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What went wrong with Pakistan?

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A middle class Indian.

It has been almost 70 years since we broke the chains of oppression and woke up to the reality of a democratic republic in our motherland. India was one of the first experiments of democracy in Asia, and leaders like Pandit Nehru, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, and Maulana Azad worked hard to make this into a democracy that has lasted this long (except the period of brief emergency). The first cabinet of Pandit Nehru included Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was one of the most vicious critics of the congress party. This outreach to the leaders of various ideological leanings and backgrounds sowed the seeds of a modern tolerant democracy. However, these leaders were not alone in their endeavours and it would be blasphemous to assign all the credit or all the blame for the initial achievements and failures of our democracy to them. Having said that it is also important to hold these leaders accountable for the mistakes they have made in the past, even if their intentions were noble and the error was in their judgements. Dissent and criticism are one of the things that has made us into a vibrant democracy and we should strive to keep it that way.

Our benign neighbour with which we have shared most of our history took a very different path after it’s independence. Instead of having a plethora of great leadership like India, it had as it’s founding father, one politician driven by his ego.  His demand for a separate homeland for the Muslims was based on the concept of ‘two nation theory’ which states that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together. I doubt that Jinnah actually believed in it, at least his own daughter did not. Soon after Pakistan’s independence, it lost its only founding father and a lack of robust leadership started the devolution of the “land of Taxila” into an”Ivy League of terrorism”. A country whose roots are derived from hatred against a particular community / religion, and one which didn’t have a political direction or a vision for the future became subservient to it’s army and the Islamists within a decade.  The failure of the founding principle of Pakistan, “The Two Nation Theory”, became self-evident after the Independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Linguistic ethnicity trumped religious unity.

While India was an experiment in Secular Democracy, Pakistan was an experiment in Islamism. Some termed it as an “Islamic Democracy”, a fine example of an oxymoron. The politically incorrect but the factually precise point is, “Islamism is inherently anti-democratic”. Islamist principles and democratic principles are miles apart and they can only intersect if you brainwash your people and slather them with orthodox Islamist ideologies. Although they tried, but it was difficult for them to assiduously manipulate their people even with the help of bigoted ideologues like Maududi and eventually they ended up becoming a security state.

Secularism, on the other hand, led India through a very different path, there were roadblocks and accidents, but our democratic values survived. India not only survived the religious tensions but also survived the linguistic barriers. A person from Amritsar may not have much in common with one from Kerala, but love for their motherland binds them together. Malayalis, Punjabis, Biharis, Bengalis all fight together in the Indian Army, work together in Indian companies and live together peacefully in various cities.

Being the first Islamic state and one without a proper leadership, Pakistan had to fight the obvious identity crisis. It chose to do so by whipping up the concept of Pan-Islamism, the root of all Islamic terror in the world.

While Pakistan built relationships based on quid pro quo with other nations, India developed mutually beneficial and long lasting relationships. While Pakistan built numerous Madarsas in their country, our forefathers laid the foundations for IITs and IIMs.

Coming back to the present day, we are still in a state of cold war with Pakistan, a neighbour that has inflicted numerous wounds on our body and still continues to do so. They use their children like canon fodder, turning them into fidayeen and targeting our military and civilian installations. The perverse amalgamation of Mosque and Military has converted Pakistan into a terrorist state and a threat to the civilised world and the world needs to take this threat seriously before it’s too late.

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A middle class Indian.
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