Being Modi

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today

Fahd Husain February 24, 2019
What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today. PHOTO: FILE

What do you do, O’ what do you do? Lose elections? Lose wars? Lose face? It is not nice being Narendra Modi today.

A young Kashmiri ploughed his explosive-laden truck into a convoy of the Indian occupation force in Pulwama and killed four dozen soldiers. Life — and timing — of the attack would have been so convenient for Modi had the young man not been from the same land. Why couldn’t he have been from Muridke, O’ why couldn’t he have been from Bahawalpur or Multan or Lahore and any darn place other than Kashmir?

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

The young attacker was one of thousands of Kashmiris who are ready and willing to lay down their lives to avenge the killings, torture and rapes perpetrated on the people of Kashmir by the Indian occupation force. This wasn’t always so. In fact in the last decade or so, the situation had calmed down a notch as New Delhi had launched aggressive political moves to woo the Kashmiris. But then once Modi swept into power and decided to bludgeon a solution out of Kashmir. His was the rightwing nationalism; his was the ‘tough love’; and his was the uber-Hindu politics. Blunders come in different shapes and sizes — this one came riding on a tank. The Indian security forces killed more, tortured more and raped more. That was, after all, the solution. Except that it wasn’t. Then Burhan Wani stepped up and ruined Modi’s best laid plans. Occupied Kashmir went up in flames again. A new generation of young freedom fighters took up the baton and turbo-charged their indigenous struggle. Five years later Modi may hold the land of Kashmir, but he has lost the people of Kashmir.

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

Now India talks of war. It talks of ‘punishing’ Pakistan. Now Modi talks of retribution for Pulwama. He talks of teaching Pakistan a lesson. But how? Another ‘surgical strike’ across the LoC will fail because Modi has already lost the element of surprise. Pakistani forces are ready for any ingress into Azad Kashmir. A drone attack by India is a risky proposition because it is easy to shoot the drone down and because Pakistan can return the favour via its armed drone “Buraq”. Modi has to decide. Does he hit targets in Pakistan from his long-range artillery guns? If he does so, Pakistan will open up its own artillery and ‘retribution’ shall be returned with interest.

What does he do, O’ what does he do? Launch a cruise missile? We’ve got our ‘Babur’ cruise missile ready and waiting. Pain will be mutual. Order an air strike inside Azad Kashmir or across the international border? Pakistani radars are warmed up, air defences are charged up and PAF fighters are revved up. If Indian Air Force planes enter our territory, there is no guarantee they will go back. A few downed fighter planes and a few captured pilots aren’t exactly good for re-election.

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

You wonder: why did Pakistan have to have nuclear weapons? Why could it not have taken Clinton’s offer of a few billion dollars and not opted to go nuclear in 1998? Today India could have strolled across the LoC, sashayed across the international border and whacked around whoever was available for the whacking. Life would have been so simple, so joyful and so electorally rewarding for you. Now there’s a nuclear threshold. India’s conventional superiority will need to balance itself against India’s conventional wisdom. You can climb up the rhetorical ladder but what stops us from climbing the escalatory ladder?

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

You have decimated India’s secular claims; you have persecuted Muslims by policy; you have fanned the flames of communalism; you have internationalised the Kashmir dispute through violence; you have injected hate into your people and impregnated their minds with intolerance, bigotry and misplaced arrogance. But now you are forced to match your deeds with your words on the eve of your elections. Why did the elections have to take place now of all the times? Why could this challenge not have been thrown up when mistakes could have been forgiven with time?

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

You thought the Kashmir issue was settled. It’s not. You thought Pakistan could be isolated. It’s not. You thought you had key global and regional powers in your pocket. You don’t. You thought you had Afghanistan under your belt. You don’t. You wanted to open up our fault lines, you ruptured your own. What do you tell your people? What do you tell other people? How do you explain a war between two nuclear powers? How do you justify starting a conflict without knowing how it will end?

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

Here’s the contrast though: you are debating the pros and cons of such questions with your advisers while for us there is no debate. Your citizens are furiously discussing all options and blowing hot and cold over this plan or that plan while for us there is no debate. Your media is crossing swords and drawing blood against dissenters; your TV guests are tearing into each other for holding different opinions on what to do while for us there is no debate.

There is no debate here because there are no two opinions when it comes to you: you fire one shot and Pakistan will fire two. There will be no debate, no delay and no hesitation. Everyone here is on the same page. Everyone is ready and willing. So think hard. Think deep. There are no easy options. Lose elections? Lose wars? Lose face?

What do you do, O’ Modi what do you do? It is not nice being you today.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2019.

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Syed irfan | 2 years ago | Reply An delicious literary treat and to the point as always.
Parvez | 2 years ago | Reply A rather poetic ethereal depiction of events...... but you have the basics right.
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