08 May, 2006
By Ahmer Muzammil
Indian movies are usually not supposed to be thought-provoking. Especially now-a-days when it's hard to distinguish between an Indian film and a soft-core porn movie. I was delightfully surprised to surf in to a well-made movie about the partition of the sub-continent while I was channel-hopping over the weekend. The movie ended with the usual mantra that eventually it's the Muslims who are the oppressors no matter what. I can say this with utmost responsibility that Hindus by & large haven't forgiven the Muslims of sub-continent for the fact that the Muslims were a clear minority for hundreds of years but nevertheless ruled over the sub-continent, and when the time came for the Hindus to rule over the entire sub-continent, Muslims again kind of rained on the parade by opting for Pakistan. So that long-awaited dream of ultimate supremacy was snatched away from them. That's why you always hear of this confederation not only from the rightwing-Hindu camp but also from most in the middle. To a certain degree some Hindus are also resentful as they should be of the fact that Pakistan is minute compared to India's size, power, resources, military-might etc. Still Pakistan is able to give this impression that in almost every field we give the Indians run for their money, whether its cricket, nuclear technology or what have you. Within last 10 years I think India's economy has flourished at a much greater pace leaving Pakistan behind at some distance but for the most part in the existence of these 2 countries, India and Pakistan have been considered as equal rivals which in itself is and should be an insult to India because of the balance of resources between the 2 countries.
We must give credit to the makers of this movie "Earth 1947" however; they did try to at least give an impression of impartiality. In the movie there is a scene when Aamir Khan is anxiously waiting at the Lahore station for her sisters to arrive from Amritsar. When the train eventually reaches Lahore 12 hours later than its scheduled arrival, he gets in to the train to find nothing but mutilated bodies of men and children, women were raped first and then killed. There breasts were carved off of there bodies and stacked in boxes. Any breathing human-being with an ounce of decency should cringe at this reality, what kind of hatred would force a group of people to act in this manner against another? This was an illustration from an Indian-point of view, we must applaud the honesty and courage of the director, but I suspect that the reality might have been much gorier and brutal.
It's an un-deniable historical reality that in Hyderabad alone upwards of 100,000 Muslims were slaughtered in one day on the order of Sardar Patel, who eventually became the interior minister in the first cabinet of peace loving Jawahar lal nehroo. All this was done on the watch of Mr. Gandhi, the epitome and symbol of non-violence. 100,000 human beings, just in one city! Can you imagine what that would have been like? Can you imagine the pain of young kids or anyone for that matter when they saw there mothers, sisters, daughters, wives hanging with fans in the mosques, their lifeless bodies devoid of any clothes hanging thru their hair in the house of Allah swt. Their crime? They were Muslims! That's it, nothing more nothing less. And then you ask me what do I have against cultural-exchanges and dance shows. Why can't I just move on? I tell you, I just can't, it's just too soon. I am not advocating violence, please understand that I am all for living peacefully with thy neighbor, I just can't seem to love thy neighbor whose hands are still red with the blood of my people! It's not an emotional commentary to rile up hatred; it's a historical fact that is still too fresh in the memories of millions of people who went thru this trauma.
I also know that there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, and I blame the establishment of Pakistan and the politicians, because they lied to the Muslims of India. The 2 nation theory is not rocket science for crying out loud! The scholars and supposed intellectuals make it sound so confusing. It's simple and sue me if I am wrong, but the whole premise of partition was that us Muslims are so diabolically different from hindus that we just can't live with each other, wasn't it? We are 2 different nations. We need to have 2 different countries. That's what the leaders and the politicians sold to the Muslims of India, and when the Muslim masses rallied behind them and made enemies out of their hindu and sikh neighbors and once Pakistan came in to being, then all of a sudden, the borders were sealed to stop the influx of immigrants. Merriam Webster's should list this historical backstabbing as a literal meaning of the word "BETRAYAL".
Please don't tell me that a new country like Pakistan with limited resources couldn't afford anymore immigrants, because they should have figured all of this before they were selling the dreamland of Pakistan to the millions of Muslims in India.
The fact of the matter is that they lied when they said that Pakistan will be for the Muslims of the sub-continent, if it was then why were the borders sealed? We proudly state that Pakistan is one of the two ideological states that are present in the world. The other being Israel. To this day if any Jew is persecuted in their home-countries anywhere in the world, they can show up at an Israeli embassy and they get immigration to Israel, no questions asked! I am not saying that we should have done that for all Muslims everywhere, but at least for the people that we promised, the Muslims of sub-continent who sacrificed with their blood should have been accommodated.
Why can't we be two sovereign countries who live side by side peacefully? Why is it that either we are at each others throat, or we are in bed together making out! Can't there be a middle ground where we live and prosper as two separate countries? Please don't take this personally I am sure your culture, your music, your food, your moral values are swell; just don't shove them down my throat because I would prefer living by my own value system. And please stop telling me that the reason I should follow your value system is because we are the same people; see that's my pet peeve, I am not you and you are not me, if we were the same we wouldn't have needed a separate country and you wouldn't have killed millions of my people in Kashmir and in 1947 and then again in Gujrat. If you really were in love with me like you claim, then you wouldn't keep electing the most fascist and bigoted political party in your country, which openly advocates violence and hatred against my people. I can forgive but I will never forget. I am not looking for revenge but I can't be your best friend either because the pain is still there. Lets just be civil to each other, you can start by treating your Muslim Citizens as equals.
If that's asking for too much then at least let them live. Please don't insult the intelligence of the civilized world by illustrating the prosperity of Shahrukh-Khan and Aamir khan as examples of your pluralistic society. In this day & age of Info-Tech it's harder to sell crazy to the world than it was previously. According to Daily Express India, "Discriminated against and pushed to the sidelines, the Muslim community in India is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to benefits from Government-run welfare schemes, access to education, employment, even the system of credit, including bank loans. This is the disturbing conclusion emerging from the initial findings of the Prime Minister's High Level Committee, headed by Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar, looking into the "social, economic and education status of the Muslim community in the country." The final report of the committee is expected to be submitted in June this year".
I am very fond of some of the great human beings that your country have produced, people like arundhati-roy are definitely a badge of honor for your society but for every 1 arundhati-roy you have 50 Bal thakaray's, stack full of narendra modi's and scores and scores of Uma Bharti's (on a side note, I am sure that Uma Bharati didn't have a say in what she looks like, but when you are this ugly shouldn't you be discrete? ugly people should never do anything that would draw attention, there's enough trauma in this world as it is, last thing we need is her face on our tv screens) and until that balance tilts the other way and your masses stop electing fascist and bigots as there leaders, your claims of pluralism and fairness is nothing but rhetoric.
Let me be candid (like I need help with that), India & Pakistan are 2 sovereign nations and to this day most Indians haven't accepted that ground reality. Every single peace-loving Indian that is overwhelmed with love just can't seem to finish there statement without saying that there shouldn't be any borders and we should be one. I appreciate the offer but "NO THANK YOU". Millions of my people didn't sacrifice their lives, for us to be one again. (I don't think they sacrificed their lives for the disaster that is Pakistan thanks to the Millitary Generals, civil bureaucracy, chaudhri's, wadeyra's and nawab's, but let's leave that discussion for another time.) What we can do is be fair to each other, live peacefully side by side without interfering in each others matters.
Now I know that most Indians will cry Kashmir, I am saying this with utmost sincerity & responsibility that Kashmir is payback for Bangladesh as far as Pakistani establishment and armed-forces are concerned. "You broke off our country so we'll break off yours "they tried it with khalistan and then Kashmir, and they probably won't stop. As far as the people of Kashmir is concerned Pakistani establishment and Pakistan army could care less, I mean they don't give a rats ass about there own citizens what makes anyone think they would give a damn about the commoner of Kashmir, unless and off course there is prime land in srinagar that can be utilized for defense housing schemes (read scams). And I think people of Kashmir know that as well that's why an overwhelming majority of Kashmiris NOW would opt for independence from both India and Pakistan. Kashmiri struggle for most part is an indigenous effort, just like Palestine and Iraq. Give people there due right and if you don't then people will stand up and try to take what belongs to them, its really that simple.
Let's be honest, I don't have to be in love with you to live peacefully with you as a neighbor. I know you don't like me either and I am quite OK with that, lets just agree to disagree and focus on our own societies. There is too much devastation and chaos in both countries. We can divert our energies towards making the situation better for the millions upon millions of poor soles who don't even have access to clean water, and here we have made cultural exchanges a matter of life and death. Give me a break!