Saturday, September 23, 2006

In a General way

The Hindu today published a review of Pervez Musharraf's autobiographical work called "In the line of fire". You can also read a rather insipid review here. The book is out on Monday, 9/27, in New York. As you'd expect, there is no dearth of dramatic material; & from an Indian perspective, some of the colouring that has been used to represent certain incidents is blatantly polemic, to fight the urge of using stronger language in a public site.

Here is one example:

In defence of his oft-repeated definition of terrorists in Kashmir as freedom fighters, General Musharraf declares: "The west rejects militant freedom struggles too broadly. The U.S. and Europe too often equate all militancy with terrorism, in particular equating Kashmir's struggle for freedom in Indian Held Kashmir with terrorism. Pakistan has always rejected this broad brush treatment."

While there may be great differences between militancy & terrorism, like in a dictionary, & while the western view may indeed be reductionist & simplistic, the Kashmiri story is a decades-old tug of war between three peoples - the Indians, the Pakistanis, & the Kashmiris. The political complexities are immense & treacherous acts abound. The history is laced with blood. Describing Kashmir merely as freedom struggle is just as blatantly reductionist & a position-based point of view as any.

State sponsorship of terrorism is a political gambit & particularly in the case of Pakistan, has saved it from an economic collapse, more than once. While the General may be a good story-teller, I wonder how many are really riveted.


Trekker said...

Regardless, it ought to make for a pretty good read. Hope he goes into details (doesn't seem to be that way though e.g. The Hindu review saying that only a few pages are devoted to Kargil). I have pre-ordered it on Amazon and will hopefully post a review soon after reading it.

S! said...

Thanks for dropping by, trekker.

It has been my general experience that instituionalized books present a very instituionalized picture! Albeit the events & details may be true, they're usually selected & juxtaposed to support the instituion's point of view.

However, I'd check your posts to make sure I've read your review of the book. I agree that it ought to make a stir.