This morning when I got up to open my laptop again after an interval of months spent by me in hospitals, medical check-ups etc
This morning when I got up to open my laptop again after an interval of months spent by me in hospitals, medical check-ups etc. I was in for a surprise message from old friend and colleague: "Brij. let us go back to your old city of birth Lahore in Pakistan which we had visited forty years ago" to witness historic developments then like Pakistan ruler Gen Zia ul Haq and U.S Ambassador to Pakistan getting killed in an aircrash of a four-engine plane.
What followed has only shown that some historical facts never change. After visiting Afghanistan many times, seen tanks running in streets of Kabul, generals changing sides to hang old friends, how many more games are yet to be played! Afghanistan's future remains a guess hard to make. Over the years the number of disturbed areas has increased and the number of imperial powers hoping to find a solution has not changed.
Over the years, the borders and religion have continued to divide nations. The allies and friends have changed. I, for one, witnessed American tanks and planes, used by Pakistan, attacking India while Russians gave us some weapons of inferior quality. This battle has continued, China has replaced the US as a friend of Pakistan while President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have become great friends.
The nations have no permanent friends but have changing interests. There can be a war for the right to sell opium. Only a few understand that peace is the only way out. Mahatma Gandhi chose non-violence to fight the British and many others in the world. The USA and in other parts of the world joined the battle for civil rights through peaceful means. Use of weapons will always dominate as investment in weapons is huge while lobby for peace is weak.
Even in India, the land of Budha and Gandhi, there are many voices who speak for Nathuram Godse, Gandhi's killer, and want to settle the battles on the streets. Nuclear weapons are too dangerous to be used, but less lethal types are always available as it is easier to shoot the brave than to face the bullet. After so many wars and realisation that there will be no winner in a nuclear war, nations large, powerful or weak have not learnt their lessons.
India may soon complete 70 years of freedom. Problems however remain the same. August 1947, when my family migrated to Delhi from Lahore, there were riots in Delhi and in other parts of the country. Even today there is no peace. The country has yet to make a choice between Mahatama Gandhi and Nathuram Godse.
(The writer is a veteran journalist and commentator. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)