Did Uri Attack, Surgical Strikes, Bring out the Monsters in Us?
It is not just about avenging Uri, but as a civilisation we are obsessed with violence.
The thing with war is that, you lose much more than you win. Uri attacks were certainly condemnable, and many heaved a sigh of relief having felt that even if the surgical strikes conducted by India won’t bring dead soldiers back, at least they stand avenged.
Twitter and Facebook saw surgical strikes of scathing insults between Pakistanis and Indians.
Even Amul Dairy Cooperative, famous for unusual salted butter, also launched a little attack on Pakistan with its cherry-cheeked, cute rotund cartoons lauding the soldiers with a sketch dedicated to them.
Soldiers in action, with guns and cannons and little drones too busting militants along the LoC.
War, but Why?
An article, I read on Scroll pointed out how ingrained violence is in our culture that it slips into everyday references and without any conscious effort we consume it too. This Amul advertisement is adorning billboards, and we are driving past it, laughing at how funny the tagline – “Paks a punch!” – is. And I must agree.
Yes, it’s only supposed to be a harmless advertisement, but that we find ourselves beaming at gory events so regularly, shows how our popular culture references reek of violence and how much we have normalised it. But it’s not about the advertisement really, it is about us being a part of a violent culture.
At the drop of a hat, people from both parts of the country are geared up for war.
Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif even declared the use of nuclear weapons should the need arise, unmindful of the fact that Japan’s newer generations are still paying for the atomic weapon they never sought.
Then again, many ‘patriots’ will argue, haven’t we paid much with our blood, isn’t it time to retaliate? Shouldn’t we unite for once? But it is not about patriotism, my country or yours. It’s about the rule of thumb – violence – that is our dominating meta-narrative.
Our governments are shrouded in secrecy, it is naive to declare war based on what they ‘choose’ to divulge. And what is a war really but a PR stunt? It takes me back to Orwell’s 1984. Our governments can only stay in power so long there is a conflict, and thus the conflict must remain so.
Violence in Pop Culture
Funnily enough, the country is still divided between PDA and prudishness, busy commanding the limits of love, and we still need our sex scenes to be crudely snipped, but violence is in our language, in our minds, our revenge.
Taking a small break from cat memes, we have some brilliantly sarcastic, pun-filled memes, putting down Pakistanis, declaring to kill them all, and getting some in return as well.
But as far as memory serves, Bollywood movies were particularly creative about rape, and have directed some creative titillating scenes, as if to give pleasure out of violence. And fighting, shooting and bomb blast scenes are the ones that sell action-packed films to audience. But love is still so coy and prude.
And where do I even begin about war movies? Cult war Bollywood movies like Border and LoC Kargil effectively packed with melancholia, death, weapons, invoked so much pride for the army men who plunged into a war without a thought and sacrificed themselves at the LoC like sacrificial scapegoats of a war mongering culture. That there can be an alternate safer option is barely given any consideration. Even children, who do not quite know why there is a war, why men are killing men, weep with pride and learn by rote to hate Pakistan just because everyone else is doing so.
Somewhere down the line, we can’t pinpoint, why we started hating and warring at all? But can only rely on some hand-me-down sentiments that we are still propagating.
Violence is so normalised that we even created an economy with it.
As disconcerting as it may be, the economy hasn’t spared even the children as their potential market with video games like GTA and Counter Strike. Even the brightly dressed comic heroes are now donning darker shades in darker action plots.
Facebook now has a good reason to deliver this new function of “marking people safe” and why.
Even though we look back at the yesteryears to look for a glimpse of peace, perhaps it’s childish to say that the we were harmonious in the past.
After witnessing the horrors of a partition, a holocaust, two world wars, and a morbid legacy it left behind, there should never have been a war economy, a Syria, a Palestine or an Uri.
But then again, having witnessed little acts of kindness here and there, it is unfair to assume that we don’t have a peaceful bone, maybe we are only muffling it down.
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