I feel anger that present day politicians can act so low that they try to make use, to their partisan advantage, even the most delicate matters of defence and security. Previously, the matter of defence was accepted as the country’s concern. That is why Jaya Prakash Narain, who was maligned for his anti corruption movement in Gujarat by Indira Gandhi, had no hesitation to agree to her request to go on international tours to educate other countries about the delicacy of the Bangladesh situation. No one played politics with the country’s security and dignity and the undoubted sacrifice and planning of the defence forces. Now things have changed horribly. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Leader of the Opposition, called Indira Gandhi “Durga” without any hesitation. The Congress did not project the 1971 war as a victory of the Indian Army or its brilliant strategy. Rather it claimed it to be Indira Gandhi’s personal victory and strategy. Nobody grudged that. It’s common to give credit for such things to the current leader, just as the Allied forces won World War II, but in the UK, it was Churchill, and not the coalition partner Labour Party, who got the credit. It is a different matter that England’s electorate was sensible enough to realise that the post war reconstruction required a modest looking Attlee than the bumbling Churchill. The CPM is now taking the same stand as the Congress, which is not surprising since it accepted in the West Bengal Assembly elections the role of a junior partner and so has to follow the lead given by Rahul Gandhi. Need I remind the CPM and CPI that in the war against Hitler it gave all credit to Stalin’s leadership than to the unimaginably courageous Red Army? It is natural in politics that an Army does not want public kudos. It only wants its due recognition, dignity and respect. Following the Uri incident, there was a condemnation of alleged lack of proper response by the government. The healthy conventions of democracies that these matters are left best to be determined by Army and its experts (along with mandatorily consultation with opposition, of course only on general information and not strategic details) were ignored, so when the government claimed that it has done a surgical strike inside the area occupied by Pakistan, the opposition demanded proof, which was an insult to the Army and its achievements. And when pressed into a corner, the government yielded and purported to give proof. There the matter should have rested under mature politicians.

Rahul Gandhi, though in the first instance behaved like a responsible opposition leader, soon let partisan thinking take over and in totally unacceptable language attacked Narendra Modi: “You are hiding behind their blood. You are trading them (aap jawanon ke khoon ki dalali kar rahe ho).” And purportedly to make his point stronger, he gave the reference to Raj Babbar’s film Insaf ka Tarazu and proudly proclaimed that “Congress has given justice to the people. Congress has respected insaf ka tarazu, which Modi has not.”

Would some of Rahul’s associates explain to him that Raj Babbar’s role in said film was that of a villainous rapist and since he was protected by his riches and cronies, the public especially took upon itself to avenge the insult to womanhood by murdering the villain. Is there any relevance  that to the present situation? These election strategies are normal in a democratic state: every political party is perfectly within its rights to take political advantage of such things. I am surprised that the Congress and the Left are behaving in such a cringing and unsportsmanlike manner.

In this game of one upmanship, the Congress spokesperson taunted the BJP by reminding it that as far back as 1965 it was Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who belonged to the Congress, who crossed the LOC. But some cynics may comment that though Congress wants to take credit for Lal Bahadur Shastri’s bold action, although in reality its top leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi did not consider it their duty to pay homage at the samadhi of the great soul on his recent birthday. Has “Indira” in Dev Kant Barua’s insulting slogan “India is Indira” been substituted by “Sonia or Rahul” in the Congress philosophy? Of course the BJP’s conduct post the strike by the Army is also abhorrent. The BJP’s election strategy for UP is clear from the way compensation has been given to one of the Hindu men who was charged with the murder of Akhlaq of Dadri and who died in hospital. It was also not right on the part of the Shiv Sena to prevent actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui from participating in Ram Lila, even when he volunteered to do so. 

In this regard one is feeling uncomfortable that Pakistani actors are not being allowed to work in India even when all permissions have been duly given. Mutual goodwill and ultimate peace between India and Pakistan depend on our countries keeping alive our common lines of communication through films, plays, music and the common heritage of both countries, especially of both Pakistan Punjab and Indian Punjab. Let me repeat what I sincerely believe that India and Pakistan are like Siamese twins. We can either destroy ourselves by our enmity, or become the leaders of the world if we start living in peace and with mutual trust. If this sounds like the raving of a person who spent the first 25 years of his life in Lahore and cannot forget the mutual tastes and culture of both Pakistani and Indian Punjabs, let me be so tainted.

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