Thursday, February 28, 2008

On the Pakistan Elections

WEll Done

By Badri Raina | ZNet, February 24, 2008

Badri Raina's ZSpace Page

There comes a tide in the life of nations,
Which, if taken at the crest,
Leads to fortune. (Shakespeare mangled)

Remember those two kinds of people—the ones who always see the glass half empty and those that see it half full?

And, oh, the experts, especially the Indian ones; they never do see the bright side of most things, least of all Pakistan. It is as though you could not be an expert if you ceased to be ifsy and butsy and joyed in innocence for a bit.

All of which recalls that most instructive experiment that the good doctor of Austria once conducted.

Dear Sigmund, we are told, put up an easel with a spotless white sheet plastered over; not quite spotless though, for at the dead centre he planted a needle-point black dot as well.

Then came the ten subjects; and nine of them when asked said they saw a black dot; just one cretin blurted that he saw a white board!

Add to that the other conundrum. Most of us who would hold forth on affairs of the world tend to conflate the end of time with our own particular mortality. So just as we imagine ourselves to be the persons we are today, rather than processes that have spanned a lifetime of making and unmaking, we bear on events not as processes but as products.

And when was there a product that was not first an aspect of processes? To this I have spoken rather more in an earlier article titled “Essentialising Pakistan” (Znet, January 13, 08).


For the wary, let me say that it is not my incautious case that democracy has finally arrived in Pakistan (when does anything ever arrive finally?). An election, alas, does not a democracy make all by itself.

Continued . . .
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