Dear Prime Minister, Pakistan was sending you a message by humiliating Jadhav’s family

Dear Prime Minister,

I am generally predisposed to writing long-winded introductions. I start with some thoughts on the subject, perhaps throw in a thought provoking quote by a famous personality, and end my introduction with a sentence that hopefully hits the reader right in his gut. Today, however, words escape me. I have no profound thoughts as rage grips my existence after reading about the humiliation faced by Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother, at the ‘Napaak’ hands of Pakistan.

It has been over 20 months, since Pakistan arrested, nay, abducted Kulbhushan Jadhav. 20 long, agonising months, not only for him, but for his family, who had perhaps lost all hope. Until India approached the International Court of Justice and got a stay on his execution. And I’m sure that ray of hope only got brighter when India, with its diplomatic prowess, ensured that they get to meet Jadhav.

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I bet his mother must have spent countless hours in front of her mandir. Praying. Warring with her god, to keep her son safe. She must have thanked god when she was told she would be able to meet her son. Talk to him. Hug him. Kiss his forehead. And tell him that the nation prays for him. His wife must have spent some time donning her ‘suhaag ki nishaani’. Meticulously applying sindoor, bindi, wearing her bangles. Jubilated, that after months of agonising pain, she would be able to meet her husband.

The hope is akin to suddenly seeing that one crooked line signifying life, when a loved one lays dying on a hospital bed. They must have reached Islamabad with that same hope, that same anxiousness, with endless questions and untold words.

They trusted you. They trusted your government when you told them they will be treated with dignity, as I assume you did, considering your government communicated with Pakistan to set up this meeting. They weren’t. While I support the decision to get his family to meet him, I would want nothing more, but you should have also known Pakistan won’t hold up to its end of the bargain.

They reached Islamabad, and before they could see their son, they were stripped of their dignity. His wife was made to remove her bangles and mangalsutra. Her Bindi was removed. They were even made to change clothes. They were hounded with Pakistani Media persons hurling allegations at them. Insulting her son. Insulting her husband. They didn’t even let your official accompany the family. They were whisked away, humiliated, separated from the only person who could protect them, to meet their battered loved one, who would rattle off tutored answers, while injury marks riddled his body. They didn’t let Jadhav’s mother speak to him in her own language. They eventually stopped her from talking to him completely. They even made his wife go back barefoot.

They did all of this for a reason, you know? They were sending a message to you, Prime Minister, and disgracing Jadhav’s wife, in the manner they did, was their method.

This was their way of telling you, Prime Minister, that Jadhav is never coming back. This was them telling you, “you send us his wife, we send you back his widow”. They wiped her sindoor and bindi, took off her mangalsutra, not only because of pure hate and disdain for the Hindu culture, but also to tell you, that all your aggressive efforts to get him back would fail. You will fail.

I need to believe they’re wrong. I need to believe because I am a wife and a mother myself, and my heart shatters into a million pieces when I think about what they must have gone through, or what they must be going through.

It is time India deals with the puny bully wielding a stick. The bully, who walks over us not because he holds the bigger stick, but because we are too afraid to use ours. Uri for example, was said to be avenged with a surgical strike. But how long will we keep losing our men. How long will Pakistan keep humiliating the women of this country.

I don’t know, Prime Minister, how you can bring Kulbhushan Jadhav back. I don’t know if there is a political or a military solution to all of this. I do know, however, that we have been humane with the barbarians for far too long. While they wipe the sindoor off Jadhav’s wife, we are busy in issuing medical visas on humanitarian grounds. While they kill our men, we have given them the status of most preferred nation. The Indus water that flows into Pakistan, has our women’s tears and our men’s blood.

I don’t know if you can get Jadhav back, Prime Minister, but the dignity of his family needs to be reclaimed. Pakistan needs to pay for every tear that left their eyes. For every drop of blood that escaped Jadhav’s body. For every mother and wife, who felt their pain. Pakistan needs to pay. And you, Prime Minister, need to ensure that they do. Terroristan needs to die, for us to live.

Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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