Mark Collins – How Pakistanis Remember Partition of India and Events Leading Thereto

Further to this post from 2012,

India and Pakistan: “Why Partition?”

 (the Pakistanis have a long historical basis for some of their paranoia)…

excerpts from a May 2015 article:

Why Is Pakistan Such a Mess? Blame India…
By Nisid Hajari [more here, plus a review of his recent book Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition]

…however exaggerated Pakistan’s fears may be now, Indian leaders bear great responsibility for creating them in the first place. Their resistance to the very idea of Pakistan made the 1947 partition of the subcontinent far bitterer than it needed to be. Within hours of independence, huge sectarian massacres had broken out on both sides of the border; anywhere from 200,000 to a million people would ultimately lose their lives in the slaughter. Pakistan reeled under a tidal wave of refugees, its economy and its government paralyzed and half-formed. Out of that crucible emerged a not-unreasonable conviction that larger, more powerful India hoped to strangle the infant Pakistan in its cradle — an anxiety that Pakistan, as the perpetually weaker party, has never entirely been able to shake.

Then as now, Indian leaders swore that they sought only brotherhood and amity between their two nations, and that Muslims in both should live free of fear. They responded to charges of warmongering by invoking their fealty to Mohandas K. Gandhi — the “saint of truth and nonviolence,” in the words of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact, Nehru, and Gandhi himself — the sainted “Mahatma,” or “great soul” — helped breed the fears that still haunt Pakistan today.

There’s little question, for instance, that Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian nationalist movement in the 1930s and 1940s contributed to Muslim alienation and the desire for an independent homeland. He introduced religion into a freedom movement that had until then been the province of secular lawyers and intellectuals, couching his appeals to India’s masses in largely Hindu terms…

Muslims, who formed a little under a quarter of the 400 million citizens of pre-independence India, could judge from Congress’s [provincial] electoral victories in the 1930s what life would look like if the party took over from the British: Hindus would control Parliament and the bureaucracy, the courts and the schools; they’d favor their co-religionists with jobs, contracts, and political favors [note provincial autonomy under the Government of India Act 1935]. The louder Gandhi and Nehru derided the idea of creating a separate state for Muslims, the more necessary one seemed…

… Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were inextricably mixed in the Punjab, with the latter in particular spread across both sides of the proposed border. Sikh leaders vowed not to allow their community to be split in half. They helped set off the chain of Partition riots in August 1947 by targeting and trying to drive out Muslims from India’s half of the province, in part to make room for their Sikh brethren relocating from the other side [emphasis added].

…[Ghandi] and his political heirs never fully appreciated how the massive power imbalance between India and Pakistan lent a darker hue to their actions. To this day, Indian leaders appear more concerned with staking out the moral high ground on Kashmir and responding to every provocation along the border than with addressing Pakistan’s quite-valid strategic insecurities. This serves no one except radicals on both sides. With rabid 24-hour satellite channels seizing upon every cross-border attack or perceived diplomatic affront, jingoism is on the rise. Indian strategists talk loosely of striking across the border in the event of another Mumbai-style terrorist attack; Pakistani officials speak with disturbing ease of responding with tactical nuclear weapons [see “Pakistan’s Tac Nukes and India’s “Cold Start” Attack“]…

Very relevant:

India Realities: Hindustan, and More [2012]

Hindu Raj? PM Modi, the BJP and Hinduism (and Islam)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


5 thoughts on “Mark Collins – How Pakistanis Remember Partition of India and Events Leading Thereto”

  1. Pakistan is another place where Saudi Arabia has been sending billions of dollars to spread their evil religion and they really thought they owned the Pakistanis. But the the Pakistanis have really impressed me lately.

    First the KSA asked Pakistan to provide them with nuclear weapons and the Pakistanis told them to pound sand,. Next the KSA wanted Pakistan to provide large numbers of troops for the misadventure in Yemen and the Pakistanis told them to get lost. Now they have said no to the KSA’s adventures in Syria.

    It is a given that a lot less money will be flowing from KSA to Pakistan in the future due to oil prices and that will just make it easier for the Pakistanis to say no.

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