The two leading media houses of India and Pakistan - The Times of India and the Jang Group - have come together to develop a stronger Track 2 in the diplomatic and cultural relations between India and Pakistan. "Aman ki Asha: Destination Peace" looks beyond the confines of a 62-year-old political boundary to the primal bonds that tie together the two peoples.
That’s how the ToI describes Aman ki Asha—an initiative which will, of course, amount to nothing. Don’t get me wrong, though—I’m not against the aims of Aman ki Asha. Peace is critical when it comes to a region as poor and wretched as the Indian sub-continent and anybody who thinks otherwise is just plain deluded. It’s just that by playing on the cultural similarities that the two countries share, as this project does ("primal bonds that tie together the two peoples"), you’re going to get nowhere.
It’s a common refrain, though—just ‘cause the two twins share a whole lot culturally, the two should be at peace. Well, the fact of matter is that culture-shulture never stopped a good, solid war. The two main protagonists of the Word Wars, Britain and Germany, shared religion, race and royalty (in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, a sitcom set in WW I, when Captain Darling, on being accused of being a German spy, protests that he’s as British as Queen Victoria, Blackadder replies, “So your father’s German, you’re half German and you married a German!”) but that didn’t stop them from trying to flatten each other.
Of course, it might not even be accurate to say that India and Pakistan share a common culture. While North India would, I guess, fit the bill, the people of East and South India share little, if anything, culturally with the people of Pakistan.
The fact of the matter is that India has to deal with Pakistan as a neighbour, plain and simple. Wildly oscillating between the extremes of treating the country as a long, lost brother and, then, as India's mortal enemy isn't going to help in the least.