Friendly Neighbour vs. Neighbourly Enemy
There is perhaps genuine justifiable fear in khod Pakistan that bigger-by-size, population, and economy neighbouring India might help to further divide their country, as the ghost of 1971 created by the then civil and military rulers haunts them to the day and will for decades on. To have such a bearing is a true Pakistani mentality, and one may to some extent be sympathetic towards Islamabad for nurturing such an anti-India political notion which if not anything helps to keep their nationalism changa.
Ever since August 1975, when the ugly claws of sectarianism were re-exposed, Bangla-speaking politicians and highbrows with wrongly placed and despicably practised 'Pakistani mentality' have been fanning an anti-India campaign with the sole purpose of creating anarchy by confusing ill-informed voters with lies, half-truths and mis-tales.
Such taking of undue advantage of innocent citizens is long over, as the growth of the media business, introduction of multi channels, hundreds of newspapers, and abaadh mobile telephone linkage has ensured flow of information. And when citizens share information among themselves with their own money, what usually disseminates is the truth, unless someone is injecting the venom of slander and smear. Therefore the Indian ju-ju is swallowed no more.
There is no reason to believe that India will do everything that is only best for Bangladesh. Do we do everything that is best for India? Should we? India will do so only after ensuring that the action taken is first best for India. That cannot be blamed on the Indians because by their yardstick that is patriotism. One must first understand that India is a different country and so are we, each as independent as the other. Their every action cannot be for our benefit, and yet their every deed should be carefully executed by them so that we as neighbours are not harmed as a result. We have to demand, negotiate, and earn our hissa. By our yardstick that too is patriotism.
A friendly neighbour is better than having a neighbourly enemy. There is no wisdom in keeping a neighbour at bay, in doubt, in hate, especially when mutual cooperation is the order of the day in the context of globalisation.
Not asking your neighbour for a cup of sugar that you need, and instead travelling miles to get it from elsewhere is sheer waste of time and bad economics sense.
Then again you do not accept your neighbour to flood your flower garden with dirty rainwater that has been collecting on his roof.
You do not dislike someone just because he is standing next to you. You stay away from him when you know he is hurting you or taking advantage of you.
You deal with your neighbour in dignity. The respect should be mutual. And yet both neighbours should be watchful of each other.
In the context of India as neighbours, where ten million Bangladeshi refugees took shelter 1971, they helped us with food and succour, training of freedom fighters, establishing military camps, and an extensive worldwide political campaign that hastened our liberation from the clutches of the heinous Pakistanis, who were killing us, raping us, looting us, after we protested their tyrannical and partisan rule of 24 years.
Now someone with the 'Pakistani mentality' will say India did it for their benefit. Can you blame them? Would Pakistan have done otherwise if an action on their part helped weaken their sworn neighbouring enemy since 1947, particularly if they had launched the worst genocide in the history of mankind? Should you not go and help your neighbour if you saw them being killed, raped and looted by another? Or at least consider it, if approaching the enemy was too dangerous?
The recent visit by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India has opened windows of new areas of mutual economic cooperation, more balanced trading, assurances of being good neighbours, and commitments. The general consensus among development pundits, media, business houses, and people is that there is possibility of a new glowing era if the atmosphere of understanding between the leaders of the two countries is translated into implementation of the undertakings.
It is naivety to expect all bilateral problems to be resolved in any one summit. But to vilify the emerging ambience by ambiguous statements is akin to committing to remain enemies with your neighbours, which is hardly in line with the contemporary and progressive concept, that the world is a village. No country today can make progress on its own.
(R) thedailystar.net 2010