One-nation theory

Published: April 22, 2012

The writer is a director with Hill Road Media and a former editor of the Mumbai-based English newspaper Mid Day and the Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar [email protected]

The first time I came to Pakistan, I was taken aback at how good some of the infrastructure was. The airports at Karachi and Lahore were small, but they were efficient and well designed. I think my host told me the Japanese had built one or both of them, and those airports were a very different thing from the ones I had just taken off from in India.

This was when the government made airports, and as with all things the Indian government takes up, our airports were clumsy and barely functional. But a few years later this changed. Today the airports at Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are pretty good. They are not world class (nothing in India can ever be), but they are not embarrassing as the earlier ones were.

The differences that I had thought were significant, turned out not to be so.

This led me to think of how similar we were as nations. Not in the sense that Mohammad Ali Jinnah meant. I think it is fairly obvious that the character of India and of Pakistan is different when we observe their Constitutions. India’s secularism is fundamentally Hindu in its nature. Pakistan’s Constitution is Islamic by design and in appearance. Though this is an important aspect of nationhood, it is only one aspect.

What I mean is how we are one nation in all the negative aspects. It is difficult to find a country whose people are more filthy than those in India and Pakistan. Our neighbourhoods and streets are among the most shameful in the world because we are selfish and blind to the concern of others. Delhi’s drivers are as terrible as those in Lahore (and the women of Delhi and Lahore would concur on the behaviour of the loutish men of those cities). Half of us are illiterate and the half who are literate don’t really read much. The comments sections of Indian and Pakistani websites are the most dreadful in the world, without qualification. Hateful and pedantic, the product of minds who are only functionally literate. We think time will bring some big change in our society but it is not easy to see where this change is going to come from.

I know of few other nations where people would not be embarrassed at the thought of keeping servants. Few cultures would be so unaffected, so uncaring of privacy to not mind the constant presence of a servant in the house. I am not even talking about the bestial manner in which we treat them, because every reader of this piece, whether Indian or Pakistani already knows what I mean.

We divide ourselves into nations based on things like which animal the other eats or does not eat. The outsider probably sees no difference between us, and rightly so.

We produce very little that is of meaning to the outside world, and it is tough to think of what our contribution is to the nations from whom we take so much. In science and technology we have nothing to offer the West, despite the boasts of Indians that we gave the world Arabic numerals and zero (I agree with that; we have given the world zero).

Pakistanis stake claim to Islam’s golden age. The Jang columnist, Hassan Nisar, often takes up this point. He says that the Arabs laugh when Pakistanis own Islam’s achievements. What aspect of the conquest of Spain or the scientific revolution in Baghdad did Punjabis and Sindhis participate in?

To the world we are one people in that sense.

My friend Colonel (retd) Iftikhar, from General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s batch in the Pakistan Military Academy, said he discovered this horrifying fact when he went to Makkah a few decades ago for Haj. He met some Saudis, one of whom asked him where he was from. “Lahore”, said Ifti. “Where’s that”, the Saudi asked (this was in the 1970s). “Pakistan”, said Ifti proudly. “Where’s that”, the puzzled Saudi asked. Ifti took out a map and pointed. “Ah”, said the Saudi to his friends, “he’s Hindi”.

Our problems are so primitive that they should make us stop and mend ourselves immediately. But they don’t seem to affect us at all. Our media carry on like we are normal people. Reading the militant bombast of the strategic affairs experts in newspapers of these two nations, the outsider would never suspect that these were two nations unable to even keep their public toilets clean.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.

Reader Comments (107)

  • Max
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:54AM

    Do not know anything about one or two nation theories but this much I know we are the biggest hate-mongers and hypocrites of the world. Hope India does not follow our foot steps.

    Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:57AM

    yes indeed sir.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:08AM

    “I know of few other nations where people would not be embarrassed at the thought of keeping servants”.

    Many nations in Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia etc. – it is a norm to keep maids. OF course, in Singapre and HK, maids come from Philippines, Sri Lanka or Indonesia. Still…

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:30AM

    First, people from West, South and East of India have very little in common with most of Pakistan, so there is no need to tar us with the same brush – women in Bombay happily party till the wee hours of the morning. Delhi and Hyderabad airports are world-class – and Delhi has been awarded the most improved airport award in 2012 by the World Airport Awards (It is also in the top 10 airports globally which handle 20 – 30 mn customers annually). Second, India’s secularism may be Hindu in character (based on the majority population), but its constitution isn’t. Third, household help are a feature in every country with low labor costs – how you treat them depends on how your parents brought you up. Fourth, India did give the world the Indo-Arabic numerals (including zero) as well as Indian philosophy across multiple ontological sub-divisions – but we need to respect it first instead of expecting the world to do so. I am not even going to respond to the rather silly variant of ‘you are what you eat’. Yes, in terms of public cleanliness and hygiene our performance is deplorable; We also need to work towards creating broad-based and inclusive growth if we intend to make an improvement in any of the actual negative aspects of our country -including those in your extremely negative article. Pakistan can fix its own problems.

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:53AM

    @Aakar Patel

    Hats off,sir! In a relatively fewer lines you summed it up so well.Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:00AM

    so what did South Africa give to the world? What did Indonesia give to the world? .. Breaking countries down and asking this question…the results might look similar for most countries of the 3rd world. (including china). Just picking up some common cultural behaviors and claiming we are politically one nation is wrong. India and Pakistan might have been 1 nation ..60 years ago .. but we have walked separate paths and we are distant kin ..strangers. Pakistan is now culturally more similar to Afghanistan than India!Recommend

  • omar
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:02AM

    Sir, i am glad you wrote this. I agree with you completely and sometimes wish there had never been a partition in the first place. it seems so cynical to me to think that just because we had different religions, we could not coexist. That is a blatant bold-faced lie. Our ancestors were one and the same and we are both a part of india. my own grandparents came from india and told me they never wanted to leave. I am a pakistani but i am also an indian as are all of my fellow pakistanis. Growing up i often felt nauseated by the war-mongering rubbish i was told about the same country my own ancestors came from. Indeed, i know more about ancient india and our shared history than i know of the middle east. I feel my connection with indians than i do with arabs. however, while It would be nice to think our countries could settle their differences i do not ever see us joining together. we can be friends and siblings but i doubt we would ever merge.

    Recommend

  • Sameer
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:23AM

    Well you should know a Berber not Arab led the army for conquest of Spain
    Secondly most of Arab do not mind Pakistani owning achievement of Muslim in Spain and Baghdad since we are one ummah

    Recommend

  • RS
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:28AM

    On the most basic parameter, GDP per capita, India and pakistan rank at 130s in the world… It’s ridiculous for these countries to even try comparing themselves with those countries where people are, on an average, 20 times richer than us…

    We people need to smell coffee, thanks Aakar..!

    Just see the countries we rank along with and could we set our priorities right accordingly…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofcountriesbyGDP(PPP)per_capita

    Recommend

  • Huma
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:04AM

    interesting…. not important in the context of the article but i was at the delhi airport in 2004 and that was pretty chaotic and disorganized… any change for the better is good…. :)

    Recommend

  • Tanveer Arif
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:15AM

    Can’t be more agree with you

    Recommend

  • American
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Well written, good message. Pakistanis and Indians deserve to be where they are. The proper moral values of society promoting humanitarianism are no where to be found.

    When they die and stand in front of Allah to complain about what they faced, I’m sure Allah will remind them of all the potential and intelligence that was given to the people of these countries (as shown by the success of those who move to other countries). They will also be questioned about all the physical resources their lands had. They have no one to blame but themselves.

    Recommend

  • pakistani
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:20AM

    lol I AGREE!!! :D

    Recommend

  • Ravish
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:23AM

    Are you kidding me? Delhi terminal 3 is by far one of the best airport terminals I have seen. I know you are writing in a Pakistani column as an Indian, and want to avoid flattery, but that doesnt mean you should downplay them altogether. I do agree with you that Bombay and B’lore current airports although a bit glitzy are still behind their international peers, but Delhi airport is a marvel and sits right at the very top among world class airports. You may google the images and have a look for yourself, although seeing it in person is a totally different experience.

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:25AM

    Mr Patel,
    If you go looking for similarities, you will find lot of similarities between India and pakistan.
    If you go looking for differences, you will find lot of differences between India and Pkaistan.
    So what matters is your perspective and also applies to comparing apples and oranges.

    Recommend

  • Saud Ahsen
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:26AM

    Wonderful piece of writing sir…Hats off !!!
    ur article remindZ me of ARVIND ADEGA’s novel ie WHITE TIGER….
    sub continent region share the same values…
    n filth as well

    Recommend

  • Sapan Kapoor
    Apr 22, 2012 - 3:41AM

    I wish India-Pakistan could be two-nations-one-soul. Let’s have friendly relations with each other. Let’s do away with the borders and barriers that separate us. Let’s open our borders and hearts for each other. We are one people. We are brothers. You are no different than me and I’m no different than you. We are two sides of the same coin. Let’s stop this hatred and bloodshed. We can be two nations and still be friends. We are family. Issues can be resolved without shedding blood and sacrificing precious lives, through love and harmony. Love from India ♥

    Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2012 - 4:02AM

    very well written article.
    Yes,its true we are on nation socially,economically,culturaly. The world doesnt see us differently.it never did.

    Recommend

  • usmanx
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:23AM

    Wonderful one-off anecdotes to strip us of our uniqueness. Pakistanis think they are Arabs… Arabs laugh at us, consider us “Hindi”. All old and tired statements. Please understand that it is not a matter of whether we think or not…

    Generally speaking, Pakistanis and Indians, Pakistan and India are different in: genetics, overall genetic composition, religion, culture, rituals, linguistics, diet, ethnicity, governance, pre-history, civilization, race, complexion, geography, topography, philosophy, script, cuisine, music, entertainment, perception, outlook, soico-politics and economies. source: http://wp.me/pOeMY-L3

    Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2012 - 4:27AM

    At first I thought this would be another Indo-Pak rivalry blog/article but I really loved reading the whole text. Thank you very much Aakar Patel for showing and writing about another perspective. :)

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:45AM

    Good one. Some people have been wrongly accusing that Hindu girls are being ‘forced to marry’ Muslim men in Pakistan. We know for sure that every year hundreds of Muslim girls are forced to marry Hindu men in India, in Gujrat, specially, where Mr Patel comes from. So, although there is no evidence against this accusation against Pakistan, Indian Gujrat and some backward parts of Pakistan may have some similarities.

    Recommend

  • adeel759
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:47AM

    One couldn’t agree more. Its my Beloved Country Pakistan’s intentionally designed false love affair for Arabs and hate mongering for India which has driven this nation to clueless destiny and unintended consequences. As per my observation, Pakistanis as a nation, don’t know to choose friends and foes. India is Pakistan and Pakistan Is India.

    Recommend

  • adeel759
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:51AM

    India’s soul lies in Mohenjodaro and Lahore, and Pakistan’s soul Lies in Ajmer and Dili. No matter what Baal Thakerays of India and Zaid Hamids of Pakistan Say.

    Recommend

  • Adnan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:04AM

    Great Article! I wish that my fellow Pakistanis and Indian brothers realise it ASAP that we have had enough! Now we should become good neighbours to each others and stop harbouring terrorism/hatred on both sides of border. I am confident and hope that this is not impossible and can be doable from the leaders of both side. Cheers!

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:32AM

    Mr. Patel, “he’s Hindi”.” is a much respectful expression considering their ignorance and hubris compared to what they often call us Pakistanis, “hanood a berberi ” barbaric Hindus.

    Recommend

  • C. Nandkishore
    Apr 22, 2012 - 6:16AM

    A lot has changed in KSA. When i was there in the last decade everybody knew Pakistan and India were different. Indians are still called Hind. There is a different treatment for Indian and Pakistanis. Suffice it to say that more than 90% of the family drivers are from India.

    Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos
    Apr 22, 2012 - 6:47AM

    Love this part “….the outsider would never suspect that these were two nations unable to even keep their public toilets clean.”

    Recommend

  • SS
    Apr 22, 2012 - 7:33AM

    India is a huge country and very diverse. If one thing is applicable to one part, it may not be applicable to other. I agree with the author that that there are more similarities than difference when it comes to Pakistan but this similarities only exists with North and Central India with Pakistan. When you travel down south, you will see lot of difference wrt to culture, tradition, literacy rate, women (not like Delhi/Lahore) and several others. If someone believes in Two nation theory then why just two considering diversity of India. But nation is not built on differences but similarities. Nationhood binds together despite the differences

    Recommend

  • Masood Akhtar
    Apr 22, 2012 - 7:55AM

    Very good. When I talked this to some of my friends. They would tease me and would consider it affect of my reading Yahud-o-Nasara (Christian & Jewish) literature. Nobody in Pakistan is tlwerant. Because of these thought provoking articles don’t exist in Urdu Language. People are stuborn because they don’t read accounts of others.Recommend

  • Thinktank
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:11AM

    Buddy, though I admit that there are many things which can be improved or changed in India, things are not as bad as you point them in your article. What have we given to the world.. India is now a model for democratic setup and has displayed extraordinary tolerance for it’s diverse cultures. Thousands of NRIs returning back to India are not fools..they see what India can offer compared to other nations.

    So my friend, before dissing your own nation and comparing it with a failed state, please note that you are one of the 1 billion reasons your country is what it is today…have a nice day.

    Recommend

  • Nagpuri
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Good article. Overstepped and over simplified at some places but paucity of spce might be reason.

    Culture is more important than religion. In subcontinent religions might have changed technically but religiosity and spirituality have remained same. What changed is influence of middle eastern money and influence in Pakistan. They became vassal sate of Saudi and other Sunni states who are high on petro dollars.

    These are only people who are proud of being ruled by invaders and they go to any extent to please the masters even converting to their religion.

    Moguls and britisher didn’t rule with their own country men, ther was no need. They found plenty of Indians to help them rule over their fellow countrymen. No where will you find this trait but in subcontinent.

    Recommend

  • Sanjay, Mumbai
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:46AM

    Find the write-up to be too simplistic while describing India..! India’s contribution to the world science , literature , music, lifestyle is seen from eyes of white skinned historian, who is biased. Who can deny that Rocket technology was developed by Tipu Sultan in Mysore, IPR were stolen by Britishers. Testimony to this is acknowledgement by NASA. Whether its Sanskrit which gave so many words and Vedas to world. Running down the India ( not present geographical state , but also pre-partition days) will not take away the contributions India mas made. Its people who ignore who are the losers. As regards the psyche of Indians ( all south asians) ..I think we are better off then mind sets of White American or Europeans who had so many religious / racials wars ..even continue to kill each other even today . no continent has lost so many innocents lives as in Europe and America. Yes, point taken, we South Asians have to progress ( in terms of hygiene, public behavior etc..). But have you seen Football matches in Europe..? have you seen European cos polluting the shores , or polluting the soils of other countries by building big dirty factories? …!! Scale of dirty neighbor..may be much smaller for South Asians..!!its matter or perception.

    Recommend

  • pravin
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:07AM

    India may not have created anything world class so far, but I don’t understand why would it ‘ever’ remain like that. I am not able to relate to this pessimism. The author himself has pointed out that the airports have considerably improved. There is a lot of baggage to be cleared, but there is a definite movement in +ve direction. I am sure we will eventually resolve the issues one after the other. We may be slow, but we will get there. I am not saying it from the emotional point of view but from the changes we have brought in last two decades. Just recall how unclean our cities were back then.

    Recommend

  • American Desi
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:09AM

    Spot on analysis! Crassness of the subcontinent can also be watched at the Wagh border! Political class needs to mature and in case of Pakistan need to be free from subjugation by the Military.

    Recommend

  • Varun
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:20AM

    I would agree with the author, and his overall message of ‘go take a hike’ to our griping about our troubles and that somebody else was responsible and should help solve them.

    I would also agree that contribution to science is in no doubt important and largely missing, and that we are given to collective sloth, as opposed to the caucasian fetish to ‘create order’ in nature and their affairs.

    However, we should still appreciate that multiple world-views are important, that the European world-view has no doubt contributed immensely to civilization, but that in itself is not sufficient to wipe out others. We have indeed taken sloth to extremes, but one of outcomes has been an amused eye for the mundane, and ‘accomodativeness’ to site another.

    While the west defined nationhood on exclusivism, and filled modern history with wars defining it, we are at peace with a tapestry of nations within us and jostling amongst themselves is second nature.

    So yes, we have a lot to introspect, but not necessarily from a western prism.

    Recommend

  • Nausherwan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:21AM

    I couldn’t agree more with you AAkar

    Recommend

  • Ilmana Fasih
    Apr 22, 2012 - 9:35AM

    What a reality check, Aakar Patel !!!. Yes we are two bodies one soul. :)

    Recommend

  • Ashok
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:08AM

    We may have been one at some point of time in the past.

    But, at this moment, I would be embarrassed to be called a Paki!

    Nor would I like o be traveling on a Pak visa, God forbid!

    Recommend

  • MP Singh
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:15AM

    The troll goes inter-national. Ind-Pak were one country, so what’s the discovery here? And, to spill forth your mental drivel, Mr. Patel, without taking a holistic view of countries and cultures, is a sure way to get published. If you must, attack the governments of the two countries, not the people. People carry the twin burdens: of the past and of almost-colonial governments. Support those who are challenging the government (Anna Hazare) and ready to take lathis and bullets. You instead are being a coward.

    Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:33AM

    @gp65:

    ““I know of few other nations where people would not be embarrassed at the thought of keeping servants”.”

    Not true. In many other countries the rich call them butlers, chauffeurs, chef’s, chef’s assistants, caretakers, gardeners, house cleaners, nannies etc.

    Recommend

  • Mustafa Kamal
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:49AM

    Just Brilliant Sir…

    Recommend

  • rds
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:50AM

    @Truthbetold:
    But those are really rich people,not middle class who keep servants

    Recommend

  • Ak
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:57AM

    @author – what’s the point in comparing chalk and cheese. Last two articles – this one and the one in outlook have been an exercise in over simplification and broad generalization. After setting so much expectation with your earlier articles this one is a disappointment.

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:24AM

    @Omar

    Agree with you brother.You might find the following interesting which incidentaly debunks another popular myth that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the Pioneer of two nation theory.

    Iqbal Ali, in his book “Sir Syed ka Safarnama e Punjab” quotes Sir Syed as “ Of the word “nation”, I mean both Hindus and Muslims. That is how I define Nation. It does not matter what their religious belief is because we can not see it and what we see is that despite us being Hindu or Muslim, we are governed by the same rulers, we benefit from the same sources, we suffer from droughts equally. That is why I define the people living in Hindustan as Hindus.” On Page 139 of the same book, Sir Syed is quoted as “I do not think Hinduism is a religion, rather any one can call himself Hindu. Thus, it pains me today that despite living in India, I can not call myself a Hindu”. In an essay written by Sir Syed which was published in Aligarh Institute Gazzette on 12 June 1897, he wrote, “We have been living together for centuries now. We eat the same food, the same water, breathe in the same air. Thus, Hinuds and Muslims are not different. As the Aryans were called Hindus, Muslims can also be called Hindus because they live in Hindustan”.

    Recommend

  • from India
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:40AM

    Dear Author, please read the contribution of Aryabhatta, Shusrusha, Brahmagupta.. all the calculations of NASA and invention of latest surgical equipments would never have been possible without these luminaries.

    The multinational cosmetic companies till date could not churn out a single product which has a better effect (naturally) than any of the ayurvedic products discovered 5,000 years ago.

    However, I agree that the people in the sub-continent are quite similar just like the latin americans or Africans. So, there is no need to write an article on this.

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:44AM

    @usmanx

    In your long list of differences you forgot to add ‘the propensity to abducti and force conversion/marriage of girls from minotities’

    Recommend

  • Ganesh
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:48AM

    @Khurram:
    Hindus are barbaric – what a joke?!!!If it were true,no muslim would have existed in Indian sub continent and certainly no Pak or Bangladesh!!!

    Recommend

  • RJ
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Interesting angle.. however,, just reflecting one side of the coin and completely ignoring how both the nations have created their own identity on the world platform. One being tagged as “land of terrorist” and another going to be “the super power” in coming years.

    “No nation is perfect.. it can never be.”

    However “how one strives to be become perfect” matters . and matters the most. There will always be similarities and differences between the nations which were partitioned. Its as natural as two brothers from same mother take different paths of life!

    Recommend

  • Fizz
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:33PM

    The parameters you used for proving that 2 Nations Theory doesn’t exist are shaky. One can relate them not to India and Pakistan only but many other countries of the world too.
    I have seen filthier slums in Singapore, China, Phillipines to name a few..
    Talking about servants, people in Arab countries import servants to work in their houses..
    We divide ourselves into nations based on things like which animal the other eats or does not eat… I fear that’s not the case. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan who are Indian nationals for sure, Its not about nations, its about Religion.
    The only similarity I see in this state of affairs is that both the sides are adamant on gaining Siachen AND both are still trying to find the similarities and differences.
    Let’s just be HUMANS!!!

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:34PM

    @Ashok:

    “We may have been one at some point of time in the past.
    But, at this moment, I would be embarrassed to be called a Paki!
    Nor would I like o be traveling on a Pak visa, God forbid!”

    Hate breeds hate – and people like you have already sown enough seeds of hatred that have now grown into full tall trees laden with fruit. You think only you can look down upon Pakistan, while the reality is that most people here have reciprocal views about India and anything Indian. So, congratulations for achieving great success in this aspect, in-spite of failure in other fields.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 12:48PM

    @Sapan Kapoor:

    “I wish India-Pakistan could be two-nations-one-soul. Let’s have friendly relations with each other. Let’s do away with the borders and barriers that separate us. Let’s open our borders and hearts for each other. We are one people. We are brothers. You are no different than me and I’m no different than you. We are two sides of the same coin. Let’s stop this hatred and bloodshed. We can be two nations and still be friends. We are family. Issues can be resolved without shedding blood and sacrificing precious lives, through love and harmony. Love from India ♥”

    Couldn’t appreciate more for your noble and humanistic views, but you need millions more like yourself to make anything good happen to the people of Subcontinent. If you count how many Pakistanis commenting here are appreciating and wishing for good relations with India, you will find only yourself from Indian side while other Indian commentators are flying high on arrogance derived from their self proclaimed righteousness.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:26PM

    @Cynical:

    “We eat the same food, the same water, breathe in the same air. Thus, Hinuds and Muslims are not different. As the Aryans were called Hindus, Muslims can also be called Hindus because they live in Hindustan”.”

    As much as I wish that to be true, but, unfortunately, the reality on ground was very different. Although we both used to eat a very similar food and drink same water (just as matter of convenience as it was really difficult to produce different waters for each), but wouldn’t share the utensils and even wont dine on the same table. Touching by a Muslim or Dalit required a Brahman thorough wash. Even the wells were not shared among the two. There used to be separate vessels on Railway Stations saying “Hindu Paani” and “Muslim Paani”.

    Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2012 - 1:45PM

    We produce very little that is of meaning to the outside world, and it is tough to think of what our contribution is to the nations from whom we take so much. In science and technology we have nothing to offer the West-
    The above statement is not correct. The TATAs have shown their technological might. The other day I was talking to my British colleague that the Tatas are running the Jaguar show well. He quipped’ they are a big name in the technology sector. There are many like that. I donot remember from the top of my head.
    Where’s that”, the Saudi asked (this was in the 1970s). “Pakistan”, said Ifti proudly. “Where’s that”, the puzzled Saudi asked. Ifti took out a map and pointed. “Ah”, said the Saudi to his friends, “he’s Hindi”.
    Correction: I have lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and they do know there is a country called Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:46PM

    @Cynical:

    “In your long list of differences you forgot to add ‘the propensity to abducti and force conversion/marriage of girls from minotities’”

    Looks like “Self-pity” is a national disease of India.

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 22, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Cynical

    In 1893, Allama Iqbal was still a child, largely unfamiliar with Hindus. Just as the Quaid was when he was called the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity. Iqbal’s great Islamic awakening, like Jinnah’s, was to come later, with experience of working with Hindus.

    Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2012 - 1:58PM

    Oh yes! I forgot to mention my world class airport- got two international awards already. The Hyderabad airport. Mr Patel should make a leisurely trip to the south, then he would know what is progress!. And about mumbai, although my dad was a mumbaiker, I must admit that even foreigners who work there consider it their home. I hope they help in keeping the city clean- the city that never sleeps.
    and also when I was in KSA I had two colleagues, both arabs, one was Al Hindi and another Al Malabari, and when asked what their names meant, they said that their ancestors were Hindi.

    Recommend

  • antanu g
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:16PM

    a good piece…media should teach the people on the aspects pointed by the author.

    Recommend

  • Hadi Khan
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:36PM

    I think one of the most sensible things being talked about these days is liberalizing of the visa regime. This, more than any pep talk by any bureaucrat or politician, would serve to bring down the divides that have been artificially created over the last 60 years. It will prove the exact point that the writer is emphasizing; we are essentially one people and this realization in itself is a very humbling experience. Any attempt by any party to assume sense or arrogance or superiority swills away in an instant.

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:46PM

    @kaalchakra

    I don’t understand how and why you invoke Allama Iqbal and Jinnah.I mentioned Sir Syed.
    Probably you swallowed a little more than your daily doses of hate pills and jumpedthe gun.

    Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad
    Apr 22, 2012 - 2:49PM

    @indians
    There is no need to take everything written about India so seriously.

    Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Similarities… well my left hand is as dark as my right hand…got the same finger prints…. but… it’s a ‘LEFT’ hand! Similarities won’t make it a near substitute of a ‘RIGHT’ hand.

    The issues you raised are overwhelmingly common across the 3rd world and may be you could find striking resemblances in the mind sets and even governance and politics.

    But that close likeness is not even half the story…. it doesn’t matter that you find striking similarities between India & Pakistan and many other countries for that matter, the reality is we have evolved into fundamentally different people, just like our left & right hands… with all the similarities there are both are still different. Likewise same antidotes are no likely to work on both sides of the border.

    Recommend

  • American Pakistani
    Apr 22, 2012 - 4:52PM

    @author “The comments sections of Indian and Pakistani websites are the most dreadful in the world, without qualification. Hateful and pedantic, the product of minds who are only functionally literate.”

    This is even true for this article. Look at many comments from your fellow countrymen, I can only say sorry on behalf of any ignorant Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:01PM

    @Sapan Kapoor:
    Good! Now stop that drool! It is so uncouth for an adult!
    @American:
    “Pakistanis and Indians deserve to be where they are.”
    I don’t know about Pakistan, but I assure you we Indian are quite happy where we are!

    Recommend

  • Surya
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:31PM

    @Lala Gee:
    “There used to be separate vessels on Railway Stations saying “Hindu Paani” and “Muslim Paani”.

    I am sure you are talking about Pakistan Railways..

    Recommend

  • Harkol
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Akbar is very good at supporting dynasties, leftist ideals and is essentially an apologist for things that are wrong – glass half empty expert.

    He forgets india has made very important contributions to world in philosophy, mathematics and spirituality. He assumes west has been doing Far more contribution, which is a myth. Viewed from a narrow 200-300year perspective he may have some point, however that is a very limited view.

    His pet peeve about having maids is rather strange, considering one of US president’s was a slave owner and even fathered a child with a slave. Less said the better of culture and civilisation of Britain, France and Germany – they subjugated or slaughtered highest number of innocents in modern history, while India was leading a non-violent freedom struggle.

    And what is the fascination with india taking, but, not giving? We run a trade deficit, but not a charity state. We earn our forex.

    Clean toilets? Oh get off it.. Most of Europe and USA didn’t even bathe everyday till about a few decades ago!Recommend

  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Apr 22, 2012 - 5:43PM

    Dear Mr Patel, I agree, we are selfish people when it comes to our social responsibilities. I can understand it as a Hindu why its so, but fail totally when it comes to Muslims. In Hinduism individual is responsible for his “Karma” and the outcome. We pray to God individually, unlike Muslims and Christians in groups. Our “Rishis” go to deep forests to meditate, unlike Muslims who assemble in large numbers in mosques. Some of our Sadhus keep untidy hairs and apply ash on their body. In Hinduism the emphasis is on inner cleanliness and not on external. Is it this what is responsible for our unclean neighborhoods? I am not sure if I agree with all your points. Please tell me what west gave to the world till about few hundred years back? Name me few items which India required from west till about 1700? It does not serve any purpose to look at India through western prisms. What all west gave may be a boon according to you, but not me.

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 22, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Cynical bhai

    What both the great Quaid and Allama Iqbal taught is that ‘unity’ with the Hindu is a matter of ignorance. As a good Muslim gathers more experience working with the Hindu, the Muslim realizes that Hindus and Muslims are fundamentally apart, and Muslims must work toward faith, unity, and discipline among themselves.

    Sir Syed was a very intelligent man who made sure that fellow Musliims were not duped by crafty Congress which was a Hindu body working for Hindu interests.

    The great man was motivated by one and one valid fear – for Martial Muslims not to be ruled by the short-dark stone worshipers the Bengalis and Madrasis. That is why Pakistan must succeed even today. Our differences are the same as that which existed in the minds of such great visionaries as Sir Syed Ahmed, Allama Iqbal, and the great Quaid, Mohmammad Ali Jinnah.

    Recommend

  • Suresh
    Apr 22, 2012 - 6:53PM

    @kaalchakra In 1893, Allama Iqbal was still a child, largely unfamiliar with Hindus.

    But, in 1904 when Mohmd.Iqbal sang “Saare Jahan Se Achcha” he was 27 year old mature adult!

    Recommend

  • DigiDoc
    Apr 22, 2012 - 7:24PM

    Hyderabad and Delhi airports are world class – ever been to JFK or Newark or Frankfurt of Charles De Gaulle? And Indians produce very little that is of meaning to the outside world – really? Is that why INFY and TATA and hundreds of others thrive on business from the west and Africa? Finally, my friend, it is very common to have household help all across the world – whether you call them servants, domestics, maids, butlers, whatever – it is a function of any capitalist society – not every one can be wealthy – and there is no crime in being wealthy. Recommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Apr 22, 2012 - 7:48PM

    Hi Akar,
    ” India’s secularism is fundamentally Hindu in its nature “

    This first sentence puts a FULL & BIG QUESTION MARK on your understanding of meanings of 1. secularism 2. fundamentally, 3. Hindu or 4. Nature.

    last but not least, India.

    Hope you can start up your reading/understanding again.
    Don’t write without understanding.
    As you have said later, feel for the English language speaker’s feelings of India, atleast.

    Recommend

  • Truth Teller
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:36PM

    Beautiful article!

    Recommend

  • Suresh
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:47PM

    We produce very little that is of meaning to the outside world

    I enlisted few meaningful Indian contributions to the world and also said that it is not possible to see the “meaning” once we start looking at the world in Western eyes, because accepting their view has already typecasted East as primitive.
    .
    Our neighbourhoods and streets are among the most shameful in the world because we are selfish and blind to the concern of others.

    I also said in my comments that the Western way of life, clean and neat it may be, but has polluted the planet to destruction. It is the west which should open its eyes to the concern of others in this world, by leading a frugal life like that of the East.
    Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:49PM

    @usmanx: dude first read history and then make foolish comments. Pakistan came into existence only 60yrs back. Before that it was all one Indian subcontinent. In fact Karachi had 30-40% Hindus at the time of partition.

    Recommend

  • Ishant
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:50PM

    First, Delhi airport is better than JFK or Heathrow

    Second, West surely has better scientific achievements but since when has Arabs became better than us, India was among the world leaders in economy, science, culture, religion for thousands of years. We Indians gave the world maths and its first global religion i.e Buddhism…

    @adeel759
    India’s “soul’ does not lie in Lahore(Some pre partition Punjabis might feel so). We are a very big country to have one center. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:52PM

    Ture voice of hearts u spoke today Mr Aakar Patel sahab.

    Recommend

  • trueshia
    Apr 22, 2012 - 8:59PM

    we live peacefully in india ,please we want NO FRIENDSHIP with these hatemongers pakis.

    allah save us :)

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:30PM

    @Ganesh:

    “Hindus are barbaric – what a joke?”

    Of course, a joke it is. Killing 90,000 Kashmiri Muslims or 5,000 Sikhs is beyond something barbaric.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 10:48PM

    @Surya:

    There used to be separate vessels on Railway Stations saying “Hindu Paani” and “Muslim Paani.

    “I am sure you are talking about Pakistan Railways..”

    Pakistan Railway did not have funds for such luxuries especially when there was hardly any Hindu left in Pakistan (you said that, didn’t you?). Only rich Indian Railway could have afforded the separate facility.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:06PM

    @Author:

    You need to read the comments of your fellow countrymen especially someone with moniker of @amoghavarsha.ii:. Here is what he says:

    ”India’s secularism is fundamentally Hindu in its nature“

    “This first sentence puts a FULL & BIG QUESTION MARK on your understanding of meanings of 1. secularism 2. fundamentally, 3. Hindu or 4. Nature.”

    “last but not least, India.”

    “Hope you can start up your reading/understanding again.
    Don’t write without understanding.”

    I guess you already have some idea how open minded are your fellow countrymen. They seem like living in a water bubble and the slightest hint of breeze is a danger to their safety (mental insecurity).

    Recommend

  • Nangdharangg Pakistani
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:16PM

    Loved it ! Please follow up with more on the Urdu media (print and electronic).

    Recommend

  • let there be peace
    Apr 22, 2012 - 11:23PM

    I don’t know why some hyper Indian commentators have taken the sentence ” India’s secularism is fundamentally Hindu in its nature “ as offensive. The author here probably means to say indirectly something like ‘hinduism is inherently secular in nature’ or ‘india’s constitution is secular because majority is secular (although I would like to add its not because some specific teachings, but because polytheist /nature worshipping cultures are tolerant -in matters of faith- simply beacuse they are, well, ‘polytheists’)

    Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:24AM

    @omar:

    What a beautiful post! You are indeed a great human being, my friend.

    Recommend

  • Abbas
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:36AM

    Aakar Patel lost the tract and went way overboard. Pakistan is not India anymore. Pakistan can be left to be Pakistan. As far as airports are concerned, the author is totally wrong. Hyderabad airport is among the best international airport for the last three years. The point is not to say we have best airports…that is not what makes a nation great. A nation is great when it was the will to question the impractical views of religion and has the will to put religion below the humanity. This is where Pakistan has failed and will never be with India.
    It is very important to read and write…writing ones views is different from writing without checking facts and not considering the issues why India is so different from Pakistan.Yes India is not clean and may be even worse than Pakistan but how can author assume that because of this India and Pakistan are one. That pushes this article to silly analysis.

    Recommend

  • I am Sam
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:52AM

    @Cynical:

    Sir Syed -”Thus, Hindus and Muslims are not different. As the Aryans were called Hindus, Muslims can also be called Hindus because they live in Hindustan””

    This statement made my eyes pop out. I remember reading something along these lines in either Veer Savarkar’s book ‘Hindutva’ or MS Golwalkar’s (ex RSS chief) book “Bunch of Thoughts” . If I am not mistaken, this was what ‘Hindutva’ supposedly means – Thus India would comprise of all Hindus who who pray to Ishwar or Allah or God or they may not pray to any God at all… etc. …

    Anyways Cynical, if you repeat Sir Syeds statement in front of an Indian Secularist like author Arundhati Roy, or politician Digvijay Singh or journos at Times Of India and their acolytes , both Sir Syed & you will be called a ‘Hindutva Fascist’, ‘Knickerwallah’, ‘Chuddiwallah’ and such.

    Something tells me that the chance to have a united India with all of us staying in permanent peace might have been squandered away by the shenanigans of a few…

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 23, 2012 - 4:19AM

    Suresh brother

    No. At 27, Iqbal was still a child, writing today’s popular school ditties that Hindus so love and admire. His mind opened to the extraordinary power of Islam and his role as the unequaled visionary of Islamic destiny later.

    Recommend

  • Rahim Khan
    Apr 23, 2012 - 7:06AM

    @Lala Gee:
    I totally agree with you. Thats why if we love the kashmiris and the sikhs so much, we should stop sending terrorists that side to kill them. Regards

    Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Apr 23, 2012 - 7:32AM

    Contribution is not always about micro-chips and nuclear technologies.

    Would you not describe YOGA as THE MOST (not one of the), THE MOST beautiful contributor to the world peace?!!!

    Personally, I have achieved more peace since I started doing Yoga than any other time and from anything else.

    Recommend

  • Sushant
    Apr 23, 2012 - 12:27PM

    One thing is sure Pakistan is changing very fast….they have learnt from there mistakes wh is very difficult to do so…if democracy will continue to prevails…All of us will see a new emerging PAKISTAN…

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:46PM

    Sushant

    Brother, you seem to be a brilliant social scientist, well versed in understanding processes of change in different societies. You have even concluded that Pakistan “have learnt from their mistakes”! Did you reach this Nobel-prize winning conclusion after reading just one article by Aaker Patel claiming Pakistan and India were the same, and comments thereon? For the good of the world, what else does your analysis of this “new” Pakistan say?

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @trueshia:

    “we live peacefully in india ,please we want NO FRIENDSHIP with these hatemongers pakis.”

    For your own enlightenment you must visit this link to see what your own fellow hatemongers say about you, Muslims, and Islam. If you are happy, so are we. God may protect and bless you.

    Recommend

  • baldtree
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:27PM

    This piece is obviously meant to comfort the Pakistani readers, look you are no worse than your neighbor, so dont be despondent.

    What the writer overlooks or just cursorily remarks that while there is tremendous change for the better in India relatively, in Pakistan it has just gone worse, again relatively. About cleanliness, no issues, we are both unclean.

    Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:55PM

    @omar: No Omar! Its good it happened! Bigotary in those days was relatively less as compared to todays era. What happened then needs to be multiplied 50 times minimum to imagine the killings, maulings, rapes etc to analyse what would become today.

    Someone in the comments section has rightly said that Pakistanis of today are culturally more aligned to Afghanistan and/or Iran. What was there has been erased; Give me one Indian Punjab Native who speaks like a Sialkoti or Lahori or Faisalabadi? It’s gone, no need to dwell in the past! Look to the future and what we can become rather than “what we were”

    Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Apr 23, 2012 - 4:05PM

    @Lala Gee: Hindu Paani Muslim Paani??? You see thats where the problem lies on both side of the border! Get out of those Dadi and Nani stories told to you when you were kids! Grow up and grow some brain matter while you’re at it!

    Recommend

  • roma
    Apr 23, 2012 - 6:44PM

    @omar: – wow Mr Omar – what and accurately stated post ! that summarises not only exactly what i feel but i hope it does too many INdians and Pakistanis – your conclusion is the main phrase – if i may re-phrase it as ” we SHOULD be very good friends and even SIBLINGS although it is rather unlikely we would ever merge ” … how i wish all of us pakistanis and indians alike could advance to this enlightened phase in our relationships whether as nations, companies, economic entities, families , clans , or as individuals . Mr Omar i hope you and indeed people like yourself will post more on this Express Tribune … we Indians (of which i am part ethnically and part euro ) need to listen to and consider seriously the opinions of the reasonble pakistanis like yourself ….best Regards from Ms Roma .

    Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Apr 23, 2012 - 7:26PM

    The two nation theory is so utterly baseless that i dont know where to start. It was coined by those who only wanted to serve a sectarian agenda in order to pursue their own political objectives because they knew full well as that nothing divides people better than religion. Muslims and Hindus have lived side by side for centuries and they still do to this day. The divide of Hindustan in 1947 was the biggest blunder in the history of the subcontinent.

    I am a Pakistani who believes that my roots belong to the land of the indus and not arab.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 23, 2012 - 7:26PM

    @Rahim Khan:

    “I totally agree with you. Thats why if we love the kashmiris and the sikhs so much, we should stop sending terrorists that side to kill them. Regard”.

    Yes, “our terrorists” should not have killed 90,000 of our Kashmiri brothers during their freedom struggle of 1990′s as well as 5,000 Sikhs in 1984 riots, and our army should not have attacked Golden Temple with tanks and again kill 1,500 Sikhs fighting for their independence. How bad it is that even now “our terrorists” are killing Christians and burning their churches in India, and how cruel is it that they did not even spared Babri Mosque and demolished it with hammers. Really too bad.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 23, 2012 - 7:52PM

    @BRUISED INDIAN:

    “Grow up and grow some brain matter while you’re at it!”

    Thank you for your advice. I really do my best to learn further and am ready to accept my mistakes, If you say that there never had been such thing as “Hindu Paani” and “Muslim Paani”, then I accept my mistake, which is usually hard to come by from Indian side though. However, if you watch old Indian movies of mid 60′s to mid 80′s, you will see many such examples of apartheid social conduct depicted in the movies not only against Muslims but also against their own low cast Hindu Dalits.

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 23, 2012 - 8:05PM

    @Lala Gee:
    “mid 60′s to mid 80′s”
    The date today is 23rd April 2012. You are in a new century now….

    Recommend

  • roma
    Apr 23, 2012 - 8:21PM

    basically high kudos to Express tribune for hosting this article – it has done tremendous good in helping me understand the part of my ethnic background which is indo-(pak), both the posts which emphasized our similarities and even those which emphasized our differences . May i encourage the management of Express Tribune to conjure up more titles on this theme and invite specialist to author artivles such as the one above : We can obsewrve its popularity in the number of responses it has engendered and largely , by far the responses themselves have been well-written and most interesting . Thank you Express Tribune.Recommend

  • RaoAkhtar
    Apr 23, 2012 - 8:44PM

    Yes, agreed 100%,

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:38PM

    @Lala Gee: Army is neither hindu nor muslim nor Sikh. So plz don’t confuse the atrocities done by Indian Army with Hindus. If you want to say atrocities are done call it Army did it. Hindus and Muslims lived next to each other for 1000s of years and even today despite some people wanting to promote communal-ism we are living peacefully.

    Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 24, 2012 - 1:30AM

    @Indian:

    “dude first read history and then make foolish comments. Pakistan came into existence only 60yrs back. Before that it was all one Indian subcontinent.”

    What a foolish statement “all one Indian subcontinent”, and by virtue of common name (which was not even the case as it was called Hindustan by the locals then. Only the British started calling it, in English, “British India” including Burma), full claim of it’s ancestory goes to India and the people living on the east and west sides of the subcontinent have no right to the claim. By analogy, can the United States of America claim the ownership of both the continents of “north America” and “south America”.

    I guess you also need to open up your mind and study the Atlas of India at wikimedia.org. It has numerous maps of the Subcontinent covering from pre-historic period to the recent times. Just check when India became what it is today. During all of her 5000 years of history, it was never never a single state. Even during the British rule, it was divided into dozens of princely states. It became India what India is today only after 1948.

    Recommend

  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Apr 24, 2012 - 4:38AM

    Indians and Pakistanis are the same? Not when you read the comments here. Indians are opposing them being equaled to Pakistanis whereas the Pakistanis like it. I love when someone says I look like Hrithik, but I don’t think he would appreciate this comment. Figure it out.

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Apr 24, 2012 - 10:59AM

    @Lala Gee:
    This way of thinking is due thank to ‘Pakistan Studies’ started in late 70s…..

    Recommend

  • Ajay
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:52AM

    @RS:
    Is GDP a good measure of people’s happiness? I remember when I was young and India’s GDP was quite low, I was still happy, felt secure and satisfied with the general environment, education, law & order and my parents seemed ahppy with the job opportunities. Like Pakistan we didn’t have fancy cars or color TV’s but we were all very happy. Bhutanese have very low GDP (I think) but their people seemed happy. It seems teh definition of happiness is different for different people. I understand teh situation in India is now different with so many below the pverty line.

    Recommend

  • Ajay
    Apr 25, 2012 - 12:55AM

    @Ravish:
    I agree with Huma that in 2003/2004, Delhi airport was like a fish market. India seemed like it had not developed at all since 1947.

    Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ahmed
    May 11, 2012 - 3:56PM

    I hope it is not offensive to Indians but to me Aakar Patel is the ambassador (more of the generic than the goodwill) of the Indian Media/Intelligentsia to Pakistan. He is speaking India’s problems to Pakistan and not sure whether Pakistani problems to his Indian audience. He makes us feel like we know India.

    Recommend

More in Opinion