Sixty-plus years after the end of the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent, a number of authors, historians and scholars are now speaking or writing about the circumstances of India's partition, and the reasons for the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Several of them, including Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal and former Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh have offered their varying perspectives on the subject. Ayesha Jalal has called the creation of Pakistan a "mistake" and Jinnah a "great lawyer with feet of clay". Contrary to popular perception, Singh argues in his recent book "Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence", it was not Jinnah but Nehru's "highly centralized polity" that led to the Partition of India.
Ayesha Jalal has argued that the partition of India -- the event that created Pakistan -- was an accident, a huge miscalculation. Further, she has insisted that Jinnah never wanted a separate Muslim state; he was only using the threat of independence as a political bargaining chip to strengthen the voice of the Muslim minority in the soon-to-be sovereign India, a view shared by Jaswant Singh in his recent book on Jinnah and partition. Unlike Jalal, however, Singh lauds Jinnah as a "great Indian" and blames Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel for the partition. In his book "India Wins Freedom", Maulana Azad also singled out Patel as "the real flag bearer" of partition.
And now, veteran Pakistani writer Afzal Tauseef, who has been honored by Pakistan with "Pride of Performance" award for her service to the nation, has added her voice in a recent interview with Newsline. In her provocative style, she argues that Pakistan was created to preserve the interests of the big landowners in Punjab and Sind, and to serve the interests of the landowning class that would have been threatened by Nehru's insistence on land reform. Tauseef explains in the following words: "I personally think that if Nehru had not included land reforms in his program, Pakistan would never have been created. The country was made so that the jagirdari system could remain intact. The jagirdars, who were all protégées of the British, knew that if left in the Congress fold, they would be wiped out since at that time Marxist thought was moving into the subcontinent. The Muslim League was a product of the British and the land-owning Nawabs. On the other side was America, who wanted something in return for the money it had given to the British during the war. They wanted an area where a new imperialism could be let loose. And this is what continues to this day. Now we are paying for it dearly."
The fact that the quest for Pakistan by the Muslim League won the crucial support of the powerful Unionist Party in Punjab, representing the interests of the feudal Punjabi zamindars and jagirdars, lends support to Tauseef's contention that "the country was made so that the jagirdari (feudal) system could remain intact".
Each of these authors has challenged the widely accepted "Two Nation Theory" in Pakistan as the basis for partition, attributing the event to other causes. Each of them has come under attack from various quarters for his or her work and pronouncements on this highly emotionally-charged subject. Almost all of these views are continuing to generate considerable controversy in South Asia.
Here is the complete text of Afzal Tauseef's recent interview with Nyla Daud published by Newsline:
Having spurned the government of Pakistan’s first offer in recognition of your literary merit some years ago, you have once again been nominated for the prestigious Pride of Performance this year. Will you accept the honor this time?
When a senior police officer representing Zia-ul-Haq came to me offering a Pride of Performance with a prize of eight murabbas of cultivatable landholding, I had refused pointblank. Because, one, all my life I had written against the very system that was being perpetuated by Zia. Two, my acceptance would have led to the indictment of 41 other comrades in the Libya Conspiracy Case in which I had been named a party. So, my answer had been that to be remembered as a freedom fighter and revolutionary were far greater awards. That having been named as the best teacher by 25,000 students was a far greater honour. That I did not care for the bait of a landholding because my grandfather had owned three villages in undivided India. That my late father who had been the Quaid’s security officer in Ziarat had made no claims against his ancestral holdings, despite being in a position to do so, even while others were making fortunes. But yes, now I will accept the Pride of Performance because I have been convinced by friends that the award comes as an honour not from the establishment, but from the country that I have fought for. That it is my right.
What has been the single, most powerful factor in the development of your political ideology?
Growing up in Balochistan, reading the world’s literature with teachers who were book lovers with a progressive bent of mind and acquiring the feel for the Marxist revolution and for social injustice that had already taken seed. But when I moved to Lahore as a teacher at the Lady Maclagan College in the late ’60s, the contrasts in society became more glaring. I realised that the Punjab, with its vast population of honest folk, was a hotbed of oppression perpetuated by good-for-nothing land owners aided by bureaucrats. They had all the power, all the wealth; the awam led miserable lives. I awakened to the reality and joined the rank and file of the Peoples Party as it rose up against the Ayub regime.
Those were exciting times and it was a unique experience to teach younger people who were looking for direction. I had been selected by the Public Service Commission for my lecturer’s position and, although we were not activists in the real sense of the word, the generally suspicious environment forced us to attend party meetings in burqas so as not to be detected, because there were spies everywhere.
Along with Shaheen, Haneef Ramay’s wife – whom I knew from my Quetta days – we formed the underground wing of the PPP. There were about 25,000 female members with us at the time of the crackdown. Then later, during the Zia regime, I was in the forefront of the Bhutto Bachao Tehreek because we wanted to save him at any cost. But even as lakhs of people agitated for the cause and received public lashings, we could not save him. In fact, this has been one of the greatest defeats I have suffered in my life.
The fact remains that Bhutto, your ideological hero, too failed democracy. As did his daughter Benazir.
Yes, in a way, because even during Bhutto’s lifetime, the PPP was on the way to being derailed. All the pioneers, the real persons behind the ideology were so disillusioned that, but for Sheikh Rasheed, they all went their separate ways. Hanif Ramay, one of the original PPP members, was subjected to torture in the Lahore Fort when Bhutto was in power. Dr Mubashir Hasan walked out, giving up a ministry when Bhutto sacked the NAP government in Balochistan. But Bhutto realised his mistake because when asked for his last wish, he had said, “Give me a pistol with 32 bullets and my central committee.”
Benazir, like Bhutto, disappointed although she suffered a lot. We were all for her but as soon as she took oath as prime minister, we realised that the position had been won on the basis of compromises. Benazir compromised with the very people who had killed her father. But had she not acceded to the American point of view, she would have remained in exile all her life, which might have been better in the long run. Her worst mistake was that she compromised on ideology, at the cost of the masses and, that too, at the behest of an imperialist power.
Today, there is no Peoples Party and Zardari’s promotion of Bilawal without in-house party elections is child’s play. It is a game like so many other games that the people have been fooled into accepting.
The Baloch cause, with its apparently anti-federation, separatist viewpoint, has always won your sympathy. Why?
Because Balochistan took me in when I was homeless, when I had no identity. It nurtured me, gave me an awakening and maturity of thought. I have seen how the rights of the Baloch have been trampled upon. Under such conditions, what do you expect? That they will be appeased by being given a hospital or bags of atta? You have to first dress their wounds, which have been festering for so long. Treat them as a part of Pakistan. By the way, Balochistan came to Pakistan only by one vote and that belonged to Akbar Bugti, who was ultimately annihilated by bombs. You don’t bomb your own countrymen like that.
As for representing Balochistan, Bugti (now dead), Marri (who is too old now) and Attaullah Mengal were the only people who had a genuine feeling for the land. Just because they rose up for the rights of the Baloch, they were put into prison, some of them for 25 years at a stretch. All they wanted were their rights in a Pakistan where provincial autonomy does not exist. Balochistan, Sindh and the Frontier province, all have the same grouse.
So the Punjab would be the villain of the piece and, in that case, where does the federation figure?
There never has been a federation and even the Punjab would have been better off with autonomy because I believe that provincial autonomy would strengthen democracy. That was what the Quaid had planned. As for my loyalties, I am all for the awam irrespective of the province they belong to. Punjab is my birthplace and it is to Punjab I owe my identity as a thinker and writer for which I have received so many awards. In fact, if I had not moved here, I would never have learnt to speak my mother tongue nor developed the courage to write in it. Punjabi brought me the friendship of people like Amrita Pretam who has written a book about me, calling me “the child of a lesser God” for my sensitivity in portraying the sensibilities of the masses. My Punjabi writings got me invited to India for an award, thereby giving me the chance of a lifetime to visit the village of my forefathers and relive the tragic ironies of their lives for having sacrificed life over loyalty to the homeland at the time of Partition.
In spite of all this you went to India to accept an award from the very people who had murdered your family and rendered you homeless ?
The Millennium Award people had arranged a very big function in my honour. I was sitting on the stage when they came up, putting their hands together as a gesture of apology. But I said that if you do so then I will also have to apologise because the same sort of cruelties were perpetuated here against the Sikhs and Hindus. The only difference is that those stories have not been written about on the Pakistani side of the border.
How would you review the academic scene in view of your 35-year experience as an educationist?
Zia-ul-Haq’s period was the darkest. At a personal level, I was haunted by the agencies to the extent that once I escaped by jumping over the walls of neighbouring houses at two in the morning. This led to a long period of hide-and-seek, ending only when I myself surrendered to the ISI in Quetta in order to save my sympathisers.
At the public level, one of the first things Zia did was to get together a bunch of pseudo literateurs and publicly tell them that Progressive literature and thought were mere rubbish that would eat up the system. Waris Mir died of shock when he saw the treatment being meted to progressive thought. But the most direct fallout happened when they started scratching away at the history and literature syllabi. They redesigned courses with the express notion of introducing very warped versions of Islamiyat as a subject. I was a sitting member of the Senate Committee on syllabi planning and I told them explictly that while one could somehow compromise on the removal of Faiz from the syllabi, why had we suddenly taken affront to some very beautiful expressions of Iqbal when in the same breath they continued to maintain that Iqbal gave the idea of Pakistan. When I persisted, they told me that the order for the removal of Iqbal’s verses like “Uththo Meree Dunya Kay Ghareebon Ko Jaga Do” had come from above! I maintained that it was not a divine order. So their next excuse was that Iqbal was too difficult to teach. I offered my services to prepare teachers of Iqbal if that was the problem. The very next day I was informed that I was no longer on the Senate Committee.
Where would you pin the cause for the state of things in Pakistan today?
Jagirdari and the jagirdari mindset, especially as it grew to gather political backing. It cost us a wing of the country. This system is an enemy of those with socially-awakened intellect. Nowhere else in the entire world can you find such an oppressive system. India put an end to it at the very beginning but our leaders continue to nourish it. I personally think that if Nehru had not included land reforms in his programme, Pakistan would never have been created. The country was made so that the jagirdari system could remain intact. The jagirdars, who were all protégées of the British, knew that if left in the Congress fold, they would be wiped out since at that time Marxist thought was moving into the subcontinent. The Muslim League was a product of the British and the land-owning Nawabs. On the other side was America, who wanted something in return for the money it had given to the British during the war. They wanted an area where a new imperialism could be let loose. And this is what continues to this day. Now we are paying for it dearly.
But the initial thought behind Pakistan was La illa ha illallah.
That slogan came much later when Liaquat Ali Khan passed the Qarardad-i-Maqaasid. The Quaid had seen Pakistan as a secular state, but within a year-and-a-half he was almost a helpless prisoner in Ziarat. My father was very close to him and I remember him quoting the Quaid as telling a group of students who had come to visit him in Ziarat, “Where is the Muslim League? This typewriter and myself?” The Quaid had never envisioned the Muslim League as a party of landowners. In fact, he was against the allotment of property to people against claims of things left behind in India during Partition. For this reason the rift between him and Liaquat Ali Khan grew to the extent that they were not even on talking terms towards the end. We all know how he was treated on his final journey from Karachi Airport to the governor general’s house.
What is your greatest concern today?
That Pakistan survives. That it is able to weather all the malicious intent directed at it. That the murder and mayhem rampant across its length and breadth may come to an end. I have always been against military intervention but today, there is so much at stake – the country, the people, the very culture – that I believe the army must act.
I also maintain that along with the overall influence of the imperialist powers in the face of a weakened awam, Mullahism is the most significant threat. Pakistan was not made solely for Muslims. The very fact that Muslims are daily at each other’s throats proves the point that there is no such thing as the Muslim collective. Today, society is just a configuration of the different statuses enjoyed by Muslims … the poor, the rich, the oppressed, the oppressors, the powerful and the powerless.
Your hypothesis reeks of disillusionment, meaning that your life-long activism led nowhere.
No, I still believe that the people who came under our influence will eventually rise to recreate the system. I am proud today of the number of students who learnt to think with me. My generation may have failed but I still see light at the end of the tunnel.
It is interesting to see the conventional historical narratives being challenged and analyzed in more depth on both sides of the divide in South Asia.
A serious introspection of events which led to the partition of India can either reopen or help heal the wounds, depending on how the mainstream scholars and leaders in the two nations choose to deal with history.
In my view, Pakistan is a reality that must be accepted, and supported by all to make it a peaceful, stable and prosperous nation, and to ensure regional peace and prosperity. A healing process in the subcontinent can do a lot of good for all of the people of South Asia. It can bring lasting peace between India and Pakistan, and potentially move the region toward a successful common market similar to the European Union.
Jaswant Lauds Jinnah
Feudal Slavery Survives in Pakistan
Ode to Feudal Prince of Pakistan
Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?
Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom
Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan
India Wins Freedom by Maulana Azad
Ayesha Jalal Taking On Pakistan's Hero
The Poor Neighbor by William Dalrymple
Iqbal and Jinnah
Two Nation Theory
india was never a united country before colonialism. It is likely to further break up or survive as a loose federation. Indus valley the source of its name is also no longer in "india" and name needs to be changed too.
Here's an interesting piece published in the Daily Pioneer of India by Jamil Ansari:
One point that is often overlooked is that till 1937 Jinnah did not use religious sentiments in order to gain political mileage. Nonetheless, the Congress had used Hindu symbols to arouse the sentiments of Hindus from the very beginning. It was when Nehru refused to acknowledge the Hindu-Muslim question that Jinnah responded with a powerful speech at the Muslim League session in October 1937. Mahatma Gandhi called that speech a “declaration of war”, but Jinnah said “it was made in self-defence”. Jinnah’s speech indicated that all means of persuasion had been exhausted yet the Congress was not willing to address “real issues”. Thus, Jinnah was forced to voice the demand for Pakistan.
When Jinnah was leaving India on August 7, 1947, he appealed to Hindus and Muslims to “bury the past” and wished India success and prosperity. But Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel said, “The poison has been removed from the body of India.” Patel overlooked the fact that Jinnah was not the poison, and that it was Patel’s pro-Hindu sentiments which poisoned Indian polity.
The BJP cannot dilute historical facts. Veer Savarkar formulated his ‘two-nation theory’, whereas the Muslim League demanded Pakistan only in 1940. Jinnah struggled for a united India for 17 years after Savarkar mooted the idea of two separate nations. The Hindu Mahasabha also passed a resolution in favour of the concept of two nations in 1937, much before Jinnah demanded Pakistan in 1940. There is no iota of doubt that Hindu revivalist organisations contributed to the partition of India.
There were some other players too. Little attention has been paid to the role played by powerful Hindu businessmen in the partitioning of the country. GD Birla had written: “Communal representation should go and if possible redistribution of provinces should be made. I do not know whether splitting Punjab and Bengal will be liked by the people, but I would personally welcome it” (Notes of Conversation with Malviyaji). Ayesha Jalal, in her much-acclaimed book, The Sole Spokesman, Jinnah,The Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan, writes: “Much of Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan would seem to correspond with the idea of Birla.” Intellectuals should ponder over why Savarkar, the Hindu Mahasabha, the RSS, and Birla are treated as ‘nationalists’ and Jinnah as prophet of partition. This is because history has been turned into myths by Hindutva propagandists.
As far as Patel is concerned, his role in partition and the hate campaign against Muslims is well-documented. Maulana Azad writes: “It would not perhaps be unfair to say that Vallabhbhai Patel was the founder of Indian partition” (India Wins Freedom). He also painfully wrote: “I was surprised that Patel was now an even greater supporter of the two-nation theory than Jinnah. Jinnah may have raised the flag of partition but the real flag-bearer was Patel.”
Whatever Mr Jaswant Singh has written in his book is based on facts. Even HM Seervai wrote: “Such an account cannot rest content with the popular view in India that the partition of India was brought about by the disappointment, ambition, the vanity and the intransigence of one man, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. This view receives no support from the materials now available to students of history.” (Legend and Reality).
you know if Pakistan wasn't created Muslims would be ruling united India.How?
35% Muslims as one block in the first past the polls system and hindus divided on linguistic,caste and other lines it would be no contest.Not to mention a almost 50%representaion in the Indian army and other state institutions.
But the Muslims scored a massive own goal in 1947 by ensuring demographic dominance of Hindus in the Republic of India while takin only the least amount of practically worthless almost resource free land.
Thank You :)
but then there is no end to alternate history the fact remains that Pakistan despite all its challenges could have done vastly better for itself the blame for which lies solely with the Pakistanis that's because you can only play with the cards you are dealt with.
We for all our failings (and we have more than I could possibly list on this page) have managed to create a functioning insttutional framework and a trillion dollar economy which is today the world's second fastest growing.I am not sure the muslims in united India would have allowed this to happen to emotional and politically naive as a community,but then this is just my personal opinion.
This is just a fantasy of Pakistanis who over estimate the importance of their country to India.A stable Pakistan is NOT in India's interest just like a strong India is NOT in Pakistan's self interest.
For crying out loud that's like saying a strong USSR was in USA's self interest!
I think the past 60 years if anything has proved that Indians know where their self interest lies a lot more than Pakistanis do so Pakistania please spare us the moral overtures we know you a bit too well when you are on your backs(like these days) you want peace when you are even on one feet you want jehad,liberation of kashmir,destruction of India etc etc so alas no amount of pleadings will work with us Mumbai was the last straw!just you wait we survived and boomed through your kashmir terrorism now lets see how well u survive balochistan and waziristan.1971 dejavu.
Oh and nukes(80,000+) did not save the USSR from collapse,it won't save you either.
Best of luck you guys are gonna need it!
Wonderful piece Riaz. But, I am one of the few Indians who think Pakistan was inevitable and a good thing for India. Muslims would have eventually increased the demand and even threatened the very existence of India if Congress had not allowed the creation of India.
Now, the Muslims of India understand Pakistan was a mistake and this was proved when Bangladesh was created when muslims killed muslims. This was not thought possible before 1971.
Pakistan was a tactical move because Jinnah wanted a federal structure and Nehru a centralized one. India with all its divisions is not suited for a federal structure.. Jinnah wanted a federal structure or the creation of Pakistan. Nehru had no choice. I credit him for creating Pakistan and saving India's destruction.
Its like cutting out an infected leg to save your life. India is far more stable than Pakistan right now and it can only get better.
I dont want to rub wound here by questioning Pakistan's logic but I'd like to highlight Nehru's brilliance and forward thinking. Recently, I read a interview by Maulana Azad on another blog.
Very interesting. And, he gives his thought on how the future of Pakistan will be. You will find it interesting, I am sure. This is an interview more than 60 years ago.
anoop, Thanks for your compliments. But India is not the paradise you make it out to be. It remains one of the poorest, most backward, third world nations on the face of the earth. It's ironic that the Hindu nationalists make tall claims about India as a great power busy building its massive arsenal against Pakistan, while ignoring the plight of its deprived people, the world's largest concentration of poor and hungry people in the world. In terms of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation and health, Pakistanis are better off than Indians.
India, often described as peaceful, stable and prosperous in the Western media, remains home to the largest number of poor and hungry people in the world. About one-third of the world's poor people live in India. More than 450 million Indians exist on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. It also has a higher proportion of its population living on less than $2 per day than even sub-Saharan Africa. India has about 42% of the population living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 per day. The number of Indian poor also constitute 33% of the global poor, which is pegged at 1.4 billion people, according to a Times of India news report. More than 6 million of those desperately poor Indians live in Mumbai alone, representing about half the residents of the nation's financial capital. They live in super-sized slums and improvised housing juxtaposed with the shining new skyscrapers that symbolize India's resurgence. According to the World Bank and the UN Development Program (UNDP), 22% of Pakistan's population is classified as poor.
There is widespread hunger and malnutrition in all parts of India. India ranks 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries while Pakistan is slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70. The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) report in 2008 found that Madhya Pradesh had the most severe level of hunger in India, comparable to Chad and Ethiopia. Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — fell in the 'serious' category. "Affluent" Gujarat, 13th on the Indian list is below Haiti, ranked 69. The authors said India's poor performance was primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and under-nourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.
Indian media's headlines about the newly-minted Indian billionaires need to bring sharper focus on the growing rich-poor gap in India. On its inside pages, The Times of India last year reported Communist Party leader Sitaram Yechury's as saying that "on the one hand, 36 Indian billionaires constituted 25% of India’s GDP while on the other, 70% of Indians had to do with Rs 20 a day". "A farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes. The gap between the two Indias is widening," he said.
''70% of Indians had to do with Rs 20 a day". ''
cough cough u are saying that 70% of Indians live on less than 50c a day when in the same article you say that
"More than 450 million Indians exist on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank."
i.e ~40% of Indian population live on less than $1.25/day.
Please find me a reliably source WB,IMF,ADB ec which states that 70%+ Indians live on less than Rs20/day.
Anon: Please read carefully what I wrote. Rs 20 a day is a figure quoted by Yerchury as quoted in Times of India.
The other figures are from the world bank.
You can quibble about a number here and there. But the bottom line is clear: India, in spite of all its aspirations to being a great power, remains a very poor, hungry and backward nation in terms of hunger, poverty, literacy, education and gender disparities. It shows up near the bottom of most rankings for human development, per capita gdp, food intake, clothing consumption, housing, sanitation etc etc.
''You can quibble about a number here and there. But the bottom line is clear: India, in spite of all its aspirations to being a great power, remains a very poor, hungry and backward nation in terms of hunger, poverty, literacy, education and gender disparities. ''
The fact is if you do a trend analysis vis a vis India and China then you will find we are there where China was in around 1995 on most indicators.
Also the world's second largest number of absolutely poor people live in China as per the chinese gov. statistics 18% of their population i.e ~250mn people live on less than $1 a day(nominal)despite the fact that price levels are generally 30-40% higher in China than India.
The difference is you are not allowed to take pictures of China's hidden Bihars and only see Shanghai and Beijing and say wow!
I know China is ahead of India no doubt BUT the difference between China and India is NOT the difference between Shanghai and Mumbai.
Ok so I've been criticizing Pakistanis a lot but I see that u have published most of my comments so I think I'll contribute something positive now.
Pak Industrialization objectives:
2.Advanced tertiary education system(the managerial technocratic class to replace feudals)
3.Institutional development(the machinery of the state needs to extend to the villages,this business of political appointees at the district level is rubbish)
1.Import substitution industrialization(EVERY SINGLE country has done this while industrialization free markets don't work in nation building because in the initial stages a MNC with fully depriciated plants will always produce a cheaper,better product all countries need to take the pain of the industrialization experience curve)
2.Develop own brands.
3.Focus on 1-2 areas in India's case the intital thrust came from IT and jems and jewellry Pakistan must find its own niche.
"You can quibble about a number here and there. But the bottom line is clear: India, in spite of all its aspirations to being a great power, remains a very poor, hungry and backward nation in terms of hunger, poverty, literacy, education and gender disparities. It shows up near the bottom of most rankings for human development, per capita gdp, food intake, clothing consumption, housing, sanitation etc etc."
Sure. USA, despite being #1, remains heavily indebted country whose debt alone is bigger than GDP of many countries.
Dont you think I know about the poor in India? I read the same facts that come out in our papers like you do to and I do not ignore it.
But, tell me what is the best way to reduce poverty?
Answer: High Growth. India grew at an impressive 7.5% in the second quarter beating expectations of 6-6.5. For a trillion dollar economy is HUGE leap. It was on the front page of today's Times of India. The same paper you quote from.
And, why are you singling out India here? Isn't China poor too like us? Hasn't the Chinese machine grown like us. We may have come to the party late but still we have arrived at the party nonetheless!
One of the reasons you dont talk about Chinese poverty is we dont see them in our papers. China doesn't allow anyone to look at their "embarrassing" areas and shows them Beijing,Shanghai and other places. They dont allow visitors to go to the underbelly of China. Dont get me wrong, I envy China's growth and we should catch up to them. But, I want to highlight every country in this world has its own share of poor.
It does not matter how many poor are there as long as you are doing something to reduce that poverty. India IS doing something,whether you agree or not,to reduce poverty.
Those figures are a reminder for Indians that there is a lot of job left to do.
anoop: "Answer: High Growth. India grew at an impressive 7.5% in the second quarter beating expectations of 6-6.5. For a trillion dollar economy is HUGE leap. It was on the front page of today's Times of India. The same paper you quote from.
And, why are you singling out India here? Isn't China poor too like us?"
India's high growth has not helped the poor, the benefits have flown entirely to the the rich and the middle class. That's why the absolute number of poor people in India has increased since the reform began in early 1990s. This is not the case in China. China's much higher in terms of per capita income, literacy, food availability, and overall std of living.
India has failed to use a period of high economic growth to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty, falling far short of China’s record in protecting its population from the ravages of chronic hunger, United Nations officials said recently. Last year, British Development Minister Alexander contrasted the rapid growth in China with India's economic success - highlighting government figures that showed the number of poor people had dropped in the one-party communist state by 70% since 1990 but had risen in the world's biggest democracy by 5%.
Riaz is so smart that he does not know that rest of the world considers Chinese figures as generally cooked and inflated. 5 yrs ago two chinese authors came up with a scathing book on chinese progress which talked how 700 million chinese peasants hardly benefited from the progress. In fact they lost a lot as their land was taken by the govt. guess what did china do. Ban the book and jail the authors. Google for it.
Having said it, China has made lot of progress, in fact much more than India. But quite a lot is inflated too.
Riaz - Indian middle class grew from 50 million in 1991 to 200+million today. Pls tell how is this possible without many getting out of poverty zone into middle class zone. There is a reason why western companies are making a beeline towards India to get their share, instead of super rich Pakistan which no one wants to touch.
"India's high growth has not helped the poor, the benefits have flown entirely to the the rich and the middle class. "
--> I can only call it wishful thinking. I have seen first hand how this high growth rate has helped India's poor. Especially not in my state,Karnataka. Bangalore for a long time was the fastest growing city in Asia and I know how the ares surrounding Bangalore were suddenly benefiting from its rise. Infact, in a few short years Bangalore's populations increased tremendously because this was where the money was. People came from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and even Andra Pradesh(where Hyderabad was considered the competitor for Bangalore). People came from the villages to work here from all over Karnataka. Now, the govt with the help of Private-Public Partnership has developed many towns into future cities and boosting infrastructure like no one else. Riaz, Karnataka is ruled by Pakistan's favorite scapegoats-BJP. But, development has preceded the govt.
When the people are empowered,Riaz, you wont believe how growth happens. People are the main engine for it.
This is the story of One state-Karnataka. There are many more model states whose success story I could elaborate.
India is growing and the world knows. You can choose to hide away from the fact but can never ignore it.
India's time under the sun is starting and high growth is just the starting point.
Even after all these if you still are not convinced then please suggest where India is going wrong and what can we do to correct it. Besides, what kind of a system do you visualize for Pakistan that will be so different and efficient than India's? You have to build a similar system to India,even ape it to put Pakistan on the trajectory of High growth!
So,when you criticize it, you are also criticizing Pakistan's system(rather ,future system of governance).
anoop: "I can only call it wishful thinking. I have seen first hand how this high growth rate has helped India's poor..."
You may have seen some anecdotal evidence, but the data from multiple sources suggests that both the actual number of poor and the rich-poor gap have been growing in India. The wealth being created is disproportionately going the very rich.
And the reasons are obvious. India collects only about 15% of GDP in taxes, higher than Pakistan's 11% but much lower than most of the other countries of the world. With so little a share of GDP available to spend on education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, India is unable to keep up with the faster growing population of the poor and hungry. That explains why the number of poor in India has increased by 5% since 1990.
According to the new UN-HABITAT report on the State of the World's Cities 2008/9: Harmonious Cities, China has the highest level of consumption inequality based on Gini Coefficient in the Asia region, higher than Pakistan (0.298), Bangladesh (0.318), India (0.325), and Indonesia (0.343), among others." Gini coefficient is defined as a ratio with values between 0 and 1: A low Gini coefficient indicates more equal income or wealth distribution, while a high Gini coefficient indicates more unequal distribution. 0 corresponds to perfect equality (everyone having exactly the same income) and 1 corresponds to perfect inequality (where one person has all the income, while everyone else has zero income).
Violence is rising in India because of the growing rich-poor gap. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has called the Maoist insurgency emanating from the state of Chhattisgarh the biggest internal security threat to India since independence. The Maoists, however, are confined to rural areas; their bold tactics haven't rattled Indian middle-class confidence in recent years as much as the bomb attacks in major cities have. These attacks are routinely blamed on Muslim militants. How long will Maoists remain confined to the rural areas will depend on the response of the Indian government to the insurgents who exploit huge and growing economic disparities in Indian society.
anon: "Riaz is so smart that he does not know that rest of the world considers Chinese figures as generally cooked and inflated."
These critics and their reports alleging China is manipulating figures have been thoroughly discredited. The Chinese miracle of the fastest pace of industrialization in the history of the world is now universally recognized by all of the reputable economists.
Maoists are not a new phenomena and they are here from the 60's. You cant disagree with someone who says that they are fighting for the poor but violence is not at all the way. Due to alert media,nowadays, you get to hear about Maoists a lot more. They will never pose much threat to the Indian state.
The facts you call anecdotal evidence is the kind of thing world look upon as India's growth. You are out of sync with the world opinion about India and its growth. I welcome criticisms of India's growth not reaching the poor if it is laid out in a constructive manner. Here, you are just hell bent on mailgning India on a piece which is supposed to be about introspection about Pakistan's existence. You are a prime example of the definition of Pakistan- it is not-India.
India gets a nuke deal in appreciation of its record of non-proliferation and the fact that it is going to be in the top 3 at the end of the century. Has the whole world and,especially,the Americans have gone mad to offer this to a country with no hope? Dont you think something is missing here that you cant point out,rather,your ego doesn't let you see?
Why do you think Americans talk of helping India to achieve a status to challenge China? Have they gone insane? They think that way because of present trends and the fact that India with present growth rate is going to be the 3rd richest economy in the world and its potential!
You are way mistaken about China and we are not far behind China. China strictly controls its image and wont let the world see its underbelly. Again, your romantic notions about an ally has compromised you thinking rationally.
India is the ray of hope in a neighborhood where democracy is stuggling to survive. Especially with respect to a nuclear armed country where the terrorists are running wild,ironically who were created by the very state against whom they are fighting.
This piece should have been called, "Introspection of Pakistan's creation(But, India is far worse when compared)"
anoop: "Due to alert media,nowadays, you get to hear about Maoists a lot more. They will never pose much threat to the Indian state."
If what you are saying is correct, then I find it strange that Manmohan Singh describes Maoists insurgency as the greatest national security since independence and deploys 100,000 troops to fight the Maoists.
Absolutely. We have ignored them for decades because of various reasons. The maoist problem is not new but more stronger than it was when it was born. This kind of violence cannot be tolerated at any cost in the modern India. Enough of this communist and socialist crap and our govt and intellectuals have long supported socialism as a concept and thought maoists were an offshoot of such an ideology. But, violence cannot be tolerated. India should commit resources based on sound calculations and reasoning. There has to be many ways of fighting maoists without even fighting them. Earlier there was a dearth of Jobs in India but now there is no such thing. As the economy is growing,more jobs are getting generated and these can be offered to maoists to shun violence and also the poor tribals. We should also respect the tribals and not encroach on their territory and we should do so with their approval after convincing them.
''That's why the absolute number of poor people in India has increased since the reform began in early 1990s.''
umm Indian population has increased by 40% so the absolute number of poor has increased by around 10% since 1990,this is progress because in % of population terms the absolute poor are declining i.e the rich are getting richer but the poor are getting less poor(albeit at a slower pace than the rich),this happens in all fast growing countries including China who's gini coefficient is actually HIGHER than India's.
You don't see abject poverty of the 18%=250mn chinese living <$1/day because you are not allowed to.
Just curious what are the comparable figures for Pakistan over the same period.
anon: "Just curious what are the comparable figures for Pakistan over the same period."
Pakistan has better than India both in terms of poverty reduction and rich-poor disparity.
Center for Poverty Reduction (CPRSPD), backed by the United Nations Development Program(UNDP), has estimated that Pakistan's poverty at national level declined sharply from 22.3 percent in 2005-06 (versus India's poverty rate of 42%) to 17.2 percent in 2007-08. This poverty estimate has been validated by the World Bank.
Pakistan is among the most egalitarian nations in its region and the world. Here are Gini numbers: Pakistan (0.298), Bangladesh (0.318), India (0.325), and Indonesia (0.343).
When comparing India and Pakistan in terms of gini coefficients please remember India is 5-6 times bigger than Pakistan.Bigger countries as a rule have higer gini coefficients than comparable smaller countries.The EU overall has a very high gini coefficient because it includes Romania per capita income of $5000 and Norway with a per capita income of $93,000.
India is roughly 3 times more populous than the EU and vastly more diverse so it is natural the gini coefficient will be higher infact what is creditable is that it is actally the lowest in the BRIC grouping and much lower than China even though China unlike India is uniracial with 97% of the population Han.
How can you call Pakistan as egalitarian with the majority of the population living under feudalism with what are essentially medevil power structures?
anon: "How can you call Pakistan as egalitarian with the majority of the population living under feudalism with what are essentially medevil power structures?"
In Pakistan, you don't see the kind of abject poverty and hunger that is quite visible in India.
Part of India's problem is the way the large Dalit population and the tribals live in extreme deprivation.
Over 250 million people are victims of caste-based discrimination and segregation in India. They live miserable lives, shunned by much of society because of their ranks as untouchables or Dalits at the bottom of a rigid caste system in Hindu India. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in slave-like conditions, and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state's protection, according to Human Rights Watch.
In what has been called Asia's hidden apartheid, entire villages in many Indian states remain completely segregated by caste.
As I said remember the size and diversity.
If you compare Pakistani Punjab with Indian Punjab you will find that Indian punjab is twice richer.
Anyway unlike Pakistan which has feudal epresentations in the senate.In India the caste system is illegal,nobody(except in the case of marraiges) practices it in he urban areas and the incidences in villages are several orders of magnitude lesser than they were at independence.
In addition there is also a roughly 50% reservaion for DAlits,Tribals and other underpriveledged sections in ALL government posts and state run corporations including comparable quotas for promotion.This is the world's largest affirmative action program.
Has Pakistan anything comparable for its underpriveledged sections like Ahmediyas,Hindus etc?
anon: "If you compare Pakistani Punjab with Indian Punjab you will find that Indian punjab is twice richer. Anyway unlike Pakistan which has feudal epresentations in the senate.In India the caste system is illegal,nobody(except in the case of marraiges) practices it..."
I gave you data from independent sources, all you are giving me is just your own inflated positive opinions of India. Where's the beef?
"Anonymous said... you know if Pakistan wasn't created Muslims would be ruling united India.How? "
Childish observation. Today with all countries being muslim around isreal, they are not united to be a force. Even in pakistan which was supposed to be the islamic republic of pakistan it is divided by creed, tribe and race. If caste is the curse of hindus, tribes / races is the curse of islam. Division of bangaladesh is the clear indication that there exist no unity under muslims. They are not educated to think rationally and hence they can be very easily hijacked by any person invariably by a despot.
Best illustration of the fragile islam unity is as under :
"Tauseef explains in the following words: "I personally think that if Nehru had not included land reforms in his program, Pakistan would never have been created. The country was made so that the jagirdari system could remain intact. The jagirdars, who were all protégées of the British, knew that if left in the Congress fold, they would be wiped out since at that time Marxist thought was moving into the subcontinent. The Muslim League was a product of the British and the land-owning Nawabs."
By the words of the author, the founder of india, wanted the zamindari system to go and redistribute the lands to the tiller. Laws to that effect was done. Hence there is no such kings and zamindars in india but for few in north. However pakistan continued as a hijacked version of fuedal elements which was further perverted with islamic fundamentalism under zia along with dossage for hatred for hindus and india which is reflected in every school book of pakistan.
Where as india has moved further and it will move slowly further to achieve its aim over a period of time due to the population, democracy.
Here is a report in the Indian media with an Indian official Syeda Hameed admitting that India is doing worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh on nutrition:
New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, says Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.
'There has been an enormous infusion of funds. But the National Family Health Survey gives a different story on malnourishment in the country. We don't know, something is just not clicking,' Hameed said.
Speaking at a conference on 'Malnutrition an emergency: what it costs the nation', she said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during interactions with the Planning Commission has described malnourishment as the 'blackest mark'.
'I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better,' she said. The conference was organised Monday by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.
According to India's National Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the last seven years. This is only a shade better than Sub-Saharan Africa where about 35 percent of children are malnourished.
Hameed said the government's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, which is a flagship programme to improve the health of women and children, had not shown results despite a lot of money being spent on it in the past few years.
'We have not been successful in improving the status of health of our women and children,' she added.
The annual budget for women and child development (WCD) ministry in 2008-9 is Rs.72 billion. Of this, Rs.63 billion is for ICDS.
According to Unicef, every year 2.1 million children in India die before celebrating their fifth birthday. While malnutrition is the primary reason behind it, other factors like lack of health facilities, hygiene and good nutrition compound the problem.
Narrating her experiences while travelling the length and breadth of the country, Hameed said in many areas women were still starving and finding it difficult to feed their children.
She said emphasis should be given on inclusive breast-feeding for six months after a child's birth, maternity benefits for pregnant women and food fortification of ready to eat mid-day meals.
'We are concerned and worried that we are losing human beings in such a manner. It is a disappointment and a blot. We have just improved a fraction and we are determined that we do not let it get worse,' she said.
'It is frustrating to see this dark and dismal picture of undernourishment in the country. We have to learn the experiences from other South Asian countries,' she added.
The NFHS survey found that levels of anaemia in children and women had worsened compared to seven years ago -- around 56 percent of women and 79 percent of children below three years are anaemic.
Vinita Bali, managing director of Britannia Industries, said the problem was very critical and action was needed from both the government and the industry.
She said their 'Tiger' biscuits had been fortified with iron and had shown amazing results. These biscuits have been provided to children in Hyderabad with a midday meal.
'We conducted a study and found that in six months of taking these biscuits, the haemoglobin increased. The biscuits are not only healthy but also fortified,' she said.
'There should be a balance between prevention and treatment. Our focus should be to target the most vulnerable and then only we will have a much healthier future for India,' he added.
Here's an LA Times report on the vicious cycle of poverty in rural India:
India has long been plagued by unscrupulous moneylenders who exploit impoverished farmers. But with crops failing more frequently, farmers are left even more desperate and vulnerable.
Reporting from Jhansi, India - She stops for long stretches, lost in thought, trying to make sense of how she's been left half a person.
Sunita, 18, who requested that her family name not be used to preserve her chance of getting married, said her nightmare started in early 2007 after her father took a loan for her sister's wedding. The local moneylender charged 60% annual interest.
When the family was unable to make the exorbitant interest payments, she said, the moneylender forced himself on her, not once or twice but repeatedly over many months.
"I used to cry a lot and became a living corpse," she said.
Sunita's allegations, which the moneylender denies, cast a harsh light on widespread abuses in rural India, where a highly bureaucratic banking system, corruption and widespread illiteracy allow unethical people with extra income to exploit poor villagers, activists say.
But here in the Bundelkhand region in central India that is among the nation's more impoverished areas, the problem is exacerbated by climate change and environmental mismanagement, they say, suggesting that ecological degradation and global warming are changing human life in more ways than just elevated sea levels and melting glaciers.
"Before, a bad year would lead to a good year," said Bharat Dogra, a fellow at New Delhi's Institute of Social Sciences specializing in the Bundelkhand region. "Now climate change is giving us seven or eight bad years in a row, putting local people deeper and deeper in debt. I expect the situation will only get worse."
An estimated 200,000 Indian farmers have ended their lives since 1997, including many in this area, largely because of debt.
A 2007 study of 13 Bundelkhand villages found that up to 45% of farming families had forfeited their land, and in extreme cases some were forced into indentured servitude. Tractor companies, land mafia and bankers routinely collude, encouraging farmers to take loans they can't afford, a 2008 report by India's Supreme Court found, knowing they'll default and be forced to sell their land.
"While a few people borrow for social status or a desire to buy a new motorcycle, in most cases it's for sheer survival," Dogra said. "When they see their children starving after several years of crop failures, many feel they have no choice."
Recent amendments to a 1976 law in Uttar Pradesh state have increased the maximum punishment for unauthorized money-lending to three years in jail, up from six months, but many loan sharks are well-connected and elude prosecution. The law specifies that lenders must obtain a state license, but the requirements for obtaining it can be vague, a situation that critics say gives bureaucrats significant leeway to enact arbitrary rules and exact questionable fees.
"I take occasional loans when we're desperate," says Jhagdu, 50, a farmer in Barora, 60 miles south of Jhansi, sitting on his haunches with teeth stained red from chewing betel nut. "When there's no rain, like now, you can't repay for a year, so the amounts can double."
Here's a Reuters report on feudal excesses and case for land reform in Pakistan:
Dotted around Pakistan are vast estates run by feudal landlords who command enormous economic and political power, condemning their tenants to poverty, reform activists charge.
On some of these estates, debt bondage has forced 1.8 million people to work the land for no pay, generation after generation, according to the campaigning group Anti-Slavery International. On others, sharecropping systems are practised, under which landless tenants hand over between two-thirds and half of the crops they produce to the landowner.
Unlike other countries in the region, including India, Pakistan did not carry out land reforms after 1947, and attempts in the 1950s and 1970s to reduce the size of land holdings had limited impact.
"Land reform has not taken place because the lawmakers in many cases themselves have large land holdings and will never want to transfer ownership to tenants. There will be no land reform until [the] people are in control of governance," Mubashir Hasan, a former finance minister and social activist, told IRIN.
About 2 percent of households control more than 45 percent of the land area. Powerful farmers have also taken advantage of government subsidies in water and agriculture, and benefited from technological improvements which have boosted yields, according to the World Bank.
By 1977 the biggest estates had only surrendered about 520,000 hectares, and nearly 285,000 hectares had been redistributed among some 71,000 farmers. Around 3,529 landowners have 513,114 holdings of more than 40.5 hectares in irrigated areas, and 332,273 holdings of more than 40.5 hectares in non-irrigated areas, according to the government's annual Economic Survey.
"We manage to earn a little for ourselves by selling the surplus corn and wheat that we take from the land. It is hard work, but despite this we have not been able to escape poverty. None of my four sons is educated beyond the eighth grade. We needed their labour on the land," said Kareem Muhammad, a landless tenant on a farm near the town of Okara, about 110km south of Lahore.
In Punjab, both sharecropping and fixed-rent contracts - where a rent per acre farmed is paid to the landowner by tenants - are practised. In Sindh, about one third of the land falls under fixed-rent contracts and about two thirds of the land is sharecropped, government surveys show.
The sense of injustice created by the continued hold of feudal landlords and the poverty this gives rise to has been a key factor in rising social discontent - aided and abetted by militant groups.
"I am a landless farmer. Last year my teenage son was persuaded by members of an organization engaged in jihad [holy war] to come away with them. They told him it is better to wield a gun and learn to use it than eke out a miserable existence tilling land," Riazuddin Ahmed, from Vehari in southern Punjab, told IRIN.
"My son is only 17. He saw no hope ahead of him, and therefore went away with these people. His mother and I are distraught. But we believe he has gone to the northern areas and we have no means of finding him," he said.
Former finance minister Hassan blamed this on oppression and misery. "Today, governance has collapsed. Extremism has grown and weapons have proliferated," he said.
Farming contributes 21 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 44 percent of the workforce, according to the government's annual Economic Survey. Of the total land area of 80.4 million hectares, about 22 million are cultivated, according to official data. Nearly 65 percent of this cultivated area is in Punjab, about 25 percent in Sindh and 10 percent in the North West Frontier Province and Balochistan.
Here's the transcript of an NPR report on feudal power in Pakistan and how it enslaves people on the large feudal estates in Punjab:
LAURA LYNCH: The midday sun throws a harsh spotlight on weathered faces. Women crouch low, searching for, then plucking out barely ripe tomatoes. Every crease and crevice in their feet, their hands, even on their faces is dusted with dirt from the fields they farm. They work from dawn to dusk - and the landowner gets most of the income. Nearly two thirds of Pakistan's rural population are sharecroppers. One of the male workers, Abdul Aziz, says they all owe their livelihood to their boss - so they support the political party he supports. He has always voted for the Pakistan People's Party he says; the party of the late Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto and other wealthy landowners like her had always been able to count on the loyalty of those who toil for them in the fields. At her gracious home in Islamabad, Syma Khar traces her lineage - both familial and political - through the photographs she keeps in the cupboard.
LYNCH: Khar is a member of the provincial assembly of the Punjab - the largest province in Pakistan. She is also a member of one of Pakistan's most powerful families. The pictures are from the Khar family estate just outside the city of Multan. The sprawling property includes fisheries, mango orchards and sugarcane fields. Thousands of people work there - most are loyal to their masters. Syma's husband, his father, brothers, nieces and nephews have all turned that to their political advantage to gain office. The workers are by and large, poor, landless and uneducated. Pervez Iqbal Cheema of Pakistan's National Defence University says that's the way most feudals want to keep it.
PERVEZ IQBAL CHEEMA: A feudal, in order to maintain his influence, will be probably not very happy for extension of education or health facilities because as long as they have a minimum interaction with the outsiders then the chances of new ideas germinating or causing some trouble are relatively less.
LYNCH: That star power was evident when Benazir Bhutto staged her return from exile in Karachi in October of 2007. Though it was later marred by a suicide bomb attack, the Bhutto power base in rural Pakistan bussed thousands of loyal followers in to cheer her arrival and dance in the streets. Even after she died, Bhutto's political machine ensured her husband eventually became President. And her son, Bilawal, inherited the party leadership even though he's only 20 with no political experience. In a back alley off a busy road in Rawalpindi, boys are just starting a late afternoon game of cricket. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, rights activist and professor of colonial history at Lahore University of Management Sciences, keeps an office a few floors up. Akhtar sees the staying power of the feudals - and gives credit to the military. It is Pakistan's other power centre - staging four coups in the country's 62 year history. Akhtar says the military, interested in holding onto its own sphere of influence, finds a willing partner in the feudal class.
KHAR: If they don't' keep that attitude then people will be doing daytime robberies because they are illiterate people. They will, you know, kidnap the daughters they will take away the children they will take away the properties, they will kill each other. So a boss has to be a boss. He has to have that sort of attitude.
LYNCH: As a farm worker empties her bucket of tomatoes into a crate there is no smile of satisfaction - the day's work is still far from over. There's little chance her life will change soon. Several land reform programs have failed to change rural life in Pakistan. And failed to loosen the grip of Pakistan's large landowners on the country's politics.
Here's a 2008 Guardian story by Dilip Hiro on Pak feudal power:
The roots of feudal dominance lie in history. The Pakistan Muslim League, the parent of its present two versions, is the descendant of the All India Muslim League (AIML). Formed in 1906 to promote loyalty to the British Crown while advancing Muslim interests, the AIML was led by Muslim grandees and feudal lords. It was not until 1940 that it demanded partition of the Indian sub-continent, with Muslim majority areas constituting independent states. Unlike the anti-imperialist Indian National Congress, it lacked an economic programme favouring small and landless peasants, and trade unions for industrial workers.
Given the traditional peasants' servitude to landowners, and almost universal illiteracy in rural Pakistan, where most people lived, electoral politics became the privilege of large landlords, who controlled vote banks. During elections their choice of a party depended on self-interest: which one will supply or raise government-subsidised irrigation water and/or fertiliser; or build roads to the villages they owned.
This continues. A recent report in the Observer from Old Jatoi (population, 3,000) in Sindh is illustrative. While the peasants working for the local grandee, Mustafa Jatoi, live in shacks, his spacious house is surrounded by green lawns and high white walls, with its driveway chocked with Toyota SUVs and Suzuki Mehrans, now deployed to transport him to drummed-up rallies.
His electoral rival, Arif Jatoi, too has similar assets. But he takes time off to fly to Islamabad to seek extra development funds for his area from the prime minister, allied with the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q.
In the more populous Punjab province, the Lahore-based Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, a PML-Q candidate, charters a helicopter to campaign in his rural constituency, promising to bring a gas pipeline to the villages. The family's fortunes have come from textile factories. Likewise, Nawaz Sharif and his brother, the leaders of the opposition PML-N, have amassed millions from their industrial assets.
It would be naïve to expect such super-affluent Pakistanis to advance the interests of landless peasants or poorly paid factory workers.
The near-monopoly of power by the Pakistan Muslim League was broken in 1967 when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, established the Pakistan People's Party. He coined a catchy, all-embracing slogan: "Islam is our faith, democracy our polity, socialism our economy; and all power to the people." It won him the sobriquet of "a socialist demagogue".
While advocating socialist economy, he never uttered the term "land reform". He could not. He possessed 12,000 acres of rice-growing land. He behaved as haughtily as any other feudal lord. So too did his daughter, Benazir. The corruption and the affluence of her and her polo-playing husband, Asif Zardari, are widely known.
Just as with the Jatois elsewhere in Sindh, any electoral rivalry is between competing estate owners. In the Bhutto-Zardari case, it is Benazir's cousin, Mumtaz. Owner of 15,000 acres of arable land worth £12 million, he earns an annual tax-free income of £345,000 in a country with per capita income of £350 a year.
In a recent interview, Mr. Bhutto waxed eloquent about his last summer holiday at Hotel Splendido in Portofino on Italy's Amalfi coast while his peasants suffered the humid heat needed for rice to grow. It was a break from his normal summer forays to apartments in London's posh Mayfair or Knightsbridge.
The glaring scandal of the present election campaign is the total absence of the long-overdue debate about land reform, where the state takes over the land above the legal ceiling and distributes it among landless peasants.
Here's an interesting report by Reuters in Pakistan:
By Alistair Scrutton
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - If you want a slice of peace and stability in a country with a reputation for violence and chaos, try Pakistan's M2 motorway.
At times foreign reporters need to a give a nation a rest from their instinctive cynicism. I feel like that with Pakistan each time I whizz along the M2 between Islamabad and Lahore, the only motorway I know that inspires me to write.
Now, if the M2 conjures images of bland, spotless tarmac interspersed with gas stations and fast food outlets, you would be right. But this is South Asia, land of potholes, reckless driving and the occasional invasion of livestock.
And this is Pakistan, for many a "failed state." Here, blandness can inspire almost heady optimism.
Built in the 1990s at a cost of around $1 billion, the 228-mile (367-km) motorway -- which continues to Peshawar as the M1 -- is like a six-lane highway to paradise in a country that usually makes headlines for suicide bombers, army offensives and political mayhem.
Indeed, for sheer spotlessness, efficiency and emptiness there is nothing like the M2 in the rest of South Asia.
It puts paid to what's on offer in Pakistan's traditional foe and emerging economic giant India, where village culture stubbornly refuses to cede to even the most modern motorways, making them battlegrounds of rickshaws, lorries and cows.
There are many things in Pakistan that don't get into the news. Daily life, for one. Pakistani hospitality to strangers, foreigners like myself included, is another. The M2 is another sign that all is not what it appears in Pakistan, that much lies hidden behind the bad news.
On a recent M2 trip, my driver whizzed along but kept his speedometer firmly placed on the speed limit. Here in this South Asian Alice's Wonderland, the special highway police are considered incorruptible. The motorway is so empty one wonders if it really cuts through one of the region's most populated regions.
"130, OK, but 131 is a fine," said the driver, Noshad Khan. "The police have cameras," he added, almost proudly. His hand waved around in the car, clenched in the form of a gun.
On one of my first trips to Pakistan. I arrived at the border having just negotiated a one-lane country road in India with cows, rickshaws and donkey-driven carts.
I toted my luggage over to the Pakistan side, and within a short time my Pakistani taxi purred along the tarmac. The driver proudly showed off his English and played U.S. rock on FM radio. The announcer even had an American accent. Pakistan, for a moment, receded, and my M2 trip began.
Built in the 1990s by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, it was part of his dream of a motorway that would unite Pakistan with Afghanistan and central Asia.
For supporters it shows the potential of Pakistan. Its detractors say it was a waste of money, a white elephant that was a grandiose plaything for Sharif.
But while his dreams for the motorway foundered along with many of Pakistan, somehow the Islamabad-Lahore stretch has survived assassinations, coups and bombs.
A relatively expensive toll means it is a motorway for the privileged. Poorer Pakistanis use the older trunk road nearby tracing an ancient route that once ran thousands of miles to eastern India. The road is shorter, busier and takes nearly an hour longer.
On my latest trip, I passed the lonely occasional worker in an orange suit sweeping the edge of the motorway in a seemingly Sisyphean task.
Here's an Indian report from last year about India significantly lagging Pakistan in clean energy and CNG usage:
New Delhi, May 5, 2008
India is way behind Pakistan in terms of its gas pipeline network, with the neighbouring country’s network stretching around 56,400 km against its 10,500 km, connecting only 20 cities compared to Pakistan’s 1,050, industry body Assocham said.
Pakistan’s pipeline density, at present is 1044 km/mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meter per day) per day compared to 116 km/mmscmd of India, Assocham said in its paper on gas sector ‘A Comparison between India and Pakistan’.
The neighbouring country has created a 31,000 km distribution network to serve its domestic and commercial consumers in large locations, against the 11,000 km network that have so far been build in India to serve the needs of its consumers in limited pockets, the report said.
While Pakistan has nearly 1,600 CNG stations, India has 380. The gas throughput in Pakistan is 38 mmscmd per day as against 8.5 mmscmd gas in India.
The number of gas customers and vehicles running on CNG in Pakistan is about 19 lakh and 15.6 lakh respectively, while in India the number is 5.50 lakh and 4.60 lakh.
“The gas availability in Pakistan is undoubtedly quite large, compared to India but given the imports of gas and even its domestic availability in India, its pipeline network is extremely poor and the main reason attributed for the low and limited pipeline network in India is because this sector has been thoroughly regulated which has now been opened for competition,” Assocham president Venugopal Dhoot said.
The paper added that since the pipeline network in India does not reach out to most of the potential demand centres, a number of industrial projects, which would ideally run on gas, have to depend on much more costlier and more polluting alternative fuels.
“Thus the unmet gas demand in India is probably much higher than what is reported,” he said, adding India, “at present has only one major cross country pipeline in the form of Hizira-Bijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline and there is estimated to be considerable unmet demand even in the states serviced by this pipeline”.
With the increased availability of gas, the country needs to gear up quickly to meet the increased requirement of cross country as well as regional and local downstream gas distribution networks, he said. — PTI
For some of the posters here, let me share with you what Sean-Paul Kelly, a traveler-blogger, thinks of India, based on the recent NY Times story on "India's Innovation Envy":
Indians, it seems, aren’t lacking in the hyper-patriotic, and India certainly doesn’t lack its boosters in the West. Alas, some folks are beginning to see the light:
"BANGALORE, India — In the United States and Europe, people worry that their well-paying, high-skill jobs will be, in a word, “Bangalored” — shipped off to India.
People here are also worried about the future. They fret that Bangalore, and India more broadly, will remain a low-cost satellite office of the West for the foreseeable future — more Scranton, Pa., in the American television series “The Office,” than Silicon Valley."
Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley-Asia has called this wage arbitrage (Roach happens to be one of the few American economists that gets it right on India). And Americans are right to worry about this. It’s put downward pressure on services as varied as call-centers and tech support, to financial news reporting, X-ray and MRI interpretation and accounting. I would be especially worried if I were an accountant. But then again, many of the big firm accountants need not be worried, as their shilling game for Wall Street will protect them. For a time.
"Even as the rest of the world has come to admire, envy and fear India’s outsourcing business and its technological prowess, many Indians are disappointed that the country has not quickly moved up to more ambitious and lucrative work from answering phones or writing software. Why, they worry, hasn’t India produced a Google or an Apple?"
Wait a second. India does not have any technological prowess in the true sense of the word. After all, if they did, why would the Ambassador, a car model over fifty years old, made of the heaviest steel imaginable, and horribly inefficient be the best selling domestically produced car in India, still. The Nano notwithstanding.
"Innovation is hard to measure, but academics who study it say India has the potential to create trend-setting products but is not yet doing so. Indians are granted about half as many American patents for inventions as people and firms in Israel and China. The country’s corporate and government spending on research and development significantly lags behind that of other nations. And venture capitalists finance far fewer companies here than they do elsewhere."
Re-read that graph closely and you’ll begin to get an idea of the hurdles India faces. And hurdles it is doing nothing, absolutely nothing to overcome. Instead of using its domestic capital for something like infrastructure building, local elites continue to siphon it all off and live behind huge fenced in compounds paying dalits pitiful, barely life-sustaining wages.
Here are "Reflections on India" published by an American traveler-blogger:
First, pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)
The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: roads, rails and ports and the electrical grid. The electrical grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India. Wide swaths of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. With out regular electricity, productivity, again, falls. The ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of longshoremen and the like. Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand, much less Western Europe or America. And I covered fully two thirds of the country during my visit. There are so few dual carriage way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of, and if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced. A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older. Everyone in India, or who travels in India raves about the railway system. Rubbish. It's awful. Now, when I was there in 2003 and then late 2004 it was decent. But in the last five years the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travelers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses. At least fifty million people use the trains a day in India. 50 million people! Not surprising that waitlists of 500 or more people are common now. The rails are affordable and comprehensive but they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like Sadhus in an ashram the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the overutilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit. Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia, Israel and the US I guess.
So when do you think Pakistan's economy is going to outgrow India's or grow at a much faster rate than India's?
Economy is growing despite all these things. And, high growth will fix everything. we are already seeing results of such high growth in bangalore and Hyderabad. The states of Karnataka and Andra Pradesh have benefited tremendously by these super fast and high tech cities. The problems mentioned do exist but not un-fixable. I am not going to point out Pakistan's follies to satisfy my ego and gain an upper hand as this would be not in the right spirit. I dont need to point at another country and say to myself,"my country is a little better". Heck, we see Pakistan-related news everyday in papers. Compare everyday news India makes and everyday news in Pakistan makes in International papers and you will see how different these 2 countries are.
Anyway, India has a bright future and is going to be the 3rd largest economy by 2050. NOBODY can deny or stop that. Only time will tell if India is going to #1 or #2.
anoop:"And, high growth will fix everything. we are already seeing results of such high growth in bangalore and Hyderabad."
I think you missed the following part about Banglaore in Sean-Paul Kelly's travelogue:
Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight.
You are generalizing way too much! You can find so many westerners coming to India,Pakistan and Bangladesh with expectations to see another Europe. Face it India is a huge country with different faces. That author of that blog has seen one or few of the faces of India. I can show you many different opinions about India which show it in a positive light. I can also show many articles which show Pakistan in a negative light with regard to its infrastructure and the filth that normally westerners notice.
Here is an article of such sort:
I will not generalize and say the whole of Pakistan is covered in filth and is dirty. Atleast in India you have a state govt and central govt working together to reduce poverty and improve infrastructure. Can you say the same thing about Pakistan?
Hell,Pakistan's case is so hopeless that it is living beyond its means even after 62 years of Independence and recently there was massive begging involved by the govt incharge(Remember,FOP)
I am from Bangalore and I do see areas with less privileged people in them and they are very dirty.
But, I also see a greater Bangalore where everything is growing very fast and there is wealth all around. I see super highways coming all around Bangalore and I see the metro tracks coming inside Bangalore. This is just one city in India. You can see similar things happening in various cities in India. You just have to look at the right places,just like you look at slums to find India's poorest.
The bottom line is India is growing at 7.9% this year and Pakistan is growing at a measly 2.3% this year.
A bigger percentage of people will be coming out of poverty in India than in Pakistan.
The question is often asked why democracy has survived in India but not in Pakistan.
Here are some fundamental differences between India and Pakistan that are often overlooked:
1. India's founders Nehru, Patel and Azad lived long enough after partition to implement their vision of a democratic India free of the legacy of Feudalism left by the Brits. India could not have survived as a nation-state without the foundation laid by its wise founders.
2. British writer William Dalrymple has accurately described the politics in Pakistan as follows: "There is a fundamental flaw in Pakistan's political system. Democracy has never thrived here, at least in part because landowning remains almost the only social base from which politicians can emerge. In general, the educated middle class - which in India seized control in 1947, emasculating the power of its landowners - is in Pakistan still largely excluded from the political process. As a result, in many of the more backward parts of Pakistan the local feudal zamindar can expect his people to vote for his chosen candidate. Such loyalty can be enforced. Many of the biggest zamindars have private prisons and most have private armies."
3. Gandhi believed that India has no choice but democracy. India is much larger and too diverse to be ruled by an autocrat or any military, however large. Speaking about it last April, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated".
4. Indians are a lot more patient than Pakistanis. They have been willing to endure bad governance over extended period of time. Democracy in India has failed to deliver any benefits...even the very basics such as food, clothing and shelter. India's democracy is a deeply flawed democracy and it survives because alternatives are far worse for Indians.
Power in Pakistan has alternated between military and feudal politicians in the last six decades. Pakistan's experience has clearly shown that military generals are better ruler who deliver economic growth. The politicians are too inept and corrupt to deliver results for the people. It is false to blame the military for Pakistan's breakup. It was the failure of politicians to compromise and work together that led to the loss of East Pakistan in 1971.
I take great offence when you say democracy in India is flawed. How is it flawed? Do politicians here rig the election? Are'nt we the fastest growing economy in the commity of democracies around the world? Democracy has taken time to pay dividends here for the poor but it is working. Not a single person in the world is threatened by India's rise(compare it with China's rise which is a source of concern for most around the world), a democratic country's rise. Its only the Pakistanis who are scared and are in denial. Have you heard of 2 democracies in the world going to war??? That is why we want Pakistan to be democratic soon. Military men are immature and dont understand war or peace. Your support to your army unnerves anyone who really knows democracy.
Quit criticizing democracy in India and as a whole. Because that is the only system that can save Pakistan and keep it together. You think people will learn after losing half of their country to fact that democracy was not properly enforced. If more people like you who support democracy-minus-civilian-supremacy are there in Pakistan, God help the country.
The democracy you so often criticize is the fastest growing in the world.
Anoop: Indian democracy is the reason why India lags so far behind China and other nations in the neighborhood in meeting the very basic needs of its population.
With few exceptions, it is dominated by self-serving and corrupt, even criminal politicians who are busy enriching themselves at the expenses of the poorest of the poor in the world.
An estimated 200,000 Indian farmers have ended their lives since 1997, including many in this area, largely because of debt, according to a recent LA Times report.
There is widespread hunger and malnutrition in all parts of India. India ranks 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries while Pakistan is slightly better at 61 and Bangladesh slightly worse at 70. The first India State Hunger Index (Ishi) report in 2008 found that Madhya Pradesh had the most severe level of hunger in India, comparable to Chad and Ethiopia. Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — fell in the 'serious' category. "Affluent" Gujarat, 13th on the Indian list is below Haiti, ranked 69. The authors said India's poor performance was primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and under-nourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.
Its child malnutrition rate of 46% is worse than Sub-Saharan Africa's 35%, as admitted by Indian planning commission member Syeda Hameed. Even Bangladesh, a poor nation, has done better than India in terms of child welfare.
Currently two-thirds of India's budget is allocated for military, paramilitary, police, various security forces and debt servicing. That leaves one-third for everything else, including infrastructure development projects, education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and various human services. The new arms buildup by India will leave even less for what India needs most: to lift hundreds of millions of its citizens from abject poverty, hunger, squalor and disease.
Indians do have elections, but most vote their caste rather than cast their votes for candidates with real merit.
So, overall, Indian democracy remains unresponsive to the needs of the vast majority of its people who live in abject poverty and endure frequent hunger.
Please enlighten me which democracy is corruption free? Is USA the richest country in the world free of corruption or corrupt politicians?
It matters what are we doing about this corruption. Acts like Right to Information in India are tools in the hands of people to fight corruption. RTI was used to bring to justice Ex-CM of Jharkhand Koda and has brought justice to hundreds of thousands of people.
Institutions like the Lok Ayukta are dedicated to fighting corruption. In Karnataka, Lok Ayukta is the most popular person because people see his as the saviour against corruption.
Is Pakistan more or less corrupt than India,a democracy? Are Pakistani politicians more honest and clean than India's?
Pray tell me what are the legislation or institutions in Pakistan that are dedicated to fight corruption! I think the Pakistani govt needs to find time from discussing NRO to protect criminals than support legislation that fight corruption.
"Currently two-thirds of India's budget is allocated for military, paramilitary, police, various security forces and debt servicing."
---> I hardly doubt that. India spends 2.5% of GDP on defence.
Think before denouncing democracy,Riaz. Its the only way Pakistan can survive. By democracy I mean real democracy. Not the one Pakistan practices.
When you show me figures of various kind of indicators please show me the indicators before 1991 and now so that we can compare. I never said India is not poor or India is the richest and best-est country in the world. India has its share of problems but we have to see how much India has progressed in the past 20 years. Hope you agree. Without such comparison you are judging at face value which is not correct. Please get similar figures for Pakistan and you can evenly compare and contrast the kind of growth India and Pakistan have made in the last 20 years.
If you say inspite of growing at 8% over the last decade India has not brought millions of people out of poverty then you have no idea about economics. And, your claim that Pakistan is growing faster than the measly 3% is laughable. Pakistan's growth in the last decade was artificial and dependent on aid by the Bush administration to the tune of $ 17 Billion. Thats huge for a country like Pakistan. This years 3% growth is just an adjustment for all those years of artificial growth. Pakistan true growth potential wont be seen as long as its economy runs on aid. Pakistan's future predictions by IMF is 4% for next year when its own population is growing at 1.95% so that negates and brings the overall growth to 2%. Just 2%. Pakistan is pushing people into poverty and its economy is stagnated or is growing at the "hindu" growth rate.
India on the other hand is bringing millions out of poverty every year and I am a testimony for that. India's growth has given me and a lot of others the ability to dream. As I sit in my Air Conditioned room in IBM which employs 40,000 people in Bangalore alone I can only see things getting bigger. 8000 IBM jobs came to India this september? When the West is getting afraid of Bangalored you are writing India's economic obituary. You cannot be farther from reality.
India is healing. And, a beacon of hope to the world. Wait for a few more years.
Advice: Save these figures for comparison in about 20 years. Then, we will really know if India has grown.
CIA Factbook says India has reduced poverty by 10 Percentage Points. You were claiming that poverty is not decreasing in India,right? Here, you have been proved wrong. It says,"The economy has posted an average growth rate of more than 7% in the decade since 1997, reducing poverty by about 10 percentage points. India achieved 9.6% GDP growth in 2006, 9.0% in 2007, and 6.6% in 2008, significantly expanding manufactures through late 2008."
India's democracy is stable,fair and bringing people out of poverty. Its perfect structurally. What do you think?
In the context of unprecedented economic growth (9-10 percent annually) and national food security, over 60 percent of Indian children are wasted, stunted, underweight or a combination of the above. As a result, India ranks number 62 along with Bangladesh at 67 in the PHI (Poverty Hunger Index)ranking out of a total of 81 countries. Both nations are included among the low performing countries in progress towards MDG1 (Millennium Development Goals) with countries such as Nepal (number 58), Ethiopia (number 60), or Zimbabwe (number 74).
On PHI index, Pakistan ranks 45 well ahead of India at 62, and it is included in the medium performing countries. PHI is a new composite indicator – the Poverty and Hunger Index (PHI) – developed to measure countries’ performance towards achieving MDG1 on halving poverty and hunger by 2015. The PHI combines all five official MDG1 indicators, including a) the proportion of population living on less than US$ 1/day, b) poverty gap ratio, c) share of the poorest quintile in national income or consumption, d) prevalence of underweight in children under five years of age, and d) the proportion of population undernourished.
Thats fine. I agree. But, again you haven't quoted present and past figures. I am saying poverty exists. You dont have to show the indicators to me. I can see that. But, show me the figures of pre-1991 and now and compare them to really know which country is PROGRESSING and which is not.
There has been tremendous growth in the past 2 decades and ignoring that is not good analysis.
I will be very interested to find out if Pakistan has progressed or not on those indicators. Infact, Pakistan's economy was in much better shape than India's pre-1970's.
Its time to find out who is climbing the ladder and who is not.
anoop: "But, show me the figures of pre-1991 and now and compare them to really know which country is PROGRESSING and which is not."
Please take a look at the UNESCAP poverty chart 1990-2006. It shows that population living under $1.25 declined in both countries, but more dramatically in Pakistan.
Poverty in India declined from about 50% to about 40% 1990-2006.
Poverty in Pakistan declined from about 60% to about 22% 1990-2006.
I quote from the UNESCAP website, "In India, for instance, between 1990 and 2005 the poverty rate fell from 51.3 to 41.6 per cent in 2005. Since these countries have large populations, falling rates mean that many millions of people are escaping poverty."
It means that while 100 million people come out of poverty in India, about 30-40 million come out in Pakistan.
Here's an interesting commentary by Kapil Komireddi published in the Guardian earlier this year:
Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice. Their grievances are legion, and the list of atrocities committed against them by the Indian state is long. In 2002 at least 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu mobs in the western state of Gujarat in what was the second state-sponsored pogrom in India (Sikhs were the object of the first, in 1984).
For decades Indian intellectuals have claimed that religion, particularly Hinduism, is perfectly compatible with secularism. Indian secularism, they said repeatedly, is not a total rejection of religion by the state but rather an equal appreciation of every faith. Even though no faith is in principle privileged by the state, this approach made it possible for religion to find expression in the public sphere, and, since Hindus in India outnumber adherents of every other faith, Hinduism dominated it. Almost every government building in India has a prominently positioned picture of a Hindu deity. Hindu rituals accompany the inauguration of all public works, without exception.
The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as "angry Muslims" in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus.
The failure of secularism in India – or, more accurately, the failure of the Indian model of secularism – may be just one aspect of the gamut of failures, but it has the potential to bring down the country. Secularism in India rests entirely upon the goodwill of the Hindu majority. Can this kind of secularism really survive a Narendra Modi as prime minister? As Hindus are increasingly infected by the kind of hatred that Varun Gandhi's speech displayed, maybe it is time for Indian secularists to embrace a new, more radical kind of secularism that is not afraid to recognise and reject the principal source of this strife: religion itself.
I dont think India is non-secular at all.. How can you say that when you have a Sikh occupying the highest Chair in India. There is however animosity between Muslims and Hindus. But, Muslims have a long history of either being the victims when in minority or ruthless when in Majority(Example:Pakistan).
Secularism in India is a deeply embedded when you look at the 2 most popular mediums in India- Hindi Film Industry and Cricket.
I've never seen intolerance when it comes to these popular mediums and especially in Cinema. People watch Protagonists who are mainly from the Minority Community(Muslims) are loved by all and are given cult status by ordinary people. Is there any chance of this kind of thing happening in Pakistan?
Or,can Pakistan ever have a Sikh or Christian as PM or President? Or even Army Chief(Since, the is the power center of Pakistan)?
The relations between the 2 communities have been strained since partition happened and thats understandable. But, Muslims have a better life in India and practice the most purest form of Islam anywhere in the world when you compared it to countries like Pakistan,where Muslims are easily radicalized.
There is deep cynicism today, particularly among the secular liberals in Pakistan, about the two-nation theory and the whole idea of partition in 1947.
To put the reality of life in Punjab prior to partition, let me share with you some data that clearly shows how the "tangible benefits" were shared between Hindu-Sikh minority and Muslim majority:
From "PARTITION OF PUNJAB" by Dr. Kirpal Singh (1988)
1. Landholdings 65% non-Muslims the remaining by Muslims
2. Electrical Connections: Muslims 74,790 and non-Muslims 81,525
3. Tax paid for urban immobile property:
Rs. 924, 358 by non-Muslims &
Rs. 396,189 by Muslims
4. Sales Tax :
Rs. 519, 203 by non-Muslims &
Rs. 66,323 by Muslims
5. Out of the 97 banking branches only 7 were run by Muslims.
6. Of the Rs. 100 crore bank deposits only 1 crore belonged to Muslims
7. Out of 215 factories in Lahore 167 were owned by non-Muslims
8. Total investments Rs. 6.05 crores Rs. 4.88 crores by non-Muslims
9. OUT OF 16 COLLEGES ONLY 3 WERE RUN BY MUSLIMS
10. Out of the 40 High Schools only 13 were run by Muslims
11. Candidates appearing for University examinations only 28.51% were by Muslims.
12. Several Public libraries and hospitals established in the Lahore were by non-Muslims
13. Of the 5332 shops in Greater Lahore 3501 were owned by non-Muslims
14. Of the 80 Insurance offices, only 2 were owned by Muslims
15. Of the 12 Arts & Science colleges in Lahore only 1 was run by Muslims
16. Of the 15 professional colleges, excluding 3 run by the Govt, all were run by non-Muslims
17. Of the 12 hospitals NOT EVEN ONE WAS RUN BY MUSLIMS.
18. Rationing enumeration: Muslims (53.9%), Hindus (34%), Sikhs (10%) & others (2%).
Muslims in undivided Punjab had very low standards of living relative to Hindus and Sikhs, they were poor and backward, and there was no Muslim professional or business class as there is now.
Although I haven't seen any data on it yet, I bet similar situation prevailed in Bengal and Sindh as well. And I can bet development never touched the lives of the Muslim provinces of NWFP and Baluchistan either.
Here are some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal review of a recent book "Great Soul" on Mohandas Gandhi's life by Joseph Lelyveld:
Joseph Lelyveld has written a generally admiring book about Mohandas Gandhi, the man credited with leading India to independence from Britain in 1947. Yet "Great Soul" also obligingly gives readers more than enough information to discern that he was a sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him. Gandhi was therefore the archetypal 20th-century progressive intellectual, professing his love for mankind as a concept while actually despising people as individuals.
For all his lifelong campaign for Swaraj ("self-rule"), India could have achieved it many years earlier if Gandhi had not continually abandoned his civil-disobedience campaigns just as they were beginning to be successful. With 300 million Indians ruled over by 0.1% of that number of Britons, the subcontinent could have ended the Raj with barely a shrug if it had been politically united. Yet Gandhi's uncanny ability to irritate and frustrate the leader of India's 90 million Muslims, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (whom he called "a maniac"), wrecked any hope of early independence. He equally alienated B.R. Ambedkar, who spoke for the country's 55 million Untouchables (the lowest caste of Hindus, whose very touch was thought to defile the four higher classes). Ambedkar pronounced Gandhi "devious and untrustworthy." Between 1900 and 1922, Gandhi suspended his efforts no fewer than three times, leaving in the lurch more than 15,000 supporters who had gone to jail for the cause.
A ceaseless self-promoter, Gandhi bought up the entire first edition of his first, hagiographical biography to send to people and ensure a reprint. Yet we cannot be certain that he really made all the pronouncements attributed to him, since, according to Mr. Lelyveld, Gandhi insisted that journalists file "not the words that had actually come from his mouth but a version he authorized after his sometimes heavy editing of the transcripts."
Although Gandhi's nonviolence made him an icon to the American civil-rights movement, Mr. Lelyveld shows how implacably racist he was toward the blacks of South Africa. "We were then marched off to a prison intended for Kaffirs," Gandhi complained during one of his campaigns for the rights of Indians settled there. "We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals."
Here's an Op Ed in the News criticizing of Nawaz Sharif's Aug 13 speech at SAFMA:
Nawaz Sharif’s speech on Aug 13 at the Safma seminar “Building Bridges in the Subcontinent” continues to make waves two weeks later. Media attention has focused mainly on some of his observations which seem to question the basis of Pakistani nationhood. These remarks have caused surprise and consternation even among some long-standing supporters of the PML-N, which claims to be the successor of the party which led the Pakistan movement in pre-partition India. Hardly anyone from the top ranks of the PML-N, apart from the newly appointed spokesman, has sought to defend the party leader’s verbal escapade.
Pakistan and India, Nawaz said, had the same culture and heritage, ate the same food, spoke the same language and shared the same way of life. Despite the many things the people of the two countries had in common, he said, they were now separated by “a border”.
Even when allowance is made for the fact that Nawaz was addressing a mixed audience of Pakistanis and Indians on building bridges between them – in itself a totally desirable enterprise – his statement is offensive. And it is untrue because, though the Muslims and Hindus lived on the same soil for centuries, they inhabited two different spiritual worlds. Nawaz was in fact repeating many of the points made by the Congress Party of India – and refuted by the Quaid-e-Azam – during the Pakistan movement.
Almost as outrageous as Nawaz’s assertion about the Indians and Pakistanis having a common culture is his assertion that they worship (pujte hain) the same God. The Quran says something very different in Surah al-Kafirun: The believers worship not that which the non-believers worship, nor do the non-believers worship that which the believers worship. Nawaz should also know that the Muslims do not perform puja, as the Hindus do, but ibadat.
Nawaz’s political judgment – never very sound, as seen in his selection of Musharraf as the army chief and then in the ham-fisted manner in which he tried to fire him – has been warped further by the trauma of his overthrow in 1999 and subsequent forced exile. That may be understandable at a human level. But such a flaw can be fatal in a national leader. If Nawaz cannot overcome this shock, he should return fulltime to his family business and leave politics to others.
The Indian government and media are delighted, and understandably so, at Nawaz’s Safma speech. But so also is a small section of the Pakistani media and “civil society” which labels itself pretentiously as the “liberals”. The newly coined English word lumpen-intelligentsia would be a more appropriate description for them. One of them, a star TV commentator, claimed last week that 99 percent of the people of Pakistan agreed with what Nawaz said. The remaining one percent, whom this analyst dismissed as the thekedar (self-appointed guardians) of the two-nation theory, were itching to nuke India, as he claimed. So much for objectivity and informed analysis.
Pakistan and India should indeed give up confrontation, learn to live as peaceful neighbours and try to build bridges of understanding. But denying the foundations of Pakistani nationhood, ignoring the threat posed by India and abandoning the Kashmir cause is certainly no way of going about it, as Nawaz seems to think. If he does not retract the unfortunate remarks he made on these issues, it is to be hoped at least that others in his party would disown them.
Here are excerpts of India's DNA story on Ayesha Jalal's interview in Jaipur:
One of Pakistan's most acclaimed historians, Ayesha Jalal bemoans the fact that history as an academic discipline has failed to grow in her country, a deficiency that needs to be addressed to spawn a new breed of scholars in the subject.
A professor of History at the Tufts University with as many as seven books to her credit, the Pakistani-American who is an authority on South Asia has chosen to return to Pakistan as a visiting scholar to help address the gap in her own way.
In India to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival, Jalal told PTI during an interaction why she felt that the academic growth of history in India had contributed to the development of a worthy scholarship in this country.
"Of course, there are biases and political agendas too, but India has continued to teach history, as a result of which you have historical scholarship coming from India," she said.
"I was bemoaning the fact that in Pakistan history has suffered as an academic discipline, and is not taught as is the way in India," she said.
Jalal's books include 'The Sole Spokesman' and 'Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia' ?" works that have tried to trace the history of the subcontinent including the origins and the tortured legacy of the partition.
She has also co-authored Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy with her husband Sugata Bose, a book that is considered perhaps the first joint exercise by an Indian and a Pakistani in dissecting the history of modern South Asia.
A grand niece of eminent Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, Jalal returns to Pakistan from her base in the United States as a visiting professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
"In my own modest way, I am trying to address this issue by teaching history in Pakistan," she said.
The author, whose last book 'Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia' traced the discourse on jihad in South Asia over centuries, strongly believes that the Taliban has lost support among the people and that Pakistan is a country that is politically more resilient than many would believe.
"The Arab Spring has reinforced the fact that the people are prepared to take up structures of state. In Pakistan, despite military regimes, no ruler has survived more than 11 years, forget about 30 or 40 years. I think Pakistan is politically more resilient than many people believe, all it needs is a chance," she said.
However, she believes the issues ?"- of pervading injustice and inequity -- that have contributed to al qaeda'a rise will have to be addressed to put an end to violence.
The emergence of Imran Khan on Pakistan's political horizon has made many people take note of the former cricketer's potential, and Jalal feels it has a lot to do with the prevailing disenchantment and yearning for a change.
"There is a lot of disenchantment in Pakistan, there is anti-incumbency what Indians know very well. Imran Khan's popularity has much to do with it. People are looking up to him for a change," she says.
Here's an excerpt from London Review of Books of "After Nehru" by Perry Anderson:
Why then has the sheer pressure of the famished masses, who apparently hold an electoral whip-hand, not exploded in demands for social reparation incompatible with the capitalist framework of this – as of every other – liberal democracy? Certainly not because Congress ever made much effort to meet even quite modest requirements of social equality or justice. The record of Nehru’s regime, whose priorities were industrial development and military spending, was barren of any such impulse. No land reform worthy of mention was attempted. No income tax was introduced until 1961. Primary education was grossly neglected. As a party, Congress was controlled by a coalition of rich farmers, traders and urban professionals, in which the weight of the agrarian bosses was greatest, and its policies reflected the interests of these groups, unconcerned with the fate of the poor. But they suffered no electoral retribution for this. Why not?
Congress had failed to avert partition because it could never bring itself honestly to confront its composition as an overwhelmingly Hindu party, dropping the fiction that it represented the entire nation, and accept the need for generous arrangements with the Muslim party that had emerged opposite it. After independence, it presided over a state which could not but bear the marks of that denial. Compared with the fate of Pakistan after the death of Jinnah, India was fortunate. If the state was not truly secular – within a couple of years it was rebuilding with much pomp the famous Hindu temple in Somnath, ravaged by Muslim invaders, and authorising the installation of Hindu idols in the mosque at Ayodhya – it wasn’t overtly confessional either. Muslims or Christians could practise their religion with greater freedom, and live with greater safety, than Muslims could in Pakistan, if they were not Sunni. Structurally, the secularism of Congress had been a matter not of hypocrisy, but of bad faith, which is not the same: in its way a lesser vice, paying somewhat more tribute to virtue.
A leading test of these professions is the condition of the community that Congress always claimed also to represent, and the Indian state to acquit of any shadow of confessionalism. How have Muslims fared under such secularism, equidistant or group-sensitive? In 2006, the government-appointed Sachar Commission found that of the 138 million Muslims in India, numbering some 13.4 per cent of the population, fewer than three out of five were literate, and a third were to be found in the most destitute layers of Indian society. A quarter of their children between the ages of six and 14 were not in school. In the top fifty colleges of the land, two out of a hundred postgraduates were Muslim; in the elite institutes of technology, four out of a hundred. In the cities, Muslims had fewer chances of any regular job than Dalits or Adivasis, and higher rates of unemployment. The Indian state itself, presiding over this scene? In central government, the report confessed, ‘Muslims’ share in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels’ – not more than 5 per cent at even the humblest rung. In state governments, the situation was still worse, nowhere more so than in communist-run West Bengal, which with a Muslim population of 25 per cent, nearly double the official average for the nation, many confined in ghettos of appalling misery, posted a figure of just 3.25 per cent of Muslims in its service. It is possible, moreover, that the official number of Muslims in India is an underestimate. In a confidential cable to Washington released by WikiLeaks, the US Embassy reported that the real figure was somewhere between 160 and 180 million. Were that so, Sachar’s percentages would need to be reduced....
Here's an excerpt from "The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence" by Anthony Read:
The affair of the printing press highlighted the biggest problem being faced by Pakistan. India, which had finally been recognized by the British government as the successor state on 17 June after further pressure from Mountbatten, would simply take over a going concern with everything in place. Pakistan, on the other hand, would be starting from scratch without any established administration, without armed forces, without records, without equipment or military stores.
As early as 9 May, during his stay in Simla with Nehru, Mountbatten had admitted the problem. "What are we doing?" he had asked then. "Administratively, it's the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut, or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are putting up a tent".
This is a very strongly-worded, almost-bombastic article. It begins with "trials & tribulations", lists the "nefarious designs of the oppressive enemy", proceeds on to "heroic sacrifices and glorious acts", but, unfortunately, ends with sobbing despair.....
QUOTE: "Pakistan instead of turning into an ideal state is now being called a failing state and the most dangerous country in the world. Love, affection and spirit of brotherhood have been replaced with antagonism, greed and selfishness. Sectarianism, ethnicity and corruption are eating into the vitals of the country. Muslims are killing Muslims with lunatic ferocity as is seen in Karachi and Quetta."
This article shows the complete COLLAPSE of the rosy delusions of grandeur that were conjured up by institutionalized myth-making. It also confirms the depressingly re-assertive nature of horrendous reality we face today. This author has clearly lost all hope; his complete dejection is evident in the sobbing words with which he concludes.
Do you disagree with the author? Do you see a rosy future for our country?
Here's a Mashable.com post on Pak Internet-based business potential:
Building Internet businesses has traditionally not come easily to Pakistan. Our first e-commerce venture began in 2001 with the establishment of Abid Beli's Beliscity.pk. Although initially started as an information website for mobiles and computers, it soon turned into an e-commerce store as a result of its growing popularity.
You might then expect this venture to have turned out a success story, with Beliscity ending up being the equivalent to Amazon in Pakistan. Unfortunately this was not the case. Owing to many complications and troubles, not only was Beliscity forced to changed its name to Gulf Dealz, but it also fell into obscurity competing with countless other players in the online retail arena.
SEE ALSO: Meet Plan9, Pakistan’s First Technology Startup Incubator
Arguably Pakistan’s greatest Internet success story is Rozee.pk. Founded in 2007 by Monis Rahman as an add-on to his main business, Rozee has grown to become Pakistan’s premier portal for jobs. This journey was also not an easy one at all. When Monis was trying to raise funds through foreign investors in the second half of 2007, Pakistan was in the news almost daily with images of the bombing due to Benazir Bhutto’s arrival and her subsequent assassination.
3 Hot E-Commerce Startups to Watch in Pakistan
Those, however, were just the early days and the environment seems much more conducive to starting e-commerce ventures now. Last year will go on record as a landmark year for Internet businesses in Pakistan as three very different and important companies launched their own e-commerce portals:
TCS Connect is the online portal of TCS Couriers, Pakistan’s most reliable and wide-reaching logistics company. In May 2012, TCS launched its online shopping portal, TCS Connect, which has products like computers, mobile phones, home and kitchen appliances and even automobile accessories.
Labels eStore is the online store for Pakistan’s largest high-end fashion outlets. With its product lines covering the biggest fashion designers in Pakistan, it targets high-end consumers in the local market and the Pakistani diaspora across the world.
Daraz.pk represents the fashion vertical of the global venture developers, Rocket Internet. The company did not enter into our local online market arena at the behest of Pakistani entrepreneurs who sought funding, but rather as a ‘top-down’ decision by Oliver Samwer to capture the developing Pakistani market in the long-term.
The establishment and subsequent success of these and other businesses have led to a greater focus on e-commerce sites. They may be other clothing brands expanding their businesses online, logistics companies either starting online stores themselves or providing tools and consultancy for brick-and-mortar retail owners to start a digital side to their existing businesses, or young entrepreneurs themselves wanting to get into this nascent business.
Whatever the case, online stores are here to stay in Pakistan and will only attain a ...
In "A History of Pakistan and its origins", Christophe Jafferlot cites British-Pakistani Prof Samuel Martin Burke rejecting the notion that the Two-Nation Theory died in 1971 with Pakistan's split into Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Burke says that the two-nation theory was even more strongly asserted in that the Awami League rebels had struggled for their own country, Bangladesh, and not to join India. In so doing, they had put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.
MQM Leader Altaf Hussain:
"The division of the Indian sub-continent was the biggest blunder in the history of mankind".
"Perhaps the idea of Pakistan was dead at its inception, when the majority of Muslims chose to stay back after independence, a truism reiterated in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971".
— Altaf Hussain's Keynote Speech at conference in New Delhi on 6 November 2004
Maududi was the most vociferous opponent of Mr. Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement. I reproduce here some of his referenced works here from his “Muslims and the Present Political Turmoil” (Vol.III) First Edition published from Delhi. Jamaat-e-Islami claims that the whole Two Nation Theory project was derived from Maududi’s writings which is completely untrue. Maududi described the idea of Muslim Nationalism as unlikely as a “chaste prostitute”. Here he wrote:
” Who are the Muslims you are claiming to be a separate nation? Here, the crowd called Muslims is full of all sorts of rabble. There are as many types of characters in this as in any (other) heathen people”. (Vol. III, P.166)
“If you survey this so-called Muslim society, you will come across multifarious types of Muslims, of countless categories. This is a zoo with a collection of crows, kites, vultures, partridges and thousands of other types of birds. Every one of them is a ‘sparrow’. (Ibid. P.31)
One of Jamaat-e-Islami’s latter day claims has been that Mr. Jinnah wanted an Islamic state. Ironically this is what Jamaat-e-Islami’s philosopher in chief Maulana Maududi was writing back then:
“Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic“. (Ibid. P.37)
“To pronounce these people fit for leading Muslims for the simple reason that they are experts of Western type politics and masters of Western organizational arts, and are deeply in love with their people, is a manifestation of an unislamic viewpoint and reflects ignorance of Islam”. (Ibid. P.70)
“Even with a microscopic study of their practical life, and their thinking, ideology, political behaviour and style of leadership, one can find not a trace of Islamic character.”
Jamaat-e-Islami now claims claims that the Muslim League won the elections because it promised Pakistan as an Islamic state. Here is what Maulana Maududi said then:
“In no Muslim League resolution, or in a speech by a responsible leader of the League it has it been made clear that their final goal is of establishing an Islamic system of government. Those who believe that by freeing Muslim majority areas rule of Hindu majority, an Islamic government will be established here in a democratic set up, are wrong. In fact what will be achieved will be a heretical government by Muslims, indeed worse than that.” (Ibid. P.130-32)
One of the main arguments in favor of separate federations in India put up by Muslim League was that parliamentary democracy would not work in United India given the permanent minority that Muslims were with their own majority zones. Thus Pakistan – as a separate federation- had to be a democratic state. Jinnah’s vision, as Gandhi concluded after his abortive meetings with Jinnah in 1944, was of a perfect democracy in Pakistan. This vision was rejected by Maulana Maududi and his party. The fact that Jinnah used electoral methods and strengths of numbers for his politics also upset Maulana Maududi quite a bit. He wrote:
“For these reasons, the great numbers (of Muslims) that we find. (listed) in the census records has become worthless for purposes of Islam. Anything done on the strength of these numbers will result in acute frustration.” (Ibid. P.56)
Had these great numbers supported Maududi he would have gladly accepted their strength. In 1947, he moved to Pakistan and brought here with him his cancerous Jamaat-e-Islami too. He remained however a committed opponent of the Pakistani national causes including the Kashmir struggle calling it unIslamic. Today the Jamaat-e-Islami castigates anyone and everyone who wants a peaceful settlement in Kashmir. I suppose Maududi could not call the Kashmir struggle a Jihad because then Ahmadis were involved in fighting there under their Al-Furqan brigade.
Excerpt of "Transcending divisions: the consolidation of Pakistan" by Benazir Bhutto published in 1996 in Harvard International Review:
DURING BRITISH COLONIAL RULE, a superb feat of political engineering kept together several nationalities clearly differentiated by religion, ethnicity, language, and cultural tradition. As a result, the withdrawal of the colonial power in 1947 brought to the surface national tensions similar to those which had already led to the creation of scores of nation-states in Europe, each based on the principle of national self-determination. The inevitable creation of Pakistan as an independent sovereign state in 1947 illustrates the historic existence of multiple nationalities in South Asia. It is further substantiated by the fact that when the eastern wing of Pakistan broke away in 1971, it did not return to India, which had militarily intervened to bring about the secession, but asserted its independence from India as strongly as Pakistan has always done.
In contemporary South Asia, states like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka continue to be multiethnic and multi-national states. For each of these states, internal consolidation and cohesion has depended on the successful resolution of great sub-regional rivalry and competition. Occasionally, internal conflict has loomed so large as to create a genuine crisis of governability.
The case of Pakistan seems unique in many respects. It is the only country in which the internal contradictions that existed between the two wings of the country, separated by more than a thousand miles of hostile India, exploded into a major bloody conflict leading to the emergence of a third state in the subcontinent, Bangladesh. Paradoxically, the trauma of this separation led to deep soul-searching in Pakistan which, in the due course of time, profoundly affected its political culture. The loss of East Pakistan in 1971 did not exacerbate the tensions within West Pakistan, even though these tensions had been largely neglected during the pre-war attempts at mediation of the East-West conflict. Rather, the new Pakistan rediscovered a set of principles and allegiances which have played an important role in the country's consolidation.
Pakistan now stands at a crucial juncture in its history, where most of the instability it faces comes not from domestic separatism but from external interference and threats. It earnestly hopes that economic policies in South Asia in the direction of free enterprise and participation in the global economy will counteract and neutralize aggressive tendencies. Pakistan would like to open an entirely new chapter of cooperative relations with India, and invites the leaders of India to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem as well as a reciprocally-binding non-proliferation regime for nuclear weapons and delivery systems. We invite India's leaders to take parallel measures to limit and reduce military spending in the interest of the billion people living in South Asia. In addition, as the two largest states of the subcontinent, India and Pakistan owe it to South Asia to transform its only regional organization, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, into a more meaningful and effective vehicle of regional economic and social development. History will not forgive us if we forego the great opportunities present today for shared prosperity and peace.
Op Ed by Uday Mahurkar:
It is said that to label a patriot as non-patriot is one of the greatest sins. Against the backdrop of this adage there is the curious case of Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first education minister and a nationalist Muslim credited with steering the boat of the Congress and, by that virtue, of India during the most difficult phase of the Pakistan movement from 1939 to 1945 under the shadow of World War II. There is a significant section of responsible Indians who believe that Azad and his ideological friends belonging to the Wahabi stream - the Deobandi Muslim leaders of that period - opposed Partition because they felt territorial nationalism had no place in Islam since the faith stood for converting the entire world and that the division of India would divide Muslim strength and awaken Hindus from a deep slumber under Muslim rule to the dangers of Pan-Islamism.
One of those who thought so was late retired bureaucrat, and a witness to the Partition, Yuvraj Krishen. His landmark book Understanding Partition is a good read on the actions and objectives of the Muslim League on one hand and, on the other, the Deobandis with their favourite Azad - who were in the Congress. Writing a guest column on the Partition for India Today in 2007, Krishen wrote:
"There is ample evidence now to prove that nationalist Muslims like Abul Kalam Azad and the then Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Ahmad Hussain Madani opposed Pakistan only because they felt that Partition would affect Muslim domination in the sub-continent and Muslims would heavily lose. Plus they tried to extract a heavy price from the Congress for their patriotism in the name of minority protection. Congress leaders have tried to hide the fact that as Congress president in 1945, Azad even went to the extent of agreeing to a proposal of rotating Indian headship. It meant India would have a Hindu and then a Muslim head of State and army chief by turns. So, eventually Gandhi and Nehru made Congress a hostage to ‘Hindu-Muslim unity at any cost’ which Jinnah skillfully exploited and got more concessions from the Congress to establish parity in numbers between Hindu and Muslim representation."
But a better way to look at Azad is from the eyes of secular and lslamic scholars/leaders of Pakistan. Amongst them the leaders of the Wahabi stream in Pakistan, generally opposed to Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s modernist approach, see Azad with respect while the Jinnah admirers see him as the representative of an unbending, orthodox and even retrograde brand of Islam and question Gandhiji for taking the support of retrograde Islamic forces. This can be gleaned from the writings and speeches of Wahabi stream leaders like late Tanzeem-e-Islami's (an Islamic socio-political body in Pakistan) Ameer Israr Ahmed and Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Islam president and Deobandi leader Fazlur Rehman and pro-Jinnah, liberal scholars like Ayesha Jalal - who teaches history in United States. Among other such supporters include Hamza Alavi, the eminent late Pakistani social scientist, Naeem Ahmad, an expert on the Pakistan movement and Sharif-Al-Mujahid, a well known Pakistani academic and freedom movement scholar.
Anam Zakaria's oral history of bloodshed: "Footprints of Partition" #India #Pakistan #Britain #1947 http://www.dawn.com/news/1199010
Anam Zakaria is a development professional, educationist and researcher based in Pakistan. She has an academic background in international development from McGill University and started her career with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan in 2010. She led their Oral History Project, collecting narratives of the first and second generations of Pakistanis. The Footprints of Partition is her first book.
Tell us about the methodology of your research. What do oral histories offer to the existing discourse on Pak-India history?
Oral histories, for me, help deconstruct metanarratives. The dominant discourse in Pakistan that I was familiar with throughout my childhood revolved around the bloodshed and violence of Partition. It helped me value the creation of Pakistan but always left me with a bloody aftertaste, a gruesome picture of battered bodies, massacres and blood-strewn trains. While many people I spoke to narrated similar horrific stories of Partition, interviewing them helped me understand that the past can never be a linear trajectory, nor black or white. There are many nuances that are missed in recorded history and speaking to Partition survivors brings those nuances to light, giving me (and hopefully my readers) a more holistic understanding of the past.
You say at some point that you did over 600 interviews for the Citizens Archive of Pakistan. Why did you choose to include these ones in your book?
To give you a candid answer, I chose the ones that left me with a lingering to go back and know more, that opened my eyes to new realities and left me with a desire to further explore my history. These were the stories I wanted to share with people. The research and writing process was a very personal journey for me. I was learning, unlearning and relearning. I wanted my readers, especially the younger ones, to have a chance to do the same through my book. This is not to say, however, that I was only moved by a handful of stories and not by others. One aspect that I was sure of from the very beginning was that I wanted to particularly focus on those stories where people had a chance to revisit their past, or at least had a longing to do the same. I was interested in knowing about their experiences for this was something one did not find in history books. I also wanted to include stories from different generations in order to explore what the journey of Partition has been like and what meaning Partition and the ‘other’ hold for different groups of people.
These stories don’t often feature in history books, either for the purposes of propaganda or due to issues of verifiability. In the absence of evidence, how much weight can we attach to these stories? The job of oral histories is not just to record history but to also give us a glimpse into how people feel about an event and how they choose to remember it. To filter out the feelings and sentiments of people who went through Partition perhaps raises its own questions of validity.
Pakistan is one of the few countries left with their first generation alive, and to deny them a voice simply because it may not be considered fact would be an injustice to the nation. We need to understand what goes into making history, and the eyewitness accounts of those who saw the creation of this country must be recognised as part of it. After all, who decides what history is and how it should be recorded?
What do you hope it to achieve with this book?
I hope that my book is able to highlight these relationships, and that it is able to record this part of our history for the future generations that are at risk of absorbing a rigid understanding of the past. This, in no way, should challenge our nationhood or patriotism. Who says patriotism needs to be based on hatred and hostility?
Faisal Devji's review of Venkat Dhulipala’s book "Creating a New Medina":
Now to say that Pakistan was “insufficiently imagined” as a nation-state is not to claim, as Dhulipala seems to think, that it was unintended or lacked a positive character. Indeed I have argued in my own book on Muslim nationalism that for a number of historical reasons, it took an ambiguous if not contradictory form by founding a state outside the legitimising vocabulary of blood and soil, history and geography, to focus on ideas alone. And it was precisely because this “ideological” way of imagining a new society possessed so little juridical precedent or political context, that it proved so difficult to mould into a nation-state. Dhulipala, however, is not concerned with the novelty of this political vision – and in fact thinks it to be neither very original nor even political – but instead nothing more than old-fashioned religion, which, in an equally archaic notion, he imagines as filling the masses with “enthusiasm” (p. 354). ...
While Dhulipala is not above suggesting that historians like Ayesha Jalal are disingenuous in their use of sources, if not entirely ignorant of them, his own narrative is full of such evasions. Correctly describing Ambedkar as the great theorist and critic of Pakistan, for instance, Dhulipala offers us one of his extended summaries of the Dalit leader’s book, Thoughts on Pakistan, which serves as an example of his mode of analysis. By having the text “speak for itself” he can report without comment those passages in which Ambedkar deploys the repertoire of colonial scholarship to paint Muslims as a religious and military threat to Hindus, whose exclusion from India can only be welcomed. Instead of accounting for such hyperbolic statements by locating them within Ambedkar’s political rhetoric, where they are arguably meant to frighten upper castes into turning to Dalits for support, Dhulipala merely declares them to be Ambedkar’s “own beliefs” (p. 135). How, then, are we to account for his good relations with Jinnah, whose statement, that Ambedkar wanted Dalits to replace Muslims as the favored subjects of quotas in a partitioned India, is passed over in silence? Or the support Ambedkar enjoyed from the Muslim League before and after his book was published? Dhulipala doesn’t mention this, just as he doesn’t tell us, when describing with horror the “Day of Deliverance” Jinnah declared to celebrate Congress’s resignation of government in 1939, that both Ambedkar and Savarkar joined in the festivities.
In the time-tested way of old-fashioned national history, Dhulipala’s book depoliticises Muslim nationalism by making it out to be a religious phenomenon at the popular level. Of course Shahid Amin’s Event, Metaphor, Memory manages to do the same for Gandhi’s first movement of Non-Cooperation, but without suggesting that Congress and its leaders were therefore depoliticised or in thrall to Hindu “enthusiasm”. The author of Creating a New Medina separates the Muslim League from all other parties and politics in India, as indeed the world, to stand alone as the unique but still inexplicable villain of the story of partition, which has now surely become one of the most boring subjects in Indian historical writing. Having myself written a book severely critical of the idea of Pakistan, I am not caviling at Dhulipala’s political allegiances, but find his argument to be anachronistic in its subject and scope, and therefore singularly unproductive intellectually. Is the kind of history written by young scholars like Dhulipala going to be reduced to waging old wars with equally ageing analytical equipment? Or maybe it is only in the intellectually impoverished field of Pakistani history that a book like this can be published.
#India was better off under #British rule: #Hindu #RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. #UK #Pakistan http://toi.in/oXo-Yb via @timesofindia
Expressing concern over the dominance of 'rich and powerful people' in politics, besides the soaring inflation rate, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said that India's situation was better during the British rule.
"After Independence, the dominance of rich and powerful people in politics and rising inflation have worsened the country's situation, which is worse than what it was during the British rule," Bhagwat said.
Speaking at a function organized by Bhonsala Military School (BMS) to celebrate its platinum jubilee year in Nashik on Monday, Bhagwat said, "All political parties were in power some or the other time during the last 64 years since Independence, but the situation has not improved. Hence, citizens must introspect over what went wrong."
Stating the importance of imparting education through the mother tongue, he said, "Today, there is an insistence on education in a foreign language (English), instead of education in the mother tongue. As a result, the importance of the foreign language has increased to a large extent in the country."
Bhagwat laid stress on the need for imparting military education to students, citing rising threat to the nation.
He said, "Even 64 years after Independence, India is being threatened by China and Pakistan. With rising concerns over internal security, we should give top priority to military education to students to make India strong."
Bhonsala Military School was founded in 1937 by leader Dr B S Moonje, who also played a role in mentoring RSS founder K B Hedgewar.
"The school was founded by Moonje to protect the nation and has so far served as a feeder institute to fulfill the backlog of military officials," Bhagwat said. Senior RSS functionary Prakash Pathak said that the BMS was going to start a similar facility exclusively for girls in Nashik city
The BMS, run by the central Hindu military education society (CHMES), is also mulling setting up a flying club and a pilot training institute, besides a centre for service preparation and aeronautic engineering education. "We have received a lot of proposals from states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand for setting up military schools there and will soon take a call on this issue," Pathak said.
BMS students, also called 'ramdandees', earlier gave a salute to Dr Moonje. Bhagwat also released a book, 'Smaran Samaranche', written by Nashikite Girish Takale.
Gurinder Chadha's "Viceroy’s House" version of #India’s partition brings fake history to screen | Ian Jack #Pakistan
In an angry piece for the Guardian, the Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto accused the film’s British-Indian director, Gurinder Chadha, of seeming “to take pleasure in laying the bloodshed and brutality of 1947 at the feet of two particular villains: Muslims and Jinnah”. It was, she wrote, the product of “a deeply colonised imagination … [a] servile pantomime of partition”.
Chadha denied the charge of anti-Muslim prejudice – persuasively, I think – but to my mind she and her fellow writers on the film, her American husband, Paul Mayeda Berges, and the English screenwriter Moira Buffini, have committed just as great a sin, which is to take a breathtaking liberty with the historical record.
The film’s Mussolini moment occurs when the unfortunate English lawyer who has been commissioned to draw the new boundaries, the sweating, put-upon Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow), returns from the Punjab to Delhi to say it can’t be done in the few weeks he has at his disposal. It’s all too complicated, he tells Mountbatten’s chief of staff, Lord Ismay (Michael Gambon), who then pulls from his drawer a secret map, prepared under Winston Churchill’s aegis, which has the border already drawn. Ismay, who served as Churchill’s wartime chief of staff, suggests Pakistan was at least partly a British invention as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. Hey presto! All Radcliffe needs to do is adopt the Churchill map’s borders.
Imagine a film about the Holocaust where a character pulls open a drawer, pulls out a document and reveals that 6 million deaths aren’t the fault of Hitler but of … Mussolini.
True, this isn’t a documentary. It’s a Hollywood film like James Cameron’s Titanic, in which fictional characters inhabit a crowded landscape of real people and real events, some of the most dreadful in the 20th century’s history. Sure, you have to cut the director a little slack. Reality is always more complicated than any film has the time to allow. But blaming it on Mussolini! A ripple of distaste and incomprehension crosses the audience at the thought that such a hideous chapter in European history should be so irresponsibly treated, as if it were no more than “material” to be bent to the director’s whim.
In south Asia, the partition of 70 years ago has a similar resonance to the Holocaust in the memory of the two (eventually three) nations that came out of it. Between 1 and 2 million people are thought to have died; about 15 million left their homes to cross the new borders – a great migration of Muslims to the new state of Pakistan, and Sikhs and Hindus into truncated India. Mass violence and death, startling cruelty, hunger, disease, homelessness: all these accompanied India’s liberation from British rule.
Apportioning the blame has kept scholars in work for half a century. Was it the intransigence of the Indian National Congress and/or the All-India Muslim League, and their leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah? Was it the inevitable outcome of the imperial policy identified by its opponents as divide-and-rule? Did it flow from the politicisation of religious identity? How much of it can be put down to British haste, weakness and incompetence? How much did the characters of the last viceroy and his wife, Lord Louis and Edwina, Lady Mountbatten, play a part?
A study in contrasts: Muslims in India vs Pakistan by Dr. Ata ur Rahman ... The per capita income of Muslims in Pakistan is about $1,460 while the per capita income of Muslims in India is only about $400 – less than one-fourth of the country’s national Indian GDP. About 52.3 percent of Muslims in India live below the poverty line, with an average monthly income of $5 or less. Muslims constitute about 14.5 percent of the total Indian population. However, only between two percent and three percent of them pass the civil services examinations.
The literacy level of Muslims in India is also much lower than the national average. Only about four percent (one in 25) of Indians who receive education up to the high school level are Muslims, while only 1.7 percent (one in 60) of college graduates in India are Muslims. When we consider that one in seven people in India is a Muslim, these figures bring out the stark disparities that exist in India between Hindus and Muslims. In his book, ‘India’s Muslim Problem’, V T Rajshekar states that Muslims “are in many ways worse than untouchables and in recent years they are facing dangers of mass annihilation”.
The mass killings of Muslims in Indian towns and cities also add strength to the Two-Nation Theory. About 630 Muslims lost their lives during the 1969 Gujarat riots. This was followed by anti-Muslim violence in the Indian towns of Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad in 1970 when a large number of properties of Muslims were burnt and many Muslims killed. During anti-Muslim violence in Moradabad in 1980, about 2,500 Muslims were killed by extremist Hindu elements. Another 1,800 Muslims were slaughtered in the state of Assam in 1983 in a village called Nellie. The official 600-page Tiwari Commission Report on the Nellie massacre has remained a closely guarded secret since 1984.
The destruction of Babri Masjid in December 1992 by Hindu nationalists led to the Bombay Riots. BBC correspondent Toral Varia concluded that the riots were “a pre-planned pogrom” that had been in the making since 1990. According to many independent scholars, extremist Hindu rioters had been given access to information about the locations of Muslim homes and businesses through confidential government sources. This violence was planned and executed by Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist group led by Bal Thackeray.
The anti-Muslim riots that occurred in Bombay in January 1993 following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, were reported in the following manner by international and Indian newspapers:
“Bombay: Day after day after day, for nine days and nights beginning on January 6, mobs of Hindus rampaged through this city, killing and burning people only because they were Muslims. No Muslim was safe – not in the slums, not in high-rise apartments, not in the city’s bustling offices – in an orgy of violence that left 600 people dead and 2,000 injured...Interviews have suggested, moreover, that the killing, arson and looting were far from random. In fact, they were organized by Hindu gangs, abetted by the Bombay police, and directed at Muslim families and businesses. The extent of police cooperation with the Hindu mobs appears to have spread through the entire police force, excluding only the most senior officers...neither the Maharashtra authorities nor the central government in New Delhi made any effort to stanch the flow of blood.” (The New York Times, February 4, 1993)
“Tragedy has struck Surat (Muslim) women… for them, it was hell let loose... While men were thrown into bonfires, torched alive or had burning tyres put around their necks, women were stripped of all their clothes and ordered to ‘run till they can’t… run”. (The Times of India, December 22, 1992).
#BJP's Ram Madhav: “The RSS still believes that one day these parts which have, for historical reasons, separated only 60 years ago will again through popular goodwill come together and Akhand (united) Bharat will be created" #Hindutva #India #Pakistan https://scroll.in/article/778778/there-was-already-a-plan-for-akhand-bharat-in-1946-and-indias-founding-fathers-rejected-it
Faced with an ultimatum, the Congress had to make a choice. It could either accept the Plan as a whole, with grouping and a weak Centre – and keep India united. Or it could press for Partition. After vacillating for a few months, as anarchy mounted all around, the Congress chose Partition.
There was already a plan for Akhand Bharat in 1946 – and India's founding fathers rejected it
If Akhand Bharat was as desirable as BJP’s General Secretary Ram Madhav claimed in a recent interview, why did the Congress reject the united India promised in the 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan?
Politically uniting the subcontinent into one entity has long been a cherished goal of the Hindutva movement. Even Vinayak Savarkar, who was an explicit supporter of the Two Nation Theory never, unlike Jinnah, spoke of Partition (although his conception of India had Muslims “play the part of German Jews”). Nevertheless, any practical conception of a united subcontinent has eluded its supporters. In fact, in the summer of 1946, a year before the British transferred power, a constitutional scheme for a united subcontinent was keenly pushed by the Raj and hotly debated by politicians – but in the end was firmly rejected by India’s founding fathers.
The Cabinet Mission Plan
This constitutional scheme is known to history as the Cabinet Mission Plan, uninspiringly named so because it was led and drafted by three members of the British cabinet. After two centuries of holding onto India, the British, greatly diminished by World War II, were desperately looking to get out. This three-member team was, therefore, entrusted to find a way to transfer power into Indian hands. The delegation arrived in India in March 1946 and set about talking to Indian politicians of all stripes. After a grueling month of discussions, the Mission was ready to make some suggestions.
The way it saw things, there were only two options to transfer power. The first was to partition British India into a sovereign India and Pakistan (which – spoiler alert – was what happened eventually). Partition, however, was much disliked by the British, who wanted to keep India united and preferably in the Commonwealth in order to best maintain its influence even after its formal exit. It was obviously disliked by the Congress, which was still opposed to splitting British India. Somewhat surprisingly, given his strident demands for “Pakistan”, the partition plan was also rejected by Jinnah, who called it “definitely unacceptable”. Consequently, Partition as an option, was dropped by the Cabinet Mission.
Three-tiered federation of united India
That left the other option, which was a united India. Declared on May 16 1946, the final scheme proposed by the Cabinet Mission took great care to explicitly point out that is was rejecting a sovereign Pakistan. It proposed a three-tiered federation, with British India’s provinces split into three groups which correspond roughly to present day India, Pakistan and a combination of Bengal and Assam. The plan was very close to what the Congress had wanted from the Cabinet Mission during its negotiations, rejecting Muslim League proposals which wanted “parity” (or equal representation) between Hindu and Muslim provinces at the Centre. The Congress had bitterly opposed this – Gandhi has called parity “worse than Pakistan” – and the Cabinet Mission had agreed, simply dividing seats in the central legislature by population.
shan: pakistan is essentially a banana republic , how much you flog the statistics. You cannot get away from the fact that 1. India supplies all the generic medicines to the world. ". You cannot deny indian IT industry is worth 300 BILLION(you are reading it correct. On top of it india exports some 750000(yes you are reading it correct) CARS. Makes 2nd largest number of mobile phones(be it samsung). It has produced4.5 generation aircraft sans the engines , which is better than MIRAGE 2000.The CEO of google , microsoft, IBM are ALL INDIANS. So you can stew in your venom against india , but pakistan is doomed to disintigrate , in 50 yrs of time
Thanks for your post, you said:
shan: pakistan is essentially a banana republic , how much you flog the statistics. You cannot get away from the fact that 1. India supplies all the generic medicines to the world. ". You cannot deny indian IT industry is worth 300 BILLION(you are reading it correct. On top of it india exports some 750000(yes you are reading it correct) CARS. Makes 2nd largest number of mobile phones(be it samsung). It has produced4.5 generation aircraft sans the engines , which is better than MIRAGE 2000.The CEO of google , microsoft, IBM are ALL INDIANS. So you can stew in your venom against india , but pakistan is doomed to disintigrate , in 50 yrs of time.
How can India be a supplier of generic medicines to the world when the pharmasuetical companies of India havily depend on ingredients for medicines which it imports from China?
As far as IT industry of India is concerned, yes it is true that IT Industry of India is much bigger in size than IT industry of Pakistan but you must also know that IT Industry of India is atleast 1 decades older than that of Pakistan and pls note that their is no explicit data or evidence available which could prove that the worth or value of the IT Industry of India is US$ 300 billion, as far as we know ,it is even less than US$ 100 billion.
Which aircraft of Indian Airforce(IAF) was shown in the airshows in different countries? I have never heard ever any Indian fighter aircraft specially Tejas which has been displayed in international airshows.
Dear Sir Riaz
Thanks for this great post, Sir I have some important question, I am not much aware about history of India and Pakistan but can you pls clarify that is it true that before partition of 1947 when British were ruling over India, their were some parts or areas of India which were not under the control of the British rule?
My other question is that before British started to rule India, it was Mughals and Muslims who ruled over India, Sir my question is that ,is it true that before Mughals and Muslim rulers, India was just a region which was divided into different princely states and their was no central authority or centralized government in India before Muslim rulers took over?
Sir I would deeply appreciate if you could throw some light on this
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