Good Neighbours= Good Friends?

By Sunil Kumar

The TV Soap Lyrics, “Good Neighbours become Good Friends” in a typical Australian drawl nearly two decades back made some early cable TV viewers including myself aware of the wider world beyond our shores; also about the actress Kylie Minogue.

Better Than Today

Visit Better Than Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But; my post is not going to be about the semi-naked lass cavorting on TV screens; even though I have to confess the visuals are enticing. Bollywood may in fact have overtaken these guys. My thought for the day; the India-Pak hyphenated relationship; the idea that may impact lives in the subcontinent for a long time to come.


With the Punjabi-Kashmiri Nawaz Sharif a guest at the PM’s swearing in; symbolism and the emotional theatrics that define relations between the neighbours were in full display. I could not help looking at the coverage; the debates to see any visual sign of legendary Pakistani duplicity; the haughty tone of smiling snideness that our neighbours often display; even when they are called by Indian news anchors for some more verbal diarrhea.

Sure enough; you could see Karan Thapar with his facial contortions; and on the other side, Maleeha Lodhi and another Pakistani ambassador’s eyes telling me more tales.

It seems the country across the border has managed to get a reputation for fomenting terror; so that we can see them in serials such as “24”; “The Americans” and if I were to believe newspaper reports, a Paki CIA agent going to make his way into “Homeland”. All of these characters played by the Indian Punjabi side anyways.

Nawaz Sharif’s “gift” diplomacy managed to make the situation “lighter”; a little more friendly on a temporary basis between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. From the early days of its foundation; the land of the Quami Tarana has seen more dictators than democrats; and a country forever obsessed with its estranged sibling; India.

If I was to believe some noted commentators and columnists; then this focus has shifted more internally in recent years; but the existential dilemma of a secular Hindu India(with more Muslims) has haunted the ideologues of the Sunni theocracy that actually runs the Jamhooriat.

The last week also saw the Operation Bluestar anniversary played out for national consumption; but the real serious issue that should have engaged news peddlers is the drug problem in the Indian Punjab; another catastrophe meant to undermine the national union(if there weren’t already); with drugs supplied with the connivance of the ISI Af-Pak axis meant to make the borders a little more easier

The Sikhs; a dual contradictory symbol of utmost devotion and terror; can be easy pawns in a chess game that the Pakis and disgruntled Sikh seperatists outside India still want to play.

The “buddhijivi”(if I can call them that) residing in some radical universities; mostly in North India; still believes in some antiquated ideology of leftist justice; when it has been discredited in the countries it’s more famous in; Russia and China. In fact destroying or altering these universities pre-independence would have been a great service to the country.

All of the talk of social justice has yielded precious little; except for more words sacrificed in the quagmire of individual aspirations. Healthy capitalism with money-making “characteristics”; sans the street-smart vacuity of personal egotistical fiefdoms; would have advanced the national cause.

Deng Xiaoping may have said; the only good cat is one that catches mice; so the Chinese government has diligently followed his teachings; and the 5th Century BC military general Sun Tzu in formulating and implementing a strategy of economic encirclement; followed by strategic incursions; something that China is displaying in full measure in the ASEAN and the Indian Ocean periphery.

English: Roadside billboard of Deng Xiaoping i...

Visit English: Roadside billboard of Deng Xiaoping in front of the city government of Qingdao (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite all of this; can all good neighbours(villainous smiles all around) become good friends? Relations between nations are as interesting as they are between individuals; in fact more so in the daily syrupy newsbytes that dominate the public imagination; with speeches tailormade to fill up more footage.

Aaj Ke Liye Itna! Mera Dharm! Mera Desh!




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