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The IRI survey bears out our preconceptions about Pakistanis as religious zealots and India-haters. But that is only if we look at the majority. What I find remarkable is the pronounced division of opinion on all questions facing Pakistan. This is why I think that the naively negative policy that Manmohan Singh has followed on Pakistan has reached the end of the road, and that a more nuanced policy is worth trying. Opening the border to greater trade can do no harm; a billion dollars or two of aid for spending on Indian goods may create a bit of goodwill. There are 14 or 18 crore Pakistanis over there (no one knows since there has been no census for decades); it is worth making a few friends out of them. And we do not have to depend on Research and Analysis Wing to find potential friends; the Pakistani press is a serviceable mirror of the Pakistani society. What would help us greatly is if a few million Indians learnt Urdu and started reading Pakistani newspapers. That would give Pakistan a new source of export earnings, and us a valuable source of information on the country. We should even give some Pakistanis asylum once in a while when they get into trouble at home; who knows, they may rise to power one day.
Read the full piece: What Pakistanis Think
While learning Urdu might be a worthwhile exercise anyway, I think the smart Indians would perhaps simply read the Pakistani newspapers on the web. So not much scope for export revenue there, for Pakistan.
Ashok Desai, writing in the Telegraph, while reminding us that "Narendra Modi may have done devilish deeds, but he is still a human," goes on to say:
But he too must have been a toddler once, making sweet googoo sounds and crawling between the feet of his parents. He too must have climbed mango trees and eaten green mangoes. He too must have been a bridegroom in a turban smiling shyly at guests....
But, but, you are going to sputter, Modi's a bachelor. Exactly my reaction, till I realised Ashok Desai's mischievous sense of humour... He goes on to describe Modi's background, to come to the substantive part of his piece where he points out that the "unreflective, practical, personality-oriented style is behind Modi’s subsequent success" and that:
Modi has done two things. He has reduced the leakage of government revenue that goes all over India into enrichment of politicians and bureaucrats, and diverted it to building up Gujarat’s infrastructure. And out of his own necessity, he has publicized Gujarat’s good administration. Modi’s success is more due to Gujarat than the other way round. But he is an autocrat, and has used his autocratic powers to give Gujarat a considerable competitive advantage over other states. His intellectual equipment is limited, but he has concentrated it in a remarkable manner to rebrand Gujarat, to his own collateral benefit.
Read the full article here: The education of Modi