I received an sms today that held anti Pakistani sentiments and was astonished that as a nation we continue to want to keep the wounds of old hurt still festering. It goes without saying that the history we share with this neighbouring country is a complex one, fraught with pain and anguish of multiple break-downs of mutual trust and co-operation. The wily world of politics has milked the benefits of hostility on both sides of the border, and neither country has shown the appropriate will or desire to sustain political peace in the region. But even within this unfortunate legacy, why do we as ordinary citizens allow ourselves to be influenced so blindly by the games of political manipulation, and breed bigotry as attitudes we proliferate as individuals ?
My father was a fighter pilot in the Indian air force and fought for the security and sovereignty of this country in all the Indo-Pak wars. A valiant officer who was exemplary in his duty to his nation in battle, he however never propagated a single anti-Pakistan sentiment. As an intellectual, he comprehended the compulsions that lead nations to make such choices; and was always saddened by the consequences that these actions held for the lives of innocent citizens, in both countries.
I was brought up to understand the need to contextualize history and to never absorb the indoctrination of hate or separatism. I was encouraged from a very young age to question, but with an understanding that this process does not lead to simplistic solutions or easy explanations. I was taught to always value the positive energies of life and to offer the respect of consideration to difference at all times.
National pride is a wonderful sentiment but when it becomes a tool that digs the graves of others, then it looses the lessons of progressive development that are essential for a nation to build its future upon. If we are to be a proud nation, then let us please be an enlightened one too.