India is not making a choice of war over peace. Rather it is at war, a war thrust on it by a sick militaristic State, says Sankrant Sanu.
Gurmehar Kaur was made into a larger-than-life icon.
While the Left-Maoists could be accused of being 'anti-national', who could say that to the daughter of a soldier who was killed in the frontline?
But you probably didn't hear of Pooja, daughter of Lance Naik Moolraj who was killed in Pathankot, and who appealed to Gurmeher Kaur (external link) to not make a mockery of her father's sacrifice.
Two daughters who lost their fathers, but only one with a narrative that suited an ecosystem. So we dig into the why.
Gurmehar Kaur was built up in the media for her opposition to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad who were protesting the presence of Umar Khaled, he of the alleged 'Bharat ke tukde' slogan at JNU.
But even before that, she had been picked up by certain media personalities for her video showing her holding a series of placards.
One placard read 'Pakistan did not kill my father, war did.' She had earlier shown up on an anti-war stage with ultra leftists. Media mavens highlighted her as a peacenik. Now who in their right mind would be against peace?
Therein lies the rub.
Unlike the Vietnam war era peace protests in the United States, where the country was throwing napalm bombs on villagers 8,000 miles away for an imagined strategic victory over Communism, India is not waging any war on Pakistan.
Even when the Pakistani State trained and sent Laskhar terrorists to Mumbai in 2008 to kill civilians, India did not wage war.
When the Kargil infiltration and attack took place, it simply defended itself and kept from taking the fight to Pakistani soil.
C Christine Fair, a security studies analyst who spent time with the Pakistan army before she became persona non grata, writes that Pakistan is an ideological State that follows a policy (external link) of 'persistent revisionism'.
In other words, India would be happy with peace, but Pakistan will not allow this.
It seeks to overturn the status quo, if not by outright war, then through proxy terror, and if not through terror, then the cultivation of the dangerous narrative of its 'right' to Muslim majority Kashmir couched in the rubric of 'azaadi'
Fair has pointed out that Pakistan's ISI itself supports and funds track II peaceniks from India for boondoggles to Pakistan, while at the same time launching terror attacks like in Mumbai, Pathankot and Kargil.
How does this make sense?
Pakistan uses its nuclear cover, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, to bleed India via terrorism.
At the same time, the peace constituency is cultivated to limit India's retaliation to these attacks.
This peace constituency serves to hyphenate and equalise Pakistan's actions with that of India. In other words, while Pakistan sends terrorists to launch the hard attacks, the peaceniks launch the soft attacks.
The soft attacks provide cover to the hard attacks by saying the problem really isn't Pakistan but war, and India and Pakistan are both to blame for this state of war.
The peace umbrella is the soft equivalent of the nuclear umbrella.
Just like the nuclear umbrella prevents hard retaliation, the peace umbrella prevents holding Pakistan accountable for its persistent and psychotic fomenting of terror against India.
This terror is not just episodic, like the attack on the Indian Parliament or Mumbai or Pathankot.
Every week terrorists wait at launch pads to infiltrate into India from Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Partly as a result of the Congress' errors, including infamously rigging an election in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has managed to turn a section of Kashmiris away from India.
In the major phase of terrorism, it silenced and killed pro-India voices including newspaper editors, orchestrated the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and targeted Sikhs and other communities while its propaganda war, abetted by some Indian journalists, blamed the Indian Army.
This last factor is worth understanding.
Unlike India, the Pakistani army manages a lot of the foreign affairs and propaganda. It treats this as a psy-ops battle.
In the US, Pakistani-American Ghulam Nabi Fai funded Kashmiri 'azaadi' conferences and luxury retreats where Indian Left academics like Angana Chatterji showed up to criticise the Indian Army and largely bolster the Pakistani position.
There has long been a controversy in Pakistan over the 'secret funds' the government uses.
A controversy erupted within Pakistan when it came to light that the Pakistani government bribed its own journalists (external link) from secret funds to the tune of 177 million Pakistani rupees.
The secret funds were later curtailed with the government clarifying that the policy has been changed and now the funds continue only with the ISI and Intelligence Bureau (external link).
Given the ISI's demonstrated capacity to woo Indian Left academics and even US senators, and the mindset of war, which governs psy ops by the Pakistani army, it would be no surprise if sections of the Indian media and academia are on the ISI gravy train.
After all, we know from the Mitrokhin archives (external link) and later CIA archive corroboration that the KGB actively bribed the Indian media (external link), and also regularly bribed the Congress and Left parties (external link) to buy influence.
The CIA also bribed, among others, student associations (external link). All of this is now a matter of public record.
Given the enormous importance that Pakistan attaches to the Kashmir issue, its demonstrated ability to spend money to buy journalists and academics (and the record of Indian media and politicians of being bought), it would be naïve to imagine that the campus agitations are completely independent of Pakistani GHQ orchestration.
So what is the aim of Pakistan here?
The Sunday Guardian weekly newspaper had written about this (external link) over a year ago, based on intelligence inputs.
'Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) unit of the Pakistan military has, since November 2014, begun to implement a plan designed to activate a 'non-terror' front in India, in addition to the long-running terror front. This second front is expected by GHQ Rawalpindi to have a destructive effect on public morale...'
Fanning of student clashes and campus unrest, creating a perception that there is discontent in India and a large number of people favour azaadi for Kashmir and other areas couldn't be better played to the script.
However, it is important to not paint with too broad a brush. Most of the demonstrators and students, and most of the common supporters of different parties, are unlikely to be part of any breaking India agenda.
Many are simply naïve and misled, unaware of the puppet masters and the great game being played.
It is important that the response be calibrated while not underestimating the gravity of the situation.
At the same time the extreme left, the Maoists responsible for violent terror, and their sympathisers and networks should be dealt with severity.
India is not making a choice of war over peace. Rather it is at war, a war thrust on it by a sick militaristic State.
The choice is not between war and peace, but about how to respond to the war that is thrust on us.