India’s Prime Minister ,Narendra Modi’s, nationalist government has ordered armed forces to organise a ‘carnival’ to mark 50 years of a war with Pakistan that occurred in 1965. This three-week long event is set to reignite a debate on, whether India lost on the negotiating table and what it won on the battlefield. It is said that from September 1 to September 23 this year, the days coinciding with the duration of the war, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have been directed to organise table talks, exhibitions, processions, public lectures and film shows. Moreover, the venue of this event would be in the heart of the national capital, the Rajpath, Janpath and around India Gate.
The proposed celebration appears to be part of a nationalist distraction that will use to change discourse at home, in light of criticism at home and abroad for policy failures. The BJP are now brazen and blatant in their threats to Pakistan. With the organising of reconversion rituals called ‘ghar vapasi’, Modi and his party pose a threat for the future of religious minorities in the country. With this farcical “carnival” the Hindi extremist mindset becomes increasingly visible. With the recent comments made by Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, where he unashamedly acknowledged his country of being accepting of the use of terrorism to counter terrorism from other countries, India is not stepping back from the hardline policy stance they have taken regarding Pakistan.
The Modi government’s antics are no better than that of the conservative quarters of Pakistani politics. While Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq announces an award of one billion rupees for anyone who arrests Modi, at least he is not the Prime Minister of the country. The religious right wing is front and centre in India. The people of India have been duped by promises of economic prosperity and have given an extremist the highest office in the country. Such animosity, from both sides of the border, can be seen to be synonymous with intolerance for religion, one that has moulded a nationalist rhetoric for both countries.