Forgetting the past!

Those who do not learn from the history are condemned to repeat it. So forgetting the past may condemn us to repeat the mistakes

My Take

M.ASHRAF

Pakistan’s interior minister Rahman Malik during his recent visit to India remarked that we should forget the past and move forward. On this, Omar Abdullah tweeted that we should not forget the past selectively and suggested going back to 1947. As long as the human mind functions normally, one cannot forget the past. Only people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or senile dementia can completely forget the past. If we want to end the situation of conflict and go forward in an atmosphere of peace and friendship, we have to recollect the past to analyse the factors which created the enmity and then forgive each other’s’ mistakes that gave rise to the situation of conflict in the first place! It is truly an attempt at genuine reconciliation but that can be made only by recalling and mending the past mistakes. A policy of first forgive and then forget!
The generation of 1947 had seen a holocaust in the sub-continent. It was the bloodiest creation of two countries anywhere in the world. Most of the present leaders on two sides belong to this generation of partition. They have seen the worst ever violence and a bloody migration. It is humanly impossible for them to remove the scars of partition from their minds especially after the repeated tensions and violent incidents including the three major wars the sub-continent has seen in the 65 years of the post partition era. In fact, these incidents have reinforced the mistrust rather than removed it. Had this partition generation realised their mistakes, they would have tried to keep the new generation aloof from these. Unfortunately, on both the sides they have been inducting the poison of hatred among the youth. Both the Hindutva brigade and the Jihadi brigade are working overtime to ensure that the enmity continues. While the Indian side is recruiting youth in all types of extremist groups like the Shiv Sena, Ram Sena, Hanuman Sena, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS); the other side more violent breed violent fighters and is producing thoroughly brainwashed young men including minor children as suicide bombers. Some peoples’ way of forgetting the past can be visualised starkly by studying the statement of Katju who proposes undoing of partition to solve Kashmir issue! He even thinks that 90% Indians are fools! Even if we forget the past, the future appears dark. Narendra Modi, the darling of the corporates and a sizeable section of the middle class, wielding a sword to cleanse India of all the Muslims is not a comfortable future scenario in view of his mission to capture Delhi especially after his victory in Gujarat. What message will it carry across where most of the people believe that the one point programme of rightists in India is to dismember Pakistan?
Apart from politicians being behind these hate groups, there are a lot of vested interests on two sides who are the beneficiaries of conflict. The Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence on the other side and the Army and agencies like the Research and Analysis Wing on this side have their own axes to grind. Pakistan Army has always played a major role overtly or covertly in running that country. These days the Indian Army too is beginning to have a greater say in political affairs. This was recently admitted by Omar Abdullah himself stating that the Army is opposing the removal of AFSPA! He even warned the Army to stay within limits! The most overriding factor on the Indian side has been the “National Security” which sweeps away everything in its path. Thus, the past would have to be genuinely forgiven and forgotten by a number of players on the either side. Will it ever happen? One has to keep the fingers crossed!
Coming to Kashmir, our new generations have already been deprived of the distant past by totally eliminating the study of Kashmir history. Our history for the new generation these days starts from only 1947! In any case, the tribulations our ancestors have gone through in last four centuries may be forgotten but what about the sufferings of last 65 years? Let us keep ourselves out being a generation born in forties but what about the children brought up in last two decades of the worst violence ever seen in Kashmir? Will they forget the past? Dozens of massacres, rapes, and more than 10,000 people disappearing without a trace. Dozens of mass graves all over the valley. Kunanposhpora, Pathribal and so on! Let us suppose that the new generation is to be persuaded and motivated to forget the past but how it can be done unless we give them an honourable and peaceful present and a similar future? Some people think that they have a strangle hold on Kashmir and would not budge an inch lest Kashmiris come up again demanding “Azadi”! They are following the policy of heads I win and tails you lose! So in such circumstances the advice to forget the past is not only meaningless but amounts to sprinkling salt over the wounds of the people. If some people genuinely and honestly want to give peace a chance, the only way forward is to bring out the truth and then plead for forgiveness and reconciliation.

(Comments at ashrafmjk@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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