Thoughts triggered by the death of Qandeel Baloch.

The death of Quandeel Baloch comes as a terrible blow to our brothers and sisters in Pakistan who are standing up against an oppressive society that is founded in Islamic fundamentalism.

She was a fighter - someone who stood up against an oppressive society and did whatever that was forbidden for her. She was scared for her life all the time, but still she stood up for everything that she believed in.

You could kill a woman, but not her ideas. And there are thousands of men and women in Pakistan who mourn for her loss. Let’s stand with them.

The incident once again brings out the hypocrisy that is quintessential to any conservative society. They are the sworn protectors of women - the ones who ‘shield’ women from all the evils of this society. They want the women to stay inside the protection of four walls or an Abhaya. Not to be seen around, not to be defiled!

But in return to this protection, they expect total submission. The moment she start defying laws and start to harbour an independent opinion, she is hunted down mercilessly. The term “honour killing” is just a euphemism to this savagery.

Things are not pleasant in India as well when it comes to honour killing. It’s true that we enjoy a lot more freedom than counterparts in Pakistan or Bangladesh. If I were to write the same things in Bangladesh, I would have been killed long ago. I respect that fact and I am more than happy that I am in India and not in Bangladesh or Pakistan.

But it is essential that we stand with our brothers and sisters across the borders. We have shared a culture and a subcontinent for centuries and we cannot forgo that rich heritage just to boost some fake jingoistic ideals that are thrusted upon us.

Active borders make civilian lives difficult. But what makes our borders active at the first place? It doesn’t take a genius to extrapolate it to a troubled civilian life across the borders.

If we need to have peace with Pakistan, it has to be ruled by people who are not paid for waging war. The all powerful military in Pakistan has to be tamed. The fatwas issued by clan leaders decide how civilian life functions in Pakistan. If that situation doesn’t change, peace will never dawn Pakistan and as long as there is trouble in Pakistan, we will never sleep peacefully.

The same is true for Pakistan as well. Will they be able to sleep peacefully if some jingoist happen to be at the helms at Delhi? If a ruler is encouraged by his supporters to annihilate their enemies, he will invariably do the same thing. More wars, more casualties and eternal nuisance to all the parties involved.

The idea of “Akhand Bharath” is interesting. And it has a lot of cultural significance as well. From Xuanzang to Queen Victoria, this subcontinent have stood as one distinct identity in front of the world. It’s true that the subcontinent was divided across countless empires and dominions, but this term India and our Indianness stayed; and will stay forever.

But the idea of “Akhand Bharath” is not same as the parochial version that some people propagate. We need not have a shared government to make the idea come to life. For me, the idea of “Akhand Bharath” is more about a cultural continuum that facilitates a free flow of ideas, culture, art and people. It has to evolve as an oriental collective to answer the problems unsolved by the occident.

If someone needs a shared government, that’s nothing but bloody politics. If it is a shared culture that they need, they won’t be dividing people on the basis of superficial things. We stumble upon a lot of active groups doing exactly the same thing - dividing our people and at the same time promise a ‘united India’. What an irony!

Leaving them aside, just think about how beautiful our subcontinent would have been if we had this free flow of ideas and culture. Exchange of art and music! Their coke-studio is certainly better than ours, but we would probably beat them in a dance reality show held at the sub-continent level.

But look at the murky situation we are finding ourselves in. This idea of brotherhood is being politicised and communalised beyond recognition. As I am writing this, see what we are looking at - what these people with those divisive mindset need.

A Hindu India, an Islamic Pakistan and a ‘god knows what’s happening with’ Bangladesh. Is it what we really want at this part of the world?

Beef traders are beaten to death in India, feminists are murdered in Pakistan and secular bloggers are hacked to death in Bangladesh. If you want to bring back glory to the subcontinent, you ought to let go off all this manufactured hatred and embrace the ideals of brotherhood across the borders.

And it is crucial because we need to make ourselves distinct from those morons who chant “Lokha Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu” incessantly and at the same time hate our brothers and sisters across the borders.

We need to make ourselves loud and clear so that the entire world knows that it’s us and not them who is going to represent this great civilisation into the future.

Let’s all stand together in our fight against majoritarianism, patriarchy and communalism that is plaguing our subcontinent and holding us back from chasing the stars with all the might.

Written on July 19, 2016