We The “Peaceniks” Will Always Prefer Talks Over War With Pakistan
By Devika Mittal
06 December, 2014
Since their inception as ‘independent’ and ‘modern’ nations, India and Pakistan has maintained a fluctuating relation. There have many some highs and plenty of lows. While the separation was done for a peaceful and prosperous future, the two are very far from realizing it. It is easier for people in both countries to imagine “India v/s Pakistan” rather than “India and Pakistan’’. In these 67 years of separation, there have been 4 major wars, countless ceasefire violations and indirect clashes suffered by divided families, prisoners and fishermen.
Yet, there exists a very pessimistic attitude towards peace. It has been reduced to an issue of mockery. Whenever there is any clash, the peaceniks are not only mocked at but are also held accountable. A clash also becomes an opportunity to question those who prefer dialogue over war.
With the border clashes and now the Uri attack, this time again the mainstream media are questioning the people who prefer “dialogue”. In India, media instead of reporting are trying to become the judge and opinion makers. Instead of showing news, they make documentaries out of them. The language is not to convey rather than to dictate. This tendency of most media houses in India becomes most apparent during an Indo-Pak clash.
This time, some of the media houses are not only trying to spread hatred for Pakistan and Pakistanis but also for the people in India who support peace, who support dialogue. The Peaceniks are being told to stop their “profit-making” business. Anyone who is talking for peace is being asked to think about the national interest.
What is the national interest? Does our constitution teach us to be violent? Are we taught to support war, support inhumanity? Is this country run on coercion?
This is a democracy wherein we are supposed to understand the importance and potential of dialogue. This is the World’s Largest Democracy. This is the land of Gandhi who believed in peace and non-violence. Yet, in this democracy, there is no democratic culture. People are not free to think. They are not free to express themselves. They are not even free to respect and promote the very ideals of their own constitution. Anyone who advocates for peace, for justice, for equality, secularism is seen as working against the national interest, is considered to be against India. Is India opposed to these ideals?
We must understand how the media works. Ideally, the media is supposed to convey the public opinion. It is supposed to report news. It is not supposed to mold public opinion. But it is doing that. And we can see that who is being the traitor. It is the media who is raising questions on those who are demanding that the constitution should be implemented. The question is, why is the media doing so? There is a nexus between the media, the state and corporates. Every media house has an agenda. It is the media house that is funded. It is them who are into the profit-making business. They are the ones who have a hidden agenda. And to meet that agenda, it is them who sensationalise the news, make documentaries out of news and play with the emotions of the people.
To give an example, is there a dearth of news in our country? There are so many issues in India. There are so many news to be covered. But why is that only a few news stories make up to the channel? Why is that only news on some specific issues and concerning a specific population covered? There lies the agenda of the media. Every day there are not one but several protests on Jantar Mantar and similar designated places in the country. Why doesn’t the media cover all of those? There are protests on Jantar Mantar on issues regarding basic issues. Aren’t they important? Aren't the protests by our farmers, workers essential? If one looks at the alternative media, one will know about the everyday news on human rights’ violation, on how the corporates are forcefully seizing the land of the marginalized, on structural violence. Why doesn’t the mainstream media find it important to cover? The fact is not just that the media doesn’t find it “sensational” enough, it also refrains from covering news that oppose its own agenda. The media should play its role properly. It cannot be above the people. The duty of the media is to show what the people wants.
Coming back to the issue of Indo-Pak relations, the debate on disruption of dialogue is futile. How do we plan to find solutions if we do not talk? Can war be a solution? Is killing people a solution? A dialogue for peace?
When the peaceniks advocate for dialogue, they are not defending Pakistan. They are defending talks. They are defending meaningful and fruitful talks. It is important that talks should happen, with an agenda and after the talks, the full report should be made public. Both narratives should be presented. If the talks are not being meaningful, the solution is not to disrupt talks but to make them meaningful. Disruption of talks will not lead us to peace. We need to work to end this conflict, not to sustain it. We don’t want war with Pakistan not because we love Pakistan but because we love India. Talking about peace is not an easy thing. Talking about war is easy and ofcourse, profitable!
Devika Mittal is pursuing her M.Phil in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics. She is the convenor(India) of Indo-Pak initiative named Aaghaz-e-Dosti and core member of Mission Bhartiyam. She tweets at @devikasmittal
Comments are moderated