TEXT: Almost a decade back, upon landing at Quaid-E-Azam international airport in Karachi, after an 8 days cumulative stay in the Indian cities of Mumbai and Hyderabad, I told my accompanying teenage son, I want to offer a prostration of thankfulness right here in the airport lounge, for being blessed with the treasure of our Beloved Pakistan. I had gone to India to attend an international (multilateral) institution conference.
The India that I witnessed wasn’t the shining India but a very bigoted India under the dark shadows of religious intolerance. Their hatred towards Muslims was not so pronounced as it is today, but it could be sensed easily, then too. Prime facie they came as a friendly lot, which I believe most are, but recent events have shaken my own understanding. The people aren't as bad and ugly as Modi and his Government is today.
To many Muslims of the undivided India, the concept of Pakistan, did not have much appeal. Their opinion was based on potential (actually real) loss of land, physical assets, intangible assets, like, reputation, heritage, etc.; that take centuries to build up; their opinion was emboldened by the fact that prior to 1857, the Muslims, Hindus, and many other ethnicities and religions lived in peaceful co existence for over a 1000 years; so what would change, if the British left with India undivided, is what there opinion was. They were limited in foresight. The point the nationalist Muslims chose to ignore was that once the British would leave, the dominant party Indian National Congress, would rule India.
Giant leaders and stalwarts,like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Zakir Hussain, etc, believed that India would continue to remain secular. The presence then of Gandhi and Nehru both of whom were strong subscribers to ensuring that India would stay secular post independence appeared to them as a guarantee. Unfortunately the history that unfolded betrayed their trust, belief and confidence. India post Nehru in particular has ceased to be secular, at least at the state level. Pockets of tolerant society exists, but these are slowly becoming islands of isolation.
Any country that has a 20% of its population as a minority, would take cognisance of its power. If say, all the 200 million Muslims in India were living or gathered into a single province, we would have another Pakistan, ready to be carved out of the Indian Union. Because, the Muslim population is spread from Kashmir in the north to Kuttanad in the south and from Gujarat in the Northwest to Tamilnadu in the south east, they don’t make for a formidable electoral force. They are so dispersed.
While we may be in severe violation of the many ideals of our Quaid Mohammad Ali Jinnah however we have lived up to his expectations of allowing the minorities to feel safe in Pakistan. The country has never indulged in ethnic cleansing. Our minority is small but extremely safe. (The incidents to the contrary are far and few). India’s Muslim minority population which now exceeds 200 million people which is almost the same as Pakistan's entire population is indeed a large minority; however this minority is extremely unsafe at the hands of the Hindu majority, who otherwise may be peaceful, but are sponsored by the state to be show ruthless intolerance towards Muslims.
India is a major deception. The facade of secularism it displays to the community is a major farce and this trickery is achieved through paid social media activists, it’s various mendacious tv channels and of course it’s film industry. It is a complete false, deceitful and untruthful tactics they have indulged for so long. The thought of secular India is blatantly ridiculous. During the decades from the 1950’s to the 1980’s it existed at least in practice at the national level as a secular country but that too in a muted state with frequent communal riots.
Then 1990 onwards, following the carnage unleashed upon the Muslims of Gujarat, by Narendra Modi, the religious hatred has gained dominance over peaceful co existence of over 1000 years of shared history. Cities, towns and villages which never witnessed any communal tensions are on fire today, with poor and unarmed Muslims being at the rough end. Hinduveta dominates today. The leaders are speaking blatantly about ethnic cleansing. The world community is silent.
The ideals of Indian secularism were cremated in Raj Ghat, on 24th May, 1964, alongside the physical remains of Jahawarlal Nehru. With his departure, the apparently latent, but extremely active sub-terrainienly the demon of Hinduveta surfaced with vengeance.
The Maratha element was in the forefront of communal activism all along. Armed with religious bigotry they started a campaign of hatred against Muslims. The deadly 1991-92 communal riots in Bombay and other parts of Maharashtra were essentially a resurgence of the same Hinduveta ideology. They started where they had left in 1947; Muslims were mercilessly butchered. Even, The screen idol Sanjay Dutt wasn't spared, because, his mother was the famous Muslim actress Nargis of yester years, he was charged of terrorism and jailed.
Sikhs, who constitute only 1.7% of the total Indian population are given more respect and prominence because they are in majority in Punjab and in Haryana, besides New Delhi. Sikhs, essentially are a martial race and therefore given to being a significant part of the Indian National Army.
Sikhism as a religion spread only in Punjab (current eastern and western Punjab), some portions that now form part of Pakistan, and went right up to Kabul. There is no Bihari Sikh, Bengali Sikh, or a Keralite Sikh; while to the contrary one finds Muslims, not just in UP and Andhra Pardesh (Hyderbad) but also in West Bengal, Bihar, Orrisa, Maharashtra, etc.
Behind the shining India, exists the reality of a dark, deep and fundamentalist India. All along India has given public offices to Indian Muslims, that were mostly meant to be poster boys –-- the President, Vice President in the Indian constitution constitute as toothless office with no bite. Hence, these offices are freely given to the Muslims. This is only to portray that Indian Muslims are treated with equality which is a major façade of falsehood.
Under the fascist rule of Modi, Muslims stand marginalised. A few months back in the state of Kerala, a young University innocent Muslim girl, with the covering of the Hijab was chased outside her college by goons and vagabonds, wearing saffron colour clothes, under the full glare and camera of the government. The state did not provide protection to its faithful citizen. To rub salt deep into the wounds, the courts ruled in favour of barring Hijab at educational institutions. The plea taken was that there should not be any marking of religious preference or follower ship upon the body of the student. Well said. Can the Indian government dare to take the Turban off a Sikh citizen? Principle applied selectively seizes to be judicious. The Sikh revolt is already gaining momentum, and should the Indian Government try to remove their Turban, we will have Khalistan very soon. Much sooner than we expect.
By deceitful thinking, since Muslims were dominant in Uttar Pardesh, the bigoted designers in New Delhi carved three provinces out of the most populous state, to weaken the power of the Muslim vote. Today the community stands disenfranchised; there is no single Muslim legislator in the UP legislative assembly. Indian Muslims today face major discrimination over employment, political power, availability of basic healthcare, admission to educational institutions, they are denied of housing, justice to them is denied; where judgements are made, they are mostly biased against the Muslims. A Muslim today in India can be attacked anywhere, anytime.
In a belligerent defiance to the resolutions of the United Nations and all forms of international niceties of accepting internationally validated treaties, India deprived the Kashmiris (Muslims) by way of legislation, their right to self-determination. The dynamics were changed in August 2020, the case for Kashmir’s right to self-rule was not only usurped but non-Kashmiris were also allowed for the first time ever since independence to buy real estate in Indian occupied Kashmir. The menacing thought backing this move is to encourage mass movement of Hindus into the province to upset the cart of Muslim dominated population.
A Muslim, meat seller, suspected of having slaughtered and later sold beef was publicly butchered in broad daylight, by the Hindus in UP. Muslims are being singled out for commitment of state sponsored atrocities. There is no global power or global human conscience that has woken up to stand up against this Indian belligerence of ethnic cleansing.
Today, on the 75th Anniversary of the founding of Pakistan, I salute our Quaid, Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah for forming an independent country for the Muslims of the sub-continent. He was no astrologer, but possessed of a great foresight as a leader, he knew how things would shape up for Muslims in India, post Gandhi and Nehru. Each moment, as a citizen of this blessed land, I thank Mr. Jinnah and his far-sighted associates for carving out a homeland called Pakistan for us – they knew what the future would be for Indian Muslims. Even Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad must be turning in his grave for the wrongful and misplaced predictions he had made, given a life again, he would surely like to re-write the last chapters of his book, ‘India Wins Freedom’.
We have a major tendency to say things about our country,in not pleasant words, some bankrupted elements make observations on its creation; to them I have only this to say, watch any Independent TV channel and see the plight of Indian Muslims, I am certain you will end up bowing to The Almighty, for blessing us with this amazing homeland. Treasure, what you have. Ask a slave, about his dreams, he will merely say, “Independence”. Let’s truly value our beloved Pakistan.
(The writer is a senior Banker)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022