New Delhi: Pakistan may have little hope for peace with India but a settlement with New Delhi will help remove the jihad culture ravaging the country, writes veteran journalist MJ Akbar in his new book.
In ‘Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan’, published by Harper Collins India, Akbar embarks on a historical whodunit to trace the journey of an idea, and the events, people, circumstances and mind set that divided India.
The investigation spans a thousand years, and an extraordinary cast: visionaries, opportunists, statesmen, tyrants, plunderers, generals, and an unusual collection of theologians, beginning with Shah Waliullah who created a ‘theory of distance’ to protect ‘Islamic identity’ from Hindus and Hinduism.
“There might be little hope for peace with India, given the fundamental divergence on Kashmir, but a settlement with India will help excise the jihad culture ravaging Pakistan,” says Akbar.
According to the writer, it is comparatively easier for India to come to terms with Pakistan.
“Economic growth and dreams of becoming a part of the first world have begun to dominate the Indian mind. The Indian middle class has begun to appreciate a simple reality: social violence and economic growth cannot coexist. Liberalization has had an impact on lifestyle and attitudes.
“The culture of consumerism has been quickly adopted by the young, while entertainment television is a mirror of sexual liberation and the fusion of Western mores with Indian sentiment.”
He says that the most remarkable aspect of this change was that “even terrorism, often exported from Pakistan, and wearing an ‘Islamic’ label, did not feed a backlash in the form of Hindu-Muslim riots, even after the venomous terrorise attacks in Mumbai in 2008.”
Akbar feels India is content being a status quo-ist power, determined to preserve its current geography, without serious claims even on territory it believes it has lost to China along the Himalayas and to Pakistan in Kashmir.
“Peace is a logical extension of this position. There is a large and growing constituency in Pakistan that understands this. But unless Pakistan achieves clarity on terrorism, with all its snake-oil justifications, the subcontinent will remain hostage to malevolent mania,” he writes.
The book also talks about LeT’s involvement in the 26/11 attacks.
LeT’s involvement with the terrorist strike on Mumbai is well known, even if Islamabad will not acknowledge this. Britain’s Channel 4 showed an extraordinary documentary in 2009, ‘Terror in Mumbai’, which contained footage of controllers sitting in Pakistan and communicating with the terrorists in Mumbai on cell phones.”
This book is available at Liberty Books