A lot of Indians are justifiably cheered by Nawaz Sharif’s return to power through an election which saw ordinary Pakistanis defy the Mullahs. But helping this new order with compromises on Kashmir and national identity would be a grave mistake
The problem with Indo-Pakistan relation is the deep rooted malaise in the mindset on both sides of theborder that cannot be ‘cured’ by merely increasing the exchange of heads of government visits or by stepping up the volumes of bilateral trade, or through the facilitation of dance&drama delegations, or of cricket tours. There must be concrete actions based on deep analysis of the malaise which could, sometime in the future, lead to cure.
Dr BR Ambedkar wrote in his Pakistan, Or Partition of India (New Delhi, 1975): The problem of Pakistan has given a headache to everyone, more so to me than to anybody else. I cannot help recalling with regret how much of my time it has consumed when so much of my other work of greater importance to me than this is held up for want of it. I therefore hope that this second edition will also be the last I trust that before it is exhausted either the question will be settled or withdrawn.
Fresh paradigm What is required is a mindset change. Pakistan may be technically a democracy, but is on the brink of Talibanisation. According to my information, the two largest parties, freshly re-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML and Imran Khan’s PTI, are both controlled by Jamait E Islami, ISI and Taliban-compliant forces. Both leaders, in their desperation quest of power, sold their souls to them.
We in India have thus to fight this new Pakistani mindset of capitulation to Islamic fundamentalist forces, which forces have every intention to intrude into India to radicalise Indian Muslims. That means patriotic Indians would also need to simultaneously prepare for war while sweating for peace.
The first step we need to take is rectify the lack of a clear national identity at our end and build a more cohesive India. Without a conscious common acceptance of a national identity especially by Hindus and Muslims, we cannot effectively deal with this new Pakistan.
Let us not forget that from day one Pakistan has posed a serious existential problem for India, which is: Are we or are we not,Hindus and Muslims living in India, one nation? Pakistani mind is clear: Muslims constitute a separate nation.For Pakistan, Hindus and Muslims are two nations, and can never be one.
Because of the legacy of a woozy Nehru we have failed so far to find a basis for defining India’s identity that includes Hindus and other religious communities.
In the words of Dr Ambedkar: What the Hindus must show is that notwithstanding some differences, there are enough affinities between Hindus and Musalmans to constitute them into one nation, or, to use plain language, which make Muslims and Hindus long to belong together.
It is my view (supported by modern scientific study of genetics of Indians based on DNA research) Hindus and Muslims can develop heartfelt affinity only if Muslims accept publicly and with pride the truth and the scientific fact: that the ancestors of Muslims are Hindus. This is what genetic research reveals.
Such open acceptance by Muslims in India of a common ancestry could lead to both Hindus and Muslims regarding themselves as equal legatees of a continuing civilisation. Our national identity thus is: India is a land of Hindus and of those whose ancestors are Hindus.
In private many Muslims and Hindus do accept this fact, but in public they shy away from owning up this implied affinity for fear of the militant and jehadi sections which are likely place a reward on their head. The Mullah thinks that this acceptance and consequent affinity could lead to Muslims accepting Hindutva (Hinduness).
Distancing After 1857, a prominent Delhi Muslim cleric fearing being swallowed culturally by Hindus by proximity began propagating the “concept of distance” between Muslims and Hindus. This concept got mainstreamed among Muslim intellectuals and eventually to Pakistan. The Mullah today again thinks that insulating the Muslim in India is the only way to keep the community intact from dissolving under the quicksand of Hindutva.
Pakistan aids this effort by clandestinely canvassing the view that Muslims of India have descended from Ghori and Ghazni, and not from Hindus, thereby clouding the truth of our genetic affinity.
The Mullahs, with the backing of official Pakistan, urge the Muslims of India to be internationally oriented to the ummah. They ask Indian Muslims to support Islamic causes even if such support clashes with India’s national interests. Therefore a ‘business as usual’ policy toward Pakistan can only drive deeper the wedge in perceptions between Hindus and Muslims of each other in India. India’s attitude to Pakistan thus has got to recognise that cosmetic changes and political tourism will be so much water off a duck’s back since for Pakistan, its national security lies in ensuring that Hindus and Muslim affinity is poisoned and buried.
Therefore, before we in India have firewall ourselves against Pakistan’s insidious campaign or else each forward move would expose us to the danger of Hindu-Muslim alienation at home. If we look backwards, our relations with Pakistan has barely improved over the last 66 years, but the Muslim “internationalist conclave mindset” has become entrenched. Vote bank politics has worsened this trend.
Prophet Mohammed has decreed in Sira and Hadith, the holy texts the Sunnis accept as Allah’s hukum, that where Muslims are not constituted as a nation, (Dar ul Harb), they ought to strive for Dar ul Islam through all means possible.
That is why 500,000 Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs were driven out of the Kashmir Valley. It made no sense to drive out a totally non-violent community as the Kashmiri Pandits were except on the basis of the Prophet’s decree of converting Dar ul Harab into Dar ul Islam. Thus, the Mullahs in Srinagar declared: Kashmir must become a Caliphate.
We cannot accept any compromise on Kashmir because that will undo the concept of our national identity. We must resolve therefore that any peace with Pakistan can be only after the entire Kashmir including PoK is fully integrated with India under the Constitution. Relations with Pakistan should be put on a hold till then. In any case if India declines to discuss Kashmir, Pakistan will not want to normalise relations or even talk with India in the new dispensation in Islamabad.
The Taliban has in its publications called India the “unfinished chapter” of Islamic history. This exhibits the mindset of the Islamic hardliners who are increasing every day in numbers. In 2014, the US is likely to pull out from Afghanistan after an agreement with the Taliban that is presently being hammered out in Qatar. Thereafter, unless India or China or both intervene, Afghanistan will go under Taliban rule. Hence, talking with Pakistan on our core issues of concern such as handing over 26/11 terrorists charged with the crime, closing down terrorist training camps, stopping infiltration across LoC will not be addressed by a Talibanised Pakistan. Instead we have to prepare to meet the new situation to defend India’s integrity and security.
In other words, the bottom line in the current situation is that instead to extending the hand of friendship to the newly elected government which is a surrogate for the invisible government of Taliban, India should prepare for war while expressing readiness for an honourable peace.
Subramanian Swamy (The writer is a former union minister and president, Janata Party)