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A Role for Indian Americans

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    A Role for Indian Americans

    A Role for Indian Americans: Faiz Rehman
    Pakistan Link

    The founders of the United States could have never envisioned that a piece of land so aloof, so distanced from the then civilized world and romantically referred to as Europe-over-the-waters, would one day figure in all major world happenings with such prominence. Donning the mantle of a judge, an arbitrator, and an opinion forum of consequence, the USA is a benevolent and insightful Goliath - intellectually, technologically, economically and politically. From business to economy to politics to science and technology, the US has proved its leadership, time and again, and today enjoys unrivalled primacy in every sphere of human endeavor.

    The crowning feature of this enviable ascendancy is that most of the world’s diplomatic wars are fought and decided on the soil of the United States. No, not just at the UN. But, at various other power centers of this country, including the media, the bureaucracy, the think-tanks, and the Congress.

    So, it’s not surprising that the Indians, after their initial courtship with the Soviet Union and having remained shut off from the rest of the world for a considerable period of time owing to the isolationist policies of their first Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru, have started to make sustained strivings to influence the public opinion in the US against who else but their perceived “arch foe” Pakistan. This change of policy has been largely due to the phenomenal wealth and influence of Indian Americans. A great number of Indian Americans have earned money and respect because of sheer diligence and admirable work ethics. Besides numerous others, the Indian government and its propaganda machinery is a beneficiary of this new found wealth and influence.

    The world is not a perfect place. There is no perfect country either. Each has its limitations and shortcomings. India and Pakistan, who share a great deal of common history and heritage, are no exception to this reality. Both countries are plagued with poverty, corruption, and over population. Similarly, both have had their share of bad governments and bad governance.

    Recently, many Indian American organizations, in apparent collusion with the Indian government, launched a hostile campaign against Pakistan, asking the US to declare Pakistan a ‘terrorist’ state. I don’t believe their wish is ever going to come true but such an abominable campaign does affect the public opinion. On plain moral grounds too the campaign is deplorable.

    Quite a few Indians and Pakistanis in this country share the same grocery stores, read common newspapers, go to the same theaters, and engage in a lot many pursuits together. Quite a few are business partners. Many doctors share clinics. Children of the two communities listen to the same music and go to the same variety shows. Did the Indian Americans think for a moment that their campaigns, albeit filled with nationalism, are actually hurting their friends and their children in this country—leaving Islamabad and New Delhi completely unaffected, unfazed, and unchanged and in a tragically perpetual state of acrimonious confrontation.

    The Indian and Pakistani communities in this country should try to bring peace and stability to their native countries by using their talents, resources and perceptions. By attacking the core problems in South Asia, the two communities can do wonders to the lives of their respective people.

    India and Pakistan are confronted with knotty problems of sorts, mostly rooted in the core issue of Kashmir. Indian atrocities in Kashmir are no secret. The Kashmir issue has become a point of reference in many discussions around the world. President Clinton, along with other leaders of the world, has repeatedly admitted that Kashmir is the most dangerous flash point in today’s world. Mr. Vajpayee may accuse Pakistan, or for that matter any other country in the world, of terrorism; that’s his prerogative. But, this ostrich-like attitude will not lessen the magnitude of the problems in the region. Surely, Mr. Vajpayee would not want a declared terrorist state bordering his country, whose people, hit by sanctions, could cause monumental problems for India rather than contributing to the stability and resultant prosperity of the region.

    It is time for Indian American to show the way, to conceive and construct bridges of understanding, to show enlightenment, and to resolve outstanding problems between the two South Asian neighbors through conciliation and large heartedness. They share the American exuberance for fairplay, the American dash for creativity, the American impulse for wholesome change, the American dream of equality, of an egalitarian society. They live in an inspirational social milieu embellished by the intellect of Jefferson and the wisdom of Emerson. It is for them to chart out a new course for motherland India so that Pakistanis and Indians could live peacefully, like Americans and Canadians. They should not feel shy in playing their role. The sooner, the better.

    mayber our generation but it's big MAYBE