Comments posted on Jug Suraiya’s article: Indistan zindabad, published in TOI, copied below:

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Great analysis! Sober and mature; especially coming from a humour writer! However, if, according to Jug Suraiya, Indistan (India+ Pakistan) is the only solution to subcontinent’s existentialist problem, the initiative must come from India, the elder brother in the family. It has to show to both Kashmir and Pakistan, that it means well by Muslims and has to demonstrate convincingly upfront by giving its own Muslim citizen, an exemplary and honourable deal. Or the danger is that the US/neo-con axis will replay the Iraqi solution in India, and maneuver a weak government to lord over India as the imperialist power. It may so happen that they may bring together the total Muslim population of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and hand over power to the 500 million Muslims, as righting the wrong, as they brought Shia, their most recalcitrant ideological foes, to power in Iraq, through an imposed constitution and a managed election. I as a Muslim Indian would be most reluctant to look forward to any such remedies to claim the community right in this land of us all, as I am sure it will entail loss of human lives and material and civilisational properties at much greater level than was the case in Iraq.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Indistan, zindabad

6 Dec 2008, 0001 hrs IST,

Jug Suraiya

After the Mumbai massacre, everyone agrees that something has to be done about Pakistan, which without doubt was the passive platform for if not the active instigator of the attack, as it has been of so many terror attacks against India in the past. Everyone not just India, but also the US, the UK, Israel and other countries whose nationals became targets in Mumbai agrees that Pakistan has to be dealt with. But exactly how is it to be dealt with? And which of the many Pakistans is to be addressed?

Today there is not one but too many Pakistans for that bedevilled country’s own good and for the well-being of the international community. There is the Pakistan of President Asif Zardari who claims that the Mumbai assault was mounted by ‘non-state actors’ with no affiliation to Pakistan and almost immediately gives the lie to his own statement by adding that no terrorists originated in “my part of the country”, implying that significant parts of his supposed bailiwick were in fact beyond his jurisdiction.

There is the Pakistan of the Taliban-controlled North West Frontier Province which is a law or rather, a lawlessness unto itself. There is the Pakistan of Sindh and Baluchistan, where separatism is rife. There is the Pakistan of the army and the ISI, a so-called state within a state. There is the Pakistan which is an economic basket case with not enough in its coffers to support itself for 30 days. There is the Pakistan where 2 per cent of the elite own 98 per cent of everything. There is the Pakistan of a painfully emergent professional middle class seeking to create a civil society based on democratic values.
There is the Pakistan whose media, in a state of paranoid denial, is claiming that the Mumbai bloodbath was a ‘Hindu plot’ to defame Islam in general and Islamabad in particular.

Which of these many Pakistans to deal with, and how? Internationally coordinated military strikes at terror training camps located within Pakistani territory? Global pressure diplomatic, economic and moral brought to bear on Islamabad to stop its covert support of terrorism?
All these and other measures are being mooted, in various combinations. But, singly or together, they fail to get to the crux of the problem: Pakistan’s lethally dangerous multiple personality disorder.

Today, let alone the world not knowing who or what Pakistan is, Jinnah’s dream nation has awoken to a nightmare in which it doesn’t know itself. For far too long some would say since its very inception Pakistan’s sole raison d’etre has been its adversarial role vis-a-vis India.
Pakistan’s identity has been premised not on a positive but on a negative; it has imaged itself as a negation of India, an anti-matter India. The consequences of such a formulation, based on shared fear and hatred instead of shared goals and aspirations, are clear for all but the most self-deluded to see: Pakistan, in all it disintegrating multiplicity, is on the brink of being a failed state. Some might say it has already fallen over the edge.

Not just India, but the world as a whole, can’t afford a failed Pakistan with all the disastrous ramifications it would entail, not the least being Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal falling into rogue hands. What Pakistan needs is a miracle cure, an instant evolution from fragmented feudalism to cohesive democracy.

Pakistan needs to radically rethink itself. And what more radical than to rethink Partition and think about reunification with India, the world’s most populous democracy and the world’s second fastest growing economy? Preposterous idea, of course, for mortal enemies to come together. But is it any more preposterous than the risk of nuclear war of 60, or 600, more years of so-called ‘proxy warfare’ which neither country can afford?

Instead of its constant demands for a plebiscite in Kashmir, Islamabad should hold a plebiscite within Pakistan to see how many would like to review Partition in favour of a united Indistan. It wouldn’t work, of course. But then, neither has Partition.

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