One fifth of Pakistan has been affected by the devastating floods, worst calamity in 80 years. Its leaders are constantly SOS-ing the international community for aid. India offered 5 million USD, they refused. US intervened, they reluctantly accepted. Looks like a bad soap opera’s plot to me. Except, real people are dying here, real children are going hungry and without shelter. This can be confusing to any bystander, how can a country afford to do this in such a dire situation? Well, this is just not any country we are talking about, its India and Pakistan. Ours is a different story….
India and Pakistan went their separate ways in 1947. At least in theory. Pakistan started its journey as an Islamic nation (headed by a man who himself was an agnostic). India chose to remain a secular nation. This is a classic example of political ambition taking precedence over reality. Both Jinnah and Nehru were agitating and preparing to exercise the power for years and this was their chance. The problem was, there could only be one leader. They found a convenient scapegoat in religion. This was the advent of what would be the tremulous history of the two nations.
The nations separated, people remained the same. Partition was the ugliest picture of pain, misery and death possible. The atrocities committed during that time can easily dwarf Rwanda. 2 million people were killed in the communal riots and many more lost their homes. Memories of ghost trains have been haunting generations of Indians and Pakistanis. This is where we come from, this is how we started..
The memories of this gruesome start got etched in the hearts of people of both the countries and manifested itself as this deep rooted animosity, which constantly gets fueled by the perpetual conflict over Kashmir. India and Pakistan have fought 3 wars since independence and can easily be called the epicenter of the next international war. Both the nations being nuclear powers. There have been many failed attempts of reconciliation, but this is a stalemate. No one wants to go one step farther than the other. Is there a solution that can work for both the countries?
3 wars have taught us that military is not the solution. Talks and goodwill are great in theory but haven’t been proved fruitful so far, nevertheless , there should be constant dialogue between the two countries and more importantly between the people. The only solution that seems practical enough is to increase the trade and commerce between the two nations. Let both benefit from each other. We can take the example of France and Germany after world war II, how they intertwined there economies so that the war became impossible. It is not as easy as it looks for us in theory but this can be a start. If we look objectively at our situation and try to find ways to improve it, it is possible we can prevent history from repeating itself.
Our geographical location bounds us to stay together, there is no escape. The only thing we can escape from is our history. As they say, “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.