While the governments of India and Pakistan tread carefully on the messages they are sending each other after the Mumbai attacks, the youth of the two countries are holding lengthier and more liberal dialogues thanks to the World Wide Web. Since last Thursday, a large number of portals have mushroomed to promote this interaction. Bloggers and social networking web sites are getting choked with the huge memberships that are they are attracting. While some are messages of peace and sympathy, a large number of dialogues indicate anger, profanity and a need to change.
A group called "Mumbai terror attacks-I condemn it" on social networking site Facebook has a discussion board on which there are several topics on for debate. It has gathered 24 thousand members in the past three days. One of the topics is, "I want all Pakistanis to tell me how they feel. I refuse to believe what I hear without hearing you". On this writes Jagat Sohail of India, "People of Pakistan tell me, Do you support these cold blooded terrorists? Are you proud to see them killing? Proud that they are even remotely associated with your country, your people?"
Annim Moh of Pakistan replies, "Pakistanis never supported killers and never will. That is the reason why so many of us even joined this group. We empathise with you and feel the hurt you feel. When the Marriot hotel was attacked similar feelings of loss of life were felt. I just hope you guys empathised with us then and did not support or rejoice at the unrest that occurs across the border (which many Pakistanis feel to be very true). I mean, even today there were bombs going off in Karachi."
Another reaction from Siddharth Manjunath, " We as Indians must reach out to ordinary Pakistanis. The
civilian government in Pakistan is not responsible for the attacks, but the ISI and the Pakistani
military are responsible for the attacks. They are holding India, the people of Pakistan, the region, and the entire world hostage with their policy of hatred and
On another portal called Avaaz.org--the world in action, has gained 51,000 people to sign its petition on "Mumbai will not be divided", in the past 72 hours. Other topics open for debate on the Internet include, "If India does not level Pakistan, I hope Obama does" "Any conspiracy theories anyone would like to share?" and some put up by Pakistani youth include " This is why India has to blame Pakistan" and " Is it possible that there were not even Muslims, let alone Pakistani’s?" and. "What do people in Pakistan think about India".
On a discussion board called, " My message to Pakistan," Annim Moh, a Pakistani responds to all the allegations made by the Indians, " The problem is that Hinuds never accept that the problem may very well be within. The number of Pakistani Terrorist organisations is 47 but the number of Indian terrorist organisations is 178. You have to stop suffering from Pakistanphobia. Stop playing the blame game."
On the possibilities of the two countries going to war, Adrian Longman of Pakistan writes, " I dont think India can beat Pakistan in a war. I predict after millions of lives lost a conventional win for the Indian army, then after 3 or 4 years of Guerilla warfare, A bankrupt India begins to retreat, and eventually guerilla fighters push on to Delhi over a smashed Indian army. ‘’
To this Saif Wahid of India replies, " You Fuckers have just one front line aircraft. F-16 nothing else. We have Migs, Harriers, Sukhois, Jaguars, Tejas. Not to mention that we have 6 different types of Migs. Plus you have only 80 F-16s. The no. of Foxbats in th IAF are itself 190. Plus Pakistan economy is in the toilet. They cannot finance any future war."
Says Zeeshan Ali of Pakistan, "I am angry. Do you think Pakistani people like this? We are in the same situation every day there are bomb blasts . Hundreds of people are dying in Blasts and open firing. If these terrorist are Muslim why would they blast mosques? Do you think we Pakis like that other nations hates us and call us terrorists? I hate my country and the politicians. Mr Musharaf tried to take that camps but what happened with him. Trust me it's hurt."
The Internet has given the youth in India and Pakistan a stage to battle out their views. And the extent and reach of the interaction is growing everyday.