PFS 9: Attitude Towards India and Indians

Chapter 9


Career diplomat-turned-politician Mani Shankar Aiyer served as India’s first Consul General in Karachi, and he has published his collected writings on Pakistan in a book entitled Pakistan Papers (86). Aiyer says that the best definition for Pakistani is “One who is not Indian”. Pakistanis define their identity as being non-Indian, and go on further to define themselves as pure Muslims.

Pakistan itself means “Land of the Pure” and Pakistani identity has been sought to be defined on the basis that Pakistan is a land of pure Muslims. In their effort to ensure that Pakistanis are not Indian, Pakistani authorities have done everything in their power to discourage any Pakistani from displaying cultural traits that are seen as Indian in character, and encouraged the replacement of that culture by an invented Islamic culture. This experiment is unique in the world. No other nation has attempted to so totally reject its existing culture while retaining only the faith or religion.

In his book, Among the Believers, (75) Naipaul quotes the words of a man describing Pakistan.

I will tell you the story of this country in two sentences. In the first quarter of this century the Hindus of India decided that everything that was wrong had to do with foreigners and foreign influence. Then in the second quarter, the Muslims of India woke up. They had a double hate. They hated the foreigners and they hated the Hindus. So the country of Pakistan was built on hate and nothing else.

The predominant Pakistani attitude toward India is hatred. The birth, and survival of Pakistan required the rejection of all that was Indian. But Mani Shankar Aiyer has recognised a gradual change of attitudes to India among Pakistanis. Up until 1971 it was hate and contempt, but after 1971, Pakistani attitudes have changed to hate and fear. Aiyer writes (86):

..all but the most blind Pakistani today looks back on what happened to his country in 1971 at the hands of India as a great defeat; till 1971 he looked back on what happened .. as a great victory.

Aiyer continues:

From 1947 to 1971 the general belief (in Pakistan) was:

‘hans hans ke liya tha Pakistan, (We got Pakistan with a triumphant smile)

lad lad ke lengey Hindustan’ (We fill fight and take Hindustan)

Myths about a single Muslim soldier being the equal of four, or ten or whatever number of Kafirs was widely believed; it was put about and accepted implicitly that in a matter of days, perhaps hours, the flag of Islam would be imparted on the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Columnist Hamid Hussain describes the Pakistani army officer corps’ attitude toward Indians prior to the 1965 war (58):

The general despise (sic) of Hindus and doubting their capacity of able (sic) to give a good fight was almost universal

Over the years, India struggled but improved; while Pakistan split up and tottered. And hatred of India grew. Dislike and distrust of India became an industry in Pakistan. Like life itself, which evolved from simple one-celled organisms into a multitude of life forms, huge Banyan trees, fragrant flowers, tigers, elephants, insects and men, hatred of India was nurtured to evolve, grow and metamorphose into a multitude of reasons and justifications.

Pakistanis evolved a plethora of reasons to hate India. The act of partition at independence left Pakistanis with a small moth-eaten nation. This was a source of resentment to many elite Pakistanis who had left everything in India to be in Pakistan. For these people nothing would be better than exacting revenge for their lost lives. It was worth defeating India for this reason alone. For others, India was a hateful nation of people who caused the trauma of partition. Hatred and mistrust of India was the reason for the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan existed because Muslims would be suppressed in India, and opposition to India was the reason for Pakistan’s birth. India was the enemy, to be fought, defeated and brought to its knees.

Hatred for India and Indians has been made into a national purpose, a national obsession in Pakistan, with active hatred being taught in Pakistani schools as described in Chapter 3.

In an article written for Pinnacle magazine (87), Brig. Raychaudhuri sums up Pakistani attitudes to India:

This shattering of the psychological indoctrination, based on assumed religious superiority, makes it difficult for the Pakistanis to accept the reality of India’s intrinsic superiority in size and economy. The fact that in 1965 and also in Kargil it was the Moslems of India who alerted the country is too insulting to believe. The cup of Pakistani hatred brims over and India, in the Pakistani mindset, is the cause of their nation(‘s) deprivations..

Pakistanis were poor because of Indian aggression. Pakistan could not develop because of India. Furthermore, hatred of India was needed as the justification for the wealth of the Pakistan army, and for the health of army businesses surviving on state handouts. India had to be hated to keep Pakistanis in line, to make them more Islamic, to make them good Muslims. Pakistanis had to be good Muslims to survive; they had to give up Indianness, because India was there to subjugate or kill all Muslims, just like India was accused of killing or raping 30,000 or 70,000 or whatever number of people in Kashmir. And as India grew stronger, hatred and fear of India had to grow stronger, and Islamic fervor had to be increased to oppose India.

As recently as December 2003, a retired Colonel of the Pakistan Army wrote the following accusations against India (88):

There is a long list of other hostile Indian actions against Pakistan, some of which are:

  • Indian usurpation of Jammu and Kashmir, the continued occupation of that state against the will of its people, and the merciless killing of thousands of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian occupation forces;

  • Constant efforts to destabilize Pakistan through its agents, who are always at work to create disgruntlement in Pakistan’s smaller provinces;

  • Conducting terrorist activities in various parts of Pakistan to exploit ethnic and religious differences;

  • Developing Pakistan-specific nuclear and conventional arsenal, thus forcing this country to enter into a suicidal arms race with the consequent irreparable damage to its economy;

  • Keep bullying Pakistan by concentrating Indian armed forces on its borders and on the Line of Control in Kashmir on trumped up grounds, having previously imposed three wars on Pakistan.

Expecting an enemy with such a criminal record to change its heart overnight and become friendly toward us is nothing but inanity.

And while some Pakistanis have reacted to India with this degree of hatred and suspicion, others try to urge Pakistan to virtually move out of the Indian subcontinent into Central Asia or even the Middle East. Ahmad Quraish wrote in the Pakistani paper the Nation (89):

...the following steps are necessary:

  • Political: Pakistan’s...ministries must...deemphasize Pakistan’s inclusion in South Asia and play up Pakistan’s role in Central and West Asia.

  • Cultural: Islamabad’s cultural cooperation with West Asian and Central Asian countries must be revitalized.

  • Changing the name of Pakistan’s national monetary unit .. by adopting either the Riyal or the Dinar.. instead of the Rupee, which has exclusive Indian connotations.

  • Educational: The other major facets of Pakistan’s identity - the Arab, Persian, Turkic and Central Asian - must be emphasized in our schoolbooks. If this requires drafting new books on Pakistan studies, so be it, and these must be compulsory reading for Pakistani students

It is both ludicrous and sad to see Pakistani loathing for India covering the full spectrum - from the perigee of wanting to occupy and subjugate parts of India, to the apogee of wiping out memories of India, even denying Pakistan’s links with India and claiming imagined links with Central and West Asia. And all this while Indian children are taught to recognize Pakistanis as just like us.

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