Apropos the recent happenings in Delhi University and the controversy surrounding the young person Gurmeher Kaur, lets us first identify the different aspects involved. First and foremost is an undeniable fact that Gurmeher’s father died in a battle with terrorists during the Kargil War, and she is the survivor who has dealt with it, with a certain grace that is beyond her years. Secondly, Pakistan certainly was a party to this battle, which is in fact at par with its behavior for as long as it has existed, and which was so much a part of its unending war with India. Thirdly…… which Pakistan is she referring to……Pakistan the “Deep State” or Pakistan the Military Animal…… or Pakistan The Political Entity or just the average God-fearing Pakistani family who wants to live a life enriched by the freedoms granted by their constitution? Let us try and put them in perspective.
Our hearts go out to this young girl for her loss. Her loss is irreparable and we pray and hope that over the years, she has found the courage to overcome her grief. She is certainly courageous in that she has found it in her heart to blame the events and not the perpetrator and she is willing to take on the world for the sake of her beliefs! This indicates to us that she is not an average girl, and that she is capable of some thought and analysis that taps into the depths of human consciousness. She says she is not afraid of anybody and we believe it. She mourns her father and yet she is willing to look at her personal loss and separate the grief from the destructive anger that could have engulfed her.
But how does one forgive the enemy? There are no easy answers……and yet Gurmeher seems to have found at least some of them. She has already taken the first steps towards forgiveness. If she ever reads this article I would suggest that she watch the Hollywood movie, “The Railway Man”, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. The film is based on an autobiography by former WWII POW Eric Lomax who was a Japanese prisoner pressed into the construction of a Japanese Railway line. The film is about transgressions against the protagonist, inhuman torture by the perpetrators, and eventual deliverance from the enemies. It is about the visible and invisible scars of Eric Lomax and how he manages to separate the grief from the anger, thus emerging from the darkness of hatred and progressing towards the light of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Let us first acknowledge that the young person lost her father to terrorist attacks in India. Terrorism isn’t just about killing innocent people including soldiers who are only defending their country. It is in fact completely about domination of people’s minds and hearts with the fear of mindless violence, mayhem and murder. It is about destroying all that a decent and modern society stands for…in fact terrorism recognizes no Human Rights, and left to its own devices, it would rather convert us all into animals and beasts that are left with no ability to rise above our base selves! Terrorism stands totally against all the various freedoms that a liberal world believes in…..This pure evil hits at the very core of the Idea of India…..an Idea that is enshrined in the The Preamble to The Constitution which states” WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a “SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, and to secure to all its citizens, JUSTICE….., LIBERTY……, EQUALITY…….., FRATERNITY………”
As we further explore ancient texts and treatises, we realize that the Essence of India goes beyond our Preamble. India has forever been about inward journeys and self-discovery, rather than outward exploration and aggrandizement! Indian Philosophy has been all about contentment and subjugation of worldly desires, rather than avaricious consumerism! India, since ancient times, has never had expansionist ambitions and this is evident from the fact that it was actually many more foreign invaders who came to India, and not the other way around. India has always been about peaceful coexistence. The Idea that is India encompasses all of the above and more….
Capt Mandeep Singh was fighting to defend the Idea that is India….. he was defending our way of life! He gave up his life in order to defend all the Freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution to all the citizens….including his daughter Gurmeher! Some of the important freedoms that India has guaranteed to its citizens are the Fundamental Rights, including the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Art.19(a) Part III of The Constitution of India. The young Lady has only expressed herself under this freedom that is guaranteed to her and that which her father died defending. It falls upon each one of us, not just the government, to defend her right to do so. She may express herself freely without any fear whatsoever…. and when anyone threatens her with bodily harm for doing so, they are no different from those that her father died fighting. All the hate speeches and threats against her are condemnable at the least.
Having said that, it is well the confines of decency to debate with her about her point of view. As already pointed in the beginning of this article, One would like to know which Pakistan she is referring to. Perhaps she is appealing to that average god-fearing Pakistani family and bravely conveying to them that she attaches no blame to them. In her heart of hearts, she believes that they are as much the victims of circumstances beyond their control, as she and her father were. India and Pakistan have always been at the different ends of the socio-political spectrum, and it seems unlikely that the twain shall ever meet. However in the meanwhile young Idealists like her can continue to aspire for it and never lose hope, even in the face of severe criticism of their ideals. For all the doubters out there and everywhere else, one can only ask them to seek evidence in history, which clearly shows that it has always been the Idealism of the Youth, which has changed the world for the better. We may mock them their youthful ideals with the tired cynicism of our years, but we may not deny them the opportunity for hope. It is certainly a universal truth that it is only Hope that keeps the world afloat!
It is heartening to see Gurmeher’s courage and grace, while at the same time it is puzzling to note the blurring of lines in the issues raised in the news and social media. Therefore this is my attempt at segregating a few key aspects that can be identified from the issue which has gone viral. A young girl has traversed the difficult path of self-discovery and inner peace, and found it within her heart to forgive and move on. This was her own way to deal with her irreparable loss: kudos to her mother for bringing her up to be a mature world citizen! On the other hand there are the issues of realpolitik and the intransigent ‘Deep State’ of Pakistan, which continues to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and remains blind to the danger it poses to everyone, including its own citizens! Will the True Pakistan stand up and start taking responsibility for its own actions and the consequences thereof, and behave like a responsible member of the comity of nations?! Citizens of the world would like to call out loudly to the citizens of that country “Pakistan Hazir Ho!”