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The second coming of barbarians

The second coming of barbarians

Author: A K Ray
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 24, 1999

In one of the most brutal acts, the Pakistan Army tortured six Indian soldiers, including a young Lieutenant, gouged their eyeballs, burnt them with cigarette butts and chopped off noses, ears and genitals."  Thus ran the news report on June 11, aptly head-lined, 'Barbarians'.  That was the state of Lieutenant Saurav Kalia and five of his men from 4 Jats who had gone on a patrol on May 14 in the Kaksar area.

The same morning appears a piece by a renowned columnist in which he says, "Now that the unspeakable dishonesty of the Pakistani establishment (as opposed to the Pakistani people, let us always remember) is manifest in Kargil..." That instantly brought back to mind the days in Berlin (1955-57) where I read and heard about the controversy over who were responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities during the second World War.  To the question, "Who did it?" the infuriating reply from large numbers of Germans was, "We didn't do it; the SS did it."  Then one day, Gerhard Reitlinger's "SS, the Alibi of a Nation" tore off the mask of hypocrisy.  Who were the SS, he asked.  Were they not fathers, husbands, brothers and sons of those who pleaded innocence?  When Jews loaded in cattle-wagons were being shipped to Belsen and Auschw4tz over German railroads, did not the station masters know what was afoot?  And so on.

First, there was the deliberate murder of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, and now comes the murder of Lieutenant Saurav Kalia and his five men and the barbaric mutilation of their bodies after evident torture.  Who did these things?  Are they not fathers and husbands, and brothers and sons of the people of Pakistan?  These foul deeds cannot be watered down by ascribing them to the Pakistani "establishment" as opposed to the Pakistani "people".  These barbaric acts constitute the collective guilt of the entire Pakistani nation, which every Pakistani-including the Najam Sethis-must share and pay for.  There is absolutely no ground, no justification, for a schizophrenic distinction between those who wield power in Pakistan and the rest.

It is not enough to be shocked and out-raged by instances of Pakistani barbarism, now exposed to the horror of the civilised world.  This barbarism exists and thrives next door.  Therefore, one must go beyond the act to the mind that produced the act.

To he able to do that, it is imperative to shed the suicidal delusion that Pakistan to-day consists really of the nice friends and neighbours one had in pre-1946 Lahore.  The fact is that it does not.

The reality is that the Pakistanis today are a different breed.  Ayub Khan's civilised gesture to Field Marshall KM Cariappa in 1965 be-longed to a different age altogether and an entirely different set of values.  Yet, the disease had perhaps begun to spread even earlier.  Conversation with the PoWs of the 1965 war revealed that the officers and men of the Pakistani armed forces received intensive indoctrination from mullahs about the superiority and invincibility of Islam, and the religious merit to be gained by killing kafirs.  Tank crews were taught that if kafirs make things difficult, just recite such and such ayat, and see them running away from the battlefield!

Perhaps we did not realise then what this revelation meant.  It is doubtful if we do even now.  It actually signified the rapid growth of the influence of the mullah and the increasing reach and clout of the Jamaat-e-Islami.  The Jamaat does not believe in representative government, and cares not it is not represented in the legislature.

Its sole purpose is to "Islamise" the minds of the people, and to get such "Islamised" people into crucial positions in the Government, the armed forces and civil professions.  Its targets are the lower level Government employees, the rural population, and their children.  Together with a number of similar organisations, they teach that Islam-the Sunni variety-is predestined to rule over the whole world, and that it is the duty of every Muslim to contribute to that end; that the earth be-longs to Allah and therefore only Muslim's have the right to live on it and so on.

For the ideologues of these organisations, kafirs are sub-human-the Untermenschen of the Nazis-not human at all.  So what one does with them and to them does not matter.  Throughout their teaching runs the theme, "Hate India, hate the Hindus".

Professor Tahir Mahmood condemns the atrocities committed on our soldiers by the Pakistani Army as contrary to Islamic law.  The Islamist mullahs of Pakistan may well tell him that on the analogy of what was done to the Banu Quraiza tribe in early seventh century, what was done to our fighting men could not fall in the category of the forbidden in the rive-degree Islamic scale of ethicality.  Although it may not belong to the category of the mandatory it could fall into any of the other three categories.

The sadistic orgy indulged in by the Pakistani Army is not an isolated instance of aberration by a few.  It is an _expression of-the deepest feelings in the mind brought to the fore by battle conditions.  What was barely under the surface merely floated up with all its ugliness.

It is, therefore, time to square up to the fact that the present generation of Pakistanis, nurtured and guided by rabidly Islamic mullahs, share nothing with us-neither the past, nor the present, nor the future.  No amount of pre-emptive capitulation via the so-called "Gujral Doctrine" is going to alter their mind-set even a wee bit.  It is, therefore, vitally necessary to abjure the shibboleth of bygone days that a strong, united Pakistan is good for us.

It is a historical inevitability that Pakistan will go into the Taliban mode.  We must be indubitably forewarned in this regard, and forearm ourselves accordingly.  Mercifully, the kebabs of Lahore do not attract the vegetarians in the BJP, nor do they tempt the BJP's allies as they do the non-vegetarians and pseudo-vegetarians and the motley crowd of fools and exhibitionists on the side opposed to them-witness one of them embracing Riaz Khokar on the occasion of a book release.

Sober reflection, untainted by the starry-eyed naivete of a media-hyped garrulous few in this city and their gimmicks like the candle-light vigil at Wagah, will show that the conflict between us and Pakistan now is not political or territorial but essential civilisational-one between the Indic and the radical Islamist.  The contradiction is total, and, in Mao's terminology, "mutually annihilatory".  This truth has to be relentlessly drummed into every Indian mind.  We must realise that we are fighting in the preliminary round of the great coming battle between radical Islam and human civilisation.  None of us can escape the blood, sweat and tears that this struggle involves.

The age of the barbarians is again upon us.  We must stand up, fight and defeat it decisively.  Let the nit-picking brigade of nitwits scowl and frown, rave and rant.  Ignore them.

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