While still on Pakistan, here's a brilliant piece of satire from Nadeem Paracha in Dawn, one of the country's most prominent newspapers (credit for pointing this out goes to a good friend of mine from Pakistan). Just as the Dalrymple essay linked in my previous post meticulously lays bare the danger that Pakistan faces due to the military's courting of Islamic extremists for dubious ends, so this piece by Paracha lays bare, with comedy that is as chilling as it is hilarious, how narrow the world of the extremist is, and how it is built on lies. Paracha cleverly uses the format of a conversation between a father and his son to illustrate his point - a short extract below:
Are we going to have a war with India?
Oh, goody. We will thrash them, right? Like we did in 1857!
It wasn’t in 1857, son.
Oh, okay. But whom did we thrash in 1857?
The British, son…
And the Hindus too, right?
Did Quaid-i-Azam fight in that war along with Muhammad bin Qasim and Imran Khan?
No, son. The Quaid and Imran were born much later and Muhammad bin Qasim died many years before.
Then who ruled Pakistan in those days?
There was no Pakistan in those days, son.
But there was always a Pakistan! It has been there for 5,000 years!
Who have you been talking to, son?
No one. I’ve just been watching TV.
Daddy, why are all these people against us Arabs?
Arabs? But we aren’t Arabs, son.
Of course we are because our ancestors were Arabs!
No, son. Our ancestors were of the subcontinental stock.
Never mind.You seem to like wars, son.