Pakistan As Bhasmasura: All We Need To Do Is Encourage It To Destroy Itself
Pakistan is Bhasmasura squared. It wants India destroyed, even if it means destroying itself in the process.
Over the last few weeks, we should have learnt one big thing about Pakistan: even in misery it cannot give up its all-consuming hatred for India.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif acknowledged the other day that war with India had brought nothing but misery for Pakistan, but he could not bring himself to ignore Kashmir and focus on peace efforts.
A bankrupt economy, food shortages and power grid collapses did not help focus the country’s leadership on achieving durable peace with India.
A few days before Sharif made his abject statement, his Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto, could not prevent himself from abusing Narendra Modi.
He said, “Osama bin Laden is dead. But the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the Prime Minister of India.”
Last week, at Davos, another Pakistani minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, said that her country did not see Modi as a partner for peace. And this despite the fact that in his first term Modi repeatedly tried to reach out to Pakistan.
It was only when his attempts were rebuffed with more terrorism that Modi decided that ignoring 'Terroristan' would be India’s best bet.
On Monday, lights went out in Pakistan due to an incompetent effort to save power. The power companies had switched off some units during a low demand period, but could not restart the backed down units when demand rose again the next day.
While there may have been technical reasons for this grid failure, we cannot but ask: can any country act sensibly and competently when its entire driving force is hatred and anger at a neighbour who has done it no harm.
Once you realise the inbuilt hatred that drives Pakistan’s attitude towards India, the way to deal with it should become clear too: you do what Mohini did to Bhasmasura. Allow his vanity and all-consuming urge to destroy himself.
In one version of the legend of Bhasmasura, the demon is said to be a devotee of Lord Shiva. He did lots of penance to win Shiva’s favour, but when Shiva grants him a boon, he seeks immortality, which the Lord cannot grant anyone.
The demon then asked for the power to destroy anyone whose head he touches. When this boon was granted, the first one to be targeted was Shiva himself, who then seeks Lord Vishnu’s help to neutralise Bhasmasura.
Lord Vishnu then takes the form of Mohini, an extraordinarily beautiful woman, who then becomes the object of Bhasmasura’s passion. Mohini tells Bhasmasura that she would marry him only if he can mimic her dance steps.
Which he agrees to do, and when, in one of her moves, Mohini touches her own head, the demon does likewise and kills himself.
Pakistan is Bhasmasura squared. It wants India destroyed, even if it means destroying itself in the process. This is where its strategy of bleeding India with a thousand cuts emanated, never mind that anyone wielding the knife that often will sooner than later hurt himself.
This all-consuming hatred for India, which has resulted in Pakistan becoming the world’s terror capital, has now created the right conditions for terror to start buzzing around its own head.
The country is facing economic and social ruin, and the Taliban, instead of being Pakistan’s ally on its western frontiers, has become the source of instability in Pakistan itself, with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan now in a position to threaten the Pakistani army itself.
Instead of Pakistan gaining strategic depth on the west, the Taliban has gains ideological depth on its eastern flank. And, in the south-west, Baloch militants have become a direct threat not only to Pakistan, but also the Chinese economic projects in and around Gwadar.
Bhasmasura is now a threat to himself and his allies, and all India needs to do is treat him with contempt while staying on guard for any mischief.
Give him time, and Bhasmasura will destroy himself with his overpowering hatred for India.
Maybe that is why China removed its technical block and allowed the Lashkar’s Abdul Rehman Makki to be designated a global terrorist.
This is not China doing India a favour, but probably a realisation that Pakistan’s uncontrolled hatred can ultimately spill over to China itself, where it faces Islamic resistance in Xinjiang.
Even China does not like doing business with a Bhasmasura, for Pakistan is to Chinese Xinjiang what Afghanistan is today to Pakistan. A future Islamist threat to itself.
Our strategy should be mix of contempt and caution. Pakistan will do the rest to itself. At least on Islamic terror, India’s long term interests converge with those of China.
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