“India led by you would never think of undoing the Partition. Your party depends on Pakistan for its existence.” A secret letter accessed by the author.
Jai Sri Ram!
Since this letter is for your eyes only, I can greet you in the name of Lord Ram. This is called blasphemy in Pakistan.
I am very grateful to you for cancelling the talks between our foreign ministers. You saved me from being called a stooge of India and from political death.
I understand fully well that the cancellation of the bilateral talk will ensure your victory in the coming elections. Had the talks been held, the Congress would have sent you bangles to wear. Your party had done that to the Congress Prime Minister! A photo of the bangles going viral would have subverted your election campaign.
The photo of the two foreign ministers shaking hands would have sullied your masculine image. In every Indian city and village, you would have been called spineless. Moreover, some of your party men would have attacked your woman minister for shaking a man’s hand!
I am glad you kept your diplomats out of drafting that cancellation statement. Their polite words would not have served our common purpose. By insulting me in that official statement, you raised my political stock. I am now seen as a strong leader and you are seen as a hero for calling me names.
You will recall that your sudden visit to a corrupt Pakistani Prime Minister’s home gave me a big boost. My party won the election by calling Nawaz Shariff a stooge of India. You are a true friend! Hindutva helps me as much it helps you.
My Spiritual Guide-cum-wife understands politics in our countries. She has asked me to help you just as you helped me. So, I will launch an anti-India tirade before your elections next year. That will bring you victory. The rabid communalists in our two countries can keep both of us going for years.
Your continuation is in Pakistan’s interest. The rabid communalists in our two countries can keep both of us going for years. These two rival formations need each other. Ours cannot increase its base without its counterpart across the border. The rival communal groups clash in public but depend on each other for survival. If Hindutva retreats in India, Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan will find it tough here. They have never won elections here but now they are encouraged by developments in India and I had to co-opt them.
You understand the importance of religious confrontation even better than your TV channels that pit a saffron-robed Hindu against a skull-capped Mulla to shout at each other in every talk show. The viewers may criticise it but they all enjoy the human version of the cock-fight.
You wisely adopted the Pakistan Model by altering its colour. We share a long experience. The Islamic fundamentalists running the terrorists have been key players on our political pitch. Now fiery Hindu leaders have cropped up in India. Imitation is the best compliment.
Both of us are blessed by Allah whom Gandhi also named Ishwar. The Pakistani voters were not turned on by my second wife who wrote a disgusting book about me. Indian voters were not turned off by your conduct during the Gujarat riots.
I have a lot to learn from you. Because in my country the capitalists had supported my rival, I had to talk about the poor Pakistanis. But now that the elections are over I need to win over the capitalists. And I am going to offer them cheap land and other facilities to make them see in me a new hope as the Indian capitalists saw in you. We in Pakistan face some nuisance created by the liberals and progressives who survived decades of military dictatorship. I want to establish a democracy of fear.
Hating secularismWe are one in our shared hatred of Nehru and his secularism. He defeated Pakistan in an ideological battle which forced our military to attack India. Allah inspired India to ditch secularism and inch closer to Pakistan which has ended Pakistan’s isolation. You have convinced our people that Pakistan chose the right path after independence since India is following Pakistan’s footsteps and aspires to be a theocratic state. You have enabled Pakistan to shed its inferiority complex. We feel proud when India is called a Hindu Pakistan.
While living in Britain, I saw the world applauding India for not being Pakistan and condemning Pakistan for not being India. My country always lost on the invisible ideological battlefield. Once I too wanted Pakistan to be secular and democratic like India. On returning to Pakistan and plunging into politics, I corrected my error. I realised the importance of religion in politics. I married my Spiritual Guide and developed a fellow-feeling for you. Now I understand why our Gen. Zia unsheathed the sword of Islam.
Now I understand why our Gen. Zia unsheathed the sword of Islam. In order to confront the secular India, he had to push Pakistan closer to the Arabic Islamic kingdoms. That was the only way of discarding the inclusive Indian heritage and composite culture. Our military sharpened Pakistan’s identity by entering into a strange pact with the Islamic fundamentalists!
My theocratic nation distanced itself from a secular India. But thanks to your political revolution, Islamic fundamentalism and Hindutva have emerged as comrades-in-arms. You learnt a lesson from Pakistan. Your party came to power attacking Pakistan in election speeches but then presided over India’s defeat in the battle of ideas. India’s surrender has vindicated Pakistan, making us your ideological Guru!
This growing ideological convergence between Pakistan and the new India was first observed by our poetess Fahmida Riaz who recited in India her famous poem beginning:Tum bilkul hum jaise nikle…(You turned out to be just like us.)
I have noted with great satisfaction that since the last parliamentary elections, India continues its path-breaking journey, politically marginalising a minority and letting small mobs do what the law-bound public servants cannot do. Some policemen and law enforcement officers, by becoming accomplices of the ruling party, ward off punishment postings. Some are ideologically fired to promote a sectarian agenda. Just like us, I must say.
Pakistan flaunts an alliance between the army and Islam; India has linked democracy to an authoritarian Hindutva. I notice that democratic India still holds seminars on pluralistic traditions and multi-layered identity. These pose no political thereat to you and you carry on threatening your opponents. You claim you have information on everyone. I am told your minions track the sleeping habits of the dissident academics and income-tax returns of the media houses that refuse to fall in line.
In all this I see India extending a hidden hand of friendship. My nation now understands India better. For years Pakistan suspected India of trying to undo the Partition, the gift of the departing British. Mahatma Gandhi opposed the Partition and even offered the Prime Ministership of an undivided India to Jinnah in order to abort the birth of Pakistan. That would have killed any chance of your becoming the Prime Minister. We fully understand and appreciate your party’s antipathy towards the Father of your nation.
After the Partition, your political party kept fantasising about Akhand Bharat(Greater India). Now I realise that Pakistan’s fear of Akhand Bharatwas unfounded. This empty slogan (jumla) was not worth taking seriously. India led by you would never think of undoing the Partition. Your party depends on Pakistan for its existence. It secretly thanks Jinnah for securing a separate nation for Indian Muslims. He fulfilled the dream that was first dreamt by the ancestors of your Hindu political family. Of course, praising Jinnah openly is not permitted in your party.
I am convinced that you would rather have a pure Hindu Bharat than an Akhand Bharatpopulated by the others posing a demographic danger. So, I would campaign to free my Pakistan from the false fear of a foreign conspiracy to merge Pakistan into India.
As we both know, Pak-bashing gets votes in India as India-bashing helps us in Pakistan. A dissident Indian poet sings that if there is tension on the Indo-Pak border, it must be election time in India! We must enter into a mutually beneficial agreement to fool our stupid voters.
Stupid votersPlease help me win a coming provincial election just as our President Parvez Musharraf enabled you to win the Gujarat elections when you ran the poll campaign attacking “Mian Musharraf”. So, do not mind if I go after you in my poll campaign.
In order to strategize together to perpetuate our political power, my Garib Nawaz Centre has opened a secret communication channel with your Mahabharat Foundation in New Delhi and a joint plan is being formulated.
At the beginning of 2019, I would start threatening India on a daily basis. You will naturally shoot down every Pakistani brick with a stone! Bilateral tensions will peak. In that emotionally surcharged political atmosphere, you will rally the nationalists. You will call the Opposition leaders traitors for having doubted the surgical strikes inside Pakistan. In every public meeting, you will call them MiaorBegum!
If you desperately need one more surgical strike, you have my permission to do it. We will mark a forest area by covering some small trees with military uniforms. The resultant dust will fill the Indian airwaves every night during your poll campaign.
Once your elections are over and I have crushed the residual Opposition in Pakistan, we will begin the next phase in our bilateral relations. Birds of a feather must flock together! Washington fraternised with Moscow when communism collapsed in the former Soviet Union. After returning to power on the strength of a tirade against me, you will start talking about a “changed Imran”. I will stop lobbing bricks and start praising India for something or the other. I will ask my Talibanic friends not to attack India. You will issue an appropriate fiat to your party men.
I will invite Baba Ramdev to hold a mass yoga session in Lahore. Your slave TV anchors will praise you for popularising Hindutva even in Pakistan! I will allot Baba Ramdev a plot in Pakistan and offer a huge industrial project to any Gujarati capitalist named by you.
The video clip of Baba Ramdev offering a copy of the Gita to me will encourage your minister to renew her demand to declare the Gita the Sacred Book of India!
You will exempt our Multani Mitti (soil from Multan) from import duty and announce a special visa system for Pakistani Muslims married to Indian Muslims. I will ensure that it causes a wave of jubilation in Pakistan. I will get seven Indian fishermen released from our jails and invite you for a cricket match in Lahore. You will invite me to a Gujarati Garbadance in Ahmedabad. I will get seven Indian fishermen released from our jails and invite you for a cricket match in Lahore.
You come from a state that produced your Father of Nation as well as our Father of Nation. You aspire to be named the Father of New India and I wish to go down in history as the Father of New Pakistan. Those two leaders were weak and wiry. We both are impressively well-built and muscular. You have publicised your chest size and I plan to get my chest measured.
By executing our joint plan, we will emerge as two statesmen. The two of us will then hold a joint video press conference to announce a historic first-ever breakthrough in the Indo-Pak relations! You have adopted the Punjabi custom of hugging, so a virtual image will be projected showing the two of us engaged in a jhappi!
That image will arouse global interest. Both of us will be praised by the world for making peace. The Nobel Peace Prize will come to us unasked. We rewrote history, so now we must go down in history as great souls!
L K Sharma has followed no profession other than journalism for more than four decades, covering criminals and prime ministers. Was the European Correspondent of The Times of India based in London for a decade. Reported for five years from Washington as the Foreign Editor of the Deccan Herald. Edited three volumes on innovations in India. He has completed a work of creative nonfiction on V. S. Naipaul His two e-books The Twain and A Parliamentary Affair form part of The Englandia Quartet.