17 Oct, 2015
Leading Pakistani feminist and poetess Fahmida Riaz is wondering whether to laugh or cry over recent events of intolerance across India. Riaz, who once took refuge in that country when she was hounded by right-wing elements in General Zia-ul Haq’s time, now says India has “turned out like us” — not just intolerant, but to such a degree that it has started looking like the Pakistan that India would not like to be.
To quote Riaz’s lament (which is in Urdu): “So it turned out you were just like us/Where were you hiding all this time, buddy?/That stupidity, that ignorance we wallowed in for a century/Look, it arrived at your shores too!”
The recent incidents of intolerance in India have shaken the country’s small progressive lobby and given a chance for right-wing elements to gloat, say political commentators. “What we are seeing is that the incidents in India give our establishment the justification to continue their anti-India line,” commented Abid Husain, a local journalist who works in the monthly Herald magazine.