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Are we DOOMED to repeat History?

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori — “It is sweet and right to die for your country"

We as a nation, as a people, as a country have suffered wounds of body and soul. In 1971 we fought a war with India to counter the civil war brewing in East Pakistan, the results were disastrous – we ended up losing a part of our country, a major portion of land and resources and we suffered severe humiliation in our own eyes and of course in front of the enemy. It was a bad decision form day one – I am referring to the high handedness the Punjabi and Pathan dominated army and the civil beaurucracy over their Bengali country-men. I was a child then barely able to remember anything substantial about the war other than my father in uniform ready to go one place or another, sirens, black-outs, papered window panes, ration-cards and the constant referral to Mukthi Bhaini and Bhooka Benaglis.

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I remember growing up with a sense of Bengalis being of a lesser race than us. Why was that? I belong to a very liberal family, we don't believe in caste or creed and color – yes family background, morality and education were things that mattered most – My father was not active in the army he had left it in 1965 and was serving in reserves so that wasn't a reason either. Why then do I recall a sense of 'communal and angry hate' towards the Bengalis with whom we really haven't acted much. They were darker, spoke weird, ate with their hands, seemed too many over populated and somehow dirty. I am shocked now as to how this propaganda reached a 1000 miles to people who had no real interaction with people who were being condemed for no fault of their own.

It is only when after returning from college in States, while studying for my Civil Services Exams that I discovered the true history of our country and the fateful war. What we were fed in textbooks in school was just rubbish and made up. The truth was ugly and very very different. I dont't think I have ever recovered form the shock of finding out the brutalities commited by our commissioned officers on the population of East Pakistan. It wasn't one sided, India had enetered tha war and was taking full advantage by supporting the Mukthi Bhaini in fighting the Pakistan army. But this war was in the making since the 1956 when Urdr/bangla riots broke out and Urdu was decided to be the national language of Pakistan despite the fact that Bangli speaking population was far greater. It was an unwise and hasty decision which slowly cooked up a storm of hatred.

There were several other reasons for Bengali dissatisfaction with their West Pakistani counter parts – the topmost postings in army and civil service always went to West Pakistanis, most of the GDP came from jute and rice export from East Pakistn, but by making West Pakistan One Unit the Bengali majority was crushed. To top it all the Bengalis were treated very poorly by the Pakistan army soldiers while they were there supposedly to protect them. It was ironic, bizarre and absloutely cruel and as such things go it was all a mist, a fuge, a fog. Every person had his own version of truth. And the tragedy was that no one was ready to believe the other person's version.

The Hamoodur Rehman Commission made the reality come to light and the atrocities commited by the Pakistani Army became common knowledge. But what about the millions of families destroyed? what of the severing and butchering of a country? what of families split apart? what of it? Nothing.

Today, again we are in the same position. The TTP is at our back, killing hundreds with a flick of a finger. the strategic depth that we all so yearned for and felt proud of, the same depth that the army used to tout up its strength against the arch enemy India, has today become our death sentence. It was a no man's land, now, it is a no-go area where the writ of the governemt does hold sway. The militants rule the roost and teh aarmy operation which is again in full swing is yet to break their backs. Imagine a nuclear power at the beck and call of a few barbarians! We are again at the table begging for the to come to talk to us while they openly in braod daylight kill and main innocents.

Balouchistan is again a cauldron. The BNP is fighting its own army which is sad. Why have we come to a point where Balouchis have to fight with arms to get their rights as citizens of Pakistan? are we eating ourselves, have we become cannibals? Is Histroy being repeated.

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