The complexities of India- Pakistan relations have always been hard to comprehend and difficult to unravel. The genesis of the problem primarily lies in the Two Nation Theory propounded by the ‘Father of the Nation of Pakistan’, Mr Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The viability of a state formed solely based on religious grounds has been an issue of debate ever since the birth of this idea.
Having been divided from the land which was a part of their heritage, by an ‘unnatural boundary’, the fledging state of Pakistan was at a loss to decide whether to accept the common historical legacy of its origins in India. It chose otherwise…
The complexity of this relationship lies not in clashing interests of two communities or nations, but in the historical, cultural and psychological factors. Having been divided from the land which was a part of their heritage, by an ‘unnatural boundary’, the fledging state of Pakistan was at a loss to decide whether to accept the common historical legacy of its origins in India. It chose otherwise and thus began the misrepresentation of the rich history of the sub-continent, in Pakistan.
This possibly was due to their inner fears and insecurities, considering the fact that despite being a Muslim state, carved out to protect the interests of the Muslim population on the sub-continent, India still housed more Muslim population compared to Pakistan. The net result being that Pakistan suffered from an identity crisis, which resulted in a psychological barrier being set up vis -a vis India which basked in the glory of its rich past.
At the time of partition, the princely states were given the option to either accede to India or Pakistan. Kashmir was one of the state that did not exercise the option and went in for a ‘Standstill Agreement’ keeping options for independence open. However this was unacceptable to Pakistan who took it upon itself, the onerous duty to free the majority Muslim populace of Kashmir from its Hindu ruler.
This led to the accession of the state of Kashmir to India and the first Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1947 which finally ended in the state of Kashmir being divided along the cease fire line between the two countries. The failed attempt to capture the Kashmir valley left Pakistan seething and Kashmir thus became the most convenient and viable excuse of keeping the issue on the boil. Ever since, Kashmir has been the bone of contention and the pivotal issue in the relation between the two countries.
The British Government encouraged these riots where ever there was great political activity, so that the Hindus and Muslims may start quarreling and the nationalist movement may get a setback.
British Divide and Rule Policy
The British policy of “Divide and Rule” was responsible for the Hindu-Muslim divide in pre Independence era. The British rulers realised that they could stay on in the country only so long as the Hindus and Muslims did not join hands against the foreign Government.
It was only during the British rule in India that Hindu-Muslim riots took place for the first time and that also in those areas where the nationalist movement was strong. The British Government encouraged these riots where ever there was great political activity, so that the Hindus and Muslims may start quarreling and the nationalist movement may get a setback.
The disparity and differences between the two communities were exploited by the British in consonance with their divide and rule policy, which led to the misguided belief amongst the Muslims that they did not stand a fair chance in an independent India and opted for a separate Muslim nation.
The view that Muslims had once ruled India and they could not pull on with the Hindus does not hold water, since there were many Muslim kings who treated the Hindus well, moreover there were common festivals, common social customs, common literature, etc., among the Hindus and Muslims.
Pakistani historians are in a dilemma whether to accept the dynamic rule of Mauryas and the golden Age of Guptas of ancient Indian history or not. Similarly, whether King Ashoka who is a part of Indian folklore belongs to them or India.
Pakistani Psyche Leading to Identity Crisis
For some inexplicable reasons, Pakistan does not want to own the rich history of three thousand years of the Indian Subcontinent. They know that they cannot be the sole inheritors of the Indus Valley Civilization and the subsequent history of the Indian Continent. This becomes quite clear from a cursory glance at the Pakistani school and college level history bookswhere a Hindu Brahmin is depicted in school books as ‘Kafir’ and a Sikh as ‘Zalim’.
In fact, Pakistani historians are in a dilemma whether to accept the dynamic rule of Mauryas and the golden Age of Guptas of ancient Indian history or not. Similarly, whether King Ashoka who is a part of Indian folklore belongs to them or India.
Some of the Pakistani historians have claimed that the Indus valley civilisation is part of Islamic tradition, though it is a well-established fact that Indus valley civilisation dates back to 5000 years whereas Islam was born only in the 6th Century AD.
This unwillingness on the part of Pakistan to accept that Indian civilisation is a part of common heritage of both the countries has brought a lot of distortions on the Pakistani psyche. Simultaneously Pakistan’s quest to identify itself with the Islamic World and trace its roots to the Arab World has created further complications.
In fact whether Pakistan belongs to South Asia or to the Islamic world which in many ways is alien to them, except in the context of religion, has created further problems for its people. In the process Pakistan has got confused with its historical and cultural bearings.