Tulsi Das's memorable line, "Jaa Kee Rahi Bhavana Jaisee, Prabhu Moorat Dekhi Tinh Tasie" (God in his incarnate form appeared to his devotees in whichever image they wanted him to manifest), can be said to be a universal and timeless rule of perception; you see, what you want to see.

Reality is a mental construct. Imran Khan's decision to release the Indian pilot in captivity has now violently divided Indian opinion. The devotees of Mr. Modi have painted the town red, claiming it as an instance of his prowess, his self-proclaimed 56''.

Those who are worshippers of other Gods and those who steadfastly mock Mr. Modi's 56” have awarded the game, set and match to Mr. Imran Khan. His statesmanship, his strong desire of snatching peace from the jaws of war are the subject of many analyses.

As usual the reality is somewhere in between these extreme positions. Neither is Mr. Modi the God who will provide deliverance from the demon called Pakistan that haunts the imagination of his fanatic supporters nor is for that matter Mr. Imran Khan the peacenik that he is made out to be.

Mr. Imran Khan has the advantage of his background; he is educated, urbane, he has international exposure he is charming and a glib talker. But make no mistake, he is no different, and the Pakistani establishment is no different from any other whose raison d’etre is the destruction of India or at least obstruction of India from economic progress. Mr. Imran Khan is no less a puppet than his predecessors were and he could not have possibly taken this decision without the consent of the military establishment. But yes, he had the sharp sense of making virtue of a necessity.

There is no way he could have refused to release the Indian pilot in his custody. Everything from laws and conventions to international public opinion was loaded against Pakistan. The only thing that Pakistan could have done was to defer, delay, and demure. And he tried to do that. Anyone who cares to trace the timelines will mark the gradual climbing down and before he made the final dive the news was already out that the benefactor and friend of last resort Saudi Arabia had sent a special envoy of the Prince to Imran Khan and USA which keeps Pakistani Military fed and fighting fit, had put in a word. But in six hours flat from a mere offer with conditionality to a unilateral offer of release suggests that the word was accompanied with a suitable gesture as well. No wonder, POTAS had let us know before Imran Khan did, that we may expect good news emanating from Pakistan.

Mr. Modi's sang froid in face of the pilot's captivity could appear to be cynical but it must have been occasioned by his knowledge of the developments. Whether the intent of the Indian government of suitably chastising the enemy still holds, will be seen in the days to come. But in the ultimate analysis, no matter how much our blood is on the boil and no matter how much we want to get at each other's throat, we need USA's by-your-leave to indulge our blood lust. Not a very edifying assessment but that is how I feel about the whole situation.

India Today magazine once referred to Manoje Nath, a 1973-batch IPS officer, as being fiercely independent, honest, and upright. Besides his numerous official reports on various issues exposing corruption in the bureaucracy in Bihar, Nath is also a writer extraordinaire expressing his thoughts on subjects ranging from science fiction to the effects of globalization. His sense of humor was evident through his extremely popular series named "Gulliver in Pataliputra" and "Modest Proposals" that were published in the local newspapers.