Pakistan’s schizophrenia and the two-nation theory
In an iconic scene from the Bollywood classic Sholay, a much inebriated, golden-hearted petty criminal Veeru climbs the village water tank and tells the crowd gathered below that unless he is married off to Basanti, the village beauty, he would jump off the water tank and commit suicide. And if he did, the plagues would follow. So, Basanti’s ageing aunt better agree, or else.
Salim-Javed will deny that they had Pakistan in mind while writing this iconic scene. But as the years pass, the striking similarity between this scene from Sholay and the security state mindset in Pakistan is becoming clearer even to the most benighted. Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state perpetually threatening suicide by simply implying that whether they themselves worked for their country’s future was immaterial, but the plagues would visit the world if Pakistan’s core were to destabilize.
That Pakistan flourishes, with massive foreign aid since its inception, is everyone else’s responsibility except Pakistan’s. A strange culture of entitlement has set in, not just within the government but also amongst its citizenry. The relationship between the US and Pakistan is indefinable. The US gives aid. Pakistan receives aid. Pakistan then calls the US a back stabber and the embodiment of Satan. Then the US gives aid again.
The very thought of Pakistan destabilizing is enough to scare the daylights off the hardened veterans of the US State Department. And the US is 8000 miles away. Now imagine what India has to undergo each moment Veeru is up that tower. Nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s arsenal are not such a major cause of worry as is the systematic brainwashing of the citizenry. The implausible is the mundane.
Yes, the Islamic world is full of fantastic conspiracy theories but Pakistanis can get extremely creative. Sample this – a day before the planes slammed into the World Trade Center the Jew employees at WTC were asked by Mossad not to report for work. Osama bin Laden was not killed in Abbotabad; he had died years earlier. The anti-polio drive in Pakistan is a Jewish conspiracy to render the Pakistani male child impotent. Pakistan is the Qila or fortress of Islam and the Hindu-Christian-Israeli nexus just cannot come to terms with the fact that a Muslim country has nuclear weapons and through their paid agents cause terrorist activities to take place on Pakistani soil.
This bizarre thought process and acceptance of conspiracy theories is so well entrenched in the Pakistani mindset that you have educated people, experts so to say, spouting this nonsense on national TV. And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The reality is that Pakistan’s core is destabilizing fast. From Baluchistan to FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), from the urban sectarian death traps of Karachi to the now Taliban infested South Punjab, the finely spun myth of the two-nation theory is unraveling at great speed. Feudal landlords called Waderas hold sway over much of rural Sindh, as do Zamindars over rural Punjab. Pirs, or holy men, who heavily influence voting patterns across Pakistan, lap up whatever is left. And contrary to the popular belief in Pakistan, it brings no particular joy to Indians.
So used to foreign aid are Pakistanis that they have started believing that it is part of their annual budget. It is not something that the US gives to Pakistan for a well-defined purpose and for a period of time. But aid must follow under one pretext or the other. And this has led to a culture of entitlement and has completely destroyed Pakistan’s ability to manufacture anything other than towels and underwear.
Along trundles China with a cheque of USD 46 billion that has the Pakistanis gasping “maula…maula”. Lest I be accused of blasphemy, “maula” means master, not God. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor has, by the very act of the number of zeros placed after forty-six, befuddled the Pakistani imagination. Pakistan’s intelligentsia dare not ask the questions that are on the tip of their collective tongues.
- What does Pakistan gain from the CPEC?
- What is the exact route of the CEPC inside Pakistan?
- China will import oil from the Middle East through Gwadar. Will Pakistan’s role be limited to that of a tollbooth?
- Pakistan is raising an Infantry Division (about 10,000 men) to protect the Chinese? Is this a long-term solution?
- What do the Baloch get out of the CPEC? Punjab-centric Pakistan has been looting the Baloch for seven decades. Have the Chinese now joined the party?
Have the Pakistanis totally forgotten what the East India Company did to India? How is the Chinese approach any different? All contracts must, by the nature of the agreement, be awarded only to Chinese firms. Investments are subject to 18% interest. Will Pakistanis be relegated to being petty sub-contractors, suppliers of labor and coarse sand?
Finally, have the Pakistanis actually sold off their nation for 46 billion dollars? The CPEC is not simply investment. It is Pakistan handing over the chicken coop to the wolf.
To ask is to commit kuffar or blasphemy. But ask one must.
What is the Two Nation Theory? It states that the unifying force of a nation is religion, rather than culture or ethnicity, and that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and hence cannot coexist.
Jinnah did not create Pakistan. He was just the acceptable liberal face of a much more sinister plot. Pakistan was the economic and social need of the jagirdars and waderas of West Punjab. They were the economic powerhouses, which would suffer if India became democratic. Gandhi was speaking of land re-distribution. For a feudal class bred on deep sense of entitlement, it was death. One man – one vote was against the notion of hereditary privilege. The waderas were slave owners. They still are. Democracy would seat the landless along with the wadera. Economic self-preservation morphed into the two-nation theory. That Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) spoke of all men being equal in the eyes of God, and enjoined that no Muslim would bow before anyone but Allah, was just theory for them. Practical life dictated that privileges had to be protected.
Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami vehemently opposed the idea of Pakistan. For one, the concept of nationhood based on religion had no sanction in the Quran or any of the hadiths, the traditions and sayings of the Holy Prophet. The world was divided into Daar-ul-Aman (the house of peace) or Daar-ul-Harb (the house of war). Muslims in India had lived peacefully for a thousand years. There was no precedence or Quranic sanction, which could justify the division of India. Maududi also believed that the creation of Pakistan was not just division of land, but also division of the sub-continents Muslims.
But Partition did happen. For twenty-four years the two-nation theory held good. On 16 September 1971 the make believe world of Pakistan collapsed. It seemed that Bengalis did not take kindly to dictation from Punjabis and Pashtuns. Language and culture trumped religion. Jinnah’s moth-eaten state had been cleaved into half by “black dhoti-clad Bengalis” as Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan was fond of calling them, with a little nudge from Manekshaw’s boys.
What now remains of Pakistan is a confederation of ethnicities.
If Jinnah envisioned Pakistan as a safe haven for Muslims of the sub-continent, the less said the better. More than three thousand people were killed in ethnic violence in 2014 in Karachi alone. That’s about eight killings a day in the largest city of a country that was founded to be a safe haven for those who were killed.
There isn’t an Islamic terror group in the world that does not owe allegiance to the State of Pakistan or one of its upright citizens. Pakistan exports terror into Iran through the Sunni leaning Jundullah. Iran being dominantly Shia is a God given target. Shia’s are wajib-ul-qatl. Basically, it’s all right to kill them. No ones counting. Through the Punjabi Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the ISI spreads its tentacles in Afghanistan, looking for that elusive mirage, strategic depth. Uighur terrorists from China have admitted to being trained in terrorist activities in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) of Pakistan.
Pakistan is looking for influence. Not the kind that comes from Yoga or McDonalds. Pakistan is looking for influence through terror. It is the same wadera mindset of keeping everyone in line. Pakistan has nothing to offer the world. What it had, it destroyed. Perhaps the poetry of Bulle Shah and Syed Waris Shah is too effeminate for the generals at Rawalpindi. Three million Bengalis killed in Operation Searchlight, a few thousand disappearances in Balochistan and letting loose the MQM (Haqiqi) faction in Karachi is more their style. Not that Altaf Hussain of the MQM is an angel, but state sponsored terror is a different ball game.
What it can kill or subdue, it does. And what it cannot strike fear into, sets it climbing the proverbial water tank. “If I kill myself you will be in a sea of trouble” is the refrain. You will note that whenever there is a downslide in Indo-Pak relations, which is very often, bang comes the reminder from Pakistan that they are a nuclear weapons state and the said weapons are not for ornamental purposes.
So, Pakistan will keep asking for money and the world will keep giving money. It is scary when you see a deranged drunk with a violent record roaming in your neighborhood with a loaded assault rifle. This is “The Veeru Effect”. The world is not likely to call Pakistan’s bluff anytime soon.
An outright military response to Pakistan may not be the answer. That’s probably because the question is ideological. Pakistan was a problem for us before 1971. We dismembered it. It is still a problem. Even if Balochistan were to somehow secede from Pakistan, the problem will not just remain. It will multiply.
Pakistan will get more desperate and more insecure. There will be more brinkmanship, like Kargil. Or a third party operation by Hafiz Saeed and his ilk. This cyclic violence will continue till the Indian extreme right-wing hawks realize that they are ineffective and their current actions will have no long-term impact on Pakistan or its mindset. We must accept that we do not have all the answers.
An idea, however vicious or powerful cannot be defeated by anything except an idea. That’s why the Americans lost in Vietnam and the Soviets were humbled in Afghanistan.
The only way to attack at the roots of Pakistan is to attack at the very idea that gave birth to Pakistan, the “two-nation theory”. It’s not a macho plan and not something that would find favor with those that advocate a more muscular policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.
Think Ravana, the demon king of the Ramayana. Lord Ram cut off his head and it just grew right back. Until Vibhishana, Ravana’s brother told Ram about the secret of Ravana’s immortality; amrit or the elixir of life that was hidden in Ravana’s navel. The two-nation theory is the amrit in the navel of Ravana. It is the preamble of the ideology of Pakistan.
Pakistan is there to stay, like it or not. But every time a Muslim man in India starts a Wipro or a Cipla, it suddenly and irrevocably damages the two-nation theory. Nothing scares Pakistan more than the success of the Indian Muslim, because it questions the very reason of its existence. It forces the average Pakistani to ask “If Muslims are so successful in India, why did we create Pakistan?”
Let young Pakistanis ask why their nation was created. And when they see successful Muslims in India, they will ask that question. And once they do, their nuclear weapons will be so much candyfloss.
A hundred and seventy-two million Muslims call India home. This is an indisputable fact. And it is these Muslims who hold the key to our Pakistan problem.
Muslims will have to question their own leadership, both religious and political, and hold them accountable for jobs, education and infrastructure. They will have to firmly tell people claiming to be their leaders that fear mongering is pulling the community down. And these so-called leaders are both Muslim and Hindus; yes, those very leaders who would love to give voter identification cards to Bangladeshi immigrants but dare not tell the maulvi of a madrasa to install computers.
It is these leaders who are the real enemy of the Muslims, who would do anything to keep them away from joining the national mainstream because it serves their narrow political purposes.
When Muslims are free of the clutches of these leaders and political charlatans, they will mass-embrace modern education.
And that’s when Veeru will look down from the water tank to find that there is no one there. His bluff will then have been called.