See now here’s where I disagree with Trevor Noah. Let’s ignore that ghastly imitation of a Hindi accent and talk about what is entertainment. If you really want a fun war, then the soldiers shouldn’t be doing a Bollywood dance number. I think they should cover themselves in war paint, throw on some animal layers, don some beaded necklaces and carry some goatskin bags. I think what we need is a tribal war; with spears, knives and raucous sounds.
Because that’s what the Xhosa tribes do right?
I’m sure when Mr. Noah made that joke he didn’t intend to hurt any feelings. Trevor Noah is an amazing comedian and he might not be John Oliver, but he’s got skills. He can deliver the news and he can make it funny. Well done, Sir.
But when it comes to Indo-Pak relations, I’m afraid Mr. Noah did not do his homework. India has been to war with Pakistan four times before: in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Our conflict is usually about the Kashmir issue, another thing Mr. Noah should probably read up on. The Kashmir issue is the nub of all Indo-Pak hostilities. I’m no expert, but then I don’t have a news program on Comedy Central so I’m quite safe in my ignorance.
So where did it all start? No, not the Indo-Pak War, I mean the Trevor Noah debacle. What happened?
Well first you have to understand why Trevor Noah was talking about India and Pakistan in the first place. On the 14th of February 2019, a convoy of around 76 vehicles carrying 2500 Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the district of Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, was rammed by a vehicle carrying explosives. It was driven by Adil Ahmad Dar, a suicide bomber and this act of terrorism caused the death of 40 CRPF soldiers. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Indian security personnel.
Jaish-e-Muhammad, a militant group based in Pakistan, took full responsibility for the attack. It’s been active for the last two decades and is headed by Masood Azhar. This group was also behind the attacks on the Indan Parliament and the Pathankot Airbase.
On 26th February 2019, the Indian Air Force conducted an airstrike on the JeM camp, with 12 Mirage 2000 jets dropping 1000kg bombs. The camp was completely annihilated. The entire operation was over in 19 minutes.
Hold on, that isn’t the end of the story. In retaliation to that, on February 27th, 24 Pakistani fighter jets invaded Indian air space and in order to head them off, the IAF promptly dispatched Sukhoi 30s, Mirage 2000s and Mig 21 Bisons. In total 8 fighter jets to push back the enemy. In the ensuing dogfight, one of their F-16s was shot down and one of our Mig 21s was shot down. The pilot flying the downed Mig 21, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, ejected in time but was captured by the local mob. He was assaulted by them before being taken in by the Pakistani Army.
Even though it isn’t exactly war time, Wg Cdr Varthaman would technically be a Prisoner of War and as such had to be returned to India under the Geneva Convention. Two days after he was captured, Wg Cdr Varthaman was handed over at the Wagah border. He had suffered rib and spine injuries and been subjected to mental harassment by the Pakistani Military. He was deprived of sleep, made to stand for long hours and listen to loud music; at one point he was even beaten, choked and grilled to elicit information about the Indian Air Force. Nevertheless, he came back home; a soldier and a hero.
Let me make this very clear: Had Wg Cdr Varthaman been killed, India would have gone to war with Pakistan. It is not the same as the feud between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. The worst those woman can do to each other is pull out the other’s wig. The worst India and Pakistan can do is to point their nuclear missiles at one another and wipe out half of Asia. This is why countries like the US, UK and China implored Pakistan to return him with due respect.
When an American comedian decides to joke about war between two nations because the idea of Bollywood makes it seem ludicrous, I’m sure you can see why Indians don’t appreciate the humour.
To his credit, Trevor Noah issued a prompt apology.
Why am I writing about it? Am I offended? No. I’m not. Not remotely.
I’m angry. Angry because we’ve lost countless soldiers in 4 wars and daily skirmishes across the LOC during a span of 70 years. Angry because Pakistan supports terrorism and terrorism is what India is fighting against. If Indian reporters and comedians started taking digs at gunmen shooting down schoolchildren in America, I’m quite confident Americans wouldn’t like that. I’m angry because an F-16, an American aircraft, was brought down by a Mig 21 Bison, a Russian aircraft. Why wasn’t this considered newsworthy by The Daily Show? You should’ve said something about that guys. You should have told your audience that when it comes to air combat manoeuvring, India has proven that it’s about the pilot, not the plane.
Stick to Bollywood, Mr. Trevor Noah. That should fulfil your entertainment quota. Your knowledge of India is limited to yoga, curry and Priyanka Chopra. Don’t talk about Indo-Pak ‘tensions‘. We didn’t rob natives of their land, we’re not capitalists; we didn’t invade a country and rule it for over two centuries, we’re not imperialists; we didn’t fly planes into skyscrapers, we’re not fundamentalists.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. My father was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force for 33 years. He flew the Mirage 2000 for 8 years. He also fought in the Kargil War.
And I’m pretty sure we won that war without any Bollywood moves.