The Kashmir Problem: Kashmir is not a problem at all; it is the symptom of a problem. The main problem is the mistrust between the estranged brothers. These brothers were estranged by the division of India by power hungry politicians. If the mistrust between the estranged brothers is solved, then Kashmir will find its own solution.
Indian Sub-continent has developed a mixed culture
The Sanatan Dharma, popularly known as the Hindu religion, naturally developed in the Indian sub-continent and its surrounding countries over thousands of years. The Adivasis of India are still maintaining their own cultures and their cultures are older than Hindu cultures; but a lot of exchanges have taken place. Many outsiders came over long periods of time, conquered some parts, settled down here and got mixed. The Jews also came to India and settled here. The Orthodox Christian missionaries arrived in the southern parts of India within 100 years of resurrection of Christ and started preaching. Islamic preachers came to India many years before Islam came here as a political force in the beginning of the eighth century, and were allowed by Hindu kings to preach. This is how the subcontinent developed a mixed culture over many centuries.
Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti is revered by both the Hindus and the Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Kabir had both Hindu and Muslim followers. The Baul singers of Bengal belong to both the Hindus and the Muslims as well.
Many Muslims are experts in “Sastriya Sangeet”. Some of them start their programs by performing “Swaraswati Vandana”. The great monk Swami Vivekananda proclaimed: “India will prosper only when an Indian will have a Muslim brawn, a Hindu head and a Christian heart”.
The great poet Iqbal sang: “Hindustan is the best country in the world”. The great poet Kazi Nazrul Islam sang: “We the Hindus and the Muslims are two flowers in the same stalk; the Muslims are the eyes of the nation and the Hindus are the soul. As the Sun and the Moon play on the lap of the mother sky, we Hindus and Muslims also play on the lap of mother India; we have the same blood in our veins and we have the same umbilical chord”.
Syed Muztaba Ali was a great Bengali litterateur, a scholar in several classical languages, a widely travelled man and he taught in several foreign and Indian universities. In one of the books he wrote: “The inhabitants of North West Frontier Province and Eastern Afghanistan are the most civilized people in the world”.
The politicians and religious bigots have turned these wonderful places into killing fields.
“Madhuban mein Radhika nache re” was composed by Naushad, the lyricist was Shakeel Badauni, it was sung by Mohammad Rafi and the lips were given by Dilip Kumar (Muhammad Yusuf Khan). What a beautifully woven multi-cultural fabric! But power hungry politicians and religious obscurantists have turned the Indian sub-continent into a killing field.
Urdu is an Indian language
Urdu originated in North India and spread to other places. My senior colleague Mukherjee-da a Bengali Hindu was born and brought up in pre-partition Lahore. His father was a science teacher in a Lahore college. Mukherjee could read, write and speak Bengali with proper Bengali accent. He could also read, write and speak Urdu with proper accent. He told me: “We Bengalis think that Bengali is the sweetest of all the languages in the world; but being a Bengali myself I am of the opinion that Urdu is much sweeter than Bengali”. I was very surprised.
Ghazal devolved out of Urdu and it is enjoyed in both India and Pakistan. This cultural link shall have to be strengthened. Before partition both the Hindus and the Muslims of North India felt a strong affinity towards Urdu and many Hindus considered Urdu as their mother tongue. But after the blood letting partition, a chasm has developed in this affinity. This chasm can be bridged by increasing the frequency of Ghazal performances by artists of both countries performing both in India and Pakistan.
Terrorism across India Pakistan border
States must not sponsor cross-border terrorism; it backfires and seriously hurts the sponsoring country. It is indeed grievously hurting the sponsoring country. Still the sponsoring is continuing unabated due to narrow shortsighted political strategy.
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh shall have to learn to be good neighbours for their mutual benefits. I very much hope that the younger generations of these countries will take the lead and normalize the relations. Cultural, educational, commercial and industrial cooperation will benefit all of these neighbours.
Floods and draughts in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
These occur annually in these countries and cause devastations. These can be controlled by connecting rivers in these countries through canals, construction of reservoirs and rain water harvesting. Water is a very scares resource. Joint river commissions compromising experts from these countries ought to conduct joint river surveys during summer, monsoon and winter and devise water sharing mechanisms for their mutual benefits. For sharing the Brahmaputra water, China has to be involved. To achieve this, state sponsored terrorism shall have to be stopped.
Indus river water treaty between India and Pakistan has survived several wars between them. This is a beacon of hope in an otherwise very ominous environment. I very much hope that the younger generations will establish good relations between them for their mutual benefits.
Religious intolerances and obscurantisms in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
These are very serious problems in these countries. These problems are also seriously affecting the Middle East, parts of Africa, China, Europe and other regions of the world.
“Dharma” in Sanskrit means the rules that maintain law and order in the society. During the cave age, there were few rules because cave age people did not have evolved social interactions. As the human brain developed in the course of thousands of years, wise persons among them devised certain rules to control individual lives and maintain order in the society. These rules grew into formal religions in course of time. All sane persons know about it. As the formal religions became rigid, they created havocs and led to killings of human beings by fellow human beings all in the name of the Creator. What a heinous crime to commit in the name of the Creator. This heinous crime is still being committed in the modern Internet age. Does it not strike your minds as absolutely nonsense?
The persecutions of religious minorities are still going on in the Indian sub-continent. In one country, the religious minorities have almost been cleansed, even a sect of Muslims have almost been finished. In another, the cleansing is going on. In India, all politicians are vote hunters on religious lines and create communal disharmony. Some parts of China are very much disturbed due to religious obscurantists. I very much hope that the persecutions of religious, linguistic and cultural minorities all over the world will be stopped one day by the younger generations.
Some of my Pakistani friends think that if the Indian part of Kashmir becomes a part of Pakistan, all problems between India and Pakistan will be solved. I think they are wrong and re-dividing the Indian subcontinent based on religious demography will only pander to the religious sectarianism and will further diminish the scope of secular principles in India. There are about 200 million fellow Muslim citizens in India and it risks undermining them if the narrow logic of religious partition is brought forth again.
Why are the Pathans, Balochs and Sindhis agitating in Pakistan? Why was Bangladesh carved out of Pakistan by sacrificing three million lives? Why are Arabs fighting among themselves? If all people in the world become only Muslims or only Christians or only Buddhists or only Hindus, will peace prevail in the world?
It is in Pakistan’s interest that India does not get further disintegrated; because, if India disintegrates, it will create a domino and disintegrate Pakistan too and the Indian subcontinent will become a towering inferno.
If religious obscurantism and cross border terrorism are not stopped, the Indian subcontinent and parts of China may end up in a nuclear disaster. Religious obscurantism may destroy the Human civilization.
Human knowledge has progressed from Cave Age to Internet Age and is progressing further; but religious beliefs are still mired in myths. It is very easy to whip up emotions on religious lines. Power hungry politicians are utilizing these for their hunts for power and the clergy will not allow people to think freely, because they don’t want to lose their stranglehold on society.
Muslims are an integral part of the Indian subcontinent
The Arabs, then idol worshippers, have been coming to India for trading since ancient times. They came as a political force in the beginning of the 8th century AD; since then Muslims have been coming to India and settled all over India. Hindu Muslim interactions helped to develop a mixed culture.
I consider myself to be a Hindu, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Muslim etc. at the same time.
Although overwhelming majority of soldiers and leaders of the 1857 revolution were Hindus, they declared Bahadur Shah Zajar as the Emperor of India. It is a sad fact that highly qualified though extremely nefarious politicians divided India after a prolonged carnage in 1947 and since then the estranged brothers have been fighting among themselves.
In the Second World War, about 6 million Jews were murdered. They were usually murdered in Concentration Camps by the Nazis. The Nazis were an organized force; so they kept the records of the killings.
In the Indian subcontinent, mass killings were started by goons in 1946 when India was still under the British rule. During this time, neighbours raped neighbours, neighbours mutilated the limbs before murdering neighbours. It is reported that about half a million people were killed due to partition; but this is very much an underestimated figure. This carnage was usually locally organized; so no records were kept. The casualty was definitely more heavy, because India was more populous than Germany and its surrounding countries. Moreover, in the Second World war it was only the Nazis that exterminated the Jews, whereas during the partition of India, both Hindus and Muslims were engaged in killing one another. This mass killing is the bloodiest blot on human civilization in peace time.
When the Jews were being exterminated, the Second World War was going on; but in India when neighbours started exterminating neighbours, no war was going on; this extermination took place in peace time.
The Nazis transported the Jews to concentration camps and subjected them to firing squads or put them in gas chambers. The bodies of living Jews were not mutilated. But in the Indian subcontinent neighbours chopped off their neighbours’ limbs before murdering them. Such barbarities were not committed by the Nazis. The barbarities committed by the goons before, during and after partition in the Indian subcontinent far exceeded the barbarities committed by the Nazis on the Jews. The barbarities committed by the Nazis are still being remembered by the world with horror; but the barbarities committed in the Indian subcontinent have been forgotten by the world and even by the people of the Indian subcontinent.
In today’s Indian subcontinent, we celebrate the birthdays of the very persons who divided India after a genocide to satisfy their hunger for power. What a queer mentality we have!
My father, a freedom fighter, was firmly of the opinion that the genocide before, during and after partition could have been avoided or minimized had the leaders were not so hungry for power. Whenever I am in a vacant mood and think about the genocide, I seem to hear the cries for help and the wailing of hapless people being butchered, and I feel an excruciating pain in my heart.
1 to 9 and 0 were invented in ancient India. The Arabs learnt these from India and spread these to Europe. Scholars in ancient India conceived that all objects in the Universe were composed of extremely small particles called “Paramanu”. Astronomers in ancient India postulated that the Earth moves round the Sun. So, the Indian subcontinent has a tradition of knowledge and learning.
Population of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is now more than 1.6 billion. This vast population’s contribution to modern science is very insignificant. Only five persons originating in this subcontinent have been awarded the Nobel Prizes in Science subjects so far. Out of the five Nobel laureates, only Prof. C. V. Raman was an Indian citizen, two were American citizens, one was a British citizen and the surviving one is an American citizen when they were awarded the Nobel Prizes.
“Veda” means knowledge. In the holy Quran the most repeated word is that of the all Merciful Allah; the second most repeated word is “Ilm” or knowledge.
How many gold medals does this vast population get at each Olympic? Do these facts not cross your minds? You are so engrossed in committing hara-kiri among yourselves that you have no time to think about these hard facts.
My appeal to the younger generations of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is please discard the old baggage, discard the myths present in all religions, think yourselves as human beings, come forward to solve all the problems facing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, so that ordinary people, mostly poor, of this subcontinent can live with dignity and as good neighbours.
Hail the subcontinent; Hail Mankind!