history books for one, and hence difficult to be rid of! Seeking an alternate identity in Arabness, much misplaced of course, is a manifestation of this complex. Much like Tarek Fatah, I find it laughable whenever the Pakistanis try and trace their non-existent ethnicity in West Asians. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, a jatt muslim is closer in blood ties to my community than he would ever be to fellow Pakistani Pashtuns, forget the Arabs.

All of the above would be amusing, if it were not so hollowing-out for Pakistan the State and its people. Immersed in a paranoia so intense, of India and of anything Indian, the latest reminder being denial to airing of movie Dangal’s on the Pakistani soil, on Amir Khan’s refusal to drop the Indian anthem .

The Pakistani abhorrence-cum-despair with India has seen this once-bountiful* country turn into a rogue state as we know of it today. Most of all, it is heart-rendering to see these people, our very own, and a fine race, separated only by ‘the wall’, go down the path of depravation.

Note: *Pakistan’s economy, till the early 1970s, was more well-performing than that of India, until the two lost wars (1965 and 1971) and the Indian Nuclear tests (1974) led the Pakistani military to begin holding the ruling reigns. Rest, of course, is history.

Anita Dhillon Kashyap is currently pursuing her second masters, this one being in International Politics .

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