VIGIL book on NGOs -
NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds
Page 26 of 41
29. Nirmala Deshpande on J&K and ´peace´ with Pakistan
´I have been heartened by the response I got from the people of Kashmir, particularly the youth. Whenever I meet friends from this country´, Deshpande said, ´I feel inspired because of their commitment to the Gandhian philosophy. Sometimes, one wonders whether Gandhi is remembered more outside India than in India.´
At her meeting with Mansingh, she faulted him for having a stereotyped image of Pakistan as a fire-breathing fundamentalist jihadi society. She spoke of her visits to Pakistan and pointed out that 24 per cent of the members of Pakistani Parliament are women, compared to India´s 8 per cent. She told him that among Pakistanis and several parliamentarians, there was ´so much good feeling for India.´ She said she could not understand why New Delhi was not responding and engaging in a dialogue with Islamabad (excerpt from India Abroad, September 5, 2003, by Aziz Haniffa).
Professional activists working in the ´peace´ industry and their ´secular´ supporters have always maintained that the onus of communal harmony rests only with the Hindus just as the onus of ´peace´ with Pakistan rests always with India. Decode that to mean that no matter what the provocation by intransigent Muslims, jihadi Muslims and evangelical Christians, as long as Hindus do not resist or protest, communal harmony will be preserved. But woe betides the fools´ paradise called communal harmony if Hindus make any attempt to retaliate or protest! Foreign- funded NGOs and ´peace´ and human rights activists backed by the European Parliament and the US State Department raise a cacophony about communal harmony, secularism, pluralism and even democracy being in danger because of the rise of ´Hindutva- fascism´.