Saturday, April 16, 2011
Critical analysis of the Idea of Pakistan and India
Idea of Pakistan: Hindus and Muslims of South Asia have completely separate history. Their heroes are different, their rituals are different, their behaviour patterns (tehzeeb) are different and they value different things. It would have been absolutely impossible for the Muslims to live and to secure basic socio-economic rights under a Hindu ruling country with over 70% of Hindu population. Thus, creation of Pakistan was inevitable for the wellbeing of the Muslims of South Asia and to escape from much likely Hindu domination. This ideology is also referred as a two-nation theory.
Idea of India: Since ancient time, people of various religion and race have come to the land of India. Not only Hindus and Muslims, but the people of all religion can live together because we share more commonalities than differences. India is for everyone. The people of South Asia share rich history, which dates back more than 5000 years. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have evolved from here. In addition, throughout history, India has warmly welcomed other religions, mainly, Judaism, Zoroastrianism (Parsi), Islam, and Christianity. The root of this pluralist ideology seems to be the idea of Vasudhaiv kutumbkam (whole world is a single family) that originates in ancient Indian texts called the Upanishads and is considered an integral part of the Hindu Philosophy.
Both these ideas (of India & Pakistan) are incompatible with each other. If Hindus and Muslims are doing well together, the idea of India prevails but the idea of Pakistan becomes fallacious. And in the events of communal disharmony, the idea of India would be severely disturbed, while the idea of Pakistan would find concrete justification. Quite naturally, these ideas drive both countries to zero sum games. One’s triumph is the defeat for the other.
On a closer look, the idea of India seems more promising keeping a long-term perspective in mind. The pluralist nature of a country facilitates positive relationship with all kinds of nations. For example, India has warm ties with Palestine as well as Israel; however, Pakistan is unable to have relations with Israel. In addition, pluralist nature helps a nation strengthen internal social stability as every section of society owns the country on equal basis. And this could be the reason why Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, wanted Pakistan to be a modern secular democratic state, where the people of all religion would have equal rights (as per his speech on 11th August, 1947). For years, he was demanding a separate country on religious bases and when the time had come, he was talking about creating a secular state. This message was indigestible for the masses as the people were romanticizing the idea of a new Muslim country. Sadly, he did not live long enough to implement his idea of plural Pakistan, which would have been more or less just another India, but with a Muslim majority. Today, Pakistan desperately needs a visionary leadership that builds a tolerant, secular and progressive welfare-state that their Quaid-E-Azam, Jinnah, had envisioned. Such a state would have all of the ingredients of becoming the best partner India can ever have.
On the other hand, India faces quite unique challenges. A section of its population, mainly Hindu, supports Pakistan’s two nation theory (i.e., Hindus and Muslims cannot live together). These people believe that the Muslims should not be allowed to live in India as they are already given a separate land to live on. These people regret the fact that India became a secular state and not a Hindu (theocratic) state. They romanticize the idea of a Hindu nation just as many Islamists did for Pakistan prior to the partition. Another challenge - a section of Muslim community keeps identifying itself with the Arabs or the Persians rather than the rest of the non-Muslim Indians. These elements must open their eyes and own up the Indian history instead of beginning stories from the 7th centrury Arabia. The recent genetic research unanimously suggests that the South Asian Muslims are genetically same as Hindus (mostly no observable difference between the genes of Hindus & Muslims of South Asia), not the Arabs, the central Asians or the Muslims of any other region of the world. All of these people, irrespective of their religion, ought to realize that they are strengthening the idea of Pakistan and hurting the idea of India. By doing so, they are disregarding their primary duty, which is to safe-guard and to nurture the idea of India.
The two nation theory is weak because it has generated from fear and bigotry, whereas the Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam theory is strong, very strong, because it expresses hope for a harmonized world. The true triumph of the idea of India will be evident when the individuals across the whole world would consider themselves as members of a global family. And the best place to begin this campaign is the neighbour on our left.
I welcome your comments....