Iqbal Ismail’s insight:
Do these times promise that the future of a bright India has arrived?
The history of India has been distorted. It has been distorted by one woman named Indira Gandhi. All our troubles in the sub-continent can be traced to the stubbornness of this woman. It is to her that we owe Modi (who is now the first PM who was born in Independent India.)
This naming of the Congress as the party of the Gandhis is misleading. This Sonia is no descendant of Mahatma Gandhi.
This has a parallel in the Pakistani politics where none of these politicians has any linkage with the Founding Father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A sub-continent that should have been the mother of tolerance is today hostage to divisions and bitterness.
What is in store for this vast sub-continent? Modi is intolerant of the Muslims. He has no time to waste over Pakistan. His mission is to re-create Hindutva. It is a poisonous heritage that he owes to Indira Gandhi.
Hopefully, the two-countries will not go to war but I see a new Shimla conference where the heirs of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sign a document of surrender before Indira Gandhi’s heirs. That is the negative vision what might happen.
Are there any positives? Of course, there are positives.
For the positives to be realized what Modi now needs to do is to have someone in his party at the highest level who represents the Muslims this will cool down the temperature and the bitterness of the elections.
Also let us hope that he is faithful to his agenda and manifesto which is for the next 5 years will be about development (as per the campaign promises) and not the religious ideologies of the BJP/RSS. His victory speech promised Growth, “Government is for the common man. It is time to not to die but live for the nation.” And it is no surprise that he admires and emulates the Great Gujarati leader Vallabhbhai Patel who was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India and the right-hand man of Mahatma Gandhi. Everything points to a bonding with the Gandhi heritage except the poison of Hindutva.
Also remember that Modi is a creation of corporate India and he is bound to further their interest. Who are the corporate barons of India? The Ambanis of Reliance group — Gautam Adani of Adani Group and others. They like to show their wealth to build monumental structures worshiping the God of Money.
They would be more than willing to come to terms with the idea of Trade with Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif has made it the main plank of his election. He wants trade with India at any cost. And he is willing to give “most favored nation” (MFN) treatment to India. It is to be noted how far he has come from his own heritage… his mentor Zia-ul-Haq would never have approved of this approach.
The fly in the ointment is the establishment which does not like the idea of Trade with India or giving MFN status to India. To compound the problems, the establishment in India may also be hostile to opening this avenue for trade.
The newly named India’s Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag is a hawk. So we do not know as yet how this issue will play out.
My advice to PM Nawaz is not to waste time, not to let grass grow under his feet, not to let the establishment in Pakistan to chain him. He should not only invite Modi to Pakistan, He should go the extra mile, He should lead a delegation of Pakistani businessmen, Bankers, Economists and of course the Finance Minister without whom nothing is possible. He may succeed in breaking the ice. The Indians who back Modi want economic growth and trade. Let Nawaz present his vision of growth and harmony. May be, just maybe he will succeed. That is what Jinnah and Gandhi would have wanted.
The world does not begin and end with China, Of course they are our friends but a China centric policy that is directed against India will not work even China does not want it.
It is my earnest prayer that the sub-continent rises and embraces the vision of Gandhi that is the only salvation. Otherwise, we will all go down in fire. Fire defines Hell.
Finally, I reflect life is about unintended consequences. Nawaz Sharif never wanted to model himself after the founder Jinnah but now in his quest for peace with India he will realize the Founders dream. If he succeeds, He will go down in history, as the most successful, the most effective leader of Pakistan. I wish him the best.
By: Iqbal Ismail