Din and Noise

Din and Noise

Brouhaha- a word or term that means a noisy and overexcited reaction to something- best describes the reaction to Pakistan’s representative to the United Nation, Maleeha Lodhi’s mistaken representation of a pellet victim. Lodhi, apparently had flashed the picture of a Palestinian girl than a Kashmiri victim of the pellet fury unleashed during the 2016 uprising. Lodhi might have not done her homework well or been cavalier about the picture but this does not detract from the fact that thousands fell victim to the pellet fury in Kashmir during the latter half of 2016. Instead of owning up to the issue, the Indian media is regaling over Lodhi’s mistake. This , among other things, reflects the callousness and insensitivity of the Indian media; it regales and relishes the mistake but fails to actually empathize with pellet victims. At one level, the media’s lavish attention to the mistake suggests the depths that the Indo- Pak relationship has plumbed to: a mistake or an error at a global public forum is swooped upon by one adversary and then milked. At another, it reflects that in the diplomacy between India and Pakistan, style is preferred over substance. This is a travesty not merely because of the nature of the relationship between the two but because suffering becomes incidental in the whole schemata. The prosaic fact is that thousands fell victim to pellets in 2016 but in terms of the conflict, this tragedy becomes a mere footnote to the whole saga. This means that the sensibility of the players or actors in the conflict in and over Kashmir has become so dulled and apathetic, that they choose to ignore the tragedy- personal and collective – and gloss over irrelevant minutia. If this is any indication of the tone, tenor and nature of relations – especially the diplomatic kind- between India and Pakistan, then it does not leave one any sanguine about conflict resolution. What Kashmir needs is prudence, sense and sensibility , of a kind and nature which redounds to the benefit of all stakeholders- especially the people of Kashmir. But, as the saga at the UNGA demonstrates, this kind of statesmanship is not only off the radar but seems distant and even inaccessible. It , from a grand historical perspective, means postponing the inevitable- that is , the day when a settlement will be reached over Kashmir. What it would take for powers that be to understand this and take the bull by the horns remains in the domain of the “unknown unknown”.

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