Apropos Tahir Mehdi’s column on the similarities and differences between Uttar Pradesh and Sindh (Some Myths Work, May 7), his arguments are valid—democracy can indeed work miracles. Our founding fathers—Gandhi, Jinnah and Nehru—failed to keep India united. Future generations will pay for Partition politics—India, Pakistan and Bangladesh spend a a large amount of their gdp on defence purchases, money that has other, urgent use.
K. Madhu, Hyderabad
A very mature, introspective article. Strangely, perhaps appropriately, it has taken a Pakistani to point to us the strength of the roots that democracy has struck in our soil. Perhaps our constant carping could now be tempered with a modicum of national pride.
Gaurab Banerjee, Calcutta
With Partition, the demography of Sindh changed drastically, leaving many Sindhis confused on whether the creation of Pakistan was really beneficial for them. Their biggest city, Karachi, has for years experienced a bloody showdown between the Mohajirs from UP and the Pathan population coming in steadily from the nwfp. As has been noted, the Sindhis are nowhere in the picture, having now been reduced to an insignificant minority. It has also to be remembered that during those turbulent weeks in ’47, Muslim Sindhis did not indulge in much violence. In fact, many Hindu Sindhis and other Hindus had to leave after the Mohajir attacks.
One of the unspoken atrocities of the Partition is the way the Hindus of Sindh were treated. Even amidst the chaotic partitioning of Punjab and Bengal, Sikhs and Hindus were not so shabbily treated, as was the lot of the Sindhis. For their large numbers, they should have got their own patch of land in independent India, maybe in eastern Sindh. But the Congress leadership betrayed their interests.
It is good to see at least some Pakistani writers looking at India beyond the prism of Kashmir.
Rishi Vyas, Palampur
>> No No , it was not a "war" between the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
The point was that it is not correct to say, " the dichotomy of Indian Muslims and Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslims is somewhat artificial." Do you ever get the point?
"After the bloody war that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis fought in 1971!"-
"After the bloody war that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis fought in 1971!"-
No No , it was not a "war" between the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as has been well documented and recorded in recent history. Even You Tube carries lots of information on what happened which everyone can access.
It was a GENOCIDE of Bangladeshis by the Pakistanis. Basta !!!
And it was a BLOODY genocide indeed - official figure is 3 Million Bengalis killed. Unofficial figure is much higher. And how many Pakistanis were killed by the Bangladeshis?
Learn to speak the truth that everybody knows !
>> the dichotomy of Indian Muslims and Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslims is somewhat artificial.
After the bloody war that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis fought in 1971! If you visit Indian Muslim websites. there is widespread condemnation of the treatment of minorities and the rise of mullahism in Pakistan. Even Indian Wahabis and Indian Sufis are constantly battling each other.
@ K. Madhu
"I don't know why our Founding fathers could not consider American type Federal system to keep India together"
Our founding fathers had only two options before them. One was the cabinet mission plan for a united India and the other was the partition plan. The option of an American federal system wasnt there. The cabinet mission plan gave extraordinary powers not to the provinces but to three groups of provinces, one of which had a hindu majority and the other two had a muslim majority. This would have at best delayed the breakup of the country and would have resulted in a much larger Pakistan which would have included all of the northeast, undivided punjab and undivided Bengal. Delhi would have been a city lying bang on the International border. Thank God Nehru rejected the cabinet mission plan and opted for the lesser evil.
>> "Some sections of Muslims thought they should rule India becuase Moguls ruled before the British."
>>I was obviously talking of Indian Muslims.
Given the history of the subcontinent, the dichotomy of Indian Muslims and Pakistani or Bangladeshi Muslims is somewhat artificial.
>>Indo-Pak hostility is intense and unfortunate, but I do not think it is inevitable. Only the loonies on both sides savor it.
hostility may not be inevitable but rivalry is. Pakistan will and should compete with India for forseeable future and that would be fine if it was a positive competition that benefited the populations of both countries.
Unfortunate part is that higher defense spending and domination of their respective economy by bureaucracy/politicians in India and by Military in Pakistan has produced some long term negative consequences in both countries, including fundamentalism on both sides.
Dear Tahir Mehdi,
>>Let me confess today: if being secular means having faith in democracy, I profess it, as I have seen it work miracles.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Our Founding Fathers - Gandhi, Jinna and Nehru failed to keep India united. That was a big mistake, and many generations will pay for it. India was fortunate to have three sides Oceans, and in north Himalayas. With 10,000 soliders we could have defended the country. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are spending 15 to 20% of their yearly budget on defense for last 65 years. If we had spend fraction of that money on development, we would have been a better society. Only a fraction of people took advantage of partition and made Pakistan/Bangladesh an Islamic fundamentalist country and India, a Hindu fundamentalist country. If we had stayed together, both fundamentalist groups could have been check made, and vast majority of secular people could have advanced the society. I don't know why our Founding fathers could not consider American type Federal system to keep India together. If our constitution guaranted Seperation State and Chruch, Individual rights, Local Autonomy and Free enterprize economic system, we could have prevailed.
Muslims were in the forefront of Independance movement in 1857 and then retreated. Some sections of Muslims thought they should rule India becuase Moguls ruled before the British. They failed to recognize in democracy people rule themselves. Obama election in America, and recent UP elections tells in democracy people want leaders who can solve their problems. Religion and caste should be irrevelent. But unfortunately the population of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh incresed 4 times in since independance. Half of the poorest people of world live in subcontinent. We failed to bring 100 percent literacy. With over population and illiteracy, the subcontinent did not achieve the fruits of freedom. Show me a family with one or two children, I will show you they are better off than rest of the society. The key is education and family planning to move our three countries to advance. Since we can't put the gennie in the box, atleast we should try to learn from the Europeans. Europeans fought two world wars in last century and killed Millions of thier own people. Now they formed an European union and want to trade not wars and accepted the entire European culture as Westren culture. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Srilanka could form an economic union and make it possible easy travel and gradually improve the cultural and economic relations. You like it or not that is the only option we have!
>> answered with same from across the border who were also Indians not so long ago.
I was obviously talking of Indian Muslims. Indo-Pak hostility is intense and unfortunate, but I do not think it is inevitable. Only the loonies on both sides savor it.
>> There were many reasons why Muslims invaded India, not the ill treatment of dalits.
I did not say Muslims invaded India to help the Dalits.
Some more Simple thinking
TWO X GOOD , X-Y BAD
Anwaar(Dallas) >>If Hindus had not ill-treated the Dalits for thousands of years,..
No one said India or Hindus were a perfect society. Buddha came to reform Indian society and almost succeeded. Buddism went to China and Japan peacfully. Islam came to India by force. Aryans used horses to defeat the Indus people. Muslim invaders used cannons while Hindu kings were fighting with horses and elephants. British defetaed Indians with rifles. Now Iran want to develop Nuclear weapons and the rest of Arab countries are shiting in their pants. It is the weapons that changed the history of India. Before Islam, many Indians were Buddhists. There were many reasons why Muslims invaded India, not the ill treatment of dalits. The author of this article want introspect the Isamic Pakistan not India.
Clearly the largest minority in India is WOMEN. Guys, a few years down the line when MEN will be the largest minority, how they should be treated is the issue. I shall take notes now.
>>Because they are Indians.
This is obviously true but much harder to convince wider population when every bomb or missile development is answered with same from across the border who were also Indians not so long ago. Nonetheless, your point is valid.
>>If Hindus had not ill-treated the Dalits for thousands of years, there would not have been so many Muslims in the subcontinent today, and there would not have been any partition.
There is some truth in this statement as well. But, Ambedkar; who viscerally hated Hinduism, in the end opted for Buddhism (however impractical in today's India) than Islam.
Also, considering the fact that for much of its history, Pakistan is dominated by Muslim Rajputs (including Jinnah) and Rajputs being the old challengers of Brahmin Orthodoxy (all the way to Mahavir and Buddha) of Brahmin orthodoxy, Dalits likely saw way to their salvation and freedom both in advent of Islam to South Asia and resurrection of old rivalry but that may just have been a side effect of the forces of history.
Let us keep the men out of this. Woman to woman, your opinion on
>> You don't have answer why ..........
Your diatribe is so stupid! All you are saying is "We are better than you. We are better than you. We are better than you." I too can ask you a lot of why questions, but I won't. Have a good day!
>> why is it an obligation for poor India to accomodate such large minority.
Because they are Indians. If Hindus had not ill-treated the Dalits for thousands of years, there would not have been so many Muslims in the subcontinent today, and there would not have been any partition.
Anwaar(Dallas) - >>For a moment I had thought you were interested in a serious discussion. Sorry for my mistake!<<
Anwaar, you don't like the truth. You don't have answer why Muslims have such large families in UP? You don't have an answer why Indian Muslims did not stop the partition? You did not have answers why fatwa were issued against Rashdi and Taslima? You did not answer why Indian Muslims want separate Muslim laws? We Hindus criticize our religion and religious leaders and no one dare to issue a fatwa. Hindus do not bomb other countries. They don't demand special laws unlike Muslims who demand Sharia laws imposed in non-Muslim countries. Taslima Narsin was physically attacked by an elected Muslim MLA in Hyderabad for writing a book. Please don't pretend you are some kind of intellectual with an open mind. You are NOT! Muslims and democracy do not go together!
>>This question is being raised from time to time even now and it may be arising from a resistance to accepting India as it is, and a wish for an All-Hindu Wonderland!
If the super rich countries of northern europe can barely tolerate miniscule of minorities, why is it an obligation for poor India to accomodate such large minority (with whom it has had historic and continuing animosity)?
The answer it seems to me that Muslims in South Asia became a minority. They were in large enough numbers that someone like Jinnah could dream of becoming a PM of India, but when it became clear that it was not to be, he opted for a separate nation that he could lead in his own vision.
On the other hand, guy like Ambedkar who had every reason to fear what he feared, he still could not even manage to get separate electorates for his constituency due to Gandhi's blackmail.
Hindu-Muslim dynamics in South Asia are quite similar to US-China on world stage in following ways:
(1) India (Hindu) dominates South Asia as US dominates the world.
(2) China is relatively poor and disadvantaged but rising faster and challenging status-quo, Similarly, Muslims are the only significant challenge to the power of Upper Caste Hindus in South Asia. Muslims are relatively disadvantaged but if they can get their act together (i.e. secular democratic institutions and economic and educational development of the population) then they are likely to cause trouble for status-quo of power structure in India as already witnessed by Yadavs staking their claim with the help of Muslim votes.
(3) Chinese compete very aggresively in US markets and have benefited from their one way trade relationship with US to become an economic powerhouse to the extent that it is now difficult to imagine US economy without Chinese manufacturing.
Similarly, India is very dependent on the cooperation of Muslims (both within its borders as well as in neighboring countries) to both consolidate the existing power structures as well as further its agenda on International stage. Muslims are more likely to challenge that than cooperate; unless they get larger say in it than what they have had so far.
(4) China wants to be part of WTO and be treated with respect by US that it thinks it deserves but refuses to democratize or otherwise heed to any advice from the West except in matters economic.
Similarly, Pakistan (and wider Muslim populations everywhere) demand to be treated fairly and respectfully by the world community but refuse to reciprocate (with regards to minorities among them if there are any). The problem is that rich europeans get away with all sorts of discrimination and much worse against Muslims while poor country like India has to not only be constantly on the guard not only about offending them but about the terrorist attacks in retaliation to any oversight, perceived or real.
(5) There are some similarities (at least in purpose) between Communism and Islam and Europeanism and Hinduism.
So, the problem is somewhat more complicated than All-Hindu-Wonderland !
None of this excuses the ill-treatment and discrimination (and occasional riots) that Muslims (esp those whose last name is not Khan or whose net worth is smaller than their age) face day to day in India.
Thank you for your opinion on Jinnah.
"Jinnah probably knew Bombay better than he knew Lahore or Dhaka."
Jinnah was the most cunning political leader who used communal way to grab power. The hypocrite was never a religious, but used religion to grab power that killed 100s of people. He had no vision for a country, never understood local culture. No wonder, his country was broken into 2 countries and now a basket case with no real identity.
>> much acclaimed secularism of Jinnah as even by Hindutva stalwarts like LK Advani could not and did not stop the almost complete extermination of Hindu/Sikhs and their forced exodus from Pakistan.
The regression of Pakistan to barbarism and anarchy is unforgivable. Jinnah probably knew Bombay better than he knew Lahore or Dhaka.
To dream of "An all-Hindu wonderland" in India is as asinine, pernicious and quixotic as was, and still is, an all-Muslim wonderland in Pakistan ... but while much acclaimed secularism of Jinnah as even by Hindutva stalwarts like LK Advani could not and did not stop the almost complete extermination of Hindu/Sikhs and their forced exodus from Pakistan, India's secularism did stop Muslims fleeing to Pakistan en masse ... so who in history is going to be written as the bad boy of the partition of India and the largest harrowing and uprooting migration of people since the Jews from Pharaoh's Egypt ...
>> It is not Ambedkar, the Muslim League is the one who first demanded a sepearate homeland for Muslims.
I did not say Ambedkar came up with the idea of partition. I just mentioned that he was supportive of the idea of partition in 1940. Rajagopalacharya was also an early supporter.
>> I blame the Indian Muslims for not resisting the division.
We always need someone or the other to blame. Blaming is easy.
>> It is Muslims who create trouble wherever they go.
For a moment I had thought you were interested in a serious discussion. Sorry for my mistake!
>>This question is being raised from time to time even now and it may be arising from a resistance to accepting India as it is, and a wish for an All-Hindu Wonderland!<<
It is not Ambedkar, the Muslim League is the one who first demanded a sepearate homeland for Muslims. Muslims who choose to stay in India did not stop the division. Why? 1/3 of Muslims stayed back with India, 1/3 of Bangladesh Muslims seperated with Pakistan later. The reamining 1/3 Pakistan Muslims forced the division and Indian Muslims could not stop. Even among Pakistan Muslims there were divisions among Punjabi vs Sindhi vs Baluchis. I blame the Indian Muslims for not resisting the division. The UP Muslims were in the forfront in creating the Pakistan. Hindus were(are) secular people and are more accomodative at home and abroad. It is Muslims who create trouble wherever they go. In India, why they need a seperate Muslim law? Why they are harboring terrorists from Pakistan? Unlike Hindus, Muslims are over populating the country. Recent UP statistics showed average size of UP Muslim family is 9 people. Pakistan Muslims never gave equal rights to minorities, and Indian Muslims never questioned Pakistan for human rights violations. In India, Muslims got elected as President, Supreme Court Judges, journalists, and movie actors, and they still claim they are discriminated. Indian Muslims enjoying the fruits of democracy only becuase Hindu's generacity under the so called "All Hindu wonderland" where as Hindus in Pakistan have no rights and they are dying.
>> Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution when he heard the division of India based on religion, he immediatly suggested we should exchage the minority population.
Ambedkar supported partition in 1940 in his book “Pakistan or the Partition of India” and suggested exchange of populations.. He was talking of forcing about 8 crore people from their homes. How does a government order people to move from their ancestral homes? About 10 lakh Hindus and five lakh Muslims did move because of their dreams or their fears, or because of marauding mobs, but they were not, and could not have been, ordered to move by any government decree. This question is being raised from time to time even now and it may be arising from a resistance to accepting India as it is, and a wish for an All-Hindu Wonderland!
Saudi Wahabism destroyed Pakistan. Indian Muslim were more enlighted and more modren than Arab Muslims. The Saudi oil money destroyed the functioning of democracy in Pakistan and also in Bangladesh. The minorities were crushed in Pakistan and bangladesh. Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution when he heard the division of India based on religion, he immediatly suggested we should exchage the minority population. Gandhi and Nehru opposed it. The Hindu minority in Pakistan and Bangladesh paid the price with their lives. Indian Muslims are flourishing under democracy to further their goal to make india third Pakistan.
The disconnect is civilisational too ... for while India retains and cherishes its [civilisational] roots, Pakistan has rejected its. Good point amde by the author: democracy comes to fruition when pollinated by secularism alone ... but in Islam or as the world has come to know it secularism is heretic because there is no God but ... you know who ?
An extremely mature and introspective article by a person who can truly be called an intellectual - somebody who actually uses his intellect.
I do hope the author will not get into trouble at home by postulating that "democracy doesn't work for us Muslims"
Also, strangely but perhaps appropriately, it has taken a Pakistani to point out to us the strength of the roots that democracy has struck in our soil. Perhaps our self-flagellations could now be tempered by a modicum of pride in the nation.
Rishi Vyas >> There is a lot of things we can talk about other than the K word.
Yes.. for instance, the need to remove theocracy and install complete and total secular state in pakistan. This is most urgent thing that should be in the agenda.
The biggest blunder during Partition was the way Hindus of Sindh were treated. Punjab and Bengal were neatly partitioned with Sikhs/Hindus getting their own space and so did Muslims. Baluch and NWFP were near 100% Muslim and other Indian states did not have partition and riots so no issues.
But Hindus of Sindh got the worst deal. For their large numbers, they should have got their own state, maybe in eastern sindh and that should have been part of India. But the Congress leadership of 1940s betrayed their interests.
In a way, it is the partition of sindh and unfair deal given to hindus that was the starting point of Right Wing Hindu movement in India aka Hindutva . No amount of defence by Muslims of pakistan can hide this blatant deception . But then history repeated again in 1990s, when Kashmir's islamic majority threw its tiny Kashmir Pandit minority out of the valley. And all that in Secular India ruled by Secular Congress. And you , Mehdi call Congress synonymous with secular Indian nationalism. What a sugar coated lie !
KishoreDasMunshi >> On a serious note, as USA pulls out of Af-pak, it would be better to have a stable and democratic pak in the neighborhood.
I DISAGREE.. IT is more important to have a SECULAR Pakistan than to have a DEMOCRATIC Pakistan. The biggest problem in Pakistan is its hardline theocracy and lack of secularism and its adamant rejection of its pre islamic heritage .
It is good to see at least Pakistani writers are now looking at India only not through the prism of Kashmir. There is a lot of things we can talk about other than the K word.
With partition the demography of Sindh changed drastically, leaving many Sindhis confused about whether the creation of Pakistan was really beneficial for them. Their biggest urban centre, Karachi is experiencing a bloody battle between the Mohajirs from UP and the pathan population who have been coming in steadily from NWFP, with Sindhis nowhere in the picture having now been reduced to an insignificant minority in the city. Sindhis never really indulged in much partition violence and Hindus had to leave mostly due to attacks by the mohajirs who had started flowing in around that time.
The tragedy of Partition is that Muslims from UP have suffered in both India and Pakistan. I was surprised that the author didn't use the ubiquitous term Mohajir for Muslims who came to Sindh after partition. Since the 1970s language riots in Sindh, Mohajirs have suffered at the hands of first Sindhis and now Pashtuns. The writer doesn't tell us about the most dangerous city in the world Karachi where ethnic riots are way of life. Not about the MQM chief Altaf Hussain who is hounded by Pakistani establishment and has taken refuge in UK.
The tragedy of Muslims in UP or all of the northern India stems from the fact that they are Muslims. They are not Indians first but they are Muslims first. They see a conspiracy in Polio drops to take away their fertility, won't go for bank loans as it is against their religion and don't believe that there religion is the breeding ground for terrorists. On the top of all of this, they are not ready to believe that there is casteism, worse than Hindus in Muslims and they are not even ready to talk about it.
If some one picks up the data for the last 30 years, more UP Muslims have been killed in Sindh than in communal riots in India. It was the rich Muslims who migrated to Pakistan, a country that they fought for leaving their poor cousins begind.
If some one wants to know what is this gutter called Pakistan and why is pakistani an abuse all around the world, there is a term for UP/Bihari Muslims called Stranded Pakistanis. People who migrated in the wrong direction to Bangladesh and after 1971 they are scums for the Bangladeshis. I hope Oxford and Merriam Webster will bring a new synonym for terrorist and that is Pakistani. No good or bad Pakistani but DEAD Pakistani.
For decades pak intelligentsia supported army and whatever harebrained schemes they came up with, out of a misplaced sense of nationalism. Now the frankenstien of terrorism has turned on them, they want India to pull their chestnuts out of fire. Very funny.
On a serious note, as USA pulls out of Af-pak, it would be better to have a stable and democratic pak in the neighborhood.
Well said, Janab Tahir Mehdi ! May your tribe of Seculars grow and prosper in Pakistan !! It would do a world of good to both India and Pakistan.
"... if being secular means having faith in democracy, I profess it, as I have seen it work miracles."
Spread the good word to your countrymen! Many highly regarded Islamic scholars find enough support for both democracy and secularism in the scriptures, but the regressive mullahs hold the microphones in Pakistan.
Please tell us the number of Hindus as a percentage of the total population in Pakistan in 1947 and 2012.
And then repeat the exercise for Muslims in India.
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