'How Pakistan insulates India from terror'
How MJ Akbar humours the
Brahminical leadership over the small mercies of partition!
In his article: 'How Pakistan
insulates India from terror', published in The Times of India's Sunday Edition
of today, June 15, 2008, author M. J. Akbar, bents over backward to convince
India's Brahmin leadership, that after all, given Pakistan's existential
dilemma with the more boisterous Muslim fundamentalists and extremists, India
should count its blessings, that the partition, which was used by the Hindu
establishment, against Indian Muslims, as their eternal sin, has turned out to
be a blessing in disguise, as Pakistan has become a buffer state between India
and the menace called Afghanistan/Pakhtunistan (the Taliban/Al Qaida country).
M. J. Akbar further correctly
points out another blessing that the creation of Pakistan, indirectly gifted to
India. British army, comprised of 50% Muslims, overwhelmingly the 'martial
race' from the North which in undivided India would have been difficult to
handle, if the Brahmins had mistreated Indian Muslims, as their record of last
60 years has anything to go by.
I would say, M. J, Akbar is
rather hasty in his judgment. The menace from the north is yet to fully unfold
and India cannot remain insulated from the storm, if and when it envelops
Pakistan. Treatment of Indian Muslim should be taken up on its own merit and
with due dispatch.
For Indian Muslims, another
blessing of the sort should be evident. They will not have to fight a Brahminical
or American war, as they are the neo-dhimmis in India, being kept out of the
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
How Pakistan insulates India from terror
A few days ago, the government of Pakistan abandoned a ceasefire pact with
insurgents operating across the tribal Pakistan-Afghanistan border, reached by
Pervez Musharraf but reasserted by his successors in power. On June 11, Admiral
Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States,
said in Washington that any future terrorist attack on his country would
probably originate in this region, known by its acronym, FATA (Federally
Administered Tribal Areas). This had become the most secure base of al-Qaida,
he added, after the fall of the Taliban in Kabul.
Why has al-Qaida become a cancerous bone in Pakistan's throat, with the country
neither able to digest it or spit it out? There is general agreement across
different elements of the Pakistan establishment that swallowing this bone will
infect the body politic beyond cure. But instead of surgery, there is a
paralytic helplessness as al-Qaida and Taliban beliefs and prescriptions seep
into street, village and towards the foot soldiers that form the core of any
Both the army and newly elected democrats fumble when faced with a basic, if
provocative, query: Why is Islamabad fighting America's war against fellow
Muslims? The overlap between Pakistan's 'national' interest and the interests
of the 'Muslim Ummah' has been further blurred in the northwest frontier by a
shared ethnicity that has never recognized the Durand Line as a barrier between
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Islamabad's dilemma revives a question that raged on the sidelines of the
Partition debate between 1940 and 1947: Could united India ever have a secure
border on its northwest frontier? The Khyber Pass was the traditional
"gate" to Delhi. Would the Muslims of the region, and their brethren
in the united Indian Army, secure the gate or open it for any Muslim invaders?
The British, it is commonly known, regretted the division of the British Indian
Army much more than they regretted the partition of British India. Others were
not so sure. Among them was Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the great Dalit hero who
considered himself neither Hindu nor Muslim and was thus above the growing
bitterness between the two.
The Secretary of State for India revealed a trifle reluctantly, the ethnic
composition of the British Indian Army in the House of Commons on July 8, 1943:
Muslims were 34%, Hindus 50%, Sikhs 10% and the rest 6%. But these were wartime
statistics, when emergency recruitment had altered the traditional balance, or
imbalance. It was believed that the Muslim proportion of the peacetime British
Indian Army, driven by the "martial races" theory and the belief that
Frontier Muslims were superior soldiers, might be as high as 50%. There was no
question that the army of a united India would retain a high percentage of
Muslims, largely recruited from the frontier; political pressure from Muslims
would ensure as much.
Would Muslim soldiers be immune to the lure of pan-Islamism? The Muslim League
had resolved that the Indian Army should not be used against Muslim powers,
conflating Indian and pan-Islamic interests. It was also recalled that during
the Khilafat movement (1919-1922), Muslims displayed potentially explosive
angularities. Maulana Mohammad Ali had invited the Amir of Afghanistan to
invade India and conquer Delhi with the help of an Indian uprising.
Dr Ambedkar argued that India was better off divided, because it could not
remain a secure state with such confused loyalties at its porous crown. A new
'Hindustan' army, created out of the resources of divided India, would be
untroubled by dual loyalties. Given that Pakistan has few answers to the
incessant diet of bombs and suicide missions, we need only to pause and
consider the havoc that a strong Qaida-Taliban movement would have caused
across the cities of the Indian subcontinent if it had not been substantially,
though not completely, insulated by the Indo-Pak border. Imagine the nightmare
of an undivided India.
Indian Muslims, who consciously opted for their motherland, paid a heavy price:
they were not to be fully trusted with the defence of India. No one doubted
their patriotism in the 1962 conflict with China, but during the 1965 Indo-Pak
war, they were picked up arbitrarily and detained without trial by the Congress
government of Lal Bahadur Shastri. The heroism of Havildar Abdul Hamid was
treated as an exception. This prejudice was a major reason for minimal Muslim
presence in the Indian Army and police services.
The Indian Muslim mind shifted from a pseudo-glorification of the idea of
Pakistan in the 1940s to fear, resentment and uncertainty over the next two
decades. Bangladesh was the turning point; it was clinching evidence that
Pakistan was not a paradise for Muslims, but the preserve of a regional culture
and mentality that was not ready to treat every Muslim as an equal. Indian
Muslims abandoned, completely, any residual temptation for Pakistan. This is
not just my effort to be politically correct. There is evidence: the complete
lack of interest that Indian Muslims have displayed towards the Kashmiri
insurrection has puzzled and frustrated the self-styled "pan-Islamic
jihadi" organizations who expected Indian Muslim support in the effort to
terrorize the Indian state and people.
When Indian Muslims get angry, they do so for their own reasons, not for
Pakistan's. Muslims born in free India are not ready to be victimized for the
mistakes of their fathers. This is an assertion of equality, part of the
confidence gifted to them by the unique democratic values of the Indian
The violent Sikh upsurge of the 1980s reminded India that there was more than
one potentially hazardous minority, and that the politics of indifference could
not be sustained.
The most heartening image of contemporary India, to me, are the slightly funny
pictures of young Muslims puffing their chests to meet physical criterion
during periodic recruitment drives for the Indian Army or paramilitary forces.
I wish Indian politicians would appreciate that the politics of patronage is no
substitute for the politics of indifference. Patronage is essentially
demeaning, and serves only small Muslim cliques who enrich themselves at the
cost of the community. The Indian Muslim wants to be treated as an equal. He is
waiting for the establishment to appreciate the true nuances of the term.