How poor Bilawal Bhutto’s peaceful greeting was massacred by Indian newspapers.
On April 8, while at work someone asked me the correct spelling of Allahu Akbar (or Allah O Akbar) in devnagri. Intrigued, I asked why and was shown the PTI copy of Bilawal Bhutto’s (nee Zardari) tweet. The copy read – “AOA India Peace be with you”. It also attempted to explain what AOA is – “AOA is for Allah-o-Akbar (God is great)” they claimed.
Sure, Allah O Akbar means God is Great, but did Bilawal tweet Allah O Akbar or AOA? And is it more likely AOA was twitter lingo for Assalaamu Alaykum (or Assalaam O Alaikum) which is the standard Islamic greeting and not Allah O Akbar? Assalaam Alaykum means – Peace be with you. Allah O Akbar does not!
Allah O Akbar as translated in the PTI report is – God is great. But it is also recognized as an exhortation or battle cry just like Har Har Mahadev or Bole So Nihal.
So imagine the Indian PM going to Pakistan and saying “Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal Pakistan. Peace be with you”. You would really have to push your imagination hard to picture mild-mannered Manmohanji tweeting that. Or the Nepalese PM going to Pakistan and saying, “Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali Pakistan, Peace be with you”. Does that make any sense? It didn’t to me either. But it did to newspapers like Hindustan Times and The Hindu who carried the PTI copy without checking.
The one silver lining to this cloud is that no right wing nuts were outraged or took offence to the inappropriately translated greeting.
In case you’re ROFL or LOL-ing, I say to you – AOA, and just so there’s no confusion what I mean is – Peace be with you.