Pakistan ‘in’ South Asia

Published: September 10, 2012

The writer is chairperson of the History Department at Forman Christian College Lahore

When I started research on my doctorate on the accession and integration of several princely states into Pakistan, my supervisor advised me to start by looking at the nature of princely rule in the states. Not knowing much about the states except a few general facts, at first, I simply assumed that they must have a lot in common with other Muslim princely states in India. However, except for a few elements in Bahawalpur, I found that the Pakistani states had a very different history and nature when compared with other states in South Asia. First, very few of them were ever part of any South Asian empire, except the British Indian Empire. Even Bahawalpur, the most eastern of states, owed allegiance to Kabul rather than to Delhi. On the other hand, the area of Kalat paid homage to the Mughal court only for a few decades in the 17th century and had, since then, been closer to either Persia or Afghanistan. Secondly, their rulers were hardly ‘princes’ in the Indian sense of the word. There was no opulence that is usually associated with the Indian Nawabs and Maharajas, few grand palaces and buildings and no major patronage of music or art. These kingdoms were primarily tribal kingdoms where the ‘prince’ was in close touch with the people and to a large extent was not treated as a superior, set apart as a God-appointed person — as was evident in the Indian case. That said, the period of the British Raj was a transformative phase for these princely states as they were brought in a very close union with India, under whose influence these states modernised and developed. The Raj also imprinted an ‘Indian’ identity, however tentative, upon these states as they willingly (Bahawalpur, for example) or unwillingly (Kalat) became part of the Indian discourse.

Since a large part of what is now Pakistan — most of Balochistan, Khairpur, Bahawalpur, Dir, Swat and Chitral — were princely states, the history and nature of these states has a bearing on the nature and identity of Pakistan. The fact that the princely states are a unique mixture of Central Asian, Persian, Afghan and Indian customs and traditions owes a lot to them lying on the main invasion routes to India, but also points towards their cosmopolitan culture — a strength which we rarely recognise these days.

Based on this rather mixed history of the region and the general yearning to be more ‘Muslim’, Pakistan embarked on an Islamic trajectory after independence. Contrary to general opinion, the Islamisation of Pakistan did not start with General Ziaul Haq but with the first prime minister of the country, Liaquat Ali Khan, when he decided that Pakistan should look more towards the Middle Eastern and Arab countries for inspiration. With that in mind, he changed the South Asian focus of the country, which had been patent in the region for over a century. This radical and uni-focus shift has left Pakistan confused and forlorn as neither has it been accepted in the Arab club, nor is it proud of its own heritage like Iran, while it has deliberately disengaged itself from its South Asian legacy. As a result, Pakistan has such a tenuous identity that it needs to be protected by the threat of criminal conviction.

The recent visa accord between India and Pakistan, I hope, is recognition of the South Asian heritage and linkages of Pakistan. While the actual results of the accord still remain to be seen, it is palpable that increased people-to-people contact will dramatically bring down barriers which have been erected for the past six decades and Pakistanis will now come to realise the other part of their identity. By all accounts, India is an emerging world power and we can learn and gain a lot from the country, especially in education, trade and technology. Our cultural links with north India give us an edge, which we must utilise for the betterment of both countries.

Pakistan, indeed, stands at a confusing junction of several civilisations and ideas, but our strength is not in promoting one and rejecting others; our strength is certainly in bringing together the best of all traditions we are a part of — be it Islamic, Central Asian or Indian — to create a better world for our own people and the people around us.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.

Reader Comments (85)

  • Wishy-Washy
    Sep 10, 2012 - 10:49PM

    I think in terms of looks and culture, the Punjabis, Mohajirs and the Sindhis share a lot in common with North Indians, whereas Pashtuns and Balochis share a lot in common with the Persians.
    But, neither in terms of looks or culture, do Pakistanis have anything in common with the Arabs, except their religious beliefs.

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:11PM

    It is the people within a country and not its physical land area that has ties with other states and cultures. The princely states that you mention hardly form 25% of present-day Pakistan’s population – and Punjab (60% of Pakistan) was part of many Indian empires (as any rudimentary perusal of history will tell you), the latest being the Sikh Empire. I agree that it was a ‘look everywhere else but India’ policy of Pakistan that has resulted in a confused nation where Punjabis prefer to converse in an Indian language called Urdu and Basant and Sari have become bad words.

    Recommend

  • unbeliever
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:18PM

    CLOSE TO 80 % OF YOUR POPULATION LIVES IN sindh and punjab.

    and a great deal of your bureaucracy comprises of muhajirs from india, and army from punjab,

    so, pakistan anything east of indus, will always be south asian, and has always been.

    rather than investigating into how the prince of bhawalpur behaved, you should have focussed more on the habits of common people of bhawalpur.

    Recommend

  • John B
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Writing in his Journal in 1940s later compiled as Discovery of India Nehru ponders on the idea of Pakistan and asks the poignant question: How can a civilization of people who time immemorial were interdependent with Indian subcontinent resources can cut the ties and start afresh for a changing world. Recommend

  • sid
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:29PM

    No Pakistanis are Arabs…………..Why claim a heritage which they themselves detroyed…….

    Recommend

  • Tot ba tot
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Pakistan is a unique culture and country. We share a lot with all our neighbors.
    Please remember that most “mohajir” or people who have a ancestoral connection to UP or CP have as much central Asian ancestory as north Indian. There are more Baluch in Sindh and Punjab than in baluchistan.
    The people of Makran have much in common with Gulf Arabs. The Karachites with konkanese ancestry are likely to have arab ancestry.there are communities of Kashmiris in Central Asia especially in yarkand and kashgar. Gujeratis from kathiwar have long historical connection to the Arab world. Sheedis of makran and karachi are connected to the gulf and africa. Baltistanis are connected to tibet and china.
    In short we have connection with all our neighbors including tibetans, chinese and gulf arabs. But the point is we should be proud of the diversity and mixture of heritages and realize that we have a unique hertitage that connected to the lands around mighty river indus. The land of heer, pannu and mahiwal.

    Recommend

  • Kaalchakra
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:40PM

    Mr Bangash

    I totally disagree. Pakistan has nothing to do with South Asia, unless one is looking at Pakistan’s gifts to South Asia over the last five thousand years. Culturally, Pakistanis today are Arab, Iranian, Turkish, and Central Asian people currently residing in the present land. Some natives do remain here but they are of no signficant importance.

    In any way, it is absurd for a true Muslim to be stuck up about this or that land.

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 10, 2012 - 11:56PM

    @Kaalchakra:
    Pakistan has nothing to do with South Asia, unless one is looking at Pakistan’s gifts to South Asia over the last five thousand years.
    Hmm.. interesting. Considering that in the last 60+ years, the only thing that Pakistan has given South Asia (and rest of the world) is a major headache, I am assuming that all these gifts that you speak of were actually delivered in pre-Islamic times? Do elaborate.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:12AM

    @Wishy Washy

    Pashtuns, Baloch, Iranians, Tajik and Kurds share a cultural and linguistic heritage and collectively they are known as Arya-nezhad, which basically means of Iranian stock.

    Recommend

  • 1984
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:25AM

    A Pakistani muslim rejecting his roots and trying to follow Arab just because Prophet Mohammed was Arab is as absurd as a Japanese buddhist trying to behave as an Indian just because Buddha originated from India(though now geographically its now in Nepal)…

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:30AM

    @Kaalchakra

    “I totally disagree. Pakistan has nothing to do with South Asia, unless one is looking at Pakistan’s gifts to South Asia over the last five thousand years. Culturally, Pakistanis today are Arab, Iranian, Turkish, and Central Asian people currently residing in the present land. Some natives do remain here but they are of no signficant importance.

    In any way, it is absurd for a true Muslim to be stuck up about this or that land.”

    You engage in flights of fancy and it is a pity that you want to disown and dissociate yourself from India because of your self hatred and biased pan-Islamic world view. Too bad the Afghans, Persians and Arabs don’t consider you as one of their own and rightly so because you are South Asian and no amount of denial will change that.

    Adopting foreign names will not automatically change your ethnicity. John Abraham is an Indian at the end of the day not some White Anglo Saxon because he chose and Anglicized name and the same example goes for all Pakistanis that have adopted names from countries mentioned above.

    Recommend

  • Hari Sud
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:40AM

    All these culture and ethnicity debates are as a result of effort to disengage from mother country i.e. India. Government after government of Pakistan since 1947 had tried their best to disengage from India. As a matter of fact they changed school curriculum, adopted cultural identity of Arabs and Iranians and tried their best to be a middle eastern country. But all this said and done of no avail. As the Pakistanis meet Indians at the border or abroad or watch the electronic media, they see close similarities. None of these similarities exist with the Iranians or the Arabs. The sword carrying forefathers of Turko-Mongol brought no culture with them. They borrowed indian culture. Mughals of central Asia were no enthusiasts of Arabs culture. Indian culture with sprinkling of Iranian way of life was way of life of Moghuls.

    Hence where does the Arab and Iranian identity in Pakistani leaders mind has come from. It is result of loss of power in Delhi and resurgence of Hindu/Indian political power after 700 years of Muslim rule. This bothers Pakistani religious and political leaders. Hence they wish to pretend to be different. Only thing which comes to their head is Arab identity. They wish not to talk too much about Iranian culture, because they are Shias (sworn enemy).

    I dare say that sooner the Pakistani dump their pretence of being Arab, sooner they would find themselves less confused more part of their mother country than waiting for a few more generations and then realizing their folly.

    Recommend

  • Nagpuri
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:47AM

    Pakistanis are neither here not there. They have absolutely no core of themselves. Nothing they created, invented or built which they can claim their achievement. Their whole identity is weird mixture of India, West and Arabs, in that order. Only they could have claimed Indian identity but that is in direct opposite to their goal of being Arab or Islamic identity.

    I wonder what will they give up to be more Arab

    language (Punjabi, Sindhi and Urdu? .. Since Urdu is mostly Hindi with Persian words)
    Food (who wants baba ghanus?)
    Arts and Music
    Costumes/dress
    Customs
    Music

    Everyone and every other culture is heavy under Western influence and trying not be become 100% clone of westerners and hold on to modicum of our own culture, identity, etc.
    But Pakistanis is having it really hard ..Want to be Arab but can’t be.. and don’t want to be Indian or Westerner but everyday they look more and more like them. At least they are becoming Arab in one aspect lack of achievements, fanaticism and barrenness of culture and arts.

    Recommend

  • Concerned
    Sep 11, 2012 - 1:10AM

    @BlackJack: Ah, but surely the Mughal era had its own grandeur, it was perhaps a headache for Southern India – but ultimately left a lasting impression especially in the realms of language, art and architecture – as well as military and governance matters.
    Of course as a Pakistani, I am frustrated with this country – and as an ordinary Pakistani, helpless to do anything but watch as the Mullahs drag this unfortunate country further into the abyss.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 11, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Zalmai: “John Abraham is an Indian at the end of the day not some White Anglo Saxon because he chose and Anglicized name”

    John Abraham is an Indian Christian. He did not choose and Anglicized name – merely a Christian one. In India we really do not care what the religion of a person is – we are all Indian.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 11, 2012 - 2:22AM

    @Concerned: “@BlackJack: Ah, but surely the Mughal era had its own grandeur, it was perhaps a headache for Southern India – but ultimately left a lasting impression especially in the realms of language, art and architecture – as well as military and governance matters.”

    The Mughal impact on Hindustani classical music, kathak, cuisine, language (Hindustani) and ofcourse architecture is beyond question. No Indian disowns these elements of culture (unlike PAkistans who suddenly are allergic to Basant). But Mughals ruled from Delhi – not Lahore. How can Pakistan claim credit for Mughal culture?

    Recommend

  • Prasad Babu
    Sep 11, 2012 - 2:24AM

    The fact is Pakistanis do not think like Indians. In that regard, Pakistanis are Arabs.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 11, 2012 - 2:34AM

    @Concerned: “Of course as a Pakistani, I am frustrated with this country – and as an ordinary Pakistani, helpless to do anything but watch as the Mullahs drag this unfortunate country further into the abyss.”

    Feel your pain. India went through similar times in 1982-1992 period. Khalistan movement, dismissing elected state governments in Andhra and rigging elections in Assam and Kashmir, operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi’s assassination anti-Sikh riots, Bofors gun scandal that paralyzed Rajiv Gandhi government, Mandal commission, Ramjanmabhoomi issue which led to destruction of Babri structure, India becoming nearly bankrupt and having to mortgage its gold, Rajiv Gandhi assassination, Harshad Mehta stock scam. They were dark times socially, economically and politically but India has emerged stronger in those areas and learnt many lessons. Things can change for Pakistan also but just depending on one superstar leader to change them does not cut it. If the impetus for a U-turn comes from a large number of ordinary Pakistanis, things WILL change. But now’s the time for action – to blog, show up for protests, talk to people around you. Do what you can. It will also make you feel less helpless. Good luck..

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Sep 11, 2012 - 3:01AM

    A pretty good Op Ed on the subject that needs to be explored. We want to join the rich elite of Middle East who call us beggars. We want to join the invaders from the west who have killed many many Muslims of combined India. Our missiles are named after the worst killers of Muslims like Abdali, Ghori and Nadir Shah.
    We hate India but no social event or wedding is complete without their traditions and music. We do not like be called a part of old India yet our national language is Urdu which is born and raised in India. No province of Pakistan has Urdu as its native language yet it is our national language. We study Arabic and Urdu yet our national anthem is 99% Persian!

    Recommend

  • KSU
    Sep 11, 2012 - 3:11AM

    @Nagpuri:
    Dear Mr. Nagpuri
    Please remember that the Urdu has has enriched Hindi with poetry and vocabulary. Dr, Iqbal did not write in Persian because he neglected his heritage, persian was his heritage. But he was proud of “hindustan hamara”. Sindhi is written in arabic script specially adapted to the langage.
    Food: Seekh kabas, samosas, jalebis, tikka, haleem (arabic), biryani, pulao, naans etc. (what Indians try to flog as “indian cooking” are all dishes that brought to India by the “not here or there people” of the Indus.
    Arts and Music: Moghul miniatures, khatati, the Taj Mahal, Khayaal, Khatak, Kaafi, Qawaali, Shalimar, Bagh e Nishaat, etc etc. are brought by the “niether here nor there….”
    Costumes: Pajama is a farsi word (what do you call it in Hindi?), achkans (so-called Nehru Jackets) the wearing of topis…niether here nor there . Lungis and dhotis are worn by people all around the Indian ocean including east africa, Indonesia the gulf and yemen. Nothing particularly Indian…”niether here nor there”.
    Customs:Well, customs are local. Bengalis and Punjabis, Sindhis and Tamils have different customs. But we also share customs we are are all from the subcontinent. Also the “niether here nor there”.
    The fact is “niether here nor there” has defined south asian culture and given it its contemporay expression….given it so much.
    And Pakistanis are proud of being from “both here and there”, we acknowledge our unique blend of culture.
    It’s a myth that Pakistanis consider themselves arabs (perpetuated by pakistani opinion makers). I know few, even of those that have arab ancestry.

    Recommend

  • KSU
    Sep 11, 2012 - 3:13AM

    @Zalmai:
    Arya is a sanskrit word.

    Recommend

  • Avtar
    Sep 11, 2012 - 5:52AM

    The author is right that Liquat started Islamization of Pakistan to strengthen his hold and put down the secular Northwest Frontier Province. The leadership in NWFP was jailed for being secular. This set down the course on which Pakistan is still treading. Even a new national anthem was commissioned on the communal lines as the first one was written by a Hindu poet at the request of Mr. Jinnah.

    You do not need to be a PhD to state Pakistan is confused and there is no clarity in sight.
    The author should note that the name of Hindu comes from the Hindukush mountains in which the subcontinent is situated. Pakistan policy (and a big waste of resources) of anything but Indian has resulted in a few extra Dinars for the Pakistani government. In Egypt and some of the Middle Eastern countries, an average vendor on the street considers one Indian to persons of the South Asian origin.

    It is a fairy tale that the Mughal administration was good. To get anything processed during the Mughal rule a nazrana or gift have to be provided. The Mughal states were conquest states. They were unending wars and the longer the war lasted the more money the generals made. Is it any different in Pakistan now!

    Recommend

  • Mccoy
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:56AM

    Hmm…Pakistanis like to pull in this we are big mixture of central Asian, Arab, Persian, blah blah blah. Let me tell you a secret so is India. People have been flowing into India through khyber and bolan for the past 5000 yrs – long long before such a thing called Islam. They all started to follow local customs and become fully Indian in all respects once they came to India.

    Kushans, indo-Greeks, scythians, Parthians, Medes, all came to India and became Indian. Why? India was a fertile land with a much superior culture – so why wouldn’t you come from a backward desert in Bactria and become Indian? It is the same reason why people migrate to the west today and in a couple of generations become westerners.

    The very same people from the very same places came in one last wave. But now they came in with Islam and mostly stuck to it. But note they the Mughals were turkomongol and no different ethnically than the Kushanas. So, really, there is nothing distinctive about Pakistan’s history besides being like very other place in India with local variations of course.

    Recommend

  • Dr Khan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:27AM

    Iranians are indeed exceedingly proud of their ancient civilization. After the 1979 revolution some radicals proposed demolishing the remains of Persepolis built by Cyrus the Great because they were pre-islamic. Even in those dangerous times there were wide spread protests against this plan and the revolutionaries had to back track.

    Recommend

  • Maiwand
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:48AM

    I think some people confuse the Mughals/Mongols with Iranians because they adopted Dari/Farsi as their lingua franca over their Turkic languages. The Mughals were not Iranian or Shia. Babur was an Uzbek who descended upon India from Kabul and he is buried in Kabul. Uzbeks are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan after the Pashtuns and Tajiks.

    The Mughals adopted the Afghan Dari language not the Pahlavi/Iranian Farsi and this distinction is lost upon the uninitiated.

    Iranian musical instruments do not include the tabla, sitar and harmonium, which is prevalent in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan but not Iran. Farsi poetry from the sub continent is written in Afghan/Dari not Iranian/Pahlavi.

    In summary the Mughals were more Afghan than Iranian and the proof lies in their adoption of the Afghan version of Dari/Farsi and the fact that Babur the founder of the Mughal dynasty chose Kabul as the site of his burial grounds instead of some Iranian city.

    Recommend

  • Raw is War
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:10AM

    eye opener. but how many eyes will be opened?

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:40AM

    You gentlemen don’t get it, do you? It is not the ‘blood’ so much that is relevant here. Race is irrelevant variable in Islam. It is equality and belonging under Prophet Muhmmad. Those who are from Turkey, Iran, Central Asia are of course proud of that connection, as they should be. The others who may not have such a connection in blood are also proud because Islamic heroes and achievements – which were the greatest ever the world has seen – are connected to those lands. So a Hamza Yusufzai in Karachhi may LOOK indistinguishable from any other Bihari in Patna, but he is a Yusufzai in every sense – as close to Prophet Muhammad and as equal as a real Yusufzai would be. This is the best arrangement because it motivates Hamza Yusufzai in Karachi as nothing else would.

    Recommend

  • F
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:05AM

    Up to end of Aurabgzeb you were in India – you were the rulers.
    Since then till 1947 – you were lost – became a different people and yearned for a homeland.
    In 1948 – you got your homeland and claimed to be Arabs.
    Now neither the Arabs nor the Indans want your company – you claim to be South Asian! Why can’t you be Pakistani and be proud of it? Why?

    Recommend

  • Rajendra Rana
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:46AM

    “Pakistan, indeed, stands at a confusing junction of several civilisations” no surprises converts are always confused

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 2:06PM

    @BlackJack,

    “I agree that it was a ‘look everywhere else but India’ policy of Pakistan that has resulted in a confused nation where Punjabis prefer to converse in an Indian language called Urdu and Basant and Sari have become bad words.”

    We are not a confused nation. It’s you who are. That’s why you have Hindus trying to reclaim Babri masjid or calling Northeasterns as “chinkies” or having Kashmir refusing to submit to you. Urdu is not an “Indian language”. It’s a Muslim language. If that’s an Indian language, would you Hindus be speaking it today?

    Just like Sati and Mughal are bad words for you; Basant and sari are bad words for us.

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 11, 2012 - 3:35PM

    @KSU:
    Sir, I fail to comprehend your post directed to @Nagpuri, unless what you are trying to indicate is that you are not an Arab, but a Persian. Nothing that you have pointed out has anything to do specifically with the area that comprises Pakistan.
    1. Please remember that the Urdu has has enriched Hindi with poetry and vocabulary. Urdu is an Indian language based on the dialect Khariboli that was spoken in the area around Delhi. It has nothing to do with Pakistan. Urdu has not enriched Hindi, it is rich on its own.
    2. Dr, Iqbal did not write in Persian because he neglected his heritage, persian was his heritage. Iqbal hailed from a family of converted Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmiri Pandits do not have a Persian heritage.
    3. …..what Indians try to flog as “indian cooking” are all dishes that brought to India by the “not here or there people” of the Indus.. Kebab (Persian/ Arabic/ Turkish), Samosa (Persian), Jalebi (Mesapotamia/ Ancient India), Tikka (Persian), Haleem (Arabic), Biriyani (Persian), Pulao (Central Asian), Naan (Persian) – these have all been adapted by people from different parts of India to create their special varieties – again none of them have anything to do with the so-called people of the Indus.
    4. Moghul miniatures, khatati, the Taj Mahal, Khayaal, Khatak, Kaafi, Qawaali, Shalimar, Bagh e Nishaat. Mughals were Central Asians who ruled from Delhi, the Taj Mahal is in Agra, Khayal has its origin in Indian classical music, Amir Khusro (progenitor of the Qawwali form) was from Delhi, there are Shalimar Gardens in Delhi as well as Lahore. I will grant you that Kafi is a style that is strongly connected with Punjab and Sindh.
    5. Pyjama indeed has Farsi origins. Congratulations.
    6. The dhoti is worn in different styles across India. I don’t know what you were trying to say with this point, which, to quote @Nagpuri is clearly neither here nor there.

    Recommend

  • Indian Catholic
    Sep 11, 2012 - 3:50PM

    @Zalmai: Adopting foreign names will not automatically change your ethnicity. John Abraham is an Indian at the end of the day not some White Anglo Saxon because he chose and Anglicized name and the same example goes for all Pakistanis that have adopted names from countries mentioned above.
    .
    Have been noticing that your obsession with names since yesterday trivialize your otherwise coherent arguments.
    .
    You speak about John Abraham today. John Abraham has a Christian father and a Parsi mother. The name John was given to him by his father though his mother named him Farhan. Note that both names are not Hindu. Not sure what you are trying to say here. He didn’t change his name to get any benefit especially since some may think that Farhan Akhtar is doing better than John Abraham right now.
    .
    Also understand that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal and Namrata Nikki Haley are both second generation Americans and if they have Christian nick-names or second names respectively, it just goes to show how well they are integrated in American society.
    .
    You spoke about Zalmay Khalilzad, your namesake whom you obviously hold in high regard. However you fail to understand that he is a first generation American. Similarly, other first generation Americans of Indian origin have also kept their original names such as Indra Nooyi, Fareed Zakaria, etc. So what is your point?

    Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist
    Sep 11, 2012 - 5:04PM

    @Kalachakra

    I really like your comments and support you.

    I am 100% sure there are some RAW/IB paid elements here who comment on a regular basis. I urge these people to try and get in touch with Kalachakra and encourage him wholeheartedly.

    The enemy of my enemy has to be my friend, right?

    Recommend

  • Gratgy
    Sep 11, 2012 - 5:19PM

    @Zeeshan
    Urdu is not an “Indian language”. It’s a Muslim language.

    Is the Quran written in Urdu? Then how is it a muslim language? Please do some research, try tying “Urdu” in Wikipedia for a start.

    We are not a confused nation. It’s you who are. That’s why you have Hindus trying to reclaim Babri masjid or calling Northeasterns as “chinkies” or having Kashmir refusing to submit to you.

    Pray, what has your rant above have to do with a confused national identity? I think you have lost the plot entirely here. Apart from a confused national identity, methinks you are plain confused.

    Recommend

  • Sep 11, 2012 - 5:23PM

    These are all consequences of Political Islam. The side-effects for Pakistan is now an identity crisis and perpetual cycle of violence in its name.

    When Political Islam raised its head in India during the 1940, Nehru was wise enough to let it have its way; a solution which not only gave it what it wanted, but also remove a sizable chuck of its followers to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Now, it is working its magic in Pakistan. I always say this- India can and will continue to live with Muslims, but it cannot and could not have lived with Political Islam.

    Even liberals Pakistanis agree with this when they argue if Pakistan was created in the name of Islam or as a country for Muslims. They are scared to admit that they are actually scared of it and admitting it is positively lethal!

    Islam is a good ideology, but not suited for India.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:00PM

    @Indian Catholic

    “You spoke about Zalmay Khalilzad, your namesake whom you obviously hold in high regard. However you fail to understand that he is a first generation American. Similarly, other first generation Americans of Indian origin have also kept their original names such as Indra Nooyi, Fareed Zakaria, etc. So what is your point?

    The point I am trying to make is that you don’t have to change your name in America to be accepted. Most Americans have reconciled the fact that their nation is a melting pot and with that comes people with different sounding names. Whether one is first generation or second generation American you can still retain your ethnic roots and names and people are okay with that in America, and that was my point.

    My other point on John Abraham is that John could have been named a Hindu name and still be a Christian. Ratan Tata and Azim Premji have Hindu first and last names respectively, yet they are Parsi and Muslim. I hope you get my drift. No offense intended towards Indians of any ethnic group or religious persuasion.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:22PM

    @kaalchakra:

    Race is irrelevant variable in Islam

    Really??

    A. The Kurds of Iraq, Turkey and Iran

    B. The Hazras of Mazar e Sharif and Balochistan

    C. The Tajiks of Afghanistan

    D. The Bengalis of East Pakistan

    E. The non Arabs of Darfur

    All are/ were getting killed on account of something other than their ‘Race’?

    Recommend

  • joy
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:48PM

    @ author

    Sir,
    You teach at F.C. College...my grandfather's alma mater.......he used to regale us with stories about Lahore...hope I can see the city one day

    regards from India

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:59PM

    @Gratgy,

    “@Zeeshan
    Urdu is not an “Indian language”. It’s a Muslim language.
    Is the Quran written in Urdu? Then how is it a muslim language? Please do some research, try tying “Urdu” in Wikipedia for a start.
    We are not a confused nation. It’s you who are. That’s why you have Hindus trying to reclaim Babri masjid or calling Northeasterns as “chinkies” or having Kashmir refusing to submit to you.
    Pray, what has your rant above have to do with a confused national identity? I think you have lost the plot entirely here. Apart from a confused national identity, methinks you are plain confused.”

    The Holy Qur’an is words of God recorded in Arabic. Does that make Arabic a Muslim language when Christians and Jews speak of that language? However, Urdu emerged because of Muslims. Its vocabularies were absorbed from Turkish, Persians and Arabic because of Muslims. It evolved to be the language of the Muslim court and was elevated to be one of the most refined, elegant and beautiful languages in the world. Hindus once spoke of that language until in 1867; it was then that they demanded that Urdu because of its Muslimness should be replaced by a Hindu language now known as Hindi. So, Urdu is a Muslim language because of its own history and Hindu’s affirmation of it.

    My “rant” above is a collective tragedy of your homeland. The destruction of Babri masjid was due to Hindu view of Muslim past. The North-easterners might not share the same visage or culture as “Indians”; however, they too were turned into Indians by the Indian empire. Kashmir, overwhelmingly Muslims, also refused to submit to the Indian empire. In short, your Indian identity, while based on Hinduness also demanded the lands of Muslims and North-easterners to be absorbed into that empire. The confusion came when you destroyed Babri Masjid for its Muslimness while demanding a Muslim nation called Kashmir to submit to you. The current view about pseudo-secularism, Muslim vote-bank etc. are all products of Hinduness trying to reclaim it 1000 years of being colonized while colonizing Muslims, Sikhs, North-easterners etc..

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:01PM

    @Gratgy,

    “@Zeeshan
    Urdu is not an “Indian language”. It’s a Muslim language.
    Is the Quran written in Urdu? Then how is it a muslim language? Please do some research, try tying “Urdu” in Wikipedia for a start.
    We are not a confused nation. It’s you who are. That’s why you have Hindus trying to reclaim Babri masjid or calling Northeasterns as “chinkies” or having Kashmir refusing to submit to you.
    Pray, what has your rant above have to do with a confused national identity? I think you have lost the plot entirely here. Apart from a confused national identity, methinks you are plain confused.”

    The Holy Qur’an is words of God recorded in Arabic. Does that make Arabic a Muslim language when Christians and Jews speak of that language? However, Urdu emerged because of Muslims. Its vocabularies were absorbed from Turkish, Persians and Arabic because of Muslims. It evolved to be the language of the Muslim court and was elevated to be one of the most refined, elegant and beautiful languages in the world. Hindus once spoke of that language until in 1867; it was then that they demanded that Urdu because of its Muslimness should be replaced by a Hindu language now known as Hindi. So, Urdu is a Muslim language because of its own history and Hindu’s affirmation of it.

    My “rant” above is a collective tragedy of your homeland. The destruction of Babri masjid was due to Hindu’s view of Muslim past. The North-easterners might not share the same visage or culture as “Indians”; however, they too were turned into Indians by the Indian empire. Kashmir, overwhelmingly Muslims, also refused to submit to the Indian empire. In short, your Indian identity, while based on Hinduness also demanded the lands of Muslims and North-easterners to be absorbed into that empire. The confusion came when you destroyed Babri Masjid for its Muslimness while demanding a Muslim nation called Kashmir to submit to you. The current view about pseudo-secularism, Muslim vote-bank etc. are all products of Hinduness trying to reclaim it 1000 years of being colonized while colonizing Muslims, Sikhs, North-easterners etc..

    Recommend

  • Nand
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:09PM

    @Kaalchakra: “it is absurd for a true Muslim to be stuck up.”
    In your words how would you define “a true Muslim”.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:15PM

    Hamza Yousufzai is getting killed in Karachi on a daily basis because he represents KPP, ANP and by extension Afghanistan. What world do you live in Kaalchakra?

    Recommend

  • Thoughtful American
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:26PM

    Poor article. The princely states and their Afghan influence only dates to the middle and latter part of the this millennium. Prior to that they were an active part of India, from Alexanders time until the last millennium.

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:36PM

    @Zalmai: “My other point on John Abraham is that John could have been named a Hindu name and still be a Christian. Ratan Tata and Azim Premji have Hindu first and last names respectively, yet they are Parsi and Muslim. I hope you get my drift. “

    Azim Premji’s first name is not Hindu. Also Ratan is a common Parsi first name also. In any John’s parents named him the way he did. What exactly is the issue? No one in India seems to have a problem in accepting him with his Christian name?

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:05PM

    @Zeeshan: “Just like Sati and Mughal are bad words for you; Basant and sari are bad words for us.”
    Mughal is not a bad word for us. Come to Delhi you will find Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Road, Shah Jahan Road? As for sati – it was a bad cultural practice to usurp the economic rights of the widow and was stopped. It is unclear how and why you are connecting Sati with BAsant and Sari?

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:50PM

    @gp65,
    If Mughal were not a bad word, you would not be calling them as Muslim invaders of Hindu land. The state might pretend to care about this Muslim past, the citizens don’t. For Indians, Mughal “colonized Hindu land”.

    @venkat,
    he asked whether you are an Indian or a Pakistani,; he didn’t ask whether you are an Indian. So, he didn’t bracket Pakistani as an Indian or vice versa; he is only familiar with certain look being associated with these nations…so he gave both nationalities. Put North-easterners who are being colonized by India with him, he would probably ask whether those North-easterners are Burmese or Chinese. The Arab face the same problem you’ll face when you have to differentiate between Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese and Chinese.

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:00PM

    Zeeshan

    That was AWESOME! One of the best posts ever. I hope that shuts up the HIndus infesting this site.Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:02PM

    @GP65

    I wrote: “Ratan Tata and Azim Premji have Hindu first and last names respectively, yet they are Parsi and Muslim.” Please read it again carefully.

    You failed to read it properly. I am a Muslim and I am well aware that Azim is a Muslim name and I speak Farsi and very well versed with ancient Iranian history and the Avestan language and names that Parsis use in India.

    Examples of pure Parsi/Iranian names are Jamshed, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Feraidun, Fardeen, Farshad, Farzad, Rustam, Sohrab, Shapur, Ardeshir, Khusro, Noshirwan etc, etc and trust me when I tell you that Ratan is not a Parsi/Iranian name.

    Ratan is a Hindu name adopted by Parsis in India but it is not a Parsi name per se. I am going to spell it out for you so there is no confusion. Ratan is a Hindu name not Parsi and Prem meaning love and jee an honorific are both Hindi in origin.

    You failed to understand my context, but its alright because you gave me a chance to shed some light on my Afghan and Iranian roots by breaking it down for you. You see I grew up with people with names mentioned above and I think I know a little more about Pars/Fars than most Indians and probably most Parsis because I read, write and speak Farsi, the language of the original Persians or Parsis. Cheers and Roz e Khush!

    Recommend

  • jism
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:13PM

    @Zeeshan:
    We are not a confused nation. It’s you who are

    I’ve read many, many articles written by many well known intellectuals,historians of Pakistani origin who say that Pakistanis have yet to define their identity.I’ve read them not only on this web site ,but many other reputed websites of Pakistan where many writers have time and again portrayed the confusing identities of Pakistan.and if you are aware, this very article says something about confused identity of Pakistanis,and the author is doing research for his doctorate.and the lines below are the words of author.

    . This radical and uni-focus shift has left Pakistan confused and forlorn as neither has it been accepted in the Arab club, nor is it proud of its own heritage

    the above words clearly indicate that Pakistanis are yet to have a definitive identity.

    Recommend

  • yousaf
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:17PM

    In case the recent agreements reached during the joint meetings of Indo-Pak foreign ministers are materialised and visa conditions are relaxed my sole objective will be to pay one and final visit to the city of my birth and ancestral village in India before my soul flies away.I am just fed-up of this 65 years of meaningless CHATTER-PATTER and can’t stand it any more.Those who can,may carry-on.God bless you all

    Recommend

  • Its (still) the EconomyStupid
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:31PM

    During 9/11 (btw today is sad anniversary) over night Pakistanis all over the world (except in Pakistan) became Indian. It was one of the largest mass converstion in the history of mankind. Majority has still not converted back to Pakistan. Same happened during OBL episode. It says a lot about the heritage and loyalty.

    Recommend

  • Nagpuri
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:43PM

    ET,

    Really that was too much for you? My rebuttal for KSU was out of bounds?

    @KSU

    Blackjack more or less captured what i was trying to say.

    I can list 100 times more stuff from “here” and few items you listed from “there” are not yours to begin with. Like I said, tell me what’s your own creation, culture, custom, costume and language. You can trace most of your beliefs and religiosity (Sufi and darghas) though not religion, customs, food, language to Mother India (by extension Hindus and Sanskrit). Like i said you will need to do a lot of cleansing to be pure ‘pure’istan’. ‘Subcontinent’ is a PC name for India and Hindus.

    I enjoy and cherish most of ‘there’ items, I only wished we were not butchered, raided and what not, to enjoy that, rather than through just immersion. You will find no example anywhere of people who worship their own killers, colonizer and marauders.

    Greatest form of slavery is not physical slavery but intellectual and cultural.
    1000 years of Mogul rule didn’t make you slave of Arabs, 60 years ‘independence’ did.

    Recommend

  • jism
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:06PM

    @Its (still) the EconomyStupid:
    During 9/11 (btw today is sad anniversary) over night Pakistanis all over the world (except in Pakistan) became Indian. It was one of the largest mass converstion in the history of mankind. Majority has still not converted back to Pakistan. Same happened during OBL episode. It says a lot about the heritage and loyalty.

    really interesting and great observation!
    one among the best comments I’ve read,i’ll remember these lines.
    some of other great lines: “Some countries have the moon on their flag.While others have their flag on the moon!”

    Recommend

  • jism
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:08PM

    @Its (still) the EconomyStupid:
    some interesting quotes:

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true,
    by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

    — Edward Gibbon

    “Some countries have the moon on their flag.
    While others have their flag on the moon!
    ”-not sure about the source.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:18PM

    @Yousaf

    I feel your pain and in the same token Afghans and Pakistanis also need to bury the hatchet and start fresh. I am optimistic but actions on the ground keeps proving me wrong time and again.

    Recommend

  • Indian Catholic
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:23PM

    @Zalmai: I have a headache right now re-reading all the posts. I understand your intent is good having read your posts for quite some time, but I still can’t understand the fixation with names. Generally you make the following points (Do correct me if I am wrong):
    .
    1. One does not need to change his/her name to be successful in America: AGREED. However the point we have made is that no one changed his/her name. Bobby was Jindal’s nickname since childhood. Nikki is Haley’s second name and she goes by her first name as well.
    2. A Hindu first or last name does not mean the person is Hindu. AGREED. My own first name is Hindu, yet I am a Catholic.
    .
    Basically what you are saying based on the above is that a name doesn’t mean a thing be it in America or India. AGREED.
    .
    So now can we drop this?

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:31PM

    @jism,

    “I’ve read many, many articles written by many well known intellectuals,historians of Pakistani origin who say that Pakistanis have yet to define their identity.I’ve read them not only on this web site ,but many other reputed websites of Pakistan where many writers have time and again portrayed the confusing identities of Pakistan.and if you are aware, this very article says something about confused identity of Pakistanis,and the author is doing research for his doctorate.and the lines below are the words of author.”

    So, these liberals were supposed to be the voice of Pakistanis? Most of these liberals, like the author, are trained in Western academics. They desire Pakistanis to become English like the Indians.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:47PM

    @Zeeshan: to @ Venkat

    he asked whether you are an Indian or a Pakistani,; he didn’t ask whether you are an Indian.

    Did he or didn’t he?

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:56PM

    @jism:
    Love your comments, thanks and regards,
    MirzaRecommend

  • observer
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:00PM

    @Zeeshan:

    If Mughal were not a bad word, you would not be calling them as Muslim invaders of Hindu land. The state might pretend to care about this Muslim past, the citizens don’t. For Indians, Mughal “colonized Hindu land”.

    In order to understand the relationship between the ‘citizens’ and the Muslim past, please read this.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/312780/the-road-much-travelled-4/

    Iqra- The advice is timeless. Read more, reflect most, comment least. Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:01PM

    @Zalmai,

    “You engage in flights of fancy and it is a pity that you want to disown and dissociate yourself from India because of your self hatred and biased pan-Islamic world view. “

    By Indian culture, do you mean honor killing and caste system? Then yes, Pakistanis do have “Indian culture” in us. But if by “Indian culture”, you meant Hinduness, then no; we possess none of those except for some Muslims in Pakistan. To reject those is not about self-hatred; it’s about our reality as Muslims.

    Does praying while facing Mecca, reciting our holy book in Arabic and sympathizing with Muslims worldwide make us have “biased Pan-Islamic world view”? Then yes, the crux of our civilization lies outside of South Asia.

    “Too bad the Afghans, Persians and Arabs don’t consider you as one of their own and rightly so because you are South Asian and no amount of denial will change that.”

    How would “Afghans, Persians and Arabs consider [as] as one of their own”? Do they need to pronounce it out loud to Indians etc.? Afghan students struggled to fit in in India because Indian culture is foreign to them. The same Afghans will find themselves comfortable enough to call Pakistan as home because of our shared Muslimness. So, Afghans do consider us as one of their own. How else do you think the Shah of Iran was supporting Pakistan in 1965? Persians and Arabs would find themselves comfortable enough in Pakistan also because of our shared Muslimness. They, on the other hand, will find themselves out of place in India. So, South Asia identity alone does not explain why Afghan, Persians, Arabs will find Pakistan familiar and India as foreign. So, we are not simply South Asians; we are also Muslims whose roots and culture could be found from Delhi to Mecca to Isfahan.

    “Adopting foreign names will not automatically change your ethnicity. John Abraham is an Indian at the end of the day not some White Anglo Saxon because he chose and Anglicized name and the same example goes for all Pakistanis that have adopted names from countries mentioned above.”

    Pakistanis didn’t merely “adopt” names; they created their identities and ethnicity through those names. How else do you think Hindus find out our Muslimness?

    Recommend

  • jism
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:09PM

    @Zeeshan:
    So, these liberals were supposed to be the voice of Pakistanis? Most of these liberals, like the author, are trained in Western academics.

    your analysis is impeccable, i can see a bright future waiting for Pakistan.

    just FYI,i never used the word liberals nor did i ever say that the authors were trained in western academics(which by far is more accurate and unbiased than Pakistan’s education system),these authors were born in Pakistan and are living in Pakistan, and are proud to be Pakistani.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:37AM

    @Zeeshan

    I studied in India and I felt right at home among all Indians whether they were Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsi and trust me I befriended all of them.

    I also spent time in Pakistan and because of my appearance I was called Angrez in Quetta where little kids from the neighborhood threw rocks at me and my brother because they associated people in western attire with fair skin, light hair and colored eyes as foreigners. Trust me when I tell you that I did not feel at home in Quetta and even though the people spoke Pashto their customs and culture were not familiar to us.

    My father had to go to the local mosque and ask the Mullah to let the kids of the neighborhood know that we were Muslims from Afghanistan and not some Firangi/Angrez. I spent one month in Quetta and the worst memories of my childhood are from this period. Everywhere we went we had to pay bribes, people were predatory and uncivilized and our family Toyota Crown was confiscated by the police and we never got it back.

    Most Afghans would rather study in India than Pakistan if they could afford it. Most of my relatives got their degrees from Indian universities in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bombay, Pune and Hyderabad and of course Aligarh Muslim University.

    I don’t know about the Shah of Iran and his policies in 1965. I am sure he had good geopolitical reasons for siding with Pakistan albeit in a losing war. My personal story that I shared here is echoed my millions of other Afghans who had to travel through Pakistan and had negative experiences. Religion alone does not bind disparate people automatically.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:41AM

    @Indian Catholic

    “I have a headache right now re-reading all the posts”

    I am sorry I gave you a headache and yes, we can drop this now.

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:08AM

    @Hari Sud;

    Mother India is a Hindu idea. To call India as a mother is to worship the land according to the Hindus. The problem with that idea is that they are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, North-easterners living in this land. In order to create a Hindu empire out of Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, North-easterners lands, Hindus have to imagine themselves as the native and Muslims as invaders. This is what you meant by the “resurgence of Hindu/Indian political power after 700 years of Muslim rule.” It was not “resurgence of Hindu/Indian political power”, it’s Hindu colonization of lands Hindus think belong to them.

    This idea of “Indianness” when imposed on various communities lead to resistance: Tamil rejected Hindi; Khalistan movement emerged; Kashmir refuses to submit; North-east continues to rise. All of these should remind you that the idea of Indianness only exists among Hindus and those minorities who internalized these Hindu ideas. Muslims who reject the idea of India or Indianness are rejecting this colonization of OUR land.

    “The sword carrying forefathers of Turko-Mongol brought no culture with them. They borrowed indian culture. Mughals of central Asia were no enthusiasts of Arabs culture. Indian culture with sprinkling of Iranian way of life was way of life of Moghuls.”

    If the “sword-carrying” Rajput and Maratha had culture; why didn’t “Turko-Mongol” had no culture? The Mughal emperor’s cultural base is in Islam which is from the Arab world. However, the Persian language and culture are viewed superior to that of “Indian”, hence Persians became the language of the court and knowledge. So, the Mughal’s culture was much more heavily influenced by Persians and Muslims which in turn shape Hindu culture thoughout South Asian. Even the Vijayanagara emperor did dress like a Muslim king.

    “I dare say that sooner the Pakistani dump their pretence of being Arab, sooner they would find themselves less confused more part of their mother country than waiting for a few more generations and then realizing their folly.”

    This is especially rich coming from Indians whose entire culture is now based on European values. Maybe you should start following the advice, by realizing the folly of wanting to be Europeans.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 12, 2012 - 2:46AM

    @Zalmai:

    “@Indian Catholic
    “I have a headache right now re-reading all the posts”
    I am sorry I gave you a headache and yes, we can drop this now. “

    No need to drop it because Indian Catholic has a headache! He can take some aspirin or choose not to read. I do find your posts very informative, interesting, civilized and logical. Please do continue.

    Recommend

  • Sep 12, 2012 - 10:34AM

    the artical of yaqoob khan has given a very detailed cultural ties with north indian states which are true and natural. it is a better thought of leaders of both countries to co-oprate in improving relations between the two countries and people to people contacts for peace and progress. today with the modern infirmation tehnology the whole world has integrated and is on ones thumb. india and pakistan must develop relations in travel,trade,education,health,investments in each others countries. peace is the only answer to progress of people of both the countries.

    Recommend

  • Gratgy
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:02PM

    @Zeeshan

    Mother India is a Hindu idea

    What gives you this idea. ROFLMAO It may not be a Muslim idea, doesnt mean its a Hindu Idea. Non Muslim desnt mean Hindu

    Khalistan movement emerged

    And died swiftly. In fact the sikhs form a major part of our army and the current army chief and our Prime minister are Sikhs. This does deflate your argument.

    This idea of “Indianness” when imposed on various communities lead to resistance: Tamil rejected Hindi

    What does this have to do with Indianness? The Tamils did not like another language imposed on them so they objected. This is called multiculturalism

    You arguments seem to lack all coherence and be all mixed up beween nation, religion, languages, race and you just dont get it do you? Your posts end up being just anti hindu rabid rants with no substance

    Recommend

  • Arian
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:43PM

    @Zeeshan

    Urdu is a derivative of Farsi and Hindi and both of these languages origins are non Muslim. The Farsi language of the Iranian people existed long before Islam came into existence.

    As a matter of fact Arabic itself existed before Islam became the religion of most Arabs. Mohammad ,(PBUH) Omar, Abu Bakr, Othman, Ali, Khadija, Hamza and others from the Quresh tribe were born with these names that we associate with the religion of Islam before they accepted Islam as their religion.

    The forefathers of Mughals/Mongols were animists and pagans. The Persians were Zoroastrian, Jewish, Manichean and Christian and they adopted Islam much later.

    Languages belong to people of a geographical area that share a culture and religion is something they adopted later on. There is no basis for calling any language a language of a particular religion.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:59PM

    @Zeeshan

    Mother India is a Hindu idea.
    The Russians have a concept of Mother Russia. And the English language has words like Mother Land and Mother Tongue. Does that make Russia, English and the Anglican Church a Hindu idea?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Russia

    The problem with that idea is that they are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, North-easterners living in this land.

    Northe Easterners as a separate Religious group is a novel idea, to say the least. However, shorn of the ‘novelty and the ignorance’, one realises that that the Assamese and the Manipuris are mainly Hindus, Nagaland , Mizoram and Meghalaya are mainly Christian and Sikkim is primarily Budhist and a lot of Bangladeshi Muslim migrants are also present in the NorthEast.

    Muslims who reject the idea of India or Indianness are rejecting this colonization of OUR land.

    And how many of these chose to migrate to the promised land? Please.
    And how many decided to stick to the promised land? Please again.

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 12, 2012 - 6:45PM

    @Arian,

    Why do you think an “animist, pagan” Mongols who reverted to Islam made Farsi as the language of their court? Because they admired Zoroastrianism and pre-Islamic Iran? Why didn’t turn left and adopt vocabularies from the Bengalis?

    Urdu as a Muslim language was identified by Hindus in 1860s.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 12, 2012 - 9:46PM

    @Zeeshan

    “Why do you think an “animist, pagan” Mongols who reverted to Islam made Farsi as the language of their court? Because they admired Zoroastrianism and pre-Islamic Iran? Why didn’t turn left and adopt vocabularies from the Bengalis?

    Urdu as a Muslim language was identified by Hindus in 1860s”

    The animist pagan Mongols reverted to Islam and made Farsi the language of their court because of the existing Persian influence in the region before the Mongols came to India.

    The Mongols own indigenous languages lacked expression and literature so they adopted Farsi as their lingua franca because of Iran’s influence and proximity to Central Asia.

    I am confident that they would have adopted Hindi if geographically they had been closer to India. Adopting Farsi was a political move on the part of the Mongols because they wanted to dominate Central Asia where the elite already spoke Farsi.

    The Mongols in India had to create a hybrid language to communicate with their subjects and those subjects were mostly Hindu not Muslim.

    They did not adopt Bengali because the Mughals landed in Delhi where people don’t speak Bengali. The designation given to Urdu as a Muslim language was just a political reaction by Hindus.

    By the way Farsi and Bengali are both Indo European and Indo Aryan languages. Your argument is full of holes and it cannot hold any water, no matter how you dissect it.

    I speak Pashto, Farsi and Urdu and all these languages are a combination of mostly Sanskrit and Avestan infused with Arabic and Turkic languages. Sanskrit and Avestan overlapped and they have ancient roots in the region before Islam took root in the sub continent.

    Recommend

  • Eagid
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:03AM

    Well, it would be foolish of any Pakistani to claim that he/she has pure Central-Asian blood.
    For starters, even if we agree that your forefathers came in from Central Asia, but they did end up marrying the local Indian women, didn’t they(whether by force, or not)?
    Or did the invading armies bring their womenfolk with them too?

    And moreover, it is near to impossible to maintain racial purity over the course of around 100′s of generations, so you can claim to be Central-Asian or Arab, but the truth is that the world will still term you as “South Asian’!!

    P.S.- Mughal had more or less ‘Mongoloid’ features, so if anyone, it would be the ‘Hazaras’, who could claim ‘Mughal’ legacy.

    Recommend

  • Eagid
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:17AM

    According to 2001 census, there were around 60 million Urdu speakers in India, compared to just 8 million in Pakistan.
    And since Urdu is a mixture of Hindi and Farsi with some Arabic loan words( All three languages, of which not a single one is native to the present day Pakistan), it can be safely construed that Urdu is an ‘out-an-out’ Indian language, which incidentally is the ‘Lingua franca’ of the state of Pakistan.
    And regarding the claims of Urdu being a language for Muslims is concerned, i have only one answer- EAST PAKISTAN(Now known as Bangladesh)!

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:18AM

    @eagid,

    “According to 2001 census, there were around 60 million Urdu speakers in India, compared to just 8 million in Pakistan.”

    That stat only looked at native Urdu speakers. In Pakistan, the overwhelming population speak Urdu. So, the number should be increased to 180 millions if Urdu speakers meant people who able to speak in Urdu.

    “And since Urdu is a mixture of Hindi and Farsi with some Arabic loan words( All three languages, of which not a single one is native to the present day Pakistan), it can be safely construed that Urdu is an ‘out-an-out’ Indian language, which incidentally is the ‘Lingua franca’ of the state of Pakistan.”

    Urdu is not “out-an-out” Indian language. It was not your forefathers who created that language. Muslims did. Urdu was and is the lingua franca of Muslims from KP to Lucknow to Hyderabad.

    “And regarding the claims of Urdu being a language for Muslims is concerned, i have only one answer- EAST PAKISTAN(Now known as Bangladesh)!”

    Bengali Muslims might have rejected Urdu. Just like Afghans who don’t speak Urdu. However, ask any Hindus why they refused to speak Urdu, there you’ll understand why it is a Muslim language. It’s funny how Hindus worked hard to reject Urdu because of its Muslimness and then deny its Muslimness when affirmed by Muslims.

    Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:46AM

    @Zeeshan:
    Do even languages have religion? How religious can one get!!!

    Recommend

  • Eagid
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:41PM

    @Zeeshan:Urdu is not “out-an-out” Indian language. It was not your forefathers who created that language. Muslims did. Urdu was and is the lingua franca of Muslims from KP to Lucknow to Hyderabad.
    Well, in addition to Bangladesh, muslims of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Kashmir do not converse in Urdu, and have no intention to do so.
    So your theory of ‘Urdu’ being the “Lingua franca’ of the Muslims of the subcontinent is totally flawed.
    And, yes, my forefathers did not create ‘Urdu’, but they did create Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi, and Koshur, so should i go and ask all the Muslims of Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir, and Bengal to stop conversing in these languages, as these are so-called ‘Hindu languages, (according to your twisted logic)
    Islam came to the Subcontinent just 1000 years back, and Urdu was invented just 500 years back, before that all the languages spoken in the subcontinent were a product of my forefathers(they are your forefathers too, but ahh, i forgot, you are a Central Asian, right?), so please stop conversing in these languages, and while you are at it, please do not use ‘Hindu’ rituals at your weddings, and marry as Arabs do, and please do not use ‘Sur-Taal-Ragas’ in your music, as they were the contributions of the Hindus.!!

    Recommend

  • Eagid
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:49PM

    @Zeeshan
    Afghan students struggled to fit in in India because Indian culture is foreign to them. The same Afghans will find themselves comfortable enough to call Pakistan as home because of our shared Muslimness. So, Afghans do consider us as one of their own
    HaHaHa, over the past couple of years India has granted a large number of scholarships to Afghan students to come and study in India.I have interacted with quite a few of them, and believe me, i am not exaggerating, when i say that the amount of ‘resentment’ they had towards Pakistan was Shocking.
    And, if you don’t believe me go to any ‘International Afghan Students Forum’ and see for yourself, the kind words that are written for the Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • Arian
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:51PM

    @Zeeshan

    Most people in Khyber Pashtunkhwa speak Pashto and they can barely speak any Urdu despite the fact that schools in the province until recent times did not allow Pashto to be taught as a language and the curriculum was in Urdu.

    Only a handful of integrated Balochis,Sindhis, Punjabis and Pashtun speak Urdu. Urdu is spoken by the Mohajir community mostly in Pakistan.

    I am a Pashtun from Afghanistan and I am here to tell you that most Afghans have more affinity towards India than Pakistan and Iran.

    Recommend

  • wolfie loves kulfie
    Sep 13, 2012 - 5:12PM

    I object to the Title as it is very misleading :D,
    Pakistan is In Middle east and all Pakistanis are Arabs and speak Arabic
    they do no NOt belong to south asia this is confirmed by every Pakistani Friend I now

    Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 5:17PM

    @Zeeshan

    Urdu as a Muslim language was identified by Hindus in 1860s.

    You mean poor Muslims did not even get to identify a language for themselves? My sympathies.

    Now, if Urdu is a Muslim language, can you tell me why is so much of poetry in Urdu about Wine and Women. Isn’t drinking and mixing of men and women forbidden in Islam?

    By the way, does Urdu too have to say Namaz 5 times a day, considering that she is ‘Muslim’.

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Sep 13, 2012 - 6:47PM

    “Well, in addition to Bangladesh, muslims of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Kashmir do not converse in Urdu, and have no intention to do so.
    So your theory of ‘Urdu’ being the “Lingua franca’ of the Muslims of the subcontinent is totally flawed.”

    From Bengal to Tamil Nadu to Gujarat to Rajasthan to Bihar to Assam to Kashmir, Urdu is spoken by Muslims and ONLY MUSLIMS. What do you think is the state language of Kashmir? The one created by your forefathers or the one created by my forefathers?

    “And, yes, my forefathers did not create ‘Urdu’, but they did create Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi, and Koshur, so should i go and ask all the Muslims of Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir, and Bengal to stop conversing in these languages, as these are so-called ‘Hindu languages, (according to your twisted logic)”

    I didn’t say all the above languages are “Hindu languages”. I only said Hindi is and that too by citing Hindus.

    “Islam came to the Subcontinent just 1000 years back, and Urdu was invented just 500 years back, before that all the languages spoken in the subcontinent were a product of my forefathers(they are your forefathers too, but ahh, i forgot, you are a Central Asian, right?), so please stop conversing in these languages, and while you are at it, please do not use ‘Hindu’ rituals at your weddings, and marry as Arabs do, and please do not use ‘Sur-Taal-Ragas’ in your music, as they were the contributions of the Hindus.!!”

    Islam came earlier than that. Hinduism re-emerged only 1500 years ago in many parts of India and was officially put into a category 300-400 years ago. So, my forefathers have been calling themselves as Muslims before your forefathers ever called themselves as Hindus.

    I don’t converse in Hindi. We don’t use any “Hindu” rituals in our weddings. Our wedding is “strange” for you because of its “Arab” influences. Hence, I don’t think you have contributed much to us. Our shared South Asiannness might overlap but that’s why you wear kurta and listen to your Republic day speech from Lal Qila. Our Muslimness also irked you; that’s why you have what happened in Gujarat and what’s happening in Kashmir.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 13, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @Zeeshan

    Observer made a keen observation about Urdu poetry and the common refrain of Maikhana and Mohabbat associated with it.

    Persians went one step further and added subtle and nuanced disdain towards Arabs in their poems. The Persians hate Arabs always did and always will and all their literature reflects this hatred, which proves my point that religion alone does not bind disparate groups of people.

    Afghans will not cozy up to Pakistan just because they share a religion and Arabs and Persians will always have a schism; all the ethnic groups in Pakistan also suffer from this problem despite being overwhelmingly Muslim.

    Recommend

  • IshtiaqGondal
    Sep 30, 2012 - 3:24AM

    well an exclusive approach.. I also believe that the current wave of terrorism and our extreme rigid religious attitude have,somehow, their roots in ‘Pro-Arab’ layout which is an integral part of our ‘ideological’ basis. Moreover, it is true from all accounts that we,officially, are not proud of our rich cultural heritage. Mending our ties with India would bring thoughts that we , by all accounts, were the part of Sub-continent and not an oasis in any Arab deserts.
    It was well said by some one; “With India we share nothing, except History, Culture and DNA.”

    Recommend

  • Garma Zabi
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Indians and Pakistanis both need to realize their countries are just an artificial creation of the British in 1947. There is no such thing as Indian or Pakistani culture. Just a bunch of tiny ethnicities forced to be together.

    Recommend

More in Opinion