#TourismNotTerrorism

To read in Urdu, scroll down (اردو میں پڑھنے کے لیے نیچے سکرول کریں)

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Right now, in India and Pakistan, there is one battle being fought by the soldiers at the border and another battle being fought on tv and social media. For the past many days, I have been following hashtags and trends on Twitter. My head is about to explode. I want to say something. I type a few words but then erase them. Then I write something again and publish but then delete it. Basically, my question is why there is so much hatred around?

There have been calls for the destruction of the enemy on the other side of the border. Such talk is like a fever. It grips everyone. Under such circumstances, it becomes easy for the state leaders to send out troops to fight at the border. I feel like my mind will explode if I stay quiet on this topic. I don’t know how to start this essay, so I will start with own story…

I was born in 1977. Before that, Pakistan and India had fought a brutal war in 1971. Even six years after the war, Pakistani TV and radio used to play patriotic songs. Mom would often tell me that there used to be such a song on the TV

“ہر گھڑی تیار کامران ہیں ہم جیسے ہوں حالات شادمان ہیں ہم”

(Har ghari tayyar Kamran hain hum, jaise hoon halaat shadmaan hain hum)

So when she gave birth to me, she named me “Kamran”.

Dad used to attach “Pakistani” to his name. That’s how much he was proud of his country. On the other hand, he would also listen to Lata and Rafi’s songs and watch old Indian movies of Raj Kapoor and Nargis on VCR.

When I went to Germany in 2002, there were a few Indians in my class. It was the first time I met Indians. I was determined to outperform them in the class and would even try to hit them with a bouncer while playing cricket. As time passed I realised this thinking was absolute rubbish. In the end, I developed a close friendship with many Indians and would spend more time with them than with Pakistani fellows. A couple of my Indian friends hosted me for several weeks when I was homeless and even lent me money in difficult times.

The relationships between Pakistan and India have seen many ups and downs. I do not want to go to this topic because it is a long one. All I want to say is that we have to think beyond borders. I saw that athletes and artists from both sides have jumped into the war of words. To those, please refrain from such talk. Once the fever of war has diminished, you people will have to clean up this mess and make a way for peace. Don’t say anything which will become a burden for you in the future and the people on the other side wouldn’t want to see your face again, let alone hear you. One’s objective should be to only say something which unites, not divides people.

Both sides face poverty and have a pile of problems to solve. Now even if there is no war both countries will feel unsafe and will increase their defence budget. It is the poor who will suffer more. If the countries do decide to go for war what will happen in the future? Eventually, they will do a cease-fire and sign a peace deal. Then, they will be sitting with each other at a table with UN representatives, their egos crushed and feeling too guilty to look into each other’s eyes. Before this happens, why not resolve their matters now?

Hatred eats you from inside. Love your fellow human beings. We are here in this world for a very short time. What a pity would it be to not live this life fully? Dream. Love. Explore. Make friends and see the colours of the world.

I have a dream too. That one day I will be able to cycle in India and meet its people. I don’t know when this dream will come true? ٰIn the next life?

One day, when the border will open and people will be allowed to interact, you will see how they will bond with each other. Coming generations will laugh at how stupid we were to fight for so many years.

Now, just imagine. Before we were born, we spent billions of years as stardust wandering in the outer space. Then the earth came into existence, and life emerged from a single cell. After millions of years of evolution, Homo sapiens appeared on the scene. These modern humans walked out of Africa with a desire to have a better life. They travelled to every part of the world. Some of their descendants chose the Indian Subcontinent as their home. Now the people from a single family are trying to kill each other based on artificial lines on the ground. Just think, the elders of the same family must have been walking together for centuries, with a dream of having a new life. What happened to the dreams of our forefathers? Had it ever occurred to them that their children would be fighting each other like this, would they still go on the same arduous journey they went through?

I ask you again, why so much hatred for your own brothers and sisters?

All this talk of war is based on the decayed idea of nationalism. With the passing of time, we should have gotten rid of nationalism and extremism, but it seems the social media has fanned the flames of hatred

Let’s think about each other the way we think about our families and children. When Indian pilot Abhinbandan was captured in Pakistan yesterday, I posted a comment on Twitter expressing my hope that he would be released soon so he could reunite with his family. I am glad that today the Govt of Pakistan announced that he would be returning to India tomorrow.

Whatever the mutual issues are, be it terrorism or Kashmir, they should be resolved at the table. That’s the only option. Posting hysteric remarks on Twitter with popular hashtags or shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” or “Jai Hind” will only make things worse. We, the children of the same soil, have no reason to become enemies. Let’s not let our egos rule us. Let’s open our hearts to each other.

A few years ago, I met Pakistani Ambassador in Germany Mr Shahid Kamal. He said that the most important thing to do to improve India Pakistan relations is the people-to-people contact and that we exchange students, not bombs.

So let’s choose peace over war. Let’s play sports, make films, sing together, and send tourists not terrorists or fighter jets to the other side. And such should be the hospitality on each side that there is no need of the Geneva Convention to get back our loved ones.

If you still don’t believe me, go pick up the bicycle and leave your home. You will see that the world is much bigger than you think.

#PeaceZindabad #JaiHumanity #TourismNotTerrorism #SayNoToWar

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انڈیا اور پاکستان میں جنگ کا بخار زوروں پر ہے ایک جنگ میڈیا اور سوشل میڈیا پر لڑی جا رہی ہے گزشتہ کئی دنوں سے ٹوئٹر پرHashtags اورTrends کو دیکھ کر سرپھٹ رہا ہے کبھی سوچتا ہوں کہ کچھ لکھوں کبھی لکھ کر مٹا کر دیتا ہوں کبھی کچھ پوسٹ کرکے ڈیلیٹ کر دیتا ہوں، میرا بنیادی سوال یہ ہے کہ آخر اتنی نفرت کیوں؟

کچھ دنوں سے جنگ کی باتیں ہورہی ہیں کہ تباہ کر دو برباد کر دو، جب عام لوگ جنگ کرنے کے لیے تیار ہیں تو پھر وہ لیڈر جو لوگوں کے ووٹ لے کر آئے ہیں ان کے لئے بہت آسان جنگ شروع کرنا اور فوجوں کو سرحدوں پر بھیجنا۔ مجھے لگتا ہے میرا دماغ پھٹ جائے گا اگر میں چپ رہا اس معاملے پر،سمجھ نہیں آ رہا کیا لکھوں چلو شروع کرتا ہوں اپنے آپ سے ۔۔۔۔

میں 1977 میں پیدا ہوا اس سے پہلےپاکستان اور انڈیا کے درمیان 1971 کی جنگ ہوئی تھی اس جنگ کے کئی سال بعد بھی جنگی ترانے ٹی وی اور ریڈیو پر بجتے تھے، میری امی اکثر کہتی تھیں کہ ٹی وی پر ایک گانا آتا تھا۔۔۔

“ہر گھڑی تیار کامران ہیں ہم جیسے ہوں حالات شادمان ہیں ہم”

تو جب میں پیدا ہوا امی نے میرا نام کامران رکھ دیا۔

ابو اپنے نام کے ساتھ پاکستانی لگاتے تھے اندازہ لگالیں کتنا فخرتھا انہیں اپنے پاکستانی ہونےپر،مگرگانے وہ پرانے لتا اور رفیع کے سنتے اورVCR پر پرانی انڈین فلمیں راج کپور اور نرگس کی دیکھتے تھے۔

جب میں 2002 میں جرمنی گیا میری کلاس میں کئی انڈینز تھے ۱ور یہ  پہلی دفعہ تھا کہ میں کسی انڈین کوملا تھا شروع شروع میں سوچتا تھا کہ میں نے لازماََ ان سے کلاس میں زیادہ نمبر لینے ہیں اور کرکٹ میں ان کوباوئنسر مار مار کےتباہی پھیر دینی ہے مگرجیسے جیسے وقت گزرا مجھے لگا یہ سب بلکل بکواس ہے۔ پھر انہی میں سے کئی لڑکوں کے ساتھ میری گہری دوستی ہو گئی اور میرا زیادہ وقت انڈین دوستوں کے ساتھ ہی گزرتا ۔ایک دو نے تو مجھے اپنے گھروں میں کافی ہفتوں تک رکھا اور مشکل وقت میں ادھار بھی دیا۔

پاکستان اور انڈیا نے کئی نشیب و فراز دیکھے ہیں میں اس موضوع میں نہیں جانا چاہتا، بات بہت لمبی ہوجائے گی مگر ملک سے بالاتر ہو کر سوچیں، اب دونوں اطراف کے کھلاڑی اور آرٹسٹ بھی اس  لفظوں کی جنگ میں کود پڑے ہیں، خدارا ایسا نہ کریں جب کچھ دیر بعد جنگ کا بخار اتر جائیگا تو آپ لوگوں نے ہی اس گند کو صاف کرنا ہے اور امن کی بات کرنی ہے، ایسا کچھ نہ کہیں جو بعد میں آپ کے گلے پڑ جائے اور دوسری طرف کے لوگوں میں آپ کے لیے اتنی نفرت ہوجائے کہ وہ آپ کی بات سننا تو دور کی بات آپ کی شکل دیکھنا تک پسند نہ کریں- مقصد صرف یہ ہونا چاہیے کہ ایسی بات کرنی ہے جو لوگوں کو جوڑے نا کہ توڑے۔

دونوں طرف غربت ہے اور مسائل کے انبار ہیں اب جنگ نہ ہوئی تو پھر بھی دونوں ملکوں کے دفاعی بجٹ میں اضافہ ہوجائے گا اور غریب اور زیادہ پسے گا، جنگ ہوئی تو دونوں ملک دہائیاں پیچھے چلے جائیں گے، آخر میں کیا ہوگا دونوں ملک تھک ہار کر زخموں سے چور چور جنگ بندی کرلیں گے اور کوئی امن کا معاہدہ طے پا جائے گا اور پھر یہی ملک اقوام متحدہ کے نمائندے کے ساتھ ٹیبل پر بیٹھے ایک دوسرے سے نظریں چرا رہے ہونگے دونوں کی egos ٹھنڈی پڑچکی ہوں گیں، توبھائی اب ایسا کیوں نہیں کرلیتے سب کچھ لٹا کر ہی بات کرو گے کیا؟

نفرت آپ کو اندر سے کھا جاتی ہے ۔ محبت کرو انسانوں سے محبت ۔ یہ زندگی تو صرف چار دنوں کی ہے اگر وہ بھی بھرپور طریقے سے نہ جی پاؤ گے تو پھر کیا فائدہ؟ خواب دیکھو، محبت کرو، سفر کرو، دوست بناؤ اور دنیا کے رنگ دیکھو۔

میرا بھی ایک خواب ہے ایک دن انڈیاجانے کا سائیکل پر، وہاں کے لوگوں سے ملنے کا، پتہ نہیں کب پورا ہوگایہ خواب؟ اگلی زندگی میں؟

کسی دن بارڈر کھلے گا لوگوں کو ملنے دیا جائے گا تو دیکھیے گا کہ لوگ کیسے ایک دوسرے سے جڑتے ہیں،آنے والی نسلیں  گزرے سالوں پر ہنسیں گے کہ ہمارے بڑوں نے کیسی بیوقوفیوں اور جنگ کی باتوں میں اپنا وقت برباد کیا۔

اب ذرا سوچیں، کئی اربوں سالوں تک ہم نے ستاروں کے خاک بن کر خلا میں بھٹکتے بھٹکتے وقت گزارا اور پھر زمین بنی اس کی مٹی میں سے ایک خلیہ بنا، زندگی کی پرورش ہوئی اور پھر ارتقاء ہوا ، انسان نمودار ہوا، یہ قدیم انسان افریقہ سے چلا ،ایک بہترزندگی کی خواہش نے اسے سفر پر مجبور کیا اور یہ دنیا کے ہر کونے میں آباد ہوا اور اسی نسل میں سےکچھ لوگ برصغیر میں آکر بسے، اب اسی فیملی کے لوگ زمین پر ایک مصنوعی لائن کو بنیاد بنا کر ایک دوسرے کو مارنے پر تلے ہیں، سوچیئے کچھ عرصہ پہلے یہی انسان ایک گروہ کی شکل میں صدیوں تک سفر کرتا رہا ہوگا ایک نئی زندگی بسانے کے لیے آنکھوں میں خواب لئے،آخر ہمارے آباؤ اجداد کے ان خوابوں کا کیا ہوا؟ اگر ان کو یہ معلوم ہوتا کہ انکی نسل آ خر میں ایک دوسرے سے اس طرح لڑ رہی ہو گی تو کیا وہ اتنا لمبا جان جوکھوں کا سفر کرتے ؟

میں دوبارہ پوچھتا ہوں کہ آخر اتنی نفرت کیوں اپنے ہی بہن بھائیوں سے؟

میرے خیال میں قوم پرستی بہت بوسیدہ سوچ ہے۔ ہونا تو یہ چاہئیے تھا کہ وقت گزرنے کے ساتھ ساتھ ہمارے اندر انتہا پسندی اور نیشنلزم ختم ہو جانی چاہیے تھی مگرلگتا ہے کہ سوشل میڈیا نے اس آگ کو اور بھڑکا دیا ہے!

چلیں ہم سب ایک دوسرے کے بارے میں بھی اسی طرح سوچیں جس طرح اپنے گھر والوں اور بچوں کے بارے میں سوچتے ہیں جب کل انڈیا کا پائلٹ ابھینندن پکڑا گیا تھا تو میں نے ٹوئٹر پر کمنٹ کیا کہ امید ہے کہ وہ جلد ہی اپنی فیملی سے جا ملے گا چلو اچھا ہوا کہ آج حکومت پاکستان نے اعلان کیا کہ وہ کل واپس بھیج دیا جائے گا۔

جوبھی مسئلہ ہےدہشت گردی کا یا کشمیر کا میز پر بیٹھ کر بات کریں کیوں کہ آخرکار یہ بات چیت سےہی حل ہوگا۔ ٹوئٹر پر بیٹھ کر Hashtags لگانے سے اور پاکستان زندہ باد یا جے ہند کے نعرے لگانے سے بات اور خراب ہو گی۔  ہم ایک ہی مٹی کے بنے لوگ آخر کیوں دشمن بنے بیٹھے ہیں۔ Ego کی باتیں بہت چھوٹی سوچ ہے دل کھلا کریں۔

میری چند سال پہلے جرمنی میں پاکستان کے سفیر شاہد کمال صاحب سے بات ہوئی انہوں نے کہا انڈیا پاکستان مسئلے کو حل کرنے کے لیے سب سے ضروری ہے کہ People to People Contact ہو، سٹوڈنٹ ایکسچینج کریں نا کہ بم!

چلو امن کو جنگ پر ترجیح دیں،  اکٹھے کھیل کھیلیں فلمیں بنائیں اور گانے گائیں، اور ایک دوسرے کے ہاں Tourist بھیجیں نا کہ Terrorists یا Figher Jets۔ اور پھر جواب میں مہمان نوازی بھی اس طرح کی ہو کہ اپنوں کی واپسی کےلیے جنیوا کنوینشن کی ضرورت نہ پڑے۔۔۔

اگر پھر بھی بات سمجھ نہیں آتی تو سائیکل اٹھاؤ گھر سے باہر نکلو،تب دیکھنا دنیا تمہاری سوچ سے کتنی بڑی ہے!

#PeaceZindabad #JaiHumanity #TourismNotTerrorism #SayNoToWar

7 comments

  • I am an Indian and I dont know why the hatred!! and my dream would be to cycle from Balochistan to skardu and finally into Leh. I am sure that will not happen any time soon

  • I just read the urdu script , you are absolutely right but the reason to comment is your urdue MASAR nagari is beautiful , try to post your thoughts in urdue as much as possible. Have a safe journey

  • 🙂 well regarding above comment it was meant to be Nasar nagari not masar nagari 😉

  • Have been your reader and follower. I agree cent percent. War will be of no avail for any of us. Would that politics, in this region at least, had a sennsible brain and a sensitive heart. Long live humanity.

  • Dear Kamran,

    Thank you for writing this. Similar in essence to what you have written here, Former Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Ramdas had penned down a rather heartfelt letter to Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, President Ramnath Kovind. I think every Indian and Pakistani should read this letter.

    This letter was written after the Pulwama attack in which at least 44 CRPF jawans were martyred. A lot has happened since that, however, the contents of the letter still hold ground. Admiral Ramdas in his letter speaks of how the government and authorities concerned need to retrospect what went wrong for such great damage to take place. He also asked for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, saying, “We continue to proclaim that they are an integral part of India. If indeed that is so, then they must be treated as such, as equal citizens –‐ be they in Jammu, the Valley or in Ladakh.” He also called out war-mongering people. Not just this, he also suggested immediate steps that the government could take on an immediate basis.

    Here is the letter:

    Dear Shri Kovind ji,

    This is Admiral Ramdas –‐ former Chief of the Naval Staff, writing to you yet again – this time on the tragic deaths of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Jawans in the IED attack on their convoy in Pulwama on Feb 14th 2019 and subsequent events. Over forty precious lives, belonging to the CRPF were lost in the service of the Nation on February 14, 2019. This was indeed a despicable act, and a tragic event and those guilty must be punished.

    While the event has understandably evoked strong and angry reactions from every corner of the country and all sections of the people, it is also clear that such an event should never have happened on such an important strategic highway, especially in view of some reports that speak of there having been some intelligence reports to this effect in possession of the police and Intelligence agencies.

    It is reported that this attack was planned and executed by the Jaish e Mohammed [JEM]. There are questions as to how and why a lone vehicle packed with RDX was able to penetrate a convoy and wreak such havoc, these and many more questions will no doubt be the subject of internal inquiries both by the CRPF and other agencies of the State. As a former head of the Navy and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and also someone who, after retirement in 1993 has devoted most of his time in the pursuit of peace with Pakistan by pushing for a people to people dialogue, my concerns, are listed below.

    We must resolve the Kashmir problem through dialogue which must involve all three partners to the dispute – namely, the people of J&K, India and Pakistan. This is a position I have advocated for several decades now – after having studied the intractable nature of what is popularly called the K word, but which has continued to extract a heavy toll on both countries and above all on the suffering of the unfortunate people of Jammu and Kashmir.
    We continue to proclaim that they are an integral part of India. If indeed that is so, then they must be treated as such, as equal citizens –‐ be they in Jammu, the Valley or in Ladakh . Had we done that we would have been less likely to see the levels of alienation, especially of young people?
    If both countries are willing to engage each other on the Kartarpora corridor – then why not on the LOC, and other core concerns around Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The sooner we make it known that we are open to dialogue with all stakeholders and begin this process in all seriousness and sincerity, the more likely we are to make some headway with the people in J&K.
    If a young Adil can blow himself up in the cause of freedom, Aazadi or the long-promised autonomy for Kashmir, it is the strongest indicator yet of the levels of anger and alienation that the youth of the state are experiencing today. No amount of force as part of the avowedly “muscular” Kashmir policy can quell this. We must act now and sit across the table and have an honest dialogue with all parties concerned. It might already be too late.
    The most serious fallout of this attack on our jawans in Awantipora has been the unprecedented outbreak of harassment, mob violence, attacks, insults and abuse levelled at many Kashmiris across the country. Soon this might spill over to Muslims across India. We CANNOT allow this to continue and spread with dire consequences which are hard to assess.
    The only solution is political and not military. And a political solution must involve a genuine and continuous dialogue with the people of Kashmir – including dissidents and separatists; the Govt of Pakistan and the Govt of India.
    WHAT CAN BE DONE – IMMEDIATELY

    In your capacity as the Head of State and our Supreme Commander, and the oath you have taken to uphold the Constitution, I urge you to take steps as outlined below, which is entirely within your command, and a part of your duty and responsibility:–‐

    It is imperative that the situation should not be allowed to escalate into greater hostilities which it might not always be possible to contain. As the Supreme Commander, you must caution our own leaders about the very real dangers of the present standoff escalating into a war situation – and quickly going beyond a conventional engagement – given that both India and Pakistan are two nuclear-armed countries.
    The decisions on next steps must be taken with due diligence, and weighing all the options and their implications. We cannot allow the hysterical media anchors and social media anger to influence or pressurise decisions at the highest level. The atmosphere at present is by no means conducive to decisions being taken in a calm and considered manner – with emotions and reactions being inflamed and incited in an often deliberate and irresponsible manner.
    Let India take the high moral ground by declaring an unconditional Hold Fire – pending detailed enquiries into the attack on the convoy in Pulwama. This way we will ensure that the facts are investigated, and the truth behind the attack be established without delay. I am sure that this will have a salutary effect and ensure seamless actions further ahead.
    We must immediately put a halt to the terrible media war being waged on innocent Kashmiris who are going about their business quietly in towns and cities across the country. This message must come from the highest level – and the Honorable Prime Minister must be advised that he can halt this current backlash in minutes if he so chooses, by issuing stern and clear warnings against any violence and threats and harassment against citizens – be they Kashmiri or indeed Muslim citizens. , through every channel, cadre and social media. To avoid aggravating the present situation of fear and insecurity and preventing further bloodshed, action on this must be taken with utmost speed.
    Enable an impartial and independent Judicial Enquiry. This group should comprise serving judges of the Supreme court.
    The Nation as a whole seems to be going through a lot of uncertainties especially about the threats of retaliation. Such posturing, especially between two nuclear-armed states, is highly risky. This time around we may not be able to contain this to the conventional type of warfare. The situation is even more delicate given the impending elections, communal disturbances and fears of the breakdown of law and order.

    We must not allow any of the above to happen. We have a lot of strategic and human interests in (J&K) and the country as a whole and we must protect both these. This can only happen by winning the hearts and minds of the people, especially of Jammu & Kashmir. Let us remember that the Military Force can never erase an “IDEA”. We need to do some serious reflection of our own policies and conduct these past 70 years.

    With regards

    Yours sincerely

    L.Ramdas

    P.S. Admiral Ramdas held his position with the forces with distinction. He has been awarded the prestigious PVSM, AVSM, lVrC, VSM Medals of Honour for Bravery besides also being a Magsaysay Awardee for Peace.

  • Again a master piece by you. I enjoyed reading and can’t agree more !

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