Background: The following is a series of messages in reply to a question asked in a Slack channel I am part of. The question was – What do you think of Pakistani actors being sent back to their country when there was tension at the border? A news piece on this.
While I’d love if we could all be just global citizens and forget about nations and borders, it is impractical and not going to happen in our life times at least. Utopian world, where humans have lost all imperfections in their nature, could have that perhaps.. but right now, we’re very territorial even at the individual level.
Now, when we don’t have that, we’re left with some degree of nationalism — how much depends on our ideologies and the present state of mind of the people in and outside the nation.
If we’re surrounded by those who are extremely cunning and motivated by their own interests in a way that they’re ready to harm us with their plans, what are we going to do? Forget nations, for a moment. Think on an individual level. If I am in the company of the nice folks here in this group, I will be all smiles and friendly. But should I keep the same attitude if I am in a place like ‘Bigg Boss’ or something like that, where people around me are often plotting to hurt me behind my back, even though at dinner they’re talking to me like we’re all good friends. My behavior is going to be different and shouldn’t it? 🙂 I would be suspicious, and every single time I find any of them doing something against me, I will confront and perhaps chastise that person. Maybe not even talk for a few days. Eventually, we would get to talking again because living next to one another, but it will take time and the relationship will take even longer time and much more to be as strong as it’d have been otherwise.
I understand that the national policies towards a neighboring nation that’s troublesome, aren’t exactly an extended version of how we behave individually. There are certainly nuances and some clear differences too. Yet, I feel we can take a lot of understanding as laymen that we are, by breaking it down to an individual level.
People often suggest war when there’s tension on border. How absurd! That’s the last resort. Just like getting into a fist fight with a troublesome neighbor (presuming one is civilized). It’ll hurt you both, and also your reputation on the street and others who know you.
It would be smarter to give that neighbor a ‘silent treatment’. No hi, hello.. no smile and wave. Not going to their place and not inviting them to ours. That’s the civilized way of treating a troublesome neighbor/person, isn’t it? Nations cut cultural and economic ties. Sanctions is when you’re asking even your friends to cut ties as a punishment, and that’s, of course, more hostile and serious.
So, coming to the Pakistani actors getting sent back. It may have started with a faction showing their dissent on us giving their actors work while we get hit on the border, but it did strike a chord with majority of the masses after a few days. There were people opposing it as well, and that’s understandable in a nation like India, a democracy where one can still quite easily hold any opinion (at least relatively better than many other places). I don’t know the exact details of that episode so cannot comment on who’s right and to what extent, but I believe, we, the people here, should be ready to accept it when there’s a formal decision to cut cultural and economic ties. We may not like it, because we don’t know the specifics of the grand scheme of things between two nations, but let’s take it this way — our country is just trying to give the troublesome neighbor a ‘silent treatment’.
P.S. – An interesting read on this topic is a soldier’s open letter about this issue.