Are we quitting?

by Dafydd on 11/5/2009 · 24 comments

Today in asia times on line there is the claim that the US/NATO persuaded Abdullah Abdullah to quit the second round of the Afghan election.

If that weren’t enough, they also make the claim that the US has agreed that the Pakistani Army will mediate between the US and the Taliban to find a (face saving) way for all NATO forces to, well, cut and run.

I really can’t vouch for the veracity of this story, but the fact it is reported means some group or other must believe it, and that is, to my mind, worth noting. Particularly as rumour seems to count for as much as evidence in this part of the world.

Furthermore, the same issue has this story regarding the likelihood of a rise of a new nation called Pashtunistan.

Taken together, I think that it probably means a fairly significant Pashtun grouping really believe they can get their own state out of this whole thing.

There is also the implication that the civilian Pakistani government is being marginalised (to the benefit of the Pakistani military). Again, this need not be true, but if enough people start believing, it will probably become true.

What, for me, doesn’t add up is the role of the Pakistani military. If they encourage or allow an independent Pashtunistan, even Balochistan, what will Pakistan be left with? The Punjab and Sindh? Does any powerful group ever choose to give up that much power?


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I am a UK citizen & resident with a long standing interest in Central Asia. This probably has something to do with student days, a late night TV show called 'The Silk Road' and a TV with no remote control. I currently work in software and live with my wife & three children.

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{ 24 comments }

AJK November 5, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Maybe they think they can turn Pashtunistan into a satellite state that’ll become part of Pakistan a few more years down the road?

I can’t believe that the Dept of State et al really wants an “Empire of Chaos”…they have to know that’s like, the exact opposite of what will be good for US interests. Right?

Joe Harlan November 5, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I really can’t vouch for the veracity of this story

I can pretty much vouch for it being completely false.

ratee November 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm

What nonsense is this? USA/NATO is the most reactive force in the world, doing nothing since 2001!!! Why should they visualize the division of Pakistan? Pakistani Army has defeated Taliban in the only settled area of Swat and Malakand a 100 kilometer area in two months time. In South Waziristan in nearly 3 weeks time they have dislocated them from their main bases and seemingly are winning this war very easily. USA/NATO since 2001 have made all of Afghanistan as a safe heaven for the Taliban except the cities. USA has more confidence in the Pakistan Army than any other country in the region that can defeat the Taliban in the long run.

Pakistani army is too powerful to defeat by any separatist movement in NWFP or Baluchistan.. Secondly further dividing Pakistan is an Indian or Afghan dream which is not possible as USA would never like to hurt the established Pakistani army that is combating Taliban USA’s common enemy. I would like to say keep dreaming???

Faisal November 7, 2009 at 1:34 am

Despite the wishful thinking of many, Pakistan is not going to be dismembered for many reasons. But the foremost one being the fact that all ethnic groups in Pakistan have integrated so well over the last six decades – thus bring the socio-economic stakes in the unity so much raised – that disintegration is really not an option any more. However, the Pashtuns living on the two sides of Durand Line also have strong bonds between them. The only likely scenario that seems to be feasible in future – due to inevitable utilization of natural resources buried underground in this part of the world and subsequent development and prosperity – is a confederation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The path of peace, reconciliation, and development in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a pre-requisite for regional integration that is the only way to the utilization of natural resources of Central Asia. The western attempts to impose war with an aim to occupy and monopolize the regional resources – while cutting the Chinese off – would really not work. Sooner the westerners understand that, better it will be for all. Pakistani military is the only force in the region that can decisively help in achieving the regional integration. Even if the foreign occupation forces could somehow succeed in imposing a resemblance of peace in Afghanistan and start extracting and transporting the natural resources to the Arabian Sea, they wouldn’t be able to deal with bandits who would loot or disrupt the transportation links. It is only the Pakistani military, of course with the help of a Taliban type Afghan force, that can control these criminal bandits, warlords, drug mafias, tribal insurgents. The resources in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan can prove of great benefit for the mankind. The world community ought to help in creating right kind of environment for utilization of these resources for the betterment of all mankind.

anan November 7, 2009 at 2:08 am

“The western attempts to impose war with an aim to occupy and monopolize the regional resources – while cutting the Chinese off – would really not work.” . . . “Even if the foreign occupation forces could somehow succeed in imposing a resemblance of peace in Afghanistan and start extracting and transporting the natural resources to the Arabian Sea, they wouldn’t be able to deal with bandits who would loot or disrupt the transportation links.” Seriously, what planet do you live on? Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on earth and has little affect on foreign economies. Most countries share nearly identical economic interests. In what way are “western” interests–whatever that means–different from Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian, African or Brazilian interests? Maybe you could argue that other owners of natural resources might want to depress Afghan output of those natural resources to increase short to medium run prices for them (while reducing the long run price of these natural resources), but Afghanistan and Pakistan don’t have sufficient supplies of natural resources to affect relative global prices over a long period of time. Not even in copper (unless Afghanistan has a lot more than Aynak.)

“It is only the Pakistani military, of course with the help of a Taliban type Afghan force, that can control these criminal bandits, warlords, drug mafias, tribal insurgents.” Why not the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police? I have no idea what is meant by “Taliban type Afghan force,” but whatever it is . . . it would be a disaster for the Afghan and Pakistani people.

“The resources in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan can prove of great benefit for the mankind. The world community ought to help in creating right kind of environment for utilization of these resources for the betterment of all mankind.” True, but natural resources cannot contribute much in per capita terms to the Afghan and Pakistani economies. They need other industries as well. Improving the education systems of both countries would do far more to boost their economies than the small amount of natural resources both countries have access to.

Faisal Nazir November 7, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I am sorry. It’s my fault. I mistakenly thought that regular contributors to this website had at least the basic understanding of geostrategic realities of this region. While it is true that Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, it still geographically lives on very crucial strategic crossroads and will get tremendous benefits if the Central Asian states get linked up with the rest of the world through Arabian Sea. Afghanistan has immense potential of contributing to global economy just by serving as a conduit for trade and transportation between Central Asia and the West. Once the regional integration gets well underway and economic activities get a firm foothold, emergence of industrial footprint in Afghanistan will be a natural sequel. It is untrue that most countries share nearly identical economic interests. Just as an example, why Indians and others are then trying their evil best to block Chinese access to Arabian Sea via the commercial port of Gwadar. Similarly Indian economic interests are in perpendicular to those of many regional countries.
.
I don’t know what stops you from recognizing Taliban in 1990s as the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. They were after all more effective in controlling the crime and narco business in Afghanistan. By Taliban type Afghan force, I meant a force loyal to Afghan people and not the foreign masters. Producing herds of foreign agents in the name of Afghan National Army and Police certainly has not worked and neither is expected to work. That type of farce police force having divided loyalties obviously can not control criminal bandits, warlords, and drug mafias.

A common sense clearly supports the fact that once natural resources in any region or nation are developed and utilized, a new phase of national prosperity is commenced. Once, this region integrates, overall economic activities take root, and trade routes from Central Asian states to Arabian Sea become active, the development in Afghanistan and Pakistan will not take long to follow. Only pessimists and ones with vested interests can oppose the development of a immense trade route from Central Asian states to Arabian Sea via Afghanistan and Pakistan. When national wealth gradually starts increasing, funds for educational and othr social sectors automatically increase.

Joe Harlan November 8, 2009 at 1:12 am

Yes, I think it is your fault, because you have a misunderstanding of what comprises a successful state.

What stops me from recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate armed forces of Afghanistan in the 1990s is that there was no single Afghan state; despite being a conventional force at that time, the Taliban was still a loose group of commanders rather than a well organized, state-run force; and they were not loyal to the Afghan people, given their sponsorship by the ISI and their persecution of non-Pashtun groups within Afghanistan.

Also, if you think the Indians are ‘evil’ yet see the Taliban as legitimate, I’m curious as to your personal history. If would be so kind, please let all of us know what is you do?

Faisal Nazir November 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I agree that Taliban were not a well-organized and disciplined force during their rule in 90s. I personally did not like their rigidness and narrow mindedness. But remember they were the product of the Afghan society and a Afghan solution to Afghan problem. Yes, they were not as good as one would like them to be. But they were much better than the criminal warlords who were butchering Afghan people on daily basis. Had the world community interacted actively and constructively with Taliban government, a better leadership in Afghanistan would have certainly evolved. Unfortunately enough though, some powers chose to arm and assist some Afghans, especially the non-Pashtun population, with the sole aim of keeping the civil war going and ensuring a continued bloodshed in that country. I did not use the word evil pointlessly.

Instead of looking for my personal history, by itself a malicious attempt to scare me off this website, you should go and ask any Pakistani or, for that matter, a person from any of India’s neighboring countries, to see if India has proved to be an evil for this region.

omar November 7, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Here is my theory of the day (why not?): The Pakistani army high command is about to make another one of their periodic strategic miscalculations. These miscalculations usually arise when senior generals feed psyops to pet journalists, then read them in the paper the next day and start getting excited and then meet over dinner to discuss the latest breaking news and cannot believe how EVERYTHING is proceeding as they predicted.
The US may or may not be about to “cut and run”, but irrespective of that, the days of “pre-eminent Pakistani interests in afghanistan” are not coming back (though its clear that GHQ believes they are; Ejaz Haider had a piece about this in the latest Friday Times in which he manages to write the following sentence: let it be said that modalities aside they need to sit down and work out a joint strategy that underwrites and accepts Pakistan’s pre-eminent role in Afghanistan and Islamabad’s security concerns….). The news from Aabpara is that the ISI’s brilliant strategy has been vindicated. The US is about to pull out (the next midterm elections are said to havve a crucial role in all this) and needs ISI to help them avoid a humiliating takeoff from the embassy roof. More money is on its way. India will be pressurised to compromise on Kashmir, money will flow into GHQ, China will “invest in mega projects”, good jihadis will blow up Indian railway stations and bad jihadis will die of small pox. all will be well.

I am afraid I find the whole picture overly optimistic. I dont think Obama is leaving in 12 months. I dont think the US can make a deal with the good taliban even if it wants to. I dont think India is going to give up anything substantive. And I dont think the war against the bad taliban will end anytime soon. The army will continue to enjoy a pre-eminent position in Pakistani politics for a while and will keep getting paid by the US for various operations, but there is no pot of gold (vast mineral reserves, pipelines, Chinese bearing insanely expensive gifts) at the end of the rainbow. Its going to be more of the same….

Faisal Nazir November 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

It’s never been the same for long in the part of the world. Reasons for that are many but out of our focus here. However, we need to just see last thirty years of the history of this region. Even if the events of last ten years indicate any thing then the change is inevitable. I am not saying that foreigners will simply run away from this region. But the selfish game of death and destruction imposed on the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan will not continue unabated or at least not as much one-sided as it has been during the last many years. If some one wants to keep on dreaming, that is one’s own choice.

Prithvi November 8, 2009 at 5:00 am

The dismemberment of Pakistan is less an Indian fantasy than is the civilian control over the Pakistani military. For the Indians, Pakistan is now a PAKage deal – they at least know what they are dealing with. This is how the Indians view the subcontinent: they are number 1, no one is number 2, and Pakistan is number 3.

Basically, India is Pakistan’s obsession, while India is India’s obsession.

“Afghanistan has immense potential of contributing to global economy just by serving as a conduit for trade and transportation between Central Asia and the West. Once the regional integration gets well underway and economic activities get a firm foothold, emergence of industrial footprint in Afghanistan will be a natural sequel. ”
= bizarre platitudes without actually saying anything.

“Just as an example, why Indians and others are then trying their evil best to block Chinese access to Arabian Sea via the commercial port of Gwadar. Similarly Indian economic interests are in perpendicular to those of many regional countries.”

I loved Evil Best 2 starring Bruce Campbell.

anan November 8, 2009 at 11:21 am

“I loved Evil Best 2 starring Bruce Campbell.” 😆

Prithvi, I have noticed the same thing. In the 1980s, India use to be much more Pakistan focused. Now Pakistan doesn’t get all that much media attention inside India; less attention than Google, Apple or Microsft get for example. In fact, Pakistan now arguably gets less coverage in India than it does in the US.

However, Indians constantly compare themselves with China and are obsessed with matching and exceeding China based on development metrics.

Poor Faisal Nazir Bhai. He’s probably a decent dude, but has been brainwashed by psyops from the ISI and Saudis.

Don’t even know what this means: “But the selfish game of death and destruction imposed on the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan will not continue unabated or at least not as much one-sided as it has been during the last many years.”

These are fighting words: “Producing herds of foreign agents in the name of Afghan National Army and Police certainly has not worked and neither is expected to work. That type of farce police force having divided loyalties obviously can not control criminal bandits, warlords, and drug mafias.” I challenge you to prove that the ANA isn’t loyal to their chain of command or motivated to fight. I would argue that the ANA is more loyal and motivated than dare I say the Pakistani Army. Perhaps you incorrectly feel that the ANA is secretly anti Pakistan and anti Saudi. My perception is that the Afghans, being pragmatist survivors, believe that their success depends on good relations with Pakistan and the Saudis.

Dear Faisal Nazir Bhaya, most though not all Indians want a prosperous and successful Pakistan and Afghanistan. PM Singh and PM Vajpayee have both publicly discussed free trade, free investment, free travel agreements with Pakistan. They have discussed the possibility of Indian foreign aid for Pakistan. These are authentic offers, because India’s nightmare is a weak Pakistan that self implodes or splits up. Indians want a successful and strong Pakistan that doesn’t support Takfiri extremists that attack India. Isn’t this also what you want Faisal Nazir?

Faisal Nazir November 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

We want Indians spare us Pakistanis and leave us alone. But, contrary to your claims, Indians are obsessed with Pakistan and Pakistanis. All their military systems are deployed against Pakistan and all their policies are based on the animosity for Pakistanis. All the actions of Indian government against Pakistan lie about your claims. Indians do not compare themselves with Chinese but rather they are envy of Chinese progress and prosperity. They can not do much against China and so they pretend to be peace-loving people. Their raw nature can be shockingly observed by the coercive, hegemonic, and arrogant treatment meted out to the smaller neighbors of India.

I am not brainwashed by ISI or Saudis. I have nothing to do with such entities. I am a commoner trying to keep myself aware of the events. I have no link with politics but I want to speak out whenever I feel some thing not fair is happening.

Prithvi November 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I think you overestimate the Indians’ capacity for maniacal evil and underestimate their simple capacity for greed, in the Gordon Gecko sense of the world. And of course the Indians watch China’s prosperity with rapt attention, since it’s basic human nature to wish to emulate success.

Pakistan is actually geographically well positioned to become a player in global commerce because of its coastline and proximity to Central Asian energy sources. But it won’t act on these advantages since it has an identity crisis.

Jinnah, who was actually quite a great man, envisioned a culturally Muslim state on the subcontinent, since he was a sectarian nationalist rather than a theologian. After the 1971 War, this vision was in shambles, since Bangladesh became another major Muslim state and by now India has about as many Muslims as Pakistan.

So how does Pakistan wish to define itself? It’s no longer enough to be simple Muslim, or respectful to art and culture of Muslim origin; one must be Islamic in thought and deed, which does not bode well for traditional folk culture in Pakistan.

Faisal Nazir November 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Identity crisis? I am hearing this crap from an Indian after many long years – only on this website even if this site is supposed to have nothing to do with Pak-India rivalry. What does it really mean that Pakistanis have an identity crisis? Do we Pakistanis have a tail? Or we have three eyes? Don’t we have our own land – called Pakistan – the land of the Pure? We are the inheritors of an ancient Indus valley civilization. Aren’t we proud Muslims? Don’t Pakisnis have a globally recognized passport? What really is then missing? Which identity are we missing that Hindus have? I think the only difference is the khannas that is filled in Indian mind.

In1930s, after Congress won the elections and formed government in a few states of British India, the narrow minded and mean Hindus order for a compulsory morning singing of ‘Bande Ma Taram’ in schools by all students including non-Hindu ones. This is an anti-Muslim song taken from a novel, written by a fanatic Hindu, where the children of Black Devi sing this song while killing Muslims and performing ethnic cleansing. Muslim kids in India are still forced in schools to sing this song even after 62 years of independence. The leaders of the second largest political party, BJP, are threatening Muslims and telling them to leave India and migrate to Pakistan if they do not want to sing that song. Is that your worth? Where is the identity crisis? In Pakistan or really in India. We thank God that we are not living with Hindus under a farce democracy.

Briandot November 8, 2009 at 11:47 pm

This is a fascinating look into the paranoid, anti-Indian Pakistani mindset. Please keep it going.

Prithvi November 9, 2009 at 1:56 am

“What does it really mean that Pakistanis have an identity crisis? Do we Pakistanis have a tail? Or we have three eyes?”

uh what

“We are the inheritors of an ancient Indus valley civilization”

That’s taking romantic nationalism a bit far. That civilization existed millennia before Islam was first preached. In so far as there state institutions go, both Pakistan and India have British origins, especially with their armies and civil services.

Yes, Pakistan is overwhelmingly Muslim, but this doesn’t equate its cohesiveness as a state. Muslim solidarity wasn’t enough to prevent Bangladesh from seceding, or Kashmiris to want to be independent from both India and Pakistan, or Baluchis and Pashtuns to desire their own states.

It’s not that the Hindus have something that the Muslims lack, since they have far more heterogeneous beliefs, it’s that the Muslims in India have something that the Muslims in Pakistan have, which is some sort of legitimate future with both the state institutions and civic society in India.

Prithvi November 9, 2009 at 1:59 am

rather I meant to say what the Muslims in Pakistan DON’T have. It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that they are Muslims, but that the civic institutions in Pakistan are pretty feeble. Hopefully their judiciary has more teeth now.

Look, nobody wants Pakistan to fail, or disappear off the map. That’s a very frightening thought.

Faisal Nazir November 9, 2009 at 11:14 am

I knew you would get it wrong. The identity crisis is not an issue with the Muslims living in India. Rather it is a problem with Indian nation-state. Even, after having lived for more than six decades of independence, India is not able to define a common national identity shared by all of its citizens. On the outset, it is claimed to be a secular country – in Indian style though. Religious Hindu songs are forced officially on the all students in state run public schools. What secularism the Indians then claim of? More than 180 million Muslim Indian citizens are told (and this is not the first, and probably last, time that Indian Muslims are being told) to migrate to Pakistan if they can not live with Hindu religious songs in public schools. These are not a hundred, thousand, or a million people. It is hundreds of millions of Indian population. Obviously the Hindu fascism is visible on its peak. It’s a real shame. The rot in the body of Indian nation-state is more than visible. This Bande Ma Taram issue is just one manifestation of the deeper disease. There are many other issues that point to the same rot in Indian nation-state. Indians have not been able to define a common national identity for themselves acceptable all major minorities in India. I call it Indian identity crisis. BTW, I salute the courage, wisdom, vision, and determination of our leaders of Pakistan Movement who timely diagnosed the problem and snatched a country from the jaws of tyranny of Hindu-British alliance.

Regarding the Indus valley civilization, yes, it is true that Islam came much later. But the inhabitants of this region did not surrender their history by just embracing Islam. Yes, we are Muslims. But have been living here in these areas since much before Islam came here and we embraced it. It may be a matter of shame for Hindus but we are happy and satisfied by adopting a divine ideology that is unadulterated. Your level of understanding, BTW, makes me feel pity. You need to shed temple-indoctrinated mentality about Pakistan and Islam.

anan November 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Faisal bhai wrote “Regarding the Indus valley civilization, yes, it is true that Islam came much later. But the inhabitants of this region did not surrender their history by just embracing Islam. Yes, we are Muslims. But have been living here in these areas since much before Islam came here and we embraced it.” Nicely put. The Indus Valley civilization extended across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Southern former USSR and eastern Iran. Similar coins, artifacts, architecture and other archeological finds have been found across this region. Unfortunately most of these ancient cities have not been studied yet.

The Indus Valley civilization represent the shared ancestors of South and Central Asians. It belongs to all of us. Faisal bhai, South Asians share common ancestry, history, culture, values, perspectives for understanding the world, and interests.

“It may be a matter of shame for Hindus but we are happy and satisfied by adopting a divine ideology that is unadulterated. Your level of understanding, BTW, makes me feel pity. You need to shed temple-indoctrinated mentality about Pakistan and Islam.” I very much respect that many muslims believe that Hinduism is a faith without divine ordination and am not offended when you repeat this. Most Hindus that I know are also not offended by this. However, not all nonmuslims understand the islamic faith as well as they could, and are unnecessarily (and I think inappropriately) offended when they hear this. In view of this, perhaps you might consider expressing yourself differently (for example by not implying that Hinduism is adulterated.)

Faisal Nazir November 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I certainly did not mean that Hinduism is a faith without divine ordination. If that was the impression conveyed by my response, I then really apologize for that. I am not a scholar and feel to have only a meager knowledge, especially about other religions. I once met an American who spent years in India for learning Gita. What he told me about the teaching of Gita , believe me, it was a real eye-opener for me. In short, many aspects were very close to what actually Quran says. Later, I came across an article from a Muslim scholar from Sindh who opined, after narrating many prophecies in Gita about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), that Gita was either a divine book or derived from one. In fact, the prophecies in Gita were more specific than similar ones in Bible. Being a Muslim, I have great respect for Gita. But at the same time, there is no guarantee that Gita, and, for that matter, Bible were not changed over time by human beings.

What I actually meant was that Hindus have not forgiven us Muslims, the inhabitants of the same land, for converting to Islam. It is unfortunate that Hindus, claiming themselves the sons of mother India, have shamelessly indulged into merciless killing the other sons of the same mother India just because they embraced Islam. I am sure that history offers solid evidence and supports my claim. The Muslims in the current India have been the constant victim of Hindu bigotry and still suffocating under the rise of saffron, at both official and unofficial levels, in India.

anan November 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Your words on the Gita were nicely said. 🙂

“What I actually meant was that Hindus have not forgiven us Muslims, the inhabitants of the same land, for converting to Islam” I don’t think this is true. Most orthodox Hindus genuinely love and revere the Sufis, including:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moinuddin_Chishti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirdi_SAI
Most of the many hundreds of million of pilgrims who have visited these sites (cumulatively over centuries) are not muslim. I would bet that most of the anti muslim Hindutva people also revere the Sufis (not that this justifies their politics.) AR Rahman was a Hindu who met an amazing Sufi devotee of God, and converted to Islam. There are many examples like him.

Perhaps you should speak to more Indian muslims. Yes, they face discrimination similar to what American blacks or latinos experience in the US; yet muslims are well represented among Indian business people, bankers, techies, elite civil servants, Indian Army officers, Bollywood, academia, and the arts. Consider googling a list of all venture capital backed companies in India. See for yourself how many muslims are part of their founding teams.

I am sure you are not one of the extremists, so this isn’t directed against you. Indian muslims experience a lot of discrimination from extreme salafis, including Arab Wahhabis and extremist Deobondis (many Wahhabis and Deobondis are not extremists.) Despite their mixed experiences in India, most Indian muslims are far more scared of the extremists who live inside Pakistan; and regard the persecution of mohajirs inside Pakistan as more serious than the discrimination they confront inside India. You can argue that this perception is incorrect; but it is widely believed by many Indian muslims. What makes it worse for many Indian muslims, as I am sure they would tell you, is that they are hated and targeted by extremists more than nonmuslim Indians are; and many Indians don’t realize this.

” It is unfortunate that Hindus, claiming themselves the sons of mother India, have shamelessly indulged into merciless killing the other sons of the same mother India just because they embraced Islam.” This isn’t as common as you believe. Remember that muslim emperors and aristocracy ruled most of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh between 1192 and the British Raj.

I was surprised to read your comments about “Bande Ma Taram.” I assume you know Hindu/Urdu and understand the words in the song. The song doesn’t seem to carry religious connotation to me. It refers to “Mother India” or “Mother God,” depending on how you interpret it. You could interpret it to mean Mother Allah if you prefer (since Allah transcends gender, this isn’t any worse than saying father Allah.) The song seems to me to be about love of the motherland (in the east country is thought of as mother.) What is it about the song you find offensive? I have never heard complaints about the song from muslims before.

Faisal, it is possible that there are many extremists in India that I don’t know about; but religious bigotry or any criticism or persecution other faiths is blasphemes to Hindus (who don’t have a word for “religion.”) It is common for Hindus to pray at mosques, even anti muslim ones. For that matter, the same is true of Sikhs, Jains, Indian Buddhists, Taoists, and the eastern faiths in general. Pluralism and diversity are in their DNA. The extremists you describe have to walk a very fine line of respecting the Islamic faith and muslim saints while denouncing specific bad muslims.

Faisal Nazir November 10, 2009 at 9:56 am

I do not really agree to your rosy picture of India. Glaring internal cracks are an evidence of the failure to transform into a harmonious and unified nation. It is no small failure that after so long, Hindus are not able to accommodate Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, and other minorities as a part of the nation with equal rights. You tell me how may Hindu criminal terrorists have been prosecuted and punished for killing and burning thousands of Muslim men, women, and children alive during Gujrat riots under this disgraced criminal Modi – then Chief Minister of that state. He is still the CM and a stalwart of Hindu Extremist Terrorist part, BJP. How many Hindu criminal terrorists were brought to justice for killing thousands of Sikhs in a matter of just a few hours after Indra was killed. Maoists are fighting in 40% of India for their independence. There are many other internal insurgencies going on in India. Such a miserable state of internal bleeding does not reflect a cohesive, harmonized, and unified nation. Kashmir is a different story in that it is under illegal occupation of India. Kashmiri people are continuing with their freedom struggle and have sacrificed more than 90,000 lives to get their right of self-determination.

Externally, you just tell me one neighboring country of India that has been able to have a good smooth relations with India during the past 60 years. The Indian strategy to bring its neighbors to their knees by exploiting internal differences, instigating and fomenting insurgencies, and naked aggression whenever an opportunity arose is what Indians have been doing all along. Now Indians are collaborating with external powers to spread mischief in this region. I am sure it’ll only be the Indians who will emerge as the biggest loser at the end of the game. External powers are attempting to cripple Pakistan for advancing their global objectives. These powers are bound to see a devastating failure in their deadly game and will be pushed back to their own region. India will be left alone to face the wrath of regional players then.

A vast chunk of Indian population is struggling with crippling poverty – many kill themselves due to the hunger yet others sell their wife, daughters, and organs to fill their stomach with a few pieces of bread. The fanatic Indian government is spending billions of dollars in purchasing arms and weapon systems all under the claims that India live under a dangerous situation. This presumed dangerous situation, however, is the direct consequence of their suicidal policies of last 62 years. India needs a serious review of its internal and external policies. You need to win the friends in the region whereas your policies have been aimed at creating enemies. How long would you be able to live with those policies and survive is matter to see in near future.

BTW, Bande Ma Taram is a Hindu pagan war song that is supposed to be sung while killing Muslims. How can you expect a Muslim boy to sing it as a symbol of joy of his own death? Also, we respect mother land but it does not attain a status above our belief in Allah (SWT). Moreover, there is no concept of mother or father associated to Allah. In Islam, Allah is the creator of the whole universe and HE (SWT) is only and only one. No one is like HIM (leave alone equal to HIM). Gita has similar attributes to God.

omar November 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I suspect that when people display what sounds like totally irrational ideology, the ill effects of that irrationality extend to those who read the comment and think to themselves “how paranoid and XYZ can you get”.
I am NOT making a moral point here about thinking ill of your fellow man or whatever. I am saying you are liable to miss the actual nuts and bolts calculations that go into policy decisions by army chiefs and corrupt politicians if you pay too much attention to how some random citizen choses to frame his patriotism. …The “average Joe” is repeating whatever BS he or she was taught at school. Its better packaged in some countries than others, but its not what the guy with his hand on the rudder is necessarily thinking about.
OK, its likely that a lot of army officers in Pakistan actually DO think like this, but I would still pay attention to more concrete factors, because no matter what ideology they seem to believe in, they still calculate self-interest in surprisingly standard ways (which is not to say they are totally rational. standard is pretty irrational too, but you may see what I mean?). ….just a thought.

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