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The spirit of Barnala??

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    The spirit of Barnala??

    This is not a purely Indian drought: a huge swathe of South Asia, from southern Afghanistan through Balochistan and Sindh in Pakistan, to Gujarat and Rajasthan in North-west India and right across to Orissa in the east is in desperate straits.

    But if the villagers of a little place called Barnala get their way, the boiling heat may have one improbable good result: a small rise in the near freezing temperature of present Indo-Pakistani relations, and a small local triumph for common sense and pragmatism.

    Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the English lawyer who was responsible for deciding where precisely the Indo-Pakistani border was going to run
    after the 1947 Partition, made a number of decisions which historians regard as curious, but this must have been one of the weirdest. At a point some 250km south-west of the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur, the border not only runs straight through the village of Barnala, but actually bifurcates the village's only well.

    With a refreshing display of pragmatism, the villagers of Barnala on both sides of the line carried on as if nothing had changed and the village remained a single unit. This of course included sharing the waters of the well.

    But in 1965, tension between India and Pakistan exploded into war,and Barnala was one of the victims. The security forces on both sides of the line barred the villagers from using the well or having any other
    contact with one another. On the Pakistani side the villagers were relocated deep inside the province of Sindh.

    Those moved out by the Pakistani authorities included Hindus,members of ancient pastoral communities including the Bishnoi,the
    Rajasthan tribe celebrated for their traditionally respectful approach to this arid region's ecology. Their Indian-national cousins have not seen them since.

    But now that Barnala is in the grip of Rajasthan's drought, the villagers who remain on the Indian side hope to persuade the Indian and Pakistani authorities to allow them to use the well again. The alternative
    is a walk of several kilometres to the nearest alternative water source.They even dare to hope that the Pakistanis may allow their Pakistani-national fellow-villagers to return to Barnala, so that their friendly relations may resume.

    The villagers hope to prevail on the Indian Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh, to broker an agreement with the Pakistani government to let them use the well again. Mr Singh is a Rajasthani himself and a member of the state's traditional ruling class; his son Manvendra unsuccessfully contested the last general election from Barmer, the nearest town to the village.

    Indo-Pakistani relations are today about as bad as they have ever been, short of outright war, but in recent weeks, since the visit of US President Bill Clinton, Pakistan has put out several diplomatic feelers towards India which has, at least so far, shown no interest in reciprocating.

    Perhaps Barnala's only well will provide a suitable occasion for India to break the ice. And a little bit of well diplomacy wouldn't do Manvendra Singh's chances in the next election any harm, either.


    Even as a super patriotic (overseas born) Pakistani, I believe that to tackle the drought India and Pakistan will have to work together in places like Barnala... and maybe this will break the ice, and lead to better trust and understanding between us??

    This whole thing goes in circles. After Lahore yatra when Vajapayee was taken for a ride, Indians were mushy mushy that Pakis are same people and brothers and whatever. But Pakistanis would have nothing to do with India and will rather spend all energy on making enough nukes that will destroy all of it. Then came Kargil and Kandhar and Indians are bitter to no end. Now Pakistanis seem to talk of brotherhood and living in peace.



      Interesting observation only partly true, most Pakistanis don't talk about the brotherhood, good example is educated Pakistani participants on this forum. I think religion has lot to do with this anmosity. Seperating religion from State or Religious reforms will be the first step in solving this - brotherhood cannot be build by calling non-believers Kaffirs or by State treating Kaffirs as second class citizens.

      Coming back to Barnala, I think most of the people of Barnala follow one religion, hence the peaceful co-existence.

      [This message has been edited by Rani (edited April 28, 2000).]


        My point was to highlight how out of mutual need i.e drought we can work together. A recent example is Greece and Turkey, and how they helped each other out during their mutual earthquakes. Both those countries have an identical historical animosity towards each other.

        But my Indian friends who have already replied still don't seem to have got over their defeat in Kargil. If the so-called Lahore process was so good, then maybe India should have stopped killing Kashmiri's?? But they continued their usual barbarity and slaughter - so so much for the Indian hand of friendship??


          << defeat in kargil >> Ha Ha
          As far as Kashmir and Pakistan's obsession with it, we can discuss endlessly. Pakistan can not deny its responsibility in putting Kashmiris in trouble by spreading insurgency. Till Pak keeps doing that, rest all brotherhood talk will be called eyewash.
          And even if common Pakistani wants good relations with India, common Pakistani does not rule Islamabad. Generals do. Even if when Pakistani version of democracy is in place, india-related decisions are taken by army and not be representatives of people. So even if Pakistani common man has nothing but great goodwill (which I doubt) for India in his heart, situation does not change unless army changes policy.



            Kargil has been discussed many times therefore I am not going to go there as for killling in Kashmir if you care so much about Kashmiris stop sending your Jehadis. Kashmiris have many times appealed to Pakistan to stop meddling in their affairs. Indian troops are in Kashmir to stop proxy war and terriorism waged by Pakistanis, as a result Kashmiris are suffering.

            Kargill has taught Indians not to trust Pakistan I hope they keep this in mind during any future negotiations.

            P.S. It is interesting to note that you ignored all the points raised in my post and choose to discuss Kashmir problem. Pakistan and its leadership for last 52 years have used Kashmir to deflect attention away from all the internal and external problems to hoodwink illterate masses.

            [This message has been edited by Rani (edited April 28, 2000).]


              With India facing its worst drought in 100 years, and 11 of its 24 states affected, India will need Pakistan's help.

              I amn glad Kargil taught India a lesson - which they obviously cannot forget. Pakistan sure did get its own back for the Indian capture of Siachen. As for spreading militancy in Kashmir - tell us all how India had broken all its promises to the Kashmiri's even before 1990 (when the militancy period started) i.e by not giving it the special autonomuy had written in the Indian constitution in the 1950's, by rigging elections, jailing its leaders (including the Abdullah's)???

              Did Pakistan alone spread 'militancy' in the Indian states of Punjab, Nagaland, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram etc????? Did Pakistan encourage the Jharkand, Bodoland and Uttarkhand (Hindu-regionalist) movements???

              Is Pakistan responsible for the Hindu V Hindu caste slaughter in Bihar and other places? Is Pakistan responsible for the increasing persecution of Christians and others??

              Is Pakistan responsible for China not reconizing Indian sovereignty over Sikkim, parts of Arunchal Pradesh and Ladakh???

              As I suspected only the Indian's on this forum would reject the Pakistani hand of friendship... It makes me proud that India blames all its problems on Pakistan - a country which is six times smaller than India!! I am glad that Indian's so hate the Pakistani military - it just shows we have the best leadership in power at the moment.

              And even the USA has now asked India to respond to Pakistan's peace offers, and said it wil not unconditinally support its security council seat..


                >>It makes me proud that India blames all its problems on Pakistan - a country which is six times smaller than India<<

                As far a India is concerned Pakistan is not a very relevent - Indians know that it is small and insignificant power and most people don't care about it. Althouth it will be good to have a friendly neighbor. I was in India recently and did not hear anybody talking or discussing Pakistan.

                The bottom line is that Indian don't count on Pakistan for mutual cooperation or help.

                [This message has been edited by Rani (edited April 29, 2000).]


                  Sabah, Now that Kargil is under discussion also, what happened to Indian777's post on Victory in Kargil (2010)? What was so offending in that post?


                    Rani - if Indian's don't give a damn about Pakistan - WHY ARE YOU AND MANY OTHER INDIAN'S WRITING INTO THIS FORUM???



                      I am talking about majority of Indians not about each and every Indian. There are always a few (handful) inquisitive individuals like me, who like to exchange ideas, try to learn about different religions and different point of views.

                      I have learnt a lot about Pakistani mind-set by coming to this and other Pakistani forums.

                      [This message has been edited by Rani (edited May 03, 2000).]