ARTICLES
If Ahmad Shah Abdali were here

wednesday, september 20, 2006

History books tell us that Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan attacked India repeatedly in the eighteenth century and pillaged the country barren. These never-ending invasions gave birth to a desperate coinage in Punjab: “Khaada Peeda Lahe Da, Baaki Ahmad Shahe Da” (What you eat and drink is yours; all the rest belongs to Ahmad Shah).

During his fourth incursion in 1757, his men butchered hundreds in Delhi in a nightmarish orgy of murder, loot and rape. I have been wondering what would have been the reaction if the mass-murder had been perpetrated in modern times. Here is the most likely scenario: 

Manmohan Singh: “We once again condemn such inhuman acts and will continue to do so till better sense dawns on Shri Abdali. The heinous crime shows that his followers have become demoralised and frustrated. If the situation and Soniaji demand, I will go to various countries to apprise world leaders of the matter”.

Shivraj Patil: “Our fight against terror will continue. I have already visited the injured in hospitals and distributed ex-gratia.”

V.P.Singh and Arjun Singh: “Our hearts bleed for the SCs, STs and OBCs who lost their lives in the carnage”.

V. K. Duggal: “The barbaric act will not affect the peace process. We will unanimously press ahead with confidence-building measures”.

Leftists: “There is a conspiracy by satanic capitalists to discredit a great leader from a neighboring country with which India has had excellent relations for centuries”.

Mulayam Singh Yadav: “The allegation is a part of a devious campaign against the minority community. There is no proof that Abdali Saheb’s men carried out the massacre”.

Gen Pervez Musharraf: “As is its wont, India is falsely accusing the head of a peaceful foreign delegation of fomenting trouble. The killings are the handiwork of Indian security agencies to defame a prominent Muslim leader. I will forcefully raise the issue in the OIC”.

Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri: “India will have to face such situations till the Kashmir problem is solved”.

Congress spokesman: “The unfortunate killings are a natural reaction to the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat”.

Delhi Police Commissioner: “The situation is tense but under control. We have released computer-generated identity sketches of the suspects. Three horses and two dogs have been arrested on their basis”.

A self-styled Gandhian: “India must not hit back. The best way to defuse the situation would be to hand over at least half of the country to Ahmadji.”

Another Page-3 peacenik: “There should be a candle-light vigil at Khyber Pass to show to the world that we have no ill-will towards Afghanistanis despite what their ruler did here”.

A gritty Indian General and his commandos raid the invaders’ camp and arrest some Abdali men. He is made to release them and issue a public apology for “exceeding his brief and taking this needlessly provocative step which could have caused communal hatred and disharmony”.

Family members of those killed come on the street to demand action.

Leaders of several constituents of the ruling coalition point out that since most of those killed happened to belong to opposition parties, the massacre issue should be soft-pedalled.

When the government refuses to ban the sit-in by the victims’ families, these leaders threaten to withdraw support. The government reverses its stand immediately, declares the agitation illegal and arrests the protesters under anti-terrorism provisions.

 


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