Retired Justice Markandey Katju's remarks about Pakistan have been creating quite a stir for some time now.. His correspondence with former Pakistani foreign secretary Shamsad Ahmed, reproduced below, provides the necessary background to his views about our western neighbour and his article published in the Pakistani newspaper articulates his thoughts on the future ahead for the two countries.
Correspondence with Mr Shamshad Ahmed and Editor of 'The Nation':
1. Email to Editor of The Nation
I am a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India and, presently, am the Chairman of the Press Council of India. I understand that you are the publisher/editor of the newspaper The Nation. I read online an article in your esteemed newspaper entitled “May You Live Long, Katju!” by Mr Shamshad Ahmed, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, criticising my views expressed in a speech given by me some time back in a function in New Delhi.
In that speech, I said that Pakistan is a fake and artificial country created by the British and their agents in pursuance of the wicked British policy of divide and rule and the bogus Two Nation Theory (i.e. Hindus and Muslims are two nations). In reality, there is no such thing as Pakistan; there is Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North West Frontier Province, all of which are really part of India. The purpose of partitioning the country and creating Pakistan was to make Hindus and Muslims keep fighting with each other even after the British withdraw from the subcontinent so that India (of which I regard Pakistan as a part) may remain weak.
When I meet my Pakistani friends, we talk in Hindustani and we feel no different from each other. In my opinion, India and Pakistan will reunite in the next 20 years or so under a strong secular modern minded government, which will not tolerate religious extremism, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crush it with an iron hand.
I would like to send you my rejoinder to Mr Shamshad Ahmed's article, if you are willing to publish it. I know it may require courage to publish my article, but the time has come when the truth must be told to people.
2. Email to Mr Shamshad Ahmed (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan) :
Dear Mr Shamshad Ahmed,
I read your article in TheNation (February 26th issue) on my views about Pakistan being a fake and artificial nation created by the British on the basis of the bogus Two Nation Theory in pursuance of their wicked policy of divide and rule. I would like to write and get published my rejoinder. In my opinion, India and Pakistan are really one nation temporarily divided, but which is bound to reunite in the next 20 years or so under a strong, secular modern minded government, which does not tolerate religious extremism and bigotry, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand.
Unfortunately, I do not have the email ID of The Nation to whom I would like to send my article. Could you please send it to me? Could you also ask the editor and let me know whether the newspaper would be willing to publish my rejoinder? I would be obliged.
3. Mr Shamshad Ahmed's Reply:
Dear Justice Katju,
I just saw your message.
Let me tell you, difference of outlook on nationhood aside, I am one of your admirers. I was telling this to Shahid Malik, who is a good friend of mine. In my view, you will serve your 'cause' well by focusing more on bringing the two countries closer on their outstanding issues. On my part, like several of my Indian counterparts, I remain engaged with them on Track Two for reducing India-Pakistan tensions and helping them resolve their outstanding problems. I am proud of co-authoring the 'Composite Dialogue' with my Indian counterpart Salman Haider in June 1997, a process that in my view must continue purposefully to bring the two estranged countries together.
I am not sure if The Nation will publish your article. The media freedom is only a farce, not only in our countries, but also in West's champions of free press. I have been sending articles critical of American global policies and overbearing power-based agenda to Western newspapers. None was accepted. Even The New York Times and Washington Post are allergic to anyone else writing against American policies. More than anyone else, you know better the reality of 'free media' today. With more and more corporate conglomerates owning the news outlets, the media is becoming a commercial enterprise. They print what sells. This is the story all around.
I am not sure any newspaper in Pakistan will print anything questioning Pakistan's raison d'etre. But you may try. Here is their email address.
Do let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
My best regards and good wishes to you.
4. Email to Mr Shamshad Ahmed :
Dear Shamshad Sahib,
Thank you for your email. There is no question of bringing two countries together when there is, in fact, a single country, India. Pakistan is a fake country, artificially created by the British in pursuance of their nefarious policy of divide and rule and the bogus Two Nation Theory. Pakistan is, in fact, a part of India, and we will be reunited, maybe in 20 years or so, under a strong, secular, modern minded government, which does not tolerate religious extremism, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand.
Your 'Quaid' was just a British agent, who was shamelessly furthering the wicked British divide and rule policy. The whole game of the British was that even after they withdraw from India (and Pakistan is part of India), our country should remain weak, for which it was necessary to divide us on religious lines and make us keep fighting with each other. It is time someone spoke the truth and, perhaps, it is for me to bell the cat.
When I meet my Pakistani friends, we speak in Hindustani, we look like each other and feel no difference between ourselves. We were befooled by the Britishers into thinking that we are each others’ enemies, but how much longer must we remain befooled? I do not care whether my article (which I am working on) is published or not, but I will not deviate from what I believe is the truth. In Sanskrit, there is a saying: “Satyamev Jayate”, which means “ultimately truth wins”.
5. And finally, on Saturday, 2 March 2013, The Nation published Justice Katju's article titled:
“Dekho mujhe jo deeda-e-ibrat nigah ho,
Meri suno jo gosh-e-naseehat niyosh hai.”
— Mirza Ghalib
According to reports, Pakistani cities— Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, etc - are rapidly becoming killing fields, with bomb blasts and gun firing a regular occurrence, and ethnic violence between Sunnis and Shias, and persecution of minorities escalating. Nobody knows that when he steps out into the streets of these cities whether or not he will return alive. A beautiful metropolitan city like Karachi is becoming, if it has not already become, a Jurassic Park.
Mr Shamshad Ahmed, in his article, entitled “May You Live Long, Katju!”, published in The Nation on February 26, 2013, has said that the present situation in Pakistan is due to “a failure of governance, not of the nationhood.” I respectfully beg to differ.
In my opinion, the present violent strifes and disturbances in Pakistan are the logical and inevitable result of creating a theocratic state in this subcontinent and, hence, the only solution is the reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a strong, secular, modern minded government, which does not tolerate religious extremism and bigotry, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand.
To explain my point, I have to delve into history. As explained in my article, “What is India”, in my blog: justicekatju.blogspot.in (as well as in the video on the website: kgfindia.com), India (in which I include Pakistan) is broadly a country of immigrants like North America. The ancestors of 92 to 93 percent people living today in our subcontinent were not the original inhabitants here, but came from outside, mainly from the northwest (the original inhabitants being the pre-Dravidian tribals). People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas, and India was a paradise for agriculture, with level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation, etc. It is for this reason that India has so much diversity— so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, etc because each group of immigrants brought their own language, religion and customs.
Hence, the only policy that can work in our subcontinent is secularism and equal respect to all communities and sects. This was the policy of the great Emperor Akbar, whom I regard (along with Ashoka) as the greatest ruler the world has ever seen. At a time when the Europeans were massacring each other in the name of religion (Catholics massacring Protestants and vice versa), Akbar, who was far ahead of his times, declared his policy of Suleh-e-Kul, i.e. universal toleration of all religions, and it is because of this policy that the Mughal Empire lasted so long. It was Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation on which the Indian nation is still standing, his policy being continued by Jawaharlal Nehru and his colleagues who gave India a secular constitution.
Up to 1857, there were no communal problems in India; all communal riots and animosity began after 1857. No doubt even before 1857, there were differences between Hindus and Muslims, the Hindus going to temples and the Muslims going to mosques, but there was no animosity. In fact, the Hindus and Muslims used to help each other; Hindus used to participate in Eid celebrations, and Muslims in Holi and Diwali. The Muslim rulers like the Mughals, Nawab of Awadh and Murshidabad, Tipu Sultan, etc were totally secular; they organised Ramlilas, participated in Holi, Diwali, etc. Ghalib’s affectionate letters to his Hindu friends like Munshi Shiv Naraln Aram, Har Gopal Tofta, etc attest to the affection between Hindus and Muslims at that time
In 1857, the ‘Great Mutiny’ broke out in which the Hindus and Muslims jointly fought against the British. This shocked the British government so much that after suppressing the Mutiny, they decided to start the policy of divide and rule (see online “History in the Service of Imperialism” by B.N. Pande). All communal riots began after 1857, artificially engineered by the British authorities. The British collector would secretly call the Hindu Pandit, pay him money, and tell him to speak against Muslims, and similarly he would secretly call the Maulvi, pay him money, and tell him to speak against Hindus. This communal poison was injected into our body politic year after year and decade after decade.
In 1909, the ‘Minto-Morley Reforms’ introduced separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims. The idea was propagated that Hindi is the language of Hindus, while Urdu of Muslims (although Urdu was the common language of all educated people, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh up to 1947). All this vicious propaganda resulted in the partition of 1947, which created a fake, artificial theocratic nation called Pakistan.
Nation states arose in Europe around the 15th century because of the rise of modern industry. Modern industry, unlike feudal handicraft industry, requires a big market for its goods and a large area from where it can get raw materials.
The creation of a state based on religion destroys the very basis of a nation, because it cuts off industries from markets and raw materials. British imperialism created India as a big administrative unit. The British policy was to prohibit the growth of heavy industry in India; otherwise, the Indian industry, with its cheap labour, would have become a powerful rival to British industry.
When the British left India, they divided us so that we may remain backward and weak, and not emerge as a modern powerful industrial state (for which we have all the potential). This was the real reason for creating Pakistan.
I submit that Pakistan was doomed from its very inception; firstly, because there is such tremendous diversity in our subcontinent that only secularism can work here and secondly, because a modern nation cannot be based on religion (because this will cut it off from its markets and raw materials).
Mr Shamshad Ahmed has written in an email to me that I should try to bring the two countries closer, instead of challenging the very raison d’etre of Pakistan. I replied that I do not believe that there are two nations, there is only one nation, that is India, and Pakistan is part of India. Pakistan was created in pursuance of the wicked British policy of divide and rule and the bogus Two Nation Theory, whose whole aim was to make Hindus and Muslims fight with each other. I am confident that with time people, both in India and Pakistan, will realise the truth in what I am saying, and India and Pakistan will reunite under a strong, secular government that deals with religious extremism, whether Hindu or Muslim, with an iron hand.
Secularism does not mean that one cannot practice his religion. It means that religion is a private affair, unconnected with the state that will have no religion.
When I meet my Pakistani friends (and I have lots of them), we speak in Hindustani, we look like each other, and feel no difference between ourselves. We were befooled by the Britishers into thinking that we are enemies, but how much longer must we remain befooled? How much longer must blood flow in religious violence in Quetta, Karachi, Gujarat, etc.
Mr Shamshad Ahmed wrote in his email to me that he doubted whether any Pakistani newspaper would publish my article challenging the very existence of Pakistan. I replied that I did not care whether it would be published or not, but I will not deviate from what I believe is the truth. In Sanskrit, there is a saying, “Satyamev Jayate”, which means “truth ultimately triumphs”. And as Nietzsche said in Thus Spake Zarathustra: “What matter about thyself, Zarathustra! Say thy word and break into pieces!”
All text courtesy Justice Katju's blog Satyam Bruyat