Rashid Minhas defies stereotypes. When you hear about a fourteen-year-old getting charged up during the Pak-India War of 1965 and promising to fight the enemy, you expect his diaries to be filled with hate speeches. Yet, here is the list of notables which Rashid presented to inspire his younger brothers: “Rafiqui, Aziz Bhatti, Gandhi…” The first two were Pakistan warriors who died fighting against India in 1965. The third was the greatest leader of Indians themselves.
On the fateful day, when his Bengali instructor tried to hijack his plane, Rashid took less than ten minutes to decide, and act upon the astonishing decision, to crash his own plane in order to prevent the humiliating defection. Was it because he had something against Bengali sentiment? You might be as much surprised as I was when I learnt that Rashid had been personally of the opinion that power should be transferred to the Awami League without delay after the elections of 1970.
This is the enigma of Rashid Minhas. The ferocious defender of Pakistan didn’t hate India; the first Pakistani hero of the 1971 War wasn’t against Bengalis. Perhaps what we should presume from this is that hatred may make warriors but it doesn’t produce fast-thinkers. Among military heroes, Rashid remains unparalleled as a fast-thinker. Since he doesn’t have parallels, therefore we must approach him without any preconceived notions. This is what makes him intriguing. What do you think?